Little Grain’s Big Adventure by Jacqueline Price

How very exciting! An adorable children’s book, with quality writing, unique and exotic locales and wildlife, gorgeous artwork and beautiful lyrical language!

Little Grain is bored with his hum-drum life tumbling in the surf among all the other grains of sand, and asks his friend Little Bird to take him to see the sights of Hawaii.  He ventures even farther, all the way to the Gulf of Alaska, and a strong wind strands him on an iceberg.  Now poor Little Grain is scared, cold, and homesick for his family and his warm sandy bay.  If only he could get some help!

This book is full of exotic plants, fascinating land forms, and unusual animals of the ocean, land and air, each in turn the most beautiful thing Little Grain has ever seen.  And THIS BOOK is one of the most beautiful things I’VE ever seen!


The lyrical and alliterative words make Little Grain’s Big Adventure a joy-filled reading experience, and on each page we can find our tiny main character making comments in little white speech bubbles.  I am drawn in, re-reading it over and over, savoring the unique, calming imagery in the language.

This story of a little grain of sand was inspired by the author’s family trip to Napili Bay in Maui, and is enhanced with brilliant, bold illustrations. As a librarian at an elementary school, Jacquie discovered a talented fifth-grade boy who agreed to illustrate her book, and brought to life all the marvels Little Grain encounters from Hawaii to Vancouver Island and Alaska, and back.  After admiring the art, I could hardly believe that the illustrator was not a professional artist.  (Yet!)


I fell in love with this story years ago when Jacquie sent it to our children’s writers group for our feedback. How wonderful to find out she was doing a book signing at our local Chapters Indigo bookstore in Calgary!


This book is such a treasure.  I highly recommend it!

You can purchase a copy of Little Grain’s Big Adventure at the author’s website,

What a beautiful present it would make for a child’s birthday or a holiday gift.  (And…..psssst!   Jacquie has another book coming out soon!)


The Real Diary of a Real Boy by Henry A. Shute

As previously posted, I love diaries, and I found many diaries online, including Mark Twain’s “discoveries” of Adam’s Diary and Eve’s Diary.  Then I looked at an actual diary from 1771, written by Anna Green Winslow of Boston, noticing that, in many respects, what was important to this 12-year-old girl in the 18th century is still important to 12-year-old girls today.

Another one I found at Project Gutenberg ( was The Real Diary of a Real Boy by Henry A. Shute, written in 1902.  Henry seemed to grow up in a similar rural area to where my dad grew up, and his diary entries are quite similar to some of my dad’s.

I naturally assumed this “real diary” was the actual diary of the author when he was a boy.  But it’s not!  Aargh.  I was very disappointed to learn that it is a fictionalized journal as I was researching for information on the author.  But it is based on real life, and I found it fun to read, especially knowing that the author was a farmer, musician and a juvenile judge in his hometown!



This humorous work was supposedly written by a reluctant writer whose dad persuaded him to keep a journal for a year. The boy’s childhood is all about exploring the land, his abilities and the boundaries of authority. I loved reading about the relatively carefree life that Henry lives, his independence, and his physically demanding adventures and discoveries in the outdoors.

Henry A. Shute of Exeter, NH /

Henry A. Shute of Exeter, NH /

In the Introduction, the now-grown Henry starts out: “In the winter of 1901-02, while rummaging an old closet in the shed-chamber of my father’s house, I unearthed a salt-box …”

Then he describes the contents of the box:

“Fish-line…with…hook, to which adhered the mummied remains of a worm that lived and flourished many, many years ago.

Popgun…. One blood alley, two chinees, a parti-colored glass agate, three pewees, and unnumbered drab colored marbles.

Six-inch bean-blower, for school use—a weapon of considerable range and great precision when used with judgment behind a Guyot’s Common School Geography.

Unexpended ammunition for same, consisting of putty pellets.

Frog’s hind leg, extra dry. Wing of bluejay, very ditto.

Letter from “Beany,” postmarked “Biddeford, Me.” and expressing great indignation because “Pewt” “hasent wrote.”

Copy-book inscribed “Diry.”

Henry A. Shute with a young fan (c)Exeter Historical Society on

Henry A. Shute with a young fan (c)Exeter Historical Society on

“Diry” means Diary.  This boy started many entries with a weather report, “brite and fair”.  He seemed to get into a fight several times a week, and goes into great detail about his and his friends’ shenanigans and punishments, which seemed to be pretty important occasions!


