Thursday, June 22, 2017

Poetry Friday Treasure Hunting

         Thanks to Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe for hosting our Poetry Friday. She's welcoming us with a poem by her Diamond Miners today. So it's serendipitous that I'm writing about treasure hunting this week.

         On Wednesday, no, not in the mountain's wild places, but I went hunting in Denver's main library for the semi-annual book sale. My goal was two bags full, all I can manage to carry to the car, and no, I didn't return though I could have. I have way too many books, but this day is hard to resist. 
        Among the hundreds of trade books, of which I found terrific ones old and new, I also discovered some poetry books new to me. This one, poems by Margaret Wise Brown re-shared with a forward by Leonard Marcus and illustrated by Teri L. Weidner, caught my eye because of the title: Give Yourself To The Rain Poems for The Very Young. Because we have so little rain, each time the drops appear, they become another treasure. 

        It is special when one finds poems to read to young children. Those in this book collected for the first time fit well. They're about important things like being high on a hill, boats out at sea, squirrels, and apples. They sing for children! 

Here is the middle of a favorite poem. The illustrations fill the pages with creative images that fit Margaret Wise Brown's own unique ideas of her topics.

                                                  Green Grass & Dandelions

                                                    Bright yellow
                                                    Constellations
                                                    Brave little lions
                                                    Suns in the grass

And the beginning of Sun Came Out on a Summer's Day
             The sun came out on a summer's day
              And chased three little white clouds away
              And shone on three trees near a deep blue pond
              Where three little ducks were swimming around

         There's more about a frog and a horse and hay!
                                                    
           I cannot find a link to share with the poems, but hope you can find the book and enjoy it! I wrote in response to this delightful book, too.


                          poetry hangs in the wind
                          sweeping dust 
                          my new shower
                          Linda Baie © all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Picture Books Can Spark New Research


  Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific non-fiction books!
      These four books all can become jumping off points for further research and learning. Some are appropriate for young learners; some seem better for older middle-grade students. I enjoyed each one.

         I'm first celebrating that my "hold" at the library was rather short to get this wonderful new book by Melissa Sweet and Steve Jenkins. Learning about all the sounds numerous different animals make - bark, grunt, squeal, roar, whine, bellow, growl, and laugh - creates a fun connection especially for young readers. They can make all those sounds, too! The end page asks that question of the reader, "Can you?" The format repeats as in "Can an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt?" The next double-page spread shows other animals who grunt, too, like river otters and, a surprise, an oyster toadfish! While each part shows familiar animals, the unfamiliar is interesting too. As a collection, we're taught that these sounds are used for various reasons, warnings of danger, invitations to mate, while fighting and/or greeting. Jenkin's collages show the animals realistically, but habitat is not considered except in some text. It's a stepping off point for further study.


        There is additional backmatter that explains the geologic background of the forming of an island, but I'm unsure if this is really non-fiction. It's cleverly rhymed, showing the beginning uprising of lava from an undersea volcano, all through the evolutionary aspects of an island over thousands of years. The beginning: "Deep, deep/beneath the sea . . . / Stone breaks/Water quakes/Magma glows/Volcano blows."
       It too can be a stepping off into a study of geology and evolution. The illustrations are collages, become even more detailed as the island begins to be inhabited. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Life By The Numbers

   Join us on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers and others who post. 
 
  1. One thing checked off the list, applied for TSA pre-check. It was fun to be at the airport without hurrying. I had my favorite iced chai, browsed at the bookstore, looked at some of the galleries all before my appointment.
  2. Two days from now begins the Denver Public Library Sale. There are thousands of books to browse, but I usually stick to kids' books and poetry, sometimes biography/memoir.                                                                                                                                Two weeks from today is Independence Day. I have a new book that I imagine everyone loving. It's Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. I haven't reviewed it yet, but it is gorgeous, a tribute to the American flag.  
  3. Three poems have been written these recent three days! Now to return to them to see what can be better.
  4.      Four days after Independence Day, I'll be on my way to the beach. Yep, I'm counting down!
  5. The number of books I bought last week when I visited my favorite Indie bookstore, The Tattered Cover. Yes, I held it to five, but sat and read at least another five picture books while I was there.
  6. Guessing, but I think I've worked about six hours in the garden since Saturday, cutting back plants that shouldn't be where they've moved, deadheading and of course, looking for bindweed! It truly is like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going (growing)!
  7. I have seven things I must do on Tuesday because Wednesday is the sale and a dinner party and Thursday is the bookstore: renew two things, pay two bills, grocery shop, pick up a dress from the alterations shop, write one poem, work on another piece I'm writing, dust. Notice that dusting is at the end!   
     An Aristotle quote:  "All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion and desire." Did I make the connections in number seven?
 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Monday Reading - Many Loves!

              Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!        tweet #IMWAYR

      I read so many wonderful books this week. I hope you don't mind the long post, but each one is worth sharing.



 Always be sure to read Helen Frost's afterword "before you read her wonderful verse novels. She cleverly adds in extra messages in the text, and this story is no different. I enjoyed the story told by two sisters. Abigail (soon Abi) is the one who starts kissing, a slightly younger Claire is one who sees her sister changing, and the lake where the story occurs. It all happens in the month spent at a family cabin. There is some heartbreak, heavy and light, but it is truly a growing up story I imagine young adolescents will connect with. All those questions about relationships are so hard to answer! And they're compounded by the fact here that they have a new stepmother who just had a baby! There isn't too much drama, just enough to make things interesting, perhaps a life like most?


        
I imagine that there are those who have questions about what's next in this incredible story. There are nine orphans on an unidentified island at different stages in their childhood. At the beginning, Jinny, who's the center of the story, must say goodbye to Deen, the Elder. The mysterious green boat has come, and he, like others in the past, must say goodbye, to go where no one knows, but that is the rule. Jinny is heartbroken at the loss, but now she is the Elder and the boat has brought a new "little", a young girl named Ess. 
         In the story, there are challenges to solve and we get to know the other seven children with unique personalities, foibles that are recognizable in humans we readers may know. I loved the movement of the growing up, the change that happens, and it is an allegory, the journey of growing up and saying goodbye to childhood whether you want to or not. Laurel Snyder shows well those inner questions, the resignation, the different ways each child takes on what is hard showing children as they are, and also as they must be. Parents may believe they are all-powerful in the raising of their children, but this book shows that children also do a lot of the growing-up-figuring-out-stuff by themselves. The setting provides that lonely backdrop beautifully. Sometimes even adults feel as if they're on an island working out challenges alone. These kids have made the rules, learned how things on the island work, keep themselves safe and focus on the important things. There is a mystery to life and this story shows that too. It's terrific.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Celebrating A Milestone

Celebrating with Ruth Ayres at Discover, Play, Build, and linking with others who share, too. I'm always grateful to Ruth for our weekly celebrations together.



            It's been a great week; granddaughters, bookstore work, indie bookstore shopping, library time, coffee with a former colleague, book group, car repairs that are good, car cleaning, gardening clean up of spent flowers, writing several poems, writing for another project -- all good. 
            This ending and amazing celebration is that this is post number 1500. Like my words yesterday on Poetry Friday, I have lived a good bit of my life writing this blog, met online and personally some wonderful people. I have both needed and been grateful for the company through the years filled with joy and sorrow. You've listened and laughed and supported and through your own posts, you've enriched my life. Thanks for the journey. 
Words of wisdom: WRITE ON!
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        If you are so inclined, you may read my first post. I haven't changed much except I'm no longer writing with students, but I am still using mentor texts for me, and I think I'll probably never stop thinking about the questioning of what "is" the important thing. (FYI-this year I had just moved from the classroom to be the school's literacy coach, working with all teachers.) You might notice if you actually go to the post that Ruth is one of my first commenters! Thanks to Ruth and others, I have carried on!

March 1, 2011 My school just returned from a week's break. Just as I was moving into a good rhythm of work and play at home-no out-of-town trip this time- I have jumped back into work, beginning new goals of teaching, & learning, with our students. I have been welcomed into many classrooms this year, & this time, one colleague & I are beginning a 3 week intensive to write personal essays with her class. As I begin with the group, students are so attentive, laughing when I think they might laugh, thinking about the topics under discussion, & answering some of my questions rather tentatively, but they do try to respond. These upper elementary students are just on the edge of adulthood, & now I am working hard to motivate them to consider choices, to decide some things they believe are important, & then to write to tell others what they think about them. It's easy to write down one's opinion, but crafting personal essays that then broaden one's outlook by doing some further research is the more difficult part. This is the goal, that students begin to gather the beliefs, but then strengthen them by finding out what others' think. The group again asks questions. One of the first of course is 'how long?', & another is 'how about this?'. These first hours together we are all a little nervous, but when I respond to the topics of important things, I am reminded of Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book, when she starts with "The important thing about ____________ is _______________, & I remind students of these lines, empower them to tell what they believe is important, & why. I share a bit of my own writing; students seem ready to write, & the rest of the time until lunch, we do.