As the remnants of Hurricane Lee whipped the trees outside my bedroom window into a frenzy of whirling trunks and leaves, I pulled up the covers and opened my laptop to review Toni Buzzeo’s new middle grade novel, Light Comes to Shadow Mountain. Here I was, reviewing a historical novel about young Cora Mae Tipton, who aims to bring electricity to her rural Kentucky community, and my own electricity had just gone out.
I’ve always been grateful for the year I took between high school and college to attend a little Bible school in Rhode Island. We had worship services every day, along with classes from committed Bible scholars who instilled in us the value of living a God-centered life. Not just focusing on God in church on Sunday mornings, but making him the focus of every part of our lives.
My husband’s grandmother loved cats, particularly the kind that slunk up to the bowl outside her kitchen door, where she scraped her dinner scraps. She lived in the same house in a quiet Maine town for seven decades, feeding the neighborhood felines until well past the age of 100, when she died peacefully at home.
This past week my family packed the car and drove two hours up the Maine coast to visit my uncle for the Fourth of July. Just before leaving, my 13-year-old son, Asher, spotted Mitali Perkins’ new middle grade novel, Hope in the Valley, on my desk.
Growing up, I struggled to read and did not have access to many books. Ironically, for a short time my mom worked at a public library. When I was about nine, she brought me with her, and I signed up for a program to win prizes by reading books. I chose a story by Beatrix Potter – probably because it was short, but also because I loved animals and wished they could talk.