First Sunday Daughter Reviews: May 2014

It’s been an author-heavy week at Chez Fox: we managed to get out to not one, but two back-to-back author events at my bookstore. The first was Kristopher Jansma, who was charming, intelligent, and very, very nervous. He read for 40 minutes (nearly a whole chapter!), which was okay but went on too long. When we finally did get to the Q&A, he was highly embarrassed at all the praise, but handled it gracefully.
My friend, Karen, was smitten.

Clare Vanderpool took this picture. How cool is that?!?

The next night, I dragged M to see Gabrielle Zevin, who was fantastic. She spoke rather than read (though she did read a couple of short passages). She talked about her idea of publishing (referencing that one scene in the Little Women movie), and about writing, and was funny, and smart, and charming. We had a grand time. I talked with one of our regular customers afterwards, who had been the evening before, and we both commented about how Zevin handled the event thing so much better. Perhaps it was a woman/man thing, but I’m chalking it up to experience: she’s been doing this for 10 years, and has figured out how to do it well.

As for the daughters, M discovered this:

I like this cover better than the one we have.

And plowed through the whole series on her days off. She loved it. Seriously. I was just jealous that she didn’t have to wait in between books. And it kind of made me want to revisit the series.

C finished this one:

Which she enjoyed because, duh, RACHEL HAWKINS. Also, she said it was a cross between Legally Blonde and Terminator. How she knows this is beyond me, since she’s never seen either movie.

A finished book reports and book projects, reading this on her teacher’s suggestion:

She cried. (Who doesn’t when reading this one?) And as a reward for finishing all her assignments, she decided to re-read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series before the end of the school year. (She also told me, “I just really like magic, mom.”)

K has been struggling with reading, and when we took her to the eye doctor, we found out why: the muscles in her eyes don’t track side to side very well for very long. She can read, but she gets headaches and her eyes go blurry if she reads for very long. Which is probably why she really likes graphic novels. We’re encouraging her to read in short bouts, and trying to get her to focus longer, and we’ll go back in a year to see what the doctor says. Still, it’s good to know that her disinterest in reading is not disinterest, but rather discomfort.

She and Hubby are about halfway through this (on C’s recommendation):

And she’s enjoying it very much.

As for my book group, we had three girls show up last month (no one had read the book, which makes it kind of hard to discuss), and that made me very happy. I don’t know how much bleed-over we’ll have this month for this one:

I read it and enjoyed it thoroughly, but I can see how it’d be challenging for kids to “get”. Maybe if people show up on Saturday, we’ll actually have a good discussion. I’m hoping that more kids come during the summer, but I’m not sure they will. We’re also planning a John Green summer for the teen crowd, especially since The Fault in Our Stars is coming out in June. (I know: not diverse. I did think of that. I have excuses, but they’re just that: excuses. Perhaps I can use this as a launching pad to get other people interested in other — more diverse books.)

And Blue Willow Bookshop has challenged our store to The Great Greene Heist Challenge,which I begged my bosses to accept. I want to do this partially because I really like Varian and his writing and I want to support him, but also because I think Wichita, especially, gets into a white/male rut. I want to prove — to myself at the very least — that we, an independent store in the middle of Kansas, can sell a bunch of copies of a diverse middle grade book. It’s kind of intimidating, but I believe we can do it. (If you want to help, pre-order the book here. We ship!)

Whew! That was a long post.  What have you (or your kids) been reading?

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