Have you ever had a day where you knew you could accomplish just about anything? It happened to me on Friday. I felt quite rejuvenated getting that manuscript in the mail. Gone. Out the door. I felt like Jo March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, one of my favorite childhood books. Maybe it was all those homemade chocolate chip cookies and fresh coffee kicking in; I just knew I could complete more in a day than I ever thought I could.
On top of my list was putting together these cute Pottery Barn look alike shelves I found at IKEA in my continual project of decorating the kids' rooms. We bought our house over a year ago and I'm still in decorating $$$%$!! When I walked into their bedrooms, I quickly realized I'd have to pick up all the toys and dirty clothes thrown all over the floor to get to the walls to hang up the shelves. In a flash of Mommy Knows Best, I decided the girls needed a lesson on cleaning up after themselves or else...stuff will leave the house. I wonder how to deliver this message in an understanding yet Do It Now! inspiring way so they will actually listen...Hmmm. Needless to say, the shelves were shelved for another time.
So, I did 3 loads of laundry, wrote a little bit, did some administrative work for my husband, played games with the little one, and made decadent vegan chocolate cupcakes with crunchy pink sugar crystals sparkling on top of snowy frosting. I had library duty at the kids' school, meandered over to the public library, and started reading Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. Then came the clean up work with the bathrooms, vacuuming, and clearing off the paper littered dining room table. When the older kids came home from school, they convinced me to let their friends come over. So I let them have cupcakes, made some popcorn and pink lemonade, then left the kids alone in the hopes I can get something else done. It soon became quite apparent that peaceful coexistence was not to be had between the 6 year olds and the 8 year olds so I organized a tissue paper flower making project. I couldn't decide whether to laugh or curse when I noticed all these different shaped little pieces of bright colored tissue paper cut all over the table, my freshly vacuumed rugs and floor, and did I mention my freshly vacuumed rugs and floor?! Of course where there are scissors involved, I had to quickly check everyone's hair. Safe. Then I checked some interesting blogs while I made dinner. Unfortunately, I had to make a second meal because I was too involved in reading these blogs and couldn't figure out how to salvage the tough overcooked chicken parmesan and disintegrating pasta. So thank you for my Friday night dinner fiasco...Jen Robinson, FoodChair, Lisa Yee, A Year of Reading, Liz In Ink, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, MotherReader, A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, and Little Willow. Once everyone was finally fed, I cleaned up yet again. Finally, after the kids went to bed, I changed the look of my blog. Friday was quite a busy day.
And now....A Sunday's List of Strong Girl Role Models in Children's Literature.
1. Pacy, her Mom, best friend Melody, The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin, ages 7 and up - What a nice coming of age book. I am so glad Grace Lin wrote this book. She wrote it because, "...this was the book I wished I had growing up." Oh Grace, after reading this, so did I. This book could have been written about my childhood struggles of trying to balance my Asian heritage with being an American. This book is just so perfect in the details. Different snippets of the book just had me amused as I looked back into my childhood...the celebration of the Asian holiday, in Pacy's case, The Chinese New Year; the Asian name and the American name; the school play; being called a Twinkie; Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can't wait for my kids to read this book.
Pacy is such an earnest, smart, sweet child, who struggles to find her talent in the Chinese New Year, The Year of the Dog. She becomes best friends with Melody and they are always helping each other. Pacy's mom has important stories about her childhood or family to tell Pacy as Pacy questions things. Pacy grows and learns from her experiences and finds The Year of the Dog was truly lucky for her.
2. Ruby Lu, her mom, her grandma, Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look, ages 7 and up - This is one amusing book. Ruby Lu is an almost eight year old girl full of imagination and mischief with a heart of gold. She loves her brother, lots of reflective tape, her capes, and magic tricks. She goes to Chinese school on Saturdays, coaches her brother to make him smarter than her friend's brother, performs magic tricks for her friends, talks back to the neighborhood bully, and drives a car. Ruby's mom is elegant, loves her children, is a multi-tasker and makes magic capes for Ruby. Ruby's grandma is one hot ticket. She decides to learn how to drive, shops for the right accessories to look good while driving a car, and knows just how to flatter her man when she drives perfectly the first time.
3. Kiki Kitty aka Fashion Kitty, Mother Kitty and Mary Jane Tabby, Fashion Kitty by Charise Mericle Harper, ages 8 and up - This is a cute graphic novel. Kiki Kitty and her family are rather unusual cats. They are vegetarian cats who have a pet mouse. Mother Kitty is rather optimistic and cool. She lets her girls express themselves and lets them choose their own clothes. Kiki Kitty has great fashion sense. On her birthday, she turns into Fashion Kitty when a pile of magazines fall on her head. Think the tv show, What Not to Wear, but with a kind hearted girlfriend in the form of Super Hero Fashion Kitty. Fashion Kitty offers a kind ear and friendly fashion advice to Mary Jane Tabby, who is being bullied. Mary Jane offers kindness and understanding to the bully, when the bully makes a fashion faux pas. Combine a nice family with advice on self-esteem, peer pressure, and bullying, and you've got a graphic tale girls will enjoy.
4. Trixie and her mom, Knuffle Bunny A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems, ages 2 and up- What can I say? Very cute story. I loved the drawings set within black and white photographs. The scene in the laundromat was pretty funny. And as the story continues you think uh-oh. When Daddy and little Trixie are going home, Trixie is trying to communicate with her dad to let him know they forgot something. She's quite persistent and resourceful in her methods of getting her message across to Daddy. Poor Daddy. Thank goodness for her Mommy. Who just knew. Aren't moms grand?