Mom and Me Reviews: You are Enough

This book explains how people are different, and how being different doesn’t make you less. The book’s inspiration is Sofia Sanchez.

You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion: O'Hair, Margaret, Sanchez, Sofia,  Cardoso, Sofia: 9781338630749: Books

First Line: “No two people are exactly the same.”

Summary: This book explains how people are different, and how being different doesn’t make you less. The book’s inspiration is Sofia Sanchez.



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Conor: one head nod
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Mama Lala

Their Thoughts: Maggie liked this book because it was a “feel good” book. “It makes a point. You should feel good about yourself no matter what– no matter how you look or how you talk, as long as you are yourself. It shouldn’t matter what other people think about you, it should matter what you think about yourself.”

My Thoughts: This book was a great conversation starter. It covered many topics, or types of people who might feel excluded. We were able to talk about all of those, but we focused on the inspiration of this book (sofia sanchez) and what makes her different, and some times excluded. Sofia Sanchez is a child with Down syndrom. Like many people, my kiddos didn’t quite understand what that meant. Luckily for us, the book has some information in the back to help explain all the “big” questions.

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

What’s Ashley Reading?: Magazines on Libby

Magazines on Libby!

Recently I have been working my way through the collection of history magazines on the library’s Libby app. The three I mostly read are History Revealed, All About History and BBC History. Each one has a wide variety of topics, beautiful colored pictures and interesting articles from historians plus book recommendations! There is a backlog of several years of each of these magazines plus special editions.

But there is so much more on Libby if you are not interested in history. We have magazines that cover all ranges of topics. Recently, as I am trying to plan a trip, I found travel magazines (Britain and Discover Britain) with interesting insights into sights, hotels and tips for travelers.

And for all the Star Wars fans we have a wide collection of magazines covering the original trilogy to the newer additions. Or maybe some crafting inspiration? We have those magazines too. Check out Libby on your phone, tablet or computer to see everything available to you free from your Derby Public Library.

Courtney’s Book Chat: Eventown

Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu

First Line: Jenny Horowitz likes horses and the color pink and asking lots of questions about things I don’t want to talk about.

Summary: Eventown follows eleven-year-old Elodee as her family moves to Eventown to get away from the difficult year and memories they are trying to forget. While Eventown seems nearly perfect at first, Elodee soon discovers that this perfection could mean giving up more than she realized.

My Thoughts: Elodee is a great character. She is fun but flawed and has a rich internal conflict. I  also really enjoyed her voice. It encapsulated the dreamy and magical nature of Eventown, but being in first person, Elodee still sounded like a eleven-year-old, which closely showed her hopes and struggles.

This book was also layered, and I really enjoyed seeing the various threads come together, including the foreshadowing and intentional gaps that line up to reveal what Elodee’s family is trying to forget. And when they did, it makes for an emotional climax. This book sensitively shows kids that all emotions are important, even those that are difficult and easy to run away from.

Eventown is magical, heartwarming story that sensitively portrays grief and accepting your emotions all while weaving together an interesting plot and compelling protagonist.

Mom and Me Reviews: This is Not That Kind of Book

In this book, the characters discuss (and argue over) what kind of book this is, and what should be happening in the story.

This Is Not That Kind of Book: Healy, Christopher, Mantle, Ben:  9780525580294: Books
This is Not That Kind of Book by Christopher Healy, Illustrated by Ben Mantle

First Line: “Hey! This is not an alphabet book!”

Summary: In this book, the characters discuss (and argue over) what kind of book this is, and what should be happening in the story.



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Conor: Constant engaged chatter
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Mama Lala

Their Thoughts: Conor seemed to enjoy this book, or, at least, he had a lot to say. When asked what he thought about this book he nodded his head and said, “Yep!”. Maggie said this book reminded her of Elephant and Piggie. I’m guessing that it reminded her specifically of Elephant and Piggie’s We are In a Book, because it breaks the 4th wall. She also said that the book was fun to read, and that it’s funny the character “A” only said “a” words.

My Thoughts: This is a fun and different book. The apple reminded me of Groot from Guardiands of the Galaxy (it only says one phrase). This is an engaging story, and a fun mix-up from the usual, especially if your kiddos have come to expect certain stories.

