In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Friday, January 6, 2012


copyright date: 2009
primarily marketed for: middle school and up

Helen Frost is one of my favorite authors.  I have adored every book I’ve read by her.  In fact, the copies of some of her books in our school library have disappeared because I am apparently not the only one who appreciates her work.  Her stories, told in poetic verse, are always moving and then I am always amazed to discover there is a specific format she follows when writing the poetry for each book.  You might remember her book Diamond Willow, which was a recent Caudill nominee. 

Crossing Stones is the story of four teenagers during World War I (two sets of brothers and sisters who are neighbors).  The boys, Frank and Ollie, end up going off to fight in the war, while the girls, Muriel and Emma, each face their own struggles at home. 

The voices of all four characters are threaded throughout the book with grace.  The poetry alternates viewpoints and includes letters written from the battlefront.  You know I love a good war book, especially one like this that contains a little romance and a little girl power, to boot! 

Muriel is torn between her feelings for Frank and her desire to remain independent and follow her own dreams by joining in the movement for women’s suffrage.  I can’t remember reading another story that gave me so much insight into the fight for women’s right to vote.  I didn’t realize how brutal it was, but it makes sense.  I am sure what is covered in this story is only a small snapshot of the truth.

The shape of the poetry echoes the characters’ intentions and lives.  It is a beautiful story, beautifully told. 


  1. Do you know why I love your new blog? Because you are introducing me to so many new authors and books. I have not heard of Helen Frost, but I will sure be looking her up!

  2. I'm like Deb, the wish list of new ideas for books is piling up! I think you told me about Frost before, and I loved Keesha's House, so will undoubtedly love this too. I've had several students students women's history through my time in the classroom & that particular time for women was brutal. We have a lot to thank them for! Thanks for the sharing again!