Mrs Peachtree

Is there a job where I can get paid to read?

I am a terrible blogger! March 1, 2010

Oh boy. I am so terrible at blogging! It’s been 4 months. Sooo…the NaKnitMo challenge is complete and I did make it to 30,000 stitches.

Another challenge I’ve been participating in is the 3rd Canadian Book Challenge and I’ve been fairly horrible at keeping up with that too! I had originally planned on reading and reviewing Canada’s earliest books for children, published in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. That, unfortunately, would have required quite a bit of reading on the microfiche machine at the library. Since my extra time is limited I figured that I wouldn’t really have enough time to hang around the library reading at the machine. Instead I’ve decided to do graphic novels for kids and teens by Canadian authors and illustrators. I’ve actually read three up to this point so I’ve got an awful lot of catching up to do.

 

Another Challenge November 3, 2009

Filed under: Knitting,NaKnitMo2009 — Mrs. Peachtree @ 11:43 am

I’m taking part in NaKnitMo during the month of November. Basically, the idea is that I’m trying to knit 30,000 stitches during the month. So far I’ve been working on the Woodland Shawl and Margot. The shawl needs to be finished by November 19th because I want to wear it to this year’s Canadian Children’s Literature Awards. Margot needs to be finished for Christmas for a very special someone who I don’t think reads this blog (but I’m not gonna say just in case!). I need to find the battery charger for my camera but once I do I will post some photos of the projects.

2,820 stitches down, 27,180 to go!

 

My Big “Celebrity” Moment June 18, 2009

Sometime back in 2007 I was at Mabel’s Fables bookstore in Toronto browsing for an interesting book. There was only one other customer in the store who also appeared to be browsing and the owner of the shop, who approached me to ask if I needed help choosing something to read. She indicated the stack of Kit Pearson novels and asked if I had ever read any of them. Of course, I had read all of them multiple times as a child and loved every single one of them so I gushed a little bit about how much I loved them and about how my husband had just bought me the only one I hadn’t read as a child and that I always recommended them to kids who asked me what they should read next. To all this gushing the store owner replied “Well in that case I’d like you to meet someone…” Of course the other shopper in the store was actually Kit Pearson!!! She happened to be in town signing copies of her newest work A Perfect Gentle Knight and she had just heard me gush all about her writing. Teehee. I’m sure I turned a lovely shade of red and babbled incoherently. There is just something about meeting an author whose books fed your childhood imagination that is so exciting.

Kit Pearson’s novels are absolutely timeless and A Perfect Gentle Knight is no exception. Set in the late 1950s, it is the story of Corrie and her family as they struggle to achieve some sense of normalcy after the death of their mother in a car accident. Corrie and her siblings have immersed themselves in a game of knights and King Arthur’s Round Table but at 14, Corrie’s older brother Sebastian should be losing interest in childish games and moving on to pursue new interests in high school. Instead he seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into the game. In this work Pearson has examined mental illness in an extremely effective and sensitive manner that is accessible to younger readers without being overwhelming or scary. In a world where more and more people, especially young people, seem to be grappling with mental illness I think that a story like this one is an important tool for opening up discussions about the topic and for reassurance that there is nothing to be ashamed of in mental illness.

Even though this work, as well as most of Pearson’s other works, are set in the past, the story does not seem dated at all. Despite the numerous references to events and phenomenons from the ’50s, there is no sense that the story is “old” at all. I loaned my copy to a 12-year-old girl at the school where I work and she absolutely adored it. She is now in the process of seeking out and reading all of Pearson’s other work. Apparently I’ve become a Kit Pearson “pusher”…look out…I’ll convert you all!

 

Oops! May 2, 2009

Filed under: Canadian Book Challenge,School — Mrs. Peachtree @ 2:50 pm

Okay, I promised myself that I’d post two reviews in April to make up for being so very behind on my reviews but I didn’t do it. I only posted one review in April and I forgot to let John know so it doesn’t appear in the 10th Book Challenge update! Should I try for three reviews in May? I will finally be graduating (June 30th) and my courses finish May 20th so it’s a busy month but I guess all I can do is try.

