Monday, April 30, 2012

A Book Slice - Tasty!

Tuesday Slice of Life is hosted each week by Stacey and Ruth at their blog, 




         I don’t want anyone to forget that we just finished poetry month, so it’s good to keep one fabulous book of poetry in mind in May, too. 

        I am happy to write about Laura Purdie Salas today, May 1st, about her new book, Bookspeak, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon.   I wrote a haiku for Laura today as a tribute to her love of books and poetry, and because she wrote a haiku every day during poetry month. 

Talk of poetry.
Laura’s popping up everywhere.
She writes how books feel!

            When I taught in the classroom we loved conversations about books and reading.  We discussed what books give us, what they do for us, those we like and why, those we dislike and why.   Students not only discussed these topics as a class group, but they wrote to me in letter journals about their books and delights or struggles.  They brought books that I just had to read and they loaned books to each other.  The more formal writing was about books, too: poetry, reviews, and personal stories about their earliest memories or special times with books and parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles.  I have a few books with published works about books too, but Laurie Purdie Salas’ recent book filled with wonderful poems about all kinds of book topics makes me sad because I am no longer in the classroom so I can share it with my students.  However, I have done the next best thing, I am sharing the book titled Bookspeak with all the classes in the school! 



        Other writers have written memorable poems about books and about reading, but Laura’s Bookspeak is full of poems in books’ own voices.  And, just as there are so many kinds of books, there are different kinds of bookish voices, like the first poem, obviously from one of those books that make one smile all the way through.  The poem, Calling All Readers, has lilting lines like I’ll tell you a story./I’ll spin you a rhyme./I’ll spill some ideas—/and we’ll travel through time.  Another poem, titled Top Secret, is a whisper of intrigue, starting with Describe your desires and they become mine.  And quite a prickly, rather outraged voice is titled Index.  It’s filled with the right stuff about indexes, showing how many marvelous things one can learn if the index is NOT ignored.  It starts with P s s s t!  Hey, kid—yeah, you./So you want some facts, huh
        Each page holds another bookish voice, introducing some aspect of one of our most favorite things—books!  I just want to tell about each poem!  There are books that tell certain uncomfortable things that happen to them, like when someone falls asleep on them, or the worst, when “wet” happens.  There are those that speak of unhappiness, like being the book’s middle, instead of first or last.  Laura’s words show well that she really has crawled INSIDE books in order to speak for them. 

      Illustrator Josée Bisaillon uses collage and drawings that add to Laura’s words, connecting well the beauty and excitement that books can bring to the reader.  The book recently won the award for Children’s Literature from the Annual Minnesota Book Awards. 

          With permission from Laura, here is my favorite poem of the book:

Written in Snow
Snowy pages,
steady track,
tiny footprints
dipped in black.

Through the blizzard
stories roam.
They tiptoe bravely
out, then home.
     
      In this past April-poetry month, I’ve found that Laura really is popping up in many places.  I receive Your Daily Poem each day in my e-mail, and on April 20th here was a wonderful poem from Laura.   Also, Laura has visited several blogs this past April where you can discover more of the work that she is doing: The Hate-Mongering Tart, Live Your Poem, Katie Davis, Read, Write, Howl, and No Water River.
         Finally, one of the most wonderful things I know about Laura is that she does so many bookish things.  She has written and recently published a beautiful non-fiction picture book titled A Leaf Can Be, she writes a cool blog, Laura Salas, writing the world for kids, which shares ideas for writing and publishing. Also, on her blog each Thursday Laura offers an interesting photograph, challenging readers to write a 15 words or less poem and add it in the comments.  And, she replies to every single poet commenter that day!  What a lovely thing to do.  I know when I venture to write one, I feel good when Laura says something nice about it.  She is generous with her response.  Here is the link to Laura’s website with even more information.
        I hope that you can find a copy of BookSpeak and share it with your friends, family and students.  It’s a treasure to own. 





















58 comments:

  1. I LOVED Bookspeak! My copy is in my classroom but I think my favorite book was about one sitting on a shelf. What a terrific book!

