February: Books Plus

First of all, thank you all so much for your kind comments over my decision to move my monthly book wrap-ups and general highlights over here in order to give more value to my time.  We’ve got a great little community over here celebrating creativity and kindness. Now onto bringing my best influencer game ; ).

As always, some of these are affiliate links and, as always, thank you for reading and being a part of this conversation! You all are the best!

My Reads

(Mary Oliver’s Felicity included in the picture because I forgot it last month and these pictures are a record-keeping of sorts for me.)
➕  Glory Edim’s Well- Read Black Girl
“Why couldn’t I move through the world and expect it to adjust to me instead of me to it?”.  This is a collection of essays by influential, black women who reflect on finding themselves in literature and, through that, on their experiences of being black women.  Powerful.
➕  Pam Munoz Ryan’s Mananaland
This one comes out March 3. Thank you so much to Scholastic Press for my review copy!  I thought this story about a boy who discovers what’s behind his grandfather’s legends and the mystery of his missing mother was so absorbing and capably handled.  Resonant, luminous, creative…I think a lot of you would enjoy this one.
➕  Jessica George’s Tuesdays at the Castle
I only kept reading this one because it was the only thing I had on my e-reader. Why is this so highly rated?
I saw someone reading this on Instagram and I felt a little pang of nostalgia for this cozy little world and had to pick it up.  I love Lara Jean and her family, although this made me realize all over again how superior movie Peter Kavinsky is to book Kavinsky (Team John Ambrose, here).
➕ Ali Wong’s Dear Girls
Very much what you’d expect.  Often too raunchy for me personally, but I like her humor about motherhood and it’s a fine background listen (okay, that sounds really insulting, but maybe you know what I mean?).
➕  Jason Reynold’s Ghost
The audiobook narrator for this was fantastic and I thought that this story of a boy who is learning to run for a team and figuratively stop running away from his past was brilliant.
➕  Kate Milford’s The Thief Knot
I posted earlier about this one here, but, I’ll say again that I loved this immersive story and read it every moment I could snatch. The world building in this is fantastic.  Thank you to HMH Kids for my review copy!
Here’s my post with more, but know it’s a solid historical fiction about a woman who led a fascinating life.  Thank you, Berkley!
➕ Neal Shusterman’s The Toll
The last in a three part series that I think has the right appeal for almost every reader. If you’ve been debating whether or not to start it, please do!
➕  Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give
So wish I had read this at a younger age. So glad Thompson is writing and just want more like this.
➕  Cece Bell’s El Deafo
A semi-autobiographical graphic story about a girl growing up with severe hearing impairment that’s both relatable and eye-opening. Another book I’d like to beam back to myself.
➕  AJ Pearce’s Dear Mrs. Bird
Such a promising concept- a young woman who through a chain of events finds herself secretly responding to letters in an advice column during WW2, but the last half faltered for me and I still don’t really know whether or not I like this one.

New To Us Toddler Reads


➕  Patricia MacLachlan’s and Francesca Sanna’s My Friend Earth

I will be raving more about this one soon, but, wow oh wow is this a beauty. Thank you so much, Chronicle Books!
➕ Beth Ferry’s and Chow Hon Lam’s The Bold, Brave Bunny
Thank you to Harper Kids for our gifted copy!  Imaginative and sweet, this is the story of Teetu, a bunny who is overwhelmed by being in his burrow constantly surrounded by other bunnies. I love the sweet message of the beauty of both discovery and belonging and the way the illustrated tree branches form various animal shapes.
➕ Cathy Ballou Mealey’s and Kasia Nowowiejska’s When A Tree Grows
A humorous story with some choose your adventure vibes that helps your kid imagine in unique ways, plus is just plain ole fun.
➕  Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s Layla’s Happiness
I love seeing a young Black girl and her happy, bright part in a happy, strong community and family.
➕  Linda Ashman’s and Chuck Groenink’s A Cozy Good Night

If you love Bear Snores On, check out this one. Fun meter, repetition, and just the coziest, cutest feel.  We discovered this one at our local bookstore and I’ve been loving it so much.


➕ Poetry Unbound: What You Learn Alone
This is such a quick listen and just hearing the poem “What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade” read aloud in an Irish accent…please do yourself the favor!  So grateful to Brandi’s Pigeon Post for introducing me to this one.
➕ From the Front Porch: February Reading Recap
Annie’s refresh of the podcast has been so enjoyable. This recap was full of titles I hadn’t heard about and am eager to read!
➕ Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Duchess of Cambridge on Early Years


➕ Brother Lee’s “Strangers on an Island”
➕ Ben Rector’s “I Like You”

TV and Movies

➕ The Good Place Season 3 on Netflix
One of the few shows that actually makes me laugh out loud and often and makes me think deeply and often. This is one of the most unique shows out there and you should give it a try (also, the beginning might feel predictable, but you’ll be in for a wild ride).
➕ Frozen 2
There’s this little indie movie…seriously, though, I hadn’t heard great things about this long awaited sequel, but I thought it was so well done. The songs are breathtaking, the animation is beautiful, and, while, yes, it’s dark, I’m still blown away by how much I’m left thinking about: the message of “do the next right thing” when you’re lost about what to do, Kristoff telling Anna “my love is not fragile” and “I’m here. What do you need?”, Elsa realizing “you are the one you’ve been waiting for your whole life”.  Needed. Powerful. I’ll be watching this one again soon.
➕ Yesterday
We agreed that the pacing of this movie felt a little off, but maybe even just because of The Beatles cache, this was a fun one and worth the watch.
➕ LEGO House: Home of the Brick on Netflix
I’m not really a LEGO person, but this behind-the-scenes of the build of what’s basically a LEGO museum was a good watch.

What’s Not Working For Me

➕ Cheer
I’m sorry. I wanted to like it. I do find what they’re doing incredibly impressive and many of them have heartbreaking stories and Jerry seems awesome. Also, I have only seen two episodes, so maybe I will change my mind, but in the meantime I’m left wondering: Why? Why are they doing this to themselves? Why are you all so obsessed? Essentially, to me it feels like a therapy outlet channeled the wrong way and it makes me sad that this is the pinnacle of what they can accomplish in this field they’ve chosen and that they’re risking so much for something so…well, not important.  What am I missing?
➕ P.S. I Still Love You
Fell flat for me.
➕ Not doing meal planning of any kind.
We’ve got to get better at this. Any tips?
➕ Unintended consequences.
This idea came from an episode of The Good Place.  A character is talking about how something as simple as buying a tomato is fraught with unintended consequences…”Every day the world gets a little more complicated and being a good person gets a little harder.”  I’ve been trying to figure out ways to live more sustainably and ethically, but even just wading in is overwhelming.

Working For Me

➕ Finding people who are amazing at what they do.
I’m in awe of people who express themselves so beautifully through dance and Nicholas Palmquist’s Instagram account is such a joy. I also loved this 73 Questions with Greta Gerwig because she comes across as such an authentic, creative, and smart mind at work.
➕ This back massager.
I think everyone needs one of these.  So good.
➕ This energy.
➕ Magical Tearoom ASMR Ambience Video
Thank you to Chelsey’s newsletter for this awesome recommendation- I find it to be the perfect background noise.  Harry Potter fans, try out this ASMR room, too.
➕  This lotion.
In the winter, my hands bleed from getting so chapped. My husband surprised me with this lotion and it works amazingly, plus has a nice, neutral scent, which I so appreciate.
➕ Trying to work on the idea that if it matters to me, it’s up to me.
This may have ended up involving me carrying furniture I probably shouldn’t have tried to move, BUT taken in other directions it’s empowering and freeing.

Please do join in however feels fitting to you!

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  • Dawne says:

    I loved El Deafo! You had a great month of reading. I love that you guys are instilling such a love for reading to Maeve. She will be so thankful for that as she grows.

    • Erin says:

      It was a great month- hoping to keep that going! El Deafo felt so special. I can’t think of any other books I’ve read like it.

      That’s so sweet. I really hope she is!

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