Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin (2014)
Franny Katzenback of Pittsburg lives not too far from Dr. Salk’s search for a polio vaccine. However, it is too late for her. She has gotten paralytic polio, and spends months in the hospital, including time in an iron lung. While she was in the iron lung, a nun comes to hospital regularly to read to her. She reads her a brand new book: Charlotte’s Web. Franny falls in love with this book, and the nun gives her a copy of it to take home with her. Finally Franny can breathe outside the iron lung, and can go home in a wheelchair. A physical therapist comes regularly to see if she can get Franny back on her feet again (and back to school.)
Franny is short on friends now, because all the kids and their parents seem to think that Franny is still contagious (even though she’s not, of course), so they will not come close. However, Franny does have a new friend who lives on her dog . . . Fleabrain. Fleabrain writes her messages and does lots of things to get her attention. It turns out that Fleabrain is even better than Charlotte the spider!
Summer Reading Online – 15 of 30
Title: These Happy Golden Years
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Original Publication Date: 1943
Year I First Read: 1984
Category: Fiction, Juvenile Fiction, Teen/YA Fiction, Historical Fiction
Basic Summary: In the beginning of the story, Laura is on the way to her first teaching job, which is away from home. Every week in the cold and snow, Almanzo comes to pick Laura up and take her home to her family. Later, Laura returns to going to school in town, and many more events take place until the end of the book when she marries Almanzo.
What I remember: This is hard to say I have re-read this book so often since then. I was nine-ish when I first read it, though, after I had read the rest of the Little Series over the previous two years or so. Several things made the biggest impression on me when I first read it, though. One is when May came home from college in Iowa to visit. Another is the chapter with the tornado with three funnels that kills a boy and two donkeys. Another is when Laura and Ma are preparing Laura’s clothes for her wedding.
What I Took Away From the Book: Don’t go riding out in the country in a buggy when there might be a tornado. Your true love might show up at the door with wild horses to be broken. If you are teaching school for the first time, don’t stay in a house with knives. And finally, life can be difficult, but it gets better.
Rating (1-5 Stars): 5 Stars (Then and now.)
Title: One-Way to Ansonia
Author: Judie Angell
Original Publication Date: 1985
Date I First Read: 1988
Basic Category: Juvenile/Teen Historical Fiction
Basic Summary: Rose immigrates to the US from Russia or Eastern Europe at age 10 in the 1890s. It is the story of her growing up in difficult circumstances in New York City.
What I Remember About the Book: I remember really liking this book. I loved historical fiction, so this one was perfect for me. I remember most that she got married really young, and had a baby. She went to English classes.
What I Took Away From the Book: Don’t have a baby really early. Wait. (Um, yes, I actually waited until my 30s.) Work hard and you make things happen.
Rating (1-5 stars): 4 (at the time – I need to re-read it!)
These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901, Arizona Territories: a Novel by Nancy E. Turner (1998)
First, let me say I loved this book, eventually. . . and it is “adult fiction”.
I borrowed this book on the spur of the moment a couple of months ago (July), and read the first few pages. They seemed rather depressing, and I didn’t continue, partially because the book was due by then. However, a week or two ago, I was informed that the author goes to the church I’ve gone to the last couple of weeks. This book was nominated in 2007 to be the One Book AZ book. (By the way, I’d like to see Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald for One Book AZ 2008!!) So, I tried These is My Words again. It is not easy reading. . . several people die in just the first 41 pages or so. However, by then, I had to know what happened. I have to say that this is the kind of book I’ve appreciated for years, since I was a kid (historical fiction in journal/diary format).
Wow, I was sorry when I reached the end of the book. Fortunately, there are sequals. There are several very sad portions, and some wonderful portions (for instance, I didn’t realize the University of Arizona here in Tucson was the first university in Arizona) about the joy of reading and education. Sarah never got to go to school formally, but studies on her own, and eventually passes the 12-grade exams. She moves into Tucson with her husband, even though she hates being in town, so that her children could have the privilege of going to school. She runs a ranch on her own. Sarah is a very strong woman. If you go to the author’s website, there are pictures of the woman Sarah is based on. Sarah is based on the author’s grandmother’s diaries and experiences.
An excellent read! I highly, highly recommend it!