My favorite genre is biography, because I learn so much about how people become who they are! Simple as it sounds, it makes for a fascinating study. I’ve noticed, in reading biographies, that– you don’t have to rich or surrounded by resources to become a …
I had dreams of reading many books this summer. While I didn’t accomplish that desire, I did enjoy the books I read/listened to! Here are a few that I wanted to share about now that summer is over and my books are overdue:
Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig. I listened to this as I ran, walked, tried to get back to sleep, and worked. What can I say about Lou Gehrig? He is an impressive man. He worked so hard, day in, day out, never missing games for any reason. He lived a clean life and was a remarkable example, particularly in an occupation where many of the players did not live virtously. He honored his parents, devoting so much of his life caring for them, especially his mother when she suffered health problems, and not just for a short period of time, but for decades!
The title “Luckiest Man” comes from Gehrig’s final speech. This video is not the entirety of the speech. The complete speech can be found here, the text of which indicates his endearing humility and depth of character.
I learned much more about Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) than I had before. I am so grateful for the recognition that Lou brought to this disease so that funding and research could be increased to help those who suffer, as well as their families.
There is a wonderful picture book version of this story: Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler (illustrated by Terry Widener).
Maggie’s Door by Nory Ryan was a lovely surprise that my sister-in-law shared with us. Three of us aunts were carpooling three cousins to a soldier camp that was about an hour’s drive away. She checked out this audio book for the boys to listen to on their travels back and forth each day. Of course, I had to listen to the whole thing after my turn to drive! This is an absolutely beautiful story of a young Irish girl who leaves Ireland during the Great Famine. Kirkus Reviews said it well: Maggie’s Door is “heart-wrenching and unforgettable.”
My family enjoyed Maggie’s Door so much that we went to the library and checked out some of the other books by Nory Ryan, which Eliza and Anna very much enjoyed (and I didn’t have time to read. Another summer…).
Fall is such a wonderful season, not only for the velvet-rich colors that robe the trees and bushes, but also for the bountiful harvest that began in summer and stretches on into October. From sunflowers to pumpkins, there is so much wonder to invite a child to discover!
Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington has always been a read-aloud favorite, particularly for the watercolor pencil illustrations that show so well how a pumpkin grows. I love books that help “city children” see the process that everyone knew only a few generations ago. Many children simply do not see anything grow except for grass, flowers, and trees! So we must have beautifully illustrated books (or equivalents online) for children to view at a bare minimum.
The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall. What I love about this story is the historical review of what families had to do in order to live back not too many generations ago: plant what you eat, wear, and feed your livestock. And then you build, preserve, raise, weave, sew, carve. And then you can share or sell your surplus. I also think it is critical for children to have a sense of the foundation that those forerunners built for us that led to the convenience and ease of our modern lives. I also love the illustration style that seems so appropriate to the time-period of the story.
Spuds by Karen Hesse helps children to appreciate that not everyone had (or has) a harvest to enjoy. This fictional story tells how some poor children whose single, hardworking mother couldn’t provide enough food for them, went to steal what they thought was potatoes. The potatoes don’t end up being exactly what they thought. The story gives us both a taste for honesty and gratitude. Sweet illustrations.
Enough stories for today!
Happy Planting a Love of Reading,