Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Reading Love

I am having a weird book summer.  

I get a dozen from the library, only to start each of them and throw them down in disgust after the first chapter.  

Here are some recommendations of books I've enjoyed.  I have this little thing about not wanting to know much about a book before reading it (which of course contributes to my high "throw down in disgust after one chapter" ratio.)  I will read one sentence of the back cover, and that's it.  I don't want to know more than that, so I assume (like a book snob would) that you feel the same and keep my opinions to a few words.

Vinegar Hill. Very very dark, desperate, but honest circumstances and I couldn't stop reading it. 

Leaving the World. A book with weird twists and turns but very well written.  Something I normally wouldn't have picked up.  

The Birth House. Loved this midwife book that is so much more than just a midwife book.  

Ellis Island. My favorite so far this summer.

Right now I am reading The Yellow House and I picked up the sequel at the same time called The Linen Queen because I just love when books have sequels.  It makes the ending so much better when you know it isn't really an ending.  So far so good.

Right now Jeff is reading one of my favorite books, Unbroken.  I keep asking him what part he is at and reliving the intensity of each chapter.

Isaac is reading 1984 for school.

Abbey had to read The Hunger Games and then was just dying for the next two.  DYING.  I bought her the second, she sped through that, and I told her to order the third from the library.  She is number 53 on the waiting list, and since I just know how it is to want a sequel so desperately you feel like you are close to death, I will be taking her to the bookstore.

Andrew is not reading anything.  He finished his mild obsession with The Diary of the Wimpy Kid, and I just haven't been able to get him into anything else.  (Any suggestions for a soon to be 2nd grader?)  Instead of reading in bed, he insists that one of us play Scrabble with him, so I am not too worried about his lack of reading.

Patrick's favorite book right now?  It's a Little Critter of course called Just a Mess and it's all about the loss of a baseball mitt.  Go figure.  I've read it 2,456 times.

60 comments :

  1. My son liked the A to Z Mysteries. Good luck!

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  2. I just read Unbroken last month and HOLY AMAZINGNESS. I love all things on the subject of WWII, so I thought every aspect of this book was interesting, heartbreaking, riveting... there just aren't words. Great book.

    1984 was good, too. Hunger games was great, I love when books are so well-written and intense like that one was.

    I'm a total book nerd, I go through a couple a week. Thanks for the new ideas!!

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  3. A Series of Unfortunate Events. I would not choose it for myself but I have had 2 boys who lovvved the series.

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  4. For Andrew: The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, the Andrew Clements books, Big Nate series, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (HUGE, yes - but heavily illustrated.) My younger brother is also a Wimpy Kid fan :-)

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  5. Oh, and for Patrick, check out the Dumb Bunnies books if you haven't already. They are so universally funny. I'll stop there because there are just so many good picture books, and you didn't ask for recommendations :)

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  6. Have you read The Life of Pi? It's a WOW Book.

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  7. I've been all over the place this summer too with my reading..I like to mix
    it up though! Will is eating up the Big Nate series, and Griffy loves Just Lost (critter book!)...I get so cranky when I can't read! :)

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  8. My "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" Fanatic loved the "Ready, Freddy" series and the "Humphrey" series. Thank you for the book ideas. I always feel like I have to finish a book, even if I don't like it. I keep thinking it will get better, but, of course, it never does!!! So off today to return my unfinished books to the library!!! :)

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  9. a few years ago I read The Penderwicks to the three younger children and they loved it. We then read book #2 in the series and I just learned they have a new book #3 out. So we started the series all over again. My 12 year old still loves the series and even our 10 year old boy (the series is about 4 sisters but there is a boy who has a big part in it). try the Usborne True Stories series...all about spies, war heroes and such for Andrew or the Matt Christopher series. thanks for the book ideas, i was tapped out. Just checked out the Poisonwood Bible as I seem to remember reading it years ago and thought I enjoyed it....that is how desperate I am for something to read.

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  10. I definitely recommend the How to Train Your Dragon series for your 2nd grader. The movie of the same name was based on the first book, and there are 7 books out now. My 2nd grade boy loved them.

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  11. These Far Flung Adventure books are awesome--really great illustrations and fun stories.
    http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/farflung/

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  12. My MIL is a librarian and has a blog http://grandmalusbookshelf.blogspot.com/
    Though she is taking a break from blogging this month(she's moving) her archives have great ideas and she would love to help you if you email her. My second grader loves the weird school series, or Geronimo Stilton.

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  13. Thanks for the recommendations! I just finished my book so I'm looking for another.

    For your Andrew, I heard the children's author Jon Scieszka speak recently (he was fabulous) and he has a website called "Guys Read" (www.guysread.com). He has some great book recommendations for boys of all ages on there based on their interests.

