Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

“Wonder is the best kids’ book of the year,” said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.  R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” (~Amazon.com)

I have recommended this book unabashedly and extravagantly to everyone I know who loves books: my book club, homeschooling families, other moms, and bibliophiles.  Without fail, they all end up buying their own copies for children and grandchildren.  It is the most touching and thought-provoking story of a young boy who has to face challenges many of us would shrink from.  His courage is astonishing, though the story is never mawkish or maudlin.  Instead it is unsentimental and completely believable.  One of my top children’s books of all time!







The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

“A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession–a rare edition of Poe poems–has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Until a most unexpected occurrence gives him the chance to make his life over and see things anew.” (~Amazon.com)

This was a delightful book and a quick read.  It made me think about how ONE event has the power to alter your life completely and how incidents that we think are isolated are really connected under the surface of things.

Things will happen to us because we members of the human family are woven together whether we like it or not.   It’s HOW we respond to the unexpected that  can either lead us to shrink into darkness or open up new doors of possibility and hope.  Delightful book!



The Give-away Garden at the Bottom of the World

I discovered this blog when I read an article in the magazine, Organic NZ, about planting spuds without a lot of digging or hard work.  Anything like that appeals to me! 🙂

So I rummaged around the blog and discovered this priceless article that was so well-written and so beautifully thought-out that I just had to share the link.  http://roadgarden.wordpress.com/category/the-roadside-garden/

Diana Noonan is an author and a gardener, as well as a traveler.  Here’s how she introduces herself: “I’m Diana Noonan, and on the edge of the road outside my house, on a strip of land not owned by anyone, I grow a garden filled with vegetables. Everything in it is free. There are no rules, no regulations, and you can harvest from it whenever you like. This is the story of a garden that grows happiness, here in my village at the bottom of the world. It’s the story of how it began, why it continues, and everything else in between.”

I was so inspired by it that I wrote to her and said, “In a day when people are mostly fearful and grasping, your roadside garden gives me hope. The thoughts that created the garden, the heart that sustains it, and the spirit that enlivens it … all of these add a dimension to gardening that I never saw before. Gardening as an act of social activism; a tribute to the resourceful poor; a fist raised against living small and tight-fisted; a silent elegant experiment in giving and reciprocity.”

We all know gardening is hard work, but Diana lets all her neighbors reap the fruit of her labors and harvest vegetables for free.  I love this way of living with an open hand.

Read her story.  It will get you thinking.

What creative venture could YOU initiate to release butterflies of joy into the world?

Diana Noonan and son, Max, in the  Give-Away Garden.  Source: http://roadgarden.wordpress.com/category/the-roadside-garden/
Diana Noonan and son, Max, in the Give-Away Garden
Source: http://roadgarden.wordpress.com/category/the-roadside-garden/