When Mother Read Aloud by Katie Andrews Potter

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When Mother Read Aloud: The Life Story of Almyra King Holsclaw by Katie Andrews Potter is a true labor of love and family heirloom for generations to come. Almyra King Holsclaw is the great-great-great grandmother of author and family historian, Katie Andrews Potter. Almyra was born in Jennings County, Indiana in 1842, living her entire life as a Hoosier. The text is based from a manuscript dictated by Almyra King Holsclaw around the year 1930 to her daughter, Bertha. Potter has edited the historical information into more of a picture book story format, as well as added a detailed biography section.

The story section of the book has beautiful art illustrations completed by five high school students. The quilted border around the pages in the front section are a reproduction of an actual quilt that Almyra made, which is shown in pictures later on in the book. Potter’s writing style transports readers into pioneer Indiana life, with vivid descriptions of nature, wild game, forests, a pioneer home, cooking, weaving, sewing, social gatherings, church, stories and recollections, and the importance of family.

The biography section contains many historical family photos and even postcards written in 1924 and 1925. Almyra’s biography is well written and easy to follow. Included is a poem from her daughter, Bertha, entitled “When Mother Read Aloud,” which explains the reasoning for the title of Potter’s book. The unique format for the book with one part dictated story and the other fact-filled biography is pleasing and interesting to readers of all ages. Potter’s sources of information and photos are well-documented in a Works Consulted section at the end of the book. In her Author’s Note, Potter explains that her love for stories of our ancestors came from her grandmother and that her lifelong dream was to create a children’s picture book. She has done a fabulous job of just that, and I’m certain that Almyra would be very proud.

Thank you to Katie Andrews Potter for allowing me to review her wonderful tribute to her family’s rich history. Katie blogs about family history at katieandrewspotter.comI would encourage you to visit her there for more stories.

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Blood and Ink by Stephen Davies

9781580897907_34ab1First appeared in School Library Journal, July 2017.

Though both raised in the Fulani tribe, teens Ali and Kadi are like oil and water when their paths cross in the midst of political turmoil in their home of Timbuktu, Mali. Religiously strict Ali belongs to the Defenders of Faith, a branch of Al Queda. His current assignment is to take control of Timbuktu, destroying any opposition in the way. Equally strict, brave, and feisty is Kadi, a lover of music and literature and the daughter of a librarian. As a Guardian, Kadi must keep ancient manuscripts safe at all costs. While trying to flee Timbuktu with the manuscripts, Kadi ends up in mortal danger. Ali must choose where his true loyalty lies. The ending is abrupt, but hopeful, and it begs for a sequel. Modern-day Timbuktu is brought to life in this timely, fast-paced story of teens falling in love despite being at war with each other. Historically rich background and Islamic culture combine, providing two perspectives on the war in Mali. The drama unfolds in alternating points of view between well-developed characters with multicultural subject matter that is unique, but relevant to current events.  Davies’ writing is authentic, because he spent over a decade with the Fulani tribe. Both a glossary and a fact & fiction section are included to enhance reader’s understanding and provide factual background of Islamic practices. VERDICT: Readers will enjoy the well-drawn characters and fast-paced action of this diverse YA thriller with a hint of romance.

Books Read in 2017

Happy New Year! 2017 was a year filled with some awesome books! Many include links to my reviews (without spoilers). I read a total of 102 books, so my 2018 goal will be 103. Thanks for reading and following my blog. Blessings to all of you for 2018!

Laura

 

January

  1. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
  2. Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu
  3. The Captain’s Kid by Liz Coley
  4. The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
  5. Stitches by David Small
  6. The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg

February

  1. One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
  2. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
  3. Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian

March

  1. Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs
  2. The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
  3. The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
  4. Starr Fallby Kim Briggs
  5. What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
  6. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
  7. Saving Red by Sonia Sones
  8. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
  9. Mischling by Affinity Konar
  10. Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

April

  1. Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington
  2. A List of Cages by Robin Roe
  3. I Found You by Lisa Jewell
  4. The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
  5. Part of the Silence by Debbie Howells
  6. Blood and Ink by Stephen Davies

May

  1. The Girl Before by JP Delaney
  2. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  3. To Stay Alive by Skila Brown
  4. Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz
  5. The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
  6. Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles
  7. As She Fades by Abbi Glines
  8. The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno
  9. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
  10. The Map That Leads to You by JP Monninger
  11. Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
  12. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  13. All We Have Left by Wendy Mills
  14. Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

June

  1. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
  2. People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper
  3. Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand
  4. The Choices We Make by Karma Brown
  5. All the Summer Girls by Meg Donahue
  6. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
  7. Summer People by Elin Hilderbrand
  8. The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand
  9. Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand
  10. The Late Show by Michael Connelly
  11. The Long Road Home by Tawni Waters
  12. Camino Island by John Grisham
  13. Here and Gone by Haylen Beck
  14. The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore
  15. Summer Secrets by Jane Green
  16. Home Again by Kristin Hannah
  17. Saving Grace by Jane Green
  18. The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

July

  1. What She Knew by Gilly McMillan
  2. The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons
  3. Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown
  4. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
  5. Love and Other Alien Experiences by Kerry Winfrey
  6. Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
  7. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  8. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  9. Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
  10. Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave
  11. Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
  12. The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon
  13. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
  14. Unsub by Meg Gardiner
  15. Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven
  16. Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
  17. Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

August

  1. Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner
  2. Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
  3. Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath
  4. A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann
  5. Dan vs. Nature by Don Calame
  6. Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore

September

  1. Where I Live by Brenda Rufener
  2. I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
  3. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
  4. Ghosts in the Fog by Samantha Seiple
  5. The Demon Crown by James Rollins
  6. Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
  7. Confess by Colleen Hoover

October

  1. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
  2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  4. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  5. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
  6. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November

  1. The Magnificent Life of Esme Wells by Adrienne Sharp
  2. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
  3. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
  4. Always, Forever, Maybe by Anna Mrose Rissi
  5. Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott Thomas
  6. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

December

  1. My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd
  2. Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
  3. Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington