Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The All-New Readerbuzz




For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy ReadsTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

My Want-To-Read List

Here's my Want-to-Read list from Goodreads:

Classic Lit A to Z: A Babylit(r) Alphabet Primer by Jennifer Adams

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Notes from a Public Typewriter by Michael Gustafson

On Thomas Merton by Mary Gordon

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Bashō

Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chödrön

Bookforms: A complete guide to designing and crafting hand-bound books by Center for Book Arts

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle

Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi by Jamie Cat Callan

A Bite-Sized History of France: Delicious, Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment by Stephane Henaut

Happy: The Journal by Fearne Cotton

Five on a Treasure Island (Famous Five, #1) by Enid Blyton

Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake by Maida Heatter

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy 

The Weight of a Piano by Chris Cander

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario Giordano

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

What do you want to read?
I hope you will share your wishes in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Best Reading Week Ever

I finished five books last week. Five wonderful books.

Have I ever had such a wonderful reading week?

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I heard it called the world's best known soap opera. I heard it called the world's greatest novel.

It's the world's greatest novel.

It's a brilliant intertwining of characters, characters who are as fully human as you can ever get on the page. There is Dolly Oblonsky, a matronly wife who has lost her husband's affections and doesn't know why and doesn't know what to do. There's her husband, Stiva Oblonsky, the womanizing yet charming fellow who can't stop flirting with women and can't manage money. There is Kitty Alexandrovna, the woman at the height of her beauty who is intrigued with the easily-bored Count Alexei Vronsky. There is Konstantin Levin, a country farmer, confused about life, estranged from religion, and deeply taken with the young Kitty. There is Alexei Karenin, the dutiful husband who seeks guidance about what is right. And there is Anna Karenina herself, the title character, who is swept up in a mad romance with Count Vronsky, and has to deal with the consequences, a situation where no move is a happy one for herself or for anyone else.

I was especially taken with Konstantin Levin and his anguished search for truth and happiness, in his work relations with others, in the choosing of his wife, in his philosophy of life. I will never forget the final paragraph of this book, a paragraph that deeply resonates with me, lines from Levin as he finally is able to put together everything he has learned into a wonderful personal philosophy of life:

"I shall go on in the same way, losing my temper with Ivan the coachman, falling into angry discussions, expressing my opinions tactlessly; there will be still the same wall between the holy of holies of my soul and other people, even my wife; I shall still go on scolding her for my own fright and being remorseful for it; I shall still be as unable to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying; but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but it has the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put into it."

I can see that I am going to be pushing everyone I meet to read this book. I apologize in advance. It's, after all, over eight hundred pages. But it's worth it. It's definitely worth it.

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds

The Iliad: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds

The Iliad is a cautionary tale for our time. 

It's an old story, from around the twelfth century B.C. and the reader can't help but feel glad we don't live in times such as these. Men grow angry with each other. They steal others' possessions. They seek vengeance for wrongs done to them. They attack each other, and they are vicious in their attacks, slashing with spears, brutally killing and maiming. They go to war against each other, and their wars last for years. They relish the cruelty they do to others. They seek the help of the gods, who are just as petty and vindictive as the humans themselves.

Yes, it's an old story, and the reader can't help but feel glad we don't live in times such as these, times we slash out at our opponents, times we delight in the cruelty we inflict on others, times we seek to build walls to protect ourselves, walls that oh-so-easily tumble and fall when the violence breaks out between conflicting tribes.

This book is a cautionary tale.

A Year in Paris by John Baxter

A Year in Paris: Season-by-Season in the City of Light by John Baxter

There may be no better guide through Paris than John Baxter. He is an outsider and an insider, able to look at Paris with both the objective viewpoint of an onlooker and the heart of a Paris lover who has been invited to partake of the secret joys of the Paris life. He is a researcher and a writer who can combine the history of Paris with present-day Paris, the intellectualism of Paris with the bawdiness of Paris, the glory of Paris with the horrors of Paris, the reality of Paris with the mystery of Paris.

Baxter formats A Year in Paris around the seasons, and he travels between the past and the present day to create a rich portrait of the city. Baxter draws upon the new calendar created by ne-er-do-well Philippe Fabre d'Eglantine after the peasant revolt of 1789 to underpin the seasonal rhythms of the book, and he shares story-after-little-known-fascinating-story about Paris people, Paris places, Paris events.

It's a joy and a delight of a book.

Where Birdie Lives by Elena Tsvetaeva

Where Birdie Lives by Elena Tsvetaeva

"Hi birdie! Are you flying home? Where do you live?"

A huge, friendly dog follows birdie and tries to discover where birdie lives. The pictures zoom in close to apples and leaves and lily pads and burrows and trees, with little flaps for lifting, so children can experiment and check themselves and play while reading this little board book.

It's a beautiful little adventure, with a satisfying ending, that children will want to read over and over with a parent or caretaker.

The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo

The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo

A grumpy African grey parrot who plucks his feathers. A twelve-year-old boy who longs to become a doctor and who has recently lost both his grandfather and his father. An elderly woman who loves to dance and bake pies and who writes letters to her dead husband.

Are there any three characters in fiction less likely than these to appear together in a children's story? Are there any three characters less likely to develop a relationship with each other? Are there any three characters less likely to have a happily-ever-after ending?

It took me a while to warm up to Alastair (the African grey), Fritz (the boy), and Aggie (the elderly woman), but but, as soon as I did, I fell in love with them all. Each has strong drives: Alastair wants to free himself and his sister from their dismal life in a gloomy pet store and fly away to live in a palm tree. Fritz wants to become a medical doctor and he is working at the pet store to save up enough money to buy a parrot. Aggie is deeply lonely after her husband dies and her only son moves away, and she longs for a pet that will be good company for her.

The story is told from all three points of view (Aggie, Fritz, and Alastair), and it's told through three different genres (Aggie writes letters to her dead husband, Fritz writes journal entries, and Alastair writes poetry). It's a rich story, with deeply flawed characters who (yes, even the parrot) are decidedly human. You won't find a fresher approach to a children's book this year.

What did you read last week?
What are you reading now?

What is the Sunday SalonImagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've
wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them,and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound
 journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....That's what happens
at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their
own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly,
mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. Click here to join the Salon.

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news and recap the past week.

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week. 
 It is now being hosted here.

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which you can share the books you've acquired.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!
This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read”
book will come from! I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at The Book Date.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

24 in 48 Readathon

I've never seriously tried to do this, and this weekend is probably not going to be my best weekend to try to do this, but, what-the-heck? I'm in. So what if I only get a few hours's all good.

What is 24 in 48, you ask? 

If you’re new to 24in48, this is the basic gist: beginning at 12:01am (official timezone is EST) on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, participants read for 24 hours out of that 48-hour period.

You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between. You can pause as much as you need, enjoy regularly scheduled weekend activities, nap, stop for dance breaks with your kids or pets or neighbors. Whatever works for you.
And that’s it. The format never changes but it’s always an adventure. Take a look at the home page for more information.

It's always fun to prepare, so here's my carefully curated stack of books:

Beautiful, but perhaps a bit hard to read.

Let me zoom in.

Here's the list, from bottom to top:
Crepes by Suzette (children's picture book)
Cozy Minimalist Home (design book with lots of pictures)
I am Gandhi (graphic novel)
Marilla of Green Gables (novel)
Christian Meditation (64-page how-to)
Something New by Lucy Knisley (graphic novel)
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (memoir written in poetry)
Classic Lit A to Z (board book)
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks (book of quotations)
Eat Sleep Sit: My Year at Japan's Most Rigorous Zen Temple (memoir)
Buttertea at Sunrise: A Year in the Bhutan Himalaya (travel memoir)
Death of a Salesman (play)
1001 Ways to Be Creative (book of lists)
Wistawa Szymborska: Poems New and Collected (poetry)


That's a wonderful epigraph for a memoir.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Jonathan Lethem and Gary Shteyngart

Why did I venture out on a cold, rainy Houston night to hear two authors I've never read?

How can I resist an author reading?

In any case, here I am. And I'm on the front row. The crowd is thin, a tenth of those who came to see Barbara Kingsolver last month.

Lethem reads from his latest book, The Feral Detective, and Shteyngart reads from his latest book, Lake Success, and they are both interviewed by a faculty member at UH.

They speak about their books, but they spend more time talking about our troubles in the larger world. Jonathan Lethem: "Trump cannot be both the symptom and the cause of our despair." Gary Shteyngart: "It's being spoken aloud. This is a catastrophe that started a long time ago."

I leave two hours later, and, oddly, I don't want to read either of their books, and yet I feel strangely enriched by the reading.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn't Get To

4 of 10...I didn't do very well last year.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

#ReadYourWorld: It's Multicultural Children's Book Day 2019!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 is in its sixth year. It was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. 

The mission of Multicultural Children's Book Day is"to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries."

What are multicultural children's books?

Multicultural children’s books are:
  • Books that contain characters of color as well as main characters that represent a minority point of view.
  • Books written by an author of diversity or color from their perspective. Search #ownvoices to discover diverse books written by diverse authors.
  • Books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions. These books can be non-fiction, but still written in a way that kids will find entertaining and informative.
  • Books that embrace special needs or even “hidden disabilities” like ADHD, ADD, and anxiety.

Celebrating diversity is a huge part of my job as a book blogger, librarian, and reader.

I'll never forget the first day I walked into my first library in Houston ISD, a school that was listed as over 80% Hispanic, with one third of the students enrolled in bilingual education. When I asked about books that were in Spanish, I was shown to a tiny section of three small bookshelves. How sad, I thought, and finding diverse books became my mission.

My second school library is located in the Texas Medical Center and is exceptionally diverse, with over fifty different languages spoken in the home. Again, I sought out books that were in all fifty languages, a very challenging job.

My third school library is in my hometown, and again I faced the job of finding books in Spanish for our large bilingual population. This school is a PreK-2 only school, and the importance of having many beautiful books in Spanish for young readers is critical.

How happy I am this year to be asked to review two books for young children in Spanish and English!

Travel around the Spanish-speaking world in ¡Números, Baby! by Lisa Hall and Golzar Kheiltash. Every young child loves a counting book, and you couldn't find a more perfect counting book for young Spanish-speaking children than this. For very young children, the pictures and text work as an ideal book for counting in Spanish and English. For slightly older children, the pictures and text work as an introduction to Spanish culture around the world. In the book, children can experience intriguing sites and events in the native cultures of Peru (the Nazca Lines), Panama (Desfile de las Mil Polleras), Costa Rica (Parque Nacional Volcan Arenal), Bolivia (Salar de Uyuni), Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala (Festival de Barriletes Gigantes), Spain, and Argentina. All this in a little board book with only a few words of text on each page. Delightful!

For more information on the book, take a look at the Baby Ventures Books website or Amazon.

¡Bienvenido al mundo bebe! opens with Tariq's mom having a baby,. Tariq is eager to share with his teacher and his class how the family celebrated the arrival of Tariq's new baby brother. The teacher decides to use this experience as a jumping-off point for the class to share the ways their diverse families celebrated the arrival of new babies in their cultures. One girl brings a little red egg, and explains that the red color is an offering of good luck to a new baby. A boy shares an aloe leaf with the other students who taste the bitterness of the leaf, and then offers a pot of honey to the children who then taste the sweetness, a lesson to the new baby that life can be both bitter and sweet. Many other traditions are shared in the story, and readers can enjoy learning about the many ways new babies are celebrated around the world. As an added bonus, this book is available in twenty-eight different languages. Finding a story about the beautiful diverse traditions of welcoming a new baby into the world that is available in so many different languages is a delight.

For more information about the book, take a look at Language Lizard or Amazon.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here:
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here:

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. 

View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s EyesDescendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

 Read Your World Music Video

Music Video: MCBD has its first ever music video! How cool is that? Thank you to Annie Lynn and Walt Wilcezewski for donating their time and expertise to create our first official Read Your World Music Video. View it here and you may see some familiar faces and books!

Multicultural Children's Book Day Poster

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Experimenting with Sweet Empanadas

I made my first batch of empanadas when I was sixteen. They were savory, with ground beef and olives and raisins, and I loved them. I make savory empanadas all the time.

Sweet empanadas? Nope, that's new to me. But when my d-in-law asked if I'd make some for a family gathering, I thought I'd experiment.

I tried two types of dough. One (left) was a traditional buttery pastry dough. The other (right) had a cream cheese base.

I used four kinds of fillings (l to r): pumpkin, blueberry, pineapple-jalapeno, and raspberry.

I sprinkled some with sugar, and I used an egg wash on others.

My conclusions? 
*I liked the pastry dough better than the cream cheese. 
*Of the four fillings, I liked the pineapple-jalapeno best. 
*And the sugar sprinkled empanadas were better than those that were egg-washed.

I will make these again.

For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy ReadsTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2018

Holly Black
I was not expecting a story with so much depth.
I wonder if her other books are as well written.

Barbara Pym
This book was my favorite book of 2018.
Slyly humorous. With a quietly bold main character.

Jane Austen
No excuse for this.

Travis Jonker
Don't you love it when a person you know publishes a book? 
And it turns out to be a wonderful book?

Juana Martinez-Neal
One of my favorite books of last year. 
Let's hope Ms. Martinez-Neal is busily writing away.

Meg Wolitzer
(embarrassed) I thought Meg Wolitzer wrote...uh-hem...romance novels.
I'm sorry, Meg.

Yasunari Kawabata
I have two more books of his awaiting me.

Gaston Leroux
I finally got around to Phantom of the Opera.

John Kennedy Toole
If you love New Orleans, you need to read this one.
You will never meet such a wonderful cast of characters.

Anton Chekhov
I hope to read more Chekhov later this year.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.