Stacey Loscalzo

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Nov 23

Favorite Family Titles

by Stacey

How is this Thanksgiving week already? I feel like I am still shaking sand out of beach bags but apparently time has moved on as time tends to do.

All the book lists and book podcasts are focused on family themed titles these days so I thought it would be fun to create one of my own.

Below, you can find my favorite family titles for everyone in your family. Enjoy!

Favorite Picture Book About Family:


We have been in love with the Peters family since the girls were tiny. Seven Silly Eaters remains the most requested picture book read aloud around here and it makes us laugh out loud every time.

Favorite Easy Read About Family:


Long time readers of this blog know that I prefer Read Together books over easy readers so my pick for this is one of my favorite  Read Togethers of all time, Wait. It contains only a few words but a super important message.

Favorite Early Chapter Book About Family:


If you haven’t met Dory Fantasmagory yet, you must. Her relationship with her siblings is one of the best I’ve read in ages. And she will make you smile for sure.

Favorite Middle Grade Book About Family:


I’m pretty sure The Penderwicks will always be our favorite read aloud. This book is a touch old fashioned in feel but remains contemporary enough for my girls who have never really taken to more ‘old fashioned’ titles. Believe it or not, we have not yet finished reading the last book in the series and I know for my part, it’s because I don’t really want our time with the Penderwicks to end.

Favorite Graphic Novel About Family:


So I will have an entire post about this soon but Katherine has fallen in love with graphic novels. Thank goodness for my friends at The Curious Reader because this is a genre that I just can’t wrap my head around. I will be exploring these books in this genre more on my own soon but for now, I’m going to trust Katherine’s recommendation for this category, Sisters.

Favorite Young Adult Book About Family:


A Monster Calls is one of the saddest books I’ve ever read but also one of the best. I’m guessing this one popped in to my  mind because it’s going to be a movie next year and trailers are being released. I haven’t watched the trailer yet because it never seems like a conveient time to have a good cry. In other words, don’t read this book if you aren’t ready to sob but if you are, this is a great one.

Favorite Adult Fiction Book About Family:


This list could be enormous. Many of my favorite books are on these lists. And most of the books I love are about families both beautiful and dysfunctional. I am completely unable to chose my favorite of all time in this category so I am going to go with my favorite in this category that I read this year. How’s that for avoiding the question!? My favorite family book of the year was A Window Opens. I would love to hear what you all thought of this title. I think I may have oversold this one to my book club (I am famous for doing this!) because we discussed it last night and while everyone liked it, no one seemed to like it as much as I did.

Favorite Memoir About Family:


One of my favorite memoirs of all time is Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place. It embraces family for all it is, the good and the bad. You’ll need tissues for this one too. For the sad tears and the happy one.

And always, please share your favorite reads about family. I love to grow my ‘to be read list.’

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Nov 16

Quick Lit: November 2015

by Stacey

Today I am joining Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly reading link-up, Quick Lit. minnow

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes. I’m cheating a bit because I read this one last month but forgot to write about it. I usually love a cult book or tv show (The Following anyone?) but this one didn’t grip me as much as usual.


The Ruins by Scott Smith. I’ve learned about a lot of different titles thanks to my podcast listening. I hadn’t heard of this back list title before and I’m so glad I did. It was creepy and magical which are two things I don’t really like in a book but I read this one super quickly because it was so good.


Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I am writing about this one in a few weeks at Great New Books so I won’t say too much now other than the fact that I loved, loved, loved it.


Anna and the Swallow Man by Gabriel Savit. Anna and the Swallow Man will not be released until January and I feel really lucky to have read it now. This is a story of love and war and friendship that everyone should read. Children and adults alike.


Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. This has long been a favorite of mine so I was thrilled when it was chosen as the book for a mother-daughter book club that Katherine and I attend. I loved sharing this story with her and I think we will be reading Kate DiCamillo together for a long time now.


My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl. I will be reviewing My Kitchen Year at Great New Books later this week so I won’t really say anything now beyond that it is one of the few cookbooks I have read cover to cover.

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Nov 12

What I’m…

by Stacey

I am having a pretty serious case of blogger’s block these days. I am way overthinking what I should write here. Should I write personal essays? Or book recommendations? Children, young adults or adult? Should I write opinion pieces? Should I feature photographs? My questions go on and on and then the day comes to an end and I have written nothing.

So for today, I thought I would go with something simple. A ‘What I’m Into’ post. I haven’t written one in ages so here goes.

What I’m…



The Affair: I think that The Affair may well be my favorite television show right now. The story is so compelling and the multiple perspectives in fascinating. And to make it all the more fun, we have eaten many meals at Lunch, the restaurant where it all began.

Listening to

Podcasts, podcasts, podcasts. I wrote about this new fascination over the summer and I am still hooked. NPR’s Popculture Happy Hour, The Podcast, Book Riot, All the Books, Get Booked, Read Aloud Revival and Books on the Night Stand are my must listens.


bird box

Who knew I liked horror? I could not put down Bird Box by Josh Malarian. I’m reviewing this at Great New Books in a few weeks so I won’t say any more now but let’s just say it was great. And that I now run up the stairs like I did when I was a child if I am the last one going upstairs for the night. You just never know what might be behind you, you know.


We have been having crazy weather here. It has been wonderfully, unseasonably warm. I have been pretty much wearing my fall uniform of jeans, long sleeve tees, cardigans and my favorite leopard flats. Every single day.


A few weeks ago, I had had enough of craving carbs and sugar constantly. I have cut significantly (like almost entirely) back on white flour, dairy and sugar. I am feeling much, much better and will soon be adding these things back in one at a time to see if I can enjoy them in small quantities. Fingers crossed because I truly love ice cream. Like, it’s my favorite food.



The fall colors have been amazing here. I can’t get enough of the leaves against the bright blue sky.


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Nov 05

Start With What You Know

by Stacey


I believe that the best advice about writing is to read. As Stephen King writes, ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” So often my written words are inspired by the words of others. Today and tomorrow the girls don’t have school. It’s the New Jersey Teacher’s Convention and these few days have become a traditional fall break for our school system. As a result, I’ve had a bit more time to sit still this morning and in doing so, I’ve had a bit more time to read. I started my reading with Lindsey’s gorgeous A Design So Vast  and as often happens at her site, I was directed to another piece of beautiful writing. I haven’t read Jeanette LeBlanc before but her piece Start with What you Know seems like a great place to have started.

So inspired by Lindsey and Jeanette, here goes.

Start with What You Know.

This is what I know.

I know that I need more sleep than the average person. I am not an early bird or a night owl. I so wish this wasn’t true but it is.

I know that I am more tired now than I have been since the girls were toddlers. I was physically tired then but so emotionally tired now.

I know that I need to exercise. More for my head than my body.

I know that I feel better when I eat less sugar than I want to. The way I felt on the day after Halloween was a good reminder.

I know that writing helps me feel better. When I am grumpy, I need to remember to write. I know that Caroline does the same thing and this makes me happy.

I know that the beach is my happy place.

I know that I carry all my stress in my shoulders. Especially my left one. I’ve done this for as long as I remember. I remember walking down the halls in high school rolling my shoulders to get the stress out.

I know that I don’t like large crowds or loud noises. This seems to be more and more true the older I get. My dad used to complain at restaurants all the time about the noise and I found it so embarrassing. I get it now.

I  know that I have to read a little bit every day. I know that when I finish one book I have to start another immediately because I always have to ‘have a book.’

I  know that I find wool itchy and that cashmere is much more comfortable. I know my wallet doesn’t like this but that it is true none the less.

I know that I can’t wear heels. The pain in my feet is just not worth the longer legs.

I know that I am becoming more introverted the older I get. I still love being around others and I think I could talk with people all day long but I also crave more alone time than I used to.

I know that the fall is my favorite time to take pictures. See above if you are wondering why.

And for now, that is all.


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Nov 02


by Stacey


When I am in a creativity lull, I find that going straight to prompts is my only way out. I started back in with the #my_365 prompts on Instagram yesterday because my paltry collection of fall pictures was making me sad. And today, I thought I would go back to my 31 More Things Prompts to get my writing muscles moving again.

When I opened up the page, the prompt that jumped out at me was ‘makeup’. After Halloween weekend, there was material to be had.

On Saturday afternoon, a gaggle of tween girls fought for mirror space in our upstairs bathroom. They were transforming their fresh faces and needed makeup to do it. Some came equipped. The collection pictured above is still here. It’s not ours but it was perfect for this picture. You can see the new with the old. The samples next to the Rite Aid purchases. Some insisted on covering their perfect skin with foundation as I ran back and forth from the girl’s bathroom to mine collecting q-tips and cotton balls. Some expertly applied eye liner and mascara. The dancers and actresses, used to putting on the face of an adult before taking the stage. Some needed help and a more steady hand to create the change.

My mind flash backed as it often does now. I don’t think I wore make up in middle school and frankly have few memories of it until college. Even then, my memory is of my college room mate being terribly confused by my bare face. I struggle still to use make up. My eyes are sensitive and my hand shaky. Like so many other things, I want to tell these girls not to rush. I want to tell them how many years they will have of trying to change their faces. Of trying to cover blemishes that aren’t really there.

For this weekend though, it was all in fun. They came away looking grown up and beautiful. And then they took to the streets, pillow cases at the ready. They laughed and ran and collected candy for hours. Children still, playing the role of the grown up while doing childish things.


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Oct 19

Quick Lit: October 2015

by Stacey

I am a bit late for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit but I think this is a better late than never kind of thing, right?

Here are this month’s reads…


Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. Caroline read this one and insisted I read it so we could discuss the ending. Everything Everything is the story of a teenage girl forced to remain only within the walls of her house to protect her from a life threatening disease. And yes, the end was definitely worth discussing!


The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore. I have become obsessed with Book Riot podcasts lately and as a result my to be read list has become enormous. I learned about The Admissions on one of the many podcasts I listen to although I must admit, I can’t remember which one. This book made me very glad we have a few years to go before the college application process begins. And it gave me a lot to think about along the way.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Samson. I have been wanting to read The Rosie Project forever but it has always slipped to the bottom of my to be read pile. I find that this happens with more light hearted books so I was thrilled that The Rosie Project was my book club book this month. If you haven’t a chance to get to know Don Tillman, I strongly suggest you do. This was a great book to read and discuss.


Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. I have heard so many good things about this book but found that I really wasn’t that excited about it. I am only half way through and I’m not sure I will continue. Has any one read it? If so, what do you think?

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Oct 15

Picture Book Favorites: Early Fall Edition

by Stacey

It feels like a really long time since I wrote a picture book posts. Here are some of our recent favorites. Enjoy!

This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary & illustrated by Julie Morstad. Sadie is a little girl with a huge imagination. I am so glad we were able to share a day with her between the pages of this beautifully illustrated book.


Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison. This books starts out a bit like Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. Bernice is in a bad, bad mood and things just keep getting worse. Fortunately, by the end she realizes that being friendly and reaching out to others might just change her outlook.


My Pen by Christopher Myers. Christopher Myers is Walter Dean Myers son which explains a lot about how wonderful this book is. A true love story of writing and the imagination, this book is a must read for any one who loves written language.


Wild About Us written by Karen Beaumont & illustrated by Janet Stevens. The zoo, like life, would be pretty boring if we were all the same, wouldn’t it? Read alongside brightly colored illustrations to see if the animals agree.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School written by David Cali & illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. In case you are looking for good excuses, this book has plenty to keep you stocked with each excuse becoming more creative and imaginative than the one before it.


Ask Me written by Bernard Waber & illustrated by Suzy Lee. This is a story full of thoughtful questions and answers between a father and daughter. I loved seeing how the two came to know the others’ thoughts as they strolled through the gorgeous fall illustrations that covered the pages.


Night Animals by Gianna Marino. The illustrations in this book are to die for and you can’t help but laugh out loud when you realize that all the night animals think they are meant to be scared of night animals. And wait for an extra big giggle at the end…


Rufus the Writer written by Elizabeth Bram & illustrated by Chuck Groenik. Rufus sets up the best kind of stand I can imagine. Not a lemonade stand, but a story stand. All his friends come for stories and we, as readers, get to read what he has written.


Little Bird’s Bad Word by Jacob Grant. This book presents the power of words in a really simple, easy for small people to understand kind of way. The title led me to think this book would be about cursing but it turns out it is more about words in general which makes it all the more appealing.


I Yam a Donkey! by Cece Bell. For some reason I have avoided this book and I am so glad that I finally read it. Somehow Cece Bell makes a book about a donkey, a yam and grammar laugh out loud funny. I highly recommend it.

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