Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Just back from a lazy afternoon down town. Steve and I went to a late lunch at Gladys - a local restaurant tucked away in a little alley between tourist shops. I tried their chicken roti - a potatoes, chicken, chick peas and curry filling in pastry. Not quite as tasty as the ones as Fungis, a restaurant on the East End, and not even close to my first one ever - on Tortolla. Then I went to Havensight Mall and bought a bunch of postcards and local flavor regular cards to send to my Dad. He is in a nursing home and loves to get mail. Only one cruise ship in so there weren't as many tourists around. Stopped in a little outside bar and ended up talking to a local woman who runs a tour business with her husband. Had to chuckle at the T-shirt her son had on - it said Dinghy Captain. It was a nice afternoon away from my desk.

Also took a break from novel reading for a change and read Laura Hillman's I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree. I have to admit I picked it up because of the reference to lilacs. They are my favorite flower - grew up with a lilac tree right outside my bedroom window. The same robin came back each spring and built her nest in the tree. While in the concentration camp, Hannelore Wolff fell in love with Dick Hillman, who promised her they would survive the camps and he would plant her a lilac bush that would grow into a tree like the one her father used to stand under and sing songs to her mother. Hannelore left her boarding school to be deported with her mother and brothers so she could be with them. They were shortly after separated and she never saw her mother and one brother again. The other brother she saw, but he soon died. The terrible things that happened to Hannelore and the other women in the camp are addressed, but not in graphic fashion. Of all the concentation camp type memoirs I have read I enjoyed this one the most. Not sure why - perhaps it was because she does not sound like a victim - she sounds, and is, a survivor. One of the women on Schindler's list. An autobiography that should be in every MS and HS library.

As I mentioned in an early posting, I am teaching a children's lit class for San Jose State in the Fall and have been reading more children's novels and pictures books lately. I just finished reading Something Special by Terri Cohlene - illustrated by Dough Keith. The text is written as a riddle - "It's something special. What can it be?" Hints are as varied as, "It can say, Hello" to "It can be planted or blown." The graphics of a "noble" frog are a delight. My favorite illustration is the double page spead to go along with "Or thrown." The frogs are having a snowball fight and bunny is right in the line of fire. The last page shows a beautiful princess kissing the frog, with the text, "And it's something special because it says...'I love you.'" What a fun book to share with a group of little ones during story time, or your own little one, during bedtime. Kids will have a great time coming up with other lines for the riddle. This is an Illuminational Arts Publishing Company book - a small company that puts out beautifully illustrated children's books that are always "feel good" books. You can check them all out on their web site at It is a fun site to visit.

Both ends of the reading spectrum today. :-)