Read with Me

The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.  Harold Goddard

I love books.

I love bookstores.

I love to gift books.

I love to read.

By myself.

And especially with my children.

 

I eagerly read The Amaranth Enchantment to my daughter Miranda.  It was especially fun to brainstorm with her around a list of questions for Mother-Daughter book clubs.  When author Julie Berry posts some permutation of what we've written, I'll include the link.

I was also thrilled when my son David finally started reading Ender's Game, a book that has long been a favorite of my husband's and of mine.   It took some ‘righteous bribery' to get David to read the book (e.g. you can't play your video game until we've read a chapter together).  But he finally started, and once he started, he didn't stop; a week later, he's on the second read-through.

There aren't many things that I LOVE, WANT to do with my children…

But when it comes to reading, my children aren't doing the asking, I am.

Readwithmemontage
Courtesy:  Sarah Jane Studios

Why I love books and reading — and what this all has to do with ‘dare to dream', I'm not yet sure.

When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, perhaps there are clues in the question a reporter recently asked me.  It was —  ‘Why are so many Mormon women writing Young Adult fiction?'

Here are some answers, all with slightly different takes.

  1. Faith and good works
  2. The fantastic world of the Mormon Mom
  3. Mormon mompreneurs make their mark in literature and beyond

Here's mine.


Mormon women writing YA Lit is at the confluence of several cultural dynamics:  love of learning, an emphasis on stay-at-home mom-ing, and a desire for self-expression, but in snatches.

Love of learning
In our canon of scriptures there’s a verse (Doctrine & Covenants 93:36) which reads “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”   This verse is not only oft-quoted, it is embraced.   It has been said that Mormonism is one of the few religions for which religiosity and education are positively, rather than negatively, correlated.  More recently, church leader President Hinckley said, “Get all the education you can.”  From a very young age, we are taught to love and seek out learning.

Emphasis on Stay-At-Hom Mom-ming
Parenting is important to us.  We view God as our Father, which is why you will so often hear Mormons refer to God, not as God, but as Heavenly Father especially when we pray, at least that is how I refer to Him.  We place an especially high priority on mothering, on rearing and nurturing children, and doing so as stay-at-home moms.

Because nearly all parents want their children to believe what they believe, to love what they love, many Mormon mothers instinctively gravitate toward children’s books that clearly delineate between right and wrong.  One of my happiest childhood memories is of my mother reading to me.  My best-loved books are, in retrospect, those with a strong moral bent.  They include A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, books which I’ve read to my own children.

Self-expression in snatches
Many Mormon women have interests, hobbies, and an ambition to build or create something.   Money isn’t necessarily a constraint, but time is.   Whatever form self-expression takes, it has to happen during discretionary time – when the kids are napping, sleeping – at school.


Do you enjoy reading to your children?  What have you loved reading to them?

Why do you think Mormon women are writing YA literature?

Book Club: The Amaranth Enchantment

My ‘I' loved Julie Berry's debut novel The Amaranth Enchantment.

The heroine, Lucinda Chapdelaine, embarks on a feminine hero's journey; she connects to and cares for others AND she gets the guy.

Amaranth

Because Julie's my friend, you could argue I'm biased.

I am.

But here's what three of the industry's most reputable reviewers, including Publisher's Weekly (note the Starred Review from what industry insiders describe as “Coke to Kirkus' Pepsi”), Booklist and Kirkus have said.

Berry's enticing debut novel teems with romance, danger and suspense. Lucinda, a 15-year-old orphan, leads a miserable existence as a servant until she gains possession of an unusual stone belonging to Beryl, a reputed witch. As luck would have it, the gem is stolen and sold to a prince before Lucinda even realizes it is gone. Most of the plot centers on Lucinda's adventures trying to retrieve the stone from the prince, with whom she predictably falls in love. Fantasy buffs will delight in the author's playful use of fairy tale conventions—unlike Cinderella, Lucinda has the good sense to retrieve her lost slipper after attending a ball (“I considered leaving it there, but one footfall in my stocking feet on the cold granite changed my mind”). But the book's main appeal comes from the revelations of many secrets and unexpected twists, including the truth about Beryl. Lucinda has to work harder than most such heroines to acquire her happily-ever-after ending, but her efforts eventually pay off, while leaving readers with enough unanswered questions to set imaginations spinning. Ages 10–14. (Publisher's Weekly)

“Intriguing characters, fine plotting, and a richly worked narrative.”

“A lively, quick, stylish, engaging first novel.” (Kirkus Reviews)

My 8 year-old, Miranda, and I loved the book-signing; and at the book signing we attended, the young girls were riveted, accounting for nearly all the questions asked.   Miranda and I are reading the book together for a Mother-Daughter book club that we're in; Miranda is also lobbying to have Julie Berry come speak at her school.

When you get a moment, will you go to www.julieberrybooks.com and tell Julie ‘Atta Girl'?


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