 

This Book is Peanut Free April 15, 2009

That is the claim on the cover of Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen but it’s not entirely accurate since in the very first chapter we witness three bullies slip a peanut into Ambrose’s sandwich and nearly kill him. A severe peanut allergy and the fact that his father died before he was even born mean that twelve-year-old Ambrose has to move whenever his mother gets a new teaching job, that he never really has any friends, and that he never gets to eat out at a restaurant. Things start to look up when his landlords’ son Cosmo moves home after being in prison. Unfortunately, Ambrose’s over-protective mother does not approve of Cosmo at all. Much sneaking around and hilarity ensues and Ambrose manages to make his mother see that she may just need to learn to relax.

I really enjoyed this novel and I think that kids will too. Ambrose is hopelessly nerdy, so much so that you groan at the situations he gets himself into. With a neighbour and friend like Cosmo, however, there is hope that Ambrose can reduce the number of groan-out-loud situations.

 

Nothing to say…just grumbling March 13, 2009

Filed under: School — Mrs. Peachtree @ 1:39 pm

I can’t wait to be finished with school so I can read what I want! I’m just having a generally grumpy day because it’s gorgeous and sunny out and all I want to do is read one of the zillions of great books on my “to read” list. Instead I’m stuck reading and doing assignments for school. Blah.

 

Banned Together February 25, 2009

I attended an event last night called Banned Together in support of Freedom to Read Week. It was a lovely evening where many authors, publishers, and readers read from their favourite banned or challenged book. I have to say that I recognized the majority of the books having read them as a child and not even realizing that they had ever been banned or challenged! I am ever so grateful that my parents and my school librarians and teachers never, ever told me what I should or should not read. Not once was I ever told that a book I had selected was “age inappropriate”. I am so grateful for this because I’m pretty certain that my voracious reading habits ensured that I made it through elementary and secondary school even though I rarely did any homework and often felt lost and stupid. I know for a fact that I read books that contained foul language, sex and other things that many adults feel that children should never hear anything about. I also know that I self-censored, which I think most kids are more than capable of doing. If something is over their heads or too much to handle, kids will simply put down that book and read something else. I know that I read a lot of novels that were intended for adult reading when I was in my “tweens” and I know that most of the time I just thought, “Gee, this book doesn’t make any sense…I wonder why everyone thinks its so great?”. I have since gone on to reread those titles as an adult and they make ever so much more sense these days!

The highlights of the evening for me were Tim Wynne-Jones reading from Brian Doyle’s Angel Square and two authors (I’m terrible for not remembering their names! Leave a comment if you know who they were!) who read from six of Judy Blume’s books; Tiger Eyes, Deenie, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, Forever…, Then Again Maybe I Won’t, and Blubber. I am a huge fan of Tim Wynne-Jones’ work and I read my first short story written by him in Owl Magazine, probably when I was about 12 or 13. The story was Some of the Kinder Planets and it appeared later on in an anthology of short stories by the same name. I also vividly remember reading Brian Doyle’s Angel Square around the same time. I can actually remember lying on my bed reading the book in the evening after school. It was winter so it was dark out already. Obviously those stories made some impression on me since I generally have a memory like a sieve!

As for Judy Blume – what teenage girl’s life is complete without reading Blume’s entire canon of work? I remember reading and rereading all of her novels. They are so incredibly honest and it is so comforting to read a story about a kid who is just like you and has the same problems as you and is experiencing the same problems you are experiencing.

This is the first year I’ve done anything for Freedom to Read Week and I’m really glad I did. The importance of the cause is absolutely enormous and as someone who hopes someday to work in a school or public library with young people I think it is important for me to be an advocate for children’s rights to read and express themselves freely. I will be participating in Pelham Public Library’s Banned Book Challenge in an effort to become more aware of what kinds of materials people are challenging and what is being done to ensure the freedom to read. I have only set myself a goal of 5 books because of time constraints but I will certainly be reading more than that in the years to come!