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    1. Well, obviously I agree Katherine. It's just a treasure of different looks at a book! Thanks!

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    2. Thank you, Katherine! I like to take one of my old, beat-up books from when I was a teen to show kids when I read this poem:>)

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  2. I'll bet this would be a good book to share with the little girl I tutor. She is still learning to love books, and BookSpeak might give her new ways to think about them.

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    1. It's beautiful to see as well as read what the books have to say. I imagine she would love it! Thanks, Tabatha.

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    2. Tabatha, I love your phrase "learning to love books." It's what we're all working toward:>) I usually sign BookSpeak "There's no friend like a book," which is a line from the opening poem but has also been true my entire life...

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  3. I am so glad to see Bookspeak making the rounds! We love it in my classroom - what a gift Laura's poetry is to us all! Thanks for sharing this treasure, Linda.

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    1. It's great to hear that your class already loves it. I hope lots of schools are able to get it for their libraries/classrooms.

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    2. THank you for your kind words, Tara:>)

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  4. Thanks for sharing more about BookSpeak, Linda! I was so pleased for Laura when she won the award recently, and what a thrill to have her read one of these poems at NWR. Here's to continued success!

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    1. I am excited to do it. I have my own copy, but so does our school. I'd love if each teacher would read & use & then get one for themselves.

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    2. Thanks, Renee! And I'm still thrilled I took the plunge with No Water River. Now to get up the nerve for more videos:>)

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  5. Thank you for an inspiring book talk. Our Librarian and I are always looking for new books to add to our library. Over the past two years we have noticeably increased the poetry section there. My classroom library is small but I check out so many books form the library that she made two accounts for my class.

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    1. I'm not surprised that you check out so many,Terje. You always sound like a learner to me. I wish you would share some of the books you love to use, too! This is a terrific voice, for all the reasons above, especially the shear variety of poetic voice.

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    2. Terje--I'm so glad to hear you've been increasing the poetry section! (And my public library recently broke the rule on limit of books checked out for me--I was doing research for a book and had more than 100 books checked out. Thank goodness for helpful and accommodating libraries!)

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  6. What a nice tribute and informative post today on Laura. There has been a lot of buzz on blogs about her recently. I have to say it is well deserved and that BOOKSPEAK and A LEAF CAN BE are beautiful additions to any library.

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    1. Thank you Betsy! Both books really are terrific. Glad you have them!

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    2. Thank you so much, Betsy. The blog love has been a little overwhelming for these two books, in a great way. Children's writers work really hard, and most of our books (at least, most of mine!) sink without leaving a ripple. I feel so lucky that my two current books are getting so much love...

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  7. Love Bookspeak. I am going to feature her this month in my poetry interview.

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    1. That's terrific, Jone. Glad to have many learn about the book(s). I'll look for the post.

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    2. Thanks, Jone! Can't wait:>)

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  8. Again you reach out and share such great information. I love poems that have such strong voices. I will have to check into this book.

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    1. Thanks, Elsie. Glad you think it looks good. Hope it works for you!

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    2. I agree, Elsie--Linda wrote a wonderful post. I hope you like BookSpeak!

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  9. Donalyn Miller mentioned that book in her presentation when I saw her this February! Thanks for the reminder that I need to check it out! P.S. I didn't comment yesterday but I loved your post at the Nerdy Book Club. That blog is right before yours in my RSS reader and so I didn't know it was you until I got to the bottom of the post. What a fun surprise! It was so funny to hear about your house full of books, but once I saw it was you, it fit perfectly! :-)

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    1. Yes, do check this book out, Jennifer. Very fun. And thanks for the compliment about the post. It was actually fun to write!

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    2. It is so exciting when I hear about a BookSpeak mention "in the wild," so to speak. The idea that Donalyn Miller included one of my books in a presentation makes me pretty giddy (in the same wonderful way that a caramel brownie does). I hope you like BookSpeak!

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  10. As I told you yesterday, I love this book. I'm going to use it next year with my creative writing kids, I think. Every time I read it, I have a different favorite, so I'm sure to find ways to use it with my high schoolers!

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    1. It has such a variety that I believe it will fit for lots of things, Deb. Thanks for reminding me you like it & it works for the older ones, too.

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    2. Deb, I'm excited that you're using it with older kids. Amazon has 4 and Up for the age. Oi. I think most poems have a fairly large audience range, depending on whether or not they're reading it alone--and 6 year olds and 16 year olds can enjoy some of the same poems, on different levels. But I do tend to think upper elementary and older are the best audience for BookSpeak:>)

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  11. Love that book and everything I've seen by Laura so far. (I'm not at all biased because she lives in MN either) ;)

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    1. Ha! You northern writers must stick together! Thanks for reminding me about the MN connection. As you see me say again, it is a really good book!

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    2. Hi, Fellow Minnesotan! Thanks for the kind words:>)

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  12. I was not familiar with her until I visited the library last week to get poetry books about wild animals, I got Chatter, Sing, Roar, Buzz Poems about the Rainforest...the poems are about various rain forest animals and what I love is they are written from that animal's voice. I really like the book a lot because it also has beautiful photographs of the animals too! Thanks for sharing this latest book-can't wait to check it out too!

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    1. Wow, Amy, that's great to hear that you found even more books by Laura. So now you know why we say this one is good too! Be sure to find it!

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    2. Hi Amy--So glad you enjoyed Chatter. The bat tent poem in there is actually what inspired my current rhyming nonfiction book, A Leaf Can Be...Capstone got some amazing photos for that series of books that includes Chatter. I hope you like BookSpeak!

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  13. I was just telling a friend yesterday that I wanted to spend time this summer planning out my literacy overview for next year. I have ideas for putting things in throughout the year that I ultimately want my students to do on their own at the end of the year. i want to spread out the poetry and use it more intentionally. Thanks for the great post today!

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    1. It's a wonderful idea to start collecting new texts to use & this one by Laura could be good for poetry, presentations, method variety, books and reading. It's terrific! Thanks Robin, & good luck in the summer.

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    2. Robin, it's terrific to hear teachers talk about spreading poetry out beyond poetry month--love that! And I'm constantly reminded how hard and how creatively teachers work (yes, even in the summer). Thank you for all that you do!

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  14. I became acquainted with Bookspeak when it was nominated for the CYBILS last fall. Love that book! I think I might have to try the fifteen word poems some week!

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    1. They are a nice challenge, Carol, & I think if you tried it, you might also try it with your students. Fun to really slim the number of words down. I'm glad you like Bookspeak. It is terrific!

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    2. Thanks, Carol! It wasn't eligible because the pub date was after the cutoff, but it was really nice to know someone had wanted to nominate it:>) Hope to see you tomorrow at 15 Words or Less!

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  15. Thank you, Linda, for featuring BookSpeak and me here on your blog. What a terrific post and replies. Makes my Wednesday much better already:>)

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    1. It was fun to do & I'm glad you (we) received so many exciting replies. You should be so proud of this book!!

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  16. What a wonderful recommendation Linda and not your first. I'm sending this one on :)
    Bonnie

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    1. Terrific, Bonnie. It really is a marvelous book!

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    2. Thank you, Bonnie! I feel very lucky to have Linda advocating for BookSpeak:>)

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  17. I can't wait to get a copy of Book Speak! Thanks for sharing so much about the book and other good links. So many good ideas!

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    1. You are welcome! I'm glad to make you excited about the book. It is wonderful to see and read!

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  18. Hi Linda, Fats has received a copy of BookSpeak. We're actually thinking of haivng a bimonthly theme on Books About Books in honor of that lovely book. Hopefully we can squeeze that in this year.

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    1. Myra--what an exciting thought! Whether it comes to pass or not, I'm so glad you enjoyed it:>)

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    2. Thanks Myra-I hope you'll be able to include it!

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  19. Well I luvs me some Purdie Salas and I thank you for highlighting this master children's poet.

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  20. Bookspeak - another one to hunt down this summer. Eventually my suitcase will reach its weight limit and I'll just have to stop. Until then, keep them coming!

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    1. Wow, Kristi, your bags will definitely be full! Thanks for reading about this wonderful book by Laura!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!