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

Teen Volunteer Book Review: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Book Review by Rachel Johnson

Rachel is fifteen years old and currently a 2021 Summer Teen Volunteer

    When I picked up The Ruins of Gorlan, I did it to escape the constant heckling of my school librarian. According to her, the book was infinite in virtue and would never be praised enough.

    Right off the start, the author caught my attention with his – shall we say interesting – writing. Take the first line for example:

“Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, former Baron of Gorlan in the Kingdom of Araluen, looked out over his bleak, rain-swept domain and, for perhaps the thousandth time, cursed,” – Flanagan pg 1.

That quote gives you a pretty good idea of what the rest of the book is written like. The dialect is interesting and is not unrealistic. Even though the book is set in feudal times, the book is never hard to read and is easy to follow. 

    The Ruins of Gorlan is an exciting adventure that I couldn’t put down. The book starts with an orphan named Will, hoping he is chosen to be a knight, like his father. Though that wish is not fulfilled, he does find happiness being trained to become a ranger by Halt,the mysterious man who lives in the forest. Then Morgarath, lord of a whole bunch of depressing stuff – as was shown in the quote – hatches an evil plot and Will and Halt team up with a few side characters to take care of it. The ending was riveting and plausible. Let’s just say Will got his chance to save the day and prove himself, and leave it at that. 

    Not only is the book interesting, it also encourages hard work. Will starts out with nothing and no one, but through working hard to become a Ranger, he gains skills, admiration, and a few close friends. Will doesn’t get all that stuff for free – he has to study and practice with his bow and knives to earn his triumph. 

    In The Ruins of Gorlan even the side characters are interesting. Firstly there is Alyss, who trains to become prominent in the diplomatic service. She is interesting, strong, and witty. Horace takes Will’s dream and makes it become a reality for himself. He struggles through Battleschool, and truly has a hero’s journey as surely as Will does. He starts out bullying Will, then after joining Battleschool and working harder than ever before, he has a few adventures with Will and they end up as best friends. Halt is perhaps the most interesting of the side characters. He starts out as grumpy and enigmatic. Then through Will’s young and cheerful influence, he becomes cheerful and begins to love Will like a son. One of the most interesting plot lines in the story is Will discovering Halt’s mysterious past.

    I enjoyed this book a lot and owe a big thank you to my school librarian. Even though I might not have enjoyed it quite as much as she did, I still liked it a lot. Since reading the first book, I read the whole series and found each of the books to be just as – if not more interesting than the first. I would recommend this book to anyone who can read and is older than ten.

FYI: There was a little action and violence, but no more than one might expect in a fantasy adventure.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Ariadne

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

First line: Let me tell you a story of a righteous man.

Summary: Ariadne is a princess of Crete. She is the daughter of the mighty king Minos. She is the half-sister to the fearsome Minotaur. As she grew up in the palace she learned from a young age how women can suffer because of the men in their lives. But she sees her savior in the hero, Theseus of Athens. He has been sent to Crete as an offering to the Minotaur. Ariadne takes pity on him and helps him navigate the Labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur. With Theseus’ victory they escape the island but will this be Ariadne’s happy ending or will the legends repeat themselves?

My Thoughts: This book was so much better than Circe. I struggled through that one so I was a little hesitant reading another Greek myth retelling. I know that it isn’t the same author but it was still something I thought of as I picked up Ariadne.

I loved the cover. It is eye catching but simple. I remember seeing it many times before it was released. The marketing was really well done for this book. I felt like the story moved along at a perfect speed, the characters were likeable. It stuck to story lines of the original myths while also giving the sisters their own personalities.

I was not familiar with Phaedra and Ariadne’s stories. I knew of the Minotaur, Daedalus, Icarus and Theseus but not all the details. Greek mythology is filled with shocking tales, death, and tragic love stories. I liked how the author intertwined the story lines. The love and devotion of the sisters was a strong theme but also how women are ruled by the men in their lives. I think it was a great read and a fun retelling.

FYI: Death, gore and disturbing events.

Dylan’s Book Recommendation: Drive

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

First line: In the middle of the last century, two young scientists conducted experiments that should’ve changed the world–but did not.

