What I Just Read: Draft One

The hardest thing for any writer to learn is that Draft One is very rarely final. My fourth grader is suffering from that lesson today.

I told him to write down what he wanted to say for an oral book presentation he is supposed to give tomorrow. He is an avid reader, and when inspired, he can convince an entire class to read his latest top pick. Apparently, the book he must present tomorrow did not grab his attention.

This is what he wrote:

The book I read was Flora and Ulysses. Ulysses is a squirrel and Flora is a girl. Flora’s mother wants to kill Ulysses because she wants Flora to be normal. Her mother is a romantic novelist. I think killing isn’t romantic. Any questions?

When I told him to think about what he wanted to add for Draft Two, he claimed that no one else ever says more than that for their book reports, like they are the kings of queens of book reports.

“It’s not fair! I am not saying all that stupid stuff you want me to say about if I liked the book or how it compares to her other books or my favorite character, or…”

See, I smiled, he knows all about Draft Two.

Mom is Reading My Books!

During the last few weeks, I took a break from the stack of books on my bedside table so that I could read the required summer reading for my sons. I wanted to read the books before they did, so that we could talk about them. My fourth grader was too fast. He knocked them off in early June. So I hit the fifth grade list. Apparently, my fifth grader is at least approaching the age of reading maturity where we might enjoy the same books. For a book lover like me, that could be really fun.

http://voices.yahoo.com/childrens-book-review-gary-paulsens-hatchet-12256148.html?cat=25

I started with Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, which I have reviewed for Yahoo. The link is here if you want to know what a mom gets out of a book written for her kids.

The ironic piece of the review is that I talk about teaching my kids self-reliance, while I am reading their books to make sure they are understanding what they read before school starts. Funny. I did not pick that up until I re-read the review.

Carry On, Warrior

Please read my latest book review on Yahoo. Carry On, Warrior was part of Glennon Doyle Melton’s attempt to stay sane while being a wife, mother and recovering “everything.” She apparently got a TEDxTalk out of the deal. And she made me laugh. So as a blogger, it is a good read.

http://voices.yahoo.com/a-book-review-carry-warrior-12245257.html?cat=25

The Young and the Bookless

I love to read, and that began for me before I was ten. I read Little Women and several other Louisa May Alcott books, the entire Little House on the Prairie series, Nancy Drew mysteries, and the biographies of Helen Keller, Florence Nightingale and Amelia Earhart ten times each without ever being assigned them. The Secret Garden. A Little Princess. The High King. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I remember them better than some of my more recent favorites.

So I am puzzled when my ten year old rarely picks up a book for pleasure. If I suggest it, I get the dramatic eye-roll and “all you want me to do is work, work, work!”

Sigh.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the high number of young people who do not read for pleasure. It seems it’s an epidemic, but the article failed to address the reasons why. The following is my attempt to think about why, so that I can do something about it in my house.

http://voices.yahoo.com/why-young-bookless-12223342.html?cat=25

 

An Inspiring Book about Women Coming Together

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who had read one my blog posts about working moms and stay-at-home moms. She asked me to write more about the similarities, how we should appreciate and respect and support each other, rather than see ourselves as separate from each other. So I thought I would share a true story about women in Kabul during the Taliban occupation of their city that really shows what women can do when they come together, support each other and believe in one another. It is inspiring and all about what it means to “lean in.”

The book also reminded me how little you know of a faraway people or culture if your knowledge is based merely on news coverage. To read an engaging story of how one woman made do during the Taliban occupation of Kabul, and to better understand what will happen if they re-take that country, read The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. My book review is at http://voices.yahoo.com/a-book-review-dressmaker-khair-khana-12200073.html.