Travel Musings and Annual Summer Blog Hiatus Announcement

I travel for Five main reasons:

 

  • Curiosity
  • Connection
  • Continued learning/growth
  • Culinary exploration
  • Creativity

And this summer, I am adding a sixth – the Curative properties of travel!

 

Though I am so grateful for the little apartment I have inhabited the past 18 months in cycling distance of work, my nomadic soul still tugs at my heart. Travel breaks the routine and prevents me calcifying in the known and comfortable. I travel to see new places, meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and to encounter different cultures, cuisines and landscapes. But I also travel for the way that travel changes me. I travel to expand my boundaries and to expose myself to other ways of seeing the world. I believe travel can change us into better people. Travel is also a great way to pick up new story ideas, especially as bus, train, ferry, biking, swimming and hiking are part of my plans, not just flying. 

Additionally, this summer I am traveling with a conscious goal of healing. Heartbreak sucks! And we have pretty much all experienced it at some level. It can be crippling but it can also unleash raw emotion and creativity that can be channeled into new projects and people. Breakups cloud minds, but love is an adventure — as is life. Loss of love doesn’t mean loss of life; it just means we will have a different kind of adventure, one with ourself for a season until we are ready for romantic love again. Traveling to new places offers me a fresh perspective that I hope will enable me to rewrite my story, rediscover who I am, and maybe discover new things about myself (I plan on trying something I have never done before.) We are never to old for self-discovery. Sure, it can be a physical escape and a distraction, but more than that, for me travel and all those new and renewed encounters nourish a living-in-the-moment mentality. And if I will slow down and breathe, can allow the beautiful earth to exert its powers of renewal on my soul. Solo travel is empowering, and I know I need to reclaim the control that I relinquished of my wonderful destiny. 

All this to say,  as always, Miss Marple’s Musings will be taking a two-month SUMMER BLOG HIATUS. I am heading west to the Bay Area for a month or so, where I find the Mediterranean landscape and vibe very soothing. This will include some cool cat-sitting gigs and certainly some kid lit gatherings. Then a few weeks in Colorado. Sun, ocean, mountains, old and new friends await me, as does my work-in-progress! If you live near San Francisco or Denver and want to meet up, drop me a line! And if you want to follow my travels, please do so on my FB or Instagram accounts. During your own travels this summer, even if it is a staycation, I wish you an abundance of serendipitous moments. 

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Love is Love – PPBF and #Pride Month

Title: Love is Love

Author: Michael Genhart

Illustrator: Ken Min

 Publisher: Little Pickle Press, June 2018

Ages: 4-7

Themes: pride, alternative family, two dads, bullying, lgbtqia+

 

Opening:

I’ve got a problem.
Today some kids were laughing at my shirt. 

They were teasing me for wearing it.
One of the kids said my shirt was gay.

Synopsis:

A boy confides in a friend that he doesn’t know what to say when he’s teased for having two dads, and when kids say that they’re not a real family. In their conversation, his friend helps him see how her family (with a mom and a dad) isn’t all that different from his: they both have parents who love them, and they both love their parents. And it’s love that makes a family.

Why I like this book:

This talks about bullying kids of gay parents have endured and reaches the conclusion that “Love is the same. Wherever you live. Whoever you are. And whomever you love.” The illustrations are very inclusive, and I like the rainbow-kite development, staring with kites in the distance, first red, then orange, then yellow, etc. These kites end up forming a heart in rainbow colors in the sky when the various children and their families come together at the end of the book.

I would have liked more of a storyline, but the clear message is reinforced by extensive backmatter with conversation prompts and further affirmation of queer families and identity. “Gay” is used as a default or umbrella term, and I would love to see picture books include expressions of “trans,” “nonbinary,” “bisexual,” identities too. This is more an educational text than a story time text, but for that it is very valuable and a resource I would add to an elementary classroom library.

Activities/resources:

Excellent back matter to use in a classroom discussion. And a note to teachers/parents/caregivers about bullying and terminology. Plus an extensive list of further resources.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

Posted in Book recommendation, Bullying, children's books, Children's literature, Diverse Children's Books, LGBTQIA, Perfect Picture Book Friday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monster & Mouse Go Camping – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Monster & Mouse Go Camping

Written  by: Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by: Jared Champman

Publisher: HMH, June 2018

Ages: 4-8

Themes: camping, friendship, adventure, monsters, mice, acceptance, resourcefulness. 

Opening:

Monster was having a snack when Mouse burst through the front door.
“Let’s go camping,” she said.
What’s camping?” Monster asked.
“Camping is great!” Mouse said. “You walk in the woods. You sleep in a tent. You tell spooky stories.”

Synopsis:

It takes a little convincing, but with the promise of food, Monster decides to join Mouse on a camping trip. Things quickly go awry when Mouse takes off to explore, because, well, Monster gets hungry. He starts with just a little snack—the lantern. And the sleeping bags are hard to resist. Then the tent . . .

Stranded in the wild with no supplies, what are a monster and a mouse to do?
 
Why I like this book:

Mouse, she is bold, and Monster is a somewhat less adventurous guy but willing to try anything pretty much as long as food is involved. This is a laugh-out-loud story with a sweet “aw” moment of reciprocity in the middle and a completely satisfying fun ending that will make you want to pack your bags for your next camping trip in the woods. 

It’s a great story about friendship, adventure, acceptance and resourcefulness with lovely bold illustrations, especially of nighttime in the woods. This is a great read-aloud to kick off summer.

Activities/resources:

Have students recount any camping adventures they have had, and maybe combine a list together of camping essentials for a trip!

Check out this interview I did with the author a couple of years ago.

The National Park Service has some great camping tips here.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

 

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Friday, picture book | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments