This week culminated in my school’s big Expo Thursday night. We returned just for Friday morning for reflection and celebration, then have a week of much needed vacation. I didn’t manage to read all the following during the week, but now can review and share them, plus two great picture books I did read on the weekend!
I was a Round Two judge again for the Cybils awards this year in the poetry category, and for those finalists I hadn’t reviewed, I now get to share the review. Here is the link for all the awards, and then be sure to look at the finalists, too-all wonderful books.
This first book meets the award-reading challenge at the Gathering Books. blog here. This beautiful book just won the Cybils award for best poetry.
Voices From The March on Washington – poems by J. Patrick Lewis & George Ella Lyon (This isthe Cybils winner for poetry.)
When studying the Civil Rights era in the sixties/seventies, this would be a beautiful read aloud book of poetry that follows various people who were at the march, who saw Dr. King give his dream speech. From a high school boy and an Iowa farm worker to families who traveled hours to be there, many might believe it was only African-Americans who were there, but Lewis and Lyon have researched and written poems from the heart of the variety of those there. It’s a book that shows a short time of history that became oh so big! Some poems reflect the journey and the conflict of parents who didn’t want their children to go, or those who stood in awe, knowing they were witnessing a special moment in history. After being introduced to those who are included, we meet six fictional characters speaking again from the journey to the arrival to the end. One ends with “I’m not the Renee I was yesterday.” And the farm hand: “Books give you a sweet taste of the bone,/I reckon, but marrow’s another matter.” There is a beautiful letter from George Ella Lyon that opens the story, and more information about the well known who were there on the stage, plus extensive information including the index.
Water Rolls, Water Rises, El agua rueda, el agua sube – poems written by Pat Mora, illustrations by Meilo So
This is a poem-filled book showing water in its numerous permutations, using beautiful verbs to describe. “Slow into rivers/water slithers and snakes/through silent canyons at twilight and dawn.” is one example of Mora’s lovely descriptions of water, accompanied in Spanish and with So’s gorgeous watercolor pictures. It’s a study of the importance and beauty of water as well as a mentor text of one way to use verbs skillfully. This gorgeous book will pair well with Laura Purdie Salas’ Water Can Be…
Hi, Koo! – written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Taking us through the seasons with haiku, Jon Muth shows Koo having lots of fun in each season. We’ve met Koo before in Zen Ties, Zen Shorts and Ghosts. This time, he finds friends for play in fall, winter, spring and summer. In the winter “snowfall/Gathers my footprints/I do a powdery stomp.” and in summer: “Water catches/everythrown stone/skip-skip splash!” There are more to savor and then to discover the added details in the illustrations. I love this book!
The Grudge Keeper – written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Who wouldn’t like a wonderful tale set in a town named Bonnyripple! This story tells of old Cornelius, the Grudge Keeper, whose house is so full of “ruffled feathers, petty snits, minor tiffs and major huffs, insults, umbrage, squabbles, dust-ups, and imbroglios” that he can’t take a bath nor sit down very well. He does appear to do his job dutifully, filling up spaces that become harder and harder to find, but when a big wind arrives, things begin to change, and the townspeople see things differently. Clever writing fills this story, with lovely illustrations, lots of details.
The Jazz of Our Street – written by Fatima Shaik and pictures by E.B. Lewis
I was browsing in our school library and discovered an older book illustrated by E.B. Lewis! It is a celebration of the jazz bands, a memory of two young people from the New Orleans neighborhood of Tremé, the oldest African-American neighborhood there. The book was written before Katrina happened and is such a happy book, filled with smiles and laughter when these two children hear the call of a jazz band, and run out to follow and dance. The text is beautifully poetic, “Hips shake to the pavement,/shoulders shimmy up with the melody/like fish leaping from rivers./To the beat of the drums, backbones slink.” And White’s illustrations show the joy of those who follow the musicians down the street. The backmatter tells of this “tradition of second-line dancing passed down through generations largely by observations and repetition in informal settings.” There are even organizations for the teaching of the history and movements of the dance. The book is wonderful to read, and could make a great jumping-off point for further research.
Still Reading – Black Raven, White Dove by Elizabeth Wein, and have many books on my TBR list to try to fit in on this week’s break.