Many, many years ago, I used to share some of our favorite books with you. So much has changed and happened since then, and I really haven’t been doing many personal posts or even activity posts. My goal is to change that and start sharing a little bit more about our life, recipes, kids activities, and more. To that end, I’m working on one non-deal post each week in either the kids section or the living section.
I spent part of last year as a library media specialist in two elementary schools. There were a few parts of the job that I loved: ordering books and teaching library classes. I became familiar with many more authors and books over the past year, and I wanted to share some of those with you. Some months I’ll have a theme. Other months, I’ll just share what we’ve been reading. The girls are much older now (14, 11, and 10), so they aren’t into picture books as much. But, I spend a lot more time with my little nieces since my brother-in-law died, and I like to read books to them, too!
Books I’ve Been Reading
During the past few years, I’ve become interested in trauma and the effects it has on children and adults. It has been an eye-opening journey for sure. Here are a few of my favorite books:
The Deepest Well by Nadine Burk Harris
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual trauma—who galvanized her to dig deeper into the connections between toxic stress and the lifelong illnesses she was tracking among so many of her patients and their families. A survey of more than 17,000 adult patients’ “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs, like divorce, substance abuse, or neglect, had proved that the higher a person’s ACE score the worse their health—and now led Burke Harris to an astonishing breakthrough. Childhood stress changes our neural systems and lasts a lifetime.
Through storytelling that delivers both scientific insight and moving stories of personal impact, Burke Harris illuminates her journey of discovery, from research labs nationwide to her own pediatric practice in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in The Deepest Well will represent vitally important hope for change.
The Body Keeps the Score by Vessel van der Kolk
A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times Science bestseller
Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.
Switch on Your Brain by Caroline Leaf
According to researchers, the vast majority–a whopping 75-98 percent–of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about truly affects us both physically and emotionally. In fact, fear alone triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses in our bodies, activating more than thirty different hormones! Today our culture is undergoing an epidemic of toxic thoughts that, left unchecked, create ideal conditions for illnesses.
Supported by current scientific and medical research, Dr. Caroline Leaf gives readers a prescription for better health and wholeness through correct thinking patterns, declaring that we are not victims of our biology. She shares with readers the “switch” in our brains that enables us to live happier, healthier, more enjoyable lives where we achieve our goals, maintain our weight, and even become more intelligent. She shows us how to choose life, get our minds under control, and reap the benefits of a detoxed thought life.
Books We’ve Read Aloud
As the girls have gotten older, there has been a definite shift in how much time we spend reading aloud. I tried to re-prioritize it this summer, but we still only got through two books with all our summer activities. Both were big hits…even for the teen!
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton
Ten-year-old Persimmony Smudge lives a boring life on the Island in the Middle of Everything, but she longs for adventure. And she soon gets it when she overhears a life-altering secret and suddenly finds herself in the middle of an amazing journey. It turns out that Mount Majestic, the rising and falling mountain in the center of the island, is not really a mountain – it’s the belly of a sleeping giant! It’s up to Persimmony and her friend Worvil to convince the island’s quarreling inhabitants that a giant is sleeping in their midst and must not be awakened. The question is, will she be able to do it?
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award-winning classic about a boy who decides to hit the road to find his father—from Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go To Birmingham—1963, a Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree.
It’s 1936, in Flint Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud’s got a few things going for him:
1. He has his own suitcase full of special things.
2. He’s the author of Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.
3. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!
Bud’s got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road to find this mystery man, nothing can stop him—not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.
Two Favorite Picture Books
I Wish You More will probably leave you in tears (well, it does me, but my daughters say I cry at most books). It is so sweet.
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Some books are about a single wish. Some books are about three wishes. The infallible team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have combined their extraordinary talents to create this exuberant book of endless good wishes. Wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace. Whether celebrating life’s joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this sweet and uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age.
The Bad Seed is one of my favorites to read aloud and expand upon. You can use it to encourage kids to cultivate a growth mindset!
The Bad Seed by Jory John
With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for young readers, as well as anyone navigating their current world, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.
Care to share what you’re reading now? I’d love some more ideas!