Genealogy…One Of My Many Hats

Hello again!  I’ve come out of hibernation only to discover that I’ve slept through the warm part of winter… Oh well, time to get crackalackin’!

So, one of my many dorkalicious hobbies is…genealogy research!  Yes!!  I can’t get enough of it!  …actually I can get too much of it and have to take a break before I end up driving myself completely insane.

If you’ve ever done any sort of genealogy research, you know half of the fun of it is traipsing around in old cemeteries, trying to find the headstones of your loved ones.  Here’s some friendly advice.

  Things You Need Before Going Cemetery Stomping

  1.  Bug Spray…and lots of it.  Most cemeteries are kept up by volunteers.  Let’s just say that some cemeteries have great volunteers and others…not so great.  Like “pulling up weeds just to read tombstones” not so great.
  2. Shaving Cream and Spray Bottle – By using shaving cream, you can see all of the fine details that time has stripped away on a headstone.  All you have to do is wipe shaving cream on the stone and scrape it away.  You will be amazed by what is left in the crevices.  Amazed!  Some stones look like nothing is written.  Then miracle of miracles, words and symbols appear from nothing.  Magical!
  3. Camera –  Do I really need to explain this?  You don’t have to have a high dollar camera, but having a camera is important.  Headstones won’t last forever:(

And there you have it.  Bug Spray, Shaving Cream and Camera.  Viola!

One of my favorite tools to put in my travel bag is the book Stories In Stone by Douglas Keister.  Why you ask?  Headstones are full of symbols.  Symbols that I know nothing about.  Sometimes the symbols may be a group of letters, other times a few shapes or pictures, hands pointing up, fingers pointing down.  It was all kind of confusing.  Could I look them up on my smart phone in the middle of  Nowhereville USA…maybe, but most times there is absolutely no signal to do so.  For that reason, I have a copy of the book.  Anyway…Symbols… I was left saying, “What in tarnation?!”.

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One time in particular, I was looking at a headstone of a female relative and she had an anchor on the top of her stone.  I had no records of her being in the Navy and she lived nowhere near the ocean.  Clueless!  Then, I decided to look up what the symbol meant.  Apparently, having an anchor on a headstone can mean several different things.  After finding multiple possibilities, I’ve decided  the most logical definition was that she was the anchor of her family since she was a mother and ran her household.  We will never know for sure.

What to do now?  Get to diggin’!  You really never know what you will find until history is staring you in the face:)

Happy Hunting!,

That Book Mama

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Animals In Costume

While perusing the shelves recently, I came across these gems and what a better time to read books about dressing up!   These books totally crack us up and your kiddos will love them.

Ron Barrett’s illustrations paired with Judi Barrett’s writing…you can’t beat it. It’s perfect, PERFECT!  After reading Animals Should Definitely Not Act Like People and Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, we go back through the books and laugh at all of the illustrations.

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I’m leaving you with the cover of both and an illustration sample.  Not much more I can say about these without ruining the whole thing.  I think the pictures speak for themselves:)

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Go get these!  You totally won’t regret it:)

That Book Mama

Squeal!!! Princess Diaries Is Back!

Princess Mia is back, all grown up and has a little sister named Olivia. Like Mia, Olivia had no clue she was a princess until the whole Kingdom of Genovia fell into her lap. 

  
Olivia is your typical 12 year old. Living with her Aunt and Uncle is not the greatest, especially when she isn’t treated as an equal to her step cousins.  She has to deal with “mean girl” Annabelle Jenkins at school. Then, insert a bombshell of a family secret. 

I’m so excited for this book!  My Farmgirl is just the right age to start reading all of the Princess Diaries books. This book is a great stepping stone to introduce characters from the first books that Princess Mia narrated. 

Eeeeeee!! Can’t wait for more! I 💜 you, Meg Cabot!

That Book Mama

Charles Fuge, Won’t You Be My Illustrator?

I’ve always said, “A children’s book is only as good as the illustrator.”  One of my very favorite illustrators is, Mr. Charles Fuge.  I’m pretty sure, he could take a story about a napkin who got lost at picnic and make it totally great, just by creating pictures that were absolutely awesome!

I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I need to write a book.  I personally think that most of my humor would be lost on most kids…too bad most adults don’t read picture books:). Even if I did write a book, I for sure couldn’t do my own illustrations!

I decided a few weeks ago that I would work on this post and illustrate my point by comparing my drawing skills to that of a professional.  I went out and bought my very own colored pencils.  (The kids thought they were for them…no, silly!)  Here’s my rendition of one of the books that was illustrated by the great Charles Fuge.  Just in case you can’t tell…mine is on the right:)

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Here are a few books that he has illustrated.  All are great stories made even greater by Mr. Fuge’s vivid illustrations:)

  • Sometimes I Like To Curl Up In A Ball – By Vicki Churchill
  • Yes We Can – By Sam McBratney
  • Three Little Dinosaurs – By Charles Fuge
  • A Lullaby For Little One – By Dawn Casey
  • I Love It When You Smile – By Sam McBratney

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If I ever do write my own book, I may have to take a trip to jolly ol’ England and look up Mr. Fuge.  Maybe I’ll luck out and he won’t call the cops because I’m stalking him:)

That Book Mama

A Book About Book Tattoos

Now let me just tell you, I think most tattoos are pretty cool.  Would I ever get one…probably not but only because I’m a big chicken.  BAKAWK!  Do I think ALL tattoos fall under the “epic” category?  No.  I DO think tattoo artists have some mad skills.  Think about it; they have one chance to make a drawing come out right.  DON’T SNEEZE!  I recently discovered a book that combined my love for books and fascination with tattoos all wrapped up in a nice bow…well, I actually checked it out at the library.

I’ve just finished, The Word Made Flesh:  Literary Tattoos From Bookworms Worldwide – By Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor.  Boy was it an eye opener!  I learned the following things.

  1. I need to get out of the juvenile section…because I had never heard of some of the books that people read and paid homage to by inking their bodies forever.
  2. My limited knowledge of the Spanish language didn’t help me a lick when trying to read Latin phrases.
  3. I need to get out of the juvenile section…Did I already mention that?

The book is chalk full of, not just photos of tattoos but also, stories behind why each person got the tattoo that they got.  Kinda made me stop and think about how many times I’ve seen a really bizarre tattoo and wondered what was going through a person’s head in the heat of the tattoo moment.  Maybe there’s a method to their madness:)

The “Skin” project was a favorite highlight of the book.  Shelley Jackson created the “Skin” project.  Basically, she assigned one word to each volunteer and they agree to have the word tattooed on their body (somewhere not inappropriate).  If you were to put all of the words together, you’d have a short story.  Here’s the clincher, no one but Ms. Jackson knows the story.  How cool is that?

Two more things, 1.  I now have a new comic strip to hunt down and read.  Krazy Kat, looks like something that’s right up my alley. 2.  I seriously need to read some Emily Dickinson…again…I need to get out of the juvenile section.

Pick it up and get inspired,

That Book Mama

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National Poetry Month! …Even For Boys:)

Wahoo!  April is National Poetry Month!  Who doesn’t love a good poem?  I have a confession…I didn’t really like poetry much, not too long ago.  Well, I like it now and that’s all that matters:)  Anyway, finding poetry is not normally a problem.  Finding poetry that boys will read, sometimes proves to be difficult.  I’ve listed 10 poetry books for boys.  Are they the only ones out there?  NO WAY!  This is just a short list for your reluctant poetry reader.  Here they are in no particular order.  P.S. Girls will also enjoy these:)

Enjoy!

That Book Mama

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Poetry For Boys

  • Dirt On My Shirt – Foxworthy, Jeff
  • Toad By The Road – Ryder, Joanne
  • Dinothesaurus – Florian, Douglas
  • Bugs:  Poems About Creeping Things – Harrison, David L.
  • Rules Of The Game:  Baseball Poems – Maddox, Marjorie
  • Comets, Stars, The Moon, And Mars – Florian, Douglas
  • A Whiff Of Pine, A Hint Of Skunk – Ruddell, Deborah
  • Guyku:  A Year Of Haiku For BoysRaczka, Bob
  • Truckery Rhymes – Scieszka, Jon
  • The Brothers’ War:  Civil War Voices In Verse – Lewis, J. Patrick

Best Book Evah!

This is where I would have to say, “April Fools!”.  I’ve just read, The House Girl – By Tara Conklin with the book club.   The disappointment! I has it:(

The story is told in rotating chapters of past and present.  Lina Sparrow is a lawyer fresh out of school and she gets assigned to a class action lawsuit case representing descendants of American slaves.  She dives into her research head first but she also is dealing with personal problems in her life too. 

Josephine is a slave girl from Virginia 1852.  This is where the story lacked, in my opinion. I felt like there could have been so much more written about Josephine and her life. I was left wanting more and feeling like I had been jipped. 

I don’t normally give bad reviews on books. My Mama always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  Well, my Mama read the book too and she suggested, since this book was Ms. Conklin’s first, that we send her a nice card…and tell her to stick with her day job…

Solution! Write a prequel only about Josephine, Ms. Tara Conklin. Now that would be awesome:)

That Book Mama