Katie Kitchel has rejoined the Norwich Bookstore staff on a very part-time basis as she has her hands full with three boys at home. She is a Dartmouth graduate and lives with her husband Davis here in Norwich.
Don’t let the slim size of this novel deceive you. It is full of haunting questions, powerful imagery, and the emotion of a mother who has lost a son. This novel seeks to remind us, that first and foremost, Mary was a mother. Her effort to understand and attach meaning to her son’s existence and to come to grips with the actions she, and others, took around the last days of his life, touched me as a parent in unanticipated ways. You may find it helpful to keep a copy of the Bible near you as a reference tool while you are reading as there are so many thought-provoking images that I know that I needed to double-check. (Note: I listened to this book on Audio CD--available for rent or purchase upstairs. Meryl Streep’s performance of Mary is extraordinary!)
This gorgeous picture book is the Harold and the Purple Crayon for the next generation. Both titles would hold a cherished place on any young reader’s bookshelf. The subtle use of two bold colors-- red and purple -- tells more than one tale, but that is not revealed until the closing pages. Once you open this book, you won’t be able to stop being “drawn in” for yourself!
This book is a MUST-have for the young train-iac in your life. The illustrations are rich, detailed and compelling, and the text is both informative, lyrical, and imaginative. Although it’s on the longer side for the typical bedtime story, my sons and I have had fun breaking the tale into “chapters” and enjoying the train’s transcontinental journey over several nights.
This book is the perfect companion for the hot, lazy days of summer. Explore both well known swimming holes, as well as the ones off-the-beaten path--you may even discover a hidden gem in your neighborhood! Toss this book into the car with a swim suit, some sunblock, and a picnic and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a true, old-time, Vermont outdoor adventure.
These delightful adventures set in the Upper Valley and beyond are ideal for the explorer in each of us and are accessible to a wide variety of ages and physical abilities. For the goal-oriented adventurers out there, the treasure chests equipped with ink stamps hidden at the end of each hike brings excitement and extra motivation. I like to keep a copy of the book in my car so that my boys and I are ready for an adventure at a moments notice. Happy Questing!
For the budding cyclist in your family...or the budding scientist..or simply for those with a budding (or flowering) imagination. This book captures it all...adding just the right amount of whimsy to this tall tale of “what if”. A great read for those with a great imagination...a description, that I’m sure, fits all of the young readers in your life!
This simply illustrated, boldly colored counting book is the perfect item to toss into a carry-on bag for your youngest traveler. With it you can explore pages full of images of airport and in-flight signs while waiting for your flight to depart; or, embark on a scavenger hunt to find the signs; and, discover the infinite ways your little one can count!
You feel it, right? That tickle in the top of your mouth. You’re struggling to keep your mouth closed, aren’t you? There’s no use fighting it. Just let it out. YAWN!!!!! You feel better now, don’t you? Now go take nap...ideally in a lovely shaded hammock with your littlest reader snuggled up next to you.
This book was first recommended to me by a sixteen-year-old bookseller. When she heard that I enjoyed science fiction and had not yet read this title, she put it in my hands and literally walked me to the cash register. The following three weeks found me devouring the entire series into the wee hours of the night! For those of you who resist the sci-fi genre, I recommend giving this book a try. The questions of identity, morality, and freedom of choice posed by the author are universal and great fodder for conversation and debate. This book has been selected as this year’s Hanover High Summer Reading book.
I keep thinking Maisie Dobbs might start getting old-hat for me, but with each new installment of this series, I enjoy Maisie even more. Although she becomes a bit more introspective in this novel, I find inspiration in both her strong perspective as a professional woman and her quest to be true to herself. She is a woman who quietly, yet persistently, breaks down the stereotypes and barriers of the times. The groundwork is laid in the book for a whole set of new adventures for Maisie in the future, and I’m eager to learn what happens next!
I love this book and I can’t wait to take it home to try out with my boys. It’s packed with great stories about how each one of us can help scientists unravel questions about our natural habitat and the creatures that live within it. Each chapter of the book is devoted to a different season of the year, with a different identification project. The author celebrates the idea that, “Young people see the world differently than older people do.” And when we can slow down, or squat down, to observe the world through their eyes, we will discover an entirely unexpected world of wonder.
