Book Reviews Coming Soon!

I just spent a fabulous couple of days at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, held this year in Seattle. I met editors, authors, book reviewers, bloggers, and publishing and distribution representatives. I review books from time to time, and that part of me has opened its dragon eyes and declared, Great books are still being published. We need to get them into the hands of families!

Some of the enticing books I brought home from ALA.

I came home with numerous books and graphic novels I’m eager to share with y’all. I specifically sought middle grade magical fiction and nature-connected fiction, however I found myself ranging into both picture books and young adult, and my dragon heart urged me to pick up titles related to diversity, social justice, and bettering our world.

Storytelling and losing oneself in story is integral to how we humans relate to one another and make sense of our lives and world. You can read more about my thoughts about books as magical doors and reading books to kids here. Books were my companions as a child. Children’s fantasy in particular fueled my imagination to live the kind of magical life I read about. Animal fiction (such as Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, and Jean Craighead George’s many animal novels) fed me — a suburban child — with experiences of forest life, of what it might be like to be the deer, or the fox, or the prairie dog.

I’m passionate about storytelling — hearing the story, experiencing the movement and expression of the teller — and I find reading a story to hold its own wonder. I find a book to indeed be a spell book of sorts, the markings on the pages lifting off to weave worlds in our hearts.

I look forward to sharing some exciting books with you in the coming weeks!

A stack of picture books and a poetry/recipe book from ALA.

The Fire & Legend of Bridget of Kildare

What follows is an article by Erin Durrett introducing the new Explore Celtic Spirituality series starting up this coming Sunday. I’m delighted to be one of the co-dreamers of this offering!

February 11, 2018, 4pm-5pm
Church of the Holy Spirit
15420 Vashon Hwy.
www.holyspiritvashon.org

What does the word “Celtic” conjure for you? Lively, lilting music on St. Patrick’s Day? Lines of high-steppin’ Riverdancers? The misty isles of Britain? For the next few months we’re going to be exploring the deep currents that underlie these well-known traditions and images in a series of short workshops that will offer music, poetry, movement and food for the soul that come from the ancient sacred traditions of Celtic culture.

February 11th the series begins with a celebration of the “fire in the heart” of Bridget of Kildare, whose legend goes back into the mists of Irish prehistory. Like many saints, she comes down to us carrying the elements of her Divinity – blessings of fire and water, guarding prayers of home and hearth, brewing and good fellowship. She is the shepherdess of flocks and tender of their abundance.

One of her legends: When Bridget was a young woman her father tried to marry her off to a local king. As the king stood at his window watching her he said, “I suspect you want me to marry her because you are tired of her giving away all your possessions – just as I see her now giving away your jeweled sword to that beggar”. Her father, enraged, ran over to the window and began to yell down at Bridget but the king stopped him. “Your child’s reputation for generosity is well-known. But I think she will have no king of Tara; she is already the worthy bride of a greater King”.

Indeed, the fire in Bridget’s heart waits on no man! She walks back and forth through the mists of time tending that fire by touching the human heart with generosity, courage and companionship. She is with us when she makes ale for a bunch of thirsty lepers, when the last coals of the fire are banked with her blessing so the family may have hot porridge in the morning, when we weave the image of the fiery sun from cold, wet rushes as she taught us on her feast day in the bleak mid-winter.

Come with your children, grandparents and friends to celebrate with us at the fire in the labyrinth, with music and good fellowship in the hall! People of all ages and spiritual leanings welcome!

For more information: www.holyspiritvashon.org

And also in celebration of Brighid.

For the next two weeks you can listen to an episode of Forest Halls Celtic devoted to exploring the legend and myth of Brighid by way of music, poetry, and folklore.  Head over here to listen to Show 22

For You Who Love Selkie Legend – Encore!

For the next two weeks, my radio show Forest Halls Celtic will air “Selkie.” Catch it on demand here.

The legends of the Selkie – remarkable people who are seals in the sea and humans on land – are haunting, often sad, and strangely compelling. In this show we take a deep dive into the music and magic of the Selkie with tales and songs arising from the coasts and islands of Scotland and Ireland, and the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as well as some contemporary expressions. Enjoy!

12:00: Spookytree – Lochaber No More
12:02: Carolyn Allan, Jenny Keldie, Phil Cunningham – The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry
12:05: Kim Robertson – The Selkie
12:08: Heather Dale – The Maiden and the Selkie
12:16: Jean Redpath – The Song Of The Seals
12:20: Patrick Ball – The Seal
12:23: Mason Daring and the Secret of Roan Inish – The Roan Inish Theme
12:25: Mason Daring and the Secret of Roan Inish – Fiona Explores
12:30: Seamus Byrne – Ocean Surf
12:37: Anne Roos – The Mermaid’s Tears
12:43: Mary McLaughlin – Sealwoman-Yundah
12:47: Knodel and Valencia – The Fisherman’s Song for Attracting Seals
12:55: Tori Amos – Selkie

Listen to the latest episode on demand

Show11-Selkie2-180dpi