Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Journey for Thanksgiving

Thanks to Jane, who really is a Rain City Librarian, for hosting Poetry Friday. If you don't know, Jane recently had her first book published. Here's a pic of the cover! Congratulations, Jane!

      I had quite a journey trying to share one poem with everyone. I am in the midst of unpacking a few Christmas things. One of the first things I do is bring out the books, especially for the grand-girls, but some for me, too. This time, I found an old Cricket Magazine from 1987, but with the Thanksgiving theme. It was tucked inside a bigger book! Inside is a poem that I loved by a poet named Emanuel di Pasquale, the title: "Joy of an Immigrant, a Thanksgiving." It is a beautiful poem, and I wanted to share considering the turmoil that immigrants today are experiencing all over the world. They are looking for their "nests".
      When I looked for the poem, I found something about the poet here. And the Academy of American Poets offers this: Emanuel di PasqualeBorn in Sicily in 1943, Emanuel di Pasquale came to America in 1957. He earned an MA from New York University in 1966 and has been teaching college English ever since. There is more here.
       I am sharing this information because I checked the Cricket Magazine that does show that Pasquale gave permission to share his poem. He was alive then, and still is. Then I found a text of this poem that I can share, but it states: "Here's a poem supposedly written by one of the pilgrims." It's an interesting journey to "think" one has an answer, then when exploring more, one questions, and looks again, hopefully discovering the truth.  

Joy of an Immigrant, a Thanksgiving by Emanuel Pasquale

          "Like a bird grown weak in a land
            where it always rains
            and where all the trees have died,

Here is the link to the rest of the poem. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating. I am thankful for so many things, but one of those high on my list is the Poetry Friday community.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Problem-Solving Thanks

    Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific nonfiction picture books!

               I first learned about this beautifully innovative deception in the longer middle-grade book Double Cross by Paul B. Janeczko. For older readers, like this one, it opens eyes to the desperate problem-solving done in so many ways to help win wars.
This time Chris Barton tells the story from World War I of the need to stop Germany from torpedoing ships of war or those carrying goods to the United Kingdom. Suddenly, the war's loss seemed imminent if something wasn't changed to help those ships. The UK depends on food and other needed items brought in because it is an island, and Germany hoped to starve them into defeat. Things such as training seals to alert for submarines (really!) were considered, but once a lieutenant-commander named Norman Wilkinson introduced the idea of painting ships to confuse the enemy about a ship's speed and direction, and he convinced the king himself, the idea was carried out. Many people contributed to this work, artists and other workers, too. The endnotes give the statistics of about 3,000 ships painted by the UK and 1,256 by the U.S. No one has a way to prove that it indeed helped, but the U-boat attacks stopped and Germany eventually surrendered. Barton tells the story in step by step brief paragraphs, highlighting important parts that occurred. There is an extensive author's note that adds to the information and a timeline.
         In addition to this interesting story of the extreme problem-solving that happens when trying to win a war, Victo Ngai offers daring full-page illustrations that seem to mirror ocean waves. The swirls of color (see the cover) amaze as he illustrates the big ideas to accompany Barton's words. Each double-page highlights one part of the story's words, with the smaller details included. For example, when the early distress of possible starvation is discussed, a warrior is shown huddling over children with empty bowls, a tipped pitcher, broken plates. Swirling in the water are sinking ships with a larger periscope "eye" looking on. It and others serve as powerful illustrations of the story. It's a terrific book.

       It's hard to imagine going to jail, but for a nine-year-old African-American girl. it feels impossible. Audrey loved going to church, listened at home to what was going on in the protests, and loved the food, especially what was cooked when "Mike" came into town and especially "rolls baptized in butter." "Mike" was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When he came, Audrey listened to his words and learned about protests. It wasn't right to have to ride the freight elevator, sit at the back of the bus, or drink at a dirty and warm water fountain. Because of the plans to march didn't work well until Dr. King called for the children to march, Audrey Faye Hendricks realized this was her time to march and she spent a week in jail. There she was the youngest, was lonely, hated the greasy grits served but stuck it out! She was part of the Children's March that happened in May 1963, a march that filled all the jails in Birmingham, Alabama and helped break the segregation laws and rules occurring at that time. 
       It's a story that shows how influential each person who resists can be, no matter the age. Audrey Faye Hendricks continued her work all her life for Civil Rights, was nicknamed the "Civil Rights Queen".  Vanessa BrantleyNewton enlarges this inspiring story with her brightly-colored pages of realistic scenes about Audrey and her march and time in jail. Back matter added are an author's note, a timeline, a recipe of those "Hot rolls baptized in butter" and a source list. How inspiring it would be to read this to grade-school-age children.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Monday Reading - All Good!

              Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!  Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki who share from their own reading lives and support this meme, too.
          Happy Reading! I'm taking a break next week for Thanksgiving. Wishing those of you who celebrate a very Happy Thanksgiving with your families and friends.
          I think I’ve read each of Margarita’s books, and enjoyed each one for the content that is so expertly woven in, the voice(s) that strongly tell the story, and the background scenes enhancing the story. This time two children tell duo stories. One concerns the environmental issues that concern Cuba, both flora and fauna endangered by clear-cutting forests in order to plant more crops and by those who would steal species in order to sell for profit. The other shows two children pulled apart by a mother who escaped Cuba with her baby boy (Edver) and raised him in the US, leaving behind her husband and toddler girl (Luza). Through relaxation of travel rules, Edver is traveling to visit his father, and to meet Luza, a surprise to him who has never been told she exists. Luza, growing up in Cuba with her father and Abuelo (grandfather) is resentful, but curious about this brother she knows of but has never met. The two children move back and forth between anger and curiosity, both slowly gaining respect for the other’s abilities. Finally, they must work together to save some species from a terrible person called a “Human Vacuum Cleaner” because their errant email has started what has become a danger in the forest. Descriptions of the beauty of the forest make me want to save it, too! I enjoyed this story told in poetic verse.

            Thanks to Candlewick Press, I had the privilege of reading this new story about grumpy (usually) Eugenia Lincoln. Wait till you see what happens! Eugenia tries very hard to deny that this “unexpected package” is something she will keep. Although her words say “no, no, no”, her actions show different feelings, as Kate DiCamillo subtly conveys. A mysterious, and unexpected, box appears and while Eugenia also tries to refuse it even before opening it, somehow it does get opened and there inside is an accordion. Through the story, step by step, Eugenia changes her tune (no pun intended). Kids will love the changes that happen, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Watson and their popular pig among others adds another fun component to this sweet story about Eugenia. Chris van Dusen adds his own ideas about the characters. The changes in Eugenia’s facial expressions are beautifully done.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Celebrating New Learners

     Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. Come visit to see how wonderful it is to celebrate the good things in one's life! This week especially, I want to celebrate Ruth's new book Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers. It is a special book!

The view out the window.

A view of part of the store. There is more and a
full basement of shelves of books, too.

Just a glimpse of what's on the
shelves today.

      Working at the bookstore with the volunteers and the customers is a lot like working with a class. Each person is unique in what they need, each one tries to be kind and helpful. I'm beginning to know certain customers. Some like to talk about books, while others give me a wave, and move on past me into the store to browse or to look for a specific book. There are quite a few volunteers, some work weekly on one shift; others work only once a month, and for those really new, it's a challenge to remember so many details every four weeks. Today I stayed with a volunteer for the final part of her shift, did some other needed work, but sat and visited, answered questions, gave tips, and asked for her opinions too. I remember how nervous I was at the beginning. I had never run a charge machine before. I didn't know all the areas/topics in the store and didn't know the pricing either. There are so many details to know, just as students must navigate new expectations. Students at least get to know their teachers, but those "selling" at the store even once a week struggle to learn it all fast. Although they can call or email me most any time, and I send an email once a week to the group, they are on their own most of the time, learning how to run a bookstore! 
      Many of the volunteers are retired, although some who work on weekends are not. I celebrate the volunteers today because they give their time and energy to keep the store going, and they are willing to take new learning challenges. I am grateful for them all.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Poetry Friday - It's Personal

          Jama Rattigan of Jama's Alphabet Soup is hosting today, delighting us with tasty, yes!, donuts! If you do not prefer this sweet or partake only once in a long while, she offers a poem and an entire book of donut poems! Thanks for hosting, Jama!

          As most of you know, Michelle H. Barnes at Today's Little Ditty hosts another poet nearly every month who then offers a poetic challenge to anyone who wishes to write to it. Here is the post for this month and the challenge from Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books, divisions of Lerner Publishing Group: Returning to my favorite quote from earlier, I would like your readers to write a poem that finds beauty in something that is not usually considered beautiful. The quote Carol refers to is "It’s startling how I start to see the beauty in things that I was taught not to see beauty in."


      Here is one idea: 

It’s Personal

Denied - appreciation until - the respiration
of a baby’s gasp and cry,
when we wheeze and gulp and sigh,
or in loss, we say goodbye.

We ignore this bashful beauty -
a mistake we shouldn’t make.
Whisper “thank you” when you wake
for every breath you take.
Linda Baie ©All Rights  

photo credit: megan leetz via photopin (license)