Archive for books

Top Five Children’s Authors

With a three-year-old and an 18-month-old at home, I spend a lot of time reading children’s books. And loving it! There are so many good authors out there, but sometimes when I get to the library I feel stuck. So I thought it seemed like a good time to document, in no particular order, some of the authors we enjoy reading together the most.

1. Janet and Allan Ahlberg: author and illustrator of delightful books such as “Peek-A-Boo” and “Each Peach Pear Plum,” we are happy to have this couple at home on our bookshelf. My sister loved “Each Peach Pear Plum” as a toddler and wanted to read and reread it so often that all I can remember about it is hating its redundancy. Nine months pregnant and in the board book aisle at Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena, though, it was the first book to draw me in. The simple rhymes and fanciful pictures combined with the play on characters kids are already familiar with make it a winner. The girls also love their other books, such as “The Baby’s Catalogue,” which documents in pictures the things and people and activities that make up a day in the life of five different babies. What baby doesn’t love to look at pictures of babies? Read the rest of this entry »


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Anne Lamott is coming to town

One of my favorite essayists, Anne Lamott, is coming to Pasadena tomorrow (Wednesday, March 28). She will be speaking at All Saints Episcopal Church (you know, the one that made the news for its sermon during the last presidential election). Wess and I are going to see her and I would invite anyone who lives in Southern California and reads this in the next 24 hours to join us!

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Reflections on Home Ownership

My ninth graders are currently reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and I am using ideas from a well-developed curriculum from northern California to guide instruction. Today I had my students begin class writing a response to the following question from this unit: Read the rest of this entry »

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MVHS Faculty Bookclub

My colleague and friend Chris and I recently initiated a staff book club to mixed reviews of our fellow teachers. In the end, what spurred the birth of this meeting was a presentation by Kelly Gallagher, author of Reading Reasons, at a class we took through our school district over the summer. The idea had been resting in the back of my mind for several years, however, waiting for the right moment to arrive. When I was in college at Malone, I had several favorite female professors who met regularly for book discussions and meals. The idea sat well with me; all I needed was another book enthusiast to join me. I was, therefore, quite excited by the opportunity to do this at my current school with interested colleagues. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chicken “Barleycorn” Soup

One of my mother’s favorite cookbooks when I was a kid was Jane Brody’s Good Food Book published in 1985. The subtitle is “Living the High-Carbohydrate Way,” which I love on so many levels. As food fads go in and out, I pay little attention to most of the hype. And as a (mostly) vegetarian, I can’t nutritionally buy into much of it anyway. So I choose to live “the high carbohydrate way” and enjoy it. This cookbook has a lot of great quickbreads and desserts, as well as some great salads. I also happen to love the soups, and this is where my vegetarianism falters. Here is the recipe for a favorite soup which I am making tomorrow (with organic, free range chicken of course). Read the rest of this entry »

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