Book Reviews, Lists, Discussions, and Displays

Tag: Christmas

Book Review: The Crayons’ Christmas

The Crayons’ Christmas – Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (illustrator) – Penguin Workshop – Published 15 October 2019

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Synopsis

‘Tis the season for all of us to write our holiday wishlists. But everyone–even the crayons–know the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers get to see how Duncan, the crayons, and their families celebrate the holidays.

My thoughts

If you have read The Day The Crayons Quit and The Return of the Crayons you will know how utterly delightful these books are. The colours are bright, the illustrations fun and the stories lots of fun. There is now a whole collection of Crayon books, including a Valentines Day special, a book of colours and a book of numbers.

This book is perfect as a gift, but it also works as a library book – you’ll just have to keep an eye on the special things in the book pockets. If you or your little readers enjoy the Jolly Postman books, you’ll love this book. Each page has a pocket with something special inside. The pockets are very clever – some made to look like letters or parcels that have arrived and others with a very realistic photo of a box that some clever page design seems to pop from the page.

The format of letters to and from the crayons continues, with a few extra special surprises. There are old character who return, familiar reader favourites and some new characters to meet.

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Ramblings: National Education Summit 2019 Brisbane

National Education Summit – 2019 Brisbane

On the 31 of May and the 1 of June 2019, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2019 National Education Summit in Brisbane and the 2 day Capacity Building School Libraries conference. Thanks to my employer and leadership team for encouraging and funding my attendance. What a two days it was. So much knowledge and experience, so much to be inspired about. If you were unable to attend, read on for a quick summery of the speakers and the info shared. And if you are interested in future events, sign up to stay updated on the National Education Summit website.

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Ramblings: Holiday Borrowing

Library Ramblings: Holiday Borrowing

Poster created thanks to photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Pexels.

This is a topic I see pop up in school librarian discussions every time summer stars to roll around. To lend or not to lend? That is a question many librarians wrestle with. The long summer holiday period offers both a wonderful time for relaxed, lengthy reading, but also threatens lost and damaged books as families travel, move house or spend long days at the beach. So, do the rewards outweigh the risk?

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Book Review: Reaching Her Heart

Reaching Her Heart – Kimberly Rae Jordan – The Callaghans & McFaddens #8 – Three Strand Press – Published 26 October 2018

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Synopsis

Will her heart ever be free to love again? Does she even want it to be?

He had been the love of Shayna Caron’s life. Her husband. Her protector. Her world. But then he was tragically taken from her. As a single parent, her focus is completely on raising their son and trying to provide the best possible life for him.

But is that enough?

It is sensitive and smart young Timothy Caron who first grabs his attention—then he meets the boy’s mother.

Timothy’s fascination with Tristan Callaghan’s latest project brings the pair into Tristan’s world. Though he usually prefers a solitary life, Tristan finds himself wanting this boy and his mom to stay there—in a place where he’s only ever allowed members of his family and a couple of close friends. Though he knows the story of Shayna and Timothy’s loss, he hopes that maybe there is room in their hearts and lives for another love.

But can he risk his own heart before knowing for sure?

My thoughts

Another brilliant book by Kimberly Rae Jordan. I am a big fan of the Callaghan and McFadden series and I love this large family. It is a delight to return to this ever-expanding group with each new story.

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Book Review: The Heirloom

The Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations – Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Becky Wade – Bethany House Published – Published 2 October 2018

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Synopsis

In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

My thoughts

The Heirloom is a collection of four delightful novellas. While each are set during Christmas, there is nothing to stop you enjoying this collection all year round. From a story set during the Georgian era to contemporary story, these four novellas span many generations of women following their dreams and their hearts.

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Display: Winter Wonderland Display

Winter Wonderland Display

winter-wonderland-1

Christmas time is nearing and that means putting up the Christmas tree, making wreaths, digging out the Christmas books for display, and decorating the library with tinsel. Lots of tinsel. But this year I wanted something a little bit different from the traditional Christmas theme or summer reading display.

Books provide such a wonderful escape and while down here in the Southern Hemisphere we enjoy Christmases full of summer sunshine and sweltering heat, I thought it might be fun to decorate with a winter theme in mind. Escape to a winder wonderland was born.

Display Elements:

winter-wonderland-2Snowflakes – blue and white cut from cardboard, some by hand and others using a Cricut machine

Hanging snow – made with cotton balls and fishing line. I threaded them with a needle and just looped around each cotton ball to keep it in place. They look very effective, especially when they start swaying.

Snowy book covers – my list of books for this display included anything with a subject of snow, winter or ice. They all seemed to have a blue or white cover which fit into the theme nicely.

