Saturday, August 12, 2017

Kindness Creates More Kindness

          Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. Come visit to see how lovely it is to celebrate all the delights of the week! 

        As I wrote last week, I'm taking the next week or more off to travel to my brother and sister-in-law's home in mid-Missouri, to view the eclipse! I am excited. My daughter and the granddaughters, perhaps my son, will join us and we are preparing for an amazing experience! I hope some of you will be able to view it where you are! 
        My brother owns an antique store in the town where we'll be and he has been preparing for the girls to help him with a lemonade/snack stand so they can help him. They have been so excited about this that their papa built them a stand for here in Denver so they could practice. Then, their mama helped with ingredients and decorations. I'm celebrating my brother whose kindness started the girls, then their parents, thinking of how to make this a wonderful experience even before we leave on our trip. Here are pictures from this morning.  Kindness is contagious!
Posing for me! They're ready!
Serving a customer. 
The Menu

Sunshine meant time for the umbrella.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Swapping Brings Joy - Always

          Poetry Friday is hosted by Margaret Simon at Reflections on The Teche, and she's celebrating birthdays! Happy Birthday, Margaret. May poetry always sing to you, but especially on your special day!

          I'm taking the next week or more off to travel to my brother and sister-in-law's home in mid-Missouri, to view the eclipse! I am excited. My daughter and the granddaughters, perhaps my son, will join us and we are preparing for an amazing experience! I hope some of you will be able to view it where you are! My brother owns an antique store in the town where we'll be and he told me an artist stopped by who told him she travels the world to view the eclipses and to paint them. We're planning to see what she creates this time.

         More poetry, more wonderful swapping! I received a special package this week from across the ocean, from Iphigene Daradar in the Philippines! It's a fabulous poem and painting, and you've seen other wonderful paintings and poems by Iphigene, so you know I feel honored. Here's a picture of both, and the poem typed for easier reading. 
        Thanks Iphigene for bringing smiles to me a few days ago, and continually since!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WooHoo! #PB10for10 2017

      It's PictureBook10for10 (#PB10for10) where many share ten picture books that are Must Haves! Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning host this wonderful traditionHere's how! 

I've posted more than once with Cathy and Mandy, and the only thing that scares me is how much my TBR list will grow. I read a lot of picture books and it's a surprise that I learn about more while reading everyone's posts. Thanks, Cathy and Mandy, this is a tradition I look forward to every year!

Here are my previous posts for   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015    2016  

I chose recent books this year, choosing those that I loved so much that I had to own them, either for myself or for my granddaughters, eight and six years.

Here's the list! I've written a bit about each. An FYI - I had 15 on my list, and it was tough to eliminate five! I appreciate authors and illustrators who are creating these lovely, lovely stories. Each of these first seven are nostalgic, at least to me. They focus on loving life during the day, in the nighttime, with friends, being kind. Those are important to me more than ever lately.

            With pen swirls of color and cut-outs blended into a garden of flowers, a tree, a bird feeder, Lane Smith has published another favorite picture book and it is a gem. Cat, Dog, Chickadee and Squirrel are having the “perfect day” until one more animal arrives. And then, Bear has his own perfect day. It’s all about perspective. I loved viewing each page, but think at least one favorite is the squirrel’s feelings while holding a whole cob of corn! Fun story, beautiful book.
       The sweetest goodnight book, a perfect book for younger children. Young Lala is putting off her bedtime by saying good night to the usual things like her cat, the fish her papa caught, the goat. She gets quite creative as she tries to gain a little more time before bed and also says good night to the chickens, the little ants, her dog. Finally, into bed, a surprise that I won't give away. The full-page illustrations show evening colors, first bright, slowly darkening. It's lovely! 
            There are ways to rise and greet the sun each day, and there are other ways. Cynthia Rylant’s few words show us wise advice from some animals who respond to her question, “What do you love about life?” They answer differently from humans, perhaps, like she writes that a hawk would say “sky”, yet all those special things can be for humans, too, if we only notice. Ups and downs in life may come, feeling like a wilderness, yet hope is there. Brendan Wenzel includes the vision of Rylant’s words in his exceptionally lovely attention to nature’s details. It’s a wonderful book, a gift for all ages!

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Slice of What Used To Be

  Join us on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers and others who post. 


       I retired two years ago, and I write less and less of teaching. Mostly I have old memories, old "things I used to do". The best thing is staying in touch with former students! But here at the beginning of the year, I do like to share at least one thing I did that may be helpful. This is a re-write from a post several years ago. 

