Friday, March 24, 2017

SOL17 - 25/31 And Celebrating Action

         SOLC17 25/31 Thanks for the March Slice of Life challenge with the Two Writing Teachers community.  

         Today I also celebrate with Ruth Ayres and others at Discover Play Build. It's a good way to end the week sharing our celebrations.

            When a hard thing happens, sometimes it's equally hard to celebrate. Over the recent months, my neighborhood has had several cars stolen, and a couple of break-ins. One happened about three weeks ago, on a Saturday afternoon! It was sunny, people were out and about walking dogs, visiting neighbors, and kids were playing. I actually saw them, a group of what seemed to be young boys who were running by but in the middle of my front yard. I had gone to get a drink of water and glanced out the window. I didn't think anything but "silly teenagers". They might have been older than teens, but that's what I thought. A couple of hours later my group neighborhood e-mail posted that these boys had broken into the home about a block away, kicked in the side door, did some damage inside, but took nothing. The woman who lives there later shared that she was out and had her laptop with her, owns no TV, so there wasn't much evidently that they wanted except "quick" grabs. Or perhaps it was a dare?

          I've spent all my life NOT being scared of anything, of staying alone, etc. But this was so brazen, and there has been enough other activity that I've been a little anxious. And I've also felt angry that this has occurred that changed my attitude. So, I don't keep the negative feelings long if I can do something about them. I bought a few inexpensive things that made me feel better, like those tools that fit under the doorknobs, and I had sticks that fit better in my slider windows. It's helped a lot!

          And I celebrate that this coming week new security storm doors are being installed in the front and side doors. My daughter has used this company. They've been very good to work with in helping me choose a door I can count on being as safe as possible. 

          It's challenging to make all the decisions by myself sometimes, and also it seems like my list of things to do that I really had not foreseen grows. SO, when things do happen, and when I do have to deal with that thing, I celebrate that I did, and solved a problem. 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Poetry Friday & #Sol17 - 24/31 - New Morning

Number twenty-four of thirty-one, over two-thirds through the month of the Two Writing Teachers March Challenge.

And today, celebrate Poetry Friday with 
Catherine Flynn at Reading To The Core who's our lovely host. This time she's sharing a new book by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, illustrations by Ekua Holmes. The title is Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets. Be sure to read her post about it and then visit others who are sharing poetry too.

       I've mentioned the weather in my posts more than once these past months. We've had unusually warm and dry weather, and although we live in a semi-arid climate, we've set records this year for the lack of moisture. But, our news is that a storm is actually moving in and I'm supposed to wake up to snow or rain and cold. It'll certainly be a differently-dressed me tomorrow! Here's a poem I wrote about this kind of day.

New Morning

The sky stretches like a cat,
opens the day in a mood,
you know, that mood that says,
“Go! Hide under the covers.”

Raindrops pounce dry lawns
and bounce on quivering puddles.
I miss that splash of pink across the sky,
timed to wake the squirrels from softest slumber
and twist their dreams into milky sunshine.

This morning, gray clouds hush us all.
First fragments of the day melt,
twirling and swirling together.
The minutes so quickly wash away.

       Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#SOL17 - 23/31 The Me I Used To Be

SOLC #23/31 - 
      Still slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community for Day Twenty-Three of Thirty-One of the Slice of Life Challenge in March.   

                                Eight Days To Go!

          As you can easily see, years ago the "me I used to be" was a first-grade teacher. This was the sixth class of first graders I had taught, two years each in three different cities.  I took over a first grade class a few years later when the principal of this school called me with an emergency because the teacher was very ill. That was my final class for a long time until we moved to Colorado. This is the year my son was born, and I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with him.
         I've erased the school's name for privacy issues. This is the class where I feel that I really became a teacher. Aren't they sweet! It was so long ago that there was no extra resources to help teachers, no school library, just me. It was a small class because these were children that didn't quite make it out of kindergarten, but no one wanted them in their first-grade classes either. It was called a "transition" class. This is what I learned:

      That kindness and creative responses help upset children. And when one upset child is helped, the rest of the children become calmer too, and can learn. That extraordinary gestures can effect change.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#DOL17 - 22/31 - Not Political, Well, Maybe!


