A Book to Treasure and Books to Read…



The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee could be the most beautiful and touching book of 2014. It’s a 32-page wordless book that, fittingly, left me absolutely speechless. The opening scene is of a solitary farmer – all dressed in black – out working in his brown field. It’s a pretty monochromatic world this farmer lives in. No wonder he seems like a gruff guy. Soon, a train goes speeding by filled with all kinds of colorful characters who clearly belong in a circus. A bump on the track results in a young clown being tossed from the train and landing in the farmer’s field.  The farmer kindly takes the clown back to his house where he tries to cheer the little guy up. This beautiful sequence reminds me of my favorite scene in the movie, Babe, where Farmer Hoggett dances a jig and sings to Babe. As I turned the pages and watched the friendship between the farmer and the clown grow, I was literally dreading the return of the circus train. I knew the clown’s parents would return for him, but still….I was worried about the farmer whose life (you will see) gets understandably brighter with the arrival of the young clown. Luckily, Frazee provides a twist.

The Farmer and the Clown is genuinely moving and not at all cheesy.  Without using one word, it captures the power of companionship and kindness.

As much as I enjoy the books I read for my classes and School Library Journal reviews, at home I have to shield my eyes from the stack of books that I want to read. I’m truly not wishing for a bad cold or anything, but if I was forced to be at home all day and could read whatever I wanted – here are the books that would be piled up next to a bottle of Robitussin….

Unknown-1The Other Language by Francesca Marciano   (on Publishers Weekly’s list of the Best Books of 2014)


Nora Webster by Colm Toibin (this is the book at the very top of my list. I still recommend Toibin’s novel, Brooklyn, to everyone who asks me for a book recommendation.  Nick Hornby wrote screenplay of the movie – coming out in 2015)


Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot  (lots of glowing reviews for this YA novel, including one from Horn Book)


Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya (Another book that I look at longingly across the room….a novel about a family of Ukranian immigrants living in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn)

Unknown-5The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (The heartbreaking and compelling story of the Romanov family in a book collecting starred reviews)


The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison (Essay collections are one of my weaknesses)


Redeployment by Phil Klay (A collection of stories about soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. A National Book Award Finalist)

I am slowly making my way through Anthony Doerr’s novel, All the Light We Cannot See. A friend reminded me that I have been “about half-way” for weeks!  That’s okay. I love it so much that I’m happy to spend more time with these characters.

You may have already seen this list of how famous authors would order their drinks from Starbucks, but in case you didn’t….check this link out:


It’s fun to think about Starbucks orders that famous authors might give. Hemingway might just say: “Coffee. Strong.”


2 thoughts on “A Book to Treasure and Books to Read…

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