My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is full of politics, but it's still funny and interesting. It tells the sides of things the public doesn't see. It also gives insider info on what the Obama administration was like.
View all my reviews
Toddlers, in their early years, grow rapidly. Their body and mind develop at a faster rate. In this era of technology, life has somewhat become difficult. You barely manage to take kids to playgrounds and parks. This results in kids getting glued to their tabs and mobiles; they rarely go out.
The importance of outdoor games and physical exercise can’t be neglected. They are as important as studies, especially for the Early Years age of children. But finding spare time to take kids out can be a bit cumbersome. This problem has an effective solution. Did you know that a small play area can now be installed in your backyard or lawn?
Benefits of Mini-Playgrounds
Safe and sound: The safety of children always worries the parents. A toddler can’t be sent outside to play all alone. Someone needs to be present there to keep an eye on them. However, if you have installed a mini-playground in your house, the child can happily enjoy the game time. You can watch your kid from the inside, and thus, the safety issue is solved.
Physical Growth: As mentioned earlier, the development of a child is significant during the early years. You need to be quite considerate about their physical activities during this period. Getting a min playground installed for them is not a bad idea. It can offer them various options to indulge in. The outdoor activities help in muscle build-up and immunity boost-up.
Bone development also attains a pace through physical activities. This means stronger bones and better heart functioning. The weight of your child also stays in a desirable proportion. The chances of them being under or overweight reduce significantly.
Better Brain Development: Playgrounds not only inculcate physical development in children but also enhances their brain growth. Brain cells increase when kids indulge in outdoor games. The blood-flow accelerates, and this has various other benefits as well.
Teamwork: With a playground installed in the backyard, your child can now have friends over. They can play in collective groups for efficient learning. This helps them in learning to work in teams, and they understand the importance of teamwork.
Personality Development: Having a playground will also help children develop their personalities. Social skills are learned through social interactions. But when a child spends the entire day in the house and experiences no social contact, this becomes a daunting task. Outdoor activities offer kids a chance to socialise.
Customisable: The playgrounds you install at home or even in schools can be customised according to the age group and area available. You can select the activities and swings to be installed. From play areas to swings and see-saws, you can find a wide variety in these playgrounds. The options are many; you need to figure out your requirements.
Reasonable Price: An ordinary playground can cost you a fortune. But these mini play areas come at affordable prices. This is why schools with limited budgets and spaces are also investing in them. You can again go to indoor playgrounds, which are quite similar to the mini play areas.
The physical growth of your child is necessary for a healthy life. Children at an early age develop in different ways, and the involvement of physical activities provides a healthy lifestyle. If you also find yourself anxious about sending your kid outside to play, mini play years make a perfect solution.
Where do I begin after the longest break from writing this blog I've ever taken? It has been *checks calendar* 4 months since I last posted a review (and that's not just here but anywhere). Like many of you, I've been in self-isolation and I continue to work from home. As a Children's Librarian, this has been an unexpected challenge as I try to fulfill the needs of my library community while also taking care of my mental health (tenuous at the best of times I'm afraid). I've seen so many posts from other people talking about their struggles to maintain the status quo of productivity and 'getting things done' while also feeling incredibly anxious and rundown. That is exactly what has happened to me. At the beginning of this whole thing, I found it difficult to even focus on reading at all much less sitting down to put together a semi-coherent review. Luckily, I discovered that nonfiction was to be my savior through those first few difficult weeks as it acted as a sort of lifeline tethering me to the reality of the world while also taking me out of my current situation. (I really delved deep into scientific literature and was living, ya'll.)
And then it turned out that NYC was the epicenter of the pandemic and that we were going to be indoors for much longer than originally anticipated. My landlord and his family left for the remote regions of Vermont and I was left in a house alone with my thoughts and my temperamental cat. (She's not going to be pleased when I start leaving the house again by the way.) So I had to develop a routine and to my surprise (and probably anyone else who knows me) that entailed exercising 6 nights a week before bed. I won't say that I enjoy the exercising but it has made me feel in control of at least this one thing which has helped my mental health immensely (as well as my furry friend who while temperamental has been my sole companion). And I kept reading. I picked up books that had languished on my shelves, I requested ARCs (Advanced Reader's Copies) from publishers who hyped their books in webinars, and I ordered books recommended on Instagram posts and blogs promoting social justice and anti-racism. I READ A LOT. And yet I still couldn't find the energy or mental stamina to write out reviews.