Here he tells about his average summer days (I decided to doctor up some of the spelling and punctuation for ease of reading!):

July 21. Awful hot. Big thunder shower and lightning struck a tree in front of Perry Molton’s house.

July 22. Went to church. Beany let the wind out of the organ and it squeaked and made everybody laugh. Keene and Cele sing in the choir. Father feels pretty big about it.

July 23. I got stung by hornets today. I went in swimming at the eddy and when I was drying my clothes I set rite down on a stump where there was a nest of yellow bellied hornets. They all lit on me and I thought I was afire for a minute. I ran and dove rite off the bank and swam way out under water. When I came up they were buzzing round jest where I went down. When I came out the fellers put mud on my bites and after a while they stopped hurting. I tell you the fellers jest died laughing to see me run and holler.

July 24. Brite and fair. I was all swelled up with hornet bites but they didn’t hurt any, I looked jest like Beany when he had the mumps. Everyone laughed at me.

Henry A. Shute reading to boy students (c)Exeter Historical Society on

Henry A. Shute reading to boy students (c)Exeter Historical Society on

The author, called The Mark Twain of Exeter (New Hampshire, where he grew up), includes an “update” at the end, 30 years later, telling where all of his friends and relatives were and what they were now doing, showing how the ones doing all the mischief grew up and became proper, successful human beings (most of them!).  This ending is quite a creative and amusing feature to the book.

Henry Shute wrote over 20 books about mischievous boys, all set in his hometown.  He graduated from Harvard University in 1879. In the 1890’s, he began writing for the Exeter News-Letter, and this diary published in 1902 was what brought him national recognition. He went on to publish in the SATURDAY EVENING POST from 1925 to 1928.

Project Gutenberg is a tremendous resource.  Below is the link to this diary, and links to the other three diaries I reviewed, and I hope you will find something you enjoy there.  Let me know if you do!

Real Diary of a Real Boy

Diary of Anna Green Winslow

Extracts from Adam’s Diary by Mark Twain

Eve’s Diary by Mark Twain


Photo credits:

Photos from

Book covers from

Diary of Anna Green Winslow, a Boston School Girl of 1771

In previous posts, I wrote about my absolute joy in reading Extracts from Adam’s Diary and Eve’s Diary.  Reading (and even re-reading) some parts of these made me laugh almost to exhaustion. Other parts were serious and surprisingly tender compared to the other books I’ve read by Mark Twain.

At Project Gutenberg ( I also found Diary of Anna Green Winslow, a Boston School Girl of 1771. It was written by a 12-year-old girl, and published in 1894. The editor, Alice Morse Earle, included an in-depth family history.

Miniature of Colonial Diarist Anna Green Winslow

Quite the Lineage!

Anna was born in 1759 in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Her family did not feel that Halifax could provide the society or the schooling that would “finish” their daughter. So they sent 10-year-old Anna to America to live with Judge Winslow’s older sister, Aunt Sarah Deming, and her husband, in Boston. 

Miss Winslow traveled in high social circles and had quite the lineage! On her mother’s side, she was descended from a Puritan, Percival Green, who sailed from London, England, in 1635.  On her father’s side, Anna’s great-great-great grandfather was the older brother of Pilgrim Edward Winslow, who arrived on the Mayflower as did Anna’s great-great-great grandmother, Mary Chilton.

Anna’s interests and daily life

Anna is clearly fascinated with people, and details visits and conversations with the many people she interacts with.  She writes about fashions, the weather (waist-high snow!), her sewing skills and various domestic duties, and her attempts to improve her writing skills.  She records the many visits she makes to help and encourage friends and relatives who are ill.  Anna mentions her spiritual progress in strengthening her relationship with God, and writes many notes about Biblical scriptures she reads and sermons she hears.

Diary Anna Winslow

1771 not so different from 2016?

I find it fascinating to compare people from different eras, and noticed an obvious contrast in Anna’s memoirs between the orderliness and apparent serenity of their lives, and our disjointed, hurried lives of today.

Parents and society required children and teens to work more in 1771.  A sense of duty and responsibility to family and society was more internalized and self-motivated in children then, compared to now. Family members seemed more engaged with each other then–especially the females and children who spent so much time in the home together.  Yet I am surprised that there was so much emphasis on proper etiquette and connections that families would actually send a 12-year-old girl away to be trained and refined!