Lamppost, Tumnis and Polar bear – printed or cut using the Cricut machine.

Snowy window edges – Using a chalk pen I coloured in the base of the windows and up the sides a little to create a snowy effect on the windows.

Wording: The words “Escape to a Winter Wonderland this Christmas” were printed using the font Kingthings Christmas from dafont.

Book Review: A Family Under the Christmas Tree

A Family Under the Christmas Tree

A Family Under the Christmas Tree – Terri Reed – Howard Books – Published 4 October 2016

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Synopsis

In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog—but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom.

David Murphy never knew much about kids. But when his brother dies unexpectedly, David is granted custody of his six-year-old nephew, Troy, who he’s only seen once a year since he was born. He already has his hands full running his business, and he has no idea how to help the grieving boy. When Troy runs off one day, David finds him at a park playing with an adorable and rambunctious Bernese mountain dog—who leads him to Sophie.

Sophie Griffith has spent her life travelling around the world as a photojournalist. She has never stayed in one place for long, and her new assignment—helping her grandmother for a few weeks—is just temporary. Once Christmas day comes, Sophie is off the hook and can leave for a new adventure. Caring for her grandmother is a piece of cake—but caring for her new Bernese mountain dog, Riggs, is a different story. It doesn’t help that Riggs strikes up a friendship with a lost little boy one day at the park—and leads her to David.

Neither David nor Sophie have time for romance. But as they spend more time together, they start falling for each other even though they know it can’t go anywhere. Sophie will be gone after Christmas, and the last thing David needs is another distraction as he tries to comfort Troy. But as their faith and growing love for the boy and dog unites them, they wonder whether it’s more than a holiday romance…and maybe Troy might finally get his Christmas wish for a family.

My thoughts

A Family Under The Christmas Tree is the perfect book for winter (and thanks to living in the Southern Hemisphere and an advanced copy, everything was timed perfectly so that I could enjoy this in the cold months of the year). I adore that cover, especially that cute Bernese you see, who I would like to steal and take home. And I loved the setting, a wintry, snowy Washington. The romance was very sweet and the family aspects heartbreaking, all of which combined to create a charming and enjoyable novel.

Sophie is visiting her grandmother, staying for Christmas only. She is a photographer with a career that is blooming, so she doesn’t have much time for family or holidays, and she especially doesn’t have time for creating a family of her own. Which is why she is more than a little surprised to be so attracted to her grandmother’s neighbour, David. David has recently taken in his nephew after the tragic loss of his brother and sister-in-law. The little family has been shaken by the tragedy and David is struggling to balance work, a home and a rambunctious little boy. Sophie and her grandmother step in to help out and David, too, is shocked to be fighting off attraction to the beautiful photographer. He knows Sophie is leaving soon and can’t risk any further damage to his or his nephew’s heart.

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Book Review: What Light

This book cover image released by Razorbill shows "What Light," the latest book by Jay Asher, his first solo work of fiction in nearly a decade. The book is set for release on Oct. 11, 2016. (Razorbill via AP)

What Light – Jay Asher – Razorbill – Published 11 October 2016

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Synopsis

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

My thoughts

After just finishing a book set during winter, I was primed for another, feel-good wintry Chrismas story which is exactly what I got in What Light. This is a fun, light, romantic story.

Every Christmas Sierra’s family relocates to California for the holidays to sell Christmas trees. It means a whole new set of friends, a new school and a moderately warm Christmas away from her snowy home in Oregon. But this might be their last. Sierra doesn’t want this family tradition to end, nor does she want to say a final goodbye to her friend, Hannah. It’s also why she is reluctant to start anything romantic with the good looking and charming Caleb. But Caleb’s intrigue (and dimples) might be too much to resist, despite the many people who want to warn her away from Caleb and his shadowy past.

At its heart this is a simple romance. Caleb’s past isn’t that big of a deal and he certainly isn’t any sort of bad boy, despite his outcast status in town. The romance between Caleb and Sierra is very sweet and lots of fun, despite a few eye-roll-worthy lines. This book might be a little cheesy, but still very enjoyable.

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Display: Grinch Christmas Display

Grinch Christmas Display

Grinch Christmas Display

Christmas time is nearing and that means putting up the Christmas tree, making wreaths, digging out the Christmas books for display, decorating the library and tinsel. Lots of tinsel.

This is the Christmas-themed display for the school library entrance this year. This quote from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss is well known, and the students recognise the Grinch both from the book and the movie.

I made this display using a variety of free Christmas fonts and a whole lot of red and green cardboard. It is bright and looks great opposite a display of Christmas books. But maybe it needs some tinsel…

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