#NFPB2019- October 16, 2019

nfpb2019

Hedy Lamarr's Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant InventorHedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An utterly fascinating nonfiction picture book about an actress who also invented a safety protocol that we still use today with our current technology.

What Miss Mitchell SawWhat Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley  Barrett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This gorgeous picture book tells the story of someone I didn’t know before but am glad I do now. Readers will be inspired to look up at the stars after learning about Maria Mitchell and her accomplishments.

Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to VoteBold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote by Kirsten Gillibrand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another compilation of amazing women with a focus on those who fought for women’s right to vote. Maria Kalman’s art makes this book even more special.

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is BornNine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda  Paul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great book to have to learn about the miracle of life. Jason Chin’s illustrations perfectly complements Miranda Paul’s text- both the storyline of a family expecting a new member and the nonfiction element.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- October 14, 2019

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!
Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Recent Posts:
#NFPB2019- October 9, 2019
September Update

I spent a good portion of the past week blogging up a storm so I can share My Cruise Vacation stories. I hope you can get a sense of how amazing it was when you read the posts!
My Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston and On Board
My Cruise Vacation, Part 2: Canada and At Sea
My Cruise Vacation, Part 3: Bar Harbor and Portland
My Cruise Vacation, Part 4: Serenade of the Seas and Back to Boston
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston, Ship, and Saint John
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 2: Lunenburg, Bar Harbor, and Portland
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 3: Boston Again

Pedro and T MonkeyPedro and T Monkey by Robert D. San Souci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This trickster tale from the Philippines will entertain readers as they try and figure out how a corn-stealing monkey helps a poor farmer become rich and marry the girl of his dreams.

It reminded me that I should reread the Puss in Boots story since I can’t seem to remember what happened there so I can compare these two versions of the same story plot.

When Aidan Became A BrotherWhen Aidan Became A Brother by Kyle Lukoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweet story about being an older sibling featuring a trans boy as the main character.

The Shortest DayThe Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Readers who seek out hard-to-find winter solstice books will want to grab a copy of this one. Susan Cooper’s poem is gorgeously illustrated by Carson Ellis.

This Is BabyThis Is Baby by Jimmy Fallon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jimmy Fallon’s books are cute enough and lots of people seem to enjoy them. I am just waiting on the day when they’ll put Miguel Ordóñez’s (the illustrator) name on the cover as well on this picture book. Maybe in the eventual board book version?

Review Notes
***= Liked It
****= Recommended
*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at my Goodreads page.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!

My Cruise Vacation, Part 4: Serenade of the Seas and Back to Boston

Previous Posts:
My Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston and On Board
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston, Ship, and Saint John
My Cruise Vacation, Part 2: Canada and At Sea
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 2: Lunenburg, Bar Harbor, and Portland
My Cruise Vacation, Part 3: Bar Harbor and Portland
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 3: Boston Again

The end of the cruise brought us back to Boston. I was on my own since my BFF had a plane to catch. I didn’t really know what I was going to do since most places didn’t open until later in the day and I couldn’t walk as quickly and as much as I wanted to since I had my luggage with me.

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I fell in love with the Rose Kennedy Greenway. I loved all the art and the green space.

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I was debating whether or not to walk the Freedom Trail but I decided to take public transportation to Boston’s neighboring town, Brookline, instead.

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Click on the image to read my bookish recap of Boston and Brookline.

Before I knew it, it was time to go back home.

* * *

Life at sea- especially on a cruise ship- is a very odd experience. It was basically like staying at a floating Las Vegas hotel and casino. There was the central lobby where most of the performances took place and people on the higher floors could look down and watch. There was a casino and a pricey shopping area. There were a couple theaters, a few restaurants, the main dining room, a cafe, a snack bar, and a buffet. There were a couple pools, a spa, a club, a fitness center, arcade, kids area, rock climbing, and mini golf.

I enjoyed finding a spot on the ship and hanging out with my BFF just talking or playing Qwixx.

It was weird to have practically unlimited access to all the food you can eat at any time you want at no additional cost but drinks like soda and alcohol weren’t free. My favorite dish was dessert- their creme brulee.

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Eating at the main dining room was a whole sort of fancy experience. The first night had a crazy long line to get in. Luckily it wasn’t that way every night. The last evening was fun because we all did the chicken dance.

I enjoyed walking on the top deck for my daily exercise. We had mostly smooth sailing the whole time. We were also lucky weather-wise.