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  14. I also LOVED Unbroken. My husband and I listened to the audio book on a loooong road trip in May. We both enjoyed it thoroughly, and he's normally not a reader. Now we're listening to "Undaunted Courage" about Lewis and Clark.

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  15. Not too sure what to recommend for the boys, but I just finished "These Is My Words" and it was AMAZING. Could not put this book down. Everyone I have recommended the book to has loved it as much as I have, as well.

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  16. My just started second grader had been racing through a bunch of "juniorized classics" - White Fang, Around the World in Seven Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Moby Dick.

    Great stories at a level they can handle.

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  17. I haven't been reading much this summer. I'm not sure why. 1984... reminds me of high school... *sigh* Oh, my daughter LOVED The Hunger Games series. She read them last fall and got a lot of the kids at school to read them. Then, they had to read it at the end of school for Language Arts and so many of the parents complained about it. I'm not sure why they complained, though. Apparently I need to read Unbroken.

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  18. So, I am a 41 yo mom of four and I, personally read and LOVED THE HUNGER GAME SERIES myself!!! I am not usually into this type of book but am on the 3rd book, and find it somewhat believable and thought provoking. Teens may rethink our country's freedom, society, government, communication capabilities. Nothing better than having a book to inspire anyone to appreciate/rethink/evaluate/discuss issues.

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  19. I read the Hunger Games for a class on teaching young adult lit this past spring. Oh my! I could not put it down, either. I had to read the whole series. It has a horrible premise, but really makes a person think, not to mention that it is very exciting. I couldn't stop thinking about it, even when I dreamed at night.

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  20. well, i am so curious about this book you hate...

    Sisters Grimm is another good series for younger kids. I think boys would definitely like it, plenty of monsters, battles and grossness... :)

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  21. I just finished reading The Big Year - it's the (true)story of some insanely competitive birders trying to break the record for most species seen in a year, and going to ridiculous lengths to win. The movie comes out in the fall, starring Steve Martin and Jack Black; it should be hilarious.

    For Andrew- my almost 7 yo son spent the spring and early summer reading through every Encyclopedia Brown book he could find. He also loves the Boxcar Children, Magic School Bus chapter books, Hardy Boys, and A to Z Mysteries.

    Other kid-friendly suggestions: the Little House books have always been a big hit around here and both of my boys read a book called Tumtum and Nutmeg (there are 2 books, kind of Wind in the Willows-ish, they are about the adventures of 2 mice and have pirates and all sorts of interesting things. They're long- 500 pages- but in large print and suitable for a 2nd grader.)

    For a great read aloud- try Naya Nuki, the Shoshone Girl Who Ran. It's the true story of the girl who was captured along with Sacajawea, and her escape and subsequent 1000 mile trek *alone* across the US back to her tribe. At age 11. Boys were on the edges of their seats.

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  22. I've been called a book snob myself! And while I don't mind a "beach read" every once in a while, you have to be in the right frame of mind. I love your list of books and jotted down the titles and authors. My soon-to-be-second grader loves The Magic Treehouse books and has recently started reading The Boxcar Children series.

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  23. Andrew might be a bit young to really appreciate the Great Brain Series at this point, but it is a great read aloud and whomever is doing the reading will enjoy it thoroughly. Typically I would suggest it be read by a 4th to 6th grader.

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  24. My second grader just discovered Encyclopedia Brown and thinks they are awesome. She also really likes Geronimo Stilton which I think is a series.

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  25. I'm so glad you enjoyed "The Birth House". When my boys were younger they loved any books by Gordon Korman, I think two popular series by this author are the "Dive" and "Island" series.

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  26. I LOVED Unbroken! Thank you for the recommendations! Have you read One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd? SO good...I really think you would enjoy it.

    http://www.amazon.com/One-Thousand-White-Women-Journals/dp/0312199430/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312296471&sr=1-1

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  27. I'm french, but I often read english and american books. Here my choices for you : I loved "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan,"the postmistress" by Sarah Blake. Sorry for Andrew, my sons are a lot older !(23 yo the younger)

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  28. Another mom who is with Abbey on The Hunger Games. SO many elementary (!) school kids were reading it around here my book group read it to see what the fuss was. I too am waiting for MockingJay but someone I know will let me borrow it. If I lived close I'd let Abbey have it first!

    WAAY below Wimpy Kid level but anything by Melanie Watt has been a hit here--Chester (and sequels) and Scaredy Squirrel. Also, The Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith. Again, more picture book level but hits 1st graders where they live emotionally.

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  29. Another vote for the Magic Tree House series for Andrew! I, too, am a book snob. This includes children's books. I like the MTH books because they aren't "garbage books", and the children treat people with respect (a virtue that is pretty uncommon these days, with kids books trying to be funny at the expense of others).

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  30. I haven't read any of these...I'm excited to check them out. The Ellis Island sounds like a good one. I so enjoyed reading "The Help" this summer and cannot wait for the movie to come out next week. My sister-in-law talked me into reading the Hunger Games series, so I'm working on the final book, Mockingjay, right now. It's pretty good, but I'm thinking the movie may be better than the read.

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  31. I'm going to second (or third or fourth) The Magic Tree House series and Encyclopedia Brown books. My son LOVES them. I'm always struggling to find good books for him because he's only six but reads at a 3rd grad level. I want books that are challenging from a reading perspective, but not too advanced from a social perspective (or rude or cheeky). I'm going to check out a bunch of the books mentioned in these comments. Thanks!

    Also, I'll be borrowing a few books you mentioned above as well. The Birth House looks interesting.

    Thanks for sharing. There is nothing wrong with being a book snob!

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  32. Oh, also, I don't know if you read the tons of comments you get, but if you see this... is that "on my bookshelf" piece something you built yourself or is it a WP or Amazon widget? I used to use Shelfari but started slacking on that. I like the idea on a blog though and I may put one back on my blog :)

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  33. Sarah,

    Have another suggestion for your list, "The Mailbox" by Marybeth Whalen. Wonderful - easy read - couldn't put it down.

    Also, Richard Paul Evans "The Walk" and "Miles to Go" with a third sequel to come out in 2012. I hate to wait as well.

    I need to put the "on my bookshelf" piece on my blog as well.

    www.AtTheEndOfTheDrive.blogspot.com


    Have a great day!
    Alison

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  34. Another great book is "The Help"! Haven't been able to stop reading.

    Happy Tuesday,
    Amber

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  35. I am reading Unbroken right now and I love it!!

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  36. I love the old "Boxcar Children" books and can't wait for my little ones to get a little older. Have you ever used Paperbackawap.com? If you have lots of readers it is great- I am a very quick reader and it keeps my costs down and keeps me from long wait lists at the library!

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  37. What an amazing list of books in these comments! I'm going to have to write these down. For Abbey & you- the Flavia DeLuce series. They are so good kind of Nancy Drew meets Ramona Quimbly and it's a series. We read the 1st one for bookclub and I'm having Cass read it too. I re-reading The Help because I can hardly wait for the movie!

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  38. So excited to see these boys' book recommendations! My soon to be 2nd grader has enjoyed the Little House books this summer and has read through A to Z Mysteries, Magic Treehouse, Boxcar Children, and lately has developed quite an interest in the Revolutionary War period so we have several kid level books about that. Also, he really enjoyed the Daring Book for Boys and The Phantom Tollbooth although I realized after he started that it is actually grade 6 level (but not in content/theme so I was ok with that). Hardy Boys are great too although darker than I remember as a kid. Encyclopedia Brown is always a winner too. He might also like the beverly Cleary books about Henry or Ralph S. Mouse if he hasn't already read them.

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  39. Hi Sarah! I've suggested this here before, so PLEASE go get yourself a copy of "Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish." You will LOVE it. I just know you will. xo

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  40. scott read the hunger games on vacation! he loved it.
    we put him on our library's waiting list for #2. i was so proud of him for reading that i almost went to the bookstore for him!
    :)

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  41. Have you checked out Good Reads on www.goodreads.com? It's great. I love being able to make a list of all the books I've ever read and score them. It's also where you can get a lot of good recommendations and synopsis on books and "friend" folks who have the same taste or that you know. Oprah's books are usually pretty dark and gritty; The Road-oy. I read the same "beach read" you did and felt the same way-life's too short. I'll keep up with what you recommend too.

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  42. The only one I have read from that collection is Vinegar Hill. I agree very very dark, but one can't stop reading it.

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  43. I am needing some inspiration on just reading, let alone finding a good book! I can't seem so get past page five of my summer-reading-book-club-book. Dang, since school starts next week I really should get a move-on!

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  44. The Birth House is one of my favorite books of all time....written by a fellow Nova Scotian. The cover of the Canadian book, is also my favorite...and different than the one you have shown.

    http://www.amazon.ca/Birth-House-Ami-McKay/dp/0676977731/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312367301&sr=8-1

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  45. It's hard for the boys, but I have some great suggestions. And if he doesn't like to read, he might like to listen. My all-time fav book for boys is Hatchet. It's read by Peter Coyote and my son read the book after hearing it. There are 4 books afterward and I told my son there wasn't a recording so he read it. Then he wanted to listen to it. Artemis Fowl was also good to listen to. Billy likes the 39 Clues, although we've only made it through 5. The Nick of Time captures his imagination, but we tag-team read it. I will keep thinking! Too early to get my brain going.

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  46. Unbroken--I read this because you suggested it a while back and this is a life changer. I can't stop thinking about it. Thank you.