Then my calendar informed me that today marks NINE YEARS of writing on this blog. For 9 years I have read and reviewed books for strangers that I have never seen. I have been a voice on the Internet advocating and sometimes deploring the written word. I have fielded countless emails from authors, publishers, and publicists asking me to read books in pre-publication. I have picked up books with interesting blurbs and beautiful covers hoping they'd be my next favorite book. I've read books that were out of my comfort zone and others that were completely in my wheelhouse. I have read books aimed at children, marketed for teens, and some that fit no definitive age bracket. I've been delighted, disappointed, and inspired. It's safe to say that for many years my blog (and the American Museum of Natural History) kept me sane. It certainly sustained me creatively and intellectually when my job was doing the exact opposite. (I know now that was the job and now I'm in the Profession.) So I don't take this blog lightly despite the fact I make $0 from it. (Not once have I gotten any money from the ads I place at the bottom of all of these posts.)
So I decided to sit down, clear my mind, and write.
I want to thank each and every one of you that have read my blog posts whether that's been for the entire 9 years or you just stumbled onto it today. I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts about books and the power of reading. I know that for me reading and putting books into the hands of others is my passion. I truly believe in the power of becoming a lifelong learner and what it can do for you and the people in your life when you share what you've learned. These last several weeks have certainly tested that belief. At this point, I view it as willful ignorance especially in the age of the Internet and social media that we all live in. If you have the capability to post about your barbecue (where I see you didn't wear masks and invited your friends so yes I'm judging) then you have the power to research our racially discriminatory criminal justice system. If you can post an Instagram story where you're doing a dance you learned on TikTok then you can find the time to learn about why people are protesting and pulling down monuments to the past. (Read this article for a quick summary.) It is the responsibility of all of us to learn about our country's past so we can examine our present and impact our future. And once you've done the research then you need to act. This could mean telling other people what you've learned and urging them to do their own research. It could mean picking up a phone and calling the policymakers in your area to demand change. Maybe you can donate to an organization fighting for racial equality or at the very least let your followers on social media know about the organization if you don't have the funds to spend yourself. We are living in an age of connectivity unlike anything our world has ever known and yet we are still so divided. We will continue to be divided as long as relegate members of our society to the margins and treat them as anything less than human beings deserving of the same respect and privileges as those who have always lived with privilege.
If you've made it this far, I commend you. I've run out of steam to write comprehensive reviews so this will only be starred reviews (for now). This is only what I've read during self-isolation. When I've gotten a few more books under my belt (and it looks like that is a distinct possibility) I'll write a follow-up post. And don't worry all of the other books I've read (I'm looking at you 2019 and early 2020) will eventually get written up into reviews sooner or later (probably later).
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge with illustrations by Chris Riddell -- 6/10
Dry Store Room No. 1 by Richard Fortey -- 8.5/10
Stuffed Animals & Pickled Heads by Stephen T. Asma -- 9/10
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow with illustrations by Jen Wang -- 8/10
Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku -- 9/10
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson -- 10/10
How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman -- 10/10
The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley -- 10/10
Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert -- 7/10
The Complete Mapp & Lucia: Vol 1 (and half of Vol 2) by E.F. Benson -- 9/10
Department of Mind-Blowing Theories by Tom Gauld -- 9/10
Excuse Me by Liana Finck -- 1/10
We Are Here Forever by Michelle Gish -- 2/10
The Fragile Earth edited by David Remnick & Henry Finder -- 7/10
Making Sense by Samuel Harris -- 5/10
Fossil Men by Kermit Pattison -- 6/10
Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson -- 5/10
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang -- 6/10
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth -- 8.5/10
The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale -- 8/10
Sanctuary by V.V. James -- 6.5/10
The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque -- 10/10
White Kids by Margaret A. Hagerman -- 9.5/10
Small Doses by Amanda Seales -- 10/10
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander -- 10/10
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin -- 10/10
Stargazing by Jen Wang -- 7/10
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy -- 10/10
Reread:The Neverending Story by Michael Ende and The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis.
What I'm Currently Reading: ????
Here are some books by African American authors you may want to read:
Kindred by Octavia Butler: The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given...
Beloved by Toni Morrison: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past. Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander: "Jarvious Cotton's great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."
As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them.