Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School

The kids started school today ... and it was hard getting up early this morning. But everyone got out the door on time, and we even had time to pray all together as a family. We usually do this in the evenings, but I like this new schedule with my husband bringing the children to school, and me doing the afternoon pick-up.

As befits a school post, I had my son write out his thoughts about a couple of books we've been reading.

A Whole Lot of Lucky by Danette Howarth is an interesting book about how a relatively poor girl named Hailee wins the lottery and her family suddenly becomes very rich. She gets lots of stuff like computers, smartphones, and new clothes, things she's never had before. However, her parents transfer her to a private school and suddenly she realizes how much she liked her old public school. She has to learn that not all luck is good and that not all change is bad. It is a very good book because it shows how you can be happy without having the latest toys. Hailee has to learn that her best friend is better than her new friends, even though her new friends are a lot richer and have more stuff. The ending is happy.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is about a spy who gets caught by the Nazis in France during WWII. She bargains with them so that she may live. The interrogator agrees, provided she tells them confidential information on paper. Meanwhile resistance fighters rescue her pilot, Maddie. As Verity weaves her tale on paper, which is funny and heartbreaking, we learn about her and Maddie. I liked the writing because Verity never really dwells on her capture. She just tells the story of how she came to be here because of the Nazis or "idiot fascists." The book has many twists and turns and the ending is sadly surprising. It made me laugh and cry.

Both kids have been reading a lot and I've had to confiscate books from them so that they got their chores done in a timely manner. You'd think I wouldn't have to do this anymore, but we are all a bookish bunch. My thanks go to Danette for writing A Whole Lot of Lucky and to Christina for sending me her book. When we pray the rosary, we often pray that God will protect us from the worship of material things, and this book is spot on for showing this. Relationships are far more important.

Code Name Verity has got to be the BEST fiction I've read this year. Hands down! I love historical fiction, but to have a book where I have to revise everything I thought I knew as I read the second half is brilliant. I was never once confused, but the sense of adventure and mystery remained, not to mention the deep friendship between these two brave young women. I've read a few WWII books, but never one that features female pilots or their contributions. This is a book I will read again. Thank you, Ms. Wein for writing this book.

Other things I've been reading Word Among Us. A friend prompted me to get a subscription, and after reading some of their reflections online for a month, I did. The little magazine is perfect to have at home when I don't make it to daily Mass. It has all the Scripture readings as well.

Another friend gave us a subscription to Latin Mass Magazine, and I am floored by the in-depth articles. We shall definitely resubscribe. I also like the FSSP newsletter.

For those of you gearing up for school, don't you just love the smell of new notebooks and pens and pencils? I'm looking forward to having more time to write during the day, making some submissions, and having some acceptances. I have a lovely little Bear Card from Highlights (they ask to bear with them as they review a story). They are a class act, through and through. If any of you get a chance to go to any of their writing workshops, do it. It's a great investment.

Here's wishing you all a great school year, and I hope we grow not only in knowledge but also virtue and holiness.


Marcia said...

I've started Code Name Verity, but I hadn't heard about A Whole Lot of Lucky. The harder I try to keep up, the behinder I fall! So now I just try to enjoy the books that come my way. Will check this one out.

Happy fall schedule to you all!

Faith E. Hough said...

I'm almost half-way through Code Name Verity now, and my writer brain is definitely going crazy taking craft and plotting notes already.
Ah, new notebooks. I'll be getting mine today, I think. :)

Bish Denham said...

The only thing I liked about school was getting new school supplies! I need to read Code Name Verity for sure.

Happy First Day of School.

Mirka Breen said...

Here's to you, Mama Vijaya, as another school year starts! (For me it means more time for writing and reading...)

Danette Haworth said...

Dear Vijaya's son,

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to write a review about my new book, A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY.

I'm glad you finished by saying the ending is happy. I try to write fiction that feels real, and I always want my readers to know that things can change and there's always hope.

I liked your review!
Danette Haworth

Vijaya said...

Marcia, Lucky is written by our own Blueboarder Danette Howarth. It's hard to keep up with all the good books being published. I don't even try ...

Faith, I was thinking exactly like that ... how did *she* pull that off! Voice is great in CNV. Hooray for new notebooks!

Bish, I've still not forgotten the feel of a new fountain pen every school year, and how smoothly the ink ran ...

Mirka, school means lots and lots of writing for me too. Also reading during the day with no interruptions. Of course, it's all research.

Danette, thank you for stopping by. I'm a big fan of realistic fiction and I love that you end on hope. That's essential in children's fiction, I think. Give me faith, hope and love.