As the days get longer and the sun warms the earth, we all eagerly await the arrival of the first spring blossoms. This book celebrates the arrival of spring not only through its content, but also through its vibrant colors and simple text. Spring Blossoms would make the perfect “first field guide” for the aspiring young naturalist in your family. Pick it up, throw on a pair of mudboots, and head out for the trees!
All of my boys have loved Olivier Dunrea’s delightful little goslings. They’ve grown up reading about the boot-wearing antics of Gossie, Gertie, Peedie and BooBoo. Now a new ruddy gosling has joined the pond, and continues to delight us with his simple observations and enjoyment of the little things in life, that are so important to the little people in our lives. Gideon, like my own two-year-old, is much more interested in play time, rather than naptime. Spoiler alert....after an adventurous journey, this book has a restful ending for both parents and goslings alike!
Although it might not be flashy or high-brow, this has become my go-to cookbook for busy weeknight cooking. The meals are simple, yet tasty and the author includes a “fork in the road” section for many recipes. These are places where you can stop adding ingredients to meet the needs of those with less adventurous palettes...or continue to spice it up for those with more “grown-up” tastes. Ms. Workman also shares many ways to encourage a child’s involvement in meal preparation. A great, everyday cookbook!
This book is like Where’s Waldo? but for the younger set. The multitude of bright and zany pictures will draw your child in for moments (or even hours!) of gazing enjoyment. I particularly enjoy the die-cut pages that highlight different pictures on each page. It’s fun to ponder how the author put this book together, and how the peak-through pictures change the way you experience the book.
This book makes me laugh because the pictures tell a different story than the words. The little fish “knows” one thing, but the big fish knows something quite different. (And, I must say, that both fish look pretty darn cute in the hat!) Although it would appear that the little fish meets a sticky end at the conclusion of the book...the exact outcome is left open-ended. Open it up, and decide for yourself.
After a recent trip to the Tate Modern in London with my sons, we were intrigued and, yes, also sometimes confused, by some of the installations we observed. This guide to exploring contemporary art would have made a nice companion for our trip! Pick it up, and head on over to the Hood Museum, or to the Orozco Room in Baker Library. Or, if you dare, park yourself next to Bourgeois’ Crouching Spider in the new Maffei Arts Plaza and gaze up at the Ellsworth Kelly’s Dartmouth Panels, and talk with your children about what contemporary art means to you!
Historical fiction buffs rejoice, because Ms. Penman has woven her magic again. This adventure into the Crusades under the leadership of Richard the Lionheart is impeccably researched and grippingly revealed. As she demonstrated in The sunne in Splendor, Ms. Penman has a true gift for humanizing characters in history that have gotten a bad wrap by challenging basic assumptions and shining a new light on what may have motivated their actions. Historical fiction at its best!
A wonderful read aloud, full of noble challenges in CAPITAL LETTERS which will inspire the dramatic voice in each of us! This book follows the tale of the intrepid six-year-old great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of King Arthur as he sets forth on his quest to uphold the honor and bravery of his noble heritage. On his way he attempts battles with many fearsome foes, but instead of trophies, he returns home with many steadfast friends. This would be a perfect gift for the little “knight” in any household.
This book isn’t so much a book about “how to parent” as it is an astute study in the difference between French and American cultures. As the mother of three young boys who travels frequently “en famille” to France, I have observed many of the things that Ms. Druckerman notes, especially around mealtimes. As my husband and I pass off our littlest boys from one to another to run around outside during the long french restaurant dinners, I’ve noticed with envy the french families sitting together calmly, chatting and enjoying their meals at a leisurely pace. How is this calm achieved?! Well it turns out that this skill is nurtured practically in utero in French society. (I think I might have missed the bateau!) This book gave me lots to think about, and even a few things to try out in my own household. It would make a great reading club selection with lots of rich topics to delve into!
I listened to this book, read aloud by the author, while driving my kids around the Upper Valley this past month. I was super-surprised to find myself taking the long route home so that I could hear the end of each chapter. Ms. Maddow’s writing is smart, observant, witty, and even snarky at times...the snarkiness probably gets underlined more in the read-aloud version! It has been equal parts fascinating and horrifying for me to reflect upon about how decisions about warfare have been made during my lifetime. A truly thought-provoking read and a great book to talk about with friends...liberals and conservatives alike!