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  47. I think one of my kids' all time favorite read aloud boks is 'The Adventures of Vin Fiz' by Clive Cussler. We all loved that one and they still talk about two years later- give that one a try!

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  48. Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbot

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  49. Sarah,
    I loved The Birth House and I am so glad to find someone else that has read it. I randomly found it at a beach house where people leave books they have read for the next guests. The main character captured my heart from the very beginning.

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  50. I'm a HUGE bookie, too--thanks for the recommendations!

    For Andrew, some that I remember all the boys in my class loving--anything by Gary Paulsen (Hatchet, etc.) and the Mossflower series. Also, try, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Number the Stars, the Borrowers series, Bridge to Terebithia, Shiloh, the Whipping Boy, Holes...ok, I'll stop now:)

    For you, try The Thirteenth Tale, I second the recommendation for Life of Pi, the Kite Runner and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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  51. I read Unbroken earlier this summer after you recommended it. I normally don't like biographies or war stories, but I could not put this book down. I have recommended it to everyone I know.

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  52. I wish I could have a summer reading list! But with three little boys at home any sort of reading list is darn near impossible! I'm just trying to slowly make it through the HORDS of books I bought for classes in college (almost 10 years ago!) and never got a chance to really read all the way through. It's slow going because I can only read at night and I have lots of other chores to do at night too. I can't wait till my kids are older enough that I can read during the day!

    For Andrew, I would recommend A Series of Unfortunate Events or The Spiderwick Chronicles. I also ditto the suggestion of Beverly Cleary. The Henry Huggins/Ribsy books and the Ralph S. Mouse books are fun for boys. What about The Indian in the Cupboard? I remember my brothers really liking that. Or anything by Roald Dahl: Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc. You could try seeing if he'd like to listen to some good old fashioned Mark Twain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are great read aloud books and he might even be able to read them to himself. I don't remember how hard they are to read but they are great adventures for boys.

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  53. I really enjoyed Unbroken. Such a remarkable story about the individual will for survival as well as an exploration of the atrocities people can commit against one another. My son is 8yrs old, and he recently has enjoyed The Indian in the Cupboard, Brixton Bros. mysteries, Henry Huggins and that series, 39 clues(although it is quite violent - we listen to the audiobooks), Sisters Grimm, Percy Jackson (again with the violence), Sign of the Beaver, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, Tme Warp Trio series, First Harry Potter Books (1 & 2 before the intensity ramps up). We also have enjoyed Jenny and the Cat Club, Kane Chronicles, Pippi Longstocking, The Five Little Peppers, The Saturdays, the Invention of Hugo Cabret, Nim's Island, Mrs Piggle-Wiggle, From the Mixed Up files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler. Thanks for your recommendations. I have recently enjoyed Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet.

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  54. Love your book recommendations. Curious if you have any suggestions on books relating to women and their catholic/Christian faith. Thanks!

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  55. For 2nd graders . . .
    "The World According to Humphrey" tells the story of a classroom hamster and his adventures when he is taken home by students each weekend.

    The Artemis Fowl series - interesting to watch the main character slowly evolve from selfish to generous (with stops at all points in between).

    School Mouse, A Nest for Celeste, Misty of Chincoteague - great for animal lovers.

    Judy Moody's brother Stink has his own series - he is definitely all-boy (smelly socks, giant jawbreakers, hamster balls, etc.)

    Jigsaw Jones and Nate the Great are wonderful are great grade school detectives. Chet Gecko is a funny detective series - Chet really brings on that 1940s detective swagger.



    Geronimo Stilton, Magic Tree House and A to Z Mysteries are also great.

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  56. I have to second the goodreads.com suggestion. It's a fantastic site. If you join, link to me! It seems that we have similar taste in reading. :)

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  57. Love your blog, thank you, I read the Birth House a few years ago, loved it!

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  58. Had to post a comment since your blog had three things for me to talk about.

    1. The Fisher Price parking garage toy - my pediatrician told me that was the best toy for kids when I had my first daughter (she's now 25). I bought her one and not only her but three younger sisters and a bunch of daycare kids loved it!

    2. Your daughter has got the same legs as my oldest daughter!

    3. Love the doll! I have my favorite doll - Pebbles Flintstone, but she really needs work. Have looked at them on ebay.....

    Have a great day!

    Meg

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  59. The BFG by Roald Dahl is very funny and your little boy will most likely looove it. My little girl loved it, even when she was a little older than he and she is a veracious reader. It is not her typical style of book at all, or subject of interest - but is witty and so well written that we both were surprised by how much we enjoyed it.

    I also have to recommend Weslandia. It is a delightful picture book (not babyish at all).

    And...for read alouds - James and the Giant Peach and Danny, Champion of the World. Delightful, wonderful books.

    Happy reading! I'm much better at finding good children's literature than I am at finding something good for me to read, so I am going to give some of your suggestions a try :)

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