I watched a few shows but my favorite was the Almost Elton John performance.

I participated in a few trivia/game show type events. There was even a “puzzle mystery” that was like an escape room and no one- ABSOLUTELY NO ONE- solved it. But it was fun since it was a team of some of the Celebrity Volunteers and we worked together as a team solving the different puzzles.

I also decided to do something I normally wouldn’t have done: line dancing! It was 70’s Disco Night and it was nice to let loose a little. I can laugh at how horrible I was at it!

There were some events we had to attend as part of the Cabot Cheese crew. (I actually wished there were more and volunteering together would have been amazing.) The first event was team-building. With the time zone changes, my phone was acting wacky and my alarm didn’t go off so I was a few minutes late. We did a fun scavenger hunt throughout the ship.

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Another event was the group photo. We also took individual ones but I didn’t like how mine turned out so those will remain unseen.

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We also sat through a presentation about Cabot Cheese, its farmers co-op , and why they do the things they do. I am so impressed by them. I’ll ask everyone reading this to seek out their products to enjoy some tasty cheese. Check out their Reward Volunteers program as well!

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I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t shy or anything. (We also wore sashes during our time on the ship and other guests on the ship would ask what it was for. It was nice to be able to talk about Cabot Cheese and the opportunity they gave me.)

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But once I got to spend more time with the other volunteers, it was a bit easier to talk to them. Of course, by then, it was almost time to leave. So I was proud of myself for suggesting a gathering on our last night on the ship to say goodbye and such.

Thank you for reading this- and all the related posts. It’s been great looking back at the pictures and reminiscing about this special time.

Thank you again to Cabot Cheese for this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I will always remember my cruise vacation with a smile and a sense of gratitude.

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My Cruise Vacation, Part 3: Bar Harbor and Portland

Previous Posts:
My Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston and On Board
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston, Ship, and Saint John
My Cruise Vacation, Part 2: Canada and At Sea
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 2: Lunenburg, Bar Harbor, and Portland

It was great to visit Canada. But before we knew it, it was time to head back to the States!

Our first stop was Bar Harbor, Maine.

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This was the day I forgot my phone on the ship so I’ll update this when my BFF send me more of the pics she was kind enough to take.

After that, we sailed on to Portland, Maine. I was quite tickled that I went from one Portland to another.

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Click on the image to read my bookish recap of the Portland Public Library.

I was able to visit so many bookstores and even managed to go to a park where there was a Farmer’s Market going on.

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It seemed I managed to see a lot the first half of the day in Portland but we were also scheduled for a lighthouse tour in the afternoon.

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Tour Stop #1: Portland Head Lighthouse

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Museum & Gift Shop and Battery Blair

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Battery Keyes

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Tour Stop #2: Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse- I did something silly.  Despite knowing it wasn’t encouraged (yet it wasn’t not discouraged), I walked the unsteady rocky breakwater leading to the lighthouse. With my vertigo, I knew I shouldn’t have done it but I figured I could do it. It turns out I couldn’t. I started getting dizzy a quarter of the way out but I managed to go halfway before turning back, scuttling like a crab all the way back to the safety of land.

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Tour Stop #3: South Portland Breakwater Light a.k.a. Bug Light

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Portland, Maine was our final port before heading back to Boston. I’ll share some of the things I did on the cruise ship on the next post!

My Cruise Vacation, Part 2: Canada and At Sea

Previous Posts:
My Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston and On Board
My Bookish Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston, Ship, and Saint John

Our first stop after sailing off from Boston was Saint John, New Brunswick.

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We went to the Saint John Free Public Library which was like Disneyland for me. I was definitely in my happy place. Its Central Library, located inside Market Square, is apparently Canada’s oldest public library founded in 1883. The exterior was beautiful. (Read my bookish recap of Saint John here.)

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Night walk

Early morning

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During one of our days at sea, there was supposedly a whale sighting or two. I didn’t see an actual whale but I saw water spouts.

Our next stop in Canada was Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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We went on an excursion. First to Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site…

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…where we found a cozy little coffee shop where I got a maple latte…

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…but my favorite was that in this tiny town in this one street were three bookstores! (Unfortunately, one didn’t open until later in the afternoon.)

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Click on the image to read my bookish recap of Lunenburg.

After a brief stop to learn about how maple syrup is made…,

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…we headed to Peggy’s Cove. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to be there!

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It was great to visit Canada. But before we knew it, it was time to head back to the States!

 

My Cruise Vacation, Part 1: Boston and On Board

I was fortunate enough to be rewarded to go on a cruise with other volunteers by Cabot Creamery.


This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity still feels like a dream. Not only did I get to go on a seven-night all-expenses paid cruise to New England and Canada but I got to go with my best friend!

We were flown to Boston, Massachusetts, where our ship would depart. I’d been debating whether or not I should go to the Boston Public Library not because I didn’t want to because, of course, I wanted to but because of time restraints. Fortunately, my plane landed early and my BFF was willing to go along with my crazy, obsessive, high-maintenance self.

Boston’s Central Library in Copley Square was as exciting to go to as the New York Public Library, which I also went to with another one of my best friends.

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Click on the image to read my bookish recap of my cruise vacation!

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One of the things I wanted to do in Boston was see the Make Way for Ducklings statues based on Robert McCloskey’s classic picture book of the name. Nancy Schön’s bronze sculptures in the Boston Public Garden were definitely a popular attraction. Fortunately, I was able to have my own moment.

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There was a reception for the volunteers in the evening. We only stayed awhile since it had been a long day! I did manage to go swimming in the hotel pool before going to sleep.

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The next day, I was able to explore Boston a bit during my morning walk.

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And, then we went to board Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas!

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It was my first time on a cruise ship and I probably just walked around trying to take in everything! There were lots to look at, for sure. And there was the elusive book nook that almost drove me crazy.

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We had a nice room with a deck. There was a dead bird situation that made for good conversations throughout the trip.

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And we were off!

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Stay tuned as we head on to Canada!

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I loved that the elevators had what day it was on the floor. With the time changes- and maybe partying too much- it was definitely helpful!

September Update

Most of September seemed to just be counting down the days until my cruise later that month. I’ll write about my cruise in different posts but I just wanted to recap how September went.

First up was one of my favorite events in Portland- the Volunteer Expo. It’s held every first Thursday afternoon in September at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Over a hundred non-profits set up booths and the public can connect with the ones that interest them. There’s also ice cream involved but I loved seeing so many familiar friendly faces.

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Some book related events I went to were Happier Hour with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft. I’ve been a fan of Gretchen since The Happiness Project and I love everything about happiness and habits! And listening to their Happier Podcast is part of my weekly routine. I don’t know why I expected Liz to sound different in person but she sounded the same!

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I knew it was going to be a wonderful time when the first thing was a two-minute Try This Now where people cleared their bags of trash. I’d been wondering why our seats had those pooper scooper bags. I think any self-help and productivity event should have this interactive and productive component! I also loved the 19 for 2019 segment because goals.

I was definitely surrounded by my people. It did feel like a cult or a super bad pick up line when I would ask, “What’s your tendency?” Overall, it was a great evening.

The other event I went to was Pinyx All Stars Literaoke. It featured poetry readings (centering around Michelle Penaloza’s latest collection, Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire) followed by them singing karaoke like David Bowie’s Modern Love, Sharon Cuneta’s Mr. DJ, Lizzo’s Coconut Oil, and Bjork’s It’s So Quiet. I thought it was such a unique event and I loved it was a showcase of Filipino talents.

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And, Multnomah County Library held a Drag Queen Banned Books Bingo.I loved how they incorporated teaching about challenged books in such a uniquely entertaining way.

I was thrilled to find out I’m part of the CYBILS team again this year as a Round 1 panelist for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category. You can nominate your favorite books in this and other categories through October 15th!

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I’m at 246 volunteer hours for the year. I was stressing out thinking I should go for 250 hours before the cruise but fortunately I talked myself out of trying to prove my self a day or two before I left. I’m at 1777 soul boxes with the stretch goal of 2000.

I’m up to 492 books read for 2019.

Reading Challenges Update:
-Nonfiction Picture Books- 97 out of 104
-Middle Grade & Early Chapter- 50 out of 104 (I may have overshot my expectations with this one. Plus I had other reading challenges that kind of took away from it.)

One of my 19 for 2019 goals was to form a writer’s group.

I decided to set up times this past month to potentially meet up with interested people. I hope I can get it up and running by the end of the year!

I can’t believe we’re in the last quarter of 2019 already. As the days grow shorter and it’s darker out, I hope we can find ways to be points of light for one another!