By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd
Books have been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories are of my mother reading picture books to me. However, she didn’t just read the books aloud, she read them using the voices she thought the characters might have. This simple act made the stories come alive and started my love affair with books.
I have often said that if someone were to ask if I had a vice, I would have to say books. I love everything about them… the feel, the smell, and the magical way they transport me to far away places. I love the way they make me think, question things, entertain me, bring me to tears, inspire me and give me pause to wonder what if.
During childhood, I vividly recall feeling a connection with some of the characters I read about in books. I found role models in the biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart, I dreamed of living in the Swiss Alps with Heidi, and I knew that if something ever happened to Laura, I was confident that Almonzo would come court me and we would build a perfect life together on the prairie. I also wished that Jo from Little Women was my best friend…. after all, she was an author and I dreamed of being one, too.
I am excited to debut a new feature for Triad Moms on Main — Ellen’s Book Nook. Each month I will share book suggestions for you to consider adding to your reading list. I will make a recommendation for a preschool, elementary, middle school and a high school level book, as well as one for moms.
Another exciting element to this blog series will be a monthly book giveaway! Each month Barnes & Noble in Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro has generously offered to give away one of the recommended books to a reader who leaves a comment below. (Winner chooses the book!) 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.)
Preschool — Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
With spring in the air, what’s better than a book featuring a bunny? However, Knuffle Bunny isn’t a story about your ordinary bunny. He is the cherished, stuffed friend of Trixie, who goes missing after joining Trixie and her dad on a trip to the laundromat. After an all-out, frantic search, Knuffle Bunny is found and returned to the safe, loving arms of Trixie.
I loved this book from the first reading. When she was younger, my daughter was infatuated with Knuffle Bunny, and felt a kindred spirit to Trixie as she held tight to her trusted and ever-present friend, “Puppy.” Children with an attachment to special, stuffed friends will adore the story, and feel an emotional connection to Trixie’s experience.
Elementary — Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
I have decided that everyone needs a friend like Clementine. She is funny, bold, curious, haphazard, and just endearing. I first read Clementine several years ago to my daughter’s first grade class. To say it was a hit would be an understatement.
This delightful book is the first in the Clementine series. I loved the first book, and can honestly say that each book in the series is wonderful. Clementine is a very real, down-to-earth and easily relatable character for elementary-aged children. She has a baby brother she calls Spinach (or Broccoli, or… well, you have to read it to understand) and an artist mom and handyman dad. Clementine’s antics, which many times involve her best friend and neighbor, Margaret, will hold your interest throughout this funny, yet tender read.
Middle School – When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
In this story of friendship and mystery, sixth-grader Miranda begins receiving anonymous notes from someone she believes can see the future. This person instructs her to do things she believes will help her prevent a tragic death. Set in New York City in 1979, this captivating story will give middle schoolers a taste of living in a big city while managing the relationships of friendship and family.
My daughter enjoyed When You Reach Me, and thought the author did a good job of telling the story in a way that kept her attention and made her look forward to turning the page. She also shared that the ending was not what the reader expected!
High School — To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
In light of the recent passing of Harper Lee, I thought it was only fitting to name To Kill a Mockingbird as the selection for high schoolers. This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic is one that I could read over and over again.
Told through the eyes of 8-year-old Scout Finch, this story follows her attorney father, Atticus, and Scout’s brother, Jem, over the course of three years. The trio are intricately involved in much that surrounds the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of rape in their Southern town. The story grapples with the strong themes of race, class and justice. In my opinion, this is a must read book.
Moms – The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
For an author, the idea of a book club that gets together with a plan of writing a book is an intriguing one. The Wednesday Sisters centers around five women who come together after meeting in a neighborhood park, and continue to meet and share experiences of life with children, husbands and a love of books. The group becomes the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society after one member shares her dream of writing a book and spurs the others to join her on the writing path.
Over time, the women begin writing and sharing their work with each other. Along the way, they become a strong support system for each other, and help each embrace the challenges of life circumstances and the world around them. They all learn more about who they are and what they want out of life, along with the value of following dreams.
Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit www.funwithfreckles.com and www.facebook.com/funwithfreckles to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at www.mindfulmom.wordpress.com and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.