MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Peace, Locomotion
ISBN: 9780399246555
Publisher's Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Lonnie is finally feeling at home with his foster family. But because he's living apart from his little sister, Lili, he decides it's his job to be the "rememberer" and write down everything that happens while they're growing up. Lonnie's musings are bittersweet; he's happy that he and Lili have new families, but though his new family brings him joy, it also brings new worries. With a foster brother in the army, concepts like Peace have new meaning for Lonnie.

Told through letters from Lonnie to Lili, this thought-provoking companion to Jacqueline Woodson's National Book Award finalist Locomotion tackles important issues in captivating, lyrical language. Lonnie's reflections on family, loss, love and peace will strike a note with readers of all ages.

"I think it it's..."
Imagine Peace by Lonnie Collins Motion
MrsK's Review:
As a reader, there are always certain characters that speak into your heart. Those that you never forget as the years and titles move forward. As an educator, there are certain book discussions, in which your students are so engaged that you are touched with inspiration. Locomotion was one of those experiences. So when a new generation of learners wanted to read Poetic Novels, Locomotion was my first choice. As I created a list of titles, I was thrilled to discover Peace, Locomotion!

Lonnie, aka Locomotion, continues to hope that one day he will be old enough to be the guardian of his little sister Lili. He has continued his writing, only now he is writing hope-filled letters to Lili. His school life has changed, or maybe fallen back into a place less inspired. Yet, because of his academic slump, he has chosen to write Lili's letters to ensure that their memories of life before the fire won't fade away into a "grayness" that has become "real, real quiet" in their minds. He is gathering all of these letters into a box of "Before Time" for the time when Lili is once again living with him.

What is Locomotion's newest challenge? He has a teacher that believes he can't be a poet without being published. So many times, a small comment can cause a student to choose to disengage in ways that spiral out of control! Living in Miss Edna's home, Lonnie is met with a realization that in this foster location there are words like home, son, brother, and comfortable moments of love and support. Turning 12 will be a year of cherishing his before the fire life and learning to embrace his before "as a man" life unfolds. Will he remain hope-filled about his little sister's "new" before life?

Clyde is the friend that helps Locomotion regain his "for real" now life. Sometimes in life a stranger or someone who once seems like a foe, in reality becomes a life time friend. Clyde is honest. His honesty creates a "sounding board," a type of regulator for Locomotion. While Locomotion tries to come to terms with his new season of life, Clyde shares more about his own home. This form of bonding encourages Locomotion to move forward into an acceptance and freedom.

Through Locomotion's acceptance of his life with Miss Edna and her sons, he begins writing to Lili a "one true thing" for the day. These letters become an exposure to the depth of a "for real" family life. For the first time since the fire, Locomotion is now willing to accept that his little sister has a "for real" life in a family that he wasn't ready to support.

This sequel is as moving and inspiring as the first novel. The weaving of words, emotions, hopes, and acceptance portrays a realistic plot that creates an inner peace about how these characters are growing up. It is with much hope... that this reader eagerly waits Locomotion's next season...
"I think if you imagine it....
Then it can happen,...."
 Both titles are crafted with a character with heart,
true grit, and a voice that requires an audience.
Publisher's Synopsis:
When Lonnie Collins Motion "Locomotion" was seven years old, his life changed forever. Now he's eleven, and his life is about to change again. His teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper. And suddenly, Lonnie has a whole new way to tell the world about his life, his friends, his little sister Lili, and even his foster mom, Miss Edna, who started out crabby but isn’t so bad after all. Jacqueline Woodson’s novel-in-poems is humorous, heartbreaking . . . a triumph.

Meet the Author:
Jacqueline Woodson  I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories across sidewalks and penciled tiny tales in notebook margins. I loved and still love watching words flower into sentences and sentences blossom into stories.

I also told a lot of stories as a child. Not “Once upon a time” stories but basically, outright lies. I loved lying and getting away with it! There was something about telling the lie-story and seeing your friends’ eyes grow wide with wonder. Of course I got in trouble for lying but I didn’t stop until fifth grade.

That year, I wrote a story and my teacher said “This is really good.” Before that I had written a poem about Martin Luther King that was, I guess, so good no one believed I wrote it. After lots of brouhaha, it was believed finally that I had indeed penned the poem which went on to win me a Scrabble game and local acclaim. So by the time the story rolled around and the words “This is really good” came out of the otherwise down-turned lips of my fifth grade teacher, I was well on my way to understanding that a lie on the page was a whole different animal — one that won you prizes and got surly teachers to smile. A lie on the page meant lots of independent time to create your stories and the freedom to sit hunched over the pages of your notebook without people thinking you were strange.

Lots and lots of books later, I am still surprised when I walk into a bookstore and see my name on a book’s binder. Sometimes, when I’m sitting at my desk for long hours and nothing’s coming to me, I remember my fifth grade teacher, the way her eyes lit up when she said “This is really good.” The way, I — the skinny girl in the back of the classroom who was always getting into trouble for talking or missed homework assignments — sat up a little straighter, folded my hands on the desks, smiled and began to believe in me.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Secret of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

The Secrets of Paper and Ink
ISBN: 9780718075729
Publisher's Synopsis:
A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England--a place she's learned to love through the words of her favorite author--and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she's renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

Two hundred years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily's journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth. The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.
"Hello, new friend.
I must say, the hollow of this tree is the 
perfect location to leave you a note."
From the girl at the tree... Emily
MrsK's Review:
During the last ninety-two days, Sophia's life had changed. Once a strong calling, her work at the LifeSong Women's Counseling center became an overwhelming fork in the road. On the wall was her certificate proclaiming that she was a Licensed Professional Counselor, a truth that could not be taken from her. David could no longer hurt her, it was time to step back into life, after all that is why she had spent the past ninety-two days recovering... getting stronger... ready to start life again.

Ginny Rose had come to Cornwall, England five years ago. Rosebud Books had opened and she had spent these past years keeping her husband's dream afloat  as he was in London "thinking."  Even though the people of Port Willis had accepted Ginny, book sales had dwindled, and Ginny had to find a way to keep Rosebud's doors open.

Rosebud Books, a welcomed place for all who entered its doors. A place of security and hope for Sophia. A dream that turned into a reality that Ginny wasn't sure how to save. A gathering place for many in the community. A place in which a journey through time would begin to show its worth through the journals of Emily.

In 1856, Emily began penning, as she defined it, about her simple life. For Emily, her thoughts became "etched" upon the pages. Telling of the days as they were weaving her story of a decade of choices.

Many of our reading choices resonate within us. As our lives unfold, there are those choices in which our path reaches a fork that only you will decide, in which way, you will go. Many of those choices begin painfully, then at some unexpected point, someone enters your day and a new season begins. All three of these characters bring to life a determination, inspiring hope, and a smile of assurance about life being well lived.

Open this book when a little grain of hope is needed,
"All we have in life are the choices we make.
We must make choices we can live with...
and die with, if it comes to that."
When a spring of hope brings forth new choices!
Meet the Author:
Lindsay Harrel  Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way.
"I received this book from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Indivisible by Travis Thrasher

ISBN; 9780785224051
Publisher's Synopsis:
Inspired by true events, 

Indivisible is a story of love, service, and finding each other all over again.
Darren and Heather Turner share a passion for serving God, family, and country. When Darren is deployed to Iraq as an army chaplain, Heather vows to serve military families back home as she cares for the couple’s three young children.

Darren knows he’s overseas to support the troops in their suffering as their chaplain. What he doesn’t know is how he will get through his own dark moments. And as communication from Darren dwindles, Heather wonders what is happening in her husband’s heart. Meanwhile, she’s growing weary in the day-to-day life of a military base—each child’s milestone Darren will never see, each month waiting for orders, each late-night knock on the door.

When Darren returns, he is no longer the husband Heather once knew. She is no longer the woman Darren wed. And so it’s at home that the Turners face their biggest battle: to save their marriage.

Based on the screen play by David Evans, Indivisible is a tribute to the beauty of serving our country, the courage of choosing love in the darkness, and the power of a God who never gives up hope.

"A wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept
is a wound that cannot heal."
John Eldridge, Wild At Heart
MrsK's Review:
It is rare that a prologue will become a unique perspective for the words that follow. When words "hook" you as a reader, you tend to turn the page with an expectation that either becomes an expectation or it evaporates as you read on. What would you expect from these words:
"So many special times to choose from. I have hundreds of good memories.
But we've stopped making new ones."
This is the story of a Chaplain, his experiences in the armed service, and his coming home to his wife, family, friends, and continued calling. The timeline begins pre-deployment in 2007 when Darren began listening to the "deep whispering" within. Things can get messy and uncomfortable when you choose to step out in faith. How do follow through with such an uncertain decision? This section is about daily living as a new reality is unfolding. It's beautiful strength is in the perfected weaving of scripture and narrative. It portrays a marriage that continued to build its relationship on an unshakable foundation. 
"No one prays harder for peace
than those of us in war!"
Deployment 2007 begins in May as Darren corresponds with his friends and family, especially Heather his wife. As with any separation, Darren's faith becomes a stronghold for his new normal. Nothing is ever safe, free from emotions, or endless as Darren is in the field. All of the men and women on assignment with him become a necessary family foundation, one in which one life touches another. Deployment, war, and death. Darren's hope endures but to what depth will he walk back home?

This novel is about faith in action. Courage is enduring the trials that we all have very little control over life and death issues... choices made are our only defense. Outcomes that wound us become stumbling blocks of survival. And yet, survival can turn into a "grit" of hope and new seasons.

A unique retelling about one man, one marriage, one life, death of many, and one walk of enduring faith. An inspirational read,
"In light of eternity, all of this is but a
grain of sand on the seashore."

A story of faith, love, and overcoming that which comes against us!
Meet the Author:
Travis Thrasher Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with authors allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be valuable with co-writing projects.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. This storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from country musician and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery to Bill Klein and Jen Arnold, reality TV stars of The Little Couple. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including Olympic Pride, American Prejudice about the lives of the other 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in a suburb of Chicago and fittingly enough will have a children’s book entitled Brave Girls Confidential released later in 2017.

"I received this book from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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