In My Library Tote: April's Mom and Toddler Book Picks

Here's a round-up of the books that Jona and I have been (mostly) enjoying lately. I hope you get some what-to-read-next inspiration! 

{recent reads: busy mama edition}

If you’re in the mood for…

{encouragement that is equal parts anecdote and research} read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown challenges the notion that vulnerability is a weakness. Instead, she likens being vulnerable to being courageous, and explains how embracing vulnerability helps us live fuller, more fulfilling lives.
     Worth the read? Yes, if you’re in the mood for some introspection. I happened to read it right after Better than Before, and I think it would have been smarter to space out my nonfiction a bit more, as I have a hard time with that genre. I’d like to read it again so that her message can really sink in.

{both a fascinating history lesson and a good cry} read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Just when you think you can’t possibly enjoy another World War II novel…   Yes, it’s a saturated market, but Hannah’s The Nightingale really does bring something fresh and new to the table. Set in France during the Occupation, Vianne and Isabelle are sisters whose lives are changed by the war in extremely different yet equally drastic ways. Soon after Vianne’s husband leaves for war, a German soldier is billeted in the home where she and her daughter live. While Vianne lives in close quarters with a German, Isabelle, a stubborn, idealistic 18 year old, leaves to join the French Resistance.
     Worth the read? Oh, yes. Run to your nearest library or bookstore and pick this up immediately, you won’t regret it! This was my favorite of the month. 

{something you won't want to put down} read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Alice comes to after a bad fall during her spin class, and her first concern is for the child she’s carrying. In her mind, she’s 29 years old, happily married, and pregnant with her first child. The problem is, she’s actually 39 with 3 kids, and on the verge of divorce. Not only does she try to regain her lost memories (like those involving the children doesn't recognize), but she also tries to reconcile her old life with the drastically different new.
     Worth the read? Yes. I’ve been meaning to pick up something by Liane Moriarty for a while now, and I’m so glad I started with this one. The synopsis sounds a bit like the start of a cheesy romantic comedy, but it managed to be both lighthearted and emotionally complex at the same time. 

{young adults avoiding their problems on a crazy adventure} read The Clasp by Sloane Crosley. Victor, Kezia, and Nathaniel met in college but have since drifted apart; they are reunited at a mutual friend’s wedding. The night of the wedding, Victor gets lost in the house where the wedding is hosted, and falls asleep in the mother of the groom’s bedroom. She wakes him up, but instead of being angry, she shares with him a story about a valuable necklace that disappeared mysteriously in France during the Occupation in World War II. This story ultimately leads Victor to make some seemingly impulsive decisions, which his two college friends eventually get wrapped up in as well.
     Worth the read? No. I really did not enjoy this book. I didn’t find any of the characters to be likable, I didn’t think the plot was believable, and I couldn’t wait for it to end. There were some nearly-redeeming qualities, like the clever writing, but it was as if she knew she was being clever, which was too much for me.

{recent reads: toddler edition}

If your little loves…

{fairy tales…or, taking things out and putting them back in} read The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg. Although slightly long for the impatient toddler, this book takes you on an adventure in which a postman delivers letters to various fairy tale characters. There is a new card, letter, or flyer to read on every page.
     Toddler approved? Yes. I mentioned it was a little long, so he had to be in the mood for it. However, Jona absolutely loved pulling the cards and letters (and even a mini storybook!) out of each envelope and holding them while I read. I love books that get kids involved, even if they’re not yet reading.  

{stories about food and nature} read Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. This classic Caldecott Honor story is one I remember reading as a child, so I really enjoyed reading it to Jona. A little girl goes with her mother to pick blueberries, and just on the other side of the mountain a bear and her little cub are enjoying some berries themselves. 
     Toddler approved? Yes. I wondered if Jona would like this one, as it’s a little long and a lot different from the kinds of books we normally read. However, every time we read it he seemed to be really engrossed, and would point at the pictures and ask questions (usually “Where’d the little bear go?” or “Where’s Sal?”). 

{silly stories about counting} read Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton. One lonely hippo decides to call a friend, and soon his house becomes the hippo party destination. The repetition and limited number of words per page make this a perfect read for squirmy little readers.
     Toddler approved? So-so. I picked this up at a library book sale, and although it did elicit a few laughs, it isn’t one he asks for much. I think it would have been perfect about a year ago when he had less patience (not that I would characterize him as super patient now!).

{dogs and adventures} read Murphy in the City by Alice Provensen. Murphy, a farm dog, hates to ride in the car, but he’s pleasantly surprised when one car ride takes him to the big city. With so many places to go and people to see, he ends up having quite the adventure.
     Toddler approved? Yes, Jona really liked this one. While he’s only mildly interested in our dog, Ellie (I’ll tell him to go pet Ellie and he’ll just give her one little tap…so funny), he loves dogs in books. Go figure. This was the favorite this month. 

What have you (and your little ones) been reading lately? I love book recommendations, so bring 'em on! 

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