Twelve-year-old Anna rarely talks about her friends.  By contrast, for many youth in 2016, friends seem to have taken the place—or a higher priority—over family relationships. I think our children today devote more time on physical fitness, entertainment, pleasure, and buying “toys” than in Anna’s time, partly because our automated society gives us more free time and money.  But it’s also partly because we as adults encourage children to have fun.

However, having said all that, I don’t think that pre-teens are that different now than they were then in 1770’s Boston, when it comes to what is truly important to them.  Children value that family closeness no matter what century they live in. And they all have hopes and dreams to be a valuable member of society, be accepted by their peers, enjoy particular hobbies, be healthy, and many still reach for a connection with the divine.

“Mom, there’s no way I’m wearing that!”

Anna Green Winslow's diary entry in handwriting

Anna Green Winslow’s diary entry in handwriting

In this handwritten letter, Anna seems annoyed that her mother doesn’t let her wear the latest fashions, something that annoys plenty of Anna’s 2016 counterparts as well!  She says that her hat makes her look like a “street seller”:

“Dear mamma, you don’t know the fation [fashion] here—I beg to look like other folk…”

She closes this journal entry (which is also a letter to her mother) affectionately:

“…with duty, love and compliments as due, particularly to my dear little brother (I long to see him)…Your ever dutiful daughter…”


Any thoughts?  Do leave a comment!

Up next is a diary reluctantly written by a boy in rural America in the 1860’s.


You can read buy Anna’s diary at Amazon, and read it at .

Project Gutenberg is also a tremendous resource.  Below are the links of these three diaries, and there are many more diaries there!  I hope you will find something you enjoy there.

Diary of Anna Green Winslow

Eve’s Diary by Mark Twain

Extracts from Adam’s Diary by Mark Twain


Photo credits:

Miniature of Colonial Diarist Anna Green Winslow and Anna Green Winslow’s diary entry in handwriting from

Book covers from

Eve and her Pet Brontosaurus

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love diaries, and at Project Gutenberg I found many diaries available to read, listen to and download to my Kindle.  The first one I read was Excerpts from Adam’s Diary, supposedly written by Adam.  This book by the American humorist Mark Twain was published in 1904.

Well, naturally, Eve also kept a diary, which Twain “discovered.”  It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper’s Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906.

Diary Eves Diary Mark Twain pg8525.cover.medium

Mark Twain is known for his wit, but I had no idea how eloquent and tender he could be.  Here are journal entries from Eve’s Diary.  Notice that, compared to Adam’s focus on building and exploring, Eve is concerned with order and beauty.  She delights in her endless discoveries of God’s gifts of flowers, plants, animals…and even her own reflection!

Here are some of my favorite passages:

First days in Eden, and losing the moon

Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition, and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants that the aspects were quite distressing…. There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can be remedied presently, no doubt.

The moon got loose last night and slipped down and fell out of the scheme—a  very great loss, it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn’t another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If we can only get it back again… For I do love moons, they’re so pretty and so romantic. I wish we had five or six; I would never go to bed; I should never get tired lying on the moss-bank and looking up at them.

Eve Diary Reflection cr and strI got a basket and started for a place on the extreme rim of the circle, where the stars were close to the ground and I could get them with my hands… But it was farther than I thought… I couldn’t get back home, it was too far and turning cold; but I found some tigers and nestled in among them and was most adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant, because they live on strawberries. I had never seen a tiger before, but I knew them in a minute by the stripes.

Her first impressions of Adam

I followed the other Experiment around, yesterday afternoon, at a distance, to see what it might be for, if I could. But I was not able to make it out. I think it is a man. I had never seen a man, but it looked like one and I feel sure that it is what it is. I realize that I feel more curiosity about it than any of the other reptiles. If it is a reptile, and I suppose it is; for it has frowzy hair and blue eyes, and looks like a reptile. It has no hips; it tapers like a carrot; when it stands, it spreads itself apart like a derrick; so I think it is a reptile, though it may be architecture.

