Photo by Angie Quantrell
Yakima Valley Trolleys Powerhouse Museum, Yakima, WA
Wheels of Change
Written by Darlene Beck Jacobson
Illustrations by Melissa Moss
Cover and book design by Simon Stahl
Creston Books, 2014
Historical fiction for middle grade, here I come! Thanks to Kathy Temean and her blog Writing and Illustrating, I won a copy of Wheels of Change from author Darlene Beck Jacobson. Thank you both for introducing me to this fascinating trip back in time.
Twelve year old Emily loves spending time in the carriage-building shop, even though it is not appropriate for young ladies who should be spending their time inside learning how to sew, bake, clean, and care for a house. With a quick mind, sincere heart, and means-well actions, Emily seeks answers to why people act the way they do, often getting herself into trouble.
Set around the turn of the century (1890s to 1900s), Wheels of Change indeed focuses on the changes of that time period. From the plight of being female to the lingering after-effects of the abolition of slavery to the ever-moving-forward march of replacing horse and buggy with motorized vehicles, Jacobson does not shy away from history. The clash of changes factors is faced head-on, all through the eyes of Emily. A few facts are based on personal family history while the rest of the story springs from her creative mind.
Why I Loved This Book:
~the story is based on history and changes that cause struggles and disagreements for most people
~the time period is one about which I enjoy reading
~great writing and descriptions allowed me to “see” what was going on
~the emotions and the conflict of the story seemed to be what could have really taken place
~it was obvious that plenty of research went into the writing of this book
~LOVED the back matter and learning about the family connections to this story
~the book would be perfect for young readers to read as they learn about history (for both education and pleasure)
Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2015
Mighty Girl Pick 2015
Grateful American Book Prize Honorable Mention 2015
Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she’s more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she’d never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn’t know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House.
The Ocean Calls, A Haenyeo Mermaid Story
Written by Tina Cho
Illustrated by Jess X. Snow
Kokila, An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; August 2020
I was super excited to win a copy of The Ocean Calls, A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow, from Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating website. You can read more from Kathy and check out her post at https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2020/07/21/book-giveaway-the-ocean-calls-by-tina-cho/ . Thank you, Kathy and Tina!
The Ocean Calls, A Haenyeo Mermaid Story is the fascinating story of women divers who use the skills passed down from generation to generation to dive and gather the fruits of the sea. Living on Jeju Island in South Korea, the mostly mature and elderly women dive into waters off the island, up to 30 meters deep. They do not use breathing equipment and can hold their breath up to two minutes! I am amazed!
The story focuses on Dayeon, a young girl, and her grandmother, one of the diving mermaids. Grandma is trying to encourage Dayeon and teach her the skills necessary to become a Haenyeo Mermaid. I love the way the young girl struggles with the fear of jumping into the wild ocean, even as she dreams of being able to do what she sees her grandmother doing.
This engaging story is delicious! I loved learning more about a new subject, one I had never heard about before. What an encouraging picture book, one that invites readers to explore a new world with their eyes, ears, and hearts!
Why I Love This Book:
~ The story is wonderful
~ The fascination I felt as I read about Haeynyeo Mermaids
~ The underwater world of women divers
~ The illustrations bursting with color and extra details
~ The setting on and off an island of South Korea
~ The history and the traditions of generations of courageous women
~ Fabulous backmatter
A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world.
Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.
Tina Cho’s The Ocean Calls, with luminous illustrations by muralist Jess X. Snow, is a classic in the making.
Check out this cute guy. Turns out he was giving me a ride in a shiny green ’74 Chevy.
The curls, the swagger, the adorable guy hauling around his honey. The guy would be my honey, Kevin. The girl would be me.
Back in the early days of our relationship, we traveled far and wide. Most of that was back and forth to college, Seattle, Tacoma, the mountains, the beach. This trip was over Chinook Pass where we stopped near an overlook featuring Mt. Rainier. Beautiful mountain and cute guy. My mom used to roll her eyes. Yes! She did. Because all I would say was, “He’s so cute!” I think she got tired of hearing those words.
