In My Library Tote: September Books for Mom and Toddler

I'm excited to share our reads this month, because there were so many good ones! I love months like that. Here's what I've been reading, both to myself and to Jona, lately.

{recent reads for mom}

Here are a few books worth adding to your to-read list. To see my reviews and favorites, click through.

{Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye} Described as a Gothic retelling of the classic Jane Eyre, Jane Steele’s story parallels her heroine, Eyre's, in many ways, but with a darker twist. Steele has noble intentions, but every place she goes, from her aunt’s estate to her questionable lodgings in London, she leaves bodies in her wake. She takes a position as governess at her aunt’s former home, and unwittingly falls in love with her master, Mr. Thornfield. However, she is fearful that her wicked past will catch up to her. 
     Worth the read? Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite novels, so I was both wary of and intrigued by this book. As it turned out, any skepticism I had was unfounded, as I thoroughly enjoyed this one from start to finish. I was actually sad to be done with it, does that ever happen to you? (My rating - 4/5 stars.)

{The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin} Noah, even at only 4 years old, has always been a little different. From his extreme fear of water to his frequent requests to go home (while in his own bed, with his own mother), Janie knew that her son wasn’t an ordinary child. When Noah’s preschool calls her and insists she remove Noah from school immediately, she is desperate to try to understand and help him. In her desperation, she turns to Jerome Anderson, once a well-respected psychologist whose research into the paranormal did irreversible damage to his reputation. Janie and Jerome are both seeking answers, and it is through Noah that they both try to find them. 
     Worth the read? I thought this book was fascinating on many levels, from the revisited idea of reincarnation to the exploration of the bond between a parent and a child. Both of those elements really sucked me into the story. I thought it was a good (but not stellar) read. (My rating - 3/5 stars.)

{Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave} It’s London in 1939 and Mary, the daughter of a wealthy family, volunteers herself for the war effort. She becomes a teacher to the children “left behind” in London, as most children were evacuated to the countryside. She grows attached to her class of society’s misfits, most of all to a young black student Zachary. Zachary isn’t the only one who wins Mary’s heart, as she soon falls in love with her boss--the school’s administrator, Tom. Devoted to his school, Tom feels sure of his decision not to enlist until his flatmate and best friend, Alistair, does just that. Further complications ensue when Mary and Alistair meet when he’s home on leave, and both try to deny their instant attraction to each other. 
     Worth the read? Yes. It’s nearly impossible to sum up in a short paragraph, but there was so much going on in this book without it feeling overwhelming or over the top. For me, it’s really important to feel connected to the characters, and I fell in love with Mary and her big heart and stubborn nature. Also, reading this book made me feel both heartbroken and hopeful, and gave me pretty much all the feels. (My rating - 4/5 stars. I’ve gotten stingy with the stars in my old age… suffice it to say that for me, that’s a very high rating. It was a great month for books, but this one was my favorite.) 

{Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon} It’s a historical fact that the famed airship The Hindenburg made its final, doomed flight in May of 1937. However, no one knows the story behind that fateful flight. In Flight of Dreams, Lawhon creates a fictional, yet plausible, account of the passengers aboard the ship, and the events that lead to its disastrous ending. With high-stakes secrets, a love story, and even a possible hit man, Lawhon’s account of that three-day flight is riveting and suspenseful. 
     Worth the read? Yes, definitely. I knew next to nothing about The Hindenburg before picking this up, yet I’m always a sucker for good historical fiction. I absolutely love the idea of taking a well-known event like this one and giving it a back story, and I think it was extremely well done in this case. (My rating - 4/5 stars.) 

{The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner} Dill is the son of a pentecostal minister, whose ministry often involved handling rattlesnakes and drinking poison. This is enough to make him the butt of many jokes at his small town high school, but when his father is sent to prison, that adds even more fuel to Dill’s tormentors' fire. He is thankful to have his close friends Lydia and Travis, although he fears what will happen after they graduate this year. He is torn between keeping his head down and simply surviving, and making brave choices that have the potential to change his life. When tragedy strikes, he and his friends are tested even more. 
     Worth the read? There is a lot going on in this book, but to me this was the story of friendship more than anything else. Zentner had a way of vividly illustrating the bond between the three friends. Despite that, I had a hard time getting into this story, and I felt a bit like I plodded through. I listened to it on audio, and I wonder if that had anything to do with it--it seemed to take forever to get through, and I wonder if I would have had an easier (and more enjoyable) time with it had I read the print version instead. (My rating - 3/5 stars.) 

{recent reads for the 3-year-old}

Here are a few ideas for your next library trip with your little one - click through to find out more about these picture book picks.

{Float by Daniel Miyares} In this wordless story, a boy makes a paper boat and takes it on a rainy day adventure. When the boat sails away and falls down a storm drain, he is disappointed to find only a soggy piece of paper waiting for him at the end of the drain. However, he returns home, and with a dry towel and some hot cocoa, his dad cheers him up and together they create the perfect thing for a new adventure--a paper airplane.
     Toddler approved? Surprisingly, yes. Sometimes wordless books don't go over very well, but we "read" this quite a bit.

{The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak} Indeed, there are no pictures in this book. But who needs pictures when the person reading the book has to say whatever silly thing that's written, like made up words, and hippo friends named Boo Boo Butt.
     Toddler approved? That's an understatement. Jona wanted to read this book all the time and he laughed hard every time we read it. He would get this grin on his face as he waited for his favorite parts, and when they came he would just crack up uncontrollably. He still goes around saying the silly words from the book. This was by far the favorite of the month.

{Who Wants a Tortoise? by Dave Keane} All the little girl wants for her birthday is a puppy, and she's less than amused when her parents get her a tortoise instead. Yet, as she learns more about tortoises she realizes her new pet is actually pretty cool. She soon grows attached, so when he goes missing, she is determined to find him and bring him home.
     Toddler approved? Yes, Jona enjoyed this one.

{I Am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith} This is a short and sweet, rhyming story about a bear who gets into all kinds of mischief. The colorful illustrations add to the appeal of this cute story.
     Toddler approved? Yes, this one got some laughs as well, and Jona really liked it.

{Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet} Tullet, who also wrote Press Here, brings more interactive fun with Mix It Up! In this one, colors get mixed, squished, shaken, and tilted so that new colors can be discovered.
     Toddler approved? Yes. Just like with Press Here, Jona loved being an active participant in reading this book.

Have you read anything good lately (or found anything good for your children)? 

Linking with Modern Mrs. Darcy, A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Garay Treasures, and Tuesday Talk. 

1 comment:

I really appreciate hearing from you!