Her new discovery

I laid a dry stick on the ground and tried to bore a hole in it with another one, in order to carry out a scheme that I had, and soon I got an awful fright. A thin transparent bluish film rose out of the hole, and I dropped everything and ran! I thought it was a spirit, and I WAS so frightened! … there was a pinch of delicate pink dust in the hole. I put my finger in, to feel it, and said OUCH! and took it out again. It was a cruel pain. I put my finger in my mouth; and by standing first on one foot and then the other, and grunting, I presently eased my misery; then I was full of interest, and began to examine…Suddenly the name of it occurred to me, though I had never heard it before. It was fire!

Eve in sun

Extract from Adam’s Diary

….perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl, and make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can’t speak for delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it. And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage, blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains, the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering in the wastes of space—none of them is of any practical value, so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty, that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them.

If she could quiet down and keep still a couple minutes at a time, it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that case I think I could enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature—lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder, with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes, watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she was beautiful.

If there is anything on the planet that she is not interested in it is not in my list…When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity;…she wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to…move out.  She believed it could be tamed by kind treatment and would make a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet high and eighty-four feet long would be no proper thing to have about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it, for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded…

She thought we could start a dairy with it,…but…it was too risky…She thought…we could stand him in the river and use him for a bridge…but it failed: every time she got him properly placed…he came out and followed her around like a pet mountain.  Like the other animals.  They all do that.

Eve ponders her existence, and the stars melting

At first I couldn’t make out what I was made for, but now I think it was to search out the secrets of this wonderful world and thank the Giver of it all for devising it.

By watching, I know that the stars are not going to last. I have seen some of the best ones melt and run down the sky. Since one can melt, they can all melt; since they can all melt, they can all melt the same night. That sorrow will come–I know it. I mean to sit up every night and look at them as long as I can keep awake; and I will impress those sparkling fields on my memory, so that by-and-by when they are taken away I can by my fancy restore those lovely myriads to the black sky and make them sparkle again, and double them by the blur of my tears.

Their Love

Forty Years Later… It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together–a longing which shall never perish from the earth, but shall have place in the heart of every wife that loves, until the end of time, and it shall be called by my name.

At Eve’s Grave:    ADAM: Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden.

Mark Twain

Author Mark Twain

As you can see, this short book is by turns charming, hilarious and serious.  Eve’s Diary is one of the most imaginative books I’ve read, my current favorite of Mark Twain’s wealth of writings. I hope you will read it and also enjoy all of the many detailed pen and ink drawings. It’s also available as an ebook at Project Gutenberg, and in print form at Amazon and other online bookstores.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these diaries by Mark Twain, and diaries in general, and you can leave a comment below.  More diaries to come!



Diaries from Hundreds—even Thousands—of Years Ago

I love diaries, and have written in various forms of journals since I was about 10 years old.  I enjoy reading them almost as much as writing them, and find reliving first hand experiences (yes, even my own) fascinating, educational and often humorous and inspiring.


Journals and Diaries

At Project Gutenberg ( I found many diaries available to read, listen to and download, and added a few to my Kindle.  The first ones I read were Mark Twain’s books, which are supposedly diaries written by Adam and Eve.

The author imagines this first couple as being rather tentative about each other! I tried to select a few extra-special parts, but there are too many, so here are a few paragraphs from the beginning of the book entitled Extracts from Adam’s Diary, starting with Twain’s note:

* * * * * * * * * * *

Extracts from Adam's Diary[NOTE.– I translated a portion of this diary some years ago… Since then I have deciphered some more of Adam’s hieroglyphics, and think he has now become sufficiently important as a public character to justify this publication. – – M. T.]

This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals….

Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls–why, I am sure I do not know. Says it looks like Niagara Falls…. I get no chance to name anything myself. The new creature names everything that comes along, before I can get in a protest. And always that same pretext is offered–it looks like the thing. There is the dodo, for instance. Says the moment one looks at it one sees at a glance that it “looks like a dodo”. It will have to keep that name no doubt. It worries me to fret about it, and it does no good anyway.  Dodo! It looks no more like a Dodo than I do.


Built me a shelter against the rain, but could not have it to myself in peace. The new creature intruded. When I try to put it out, it shed water out of the holes it looks with, and wiped it away with the back of its paws, and made a noise such as some of the other animals make when they are in distress. I wish it would not talk, it is always talking… And this new sound is so close to me; it is right at my shoulder, right at my ear, first on one side and then on the other, and I am used only to sounds that are more or less distant from me…

This morning found the new creature trying to clod apples out of that forbidden tree.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Adam and Eve’s first child is named Cain. When Eve “finds” Cain, Adam can not figure out what kind of animal it is or where she found it.  At first Adam thinks Cain is a fish, a kangaroo, or a bear. Eventually he figures out it is a human, like himself.