SOLC #22/31 - 
      I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community for Day Twenty-Two of Thirty-One of the Slice of Life Challenge in March.  Thank you, Stacey, Beth, Deb, Betsy, Lanny, Kathleen, Lisa, and Melanie.  

                                          Nine Days To Go!

              And, Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy.  

     I have a second post today about a new middle-grade book, and it's a giveaway, too. Go here to read all about it!  Comment by Sunday!


       As you see above I said this is not a political post, but in considering non-fiction texts, and the political events in our most recent history, I guess it really is political. After reading this book, I know that Martin W. Sandler, with so many other historical non-fiction authors, has written TRUTH, with sources, footnotes of explanation and extraordinary care to point out stereotypes that are not true.
        For example, the notion that pirates buried their treaure and created maps to remember where was created by Robert Louis Stevenson in his book Treasure Island, and has been kept alive in other books through the years as well as in movies. It is a myth that has never been proved.

A Poignant Story - A Giveaway

     I've read a number of books for children or young adults in recent years about a death in that child's life. Perhaps it was a friend of a young adult, or the loss of a parent or a sibling. Yet one of the few in my memory of the loss of a young friend is Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.  More recently, there is also The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. 

       Here then, in 2017 comes Matylda Bright & Tender, a debut novel by Holly M. McGhee, that tells another story of a young girl, Sussy, and the terrible loss of her friend, Guy. We may not think that the middle grades need to know of such tragedy, yet in Holly's story also lie the universal feelings that people of all ages feel in their grief.

       And who is Matylda? She is a leopard gecko, a new pet that lives with Sussy, but chosen as a living creature both Guy and Sussy will share and love. Matylda with a "y" that's her very own name also receives her own origin story according to Guy, a loving friend with a big imagination. Between him and Sussy, plans are made of how to care for this new and amazing pet, and stories of her previous "warrior" status are created, too.

     On what was to be a fun trip for new kinds of food for Matylda, a terrible accident occurs, and Sussy is left, without Guy, without her life's guide. Suddenly, the book's story is no longer about this friendship's hilarious fun, but about Sussy's grief in caring for Matylda the way Guy would have wished. Sussy goes through numerous trials and travels perilous paths to cling to the lizard in the hope that Matylda likes her because Guy is no longer there. There are secrets kept by Sussy, alarming deeds done, but more than anything, Guy is ever present in Sussy's thoughts. 
      Parents might be shocked at the times their children don't tell their feelings, and while Sussy's parents try to support, when they look at Sussy with the hope that she'll soon "get over it",  Sussy knows she must pretend. Time and Sussy's thinking about the kindnesses given her, by Guy "before" and by the pet store owner, other friends, and her parents help her know finally that she's going to be okay. 
      One of the best things that Holly's story shows is that grief is complicated and everyone is different. There is one late scene in the book where Sussy and her dad share a bit of happiness at good news. Dad says, "Paper tigers. Thank goodness for paper tigers." Sussy asked what that is, and Dad answers: "Things you worry about that end up being harmless."  It's a part I'm glad that children who read Matylda might latch onto, might keep for helping them when needed. If you read this with your child, or with students, good conversations will happen, and they will happen because this topic is opened, not hidden as it is so often.

You can find more about Matylda and Holly McGhee at her website here!

The press release can be found here!

        Here's the list of other blog posts in this tour. Matylda Bright & Tender was released March 14th. I'm grateful to Candlewick Press for the copy of this book, and the chance to share it.

Tuesday, March 14                          Reading With Mr. Teut
Wednesday, March 15                   Randomly Reading
Thursday, March 16                        Reading Nook Reviews
Friday, March 17                               The Children’s Book Review
Monday, March 20                          Cracking the Cover
Tuesday, March 21                          Writer, Writer Pants on Fire
Wednesday, March 22                   Teacher Dance
Thursday, March 23                        Word Spelunking
Friday, March 24                               Blue Stocking Thinking

If you're interested in winning a copy of the book, leave a comment on this post by Sunday, March 26th, and I'll draw names from a hat to find a winner. US addresses only, please.