Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When You Reach Me - Book Review

I first heard of the novel, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, when I saw its name on several lists of the best novels for children from 2009. It found its way onto my reading list, and I recently completed. Wow! It was a really good book. I can't quite give it five out of five stars because it didn't quite meet my expectation (which were pretty hight.) The story was wonderful, but I think the author (not me but actually this particular author) could have told it better.

That said, she still did a great job! Short choppy chapters show us bits and pieces of characters in a New York City neighborhood in the '70's. These short and choppy chapters, and bits and pieces somehow do a great job of creating fully developed characters. As the story progresses, both going forward and using a lot of back story, a mystery is slowly created, and we see seemingly random individuals lives connect and intertwine in ways that are both highly unbelievable and somehow completely believable. I don't want to tell to much because it is essential that you start at the beginning to get to the end.

Although this book has definitely been written with the intermediate ages (10-13 perhaps) in mind, I think this is a book that needs some prior knowledge to get everything you can out of it making it most suited to teens and adults. On the other had, an intelligent and curious child might have new avenues of exploration opened by this story leading to a desire to reread it after tangents have been explored and thought threads connected.

I highly recommend When You Reach Me not only for children but for people of all ages looking for a really good story!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Those who think unschoolers will never develop drive and ambition should meet my kids. I was just discussing their dance practice with them and talking about the fun and pleasure of it, and there was a consensus between JoAnn, Lia, and Esme that they don't like to do things just for the pleasure of them! They think nothing is worthwhile if it doesn't involve hard work and accomplishments!

(Note, they certainly haven't heard this line of reasoning from me!)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sunshiny Mornings

These sunshiny mornings in the early spring make me sad for those kids in the school buses whisking by. I my kids wake early using their own free will with smiles on there faces as they watch the sun sparkle on the snow outside. Long walks tramping across the top of the hardened snow in the sunshine ensue and romps in the woods, tree climbing and hole digging, lots of learning and larping and playing...these are wonderful days!

There is plenty of excitement as our world thaws out.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Family and the Two C's

My word for 2009 is "Celebrate," and of course, most of my celebrating includes my wonderful family. We have been celebrating all the new and full moons, and other special occasions that have come to pass, and I can see that it is a good thing for us to have this regular together time.

As I have been celebrating, I have realized how important it is to focus on another "C" word, and that word is communication. So the two words, celebrate and communicate, have become linked in my mind as my focal points for the year. It is scary to communicate. There are so many fears! One can be rejected, or ask a stupid questions, or make someone angry or sad, or make a fool of oneself.

Even in the most close and loving families, each person is an individual with their own likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It is so important to talk, talk, talk (or write, write, write). Don't let others get in the way of getting your needs met. Ask for what you need. If people's needs are conflicting, even more discussion is needed. Think outside that box. Find a solution. You may not be able to please everyone every time, but you should be able to find mutually agreeable solutions most of the time.

If you do something wrong, say that you are sorry. If you change your mind about something, let others know right away. If you have doubts or worries share them, and of course, also share you enthusiasm and joy! Ask for the things you need. Compliment those who deserve it. "Thank you" and "I love you" should not be neglected.

We are not perfect here at Faerie Gardens, but we are all working at being open, authentic individuals living a consensual life that we can all be happy with.