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The Full Cupboard of Life remains my favorite of Alexander McCall Smith's books. It is philosophical, a "glass half full" story that I expect to read as often as I read The Secret Garden. (see below)-- I love books that make me cry with happiness and with the realization of just how full of peace and plenty my life really is.

The Secret of Roan Inish by Rosalie Fry is a modern day fairy tale, a great read-to-your-child story (target audience 9 and up). Fiona yearns for the peace of the island life that she and the island’s inhabitants were forced to leave, and for her baby brother, whose cradle floated away as they were leaving. As I said, a fairy tale. With a happy ending. Both book and the movie that was made of it are charming. No violence.

Night Gardening by E. L. Swann centers on the romance between an aging woman recovering from a stroke and the landscape architect who is working next door. Lots of great gardening factoids. If this had been "One Woman's Garden Journal" I would have liked it better.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: an unhappy little girl, her invalid cousin, and the healing power of friendship and love. How can anyone NOT love this book? It has mystery, sadness, a nasty little girl, a couple of sympathetic secondary characters and one whiney spoiled (abandoned at home) child who gently teach Mary Lennox how to be a human being.

Submitted by Anne Slater, First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia


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