Stuff Bennett Breaks

Well, we had a good streak going there for a while, but all good things must come to an end.

Item #3:  “I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

Have you read this book?  It’s precious and you should totally read it and then buy it for someone you like.

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Apparently Bennett did not share my sentiments.

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What kind of son am I raising?!  Not the books!!!!!

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Book Review

I realize that as an English teacher, I should be reading great classic literature like Beowulf and Ulysses, and I’ve read and sometimes even enjoyed those books, but what I really like is a good young adult fiction novel.  Key word good.  Meaning not Twilight.  Not that Twilight doesn’t have it’s place in the world.  I say if it gets a teenager to put down their cell phone and pick up a book, it’ll work.

I’ve had some free time this summer to actually do a little reading and I read The Giver series.  Yes, that The Giver.  The one you probably read in the 8th grade about the 12-year-old boy named Jonas who lives in a world of no color and everything in his life is chosen for him and he feels nothing.  Then, he becomes the receiver of memories and starts to feel and experience what it’s like to be free.  Remember that book?  I LOVED that book.  Well, Lois Lowry turned it into a series and it’s excellent.  I really like how she connects the characters in all 4 books.

 

The second book, Gathering Blue, is about a young woman who finds she has a special talent for threading pictures that tell the future.  She too, like Jonas, lives in a community with a lot of rules and strict codes to live by and her talent enables her to rise above her current situation and find something good in her world.  Something she can rely on for the future.

 

 

The third book, The Messenger, is about a young boy named Matty who lives in a village where anyone who felt oppressed in their former community could find freedom and purpose in this village.  Unfortunately, this village is corrupted by evil and the villagers make drastic changes to it that they believe will make it better for the people who live there.  He has a special gift as well which comes into play once the villagers’ changes start to corrupt everyone.

 

 

The last book, Son, was my favorite.  It’s about a woman named Claire who had a baby boy.  That baby boy is taken from her and she has no idea where he is.  The book follows her journey to find her son and be reunited to him.  Obviously, I like it because it’s about a mother and her son, but I also liked it because it’s about how human nature can withstand so much, but continue to strive toward what you know belongs to you.  Claire never gives up on finding her son and she goes through A LOT.

 

In The Giver and all of the other books in the series, there is a lot of spiritual connections to be made (which I love, of course).  The villages themselves being either a place of freedom or a place of condemnation.  Evil desires taking over the hearts of good men causing them to do unspeakable things.  The weaknesses in others becoming their strengths and what ultimately brings them through any situation.  The power of community.  People using gifts to help others, sometimes ultimately sacrificing themselves.

They are really easy, good books that I would recommend to boys or girls 6th grade and up.  Obviously, the older you are, the more you’ll glean from the novels just because of deeper levels of experience, but the stories themselves are highly intriguing.  Enough to keep even the most hyperactive kid interested for a little while at least.

Crystal Bridges Museum

There are perks to both you and your spouse being teachers.  One of them is having the summers off together.  It affords us opportunities to do things together during the week when everyone else is working.  (poor things)

My mom graciously offered to keep Bennett overnight on Thursday since she doesn’t work on Fridays, so Michael and I could visit Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.  It’s about a 3 hour drive, so we passed the time singing loudly to pop songs (me) and talking about random things (both of us).

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The museum is amazing.  If you’ve never been and you’re anywhere near Bentonville, you should go.  The architecture alone is worth seeing.

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It’s full of American artists ranging from the early 18th century to modern times.  Even if you’re not an artsy person (like myself), it’s still very enjoyable.  Here are some of our favorites.

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Guys, this old man is NOT REAL.  How creepy/amazing is he?  The detail on this piece is unbelievable.  Everything from the wrinkles on his face to the skin folds on his arms.  Someone dropped something in the museum while we were looking at him and it made a loud “BANG”.  I totally expected him to jump.

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After we finished perusing all of the art and pretending like we knew what we were talking about, (My husband actually kind of does.  He went to Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School and is pretty well versed in the world of the arts.  Such a well rounded man I have.) we ventured down the Art Trail which connects the museum to downtown Bentonville.

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We stumbled into the Walton’s 5 and 10 store (the original Wal-Mart) and bought the coolest book ever for Bennett.  It has everything from directions for building a tree house to a chapter about girls.  It would make a fantastic gift for parents of little boys.

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Attached to the store is the Wal-Mart museum which is actually pretty interesting.  I know Wal-Mart gets a lot of flack (some of that flack coming from myself, for sure), but it really is an amazing story of entrepreneurship in America and how someone can go from a tiny 5 and 10 store to a billion- dollar-a-year franchise.  Plus, Sam Walton seemed like a pretty normal person.  He drove the same old Ford pick-up truck his whole life because he said, “What else am I supposed to haul my dogs around in.”  Ha!  I love Arkansas.

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It was a really lovely date day and I am most grateful for days like this.  Days spent with just my husband are few and far between and it’s nice to be able to reconnect every once in a while.  (There’s no better way to reconnect than having 3 hours in the car together by the way.  Good thing we still like each other…)