National Library Week, National Poetry Month, Earth Day, and More

This has been a busy week. It’s NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK, so I certainly hope you’ve visited your local library at least once this week. I’m reading Elise Broach’s fun mystery story for middle grade readers called, MASTERPIECE. A cockroach named Marvin is the main character. He has an amazing talent which takes him on an adventurous quest. Click on the link and hear the author read from the book.

And it still POETRY MONTH. I’ve been writing a poem a day. How about you? One of my favorite young adult novels is written in free verse poetry–OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse. Or another free verse novel, this one a middle grade read by Sharon Creech, is LOVE THAT DOG. This story is wonderful also.
Monday, April 20, is EARTH DAY. Here are 3 suggestions for green activities:
  • cut two minutes off your morning shower to conserve water
  • pick up trash in your neighborhood
  • plant a tree or some wildflower seeds

What else can you think of do? 

Last, but not least, I invite you to visit MY LIGHT magazine for the April issue which features my article on St. Catherine of Siena, a 14th century young adult celebrity. 

Reading For All Ages

I’ve read some wonderful books of late and would like to share them with you.

The first is a young adult historical fiction novel titled, I AM REMBRANDT’S DAUGHTER by Lynn Cullen. (Bloomsbury, 2007) Cornelia van Rijn, Rembrandt’s illegitimate daughter, tells the story of her 16 years living with the famous creative genius. At the time of Cornelia’s birth in Amsterdam, however, Rembrandt had fallen out of favor with art patrons. The story recounts the struggles of the family, especially Cornelia’s search for her own identity and happiness amid the turmoil of poverty and the ever-present plague threat. Both romance and resilience play parts in this tender novel.
The second wonderful book is PSALMS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN by Marie-Helene Delval and illustrated by Arno. (Eerdmans, 2008) The title belies the fact that this beautiful book is a treat for all ages. 40 psalms are simplified for more easy reading and understanding. Arno follows this simplified approach with his colorful illustrations. The combination of text and pictures with the messages of love found in the psalms creates a truly powerful piece of literature. 
*For another example of introducing young children to Biblical verses, check out my book–GIFTS FROM GOD.
The third book is a picture book by one of my favorite children’s authors, Karen Hesse.  SPUDS (illustrated by Wendy Watson–Scholastic, 2008) tells the story of a poor rural family, three children and their hard-working mother. When the mother goes to work one night–leaving the eldest child, Maybelle–in charge. The narrator–the middle boy, Jack–relates their exploits when they decide to harvest left-over potatoes from a neighbor’s farm. They bundle up young brother, Eddie, pulling him in the old red wagon. They scramble in the dark to fill a bag full of potatoes, but when they return home they are in for a surprise. This is a touching story of a family working together to overcome their hardships. The illustrations evoke the 1930’s setting with sweet vignettes.
The weekend is almost here. I hope you get some extra reading time in–perhaps one of these great books would be the perfect treat.