Tag Archives: self-confidence

Questions & Answers

15 Jul

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As soon as I read the jacket blurb, I knew I had to read All the Answers  by Kate Messner.

Jacket blurb:When Ava Anderson finds an old blue pencil , it doesn’t seem like anything special. But then she writes a question in the margin of her math quiz, and something very strange happens.  She hears a voice loud and clear – one that nobody else can hear – and it tells her the answer!

With the help of her friend Sophie, Ava sees that having a magic pencil in middles school can be very handy.   But as Ava’s reliance on the pencil grows, the truths it reveals about herself and her family lead Ava on an adventure she never expected to take.

In a story as heartfelt as it is magical, Kate Messner gives readers a glimpse at the biggest fantasy: a magic pencil that helps you through the ups and downs of middle school.

I really liked All the Answers  because it wasn’t quite the book I thought it was going to be. I expected Ava to use the pencil for schoolwork, which she does. But she quickly discovers it knows about things beyond school and asks it questions about family members. Ava is a worrier and the pencil is a comfort to her, until it gives her an answer that causes her to worry more, But it also helps her mature and learn to deal with things beyond her control.

Although Ava is in middle school, the book leans towards a younger demographic. Fourth & fifth graders will love this glimpse into the world of middle school and sixth graders may find some comfort in knowing that they are not alone in worrying. Heck, even this ld teacher, who is returning to middle school in September, found some comfort and wishes she could have a magic pencil to help her navigate a new world.

The Blues

12 Sep

I finally finished my Back to School Socks and the temperature is on the rise again. Here they are.

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I am excited for the temperature to drop for many reasons, including the opportunity to wear these.

I came across a lovely little book recently, Bluebird by Lindsey Yankey. It is actually a large book, 12″ x 9″, but tells a sweet story in a gentle way, and the artwork is excellent.

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In poetic language, Yankey tells the story of a little bird, who fears he cannot fly because his friend, Wind, is not there. He sets off on a mission to find Wind. As the little bluebird searches for his friend, we get to see where he lives. There are beautiful details ion both words and pictures. Everywhere the little bluebird goes, things are still; flags droop, kites rest, clothes hang straight down on lines. The little bluebird eventually finds his friend, who was really there all along, but also learns a little bit about himself, too. A beautiful story about the little bird in each of us.

 

Popularity and Good Manners

8 Sep

Fiona had acupuncture on Saturday. This involves 15 minutes of needle application. It looks like a game of Twister with the vet tech & I humoring Fiona and feeding her treats and the vet reaching around to stick the needles where she wants them. Then, Fiona has to lay still for 20 minutes. And I am right there with her. It is quiet in the room and I can hear the conversations of the vets and techs on the other side of the door. The clinic is small. My vet was telling about her daughter’s first week at middle school. It wasn’t awful, but she hasn’t found her place yet. and belonging is so important.

Before leaving to go to the vet, I started reading Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen.

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It is Maya’s memoir of her eighth grade year in Brownsville Texas, which sounds like a terrible place to live. She was not popular. She came across a 1950’s guide to popularity by Betty Cornell and decided to follow her advice on an attempt to climb the social ladder. This book is the rests of her social experiment.

Witty and heartbreakingly honest, the strength of this book is Maya’s voice. She tells us the good the bad, the ugly and the successful. Each month, Maya tackles a different area that Betty Cornell wrote about:

September: figure

October: hair

December: skin

You get the idea. Throughout the month we see Maya tackle each topic head on and see where she succeeds and where there is still room for growth.

I have recommended this book to my twin sister and I think any female adult who has made it through middle and high school, as well as any girl going through middle and high school, will enjoy this book. You will laugh and shed some tears. The road to popularity s not always pretty.

If you don’t fit into those two categories, you can still get some good advice here

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George Washington’s Rules to Live By: A Good Manners Guide from the Father of Our Country by K. M. Kostyal tackles an older guide: George Washington’s Rules of Civility. Hand-copied when Washington was 16, the Rule lay out maxims for living a good life. Now, K. M. Kostyal has translated the to the modern day and added humorous illustrations that allow kids today to learn about manners and history simultaneously.

Both books make interesting reading.

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