Sacre Bleu: It Was Wonderful

Fruits and vegetables market on the Paris street around the cormer. It seemed there were two on every block around us.

Fruits and vegetables market on the Paris street around the corner. It seemed there were two on every block around us.

France was never on my bucket list . . . until we went. We’ve returned from a trip for a family wedding—one of the most memorable trips of my life. We saw so many places, touristy and otherwise. The visit to the Paris Natural History Museum took my breath away. I felt as though we’d stepped into the 1800’s. Seeing the library at the National Assembly was another sight I’ll never forget.

This dinosaur is one of the hundreds of skeletons crammed into the Natural History Museum. Fascinating.

This dinosaur is one of the hundreds of skeletons crammed into the Natural History Museum. Fascinating.

 

I loved Sacre Coeur, the international garden competition at a castle in the bucolic country (those cows looked so content), the faces on Rodin’s sculptures (including some old, saggy, evocative ladies), Mont San Michel . . . I could go on, but the very best part was experiencing the love and connections we renewed, made and discovered in the French people.

The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on Monmartre is built on the highest point of Paris

The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on Monmartre is built on the highest point of Paris

Mont St. Michel--stairs, steps and more steps--one of the things I actually miss most about Paris.

Mont St. Michel–stairs, steps and more steps–one of the things I actually miss most about Paris.

 

 

 

 

This book by Rick Steves was a great help to us non-French speakers. It even fits is a back pocket.

This book by Rick Steves was a great help to us non-French speakers. It even fits is a back pocket.

One of the gardens at Domaine de Chaumont.

One of the gardens at Domaine de Chaumont.

France is now on my bucket return-to list.

What? Doesn’t everyone have one of those?

 

 

 

Books That Came Home from France With Us

L'ArcheL’ Arche de Noe, illustrated by Tracy Morney published first in 1999 and in 2010 by Society biblique francaise, is a board book purchased at Sacre Couer. Can you translate the title? Maybe Noah’s Ark, maybe the rainbow arch? It is beautifully and brightly illustrated. You can tell the story even if, like me, you don’t read French.

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Trotro in Paris, by Benedicta Guetrier and published by Gallimard-jeunesse in 2013,is also a board book for the very young. It’s written in simply-constructed English sentences. Trotro visits five Paris sites. We made sure we took photos of each of those places so our grandchild can compare the illustrations with the actual place.

Paris F&EMon Livre Anime Paris, by Geraldine Krasinski and Emmanuel Ristord and published in 2011 by Editions Milan, is for older children. It includes places and different aspects of life in Paris. It’s written in French on one page and English on the facing page. This book will wait a couple of years before being given to our grandchild.

 

 

 

Books for middle graders That Waited at Home on My Shelf

Book of 1000How would you react if you were to share the punishment of your disobedient mistress and be imprisoned in a windowless tower for seven years?

Dashti, the protagonist of Book of a Thousand Days, written by Shannon Hale and published by Bloomsbury U.S.A., Children’s Books in 2007, is not your typical ladies maid.

She’s exuberant. Seven years worth of food is bricked in with the two girls. “ . . . for seven years at least I won’t starve. That’s paradise for a mucker like me.”

Dashti is blessed with the gifts of empathy, optimism, and the knowledge of healing songs as she struggles to save their food from rats and her mistress from fear and despair.

The story is set in an imaginary land partially based on medieval Mongolia. It’s a fresh tale full of heart and surprises. While I generally avoid books with “princess” in the title, Book of a Thousand Days convinced me I need to get hold of Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy asap.

Crossover, written by Kwame Alexander and published in 2014 by Houghton Mifflin CrossoverHarcourt, flies high and runs deep. Written in hip-hop, free verse, and heart, the story is told by Josh, twin to Jordan. The brothers are middle-school basketball stars. Although their family is loving, growing up involves pain and coming to terms with it.

The rhythm and structure of the book make  Crossover a fast read. The rhythm and the depth make it a great read.

My goal with this blog is to tell people about books that touch the heart—books that in my humble opinion must be read. I wasn’t going to include the next book, but somehow it wouldn’t let me put it aside.

The Great GreeneGreat Green Heist, written by Varian Johnson and published by Scholastic in 2014, could be just the ticket for a kid to pick up to spend a few hours with a good-hearted picaresque middle-school hero. It struck me as an engaging summer read.

Jackson Greene has to sort out a romantic misstep. He and his team have to out-smart a bully and the school principal to save his school “one con at a time.”

When I checked to see if The Great Greene Heist is part of a series, I found the book received a Publisher’s Weekly award for the Best Summer Book of 2014. And, yes, if you like Jackson Greene, there

are a few more to read.

The wedding quilt that traveled to Paris.

The wedding quilt that traveled to Paris.

Finally, in the last post I said I’d show the front of the quilt. I needed to wait for the newlyweds to see it first. Here it is.

Au revoir.

The grand finale of the trip was the wedding with the reception held at a chateau--a chateau with a moat and a red row boat!!!

The grand finale of the trip was the wedding with the reception held at a chateau–a chateau with a moat and a red row boat!!!