Although the comedic novel is not my usual genre of choice, this book captured my attention because I am a fan of Frayn as a playwright. He employs many of the clever tricks-of-the-trade that worked so well in Noises Off. Mistaken identities, barely missed encounters, the newly invented Greek word “Phoksoliva”, and two cab-driving brothers who look alike feature in important ways throughout this zany tale. Laugh-out-loud at times and bitingly satiric at others, this book, which has made the Longlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, was a fun detour from my usual reading route.
Bruno is back--in both paperback and hardcover! (We’ve got this, the 3rd installment, in paperback...and the newest hardcover, The Crowded Grave, also on the shelves. Each would make a fun end of summer read--I’m recommending this one because of the truffles!) So if you’re really in the need for a good French mystery “fix”, we’ve got you covered. The famous french truffles of the Perigord take center stage in this intrigue that merges the past with the present and explores the fallout of cultural conflict. I love how adeptly Mr. Walker captures the small town rhythms of french country life against the larger backdrop of international affairs.
Just in time for the Summer Olympics, Chris Cleave has woven his magic again. In this novel we explore the lives of elite track cyclists. We learn that the qualities that make people successful on the track, don’t always make them successful in life. We discover that the most important battles are the ones that are fought closest to home, and that sometimes only by slowing down, can you really live life. A great read for the summer, especially as the Olympic torch is being lit!
This book is for those of you have fond memories of your security blanket...or to give to someone who cherishes his or her own. I still remember waiting anxiously by the washer/dryer for my “blankie” to finish its cleaning. I loved wrapping it around me when it was just freshly laundered and still warm and fuzzy. But it didn’t take long for me to take it out to play so that I could dirty it up again and make it smell “just right.”
This book is deceptively simple at first glance. Immediately you are drawn into the bold paintings highlighting different shades of green. But on second glance, you become entranced by the creativity of the cut out sections...marveling at how a butterfly becomes a flower, or an inchworm transforms into paint chip on a faded fence post. Open up the book for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean...the pages pull you through on a magical journey.
Just in time for the Summer Olympics we have another adventurous installment of the sports writing adventures of Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson. This time, though, there is a new twist... Susan Carol is the athlete, and she is off to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London! With appearances by well-known athletes such as Michael Phelps, this is the perfect summer read for your young adult reader. I especially enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look into the life of the athletes and press corps at the Olympic Games.
It's hard to admit in this region of avid gardeners...but, try as I might, I just don't have a green thumb. Plants seem to wither and die when placed in my care. However, this spring I have been determined to plant a garden with my young family...and this book has given me the inspiration and knowledge to do it! There are lots of fascinating projects--each nourishing, beautiful, and educational in their own way--that I have begun to tackle with my boys. This is a perfect spring and summer book for a family with young gardeners.
As with his previous novels for middle-age readers, Scat and Hoot, Carl Hiaasen demonstrates again his well-honed style of mixing adventurous mysteries with wry humor and just the right amount of environmental education to create a page-turning and laugh-out-loud tale. In this story we meet our protagonist, a young boy named Wahoo Cray who sets off to help his real-life animal wrangler father assist a fake Hollywood survivalist when his reality television show tackles the dangers of the Florida Everglades. This book illustrates that what we see on reality TV, is far from real--and reminds us that the relationships we build in real life are the most important.
This is a special book that grabs young readers from the first flip of the page--or should I say, flip of the book? It mixes science with imagination, taking you from the very real to the very unreal, and bringing you back again amazed by the journey. The text and the drawings are both whimsical and detailed. This is the perfect book for a child (or adult) with a keen eye for detail and an appreciation of humor, imagination, and adventure.
Take three kidnapped orphans, add a few false identities, throw in some secret passageways, and top it off with a dash of treason, and you have the recipe for a tasty and exciting novel of adventure. The False Prince is billed as the first installment of the Ascendance Trilogy--and if the next books follow in the footsteps of this one, then we are in for real treat. I hope Ms. Nielsen is busy at her computer, because I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this journey of royal intrigue.
This book tells the inspirational story of William Kamkwamba, who through curiosity, hard work, and determination built a windmill to bring electricity to his drought stricken home in Malawi. For those of you inspired by his biography (with the same name), this is a wonderful vehicle for introducing his story to younger readers.