           On the first day of school, I wanted my class to know that this would be a year filled with reading and writing, and I wanted them to realize that they were the ones that would be driving the year. I taught a mix of 6th, 7th and 8th graders and many of you know that personal choice was a top priority for all of our students, K through 8. One of the things I did on the first day was to share a poem or a poetic quote to help us leap into the year. I gave each student a copy, they taped it into their writers' notebooks, and then responded to it. In that response, I asked them to make one secret and very personal goal for the year.  Although I never knew what those particular goals were, I would re-visit students once in a while to ask how they were doing with it, and if there was something I could provide that would help reach the goal? Obviously, it involved trust. There were other times that students created goals that I did know about, but I felt that trusting that they could work to reach a goal secretly was inspiring and empowering. 

            Yesterday on Facebook, Michelle Haseltine (One Grateful Teacher) asked for ideas of poems for 7th graders for the beginning of the year. Here are two poems I used often and shared with her, both by Eve Merriam: "Metaphor" and "Thumbprint", highlighting the concept of Tabula Rasa, or "clean slate" and the uniqueness of each person. You can find them on the web easily, and I suspect many of you already know them. There are others that might fit you and your class, but these two are favorites of mine. And here is another, some call a poem and others name it a quote, author unknown. It's inspiring to me, too, every time I read it. It calls for courage, venturing into the unknown, just what each student does every year. 
            Don't you agree that they're brave?

    As you journey through life,

          choose your destinations well,
          but do not hurry there.
          You will arrive soon enough.
          Wander the back roads and forgotten    
          keeping your destination
          like the fixed point of a compass.

          Seek out new voices, strange sights,
          and ideas foreign to your own.
          Such things are
          riches for the soul.
          And if, upon arrival,
          you find that your destination
          is not exactly as you had dreamed,
          do not be disappointed.

          Think of all you would have missed
          but for the journey there.
          and know that the true worth
          of your travels lies not in where
          you come to be at journey’s end,
          but in who you come to be

          along the way.

        Best wishes as you all begin your journeys this school year if you are still educators. If not, the wishes go to you as well in your own unique journeys.

    Sunday, August 6, 2017

    It's Monday! Good Books Everywhere!

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

           I have a busy week ahead, completing quite a few from the "to do" list because I'm gone next week to visit my brother in Missouri so I can see the eclipse! I'll be reading Evicted by Matthew Desmond and Refugee by Alan Gratz

           REMINDER! Thursday is PictureBook10for10 (#PB10for10) where many share ten picture books that are Must Haves! Be sure to link up with Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek. Here's how!

           I savored this book for a few weeks, learned about it from Tara Smith, so thanks, Tara. It's for adults and older teens, a series of essays written about Eula Biss's life, her moves, her response to racism and often, how it happened to be that way. She backs her thoughts and experiences with research. I learned a lot of history and new ways to contemplate what I see and read in other areas. The Goodreads review ends with this: Faced with a disturbing past and an unsettling present, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of American diversity, "not the sun-shininess of it, or the quota-making politics of it, but the real complexity of it."

          Remember the movie Philadelphia with Tom Hanks? It was so long ago, and broke some barriers then, and we've come a long way so that now that same kind of story can be found in books for kids. I had such a happy feeling coming away from that movie, thinking that it held the kind of family I wish everyone had. And now Richard Peck has also offered that wonderful kind of family, the one that does the right thing in being good people. Archer is eleven; the story is about him from first grade to seventh, and the telling moves back and forth showing the quirky friends he makes, yet somehow he has chosen those who do good, too. The thread that holds the story together from the title is not only a "Best Man" in a wedding, which Archer becomes, but the "best man" that he aspires to be, like his grandpa, his dad, and his Uncle Paul. There is humor and some "hold your breath" moments, but I don't mind telling you that it all comes out in the "best" way, like all of us wish for our families. I loved it very much. (from my #MustReadIn2017 list)

    Saturday, August 5, 2017

    Celebrating The Week, Future, too!

              Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. Come visit to see how lovely it is to celebrate all the delights of the week! 

    Happy August!

           This week continued to be busy, but it was one that I was happy to have. I managed to check off some things that have been on a "to-do" list for a long time, like a talk with my insurance agent to be sure my coverage is okay. It is. I also had to get an emissions inspection for my car to renew my license. It passed. I'm glad those are complete! They are those "things" that that are not hard, but take time. 

             The week held some happy celebrations, too.
    Work at the bookstore, meeting new customers,
    a great talk with a young boy about his
    favorite books.

    Smiles "after" the girls' performance at
    the Denver Center for Performing Arts
    drama camp. Each group's play is written
    by the players, and oh so cute, with songs
    and dancing, too. 

    Thursday, August 3, 2017

    Lost Words, About Those Slippers

               Poetry Friday is hosted by the Donna at Mainely Write with a new fun way to link up!  Thanks, Donna!

