Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Friday, April 8, 2011


I typically blog at night after I've finished a day of work and an evening of homework help. I think it's important to know yourself and I feel that I know myself reasonably well and yet the routine described above is ridiculous considering my early bird and non-night owl nature. In other words, I meant to post to this blog last night but I fell asleep. Sorry!

While, as you know, my blog posts typically combine a mommy/parenting/child issue with a book, the book I intended to highlight last night actually enables me to wrap it all up in a single package. The book, a finalist in the 3th-4th Grade Book of the Year category in this year's Children's Choice Book Awards, is Finally by Wendy Mass. The young protagonist in this book has waited her entire life to turn 12 and has amassed a laundry list of things she's been told she can have and she can do when she is finally that magical age. Here's a real life crazy juxtaposition for you - my twin daughters are 12 years old and each one has a list. Each of my 12 year old daughters, though, has a bucket list - yes, a list of things they want to do before they kick the bucket! Ridiculous, yes! Funny, yes! Par for the course with those two, absolutely! Lists are awesome - they are a great way of self-regulating and organizing our lives. The best thing about a list is that, between lead and wordprocessing, items are erasable. This past spring break, we went to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Both of our 12-year-olds had included a ride on the dreaded Leap of Faith (a water slide featuring a 60 ft. almost-vertical drop from the top of the world-famous and iconic Mayan Temple, propelling riders at a tremendous speed through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon) on their lists. After one of the girls bravely faced her fears and, literally, took the plunge, her sister looked at me and said, "you know, Leap of Faith is on my bucket list but I think I might take it off." Amen.

But I digress, back to Rory Swenson and Finally. The story begins with Rory stuck in a drainpipe. The funniest thing about that is that when I read a reference to her circumstances on the back cover, I groaned just a little but when I read the story of how it happened in the book, all I could think was, "Sheesh, that could so easily have been one of my kids!". Rory is a a real kid, Her thoughts, her emotions and her antics are authentic 12-year old stuff. This book is funny and surprising and would be a great choice to cuddle around with your kid, say between the ages of 9 and 12. I have to admit that I am a sucker for a book that ends with a mom's last word, wisdom or insight as this one does, with the mom (and I'm seriously not giving away anything by telling you this) channeling Gandhi and telling Rory, "There is more to life than increasing its speed". Words to live by and a book to enjoy.

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