Armchair Cybils – December Update

Although I have not been able to read as much as I planned, Armchair Cybils has been a delight to participate in.  It has lead me to find some new reads and authors. My children have enjoyed having new reads to add to their lists as well.

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora was a quick read. It amazingly kept disappearing from my desk. My 15 year old daughter kept snatching it to read. Thankfully she never lost my place and I did finally get to finish it. Definitely recommend this one! Middle Grade Fiction

We are currently reading The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier as our read aloud. I began reading it for myself but quickly decided it was one I wanted to share together with my children. Everyone is enjoying this one; including my five and seven year old.  I love their discussions on how this Victorian ghost story will end. You will want to put this one on your list to read. Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction

100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz is a simple text that presents 100 things that little ones will delight in. I shared this read with my 3 year old and 5 year old. It was a great hit with then and they enjoy looking at it on their own. Fiction Picture Books

Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic by Leslie Kimmelman is a fun retelling of when the British royalty visiting the Roosevelts. And what did First Lady Roosevelt serve?  Hot dogs, of course! My hot dog loving crew enjoyed this yummy peek into history. Elementary/Middle-Grade Non-Fiction

Hoping to keep reading…..


Wednesday with Words ~ The Night Gardener

Shortly after beginning reading The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, I realized that I wanted to read it aloud with my children. We are enjoying it immensely.

“Kip did not accept the offered crutch. Instead, he rose on his one good leg, which was sore and threatening to buckle. “You shouldn’t ‘a lied about seein’ the fight, ” he said, his breathing reply.

“Better than tellin’ the mistress her son got walloped by a boy half his size.” Molly made a silly face, but Kip refused to smile. She sighed. “Kip, I said that to protect us. It was just a story.”

“Was it?” He fixed her with as hard a gaze as he could. “Do they count as stories when the other person thinks they’re true?” p.52


“Hester shook her head. ‘Don’t confuse what you do with who you are, dearie. Besides, there’s no shame in humble work. Why, Aesop himself, the king of storytellers, was a slave his whole life. Never drew a free breath, yet he shaped the world with just three small words: there once was. And where are his great masters now, hmm? Rotting in tombs, if they’re lucky. But Aesop – he still lives to this day, dancin’ on the tip of every tongue what’s ever told a tale.’ She winked at Molly. ‘Think on that, next time you’re scrubbing floors.” p.201



Wednesday with Words – December 10th

I am truly enjoying lingering over Hannah Coulter (Wendell Berry). Hannah’s story has resonated with me and that was so unexpected. I have shared bits and pieces in the evening with my husband. There are points in the story where, as husband and wife, we can share a smile and a chuckle. I am almost at the end of Hannah’s story. I am torn between quickly finishing it or making it last a bit longer.

“The room of love is another world. You go there wearing no watch, watching no clock. It is the world without end, so small that two people can hold it in their arms, and yet it is bigger than worlds on worlds, for it contains the longing of all things to be together, and to be at rest together. You come together to the day’s end, weary and sore, troubled and afraid. You take it all into your arms, it goes away, and there you are where giving and taking are the same, and you live a little while entirely in a gift. The words have all been said, all permissions given, and you are free in the place that is the two of you together. What could be more heavenly than to have desire and satisfaction in the same room?

If you want to know why even in telling of trouble and sorrows I am giving thanks, this is why.” p. 110 Hannah Coulter


“Way in the night I heard him stir and cry out, not loudly. I got up to see about him.

I said, “Do you need anything?”

“No, ” he said.

“Are you all right?”


But I sat down in a chair by the bed. The house got altogether still again, and  I thought he was asleep. Just ever so quietly I reached over and laid my hand on his shoulder.

He said, “I love you too, Hannah.” p. 163 Hannah Coulter

And the above is what finally twisted my heart. I can clearly picture it in my mind and the understood language between the two got me.

Today I began reading The Night Gardener (Jonathan Auxier) as one of our read alouds. One chapter into the story, the children were ready to settle in for a marathon read. The following struck me as I read:

“The woman set down her instrument and peered at him, eyebrows raised, “Not everything old and ugly is wicked.” p7


We are so attracted to the beautiful and shiny and young.  How easily sin can dress itself to appeal to our flesh. So often what is unlovely is the very thing we should seek and desire.