Just in time for Easter, we have the heartwarming and laugh-out-loud story of Liam the Piglet--who wants to be the Easter Bunny. This is a tale about determination, perseverance, and believing in your dreams despite what others might say. It's a perfect addition to any basket this spring!
This book truly left me "wonderstruck!"Mr. Selznick deftly weaves his beautiful prose and appealing characters with the amazing pencil drawings that were so striking in his last novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. However, this time the drawings add an unexpected storyline of their own. I don't want to give anything away by writing too much, because it is so satisfying to unravel the intricacies of the plot! This is truly a book for all ages...a great read aloud with your children, or gift for for the young-at-heart.
Having grown up just outside of Baltimore in the seventies and eighties, I LOVE that this geography and that era plays such a strong role in Ms. Lippman's novel. The muli-layered story unfolds, both in past and present time, while exploring the long term consequences of the secrets kept and the lies told during the friendships of our youth. The gripping plot will have your turning pages late in the evening.
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and also Scott Westerfield's Uglies Series, then you will enjoy this novel as well. Set in a post-apocolyptic world, this book explores the concept of choice. Is it better to live in a world where the "best" choices are made for you by an all-knowing Society, or in a world in which the freedom to choose is still your own? This is the first book in a planned trilogy, and I'm eagerly awaiting installment #2, Crossed, due out in November. (Young Adult)
Turning the last page of this book was bittersweet for me because I simply did not want to let go of the beautifully developed characters in this book. Delly is a firecracker whose earnest efforts to become good make you laugh out loud. Ferris Boyd is a poignant character who reminds us that we all have something special to give. The children in this book care about each other so deeply and so honestly that it takes your breath away. As she did in Ida B, Katherine Hannigan has deftly captured both the innocence and joy of youth, as well as the challenge and pain of growing up. (3rd grade up)
Oh, such characters! I'd love to sit down with the Moses family at dinner and just listen to them talk, or to join the Moses family children as they play their imaginative spy games across the countryside. Here's a story about a strong family that loves one another through the ups and downs of life. As in all families, each person has his or her own foibles--but they only serve to make them more interesting. Pick it up, and enjoy the homecoming!
A rollicking, rhyming tale that follows the adventures of a young boy who can't leave the house without bringing some critter home from his adventures. This book will appeal to collector's of all ages, and will remind moms everywhere that bugs might make the best pets of all. The fun story coupled with vibrant illustrations would make a wonderful addition to any child's library.
This is the perfect story for your early reader on a hot summer day...and maybe you'll even get to share an ice cream afterwards! If you haven't yet discovered Mo Willems' delightful Elephant & Piggie books, then you are in for a real treat. Mo just plain "gets" the silly humor of children. Although the illustrations and text are deceptively simple, I guarantee that you and your children will be laughing out loud. (We've also discovered in our family that this is a great series for an older sibling to read to younger siblings.)
Before you see the movie, check out out the original classic, and ask yourself, why does this story speak to us across the ages? Could it be that the themes of love and loss resonate strongly even in today's modern world; or, does the strength and character of the heroine still feel ground-breaking and inspiring; or is it something else all together? Immerse yourself in the world of Jane Eyre, and decide for yourself (but let me know too!)
What I enjoyed most about this book was the sweeping insight into the turbulent Haitian past. So much of what Haiti is struggling with today has seeds that were sowed during its time under French colonization, and the country's subsequent quest for independence. The voice of Zarit is singular and her journey is compelling. However, the back drop of Haiti and Louisiana are equally compelling and serve as characters in their own right. This book would be a great choice for a "thinking" summer vacation read!
Is she opinionated? Yes. Does she loudly toot her own horn? Sure (she would be the first one to own up to that!) But, like her or not, Elizabeth Gilbert has a keen eye, a sharp perspective, and a blazing wit. In this memoir she goes on crusade to make peace with the institution of marriage - interviewing women from all corners of the world, combing through decades of data, and sharing insights from her own experiences (and mis-experiences) with love. If you did not enjoy her first memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, then this might not be the book for you. But if you did, go ahead and pick this one up. She'll have you laughing, raging, and thinking about marriage in an entirely new way. This would be a great choice for a book club--as the book is full of thought-provoking topics that would make for spirited conversation!