March: Books Plus
We all know what this is now, yes? Onward!
➕ Tara Daiman’s All Four Stars
I want to put this in the hands of all of you wonderful food-loving, middle-grade-loving folks out there, especially when you’re in need of some cheery escapism. So satisfying and cute.
➕ Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Secret Keepers
I’m bummed to say this one felt laborious to me. I wanted to get swept up in the adventure, but often found myself wanting to shout, “get on with it already!”. It’s highly rated online, though, so maybe I was just feeling too impatient.
➕ Meg Medina’s Merci Suarez Changes Gears
This is the story of a girl going through the aches of seeing everyone growing up around her and the terrifying way that aging can take someone away from you before they’re physically gone. I often go to middle grade for something lighter, and this isn’t that, but it’s beautifully done and full of heart. I especially loved the details of her close-knit family and Egyptian project for school.
➕ J.K. Rowling’s Goblet of Fire
Things that are disturbing in this book: bubotuber pus, blast-ended skrewts’ stingers and suckers, Hedwig drinking out of Harry’s juice. You get that joke if you’ve read this because, wow, was anyone else shocked as a kid by how dark this end is? For real, though, this is probably my desert island book.
Link is to the illustrated version because, if you don’t have it, you need it.
➕ Sharon Draper’s Blended
The main character is blended in the sense of being biracial and having divorced parents. I’d say this book is the younger sibling to The Hate U Give both in terms of the topics and the strength of the voice.
➕ Sara Pennypacker’s Here in the Real World
From the author of Pax, this story is about two outsider kids who are brought together in an abandoned lot. There’s lot of heart and tender moments as these kids learn to navigate the “real world” and the good that can be made in it despite all of the difficulties.
➕ Meg Cabot’s All American Girl
I couldn’t pick what to read next and pretty randomly landed on this story I liked as a teenager in which a girl ends up saving the life of the president and falling for his curly-haired, green-eyed son. Escapism. I remembered them eating cheeseburgers in the White House and still think that would be amazing. Also, does anyone else remember the movie First Kid with Sinbad?
New To Us Top Toddler Reads
➕ Carme Lemniscates’ Seeds
A story about seeds that extends to the idea of seeds of kindness and so forth that is very lovely. Thank you, Candlewick for our copy!
➕ Anna Walker’s Lottie and Walter
The illustrations in this one are so charming, as is the story of a little girl who’s afraid to swim until she meets her giant walrus friend, Walter.
A new book podcast hosted by articulate, insightful, fun women. I’m fully in.
➕ Happier Episode 263
I loved this interview of Dan Heath so much that it inspired me to want to request all of his books. The ideas Harris talks about and the way he illustrates his points left me feeling so inspired and also wishing I had a bigger outlet for that inspiration (Get me back into the school systems! But just the fun parts ; ) ).
TV and Movies
➕ Grand Designs
Been catching back up on this one and, if you have any interest in architecture, this is a fantastic one. Kevin McCloud is an excellent host.
➕ Survivor: Winners at War
I realize most of you think Survivor is passe, but it is fantastic. So much human psychology here, plus it’s just fun watching the different strategies. This season is all past winners, so it’s all the better. Not too late to catch up! Also, Popcast Fans, Knox McCoy recaps on his new podcast All Things Recapped.
➕ Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon doing their shows from their homes
The creativity that has come out of all of this is certainly a bright spot.
Both of these are cute families who travel around the world. Fun escapism!
These two travel around the world with their two adorable daughters. I started with the Faroe Islands videos and, wow, stunning.
What’s Not Working For Me
➕ I mean…most things. COVID-19 has brought a lot of darkness.
➕ Love is Blind
I get the addictive nature of this, but the production is irritating and it just felt hopeless and sad. I was curious to see what insights might come out of this, but, nope, it’s just all the annoying parts of The Bachelor.
Working For Me
➕ Seeking out joyful moments.
I’m a little embarrassed to say I got teary-eyed watching this gymnastics performance, but the JOY of everyone and the beauty and skill of this young woman…I’m amazed.
➕ That photo of Harry and Meghan in the rain.
You know the one, right? It’s just so good and I love when things align like that to create a moment of beautiful symbolism. Do you think famous people ever frame paparazzi pictures? I totally would.
➕ Other people’s cleverness.
This collection of the worst Yelp comments of National Parks turned into National Park posters is too good.
➕ Choosing to buy.
I try to really think carefully before I buy things because I don’t like waste and I value frugality to the point where it can be tough. (Also, I bought these at the beginning of the month and know that money is a scary thing now for lots of us.) I wore free sneakers I hated for years and years and finally decided to buy some slip-on sneakers I actually like. I was struggling with hair ties that took too long to put on Maeve and found these hair ties that work little miracles (they’re hard to pull out for her, yet slide off easily and don’t rip). I’ve not wanted to buy clothes online, but found and love this simple dress.
➕ Those fence posts.
You might have seen these in my stories, but basically I’m striving to plan certain bright spots for every day. I refer to them as fence posts because they are high points meant to guide you along your daily path. I’ve found myself not wanting to make the lists almost every day and then that I’m always grateful that I have. Give it a try and tag me if you’re so inclined!
Please do join in however feels fitting to you!
If you would like to join in on the fun, please go to the submissions page!