Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is usually sent out every three to four weeks.
Newsletter Update: In this very brief issue I have a post about the way my daughter is pushing my husband and I to cut back on screen time when she is with us. I also have one literacy milestone, about her newly expressed desire to be a journalist. I've also shared updates with my Twitter links for each of the past four weeks. Rather than include all of that, I'm going to only include the most recent one in my mailing. The links to the other three are here: March 8, March 15, and March 22. I also have a summary of our recent reading below.
Reading Update: In the last four weeks I finished three middle grade titles, two young adult titles, and eight adult titles (three fiction and five nonfiction). I was helped in my reading time by the fact that my husband took my daughter away for one weekend. I read/listened to:
- Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway. Harry N. Abrams Books. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed March 8, 2019, read aloud to my daughter.
- Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth. Harry N. Abrams Books. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed March 22, 2019, read aloud to my daughter.
- Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. Harry N. Abrams Books. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed March 27, 2019, read aloud to my daughter.
- Karen M. McManus: Two Can Keep a Secret. Delacorte Press. Young Adult Mystery. Completed March 16, 2019, on Kindle. I found this a compulsive read that kept me thinking. I enjoyed it enough to immediately download McManus's previous book and read that.
- Karen M. McManus: One of Us Is Lying. Delacorte Press. Young Adult Mystery. Completed March 23, 2019, on Kindle. I enjoyed this one, too, and look forward to McManus's future work.
- Naomi Schaefer Riley: Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat. Templeton Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 10, 2019, on Kindle. This book is very good and I recommend it to all parents. Here's a quick summary of Riley's premise: there are known and suspected problems that stem from kids spending time on connected devices. There are few documented benefits. We are as a society performing a big uncontrolled experiment on our kids by giving them as much access to devices as we are. Any small benefit that they might get from time on a device pales in comparison to the benefits of other ways they could spend their time: playing outside, reading books, writing stories, and being with other people face to face.
- Chris Bailey: Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction. Viking. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 11, 2019, personal copy. This book was part of my recent reading spurt about focus. I got some good ideas from the first part, about being disciplined in how we allocate our time and attentional space to activities. I didn't find the second part of the book, about "scatterfocus" as relevant to where I am right now, but I still flagged quite a few passages.
- Katie Hurley: No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls. TarcherPerigeen. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 15, 2019, personal copy. This book has some useful insights about the behavior of middle grade girls. Hurley also includes tons of activities that she recommends parents do with their daughters to help build self-esteem, resilience, etc. These for the most part felt a bit contrived to me (and to my daughter). But I still intend to go back through my many post-it flags and look for more concrete ideas to help my daughter navigate the social milieu of elementary school.
- James Tucker: Next of Kin (Buddy Locke, No. 1). Thomas & Mercer. Adult Mystery/Thriller. Completed March 15, 2019, on Kindle. This was some sort of Kindle Deal that I picked up. I found it quite suspenseful and read it pretty much in one sitting during my reading weekend. It definitely kept me awake! It was a bit more violent than I prefer, though, and there were a couple of (to me) significant loopholes in the plot.
- James Clear: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Avery. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 17, 2019, personal copy. This is a strong book about habit formation. I've read a fair bit about this topic, but still found some new concepts that I think will be useful. I especially appreciated Clear's premise that what people should strive for is to continually make small improvements. Compounded effects will turn these into big improvements over time, if we can apply good habits (e.g. exercise) consistently. Clear also has some nice followup resources on his website.
- Carlene O'Connor: Murder in an Irish Pub. Kensington. Adult Mystery. Completed March 19, 2019, on MP3. I've enjoyed this Irish Village series, but this one crossed the bounds of implausibility a bit too brazenly for me (how is it that a rookie guarda officer is given such ridiculous free rein to investigate a potential murder?). The characters and setting are charming, but I think I'm done with this series.
- Nicholas Kardaras: Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids - and How to Break the Trance. St. Martins Griffin. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 24, 2019, on Kindle. This book ... is terrifying. Kardaras talks a lot about video game addiction in boys and young men, and a bit about the toxic effects of social media. He cites both research studies and his own experience as a clinical professor and rehab expert. He is a very strong anti-screen voice. I definitely felt sometimes like he was slanting which studies he discussed - he came across as much less balanced than Naomi Schaefer Riley (discussed above). But I'm still glad that I read the book, and I will likely have more to say about it in the future. It is well worth a look for people who are concerned about these issues.
- C.J. Box: Wolf Pack (Joe Pickett, No. 19). G.P. Putnam's Sons. Adult Mystery. Completed March 29, 2019, on MP3. I had just listened to the previous book in this series, and picked this one up as soon as it was available. I had taken a bit of break from the series, but found myself glad to be back in Joe Pickett's game warden world.
I'm reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport in print and Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson on Kindle. I'm listening to Vermilion Drift by William Kent Krueger. I'm reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney aloud to my daughter. I'm enjoying our stretch of reading Wimpy Kid books more than I would have expected. They sometimes make me laugh, and they bring up occasional topics worthy of discussion. Most importantly, my daughter loves them. She's read them all many times over. I think having me read them aloud to her is her way of sharing this interest that she has with me. This is something that I am happy to support (even if there are other books that I would have personally chosen if it were up to me. Which it isn't).
In terms of her own reading, she's developed a bit of an obsession with books from the Scholastic Wish imprint, after receiving a couple as hand-me-downs from a friend. These are what I would classify as introductory romances. The back cover says that they appeal to 4th-7th graders. Last week she checked out an armful of them by Suzanne Nelson, with titles like I Only Have Pies for You and Macarons at Midnight. She takes at least one of these books with her everywhere she goes, though I'm not sure that she's yet finished any of this batch. She's still, when it comes to chapter books, in a mode of dipping into and out of books of interest.
Her reading group book for school is Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. She's also asked for books with clues where kids are solving real-life puzzles. She didn't finish the first 39 Clues book, but she's interested in the genre. I'll be putting some books into her hands that I think might fit the bill. She continues to re-read her favorite graphic novels and picture books - I don't even log them anymore because there is little new information to report about this. She will be getting two new nonfiction graphic novel biographies for her upcoming birthday that I think she'll like (thank you, uncle and auntie), as well as a picture book that I am tired of renewing repeatedly from the library (Peep and Ducky: It's Snowing). I also got her Book Love by Debbie Tung, featuring cartoons about an introverted book love.
Can you believe that my baby bookworm is going to be nine?
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!
© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage.