Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This book may be long, but it is an engaging, and therefore quick, read. Kathryn Stockett tells the fictional (but semi-autobiographical-ish) story of the intertwining lives of white families and the black women that work for them in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s. I was wowed most especially by the three first-person perspectives that this novel takes: first, Aibileen, an elderly domestic worker who gets attached to every one of the many white children she’s raised; Minny, a cranky maid who has more under her strong and sassy facade than anyone would imagine; and Skeeter, a college-educated white woman who can’t sit idly by while her friends mistreat their “help.” I really enjoyed this novel, and I would recommend it to anyone with a mind open to hearing someone else’s point of view. (Note – There are some adult situations/themes that might only be appropriate for older teens and adults).

For more information, including book discussion resources, the author’s biography, etc, visit the official website here.

Book Review: The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Image from Jim Trelease's Website

The Handbook begins with a rationale for the importance of reading aloud to children, and cites statistics and case studies that show the benefits it offers to literacy, family togetherness, child development, and more.  Then, Trelease walks the reader through some practical techniques as well as beginning reading suggestions for every age and interest.

Based on his experience as a father and grandfather, and his familiarity with many anecdotes from other parents, Trelease tells us (p. 4) that there are some major advantages derived from reading aloud to [your] child:

  • Associating reading with pleasure in the child’s brain
  • Establishing background knowledge (ie, what animals live on farms, what a bulldozer looks like, what a fiddle is).
  • Building vocabulary (Children’s picture books are meant to be read to a child not by a child because their vocabulary and structure are too sophisticated.)
  • Provide a positive reading role model (YOU!)

Although I’m only about halfway done reading The Handbook, I’ve skimmed the final sections that contain a plethora of reading recommendations of every sort.  I highly recommend The Read-Aloud Handbook to parents, teachers, librarians, and any other professional that works with children.

Here’s a link to the author Jim Trelease’s home page that contains book lists, lecture downloads, and excerpts/major points from every chapter of his book.

Catholic Biography Review (via Our Lady and Sheen)

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Here’s an interesting faith-based review of a biography about a Catholic priest called A Priest Forever. According to the blog writer, it’s an exceptional story of a very devout man who died to young, but who was nonetheless dedicated to his eternal vocation.  As a Catholic library professional, I’ve found this book review to be a good example of the great writing on this blog – take a minute and give it a try.

I picked up “A Priest Forever: The Life of Father Eugene Hamilton” by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.  This book is an inspirationational tale Father Eugene Hamilton who (not really a spoiler alert) was ordained a Priest for 3 hours before he died of a terminal illness.  This book highlights that the life of a priest is not about actions taken, but rather, about WHO the priest is.  Father Hamilton would never pray Mass, hear confession, baptise, w … Read More

via Our Lady and Sheen

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