I love how they talk about God as a beloved family member.  Eventually, despite his initial deep annoyance with Eve, Adam finds himself in love with her.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

This 104-page book is well worth checking out, and I hope you will get as many laughs as I did!  It’s available as an ebook and audio book at Project Gutenberg, and in print form at Amazon and other online bookstores.

If you do read it, I’d love to hear your reactions.  You can leave a comment below in the “Leave a Reply” box.  I’ll look at Eve’s Diary in my next post!


ebook:  Extracts from Adam’s Diary by Mark Twain

audio book

Garden of Eden  Thomas Cole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

CBC/Calgary READS used book sale May 13-15, 2016

Calgary READS is an organization close to my heart, because their mission is to make reading a priority for young children.  They have grown from offering one tutoring program to now having many programs and initiatives that work in schools and communities to support children and their families.

With so many new and used book stores scaling down, or going out of business, especially the precious little mom-and-pop stores, it is a joy to see that charitable organizations still put in a lot of hard work into book sales, and can raise money because people still buy print books!

CBC Calgary Reads 2015 sale sshot-3

Whenever I go to these sales, it makes me smile to see children of all ages looking intensely for their favorite authors, carrying around piles of books to buy and begging mom or dad for “just one more”.  There’s just no substitute for a print book that you can hold in your hands with paper pages to flip.

Below is more information (including a map) from the Calgary READS website about this event with Author Readings, Jazz and Books Night, and Children’s Story Tent:

CBC Calgary Reads 2015 sale sshot-1CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale

May 13 to May 15, 2016  Calgary Curling Club

One of Calgary’s most anticipated and attended events!Hundreds of thousands of previously-loved books will be ready to be purchased and find new homes. This is a signature fundraising event for Calgary Reads.

Our 14th annual event! Held at the Calgary Curling Club. 720 3rd St. NW, Calgary:

  • Friday May 13th – 9am-9pm – TGIBs (Thank Goodness It’s Books) Author Reading 7pm
  • Saturday May 14th – 9am-9pm – Back by popular demand! Jazz & Book Night! Shop to the musical sounds of Midnight Blue Jazz Society with cash wine bar 6-9pm.
  • Sunday May 15th – 9am -1pm. Children’s Story Tent with crafts and storytelling by Girl Guides (9am – noon).

Donate Books

We welcome donations of good quality, gently used adult and children books for the book sale! (We cannot accept encyclopaedias, dictionaries, text books, Harlequin Romances, Reader’s Digest, cassettes, magazines or agendas)

Book collection locations, dates and times:

At Calgary Food Bank,  5000, 11th Street SE, Calgary:

  • Monday to Thursday April 25 to 28 – drop off at Door #3 from 8:30am – 7pm
  • Friday, April 29 – drop off at Door #3 from 8:30am -3:30pm

At Calgary Curling Club, 720 3rd St NW, Calgary:

  • Tuesday to Friday May 3 to May 6 from 9am – 7pm sharp
  •  Saturday  and Sunday May 7 and 8 from 9am -4pm sharp


Interested in Volunteering? We are looking for volunteers to fill numerous shifts on the collection dates. If you are interested, please complete the Calgary Reads ‘Other Volunteer Opportunities’ on line form here.


CBC Calgary Reads 2015 sale sshot-2


Limited free parking is available in the Curling Club lot and on the street. Paid parking is available in the large city lot on the east side of the Curling Club–only $3–see the map below.

The Curling Club is at the spot marked “A” in the map below:

Curling clubmap for book sale


A Story a Day in May 2016

2016story a day badgesq500x500 2I am writing a story everyday!

…and more importantly, I’m FINISHING each story.  As in, they each have an ENDING, which is one of my biggest struggles.

I often go hog wild with an idea and write a few pages or even a chapter, and then take a break. But then I don’t know how it ends, so I avoid it.  Eventually it goes in the thick “In Progress” binder.

So I decided to intentionally work on writing endings and Story a Day is one of the tools I found to help me do that. It’s Day 4 and I’ve finished every story!


