Highlighted Blog #23 – Linda Covella

Love learning about your favorite authors? And want to know more about some great historical fiction novels for young adults? This is a wonderful blog filled with great author interviews and other goodies.

For the next few weeks, my guests for “10 Questions” will be historical fiction authors. This genre is one of my favorites. Generally, a novel is considered historical if it takes place at least 50 years ago. Under the historical fiction “umbrella,” you’ll find a variety of subgenres, including multi-period epic/saga, romance, mystery, adventure, westerns, […]

via 10 Questions with Author Gina Danna — Linda Covella, Author
  • For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

Highlighted Blog #5 – Butterfly Mind

Butterfly taking off at Southwick State Park Beach
Butterfly taking off at Southwick State Park Beach
Butterfly at Southwick State Park Beach
Whether you want to gain insight into a new book, look at some beautiful garden photos, mentally join a sailboat excursion or vicariously enjoy some travel through interesting images and great writing, Butterfly Mind is a one-stop-shop for great content. I love it when Andrea posts.

* For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing  writing from some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

Thankful for Good Books

bookDay 29/30 – There is nothing quite like a good book, in my opinion. I’m currently “reading” (audio book) A Man Called Ove: A Novel, and it’s making me laugh so often.

Favorites from my past also include A Ring of Endless Light, Between Shades of Gray and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

  • For November (the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US), I’m trying to blog about something for which I’m thankful for each day of the month.

Reading Animal Signs

been-there

Since the holidays are around the corner, my mind is on gifts. I thought I might share a thought for the nature lovers in my life.

One of my favorite gifts I have ever received was a children’s book written by my friend Jen Funk Weber. It was entitled Been There, Done That: Reading Animal Signs. It’s always nice to have creative friends, but I particularly like Jen’s work, perhaps because I know her dedication to writing, her humor, her love of kids and her passion for the great outdoors.

Jen lives in Alaska, along with her husband, who is a photographer. She is big on writing and cross-stitching. Since I’ve been friends with Jen for over a decade, I’ve heard lots of tales of her remote life. In fact, I remember when she got excited about getting a mailbox (at the end of a mile-long driveway, I think it was). Now she didn’t have to take the 45-minute drive into Anchorage to check her mail. Whoa. And I thought I lived in a remote area with a 30-minute drive to the nearest fast food chain. Nothing compared to Jen’s world.

Over the years I have learned a ton about nature thanks to Jen. This book is an example. In this book, a young child shows another how to look for animal trails. The images are beautiful, and the text is engaging. Here’s a review I wrote for it last spring:

As a parent, educator and nature enthusiast, I found this book a real treasure. The simple sentence structure and clear images don’t overwhelm, and new words and concepts are introduced naturally. The story had a cute ending, tying humans to nature. While the story itself was enjoyable, I particularly appreciated the quiz and extra information at the end of the book. It makes it very simple to structure an educational unit for a classroom or for a homeschool science curriculum. I recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about nature.

So there it is. The book is in hard copy, soft cover and Kindle editions. If you don’t want to buy it, I still recommend finding a copy in a library. It’s pretty awesome. And if you are already a fan and just in case you are curious, there’s always hope of a sequel… Jen was pretty interested in animal trails, taking lots of pictures of them, when we were together last spring 🙂

If you are so inclined, check it out. Bet you won’t regret it. And once you read it, feel free to come back and comment about it, letting us know what you think.

Nothin’ Like a Good Book

You know those books that haunt you for days, weeks, months, even years after you read them? I finished one of those a few weeks ago. A recommendation from my friend Kelley. The problem is that I would really love to talk with a group about it and get a discussion going, but nobody in my local circle has read it. Yet.

The book I read is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and I have so many mixed feelings about it. The summary on Amazon doesn’t do it justice, but I guess it has to go light since saying more would give away too much of the conflict.

Not wanting to give you any spoilers, I won’t say too much, either. But I will tell you that the writing, in my opinion, is strong and engaging. All the characters showed growth and were relatable. Reality smacked the reader and characters in the face, and responses were genuine. It was particularly poignant for me since one of my favorite friends ever was a quadriplegic.

