Friday, July 22, 2011

Where I Live

Hello again, readers!  Guess where I've been busy spending my time?  Check out the books from these past two posts for a BIG hint.  Hopefully, you've had time to catch up on your reading.  I have a few more terrific summer reads to share, and then I'll indulge you with a few books to ward off the first of school jitters.  Happy reading!

Where I Live another book by Frances Wolfe presents beautiful images and descriptions of the seashore.  Re-discover seaside living through a child-like viewpoint.  And unearth the fascinating perspectives of Wolfe's illustrations.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Wish

In One Wish, Frances Wolfe begins:
On a summer's
eve, a long
time ago,
I made one
wish on the brightest star
in a twinkling
night sky.

And from the publisher:
Frances Wolfe's love of the sea is in her blood.  Her home is on the Nova Scotia shore, where her grandfather once fished, and where her family has lived for more than a century.

Of all Frances Wolfe's books, this is our family favorite!  Check it out to see why.  It's a perfect family read for this seaside visiting time of year.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Star-Spangled Banner

When I was a little girl, my favorite holiday was the 4th of July.  Looking back, I'm trying to remember if it beat out Christmas, or if it was a neck and neck holiday tie.  Probably both.  I loved 4th of July picnics, eating juicy, beefy hamburgers slathered in ketchup, mustard, and pickles.  I loved spending time with family, singing patriotic songs, waving American flags, and listening to bands play the national anthem.  But the highlight came after sundown, when the sky lit up with the brilliant sparkles and various colors of fireworks.  I sat mesmerized by the glorious sight, trying to decide which showstopper was my favorite . . . each display exceeding the last . . . and all of them magically synchronized to a patriotic soundtrack.

Take all of this, and imagine the inspiration of our national anthem birthed out of heavy shelling and rocketing bombs.  It happened during the War of 1812, when the British bombarded Baltimore's Fort McHenry for a twenty-five hour stint.  Frances Scott Key penned these resonating words when he spotted our American flag gloriously waving out of the smog and battle's fray.  From the unfurling of that "Star-Spangled Banner" raised over Fort McHenry, we Americans gained a national anthem.  Check out Peter Spier's superb depiction of history in his illustrated book The Star-Spangled Banner (c. 1973).  Spier illustriously represents each stanza of the anthem and provides a concise history in the appendix.

You may also enjoy Peter Spier's We the People: The Constitution of the United States of America (c. 1987). And have a happy 4th of July, dear readers!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

America the Beautiful

Wendell Minor took my breath away with America the Beautiful (c. 2003).  WOW!  There have been very few books that have left me speechless after I've read them.  This is one of them.  At the same time that it left me speechless, it left my heart swelling with pride to be an American.  Minor's watercolor paintings are breathtaking.  From the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida to Heceta Head, Oregon and Yosemite National Park in California to Falmouth Massacusetts, each spread represents a specific region or state in our country, perfectly paired with each verse in this unforgettable anthem.  Minor also provides the fascinating story behind Katharine Lee Bates' poem turned song, complete with concise biographies.  Minor's book reflects our countries majestic landscape in his masterpieces as well as carefully researched text in the appendices.  A jewel to share with your children, don't neglect to check out this brilliant book.