Love the Library

I’m a library geek and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The library is a great diversion for my kids, we can wander over and get some excercize along the way and once we’re there there is a lot to keep everyone entertained. I never browse the adult section, but simply order my books ahead of time. I get an e-mail letting me know they have arrived, and my kids know that the last thing we do before check out is look for ‘mommy’s books’.

Our local library finally has the kids backpack program. It’s been available at the big branches for a long time, but now you can walk into almost any Ottawa library branch and pick up a backpack full of kids books. The books have been selected by librarians to be age appropriate. When I’m short on time, this means I can pop into the library and pickup a bag of books to bring home as a quick, happy and super cheap package for the boys.

As the librarians have vetted the books, this program also prevents me from bringing home any of the doozies that have accidently graced our shelves of late. These include:

  • The boy whose dad has died and whose mom gets a new boyfriend. The new boyfriend likes sailing and moves in with the mom and boy. When I flipped through the pictures it looked like a happy story about a family that liked to go sailing. I missed the details that the man was the new boyfriend.
  • The story about the little pig that spent lots of time playing and learning about the ‘old days’ from grandma. Again, didn’t pay close enough attention to the end of the story, where the grandma gets sick, can’t move and eventually dies while the little pig holds her.

These are only some of the winners that have escaped my editorial eye as I pile books into the stroller that my older one picks out.

All that to say, drop into your local library and see what book bags they might have for you.

On My Night Stand: July 5

There are times when I go to the library to pick up what ever it is I’ve ordered and I figure I must have picked up someonelse’s books from the shelf.  Last week was one such week.  Here’s what I picked up:

  • Quantum Wellness: A Practical Guide to Health and Happiness: When I flipped through this, I couldn’t imagine what had possessed me to order it. Then I saw that the forward was from Oprah’s Dr Oz, and it became clear. I must have seen this on the show at some point, ordered it, and then like with all Oprah books it took forever to arrive.  This book is not for me:  It’s prescription for being well is:
    1. Listen and learn
    2. Set an intention
    3. Come up with a plan
    4. Make the move

      To help with this process the author recommends journalling, avoiding lactose, analyzing your relationships to determine which ones are require rejuvenation and of course de-cluttering your environment.  Life’s to short to wade through the minutia of recommendations in this book.  The book ends will a collection of recipes and recommended eating.  Highlights of the list include: tofu sausages with scrambled tofu, sandwiches with fake meat and vegan meatballs from the frozen food section.  I’m ok with this stuff if you want to eat it, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that your eating well just because it’s vegan:  if it’s in a box it’s fresh from the factory.

  • What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business:  Good title, but what a weird book.  I was expecting it to be about tips and tricks, or attitudes or something relevant to me as a woman in the workplace.  So far, it’s about this guy from Vancouver and his transition from working for other people to starting his own consultancy business.  His tale is not self aggrandizing, he makes himself out to be quite a mean guy and by his own account an unpleasant acquaintance with whom to do business.

Perhaps I’ll have better luck with next week’s reading.  I think I’ll go back to fiction for a while.

Books for boys

We are all avid readers in our house.  Our boys always go to bed with 2-3 bedtime stories and they try to negotiate for more.  At times we find it hard to pick-out great books for our sons, as we find that there are often stories in which the dad characters are a bit goofy (or just plain stupid), or characters where the girls are well behaved and the boys are the trouble makers.

Last year, I was using the Canadian Toy Testing Council as a guide for books.  Their suggestions were great, but limited in selection. I found a site with suggestions specific to boys, appropriately called: Guys Read. The site has a great list of books for young boys, including some Richard Scary, the Frog and Toad books and many others with which I’m not familiar.

Meanwhile, we’ve just finished Charlotte’s Web and I’m going to try and find something that won’t make me cry.

On my night stand: June 28

This week I’ve got two great book on the go:

  • Same kind of differentSame Kind Of Different As Me: Is a fascinating story about the most unlikely of friends: a modern-day slave, turned homeless man and an international art dealer. Before starting the book I was a bit skeptical, as one of the quotes on the back is from Barbara Bush (George Senior’s wife).  It was exceptional, definitely a tear jerker in the middle.  I enjoyed the back and forth:  the chapters alternate between the homeless man and the art dealer perspective.
  • Why Gender MattersWhy Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences: This is by far my favorite parenting book of all time. For any parents out there who’s kids are the opposite gender, you’ve no doubt found yourself saying: boys/girls really are different. I know I have. And the author of this book tells you why boys and girls are different and what difference it can/should make to parenting and teaching styles.  3/4 of the book is based on peer-reviewed research that the author summarizes for you, the last quarter, where there is not yet concrete evidence, you get the author’s opinion.  I’ve found this book enlightening and would recommend it to all parents (even if your kids are the same gender as you!).