This isn’t a great summary or post, I know. But the book has really been on my mind, and I just had to state that publicly. I do highly recommend it. In fact, I’m going to sign off now to read the sequel – After You: A Novel. Thanks for suggesting it, Kelley!

If you’ve ever read these books, please let me know what you think. And feel free to suggest other fabulous books that get you pondering. ‘Cuz there is just nothing like a good book.

Nothin' Like a Good Book

You know those books that haunt you for days, weeks, months, even years after you read them? I finished one of those a few weeks ago. A recommendation from my friend Kelley. The problem is that I would really love to talk with a group about it and get a discussion going, but nobody in my local circle has read it. Yet.
The book I read is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and I have so many mixed feelings about it. The summary on Amazon doesn’t do it justice, but I guess it has to go light since saying more would give away too much of the conflict.
Not wanting to give you any spoilers, I won’t say too much, either. But I will tell you that the writing, in my opinion, is strong and engaging. All the characters showed growth and were relatable. Reality smacked the reader and characters in the face, and responses were genuine. It was particularly poignant for me since one of my favorite friends ever was a quadriplegic.
This isn’t a great summary or post, I know. But the book has really been on my mind, and I just had to state that publicly. I do highly recommend it. In fact, I’m going to sign off now to read the sequel – After You: A Novel. Thanks for suggesting it, Kelley!
If you’ve ever read these books, please let me know what you think. And feel free to suggest other fabulous books that get you pondering. ‘Cuz there is just nothing like a good book.

We Helped Make History

Wide Awake Club Library

There are many things I love about this rural area I have come to call my home. One of our greatest treasures is our library. Run almost entirely by volunteers, it’s the one in which we hold our WordPress meetups. Yesterday it moved. Not by itself, of course.  And not the building, really. To be more precise – the contents of the library were moved by community members on Nov 17, 2015.

CJ, Hudi and I showed up at the requested noon hour to find a room filled with adult volunteers. We were given a game plan regarding how we would help move approximately 46,000 items from the old library to the new building.

Then the real heroes showed up. As I glanced up the street on the blessedly warm, sunny day (a true gift because it could have been snowing and/or raining at this time of year) I saw a stream of kids heading toward the library. That’s right. Kids. About 120 middle school students walked down the hill from the school, along with their teachers, ready to help.

Muscles, energy and cheerful attitudes melded together to create super moving machines as we worked as a unit to schlep the books from one building to another. That’s .17 miles each way.

Kids entered the library one-by-one and were told where to go by an adult volunteer. When they were sent to nonfiction, they made their way to me, and I piled books in their arms, being careful not to overload them.

Now I don’t want to ever hear anyone tell me that kids are lazy and don’t know the value of work. Kid after kid came to me, requesting that I add more books to their pile, echoing a line I became familiar with as the hour progressed: “Load me up. I help haul firewood at home. I’m used to this.”

And that was not a mis-type. I meant hour. Maybe an hour and a half, but certainly not two hours. Those amazing kids and adult volunteers moved all the items. All 46,000-ish items. Just wow.

It was inspirational.

My favorite parts of the day?

  • Seeing all the volunteers who showed up during a busy work day.
  • Watching the crossing guard and two police (who were there to make sure the kids crossed the street safely) interact with the kids who were begging to see their tasers 🙂
  • Listening to a student aide who was sitting in a quiet corner with a special needs child, reassuring him and saying that she was really proud of him for the two trips he took.
  • Checking out the titles of the books I was passing off. Making lists of new ones to read and falling in love again with books I have read and appreciated. Then getting to tell the kids about them.
  • Seeing how the process opened the kids’ eyes to the treasure of the library as they learned about all the library had to offer. I heard an adult volunteer explain what sci-fi (science fiction) was, and I heard kids comment on special moments they had in areas in the library in the past. “Will they have nice little nooks in the new library?” was one of the best questions I was asked during the day.

There was one girl who summed up the day as I thanked her while she was walking out with her 7th or 8th stack of books. She shrugged and said, “Hey, we’re Fillmore. We do whatever it takes.”

Well said.

After donuts and cider, the kiddos headed back to an assembly at school, excited over the prospect of seeing their principal get slimed.

Who knew being part of history could be so inspiring and so much fun?