The green truck has been in and around our family since it was brand new. My then future father–in-law bought it when it was about 6 months old, a dealer model. Love that avocado green! It’s been a favorite color for me since, well, forever. Kevin’s family took it to Ocean Shores each summer, hauling along the Prowler camper. I was so excited when they invited me to go along. Believe it or not, all 4 of us (Kevin, both of his parents, and me) road around Ocean Shores sitting on the long bench seat. Clam digging, crabbing, eating out, beach runs, yard sales, hot fudge sundaes. I have such wonderful memories of the old green ’74.
Let’s not forget one of our first dates. Kevin had just barely received his drivers’ license and asked dear old dad to borrow the lovely green pickup. So we were dragging the ave. Yakima Avenue. We stopped at a stop light, my honey. He was driving so careful. But the drunk lady behind us was not. On our first outing, we got rear-ended! Her car was pretty smashed up. But good old greeny had a tiny dent and bent bumper. The fear of telling dad what had happened was worse than the actual accident. But we all lived to tell the tale.
After we were married, Kevin and I had it for several years. We also toted along the Prowler when we took our family to the beach. This truck went wood cutting, Christmas tree hunting, and moving people to and fro.
Later, my dad had the ’74 for quite a few years. He loved to tinker with it and keep it running. He managed to fix it up quite nice. After a certain number of years, one had to always carry a quart or two of oil behind the front seat and commit to regularly checking the dip stick during long trips.
Eventually, my dad gave the ’74 to Bub, as he liked to call our son. Because old green ’74 was showing her age. Bub, a talented and gifted mechanic, a man after dad’s own heart, was nearly the only one besides dad who could keep the old gal running and on the road. And he didn’t mind constantly repairing this and that. Dad and Bub spent many happy hours puttering and repairing not just the ’74, but an entire fleet of old Chevy trucks and vehicles.
Today? The ’74 is still going strong. My honey recently remade the original wood racks that had graced the back for decades. (Literally.) Rust has worn holes in several sections of the fender. Green spray paint has been added to protect and keep additional rust from making holes. There is nearly a hole beneath the drivers’ side feet-rust, water, salt water, sand, dirt, many years of use.
It’s alive and kicking. And we are all the more fonder because of the special memories each of us have surrounding this approaching classic truck. Chevy. Like a rock. The heartbeat of America.
What stories can you tell about your favorite Chevy? (I’m not allowed to name any other brands.)
Saving the Countryside, The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit
Written by Linda Elovitz Marshall
Pictures by Ilaria Urbinati
Little Bee Books; January 28, 2020
Happy Book Birthday to Saving the Countryside, The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Elovitz Marshall!
Thanks to Little Bee Books for sending me a review copy.
Friends, this book is gorgeous! Being a bit of a Beatrix Potter fan, England fan, and general nature and caring for the planet fan, this book hits the trifecta for matching all three interests.
Well written, beautifully illustrated, and chock full of Beatrix Potter, I recommend grabbing yourself a copy.
Why I Love This Book:
~ Well written and interesting
~ Gorgeous and colorful illustrations
~ I learned so much about Beatrix and England and Peter Rabbit-perfect!
~ The backmatter fills in additional information
~ The setting, the history, and the tone of the times were spot on
~ Great read! This is a book I will reread over and over. It’s like a little trip to England without leaving my RV.
~ Gardens. I adore gardens. English gardens. Just ask my husband and son, who were in trouble more often than not when they tried to “tidy up” the edges of my flower beds.
Congratulations to Linda Elovitz Marshall, Ilaria Urbinati, and Little Bee Books for a job well done!
“Fans of Beatrix Potter will delight in this tribute to her dedication and talent, encapsulating a legacy that reaches far beyond the pages of her beloved books.”-Foreword Reviews in a STARRED REVIEW
“Empowering and fresh.”-School Library Journal
“The life of the British picture-book author and illustrator makes a serendipitous subject for an engaging and attractive picture book…A well-told tale that makes the life story of the renowned author accessible to children.”-Kirkus Reviews
“Perhaps Peter Rabbit needs no introduction, but even children who know Beatrix Potter’s name probably know little about her. This appealing picture book fills that gap…. Recommended for young Beatrix Potter fans.”-Booklist
“In forthright language, this picture book biography recounts her boundary-breaking life as she grows from a nature-loving child with a menagerie of pets…into a successful artist and canny entrepreneur. An attractive introduction to an iconic creator.”-Publisher’s Weekly
“An exceptionally accurate portrait of Beatrix Potter told with humor and surprise. Beautifully done.” Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
Through she’s universally known as the creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter did so much more. This is the true story about how she helped save the English countryside!
