Sarah, Plain and Tall and that time I went all FANGIRL on Patricia MacLachlan

Sarah, Plain and Tall and that time I went all
FANGIRL on  Patricia MacLachlan

“Did mama sing every day?” asked Caleb. “Every-single-day?” He sat close to the fire, his chin in his hand.  It was dusk, and the dogs lay beside him on the warm hearthstones.

Somehow in my reading lifetime I missed Sarah, Plain and Tall; I recently re-discovered this gem and can see why it is so beloved.  After Papa is left a widower with small children at home, he puts an ad in the newspaper for a wife.  What he gets is Sarah.  Sarah is a perfect match for Papa and the children and the delightful tale of their growing relationships gently unfolds during the story.

No matter how much I enjoyed the story (and the possibility of reading the sequels) I cannot help thinking that there is no ethnic diversity in the story.  But not nonexistent.  The author very slyly imposes a feminist approach to Sarah’s character.  Sarah is smart and physically strong and is able to perform many tasks around the farm that are traditionally male and forces the family to understand that these abilities are part of her character.  Naturally, Papa has trouble adjusting to this type of woman. These-strong minded female character traits are important for young readers to be exposed to.  This viewpoint provides diversity with Sarah is a role model.

There is so much going on with this book I don’t know where to begin. Mail order brides were a thing back long ago so let’s not judge that. Imagine how hard it must be for this young woman to join a family and make it her own? She’s got to be a very special person. Not really diversity but I don’t know a child out there who doesn’t love SPT. Nowadays, most children can relate to having a stepmother, stepfather or some sort of blended family.

And feminism? It seems like a quaint word today, doesn’t it? With rare exceptions, most women today speak their mind and can do what they want without permission from a husband.  I can tell you this though, many years ago I was lucky enough to spend tea time with Patricia MacLachlan during a BEA event. I’m sure I must have written about it. Just as you’d expect, she’s a doll. So sweet and there is diversity in her family and she loves children of all races, colors, etc. I acted like a complete FANGIRL and gushed all over her. No shame. She even kissed me on the cheek! Did I mention she liked my blog? I wept like a goob.



2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Adult Fiction

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When I heard that this book was going to be required reading for all 16 year olds in Sweden I decided to give it a go. The book is short, should take you about 3o minutes to read it so there’s really no excuse to not read it. You’re probably a feminist and don’t realize it.

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is not the bra burning, marching in the streets feminism of your mom’s. I mean, ew, who wants to think about your mom and her bra???

But what you should think about is the fact that women still aren’t being treated equally and that while things are better here in the US, they are by no means the way they should be. Also? In other countries they are worse. So really, if you have a mom, a grandmom, a sister, or an Auntie, do yourself a solid and become a feminist. One day you will probably have a daughter or a sister or an Auntie or a grandma or a mom and you will be ticked off if they aren’t treated fairly.

Or maybe you’re just a selfish person who doesn’t care about anyone other than themself?

Naw, you’re better than that. Women are awesome people and need to be treated better all over the world cuz when one group suffers, we all suffer.

If you’re not sure how women are treated less than men, ask one. They’ll tell you.

And then, you can BOTH be feminists.

And then we can all have cake.

Feminist Cake.

Cuz equality tastes good.

Hey, guess what? This title can count toward the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Totally clean for kids too!

P.S. I want to hang with Chimamanda: Call your bestie PammyPam!


What Books Are You Giving This Christmas?

Christmas is an excuse to buy all the books for everyone that you’ve wanted to buy all year long but didn’t. And I don’t just mean buying all the books for yourself! When I’m thinking about buying books for family I try to follow three bookish rules.

keep Christmas Bookish

This is my Diversity Christmas Tree, it represents people and cultures from all over the globe. I have other trees in the house as well, but this tree will be the one we put the main presents under. Speaking of presents, when gifting books, I try to use the three rules listed above. A book I:

  • Think they will like
  • Know they want
  • Want them to read

The reason this method works for me is, you always want to give more than one book (dontcha?) and here is how you can do it! Give them the book that’s part of a series or from an author you know they’ve enjoyed in the past. That’s the book you know they want. Ask for a suggestion from someone knowledgeable (I wonder who..?) for a book that is written in a similar style or about a similar topic to the book you know they want. And finally, Mom’s gotta put some education in their brains no matter what age they are, right? So I always like to give them a book I want them to read; something to make them smarter, better, nicer, etc. Personal growth or inspirational books usually fit this category (doesn’t everyone need to read I Am Malala? The answer is yes).

So this year I’m gifting my family the following, but you’ll hafta guess who is getting which book!

bookgiftsfamily Collage

Can you take a guess who is getting each gift? What books are you giving?