Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want Kiddos to Read

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is simultaneously a throwback and a look at the future. Today I’ll be sharing ten books I hope kiddos continue to read decades from now. Reading played a huge role in shaping me as a child into the person I am now and I am so grateful to all of those who encouraged me to spend time with my nose between pages, eagerly flipping away. I hope that kiddos continue to have positive bookish experiences at an early age!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is such important role model for young readers, especially girls. She is intelligent, bookish, independent, courageous, and kind. I wish I had read this when I was younger!

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

I haven’t read this book in years, but I can still remember certain poems from when I read it as a child. I love this book because it shows kids that poetry doesn’t have to follow rules or conform to certain standards– it can be fun, funny, and silly!

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff

I ADORED this book when I was younger (in fact, I think I still have it in my bedroom back home somewhere…). It’s such a fun read and the little pig is SO CUTE <3. It definitely made me want a little pig of my own!

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I read this book for the first time this past summer and immediately wanted to flip back to the first page and read it all over again. I love everything about this book– if anything, I wish it were longer so I could revel in the story more! Isn’t that always the sign of a great book?

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Although I didn’t actually read this when I was younger (just last year!) I still enjoyed it immensely. Juster is incredibly clever, witty, and creative with his use of language to construct not only puns but also characters, settings, and even the plot. I hope both kiddos AND adults continue to read this book for generations to come!

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

This is yet another book that I read for the first time only recently, but I loved it all the same. I think this book is particularly great for reading at different ages because you can get something completely new out of it depending on your perspective. (The movie is excellent as well!)

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Am I mentioning Roald Dahl twice on this list? YES. Do I have regrets? NO. He’s definitely worth it! This is my favorite Roald Dahl book because one of my wonderful elementary school teachers used to read it aloud to us all the time when I was younger. It holds such a nostalgic place in my heart ❤

Holes by Louis Sachar

So fun! So bizarre! It would be a shame if kiddos stopped reading this wacky tale in the future (and if they stopped watching the excellent movie adaptation!). What would life be without the great fictional existence of Stanley Yelnats?

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

I LOVED the Nancy Drew mystery stories when I was younger, especially the original series. Learning that Carolyn Keene isn’t an actual person (it’s a fake name for a group of commissioned writers) was devastating. I desperately wanted there to be a mastermind behind all of those puzzling mysteries!

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I would be amiss to not include the Harry Potter series in this list. I have a feeling kiddos and adults alike will be reading this for decades to come. I can’t even begin to imagine a childhood without the magical world of Harry Potter!

I think it’s interesting that many of these books are ones I’ve read recently rather than when I was actually a kiddo… though I really wish I had read them when I was younger because I know I would have loved them! ❤

What are books that you hope kids will read in the future? What do you think of the titles I’ve mentioned? What was your favorite book when you were younger? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Books

FLIPPED by Wendelin Van Draanen | Review

People change. We’re all constantly changing whether we’re conscious of it or not, yet sometimes this fact is ignored in books. In fiction, it’s common for love interests to last forever and for desires to seem set in stone once they appear; however, nothing is permanent in Flipped. In this middle grade novel, Wendelin Van Draanen tells the story of two kids whose opinions of each other change over the course of several years. The more they learn about each other the more topsy-turvy the story becomes as their attitudes flip in different directions. When one of my best friends realized I had never read Flipped as a kid she immediately urged me to read it. I’m so glad I took her recommendation!

Let me just start by saying that Van Draanen is a master at channeling her inner middle school voice. It’s so realistic that I felt as though I was reading something that could have been written by twelve-year-old me! It was really interesting to read about the same event from the different perspectives of Juli and Bryce and to see how their views of the world change over time. Flipped is yet another reminder of why I love character-driven stories.

Though Juli and Bryce are the protagonists of the novel, Van Draanen also focuses a lot on family dynamics in general. The story sets up a sort of compare-and-contrast situation between the Loski and Baker families, allowing the reader to notice telling similarities and differences. I love that there aren’t only middle schoolers and their parents in this book; rather, we get to know teenagers and grandparents as well. The relationship between the Juli’s dad and his brother is also really thought-provoking and eye-opening, though I don’t want to say too much and spoil an important detail of the story.  All in all, I think Van Draanen does a great job of showing how complicated, imperfect, and dynamic families are in real life. No family is perfect, not even in literature.

