#802 The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any Hollingsworth

The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any HollingsworthThe Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Any Hollingsworth

Mister Rogers didn’t generally do interviews, but he decided to grant Any one. Maybe Amy expected a personality that differed from Mister Rogers’ television personality, but what she got was the same Mister Rogers everyone grew up with. A friendship continued after the interview and Amy learned how great Mister Rogers really was.

Letters followed and so did stories. Mister Rogers never wrote a memoir himself, so Amy hopes that this book will serve as something of a biography for him.

Mister Rogers was always a spiritual and sensitive man. He wanted children to know it was ok to feel emotions. He wanted kids to know they were worth something. He took the time to take each child’s request seriously. When a blind girl asked if he fed the fish everyday, because he didn’t always say he fed the fish, he started saying he was going to feed the fish.

He created a world of himself inside The Land of Make-believe. Each puppet seemed to be a different facet of himself.

He taught the author that it was ok to be sad and that it was ok to be quiet. Some of the best things can come from silence.

Ultimately, Mister Rogers had to quit his show and he did for, but several decades of children grew up to his even-toned voice. They learned about emotions and they learned to be better people.

What I liked

I, like seemingly everyone else who got PBS on their bunny ears, admire Mister Rogers. He was a great man. He made an impact on the world in a way that so many people can’t. There are preachers and ministers galore, but it was Mister Rogers, who spoke with a gentle voice, that made an impression on children. Children learned that their feelings mattered. It was ok to be sad. It was ok to be angry. This might be a lesson some people could take to heart these days. We are not ever-cheerful automatons.

This man brought a voice of reason and sanity to more than one generation of children. When crazy was all they knew otherwise, Mister Rogers was a constant. He always put on those shoes and that sweater. He always fed those fish.

What I didn’t like

I really would have liked if this book had been more strictly a biography. I like Any, but it would have been nice to know even more about his life.


Won’t you be my neighbor?

Weigh in

What impact, if any, has Mister Rogers had in your life?

Is Mister Rogers an example of how television can impact our lives positively, in your opinion?

#801 The Mystery of the Stolen Sword created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery of the Stolen Sword created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery of the Stolen Sword created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are on vacation, but of course they find a mystery. It turns out that someone is stealing antiques. There is also supposed to be a ghost. There is some talk about an old sword and hard feelings were developed because of it. 

The Aldens start poking around and things are missing. What’s the big deal about this sword?

What I liked

I mean, I guess this was interesting. 

What I didn’t like

I wasn’t really feeling this one, in fact, I had to look up what it was about after I read it. That’s how much this book didn’t keep my attention. Someone needed some money, so they stole stuff, big deal. 


Hide your kids; hide your old junk.

Weigh in

Would you be upset if someone stole your old stuff?

Is it ever permissible to steal?

#800 The Midnight Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Midnight Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Midnight Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Alden children are going to an invention convention. The idea is that people can enter inventions and other people will look at them. They’re staying at a locally famous inventor’s house. There are all sorts of interesting things there. There are clocks that do things that clocks don’t normally do.

The children find a book of rhymes, for children, which seem kind of nonsense, but when they start hearing about a plan book that is missing, the Aldens start poking around. The rhyme has something to do with 12 o’clock. Which clock? Which 12? What’s going on?

What I liked

I like the idea of being creative and inventing things. I consider myself highly intelligent and I like the idea of being an inventor. My boyfriend, Grizzly Pirate Wynn, recently lost his father, who was an inventor, like a real-life, honest to God, inventor. Hearing about all the things he’s invented, make me feel like a slacker. I’m not an engineer, by any means, but I wouldn’t mind being an inventor.

I think it’s great that this book encourages kids to wonder how things work and wonder if they can make something better.

What I didn’t like

As usual, there was some fuddy-duddy who decided that they had an issue with something someone else was doing and tried to cause problems.

How about just not being a jerk? It could solve a whole lot of problems.


I would hide something weird in a clock.

Weigh In

What would you invent, if you could?

Is science an area you feel children should be more encouraged in?

#799 Unplanned by Abby Johnson

Unplanned by Abby JohnsonUnplanned by Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson used to manage a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. She helped with abortions. She helped women into the clinic. She kept protesters away from her patients. She tried to provide the best support she actually could. Abby’s journey at Planned Parenthood started out after she had an abortion herself. She later volunteered at Planned Parenthood and was then hired on full-time. Abby, later went on to have a second abortion.

It wasn’t until after years of working at Planned Parenthood that Abby started to have problems. She had been on speaking terms with all the protesters, actually, not protesters, they were the Coalition for Life that stood outside of Planned Parenthood to offer alternatives to abortion. They could connect pregnant women with adoption services, baby supplies, and all manner of support.

