It’s May and time for the May Family BookList. In Minnesota, we are finally able to get outside and enjoy the weather….when it’s not raining. This month, we are focusing on nature. Whether in the real world or an imaginary world, I have some fun picks for you.
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Celebrating Minnesota’s beauty and its fascinating history, these picture books are gorgeous.
Wake Up, Island and Hush Hush, Forest are works of art by Minnesota’s own Mary Casanova and our Wisconsin neighbor Nick Wroblewski. Poetry in words and pictures. Nick Wroblewski does woodcut printing, and these beautiful pages had my teenage daughters and I researching what woodcut printing is and how to do it. We were fascinated, and now we appreciate the books even more.
The Lost Forest by Phyllis Root and Betsy Bowen, two extremely talented Minnesotans, was published just in April. It is a true story about how a forest in Minnesota was ACTUALLY lost. I’m not even joking! No one realized the forest was there until 1958. Even after this entire book, you’ll still be unsure how that actually happened. The end pages are chocked full of historical information. But my favorite part of the book was definitely the illustrations.
Phyllis Root loves herself some nature, and she loves to write about it in books that are perfect for kids. Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers is a reference book for everyone though, the young and the young at heart. I loved paging through this book and looking through the captivating photographs by Kelly Povo. Beginning botanists will appreciate this book as will the well-seasoned.
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic was a book that I could NOT wait to read. And it did not disappoint. Jennifer Trafton set her story on the Island at the Center of Everything, and before long we realize something is a little off. The plot line twists and turns throughout the story. The Leafeaters need to be free, the Rumblebumps need a Grand Stomper, the King needs pepper, and the Smudges need a new Giving Pot. And it’s up to 10 year old Persimmony Smudge to figure it all out.
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt isn’t set in Minnesota but in Maine in 1912. We experience the Atlantic Ocean tides, low and high. We enjoy Malaga Island across the harbor from Phippsburg which is where Turner (the Buckminster Boy) has moved from Boston. He befriends Lizzie from the island, and even while he is forbidden to go to the Island, he is never forbidden to be her friend. He ends up int he middle of the town’s fight and stands up for his friends on Malaga Island even if it does embarrass his minister father and infuriate the deacons of 1st Congregational Church.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
All I can say is that I ugly cried and I was relieved that my husband wasn’t home to witness my visceral reaction to this story. For the first two thirds of the book, I simply loved the story of Cora and Ernt and their daughter Leni. Ernt had been to war and was suffering from PTSD and to cope, they moved to a cabin located in Alaska that was willed to Ernt by a war buddy. By the last third, I was so sucked in that I was incapable of physically putting the book down. I loved the beauty of Alaska and the hope of Leni and Cora throughout the first half of the novel. I loved seeing everything through Leni’s perspective. How she watched her mom respond to her dad with forgiveness all the time, be disgusted, and the do the same thing.
A Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities by John J. Moriarty and photography by Stan L. St. Clair is a book I’m super happy to own and have as a resource for our house. Keep in mind that the vivid photographs gave me the heebie jeebies. Mostly it was beautiful, but when it comes to snakes and mice and AAAAHHHH. I’m still getting shivers from the photos.
Hello Mornings by Kat Lee is a sweet book about how to create a life-giving morning routine. I am not huge into self help books. But this one isn’t preachy. Kat shares funny and meaningful and some tearful stories from her life.
Then she gives tips but if nothing else they are tips in how to simplify the ideas she presents about getting up FOR your life not TO your life. I love her concept of starting your moving with God time, Move time, and Plan time. But start with three minutes.
What do you plan on reading this month? Leave a comment. We’d love to hear about it and if you liked it.