Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monday Reading - All Good!

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

           I tried hard to finish Zusak's I Am The Messenger, but just ran out of time. It's hard to believe I waited so long. I am loving it very much. I am going slowly with Nance's Hillbilly Elegy, and it is interesting!

          I went to the Denver Public Library's big summer sale last Wednesday and wrote about one poetry book discovery here! I came home with two bags full, my limit! There were so many lovely books, but had to stop!

Here's the few I read this week:

        This is a beautiful but also strange story of an island where one small yellow warbler is a people-watcher. Just as humans watched and named birds, it watched and named humans, like a “swift red-capped pitcher” (a baseball player). One day a fog appeared, became thicker until no one could see anything. Others noticed, but only the warbler talked about it. Others soon forgot that it had been different in earlier days. The warbler asked around and watched for humans. It could see no one, until one day a young girl appeared. What they do to lift the fog seems to be a comment on collaboration, getting people to realize something is wrong and acknowledge it. Kenard Pak’s illustrations are magical and wispy, finally opening up into sunlight happiness. This is a story for older children that may bring interesting discussions of its meaning. 

        How can I describe this marvelous book by Tara Lazar but to say it rates a 10, is number 1 of the funny and clever books read this year. The interplay of numbers and illustrations by Ross MacDonald hit a "hole in one", and so did Number Eight! See, you'll have to read it to see what I mean. That's my best number play. 
         Summer-filled illustrations by Jaime Kim of people, mostly kids, having all the fun we imagine, from ice cream, flip-flops and going to the lake to my favorite lines by Tom Brenner describing “when daylight pushes back bedtimes” and “When every day is like a Saturday”, here IS summer. There are also Independence Day parades and s’mores waiting. It’s a perfect end-of-school taste of things to celebrate on their way.
           It all begins with a wishing star, and Mom begins to wish for “world Pea, achoo”. The family thinks (and that magic star) hears “world pizza” and the whole world begins getting pizza, pizza dropped on heads, flying through the sky and seaweed pizza, chocolate cherry pizza, pizza with hummus and sushi. People who’ve previously been grumpy or fighting decide it’s much more fun to get together, and eat pizza! Illustrations show the whimsy of this, but also the wonderful idea that getting together over food just might get what Mom really wanted. It’s great.

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
                                                    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.