By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd
North Carolina in the springtime has to be one of the most beautiful places in the country. We are so fortunate to live in an area that welcomes spring with open arms. With the gorgeous flowers and blooming trees, it is hard to not fall in love with our area.
Spring is also the beginning of what I now refer to as the busiest season of the year. I used to think that life was most hectic in the weeks leading up to and during the holidays, but in recent years I have decided that the months of April and May have the holidays beat. The race to the end of the school year begins after spring break. Year-end testing, school trips, recitals, final projects, exams, proms/dances, and graduations, along with breaking out the lawnmower, planting flowers and spring cleaning make for a full season.
Several of my book selections this month reflect some of the sentiments for this time of year. I hope you enjoy them. Happy Spring!
Preschool — Max Cleans Up by Rosemary Wells
Max Cleans Up is near and dear to my heart — it was the first book that my son “read” to me at a young age. He loved the story and, with great enthusiasm, told about Max’s efforts to clean up his room by stuffing all of his treasures in the pocket of his overalls. Max’s older sister, Ruby, directs Max’s efforts, but is unaware of how he is accomplishing his big task. The fun ending reveals the results of his clean-up efforts and leaves children begging to hear the story over and over again. If your children enjoy this Max and Ruby adventure, I encourage you to check out their other stories. My children (and I) loved them all!
Elementary — The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
This book, the first in a series, is about the Penderwick family and their summer holiday at a beautiful estate called Arundel in the Berkshire Mountains. This well-written, lighthearted story features fun-loving characters that experience creative encounters and humorous antics. Four sisters, their absentminded, botanist father and their dog, Hound, help set the stage for lots of adventures that involve rabbits, new discoveries and the magic of the season, not to mention a new friend Jeffrey, a gingerbread-making cook and the icy-hearted Mrs.Tifton. Readers are sure to be engaged and entertained with every turn of the page.
Middle School — Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August (Auggie) Pullman is a 5th grader who you and your children will long remember. Born with a facial difference, Auggie faces many challenges to fit into this world and be treated as a normal kid as he attends mainstream school for the first time in his life. This story will touch your heart and give you a lot of food for thought. My daughter and I both loved this book, and read it as part of a Mother/Daughter Book Club that Melissa Norman of GirlCharge hosts monthly at Barnes and Noble. Wonder offers meaningful lessons on courage, compassion and friendship. The author calls her novel “a meditation on kindness.” I definitely agree.
High School — You are Not Special: … And Other Encouragements by David McCullough
What began as a high school commencement speech that went viral, is now a well-known book by McCullough, a high school English teacher. The book makes bold statements that are designed to be attention-grabbing, and they are. He starts with the premise that our children really aren’t special. That is a hard statement to take in, but I think his point is that everyone is unique and has many gifts and talents to offer the world. He shares that success for one person may not be success for another, and the pressure to be something we are not, isn’t worth the effort. He addresses how the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality can be damaging, and the “you are special” attitude may not lead to a desired outcome. One review by author Clayton Christensen summed the book up by saying, “A clear-eyed but affectionate polemic urging kids to stop trying to be perfect and to take chances, even at the risk of failing. A profound celebration of the life well lived.” This book makes a perfect graduation gift.
Moms — Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This book is, hands down, one of my favorite books in the world. I strongly believe that every woman, especially moms, would greatly benefit from reading this book. I read it at least once a year, and learn something new about myself with each reading. Years ago, a good friend told me that I had to buy it, and plan to read it over and over again… it was just that kind of book. I was skeptical, but after I read it the first time, I knew she was right.
The story is set at the beach where Anne Morrow Lindbergh temporarily takes up residence, alone. She uses this time as a gift to herself, away from the busy world, to reflect on the current season and past seasons of her life, as well as the future. It is a book about life, reflecting on the things that really matter, wisdom that comes with time, recognizing the value and benefit of being alone with our thoughts, and so much more. I recommend purchasing a copy for yourself, as well as for a friend.
Remember to share your thoughts and comments, and you could be selected to win a copy of one of the books, compliments of Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro. The staff of Triad Moms on Main will choose a random winner one week after the blog runs. (Please be sure to enter your email address when you fill out your comment so they have a way to contact you.)
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Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit www.funwithfreckles.com and www.facebook.com/