We’re Thankful For…

God and the love He so freely gives, even when we don’t deserve it.

Family we love and are stuck with no matter what (but we’re okay with that).

Friends, the family that we choose.

America, our beautiful home.

Freedom to read and write without threat.

You, the ones who support us in our blogging endeavor.

To our God above, the ones we love, and our sweet readers,

Thank you.

The Girls In Plaid Skirts


Review: Sisters of Glass

12384990Author: Stephanie Hemphill

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family on the island of Murano, the traditional home for Venetian glassmakers. Though she longs to be a glassblower herself, glassblowing is not for daughters—that is her brother’s work. Maria has only one duty to perform for her family: before her father died, he insisted that she be married into the nobility, even though her older sister, Giovanna, should rightfully have that role. Not only is Giovanna older, she’s prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her.

Maria would like nothing more than to allow her beautiful sister, who is far more able and willing to attract a noble husband, to take over this role for her. But they cannot circumvent their father’s wishes. And when a new young glassblower arrives to help the family business and Maria finds herself drawn to him, the web of conflicting emotions grows even more tangled


A simple story.  A delightful read.  Set on an island in long-ago Italy, in the age of the art and craft of glassmaking.  We follow two sisters born to a renowned glassblower, the perfecter of perfectly clear crystal.  After a few poor turns of fate, the younger daughter must attain a profitable marriage.  The format is just lovely, with each mini-chapter set in free verse, creating an air of elegance just by reading it.

We are able to join in the tale of sisterly love, and how they both grow love of their own.  A reminder of how fragile relationships, family, love, and life, can be. And also, just how strong; made more beautiful through trials of the hottest fires.

Cuddle Up with Cinder

Cinder, The Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer,

By now I think it’s safe to assume you know how much we love The Lunar Chronicles and Marissa Meyer. So today I’ve put together the perfect pair of pajamas to wear whilst reading Cinder.

top | Because Cinder is a futuristic retelling of Cinderella, I thought this Cinderella/Doctor Who shirt was more than appropriate. Time lords and cyborgs, anyone? (Also, did anyone watch “The Day of the Doctor” this weekend?)

bottoms | Queen Levana would love to see her country, Luna (i.e. the moon), taking over these PJs.

socks | Red socks are a more comfortable alternative to the red heels on the cover. Though Iko can’t exactly wear socks (she is an android, after all), I’m sure she would love them. I know she’d love those shoes.

mug | Hot chocolate or tea would also be acceptable in this mug, and Cinder is in every way a good book!

In case you haven’t read Cinder yet, here is the synopsis from Goodreads:


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Don’t forget to check out our other fun Lunar-inspired posts:
Review of Cinder
Review of Scarlet
Interview with Marissa Meyer
Looks from Books: The Lunar Chronicles

Educational Review: The Hundred Dresses


Author: Eleanor Estes (1944)

Pages: 81

Recommending Source:  Newberry Honor

 Interest Level:  Primary and Intermediate (2nd-5th, a little simple for 5th)

Format/ Artwork:  Louis Slobodkin, illustrator.  Light tinged watercolor and ink sketches that illustrate events in the story.  Chapter  book.

Summary: The story is about Wanda Petronski and the students in Room 13. Wanda wears the same shabby blue dress everyday and barely talks. One day she does not show up to school. The only ones to notice were Peggy and Maddie. Peggy and Maddie teased Wanda because she said she had a hundred dresses. Yet, she wore the same dress every day. That day at school, Wanda wins the art competition – a hundred pictures, each of a dress. The girls also find out the Wanda had moved to New York. Maddie begins to feel bad about teasing Wanda.

Evaluation:  This book was very moving. This story has a good lesson on bullying and being nice to every one. It is a neat book in that the time period feels vague, so its plot is easily relatable no matter who or when you read the book.

Curriculum Uses:

1.  Drama : Have the students turn the story into a reader’s theater play and act it out.

2.  Language Arts: Write a sequel to The Hundred Dresses. Did Maddie, Peggy, and Wanda ever become friends.

3.  Language Arts:  Room 13 and Wanda write letters to each other. Have to students  write letters to each other were they compliment and say positive things about that person.

4.  Art:  Draw a picture of an outfit. Use some of the colors found in the illustrations of the book.

5.  History: Wand Petronski family is an immigrant family. Discuss the history of America from a melting pot point of view.

6.  Math: Learn the ins and outs of the number 100. Learn the different factors of 100, the multiples 100, and/or how to count by 100. Will depend on grade level.

7.  Developmental questions/discussions:  Peggy and Maddie bullied and teased Wanda. What are some the consequences of bullying? How would this story been different if the did not bully. Disucss tolerance, understanding, and diversity.

-Liz (aka Rachel)

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Pawn


Author: Aimee Carter

Publication Date: November 26, 2013

Summary from Goodreads:


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

JB’s thoughts: I am super excited that this book is being released super soon because it sounds awesome. I keep telling myself I’m tired of dystopian books and yet I keep finding myself being drawn to them. Sigh. This one sounds so interesting because Kitty will literally be transformed into someone else, and a famous someone else at that. I’ve heard lots of good stuff about Pawn, and can’t wait to read it for myself!

Teaser Tuesday: Split by Swati Avasthi

When I’m lying there I realize what I should have said to his ‘we didn’t give you much incentive to stay.’
“You’re the incentive.”

I haven’t actually finished this one yet, but so far it is very interesting. Avasthi creates a serious, but plausible, viewpoint in an abusive family situation. But just as real is the explored relationship between brothers, just how strong that bond is, and what it can endure.

Very curious to see how it ends!



“Waiting On” Wednesday: The One


Author: Kiera Cass

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:

The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

Rachel’s Rambles:

So, I finished The Elite last night. May 6, 2014, feels sooo far away! When I realized the release date, It resulted in a mixture of the following emotions.



There is so much I want to know…May 6th feels forever away! Anyways, I have a lot of predictions for the book, and I will be sharing those soon.

-Liz (aka Rachel)


“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Educational Review: Hatchet


Author: Gary Paulsen

Recommending Source:  Textbook, Newberry Honor

Interest Level: Intermediate (4rd – 5th, maybe too serious for a 3rd grader)

Format/ Artwork: Chapter  book

Summary: (B&N summary) Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present — and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair — it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.

Evaluation: This book captured my heart. I love the outdoors and am a daughter of an eagle scout, so this book hit close to home and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I first read it 5th grade, and it has a special place on my bookshelf. The rest of Brian’s saga is an interesting read as well. I love survival stories. If you enjoy watching Bear Grylls, this book is for you!

Curriculum Uses:

1.  Language Arts: Define a “flashback”. In a graphic organizer, describe the flashbacks and list their page numbers. Why are they important to the story?

2.  Art:  Use things that have textures from nature to make a rubbing art.

3.  Science:  aeronautics- Discuss parts of plans, how they fly, and maybe fly a plane simulator.

4. Science/Health: Learn the rules of 3 and other rules of survival. Have a Boy Scout/Outdoorsman as guest speaker to talk about the importance of food, water, and shelter.

5.  Math/Science: Discuss light refraction. How did this effect Brian’s ability to catch fish?

6. Geography: Study a map, discuss mountain ranges and the different physical characteristics of mountains. Discuss lakes and the habitats surrounding lakes.

7. Math/art: Draw a map based on the chapter where Brian’s plane crashes. Make a legend and include a compass rose.

8.  Developmental questions/discussions: Why was winter coming such a big deal? What might have happened to Brian?

Related Books: The River (Researchers want to study Brian’s adventure), Brian’s Return (How does Brian adjust to the city life?), Brian’s Winter (What if he didn’t get rescued and had to survive the winter?), Brian’s Hunt (A stand alone tale about Brian and a dog) all by Gary Paulsen.

-Liz (aka Rachel)