This book is a great resource for kids who struggle with anger. I recommend it first of all because the information is helpful and based on sound psycThis book is a great resource for kids who struggle with anger. I recommend it first of all because the information is helpful and based on sound psychology. I like that it addresses anger management but also makes kids aware that anger can be disguised as other emotions and behaviors. The one page checklists would be great for kids to copy and refer to regularly as they are learning to address their anger. The doses of humor and cartoons make the book lighter and model coping by using humor. The back of the book includes resources for teachers, parents, and students. Finally, I thought it was important that the book gave advice to kids on what to do when an adult in their lives displays inappropriate anger and suggests ways to get help. The book is too long to read in one setting and for best results should be read and digested in small chunks....more
This is a book that brought together positive psychology and scientific research on how our brains work. As a teacher, it reminded me that I have a poThis is a book that brought together positive psychology and scientific research on how our brains work. As a teacher, it reminded me that I have a powerful influence on my students, not only via the curriculum I teach, but more importantly by the messages that I send to students. Since I believe in the power of a growth mindset, I will strive each day to remind students that they can all improve and learn. I will praise effort and persistence and avoid labeling students as smart or slow. I will encourage learning by validating struggle and reminding students that every time they struggle, they are growing their brains and making connections. This book led to other reading: Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci and Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler....more
I picked up this book because author Diane Chamberlain had it on her recommended reading list in the back of her book "Necessary Lies". I am so glad tI picked up this book because author Diane Chamberlain had it on her recommended reading list in the back of her book "Necessary Lies". I am so glad that I took her advice! This novel by Cash grabbed me early and is still haunting me days after I have finished it. It is definitely dark but I think the premise of the book is so true - the demands of raising a disabled child can wreck a marriage. When Christopher is born mute, his parents, Julie and Ben, grow apart instead of coming together to meet the unexpected challenges. Unable to talk openly and support his wife, Julie turns to the church. This is the first rip in the fabric of their marriage and is especially fatal because the church is led by an evil, snake-handling criminal who knows nothing about the love of God. Contrast the evil nature of the pastor, Chambliss, with the true goodness of Adelaide Lyle and you having the main ingredients of a readable conflict (evil vs. good). Add in the neediness/vulnerability of Julie with the sad/violent childhood experiences of Ben and the plot becomes believable and very tragic. To save the reader from complete despair, there is the costly redemption of grandpa who gets a second chance to raise a son with love and kindness. In addition, the sheriff takes a step towards healing and so does the church. The writing is beautifully crafted and scaffolded on a Thomas Wolfe quotation. Don't we all wish for a heaven that is more kind, more loving than life on earth? - because in this world there will be pain and fairness has nothing to do with it (just ask Clem Barefield, the sheriff). ...more
The first paragraph of this book grabs your attention and simultaneously gives the reader an accurate road map of Thyme's journey following her littleThe first paragraph of this book grabs your attention and simultaneously gives the reader an accurate road map of Thyme's journey following her little brother's diagnosis of cancer. From the beginning, the reader is aware that cancer is a disease that affects the whole family. "When someone tells you your little brother might die, you're quick to agree to anything. You give up after-school activities because no one can take you to practice. You start eating kale chips instead of regular sour cream 'n' onion because your mom says kale is rich in antioxidants, which means healthy. You even agree to move across the country, if that's what it takes."
In addition to illness, this is a book about family relationships, friendships, communication, and internal conflict. Each character is well developed, but of course seen through the eyes of our 11-year-old narrator. My favorite character was Mrs. Ravelli, the Italian lady who is hired to help the family function smoothly. She make meals, transports Thyme to school, and is a true blessing to the family because she is wise, thoughtful, and a terrific listener.
Another aspect of the book that I admired was that Thyme has been greatly influence by her grandmother. It is wonderful to read about a child who has benefited from the love and wisdom of a grandparent. Throughout the book, Thyme quotes her grandmother and these quotes are some of the most memorable lines in the book: "Grandma Kay said there was no such thing as normal. She and Grandpa grow up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They got married there, but then they moved to San Diego for his job with the navy. According to Grandma, she spent a lot of time eating canned tuna and waiting for life to go back to normal after they moved, and that's when she discovered that there was no normal - just normal for now. And normal for now meant that things were always changing. Cancer had changed everything: the things I ate, the place I lived . . . what kind of normal would we find when we got back to San Diego."
There is so much more that I could say but I will summarize by saying that this is a book that will develop empathy or provide comfort for readers who are also dealing with a serious family illness. This book could be a gift to show that readers are not alone. Others have walked a similar path.
There were a couple elements that prevented me from giving this book five stars. I felt the interactions between Thyme and her first crush developed too quickly to be realistic. Often a first crush isn't acknowledged or reciprocated. Hence 11-year-old readers come away with unrealistic expectations. Secondly, I found some of the Dad's dialogue forced or out of character. When he says, "You know what your need? A good old-fashioned butt-kicking", I just rolled my eyes. ...more
This book for middle grade readers addresses the tragic results of civil war in Sudan and the lack of accessible clean water in 2008. Thousands of AfrThis book for middle grade readers addresses the tragic results of civil war in Sudan and the lack of accessible clean water in 2008. Thousands of African citizens die or suffer as they make their way to refugee camps in Ethiopia and later to camps in Kenya. The author builds awareness and empathy by choosing to tell the story from the point of view of two eleven-year-olds. This is a brief but powerful story that should be discussed and will probably naturally lead to some nonfiction followup reads. What I liked most about this book is the message of persistence, hope, and healing. Inspiring! ...more
**spoiler alert** I read this book all at once which is a good clue that I just couldn't put it down. Three storylines converge for a good cry - tears**spoiler alert** I read this book all at once which is a good clue that I just couldn't put it down. Three storylines converge for a good cry - tears of sadness and tears of joy. At times told in the voice of the stray dog named Bone and at other times narrated by preteen boys Henry and Charlie (whom the reader eventually learns are father and son). A great read for anyone who considers a pet dog a member of the family. ...more
This book had several important themes: sisters are both wonderful and difficult; having a best friend move away can be devastating; watching a grandpThis book had several important themes: sisters are both wonderful and difficult; having a best friend move away can be devastating; watching a grandparent age and dealing with changes can be challenging for the whole family; and being thoughtful of the feelings of others leads to a more peaceful household full of love and trust. Pearl's character seemed inconsistent to me. Sometimes she seemed to act way too young/immature (holding hands with a parent while walking to school or frequently dressing up as a pirate) but then she makes some very insightful observations or is intuitive about the needs of her family. When I hear her voice I often heard a character similar to Junie B. and that didn't work for me because Pearl is several grades older. ...more
**spoiler alert** This is the first book that I have ever read that has dealt with the impact on the whole family when a parent loses a job. I liked t**spoiler alert** This is the first book that I have ever read that has dealt with the impact on the whole family when a parent loses a job. I liked that the family pulled together even if there were bumps in making adjustments. It was a realistic depiction that could be a positive model for kid readers. I especially liked the "staycation". Even if employed, not every family can go to Disneyland! Taking advantage of the opportunities around you is a good message. Since I have never been to New York, I enjoyed reading about the attractions there and also found the endnotes on each place informative. I wish I had read "Ten Rules for Living with My Sister" first because references were made in "Ten Good and Bad . . ." and I knew I had missed some things. Also I enjoyed reading about camp because I have my own fond memories of summer camp. And finally, I loved that a grandparent was respected and played an important role in the family. I thought it was great to see how one family interacted with a grandparent that was living in a retirement community. Daddy Bo was such a sweet man and I loved it that he was included in family birthday celebrations and special outings like going to a Broadway Show. So many stories deal with disfunction that it is nice to read about a family that respects and loves one another....more
I have always loved journey stories and this is no exception. There are a few quotes that I must remember because they are wise and true: Mouse says: "I have always loved journey stories and this is no exception. There are a few quotes that I must remember because they are wise and true: Mouse says: "To be a good hunter, to be a good family man, to be truthful instead of clever with people, to live in a community where there is much wisdom - that is what all of us want."
"Some things in life you don't try to fight. A young man want to fight everything, it is in him to do that. A grown man knows to leave certain thins alone. Some things you don't answer. It doesn't mean you have no courage."
Badger says: "The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive."
Weasel says: "It is good to be alive. To have friends, to have a family, to have children, to live in a particular place. These relationships are sacred."...more
Previously I had read Ann Mazer's "The Salamander Room" but this is my first Abby Hayes book. I made the mistake of seeing a #1 on the cover and thougPreviously I had read Ann Mazer's "The Salamander Room" but this is my first Abby Hayes book. I made the mistake of seeing a #1 on the cover and thought it was the first book in the series but really it was number #13 and Abby was getting ready to graduate from 5th grade. Thus I probably didn't really appreciate Abby's Fifth-Grade Yearbook but I followed the story just fine. I can imagine that this would be a popular series with young girls as it is realistic and deal with the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of 10 and 11 year olds. My favorite parts of this book were the calendar quotes, Abby's journal entries, and the use of humor. ...more