Summary: Drive is an eye opening writing that explores the triggers of motivation, and compares different motivating factors to their short term results, long term results, and end results. Mostly the book compares extrinsic and intrinsic motivating factors, and how they can be best utilized to accomplish something. Showing that in most cases, extrinsic motivation is not good for long term success, unless the task is monotonous, and requires little thinking or problem solving to do. Intrinsic motivation is shown to be the best motivating factor to accomplish one’s goals.

Thoughts: Reading Drive, I found it fascinating that you can dissect human behavior to what is motivating them to do something. And I also found it interesting because you could apply it to people’s laziness. Our society usually tries to motivate people with rewards such as money, desired objects, etc. In the long term, the effects of extrinsic motivating factors can become severely detrimental towards someones productivity, for all aspects of their lives. This is because when people are on their own, the taught factors that they need to do something, are missing and struggle to find the willpower, the drive to do the task.

Mom and Me Reviews: Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard

Huggy has a problem. He loves to hug the things he loves, but he tends to hug them too tight. Can you help huggy learn how to hug gently?

Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard (Wee Beasties): Dyckman, Ame, Griffiths,  Alex G: 9781534410800: Books
Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard by Ame Dyckman

First Line: “This is Huggy the Python.”

Summary: Huggy has a problem. He loves to hug the things he loves, but he tends to hug them too tight. Can you help huggy learn how to hug gently?


                Maggie: “I’m too old for this book.”

                Conor: One Hug + Two fights over who gets to hold the book

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Mama Lala

My Thoughts: This was a simple cute book. It was silly, which is great for my kiddos, but also loving.

FYI: This book is part of a series!

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

What’s Ashley Reading?: Hour of the Witch

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

First line: It was always possible that the Devil was present.

Summary: Mary Deerfield, a young married woman in 1662 Boston, has been hiding a secret from her friends and family. In the years that she has been married her husband has hit her numerous times while drunk for imagined slights against him. But then one day he takes his cruelty one step further. He drives a three-tined fork, the Devil’s tines, into her hand. With a strong conviction of finally divorcing her abusive husband she also faces suspicion from the Puritan community. She finds that she is suspected of things that could lead her to a death on the gallows.

My Thoughts: This book started very slowly for me. Much of it dealt with the time period, life and getting to know the characters and their history. I felt that story finally picked up after the divorce trial. The pace seemed to be faster and the story more intriguing. But once the story picked up I was completely enthralled but disgusted by everything.

It is hard sometimes to read historical books, especially if the author writes them accurately. I feel like the author brought to life the true sense of the ridiculousness of Puritan Boston. Their views on women, the Devil and anything that was different. I rolled my eyes so many times during the trials because of the hearsay, circumstantial evidence and belief system of the time. Reading these types of books we see how far society has come but we still have a long way to go as well.

I enjoyed Mary’s story. She was a strong woman in a very restrictive society. She endures a lot throughout the book and much of it at no fault of her own. I was definitely rooting for her the whole time. I wanted things to be better for her with every disappointment and injury. But her husband and many of the other characters were awful people that I could not wait to see the end of.

I do not know how I feel about the ending. It almost seemed like a cop-out. Too easy of an ending but at the same time I liked aspects of it. Rating this was difficult but I think that it was worth the read.

FYI: Wonderful historical fiction. Perfect if you are interested in colonial America and the Salem Witch Trials.

Linda’s Favorite Books: Invitation Only Murder

Invitation Only Murder by Leslie Meier

“The little bell on the door to the PENNYSAVER newspaper office in the quaint coastal town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, jangled and Lucy Stone looked up from the story she was writing about the new recycling regulations—paper, glass, and plastic would not be accepted unless clean and separate, no more single stream—to see who had come in, and smiled broadly”.

This is the twenty-sixth book in the Lucy Stone Series. Lucy receives an invitation to spend a weekend at the private Maine island of Scott Newman, an eccentric owner and billionaire. She hopes to interview him concerning his life as an avid environmentalist, but finds that the island has no cell service or electricity. When Lucy finds one of his daughters dead at the bottom of a cliff, ruled an accident, she must try and outwit the killer before she is next.

I enjoyed this cozy mystery novel with its details of life on the Maine coast and Lucy’s family situations add to the story. Just when you think you have figured out who the killer is, a twist in the plot makes you step back and rethink your idea!!