Monday, January 30, 2017

Lloyd Alexander

Happy birthday, Lloyd Alexander!


High fantasy lovers will enjoy delving into Alexander's five-book series, the Chronicles of Prydain or the Prydain Cycle.  These exciting books appeal more to fourth grades and up.  


Born in Pennsylvania on January 30, 1924, Alexander became a prolific write of about 40 books, most of them fantasies for children.  Among his book awards he won the Newbery Award for The High King in 1969 and the National Book Award for The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian in 1971, and again in 1982 for Westmark.  He passed away on May 17, 2007 in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, at age 83.


I read The High King, the final book in his Chronicles, to my fourth graders many years ago. The book kept them on the edge of their seats.  There are many characters, so I kept a chart of them to help us keep them straight, adding to it each time a new character was introduced.  This is one of the most suspenseful books I've read.  On this site there is a pronunciation chart of the names and additional interesting information.  


The names in the Chronicles of Prydain books are Welsh, so they doesn't make an easy read for a child without strong reading skills.  However, these books are great for reading aloud. If you haven't experienced Lloyd Alexander's writing, I urge you to do so.

Take a visit to Alexander's home, see some delightful photographs of him through the years, and hear him tell about himself and his writing in this wonderful three-part Youtube video


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sorry, Louis. I missed your birthday.

On January 27th 1832 the third child and first boy was born to a family in England who would later have a total of 11 children. From a young age Charlies Lutwidge Dodgson enjoyed moderate success publishing short stories and poetry in 1856 he began using the pen name Lewis Carroll when he published Solitude a romantic poem. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865. He next published a scholarly mathematical book. Then in 1871 the sequel to Alice Through the Looking-Glass was published. He went on to publish five more literary books to volumes of poetry and a total of 11 mathematical books.

Carroll invented a postage stamp case, a special Writing Tablet called nyctograph, and several games, including an early version of Scrabble. He enjoyed a couple of decades of success as a photographer. He even taught mathematics at Christ Church College in Oxford England after he graduated from there. Lewis Carroll died of pneumonia just about two weeks before what would have been his 66th birthday.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reflect, Appreciate, Eliminate

January 1, 2017 - Today is a great day, before the hurry, flurry, scurry of the new week/new year begins screaming at you tomorrow, to take stock of your life. Reflect on all the parts of your life-home, social, professional, and spiritual. Are you headed in the direction you want to be going in each of the facets that reflect who you are?

As you consider each area of your life, make note of all you blessings, all the positives, and appreciate them.

Now look at the negatives, the disappointments, the time suckers, the Debbie Downers. Whether these are experiences, habits, attitudes, or people, we need to evaluate whether those things can be eliminated.

Of course, some things can't necessarily be changed.  In those cases we can strive to make a better, more positive response to that negative person or experience. Try viewing it from a different perspective.  The avenue of prayers is always open to help us in those cases.

With the things we can change, we need to do so.  Whatever negativity we can eliminate in ours lives translates to a more positive life.  For instance if you've developed the habit of spending too much time surfing Facebook, you could set a timer to remind yourself enough is enough.  You'll probably want to generate a list of positive alternatives. 20 minutes of Facebook; then 20 minutes to clean out a drawer or doing step one of a new craft you've been wanting to try. 

We can easily become overwhelmed by all the negative input we get from all forms of media.  However, we can take some time each day, to create pool of peace around ourselves and our home.  Consider spending some time each day in God's word to help.  Reading 1 chapter of Proverbs each day or 5 Psalms will get you through these books in a month.

I'm praying that you will allow God's peace to minister to you through 2017.