Growing up in London, Beatrix Potter felt the restraints of Victorian times. Girls didn’t go to school and weren’t expected to work. But she longed to do something important, something that truly mattered. As Beatrix spent her summers in the country and found inspiration in nature, it was through this passion that her creativity flourished.
There, she crafted The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She would eventually move to the countryside full-time, but developers sought to change the land. To save it, Beatrix used the money from the success of her books and bought acres and acres of land and farms to prevent the development of the countryside that both she and Peter Rabbit so cherished. Because of her efforts, it’s been preserved just as she left it.
This beautiful picture book shines a light on Beatrix Potter’s lesser-known history and her desire to do something for the greater good.
Her Fearless Run, Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon
Written by Kim Chaffee
Illustrated by Ellen Rooney
Page Street Kids, 2019
Blurb from the book:
“Girls weren’t supposed to sweat. Girls weren’t supposed to compete. They were too weak, too fragile, to run distances like the Boston Marathon. That’s what most people thought.
Kathrine Switzer changed their minds.”
Thanks to Writers’ Rumpus, I received a gift copy of Kim Chaffee’s Her Fearless Run, just born this year! Thank you so much, Kim, Ellen, Carol, and Writers’ Rumpus!
I’ve always envied women who have the desire, drive, and determination to run long distances. I do not have those qualities, and would rather hike or walk long distances.
“I didn’t set out to make history; I was just a girl who wanted to run.” – Kathrine Switzer
Her Fearless Run is the fascinating story of Kathrine Switzer, a woman committed to opening the doors for women to run long distances during a time when it was frowned upon and not allowed. At all.
What I love about Her Fearless Run:
~ I love how skillfully Kim Chaffee wove together real life information with the story of Kathrine standing up to the expectations of a male-dominated sport. I love that Kathrine kept plodding along, facing each obstacle with grit, just as she would in marathons and long distance running.
~ I love the vibrant and informative illustrations and how they lend the air of the past to the story.
~ I love the messages of Her Fearless Run. Girls can do anything! Hard work and perseverance pays off. Individuals can make a difference and impact others. You can do things you enjoy.
~ I love the ease of reading and interesting story that kept me glued to the pages of Her Fearless Run.
~ I love that I can share this book with other young readers and inspire them to go after their dreams and passions.
Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This narrative biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967. Her inspirational true story is for anyone willing to challenge the rules.
The compelling collage art adds to the kinetic action of the story. With tension and heart, this biography has the influential power to get readers into running. An excellent choice for sports fans, New Englanders, young dreamers, and competitive girls and boys alike.
Go for a Run!
Materials: chalk, running journal, drawing supplies (crayons, pencils, markers), snack
1. Read Her Fearless Run. How did Kathrine start out as a runner? Can you follow the steps she took?
2. Invite someone to run with you. Use chalk marks to count your laps.
3. Relax after your run by searching online for information about Kathrine Switzer and the Boston Marathon. Are there any marathons hosted near your home? Perhaps you could go and watch one. Our city has a race with adults and younger age groups.
4. Eat a healthy snack, drink cool water, and record your laps in a running journal. Draw a picture of yourself running.
Freedom’s Highest Flight
Written by Casey McCall Corbett
Illustrated by Patrick Powell
Mascot Books, 2019
I received a review copy of Freedom’s Highest Flight from Mascot Books. Thank you!
Happy May 7, 2019, book birthday, Freedom’s Highest Flight!
I was attracted to Freedom’s Highest Flight because of the bald eagle and football connections. I’ve always been interested in birds of prey and football is on my list of favorite fall activities.
Written in rhyme, Freedom’s Highest Flight tells the tale of both Freedom, the bald eagle mascot for Georgia Southern, and Erk Russell, one of the most famous football coaches for that university.
I enjoyed the imaginative story telling by Erk as he shared Georgia Southern football history with Freedom. I learned more about football strategies, plays, and players. By the end of the book, I was proud of GSU and all of their championship accomplishments. Interesting backmatter is a great addition to the story. Freedom’s Highest Flight is a fun read!
