I just noticed that all of these books have a really unique format: poetry+memoir, text+graphic novel, letters, and picture book. I really am loving variety in what I read lately and they are all so wonderful!

1. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie – Wow, what a punch in the guts this memoir was. This is the kind of book that I am unable to read twice. Real life is intense and sometimes you don’t need to make up anything to make a story interesting.

2. The Marvels by Brian Selznick – Of the three graphic novels (Hugo, Wonderstruck, and this one) I think Wonderstruck is my favorite. The Marvels talks about a family of actors and how they came to their demise. It really shows the fine difference between truth and fiction and how we make meaning of what’s around us.

3. Unusual Chickens For the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones – I am a chicken lover so obviously I loved this book. So wonderful! I learned a lot about the care and keeping of chickens. I look forward to the sequel!

4. Mr. And Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath – Polly Horvath is becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved this book! I am really liking the format of the “big storybook,” which is like a grown-up chapter book+picture book. Mr. Bunny kept saying that Madeline has a big bottom! Poor Madeline.

5. Dear Farenheit 451 by Annie Spence – A book written by a bookworm, for bookworms. It was such a fun read! I wish I had a book buddy who read all of the same books as me and wrote their own version. Perhaps it would be called Dear Matilda?


1. Stuart Little by E.B. White – What a strange book. E. B. White’s stories are perverse but his prose is to be admired.

2. The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon – Lately I have been reading a lot of books about kids wanting to go to space or interested in astronomy. This one reminds me of Because of Winn-Dixie. If I were 10 and growing up in Panhandle Florida in the 1970s, I probably would have liked to rope someone into going on an adventure with me.

3. The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh – I loved this book because of how sweet and surprising it is! I couldn’t put it down. This is a case of not judging the book by its cover because I had thought this book was pure fluff, and it turns out that it is actually pretty meaningful and surprising. Did Paula Dean write the recipes?

4. What You Wish For by various authors – I am getting into short stories and some of the ones in this collection are pretty good. It’s really satisfying to read about the wishes being fulfilled in different ways. I, too, wish each child had a protectionist against his or her bully, but more importantly I wish that no child became a bully in the first place. The fact that we wish so much means that we have plenty of work to do.

5. Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr – This is such a sweet book because it’s about two best friends (at first it’s one-sided but SPOILER ALERT: by the end of the book she acknowledges that he is her best friend too) and their shenanigans. Wafflehearts forever! More children’s books should end with the weddings of fringe characters.