Posted in Middle School, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads, Women's History, Young Adult/New Adult

House of Dreams looks at a classic author’s life

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery, by Liz Rosenberg/Illustrated by Julie Morstad, (June 2018, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9780763660574

Recommended for readers 10+

This illustrated biography of Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, is a must-have for middle school and up biography readers. Her mother died when she was a toddler; her father left her in the care of her grandparents, and Maud grew up wanting more: passionate love and affection; education; a career as an author. She dealt with anxiety and depression throughout her life, and married for security rather than love. Drawing on correspondence and her unpublished journals, Liz Rosenberg draws a picture of a woman who led an often difficult life and who struggled against her circumstances to create one of the most memorable literary characters of all time.

It’s not always an easy read. Reading about Maud’s struggle against greedy publishers and her own gold-digging son can be rage-inducing, as is her fight to continue her education against the grandfather who refused to help her. Her callous uncle left Maud and her widowed grandmother to live in horrible conditions, waiting for his own mother to die so he could inherit her home, left to him by his father. But we also read about Maud’s devotion to her Prince Edward Island home, her lifelong love of writing, and her success at being able to sustain an income by writing.

L.M. Montgomery was a complex, conflicted woman and her struggles with mental health and financial independence make her more real, more three-dimensional, to readers who will understand and be inspired.

Posted in Preschool

This is Sadie gives us a little girl with a big imagination

this is sadieThis is Sadie, by Sara O’Leary/illus. by Julie Morstad (May 2015, Tundra Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781770495326

Recommended for ages 4-8

Sadie is a little girl whose friends sometimes live in the pages of books. She makes worlds and kingdoms out of cushions and boxes and anything around her. She has wings that bring her wherever she wants to go, and get her home safely. She can do anything, be anything, with her imagination. She’s Alice in Wonderland, she’s Mowgli, she’s anyone she wants to be.

The whole book is an invitation to all readers to get lost in their imaginations. Sadie is the focal point for the story, but boys and girls alike will recognize their own adventures, whether it’s sailing in a cardboard box boat or talking to birds and trees. Sadie’s creativity will spark children to create their own adventures – storytime and a pillow fort building activity would go great together for this book!

The art itself is dreamlike, with soft, bright yet relaxed colors on the pages. The simple black font is unintrusive and is perfect for storytime reading.

Kids will love this book, and grown-ups will love reading it. Read together, and go on an adventure.