It’s easy.  You get an inspiring writing prompt in your email everyday, often from a famous author, some encouragement and tips, and jump right in to write and then share with the community if you like.

You can sign up at and yes, YOU CAN SIGN UP LATE. The more, the merrier!

The Crossroads SAS Used Book Sale starts May 5 2016!

Mark your calendar!

SAS crossrds bk sale 2016There are 2 more days to donate gently used books to the Servants Anonymous 14th Annual Calgary Book Sale at the tent in front of the OutPost Tent at Crossroads Market, just off of Blackfoot Trail at 1235 26th Ave SE, Calgary.

Everyone is welcome at the Book Sale KICK-OFF to do some “advanced” shopping on Thursday afternoon and evening, May 5th, from 3 PM to 8 PM.

The SALE goes from Friday through Sunday for 2 weekends:

May 6 – 8, 2016, 10 AM to 5 PM, and

My 13 – 15, 2016, 10 AM to 5 PM

SAS Crossroads 2015 Book Sale logo - sshot fr websiteThis is one of the highlights of spring!  I have supported this sale for many years, and always enjoy the friendly volunteers, and seeing what’s new.  This is an opportunity to browse thousands of books, categorized by general subjects and by fiction genre, and to get a great deal (that supports a good cause).

There is plenty of parking there (at the Crossroads Market, 1235 26th Ave SE, Calgary), and it’s worth coming early so you’ll have time to visit the booths of fresh veggies, meats, crafts, etc., at the Farmer’s Market before they close at 5!

I recommend shopping with a wheeled traveling or shopping bag-–it’s great for avoiding sore arms from carrying around a pile of heavy treasures and “possibilities”.

I will be heading straight for the special gated area with the antiquarian, rare, and just-plain OLD books in the back right corner.  I hope you’ll help out this organization that supports women at risk, and find some great books!

Happy 100th Birthday Beverly Cleary!

I don`t normally forward a link to a news article, but I just found this and can`t resist.

I just adore Beverly Cleary. On April 12, 2016 she turned 100 years old–can you believe it!

Whenever someone learns my name is Ramona, they ask if I read the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I tell them that I am pretty sure they were based on me. In the 60`s, my mom read Henry and the Clubhouse, Ramona the Pest and Henry and Ribsy to my brother and me each night, with our huge collie in bed with us.  I was very confused: how did this author I`d never met know me so well, and why did she write a whole book about me!  The illustrator, Louis Darling, even captured my unruly hair and untied shoes.

Look, I still have them on my book shelf!

May June incl books 229

Thank you, Beverly Cleary, for years and years of joy and laughter!

You can read a great article about her on Today Parents, here.  And if you haven`t already read one of her books, it doesn`t matter what your age, treat yourself to any one of them (especially the three above), and experience the warmth and feel-good humor of this dear author.

Also, check out my review of Beezus and Ramona at Best Children`s Books!

With Appreciation to the Writers of Hymns

Easter is such a joyful time, and the words and music of the old hymns help me to fully express the joy inside me.


Here are a few of my favorite Easter hymns. I must sing these every Easter or I don’t feel like I have sufficiently celebrated! So for the past few years I’ve gone onto YouTube before church and sang along with several choirs. And then if we also sing them at church, that is frosting on the cake for me.

Thank you hymn writers!


This song starts out slow and somber with images of the grave. But the chorus launches into a brisk march with the notes going higher and higher, lifting the singers to new hope and joy. Robert Lowry wrote the text and music for this song in 1874, and my hymn book includes the scripture, “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus, my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus, my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Lord!

Death cannot keep his Prey,
Jesus, my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord!

Easter 05_41_14---The-Cross_webCHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY

This song written by Charles Wesley in 1739 is also a vigorous tune. You can’t help but “raise your joys and triumphs high” as the notes soar upward. I love singing the high notes, it energizes me! The song taunts death:  Hey, Death, where is your sting now? Where is your victory now, Grave!  Christ disarmed you both!

There are actually eleven stanzas, and these are some of the best known.

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!


This song is a very simple declaration of someone living life as a follower of Christ. The words and music were written by Alfred H. Ackley in 1933.  He wrote them in response to someone who asked him, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”, and a dreadful Easter sermon!

I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading through all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.

Happy Easter everbody!