Awwoooooooo! Can you hear the howling? The night is dark, but there's enough of a moon to see the outline of shaggy beasts on the hillside. Would you want to be outside, alone, with a pack of wolves drawing near? My guess is no. So do the next best thing, and pick up one of the books on our new book list, Howling Good Reads. There are wolves of all types here - noble and courageous; fierce and adventurous; cunning and wily. Meet wolf pups abandoned by their packs and humans adopted by other packs. There are even wolves who live in the walls of an old house. Browse Howling Good Reads today.
I don't care if you are a kid, teen or adult - it feels great to be able to do some impressive tricks for your family and friends at the next backyard barbecue, like blowing a bubble within a bubble or slicing an unpeeled banana. If you want to move beyond mere parlor tricks, you can learn how to identify clouds, ride a boogie board or fold fortune cookies thanks to the super-easy directions in Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann.
What makes "Show Off" a fantastic book are the step-by-step picture directions. Since I am a graphic learner, this makes it so much easier for me than trying to decipher a page of text describing how to fold a ninja star. The ingredient lists tend to be very slight, which is a bonus for parents. If you want to learn more about an activity, several of them have longer descriptions in the back under "tell me more." The 224 activities are grouped under the categories of "amaze," "investigate," "create," "explore," "cook," and "move." Most of these are easy to do by yourself if you're at least 10 years old, while others will require adult help.
This is Week 7 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.
Fever Crumb, heroine of Philip Reeve’s Fever Crumb, is a 14 year-old girl with an unusual appearance. First of all, she’s bald. Second, she has two differently-colored eyes – one blue, the other brown. And third, she’s absolutely beautiful. But she doesn’t know that. She has been raised by Dr. Crumb and the Order of Engineers since she was a baby, and they’re not in the habit of telling her that she’s beautiful. Her upbringing has been rather dry and very self-composed, with both emotion and beauty being looked down upon.
First Light by Rebecca Stead is a compelling story told by two different narrators. First there is Peter, the only child of two talented scientist parents. His father, a glaciologist, receives a grant to travel to Greenland and study global warming. He takes along Peter and Peter's mother, a molecular biologist, who is writing a book about mitochondrial DNA. Peter, like any normal 7th grader, is excited to leave behind New York City for 6 weeks, but he's worried about his increasingly frequent headaches. Is he going to end up like his mother, whose headaches cause her to simply "check out" for days at a time?
Second, there is Thea, a 14 year-old girl who lives in Gracehope, a community entirely hidden under Greenland's ice. Thea's ancestors fled here a long time ago to escape persecution. Thea has never seen the sun. Her people's population has expanded to the point where resources must be severely rationed and births are limited. Thea feels that her people were meant to return to the surface, but her grandmother, who leads Gracehope, is set against expansion.
Peter and Thea's tales alternate as the plot's tension increases, and they eventually come together in this exciting story that mixes adventure with science and fantasy. Both characters are strong and independent thinkers, trying to make the best decisions with their limited knowledge. The adults in this novel seem strangely paralyzed by the past in many respects, unlike Peter and Thea, who are constantly looking forward to and advocating for the future.
You can read an excerpt from the book here and explore the world of First Light in its own Web site. A similar read is The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. The library owns both the book and audiobook, which our family enjoyed listening to. Recommended for ages 10-14.
by Jacob Puckett, an 11 year-old guest reviewer
I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old." (Excerpt from Chapter 1)
This is Week 5 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.
Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta, is a book for readers who don’t mind losing themselves. The land of Skuldenore is not always a pleasant place to be lost – in fact, it is often heartbreakingly dark. But I didn’t mind being lost within it, as long as I was with Finnikin.
Skuldenore is comprised of several countries, such as Osteria, Charyn, and Yutlind. Each country has its own interesting characterization, and there is much that goes into the world-building in this book, which makes it so successful. The country we care most about is Lumatere, Finnikin’s homeland.
Ten years ago, a power-greedy cousin infiltrated Lumatere’s royal castle, slaughtering the king, queen, and princesses. This violence set off another chain of violent events, which ended with the entire country being cursed and sealed off from the rest of the world. Those events are called “the five days of the unspeakable.” The people who escaped during that time roam the other countries, exiled, ignored, and mostly despised. They die from fever, starvation, and at the hands of other countries’ kings. It is not a good time to be Lumateren.
The farmer's market beckons us with spring's arugula, peas, and asparagus and continues its siren call until the fall's first frost. We return with bags overflowing with berries, new potatoes, sugar snap peas, and herbs to plant in the garden. Of course there are tried-and-true recipes that we fall back on each year to use up the produce, but new inspiration is always welcome. Southern Living's new Farmer's Market Cookbook is a great resource for "celebrat[ing] the seasons with fresh-from-the-farm recipes."
The cookbook is divided by season and then further subdivided by appetizers, beverages, main dishes, soups, side dishes, jams/jellies, salads, and desserts. The format is lovely, with beautiful pictures enticing you to recreate the recipe. There are plenty of recipes that employ such typical Virginia bounty as tomatoes and zucchini, but there are also more exotic subjects like mangoes and avocadoes.
Since we are at the beginning of summer at the time of this review, here are the recipes I plan to try in the next two months: Blackberry Iced Tea, Pan-Seared Trout with Italian Style Salsa, Gazpacho, Skillet Creamed Corn, and Summer Squash Casserole. We have peach trees in the backyard, so I think I'll try the Grilled Peach-and-Mozzarella Salad as well. The Tomato-Cucumber Salad should nicely take care of extra cukes and tomatoes from the garden. Then I can look forward to fall's scrumptious apple recipes. (See a selection of recipes online).
MediCorp Health System
MediCorp Health System, located in Fredericksburg, includes Mary Washington Hospital, the Stafford hospital, a mobile health program, mental health facilities at Snowden, home health care services, hospice and outpatient surgery.
Rappahannock Health District
Clinic locations, services and hours for Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties and the City of Fredericksburg. Also includes the location of Rappahannock Area Health District headquarters office and Child Development Clinic. Services may include maternity care, well child care, women, infant and children (WIC) program, family planning, dental services for ages 3 - 21 at school sites and environmental health services. Part of the Virginia Department of Health.
Rappahannock United Way: Health
Our United Way connects people in need with agencies that may be able to help them: food bank, free clinic, disability resources, counseling, HIV/AIDS, .mental health, substance abuse, and pharmaceutical assistance.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Topics include healthy living, travelers’ health, vaccines and immunizations, workplace safety and health, environmental health, first aid, emergency preparedness and response, infectious diseases, and chronic diseases.
A Guide to Citizen Preparedness
"…provides a step-by-step outline on how to prepare a disaster supply kit, emergency planning for people with disabilities, how to locate and evacuate to a shelter, and even contingency planning for family pets. Man-made threats from hazardous materials and terrorism are also treated in detail." Created by: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Fact sheets on health and safety topics related to the workplace such as hazardous materials fact sheets and advice for particular industries.