Spring is in the air along with loads of birds. The kids and I love watching these creatures and listening to them sing. Two recent children’s picture books celebrate birds, and my kids loved both of them.
Let’s Go Hugo
by Angela Dominguez
Hugo is an affable little bird guy who lives in Paris and loves to play in the park. One day he meets a cute yellow feathered friend named Lulu. She happily hangs out with him all day and then wants to go to the Eiffel Tower. The only problem–which Hugo tries to hide at first–is that he’s afraid to fly. If you have a child who’s apprehensive about anything right now, this little picture book just might make him feel better. My kids rooted for Hugo and especially loved his little French mustache.
The Eagles are Back
by Jean Craighead George
This book covers a lot of ground. It opens with a pair of eagles who lost their baby eaglet eggs before they hatched. A little boy watches them in the field every day, and he’s very worried about the endangered American bald eagles. The story kept my kids interested even though it delivers a heady message about our nation’s great bird and protecting its environment. What reeled my readers in was the sweet story about the boy, the park ranger and the dad. The paintings–rich, emotional and timeless–expertly wrap children into this story written by the talented Jean Craighead George, a Newberry Award and Honor winner, who sadly passed away recently.
Jennifer Gilmore‘s The Mothershas become a praised and hot new novel. It’s about one couple’s struggle with infertility and then the rigors of adoption. Jennifer wrote her book after going through a similar hardships herself. Luckily, her personal story has a happy ending. Here’s more directly from Jennifer about her life and her book:
“Since we met in our late twenties, my husband and I have wanted to make a family. I’d been sick, though, and was told by my doctors I’d never be able to have children.Despite this ominous declaration, I went on to become pregnant, which ended in a miscarriage. After several rounds of unsuccessful IVF procedures, we decided to pursue domestic adoption.
We were utterly unprepared for the adoption process, despite extensive research. And the deeper we got into the world of paperwork and agencies and lawyers and the choices we had to make, the more issues of race and class, and also what motherhood means, ignited the novelist in me. I wanted to investigate not only the difficult and shocking process, but also the deep and complex wanting to be a parent and the stress not being able to make that happen puts on a relationship. I hope my new novel, The Mothers, does this.
After a long and winding and often terrifying adoption path, my husband and I have been fortunate enough to have a newborn at home with us, for good. We are adjusting—with pleasure—to the daily rhythms and changes of a growing infant. There were times we thought this would never happen, and so becoming a family of three feels delicious, something to savor.
And yet, like my friends and family who came to motherhood easily, I have some of the similar concerns. There are the financial pressures—our savings and then some went into trying to have a child—and there are the pressures of space that come when living in a New York City apartment, with or without a child. While often there is little predicting when a child enters any of our lives, adoption can be quick and unexpected, as ours was. And so we are living the same frenetic life we were before his arrival .
As a writer, I work at home. Right now, the baby is asleep in his swinging chair, but he could—and will—wake up at any moment, wanting to be held, fed, changed. I do all these things with pleasure, but as a writer works for herself, there is no maternity leave. Now, I meet my deadlines in quick spurts. And I would be disingenuous if I did not admit to being worried about the future. Beginning a novel takes huge swaths of empty time and silence and solitude. And as a novelist, I have to believe I will be working on a new book very soon.
I am not the first writer to become a mother. Women managing work and parenting has been tackled and discussed and hashed over privately and in the media for decades. For writers though, especially women, it is especially difficult to carve out time for work when there is a child right here, whom I have yearned for, waiting for me to pick him up, bring him to me, hold on to him forever.”
You’re seeing The Great Gatsby this weekend, right? It’s Mother’s Day, so you should be taken on a golden horse-drawn carriage if you wish. You should eat all of the Milk Duds you please and stay out way past your kids’ bedtime. This is what I might do considering how much I love F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic book that comes out with my boyfriend Leonardo DiCaprio tomorrow.
If you can’t make it–or even if you can–check out these Gatsy-inspired cupcakes. Book Expo America’s Book Bliss and The Huff Post Books teamed up to make these book-inspired desserts. I’m going to suggest The Great Gatsby at my next book club–but only if we agree to serve these chocolate yummies.
Macmillan books gives you this challenge: Download their audio books and workout while you listen! Don’t wait, do this now. I’ve written before about how much I love Audible books–they will change your life. And if you walk or run while you enjoy them, you’ll get healthier, too. I can’t think of a better way to make sweating more fun.
Did you love Kristin Hannah‘s novel Firefly Lane? Or maybe you adored one of her other 12 books. If so, you’re in luck today. Her newest called Fly Away hits stores. The bestselling author brings back the characters you know and love in this book that centers around Tully–and how she deals with loss, commitments and love.
Kristin answered some questions about writing and motherhood. Her own friendships inspire her to write about them with skill and purpose. Read more from this prolific and beloved author below:
KK: What’s one thing you want fans to know on why they should read Fly Away? KH: I hope readers enjoy the journey of this book and are reminded about how important it is to be there for the people we love.
KK: Did you have fun revisiting the characters from Firefly Lane?
KH: I don’t know that fun is the right word. I felt a real burden with this novel to not let my readers down. Firefly Lane was such a special novel to so many people. I wanted to write a story that lived up to their expectations and still surprised them.
KK: You write about your hometown Seattle/Bainbridge often, do you find that a majority of your inspiration comes from there?
KH: Absolutely. I love the Pacific Northwest and want to share that passion with my readers.
KK: You’re known for writing about your mother/daughter and girlfriend relationships. Can you share one of your favorite girlfriend memories?
KH: I have so many fabulous memories of great times with my girlfriends. Probably the best of them begin with two of us sitting on a beach, just talking. And laughing. We always laugh.
KK: You have a son. Can you tell me more about him and your relationship?
KH: Motherhood is the most important facet of my life. I really just love being a mom…even when it’s hard, and we all know how tough it can be. Now I’m in the empty nest phase of motherhood and learning how to be mom from a distance. I love watching my son come into his own.
KK:What inspires you to write so many great books? KH: I am endlessly fascinated with the moments and issues that shape our lives, and I love writing. I am so fortunate to have the ability to do this every day.