For lovers of college football, team mascots, and football history, Freedom’s Highest Flight is the perfect book choice.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Mascot Books Publishes Freedom’s Highest Flight
By Casey McCall Corbett
Herndon, VA, May 7, 2019: Mascot Books announces the release of Freedom’s Highest Flight by Casey McCall Corbett; Illustrated by Patrick Powell.
Fans of Georgia Southern University will love this tale about one of the most famous football coaches in school history, Erk Russell. Join Freedom the eagle and his pal Erk on a high-flying journey through history to recount the rise of GSU’s football program to winning multiple championships.
Growing up with a father as a football coach immersed Casey into the world of football at an early age. Several of her father’s high school athletes went on to play with Georgia Southern during its infancy of Erk Russell football, when the school was just a college and the program itself had very little funding. Little did she realize she was watching the history and legacy of Georgia Southern football develop and where it would lead her later on in her life.
Her affection for the outdoors and wildlife led Casey to a career as the education coordinator at the Center for Wildlife Education at Georgia Southern University in 2009. It was in this position while being trained to fly Freedom, and the other raptors, that ideas of a book about Georgia Southern Football began to form. The memories of her football past and growing up with a connection to Erk Russell football made her realize she had come full circle with an exciting story to tell.
To set up an interview, reading, signing, or for information regarding Freedom’s Highest Flight, please contact Chris Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom’s Highest Flight is registered with the American Wholesale Book Company, Baker & Taylor, Follett Library Resources, and Ingram, and available online with the following retailers:
About Mascot Books
Mascot Books is a full-service, multi-genre, independent book publisher and distributor. It is a hybrid publishing company headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. Co-founded in 2003 by Naren Aryal, Mascot has published more than 2,500 books in a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, children’s, cookbooks, and coffee table books. Learn more at www.mascotbooks.com.
The opposite of sun-bleached, we were sun-drenched.
Long shadows, blinded eyes, rich dense colors.
Yes, this was us in the early 1970’s. I was most likely in 2nd grade, dressed for Arizona heat. My brother was in kindergarten, already pursuing his unique personality and sense of humor. Little sister must have been preschool-age, but back then going to preschool was not a thing families did.
Yes. That was how our yard was landscaped. Gravel, dust, scrappy weeds. The interesting parts were the critters and wildlife we discovered as we played and explored the desert environments. In this location alone, I remember collecting gallons of tadpoles after desert storms, and hunting horned toads, tarantulas, scorpions, snakes, spiders, jack rabbits, and those scary spider wasps. We also rescued a tortoise from the middle of the road and let him burrow around in the back yard. Thaddeus Humperdinck. That was his name. No idea why.
Yes. Windows open. The weather must not have been too drastically hot, and judging from the distant clouds, we might have recently enjoyed rain. We had a swamp cooler on top of the trailer and I remember lying on the floor beneath it during the hottest part of summer days with my coloring book and crayons, cooling off in the damp wind it created. But in this photo, the time of day was when the desert sun was kissing the horizon, ready to give us well-deserved shade and respite.
Yes. This was a very cool station wagon. Not only a wagon, but a magic vehicle capable of transporting us on weekend family treks to historical, dusty, engaging, scary, crowded, isolated, or deserted Arizona hot spots. Haha, “hot” spots. Soda pop bottles, white bread, bologna, and we were ready to roll. Up hill, down hill, across stretching southwest landscapes, stopping for rare shade trees and dusty gullies, drips of streams and gorges filled with flash floods. Life was an adventure. Include: dogs, kids, play pen, stroller, and avid interest.
Yes. A home on wheels. And we used those wheels to move the trailer several times over our life within the metal, possibly uninsulated, walls. We survived desert thunderstorms, lighting shows, freezing temperatures, snow storms, and heat hot enough to cook (insert your favorite food). Home it was. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, dining room-kitchen, and utility room. Kids lived on the right end, parents on the left. We six (plus critters) crammed a magnificent amount of life into that gorgeous tenement on wheels.
I loved living in the desert, back when heat didn’t bother me and I spent all my days outside, digging in the dirt, catching insects and reptiles, chasing kids in the ‘neighborhood,’ and making up daring adventure stories while riding horseback with my similarly minded friends. The nostalgia of childhood paints beautiful masterpieces in my mind, blotting the difficult times (were there any?) and adding exquisite details to enhance my thankfulness to God for a good, excellent, childhood.
What about you? Which photo takes you back to your childhood?