Monday, February 20, 2017

More Extras

       I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community. It's always a pleasure to read what everyone writes about their lives.
        Last week I wrote about "looking for extras", those sly peeks into our lives that often go unnoticed. And I wrote about rabbits! This past week I fell in love with a poem shared by Irene Latham in her Poetry Friday post last week. In it, she shared an older anthology of poems and stories from Mexico gathered by Naomi Shihab Nye. And this one poem, "Night In The Kitchen" means "extras" to me, something I would never have noticed.  You'll have to travel to Irene's post to see the whole poem because I don't have permission to share, but the line that struck me speechless is about peas coming out of a pod, "quick green shadows".  I take many pictures of shadows, love the way so many things catch my eye when casting their shadows. And now I will look for those neglected, like those from peas.

Today, my youngest granddaughter spent a few hours with me while her mother and older sister went to a movie. We spent much of the time at my nearby park. And shadows came into my life again. There is a part of the park where concerts occur, and a large round platform in the middle for speakers and singers. Imogene immediately popped up there and began dancing, and said, "Look, I'm dancing with my shadow." 

It is those extras that bring smiles every day, isn't it?  Even those of peas!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Monday Books Recap

  Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  
        Still: I'm nearly finished with my James Herriot book, savoring  the final pages. It's peaceful and full of good stories.  Next:  the new verse novel by Jeannine Atkins, Stone Mirrors
And: IntoThe Woods, Tana French, for my book group.
Plus: that new book Last Day On Mars, because Kellee keeps saying how good it is.
Tweet with  #IMWAYR
       I think that I must celebrate illustrations in these books today. Each book is unique and joyful because of them.

           A family prepares to march. We see them rising early to dress for the day. They attend church to pray, they make signs with others, they, with many others like those who arrive in buses, begin to march. Step by step to make it to their dream. Full-color bold illustrations show the excitement of this important day. My favorite is a double-page spread of the leaders, with the crowd behind them carrying signs. If you want to introduce this special day to young children, this is the book to read.

        I am excited that Ciara Gavin has a new story about Bear and the ducks, “Bear Likes Jam.”  This time, bear struggles to have balance in his diet. According to the rules of Mama Duck, vegetables come “before” jam. You’ll love seeing how a cute trick made it happen, and Bear got to eat a jar or two of jam again. Endearing scenes created by Ciara return just as they did in her two previous books, “Room for Bear” and “Bear Is Not Tired”. I do love these books!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Goodness Each Day

       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.

"A Smile is contagious. Be a Carrier!"  anonymous

Ten Things

  1. Finding a new "bear" adventure by Ciara Gavin. Smiles all the way through.
  2. Playing Uno with Ingrid and Imogene.
  3. Phone visits with family.
  4. Valentine flowers.
  5. Finalizing summer plans for the beach.
  6. Bookstore conversations.
  7. A poem every day.
  8. Reading an older James Herriot book for sweet stories.
  9. Doing something every day to fight for the good that must stay in America.
  10. Examining my rocks collected with Ingrid.

Have a lovely long weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Poetry Friday - With Sympathy

         Poetry Friday is hosted by Jone MacCulloch at Check It Out! Today Jone is sharing lots of love! Thanks, Jone.

Pema Chodron
          And a lovely piece of Valentine news! On Valentine's Day, winners of the Cybil's awards were announced.  Congratulations to Laura Shovan for being honored with the poetry award for her novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

         I'm again writing a poem each day in response to a challenge to celebrate Laura Shovan's February birthday,  this time with ten words and a current news article as prompt. This is the fifth year doing, is quite a challenge, but also a joy to have a time when it's quiet and focused on words and creating. Because of these recent chaotic times, some of the poems, mine, and others have turned into political responses. No surprise, right? There are numerous changes happening, some hot in the news, others less so. And sometimes we've learned that the rumors heard are not true, yet. 
         Before February 1st, the start of the challenge, the group wrote a few practice poems. And I wrote four of those, now have written twenty altogether. I like some of what I've written, others need a lot of work, or are on their way to the file of forgotten lines. Yet there is one that I still love. The thought of what will happen now to women all over the world who have lost health care saddens me a lot. A former student at my school who, with her spouse who grew up in the biggest slum in Kenya, has started and expanded a school for girls in Kibera, that slum. They have added another school on the other side of Kenya, and also built community centers. They are building a world with strong women who will make it out of poverty. That is one personal story I know. But I am aware of many workers in health and education in our world who dedicate their lives to help the communities. To lose funding is a blow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Non-fiction Wow!

              I continue to be grateful to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy.  Today she's sharing reviews of the Cybil's non-fiction winners!     

          Yesterday was Valentine's Day, the traditional day that the Cybil's awards are announced. That includes all genres, but if you're only interested in non-fiction, there are several categories in that, too. See the full list at their blog, here!

Nearly every week, my youngest granddaughter (five) and I stop to visit our Museum of Nature and Science.  It’s an easy stop from her school to my home. We’ve visited nearly every part of this marvelous place of learning. A few weeks ago we visited the exhibit about earth’s creation and then evolution of creatures. It’s a bit advanced for her, but we look at some things, and I explain the meaning as best I can. She is a great observer and listener and is taking in the information a little at a time. This book is going to be a wonder to help my explaining, and then visiting that same exhibit again!

         This marvelous book by Jonathan Tweet is a simple and clear explanation of evolution that will please every teacher or parent who wants to explain the concept. Its complexity  is a challenge, but Jonathan Tweet helps us readers by examining steps along the long, long, long, long, long way. First, there is Grandmother Fish who can “wiggle” and “chomp”, and many, many years later arrived Grandmother reptile, who can “wiggle” and “chomp,” too, but also “crawl” and “breathe”. Then we are introduced to her relations, like “cousins bird and dimetrodon” wiggling, chomping, crawling and breathing, and after a lot more years, along comes Grandmother Mammal. I imagine you know some of what is next. If reading aloud, there is a fun interactive part that asks the audience for some interaction, like they're asked to “wiggle” like our Grandmother Fish. The pages are simple pictures of the grandmothers and a few of their relations, all neatly labeled, right down to Grandmother Human.  The illustrations by Karen Lewis are bright, colorful and enticing. Here are a couple of examples: