Thursday, October 12, 2017

PoetryFriday, the 13th

       Irene Latham at Live Your Poem hosts this week's Poetry Friday, which happens to be the 13th, thus Irene has shared thirteen wonderful things for today! Be sure to visit and read her list, then visit everyone's else's post on this somewhat spooky day!

         I'm headed for a Highlights workshop this Saturday morning. It's tricky getting there, so I have to travel a day early in order to be there on time for the Sunday start. I'm excited to write with Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich again, and this time, among others, I'll have the wonderful opportunity to spend time with Diane Mayr and Janet Clare. I've met each briefly, but this is different. It will be lovely to sit and talk and write together!

        I'm happy NOT to be flying on Friday, the 13th, today! I know, it's only superstition, but no matter how much I try to ignore them, I continue to stay away from under ladders, watch out for a 13th step, and keep umbrellas closed in the house. I grew up with a superstitious grandfather who taught me well!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Non-Fiction Covers Varied Topics

        Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific nonfiction picture books!
         It's sometimes a surprise to me that a picture book can be so filled with information! Here is a story to inspire, a story that tells the tale of El Ballet Folklórico de México and its creator, Amalia Hernández. Duncan Donatiuh's folk art keeps certain rules as in this post from the School Library Journal: "When we talk about Tonatiuh’s art it’s important to understand why he’s chosen the style that he has. In interviews the artist has discussed how his art is heavily influenced by ancient Mexican styles. As he said in an interview on the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, “My artwork is very much inspired by Pre-Columbian art, especially by Mixtec codices from the 14th century. That is why my art is very geometric, my characters are always in profile, and their ears look a bit like the number three. My intention is to celebrate that ancient art and keep it alive.” Heads of participants are always shown from the side. This is combined with the decision to digitally insert real hair, of a variety of shades and hues and colors, onto the heads of the characters." This is also mixed media work, but this time because of the dancing, the bright colors in the skirts of most of the women's dresses stand out so beautifully, you can imagine the twirling. 
         The story begins with Ami (what Amalia was called) believing she would probably become a teacher like her grandmother or mother. On vacation, she spied some dancers performing in a town square and fell in love. Her father consented to private dance lessons, and the story turns to Ami studying ballet with two superb teachers. Next, she discovered modern dance and studied again with a master teacher, began to create some of the dances for performance. The journey continues on and on with Ami creating, observing, learning. El Ballet Folklórico de México company is her creation. In one part of her life, she noticed there were differences in the folk dances in different parts of the country, thus this new path of traveling all over Mexico to observe and learn, to create performances based on these. It isn't the only way Ami and her company created, but it was the beginning. The astounding history of this dance group is told briefly, includes being known all over the world. They've won many awards and often those of us who have seen Latino dance performances will be seeing one of the creations of Amalia Hernández.  Tonatiuh has added a detailed author's note, a glossary explaining the numerous Mexican names and phrases and a bibliography. One nice surprise hidden by my library copy cover is a double-page spread with cover and back of dancers dancing across a world map with famous buildings like the Eiffel Tower in the background. It's lovely and exciting to see!
               In this new book, Jess Keating offers the research about sixteen animals, all capable of causing injury or death through the defenses they have evolved in order to survive. These include all kinds, from scorpions to bats, from frogs to honey badgers, all photographed, each one fascinating. Each double-page spread has a different color background with an introductory paragraph, a splash of added information and a factual column with the scientific name, diet, locale, etc. Jess’s wording in each part is clever, enticing readers to read on, like “Don’t play dress-up with the Assassin Bug,” which refers to an action for defense by this same bug. Another example is a title on the Portuguese Man-of-War page. This creature has the ability to raise a “sail” and float away from enemies, so one title is “Hey, Sailor!”

        David DeGrand adds his talents in illustration through humorous cartoons that reflect the text. The book is fascinating and attractive, showing the danger of these creatures, but also the sometimes-helpful role they play in their ecosystems. One added surprise is that there is a seventeenth “monster” added, with the same format. It is a human, demonstrating well that humans pose dangers to themselves and other life, too. At the back is a fun page discussing some of the traits noticed that famous monsters also have. There is also a page that questions why one might be fearful of certain creatures, and when those are answered, perhaps you may be less so. Also, there is a helpful glossary.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Reminding Story

Join us on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers and others who post. 

    I have two posts today, am participating in a blog tour and giveaway of an adorable book for young ones, HERE!
        This is a story, a slice from my life years ago that I mean to connect from that long ago yesterday to today and to tomorrow, too. I am alarmed at the recent call for boycotting of those who think differently than others, to demean them instead of defending their right to speak out. It is not always agreeable to give someone the right to act or speak words that differ from one's own or what one imagines to be "most everyone", but they do have that right. 

         Here is a brief explanation from the U.S. Court site of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

          Years ago when I began teaching, my first year as a first-grade teacher, one of my student's family's beliefs did not include any kind of celebrations. Not birthdays, not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, not celebrating those fall holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the years since, I've had many students who need time to celebrate or to observe various other holidays from their chosen religious beliefs, students who have needed to find a way to pray at certain times of the day, even on overnight trips.

