If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

If You Plant a Seed; words and paintings by Kadir Nelson; Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2015.  32 pages; $18.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-8. Seeds – both real and metaphoric – are the subject of this stunning, oversized picture book.  The biblical adage of reaping what you sow (carrots…selfishness…kindness) is conveyed in a restrained text that… [Read More]

Like a River; A Civil War Novel by Kathy Cannon Wiechman Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Like a River; A Civil War Novel by Kathy Cannon Wiechman; Calkins Creek, 2015.  336 pages; $17.95 (hardcover); reading level: ages 10 and up. The stage is deftly set in the first two pages of this remarkable novel:  we are in Ohio, the Civil War is raging, and fifteen-year-old, Leander Jordan (“Jordan like the river”)… [Read More]

Canada Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Canada by Richard Ford. Ecco/HarperCollins, 2012. 420 pages; $15.99 (paperback). Reading level: adult. When sixty-six-year-old Dell Parsons looks back on the six weeks that changed his life back when he was fifteen, he begins his story this way: “First I’ll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later.” It… [Read More]

Connie’s Winter Reading List. What Are You Reading?

Our snowy winter here in Indiana is slowing me down and providing an opportunity to make a dent in the pile of titles stacked on my nightstand.   Canada by Richard Ford.  Besides the author’s credentials (he won a Pulitzer for his novel Independence Day), the first sentence has me hooked:  “First, I’ll tell about the… [Read More]

Behind the Beautiful Forevers; Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Reviewed by Connie Wooldridge

Behind the Beautiful Forevers; Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo.  Random House, 2012.  256 pages;  $27.00 (hardback).  Reading level:  adult. In 1991, when a band of laborers was trucked in from Tamil Nadu to repair a runway at the Mumbai Airport, they decided to stay. They draped empty cement sacks… [Read More]

Etched in Clay Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Etched in Clay; The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet by Andrea Cheng; illustrated with woodcuts by the author; Lee & Low, 2013.  143 pages; $17.95 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 10 and up. Born into slavery in 1801, Dave should have lived an invisible life and died unknown.  That he didn’t is due to an almost… [Read More]

The Year of the Book – Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng; illustrated by Abigail Halpin; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. 148 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 7-11. Anna Wang is just beginning fourth grade and the word of the week is “perseverance.”  “It’s when you don’t give up,” her best friend, Laura, tells the class.  Both girls will… [Read More]