Admiration List: Rex Hohlbein

Rex Hohlbein started allowing homeless people use his office as a place to hang out during the day. This grew into a small and semi-official drop-in-center service where people could come to get out of the weather or pick up needed supplies.

That alone is admirable. Yet, what really stood out to me was the way this project got started because Rex took the time to get to know individuals. He didn’t just set up a charity, he started building relationships with poverty survivors and the network of donations grew out of those relationships. That is truly worthy of admiration.

 

 

Snowballs and Friendship

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Insane or not, Rudy was always destined to be Liesel’s best friend. A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Note: This book is narrated by Death. The plot occurs during WWII. It is a very good book, with both humorous and serious aspects.

Grandma Is Who She Is

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That night at bedtime Mom and Dad told me how proud they were.

“I’m proud of you too,” said a voice from the doorway.

“Grandma!” I said. “I’m sorry I told you not to be a ninja!”

“No,” said grandma. “I’m through being a ninja anyway.”

“What?” I cried. “You’re just going to be a regular old grandma?”

“I didn’t say that,” she said.

“I’m going to be a pirate instead.”

My Grandma’s a Ninja, written by Todd Tarpley and illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou

Happy Day of the Ninja!

Giggle Book Award: Ladybugs and Bumblebees

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The Ladybug Girl books are wonderful. I highly recommend reading Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow to children of any gender because the story is about setting a goal, facing a challenge and not giving up – and climbing giant piles of snow with your dog. When I read Ladybug Girl to the children in my life, the boys were completely entranced by the story because they could relate to the adventure Ladybug Girl was having. Yes, it’s a girl in a snow suit modified to look like a bumblebee costume, but she’s climbing giant piles of snow with her dog.

As far as the children are concerned, Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow is about a kid facing kid-challenges; not about a girl doing girl-things – just something for the adults to think about.

When I found out about the Bumblebee books, I decided to take a look at both the origin of Bumblebee Boy in Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy; and his solo adventure in The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy.

Alibris.com

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy

Of the two Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy was more popular with the children because it describes the resolution to a playground conflict that the kids understood personally.

Lulu (Ladybug Girl) and Sam (Bumblebee Boy) meet at a local park and want to play together but they can’t agree on a game, toy or section of the playground. Sam doesn’t want to do what Lulu wants to do and Lulu doesn’t want to do what Sam wants to do. This leaves both children frustrated and angry with each other. That’s when Lulu asks Sam to play Ladybug Girl and explains that ‘Ladybug Girl’ has superpowers.

Superpowers? Now Sam is interested. Sam happens to be wearing a yellow and black striped shirt, so they decide he shall be Bumblebee Boy and proceed to proceed to save the world from monsters. Quote:

Feeling rather proud for saving the playground and probably the whole town, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy decide to have a parade on the bouncy dinosaurs. It is a very important celebration. A crowd gathers to watch the parade. people cheer and throw flowers at them.

That’s when Kiki and Marley want to join in but another conflict starts up as the girls start to argue over who gets to be Butterfly Girl vs Dragonfly Girl. At this point, as the reader, I’m beginning to think the book is getting a bit long – but the children were entirely engrossed in the story. In the end the conflicts are resolved and all four children develop a new game called BUG SQUAD!

Through comments made during the story and conversation afterword, I got the sense that the kids saw a very accurate portrayal of the conflicts they face in their day-to-day lives. In other words – this story is real.


The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy

Was also very popular with the children in my life, but it was less popular than Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy because the story describes a very familiar conflict between children, but the resolution is a little less comfortable.

In this story, Sam (Bumblebee Boy) wants to play Bumblebee Boy by himself but his little brother, Owen, wants to join in. Sam keeps telling Owen no and moves to another part of the house to play alone – until Owen finds him and tries again. Both sides of this conflict are very familiar to children and the resolution in the story consists of Sam deciding he’s done playing alone and goes in search of Owen.

I suspect the reason why this story was slightly less popular with the children in my life is because there was nothing Owen could do to make Same want to play with him – and nothing Sam could do to make Owen want to play alone. it ends well, but it doesn’t have the same magic conflict resolution suggestion as Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy. Quote:

“Do you want to play Bumblebee Boy with me? asks Sam. “I’m fighting aliens!”

“No, I don’t want to fight aliens,” says Owen. “Am playing bank robber monsters.”

“Bank robber monsters,” says Sam. “What game is that?”

“Is this!” says Owen.

“Oh,” says Sam. He thinks for a minute. “You know, Owen,” says Sam, “there are bank robber monsters in fighting aliens too.”

“Really?” says Owen.

“Yes,” says Sam. “So will you come fight with aliens with me?”

David Soman and Jacky Davis books covered in this post:

  • Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow
  • Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy
  • The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy

Ninja Brothers Team Up

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This is a story about two brothers. The older brother loves to pretend to be a ninja, but his ninja-play can be both rough and mean as he uses his little brother as a target. By the end, the older brother has decided to stop targeting the younger and takes him on as a partner-ninja.

As I was reading this, the children in my life made comments about the older brother’s behavior, such as: “That is very not nice!” and “You shouldn’t do that!”

I suspect this would be a very good book for families with siblings who regularly challenge one another.

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Ninja plan, Ninja scheme.

Ninja lone? No…

Ninja team!

Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!, written by Todd Tuell and illustrated by Tad Carpenter

Importance is Relative

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Barnes and Noble

“It’s easier to matter less. To just be what you are—one tiny person who doesn’t really affect huge things like this.”

“You don’t think one person matters?”

I tentatively slide my hand down her spine to settle against her hip. “Maybe everybody can matter that much to at least one other person.

Gold Runner: A Novella of Goblins, Theft, and Teenage Gods (United States of Asgard) by Tessa Gratton

 

 

 

Can’t Fix It, Got To Stand It

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“There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe, but nothing could be done about it, and if you can’t fix it you’ve got to stand it.”

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Community In Marriage

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When a couple has an argument, they may think it’s about money or power or sex, or how to raise the kids, or whatever. What they’re really saying to each other, though, without realizing it, is this: “You are not enough people!”

God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian, by Kurt Vonnegut

Bonds of Sympathy or Love

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“Who can tell what metals the gods use in forging the subtle bond which we call sympathy, which we might as well call love.”

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin

Insulting Compliments

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Note: Allegiant: Part 1, opens in theaters during March 2016! For the first two weeks of March, I will be posting one quote, per day, from the series (novels, not movies). Enjoy!

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“You are brave,” she says. “You don’t need me to say it, because you already know it. But I want you to know that I know.” She is complimenting me, but I still feel like she smacked me with something. Then she adds, “Don’t mess it up.”

Insurgent (Divergent Book 2) by Veronica Roth