Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa with her mom, dad, siblings, and extended family. It is comprised of four short stories that subtly expose the reader to...moreAnna Hibiscus lives in Africa with her mom, dad, siblings, and extended family. It is comprised of four short stories that subtly expose the reader to both a country in Africa and it's culture. (You are not told which country in Africa) Anna's mother is white and the rest of the family African. This initially bothered me - I wanted it to be completely African (I know this doesn't make sense if you know me), but the stories are sweet and the reader is introduced to Africa in such a way, I no longer cared. I'm excited to share it with me children.(less)
Secrets at Sea is a sweet tell of the Cranston mice whom live in the Cranston family home. Of the Cranston mice family, four sibling remain. The fathe...moreSecrets at Sea is a sweet tell of the Cranston mice whom live in the Cranston family home. Of the Cranston mice family, four sibling remain. The father has previously been killed by a cat, and the mother and two older siblings drowned. Helena, the oldest Cranston mouse, is trying to hold the remaining family together (Louise, Beatrice, and Lamont).
In the backdrop of this, the Cranston human family, parents and two daughters, are planning a trip to England, via ship, in hopes of finding a husband for their oldest daughter.
As Helena struggles to care for her siblings, she decides to ask an old aunt for advice. Her aunt has a special crystal ball (a child's marble), for telling the future. It can show you more than one future based on a choice you make. The first future Helena is told: "The future that will choose you if you stay put and do not act. Not a pretty picture." pg. 55. The second: "Here's your other future, Helena! Here's the one you can choose, if you dare." I stood there, between one future and another. ... ... I couldn't I whispered. "We couldn't. How could we? pg. 58
The future that would get Helena what she wanted - keeping her family together and helping them reach their best - is the more challenging, unknown, scary choice. At time Helena doubts her decision and longs for the security of her old known way of life.
I liked the idea of being able to see Helena's future based on the consequence of a choice. I liked in the end when Helena understand what her aunt meant on how to keep her family together (pg. 235 last sentence, pg 236 first sentence). (less)
This is a different view than you normally get from a World War II book. It is based on a book that the author's mother had made. A book her friend's...moreThis is a different view than you normally get from a World War II book. It is based on a book that the author's mother had made. A book her friend's could write their good-byes in and where her mother wrote a few of her own thoughts like a journal. There our photocopies of the mother's book, translation, and then the author has added some narrative of what is going on at the time.
It brought dimension to the refugee experience. It shows how things built up to what they became. Loved it.(less)
The first sentence reads: "One day when things were dull in Hell, the Devil fished around in his bag of disguises, dressed himself as a fairy godmothe...moreThe first sentence reads: "One day when things were dull in Hell, the Devil fished around in his bag of disguises, dressed himself as a fairy godmother, and came up into the World to find someone to bother." I was hooked from the start! This is a light hearted fun read - there is nothing scary. It's ten short stories - that do not have to be read in any specific order. The first two are very funny, but my personal favorite - that I want to recommend to every mother and/or parent is Perfection. (less)
Samuel is a ten-year-old boy that lives with his sister, aunt and uncle. His parents have recently died. Troll-Son is a young troll, living in a Forbi...moreSamuel is a ten-year-old boy that lives with his sister, aunt and uncle. His parents have recently died. Troll-Son is a young troll, living in a Forbidden Forest close to Samuel. Samuel and Troll-Son have met in a previous book. (It is not necessary to have read Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest to follow this story).
Troll-Son's mother has decided to send him to the Betterer, a mean troll that doesn't like that he's a troll and so tortures young troll's in the name of making them Better. When Troll-Son learns that he is to be sent to the Better he runs away to Samuel Blink.
There were several quotes I loved from this book... but only could find one of them. Samuel is feeling somewhat alone with his sister having made a friend, and he is lying in bed thinking: "He imagined, for a moment, what it would be like to have no one at all. Not just no parents, but no Martha either, and no Aunt Eda or Uncle Henrik as well. If the present contents of this room were the contents of the entire world. There would be no point to a life that, he realized. It would be like a word existing without a language. It would have no meaning. Without other people, he realized, you could never truly exist. Well, you could exist--you could keep on breathing, and your heart would keep on beating, but it wouldn't be a life worth having. Life was other people. He realized that now. It was the moments you shared. That's how you got to be happy. That's how you discovered who you were. Not by lying awake in an empty room with a guilty secret creaking above your head. And the sooner he could be free of the secret the better." pg 196.
This was a fun read, with each character described so humorously (if that is a word). At the end a person is murdered and another killed. This was unexpected for me and did not match the tone of the rest of the book. However, I would still recommend and look forward to reading more of Matt Haig's books.(less)