after our marathon break—books about running to inspire, educate and entertain

Well that turned into a marathon break - the best laid plans and all that! (If you're reading this post in isolation, we took what turned into an almost six months break from WTBA to get a few other things in order.) 

Speaking of marathons :), I’ve been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s witty and conversational in tone, fascinating and eye opening. Quite inspiring.

 

Here’s one of the fascinating parts:

“Three times, America has seen distance-running skyrocket, and it’s always in the midst of a national crisis. The first boom came during the Great Depression … Running then went dormant, only to catch fire again in the early 70’s when we were struggling to recover from Vietnam, the Cold War, race riots, a criminal president and the murders of three beloved leaders. And the third distance boom? One year after the September 11 attacks, trail running suddenly because the fastest growing outdoor sport in the country. Maybe it was a coincidence. Or maybe there’s a trigger in the human psyche, …”

And an eye-opening and inspiring part about the Tarahumara people of Chihuahua, Mexico:

“…the Tarahumara are industrious and inhumanly honest; one researcher went so far as to speculate that after so many generations of truthfulness, the Tarahumara brain was actually chemically incapable of forming lies. And if being the kndest, happiest people on the planet wasn’t enough, the Tarahumara were also the toughest: the only thing that rivalled their superhuman serenity, it seemed, was their superhuman tolerance for pain … a Tarahumara champion once ran 435 miles … Other Tarahumara runners reportedly went three hundred miles at a pop. That’s nearly twelve full marathons, back to back to back, while the sun rose and set and rose again.”

Cool, huh!

Born to Run is a cunning kind of reading. Technically it’s non-fiction and mind expanding, but it’s also fun to read and feels like a rollicking yarn of a story. Definitely give it a go—you don’t need to be into running at all to love it.

And—to bring an end to our marathon hiatus, here are three picture books about running to inspire, educate and entertain.

Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull—the story of Wilma Rudolph who was known as the fastest woman in world in the 1960’s. She was a premmie baby, polio sufferer and an African-American woman—now there’s a story about rising above your circumstances with determination and truck loads of hard work!

Girl Running by Annette bay Pimental—the story of Bobbi Gibb, first woman to run the Boston Marathon. It's ridiculous to imagine a time when women were excluded from running long distances! (There’s also The Girl Who Ran by Kristina Yee)

The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold—a fictional story inspired by the real life of Cliff Young, the Australian gum-booted farmer who at 61 years old ran 875 kilometers from Sydney to Melbourne.

It’s nice to be back! Talk soon.

Names in the picture books – Wilma, Bobbi

(The books are individually linked to Book Depository—they have great prices and free postage anywhere in the world—but you might also like to check Amazon out.)

stories for the adventure that is school (or any other big life-changing adventure)

Savannah is off to pre-school this year, and William and Ivy start Kindy. In honour of these major life moments, here's a small collection of books that are lovely to read in the first week or two of school. I hope you find something that feels right for your new (or returning) school kid.

I’m going to read Off to School Baby Duck to all three of our new school kids via Marco Polo this week too. It’s a cute story of a baby duck who is scared to go to school but, predictably, has a good day. It was a favourite for their fathers long ago—mostly out of print now, but full of nostalgia for our family.

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a beautiful story of friendship, love, hope, joy and newfound strength—perfect reading for a new year

a beautiful story of friendship, love, hope, joy and newfound strength—perfect reading for a new year

ages 0 to 8 years
Summer is in full swing in Tasmania and everywhere we look trees are laden with fruit. We're closely watching our plum and nectarine trees, eagerly awaiting the first ripe fruit, and I think this is what drew us to Together Always when we saw it in the library. That and the wonderfulness of friendship for the start of a new year.

The opening line is:


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sending wishes for a joyous Christmas and a New Year filled with love and peace

It's that wonderful time of year again and, as we write the last post for the season, we thought you might like this quote, found on Twitter via @HappySonship:

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Christmas is about believing what a woman said about her sex life.

Christmas is about a family finding safety as refugees.

Christmas is about a child in need receiving support from the wealthy.

Christmas is about God identifying himself with the marginalized not the powerful.

Amen to that.

Thank you so very much for reading along with us throughout 2017, your support and presence is appreciated more than you can probably tell. We'll be back on 15 January but please still feel free to make contact with us at any time. And to browse the site, of course.

We hope you have a lovely break and that you're able to refresh and renew your spirits; may you have good health, joy and peace in abundance—and always a loved one to read to.

See you next year!

Joan, Kim, Samantha, Jesse, Louisa xxxxx

our really great (new-ish) Christmas Eve tradition—choosing, giving and opening books!

our really great (new-ish) Christmas Eve tradition—choosing, giving and opening books!

Our family is still young and we don’t have a lot of traditions yet, but one that we borrowed from Kim when Alec and I were newly married is giving and opening books on Christmas Eve.

Kim and I get the job (joy really) of choosing the books for our families, and we hide them away till the night. But those choices are sometimes pretty difficult! Here's what I've bought for this year—I think I did well:

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classic literature isn't just for grownups

classic literature isn't just for grownups

ages 0 to 3 years
One-year-old Angus’s favourite book at the moment is A Christmas Carol from the BabyLit series. 

If you’re not familiar with BabyLit, they're board book primers (covering things like animals, counting, sounds, flowers and much, much more) that are a sweet introduction to classic literature. The words are simple and each page connects an object to a story via engaging artwork. For example, in A Christmas Carol:

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'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

ages 3 to grownup
I’ve been a John Williamson fan since childhood and a few months ago we were lucky enough to go to one of his concerts as a family. Amazing. There's really nothing quite like a live performance.

During intermission, I came across Christmas in Australia. I had no idea John Williamson had written a children’s book and just had to buy it—my only regret was that the kids were so exhausted by the end of the show we couldn't wait in the line to get it

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the latest in the Matilda Saga—every bit as wonderful as we'd hoped

the latest in the Matilda Saga—every bit as wonderful as we'd hoped

I’ve just finished this new book in the Matilda Saga. Actually, you could say I just started it too since I started it last night and finished it this morning! All of us at WTBA love this series, so imagine my delight when I spotted Facing the Flame on the shelves at Avid Reader yesterday, even though the official release date is December 1.

When Louisa saw me reading it she sighed: “It’s short.”—and added with mock exasperation: “Jackie French!” We always hope that the next Matilda Saga book will be in the 600 page realm so that we can enjoy the characters for longer.

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a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a lovely book for all ages
'Opposites' books are pretty great—and not uncommon. They're wonderful for building kids' vocabularies and usually simple enough to keep even the little ones interested. Elephant Elements is a book of opposites, but it's not the common variety—more like one-of-a-kind.

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