This book reflects many aspects of real life in a way that feels incredibly relatable. The story exposes a lot of things about human nature and daily life in general that we don’t always like to admit. For instance, the Loki and Baker families have lived across the street from each other for years yet they hardly know anything about one another. This disconnection leads to a striking question: How much do we really know about the people we interact with every day? How often do we take time to really get to know people rather than just gliding by with little more than surface level knowledge? Why don’t we communicate each other more genuinely about things that really matter rather than surviving on meaningless small talk? These questions are relevant to anyone at any point in their life, which is one of the many reasons I would argue that Flipped deserves to be read by people of all ages. The themes Van Draanen emphasizes touch on elements of our lives that we rarely stop and think about, making it even more important that we take the time to do so now.

Overall, I wish I had read Flipped when I was younger because I have a feeling that I would have absolutely loved it. How have I been missing out on this wonderful book all these years? If you haven’t read this book yet, please don’t make my same mistake: read it now!

Would I recommend it to a friend?: YES!!

What are your thoughts on Flipped? Have you seen the movie adaptation? Have any recommendations for other middle grade books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

Summer Book Tag

Summer is pretty much over, but that won’t stop me from wrapping up the season with the Summer Book Tag. Thanks so much to Mischenko @ Read, Rant, Rock & Roll for tagging me!!

What book cover makes you think of summer?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I read this novel last summer and it is one of the most lyrical, seamless, beautifully written books I have ever read.

What book has brightened your day?

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I remember reading it over and over again because a) mice used to be by favorite animals and b) this story is captivating, charming, and creative.

Find a book cover with yellow on it.

Just look at that cute little yellow chick! I read Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen a few weeks ago and loved it. I can’t even explain to you how heart-warming, poignant, hilarious, and brilliant this book is. I definitely wish I had read it sooner!

What action book had you running for the ice cream man?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is equal parts hilarious, romantic, and action-packed. No matter what you’re in the mood to read, chances are that this book will fulfill it!

(Sunburn) What book has left you with a bad and/or painful ending?

I won’t spoil the ending in case you haven’t yet read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it’s pretty devastating.

(Sunset) what book gave you the happiest feelings when it ended? 
I desperately hoped for at least a moderately happy ending for Jane (given her circumstances) and Charlotte Brontë didn’t disappoint!

What book cover reminds you of a sunset?

Look at that literal sunset on the cover. This old edition of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton made this question easy!

What is one book or series you hope to read this summer?

I actually didn’t read any full series this summer… it was a summer of standalones, I guess!

Since summer has pretty much come to an end, I’m not going to tag anyone specifically… unless you would like to do it, then by all means GO FOR IT!

Is summer your favorite season or do you prefer autumn/winter (like me!)? What’s your favorite thing about summer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

AUGUST 2017 | Wrap-Up

August has always been one of my favorite months of the year. I love the feeling of transition that it brings, mostly because for the majority of my life it has meant starting an exciting new year of school. This year my academics are starting a little later (I’m coming, Oxford!) but August nevertheless brought a lot of change for me. Here’s what I was up to last month:

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In August I read a total of 10 books:

  1. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  3. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  6. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
  7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  8. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  9. Light in August by William Faulkner
  10. The Portable Faulkner by William Faulkner, edited by Malcolm Cowley

As per usual, it’s difficult to choose a favorite book of the month because I was fortunate to have read many great ones. This month it’s a tie between Flipped and The Sound and the Fury because I love them both for different reasons.

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August mainly consisted of working, reading, and saying goodbye far too often. Many of my friends have left for their study abroad adventures or simply moved back to campus for the semester, which means that I’ve had to say goodbye to them before I leave for Oxford in a few weeks (eek!). Among the many farewells was one to my brother, a freshman at Wheaton this year. It’s so strange to be home while everyone is back at my favorite campus!

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Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month (there are so many!!):

How was your month of August? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY