Audiobook Review: The Christmas Secret

What a great review!

By The Book

516Pmi+xHBL._SX408_BO1,204,203,200_When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love. Christine Eisley is the mother of seven-year-old Zach and five-year-old Haley. Her ex-husband provides little, if any, child support and makes life difficult for Christine by using the children as pawns. She works long hours as a waitress to make ends meet, but her job is in jeopardy because she’s often late to work due to the unreliable teenaged sitters she’s forced to use. When Christine saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson’s department store, the owner of Wilson’s wants to find her, to thank her, but Christine has disappeared, losing another job once again. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the…

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I Took the Moon for a Walk, Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay

What a fabulous review!

Books, j'adore

I promise this blog won’t become completely devoted to children’s books just because I spend seventy-five percent of my reading time looking at picture books now, but I Took the Moon for a Walk is absolutely worth talking about. My mother picked it up from the library when we visited back in September, and we loved it so much that she ended up mailing us our very own copy. Since then, we have read it every day, initially several times (by choice!), although now it has settled happily into the rotation of before-bed books.

Every night, I find myself thrilled to pick it up again. The story is pure poetry, and in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was written as a poem initially and then stunningly illustrated as a bonus. The musicality is exceptional. Each line flows gracefully across the page, and because we’ve read it so often…

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Watership Down by Richard Adams

A favorite!


I loved this novel when I read it as a teenager in the late 1970’s and I hope I have passed on my affection for this story to my family.  First published in 1972, Watership Down, by British author Richard Adams, is a book about rabbits… 476 pages of rabbits to be exact.  According to Mr. Adams, the manuscript was rejected a total of seven times, all on the same grounds that older children would think the rabbits babyish and younger children would find its adult style unlikeable.

I am so glad that Richard Adams did not change a word!  His judgment was vindicated when the novel won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1972 and the Guardian Award for Children’s Literature in 1973.  Over forty years later, Watership Down is a beloved classic for young and old.

My local library’s edition of Watership Down published by Scribner in 2005…

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Children’s Books & Happy Memories

Great selection of children’s books!

Spilling Ink

Books and Memories... Books and Memories…

The Guardian‘s fantastic article Children’s Books Are Never Just For Children makes some great points about children’s literature and the value society places on it. As a creator and advocate of children’s literature, I devoured the article and followed it with some serious soul-searching.

Aside from the fact that kidlit is HOT right now–accounting for one in four books sold in the UK in 2014–this zone of the literary landscape is exhilarating. Welcome to the quest to create outstanding children’s literature, where mere word-smithery won’t do. Art is the aim.

Kidlit is High Quality

Phillip Pullman, author of The Amber Spyglass, turns the perfect phrase to describe the language of enduring children’s Amber Spyglassliterature: “Perfect lightness and grace.” Kids’ books are designed to be reread, which means that every word is refined, polished, and arranged to perfection. Not a comma is wasted. Neil Gaiman told

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Best Read Aloud Moments #WRAD-2015

Great review!

Spilling Ink

litworldWRAD15logo-web Image courtesy of

Wednesday the 4th of March, 2015 is World Read Aloud Day, an event launched by LitWorld to raise awareness of the importance of literacy in the fight against poverty and inequality. Celebrated by over one million readers worldwide, this is an event to get behind.

Spilling Ink is doing just that by blogging along on the topic of reading aloud–and all things related. Today, I’m sharing my favourite read-aloud book and my family’s best read-aloud moment.

My Favourite Book to Read Aloud

My read-aloud book pile is tall indeed, but the perennial favourite from my childhood and my daughters’ was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. It’s been a l-o-n-g while since any of my girls asked for a story (or fit on my lap for that matter), but I can still recite from memory the story of Max in his wolf suit.

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The Dinner That Cooked Itself by J.C. Hysu and Kenard Pak

What a lovely book!

The Picture Book Review

Everything about The Dinner That Cooked Itself  is delicious!  The story, the spellbinding illustrations, and its sweetly surprising ending are elegant and magical.

The Dinner That Cooked Itself whisks you off to Ancient China and introduces you to concepts such as the five elements, Chinese animal archetypes, and identifying written Chinese characters.  Illustrated in predominantly browns, greens, and black tones with blue hues reserved for a magnificently magical character — this is the story of Tuan’s search for a wife.

Raised by his neighbors, Tuan is a good and hard-working man of a modest income and lifestyle.  As he now lives on his own, he is lonely and would like a wife.  The matchmaker is unsuccessful in finding a woman who is of the same element or animal archetype or possessing approving parents.  Tuan continues to work and goes about his life.  Yet, one night as he is heading home, he comes upon a…

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Magical Places by Nikki Loftin

So inspirational and uplifting!

Nerdy Book Club

Sometimes it’s people who stay with you forever. And sometimes it’s places.

When I was a girl, I spent many summers running wild in the Texas hill country. My parents were building a ramshackle house from scratch and junk timber at the top of a hill, and my older sister and I were free to explore and play, as long as we didn’t bother our parents or get into trouble.

We didn’t pester our parents… but trouble? Oh, we found plenty of that, in the form of coiled-up rattlesnakes, cactus spines, poison ivy, and occasionally other kids whose parents also let them run wild, with pellet rifles and bb guns in hand.

We found magic as well, or at least I did. I spent countless hours standing on the crumbling limestone cliffs on the sides of my valley, singing into the constant wind, watching the trees sway and move below…

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