So many authors get childhood wrong that when an exception comes along it seems like nothing less than a miracle. Among them: J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Irish novelist Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.
Set in Victorian London, Miss Margaret Prior, an upper-class woman, becomes a "Lady Visitor" at Millbank Prison as a diversion from suicidal thoughts. She meets Selina Dawes, a spiritualist-medium who has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for fraud and assault. Miss Prior becomes intrigued by Selina because she is young and lovely and because things occur that cannot be explained - flowers mysteriously appear in her bedroom as well as a cutting of Selina's hair. Miss Prior finds herself falling in love with her and Selina returns her affection.
Next month, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is featuring 19th century photography of Egypt. If you're planning to take young friends along, consider supplying them with some books that will pique their interest and prepare them for the experience.
Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling, is an enjoyable, quick read about the travels of a carved miniature canoe and indian. It begins its journey from Nipigon country in Canada with basic descriptions of the beautiful countryside. The canoe makes its way throughout the Great Lakes until its journey ends across the Atlantic in France. Good elementary supplement if studying the geography of these bodies of water. Caldecott Honor book.
I’ve always felt that the central beauty of Anne Tyler’s work is the way in which it ennobles the common man. Characters often fumble around in the existential darkness, but usually find their way. Liam Pennywell, the central character in Tyler’s Noah’s Compass, is the newest in a long line of characters who eventually find inspiration in unexpected places.
In this first YA novel by author Michelle Rowen (known best for her light-hearted supernatural adult fiction), we meet Nikki Donovan, a just turned 16 year old who has recently started at another new school. Her mother, a writer, is continually moving them at the whim of her latest relationship. Nikki has never known/met her father.
In Truesight, by David Stahler, blindness is considered to be the path to “true sight”, a pure way of life. What started as a small community of blind people grew to a large community of people genetically manipulated to be born blind.
“Since John Logie Baird invented the color television in 1944, I refuse to watch anything on TV in black and white.” Does this sound like something you would say? Please make an exception and watch this classic film starring Ronald Coleman and Jane Wyatt. A recent conversation with colleagues brought up the subject of Lost Horizon and Shangri-la and I remembered how much I had enjoyed re-runs of this movie on late night TV over 40 years ago. I don’t know how many times I watched it but I absolutely loved it.