    Baby Chomper Blog Tour & Giveaway

    Look For The Sunny Side! Book Releases November 7th!

           I'm excited to share about a book coming soon in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Nuggies Inc. It was a lot of fun to open the box to find the book, and then to find more than a book. There were sparkly pom poms and bath bombs, just perfect for little ones who want to have "real" or "pretend" bath fun!

           For the youngest children, an adorable puppy gets into some stinky trouble with a puddle and a skunk. His story by Jeff Minich is Baby Chomper's Bath Time! It's number six in the Nuggies series, and Renan Garcia's bold and bright pictures show Chomper's puppy antics as he sneaks out the doggie door and not only greets a large mud puddle, but also an angry (or scared) skunk. He is stinky, in fact this time, he's the "stinkiest." That means A BATH! Many kids think bath time is fun. Playing in water is the best, and with bubbles, even better. Not Chomper! He hides; he resists, but the bath must be, and Chomper chooses a new thought, imagining all the fun this bath can be. From diving to swimming and playing with toys, imagining he's a ship's captain or a surfer in the waves, bath time for Chomper becomes a delight. And after, the softest towel and warmest blow dryer makes everything just right. Chomper has shown how trying new things with a new attitude makes life a whole lot better! 

          The use of words in several places in the story will make this book such fun to read aloud. From stink, stinkier, and stinkiest and so fresh, freshy fresh, and the freshest, kids will want to repeat what's read to them again and again. 

                Enter to win an autographed copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time, by Jeff Minich—plus a Dyson Supersonic hairdryer!
    One (1) grand prize winner receives:
    • A Dyson Supersonic hairdryer
    • A complete autographed set of the Nuggies series
      • A copy of If I Could Climb TreesNuggies: Vol. 5, signed by Jeff Minich
      • A copy of Oui Oui Gigi: Nuggies: Vol. 4, signed by Jeff Minich
      • A copy of  A Very Scary Pumpkin: Nuggies: Vol. 3, signed by Jeff Minich
      • A copy of  All the Other Nuggies: Nuggies: Vol. 2, signed by Jeff Minich
      • A copy of  Daddy Forgot My Dinner: Nuggies: Vol. 1, signed by Jeff Minich
      • A copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time, signed by Jeff Minich
    Value: $518+
    Two (2) winners receive:
    • A copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time, signed by Jeff Minich
    Value: $19.95
    Giveaway begins September 26, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 26, 2017, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
    Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
    Prizes provided by Jeff Minich

    How To Enter

    • Fill out the required fields in the form below. It may take a moment to load.
    • You can also gain bonus daily entries.
    • US and Canadian addresses only.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Jeff Minich is the author of the Nuggies illustrated children’s book series. Created in collaboration with illustrator Renan Garcia, the series includes Daddy Forgot My Dinner (Vol. 1); All the Other Nuggies (Vol. 2); A Very Scary Pumpkin (Vol. 3); Oui Oui, Gigi! (Vol. 4); and If I Could Climb Trees (Vol. 5). You can learn more about the Nuggies book series by visiting:


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    Sunday, October 8, 2017

    Monday Reading - Book Joy

                  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 so much from their own reading lives and support this meme, too.

                   More books to share! I've had my granddaughters all weekend while their parents had a great trip to celebrate their anniversary. But, I just could not finish Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill. It's very long, and I have loved reading it, will review when I can! This time next week I'll be at the Highlights Foundation for a poetry workshop with Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. I am excited, will be reading lots of poetry this next week, and writing!

                                                     tweet #IMWAYR

            Winter is upon us, at least today here in Colorado and it's snowing and blowing. It's a great time to share this next book. If you are in an area with four seasons, you will appreciate that it can be 70 plus degrees one day, and then wake to 30 degrees and snowing. Kenard Pak has written and illustrated a poetic book about this very thing. The transformation page by page in his book is fabulous. The narrator says "hello" to a variety of things, like leaves and deer, setting sun and North Star, then lets each one tell what is happening in this seasonal change. As this happens, showing people, trees, towns and a broader scenery, Pak's paintings transform the scenes bit by bit, from autumn to winter! He's included wonderful towns and country scenes with lots of people and animals. It's just right for discussing the various changes in seasons with younger children.

            You know Kim Krans from her marvelous books ABC Dream and 123Dream. Now Kim is taking us on a beautiful journey starting with a cat’s question: “Whose moon is that?/asked a curious cat.” Page by beautiful page, several others answer poetically that the moon belongs to them, like a tree and a bird. But there is an answer by the moon itself at the end, and then, a surprise ending. With black and white pen and ink sketches surrounded by the colorful beauty of a night sky, Kim Krans has created another gorgeous story. One fun thing in the opening page shows a “This book belongs to ____________” label with ‘book’ crossed out and replaced by ‘moon’!