One day, Abby was called in to help with an ultrasound guided abortion. She saw the baby on the ultrasound screen, then she saw as the baby was sucked up by the vacuum. She watched the baby crumple into the tube. This was when Abby had a change of heart. She ultimately quit her job at Planned Parenthood. Quitting a job should be no big deal, but for some reason Planned Parenthood tried to sue Abby for quitting. She was second-handedly accused of distributing patient information, doctor information, and employee information from Planned Parenthood, none of which was true.

Abby now volunteers at the Coalition for Life. She tells women how she used to run the Planned Parenthood clinic and now she stands on the other side of the fence, helping women find ways to keep their babies.

What I liked

I liked having Abby’s perspective from both sides of the argument. She’s a little too “Jesus” for my tastes, but I understand that this is her faith and she’s excited about it. Abortion is one of those grey areas and it’s nice to have a perspective that will recognize that to an extent.

I do feel how Abby feels about this subject. For me, most of the time, you probably shouldn’t get an abortion. I’m glad it’s legal because I don’t want to hear about women dying, in some back alley because they couldn’t get an abortion and had to go to some guy who said he knew how to do an abortion. I’m glad it’s legal, but I’m on the baby side of the fence. It’s a baby and it’s especially a baby after the first trimester. Late-term abortions should not be a thing at all.

What I didn’t like

Abby’s descriptions of abortions are awful, horrifying. I cannot imagine watching an ultrasound of a baby getting sucked into a vacuum. Abby’s description of the process hurt my heart. Abby also told this story about a woman going in for a late-term abortion, at something like thirty-six weeks. That is insanity. That is a baby people. That baby could be born and live a happy life.

I really like the idea of something like Planned Parenthood existing for care and birth control. There should be a place where you can go to get cheap birth control if you cannot afford to go to a regular doctor to get it prescribed. There should be a place where you can receive cheap prenatal care. There should be a place where you can go to get STD testing. All of this should exist. What should not exist is an organization that pushes abortions as their main item. It’s fine if they offer abortions, but too many Planned Parenthood organizations have stated that they don’t really offer other care. Someone needs to fix that. The entire idea of Planned Parenthood was to make planning being a parent, or not being a parent, easier–that means birth control, checkups, condoms, and testing, not abortion after abortion.

The idea of late-term abortion is horrific. I’m sorry, but if a baby can survive outside the womb, which is twenty-two weeks on, then an abortion should not be allowed, unless, there are medical problems which would prevent that baby from surviving or the mother surviving.

I really get abortion, if it’s early on, and you were raped, or it was incest, or it would be medically dangerous, or mentally hazardous, but I don’t get it just because you don’t want to be pregnant. I also get it from the money stand point to an extent. You can’t afford to have a child. I really wish adoption services were a larger part of Planned Parenthood. Why not set people up with services where they can get their healthcare provided for and then find that baby a home? Honestly, I even get the idea of an abortion simply because a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, but that doesn’t mean I agree with abortion under those circumstances.

There was a time in my life, a very short time, that if I had gotten pregnant during that period, that I would have seriously considered having an abortion. I don’t know that I could have ever gone through with it, if it had happened, but it was a serious backup plan, not because I didn’t want children, or because I couldn’t afford it, which I couldn’t, or because I was scared of being pregnant, or because I had medical concerns–it was because of who the father would have been at the time and there was absolutely no way I could have ever stayed tied to him in any way; I knew I couldn’t mentally handle it. I’m glad circumstances never led me to have to make that decision. These days, I wouldn’t consider getting an abortion if I were to get pregnant.

This book just makes me sad.


I don’t know how I feel about Abby’s Coalition or Planned Parenthood entirely, but I’m glad both are there to provide women with what they need, no matter what they choose.

Weigh In

What do you think about Abby’s flip on the matter?

#798 Shine by Jodi Picoult

Shine by Jodi PicoultShine by Jodi Picoult

Ruth’s mama works for a white family. She does all the housework there, then comes home and does all the housework at home. This is how it is. Ruth somehow gets a scholarship to a nearby school, but it’s mainly white. She’s the only black girl there. The girl who lives at the house where Ruth’s mama works is friends with her outside of school, but tries not to pay attention to her at school. Ruth wonders why things are different when they’re alone.

Ruth’s mama tells her that everyone has their uniform. Ruth’s will be school clothes and a rhinestone headband.

What I liked

This story kind of reminds me of The Help in some ways. Ruth is likable.

What I didn’t like

I don’t like the idea of bullying and I don’t like the idea of people being treated differently because of the way they look. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is or isn’t, you’re still a person. I think it’s just plain silly that we’ve had so many issues with treating people differently because of the color of their skin. How about get over it? Just treat people like people. Makes sense, right? I feel bad that little girls like Ruth were ever teased and bullied at school because of the color of their skin.


What will Ruth do next?

Weigh In

What do you think about Ruth?

Have you experienced discrimination based on your race, no matter what it may be?