Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Heroes For My Son by Brad Meltzer

Heroes for My SonHeroes For My Son. Finished 6-19-17, rating 3.5/5, inspiring people, 108 pages, pub. 2010

When Brad Meltzer’s first son was born eight years ago, the bestselling writer and new father started compiling a list of heroes whose virtues and talents he wanted to share with his son: Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Jim Henson, Amelia Earhart, Muhammad Ali . . . and so many more, each one an ordinary person who was able to achieve the extraordinary. The list grew to include the fifty-two amazing people now gathered in Heroes for My Son, a book that parents and their children—sons and daughters alike—can now enjoy together as they choose heroes of their own.

From the Wright Brothers, who brought extra building materials to every test flight, planning ahead for failure, to Miep Gies, who risked her life to protect Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis during World War II, Heroes for My Son brings well-known figures together with less famous ones, telling the inspiring, behind-the-scenes stories of the moment that made them great. They are a miraculous group with one thing in common: each is an example of the spectacular potential that can be found in all of us.

-from Goodreads

As a mom to a young child I appreciated the sentiment behind this book. When bestselling author Brad Meltzer and his wife had their first son he felt the need to impart his wisdom to his son through the written word. On the night of his birth he started a list of instructions on how to be a good man.  1. Love God and 2. Be nice to the fat kid in class.  Both great pieces of advice but the book didn’t turn out the way he wanted so he wrote this one instead.

In a square hardcover Meltzer devotes two pages to each to the inspirational people that he feels have something important to teach his children.  One page is a picture with caption and the other page he writes briefly about why they are included in the book with a quote. The Wright Brothers are here not because they invented an airplane but because every day when they went out to fly they brought extra materials because they knew they would fail.  They knew they would fail but every day they tried anyway.  That’s the lesson.  Thomas Jefferson was included not because he was President but because he wrote the Declaration of Independence but didn’t tell the public.  Humility is in short supply these days, especially in our elected officials so this was a nice story.

I liked the mix of famous and not-so-famous people, both men and women, and the new things I learned.  This would be a nice book to read with your child or grandchild. This isn’t for boys only and had plenty of women on the list.  I made a list of some of the people I’d like to know more about, so this would be a great shared reading experience but will also add to your wish list 🙂

 

June 19, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | 5 Comments

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

Title: The Farm, Author: Tom Rob SmithThe Farm. Finished 5-26-17, rating 3.5/5, suspense, pub. 2014

Unabridged audio read by James Langton and Suzanne Toren. 8.5 hours.

If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.

Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow. 

Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.

from Goodreads

Daniel lives in London with his boyfriend, a boyfriend his parents know nothing about.  After his parents moved to Sweden the closeness between the three of them widened and Daniel thought his secret was the reason.  A phone call from his mother helped him see the truth.  He was not the only one harboring a secret.  His mother had quite a story and Daniel wasn’t sure what to do and who to believe.  When he decided to do a little investigating himself he found out more than he really wanted to know.

I liked the suspense of his mother’s story and questionable sanity but was wishing that it might not have lasted as long.  I was growing weary of not knowing.  But I thought the payoff made it worth it.  This is my first Smith book but I look forward to reading more from him.  The narrators were excellent and I can recommend the audio.

 

June 8, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | 6 Comments

Sundays with Gage – First plane ride and Disney!

I have resisted taking a long vacation with Gage, one that required an airplane and less access to food from home,  but when Jason had to go to Orlando for work last week I couldn’t not take advantage of the opportunity.  Gage is sensitive to loud sounds and I was afraid that the airplane might be too loud.  It wasn’t.  I was afraid of trusting restaurants to handle Gage’s diet.  I was right on that one.  But, in the end we had a fantastic family vacation and Gage gave Florida two thumbs up, which according to him means, “we’re coming back soon.”  We’ll see.

disney2We flew Frontier for the first time on the way there and except for the dirty snacks all over the floor, it was fine.  Gage loved the flight!

We stayed at Coronado Springs Resort in Animal Kingdom at Disney World and it was really nice.  I was under the impression from different people that Disney did a good job accommodating special diets and I guess they did, but to a bare minimum.

disney3We ordered at their restaurant and when they brought out his chicken, potatoes and grapes there was a big smear of melted cheese on the plate!  These are the things that keep moms like me on the crazy side when it comes to food.  He always found something to eat in the 2.5 days we were there, but I have no doubt there was gluten in there somewhere.  We saw behaviors that we haven’t seen in years, but better gluten than dairy since that would have sent us to the hospital.  So, the silver lining was that there were no hospital visits 🙂

Two tips that I had from people before we went.  One, we rented a stroller and it was a lifesaver.  Gage is 6 and I donated our strollers 2 summers ago, so I was a bit skeptical of this advice at first, but it came from mamas who had kids older than Gage. Without a doubt he would not have lasted 9 hours at the park had we not had the stroller.  It also saved us from having to drag or tell him to hurry all day.  The second tip was to get the fast pass.  We didn’t, BUT we did wait 20 minutes when we got there to get the disability pass, which they give to kids on the spectrum.  So, when we went to a ride and there was an hour wait, we signed in and came back in 50 minutes to ride.  Essentially, we still had to wait (minus 10 minutes) but we could go do other things instead of waiting in line.  It was free and we only had to sign up the first day and it was good for a month at all the Disney parks.  It’s a great feature.

disney4 disney1We spent our first day at Magic Kingdom and we all loved it.  It was hot and busy, but it was Memorial Day so that was to be expected.  The second day we spent at Animal Kingdom and I was miserable.  It was 95 and a worker there told me that because of the greenhouse effect of all the trees the park was often 10 degrees hotter.  I was dripping sweat within about 15 minutes. Gage barely made the height requirement for Expedition Everest, but he wanted to ride the big coaster and he did twice – with dad.

disney8

We then moved on to the Hyatt Regency where Jason had a conference.  Gage and I got to spend a few days hanging out together in Orlando.  We didn’t venture all that far, but had fun.  When Jason was finished on Friday we headed to Sea World and had a great time.  This was my favorite park.  The crowds weren’t too bad and the weather was more reasonable for this Ohio gal.  Gage insisted on riding this water ride four times, twice with Jason and twice with me.  He claimed he loved it.  But look a little closer at his face the third time he rode it…disney6  disney7Look at that face! He looks like he’s being tortured! Jason looks like he’s having fun at least 🙂 Makes me laugh a little every time because I know that he kept begging to ride it.  We had a fun day there, even if it got cut short by rain.

The trip was a success, but the food was a problem, so I’ll be planning a little better next time.  I’m so glad that we were able to do it.  And I got to be the parent that told his kid’s teachers that he was missing the last two days of kindergarten to go to Disney World 🙂

 

 

 

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 Comments