              Last week, Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise hosted and added an extra. She shared numerous lines for inspiration in writing a poem. We were to return as many lines back that we took. I borrowed one, and while it is one I've worked hard on, I'm still not very satisfied. Even as I posted, I thought of another "move". This line was not easy!

    Nonsense, Maybe?

    Mother Nature lost her slippers!
    A story like a Mother Goose rhyme.
    It’s nonsense, made-up, yet like the others
    conceals a message if you take your time.

    Mother Nature lost her slippers
    when she took a different path,
    mislaid them in a north woods blizzard
    as she escaped that stormy wrath.

    She had neglected to prepare
    with fur-lined boots and winter wear,
    stopped only for a while to view
    flowers gone and trees grown bare.

    Mother Nature often drifts
    into dreams of summer stops.
    This time, she moved far to the south,
    happily stepped into flip-flops.

    For us earthlings, this story shows
    our Mother Nature’s getting old.
    Find those slippers, do what you can
    assisting her (and our) household.

    Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

    photo credit: benhosg Slippers DSC_1406 via photopin (license)

    Wednesday, August 2, 2017

    Greg Pizzoli's New Biography

            Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific nonfiction picture books!

       Be sure to visit my other post today with a giveaway of a new middle-grade book!

              I have read a number of books chronicling adventures in jungles like the memorable River of Doubt by Candice Millard about Theodore Roosevelt's dark journey on the Amazon. Yet, it is so exciting to read of this explorer in the early 20th century, a new adventurer to me, and a book for middle-grade students who love exploring, maps, and learning about interesting places in our world. I enjoyed Greg Pizzoli's Tricky Vic, and this one, too, so well presented from the early life of Percy Fawcett to his work and travel for the Royal Geographical Society. The story tells of numerous trips, the equipment needed, dangers faced, like giant anacondas and many kinds of dangerous insects. Eventually, Fawcett centered his life's goals on finding a hidden city that he called "Z", one of great stone buildings built by a people long ago. He knew that if found, he would gain worldwide celebrity. He trekked into unknown areas in a final trip with only his son and his son's friend. The ending is shocking, and Fawcett did indeed become renowned.
             Throughout the tale, Pizzoli adds a few side pieces with further information, like about the Amazon and about mosquitos. Wow! Did you know there are estimated to be about 3,500 species of mosquitos on earth? These extras expand the story well, in addition to an author's note, added biographical information, a glossary and a source list. Pizzoli explains the interesting illustrations also which are cartoon-like, created with cut paper collages, and the use of various kinds of technology. He also traveled to Central America and Southeast Asia, trips that inspired the art.
    The marvelous pages about that huge anaconda!

           If beginning a study of rain forests, mapping, or explorers, this book will inspire students to want to know more, to plan research in numerous areas, to consider what might be needed to make such trips, pragmatically and emotionally. I enjoyed it very much!

    Blog Tour & Giveaway - Dewey Fairchild!

              I'm excited to share about a book coming soon in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Amberjack Publishing. Dewey Fairchild, Parent Problem Solver, will be available August 8th!

             It may have started when eleven-year-old Dewey's friend Seraphina came to him at lunch one day, exasperated about her mom. It seems that her mother was one of those helicopter moms who still held Seraphina's hand when they walked across the street and then all the way into the classroom. Other things were happening too, and that's how Dewey became a "Parent Problem Solver". Within the story, Dewey manages to solve more than one problem and is so busy he's asked his next-door neighbor and elder friend Clara to be his assistant. Fortified by Clara's cookie baking and welcoming the clients with cookies set out through a secret passage to Dewey's attic, his "secret" life becomes busier and busier. Dewey has older and younger sisters, a mom who's often cold and a dad who's a dentist, but the story evolves into his own family problem. And Dewey is not sure he can solve that one.
             I wasn't sure I would enjoy this book. It seemed a bit fantastical to me, yet Dewey's fun sense of humor that intertwines with the serious tone he takes when helping other kids won me over. I believe there is a part of every child who would love the power to do the things Dewey manages and helps his friends manage, in order to "fix" a parent problem. I can hear the giggles while reading about the sleuthing that occurs and see the nodding heads in agreement about parents whose habits aren't always to their children's liking. Lorri Horn's writing shows she knows about children's deepest wishes for some power to change things in their lives.

    Enter to win a Dewey Fairchild, Parent Problem Solver themed prize pack!

    One (1) winner receives:
    • A copy of Dewey Fairchild, Parent Problem Solver, by Lorri Horn
    • A Dewey Fairchild themed gift pack. Includes items such as cookies, gum, notebooks, pens/pencils, Tootsie Rolls, Monopoly game etc.
    Giveaway rules:
    • Enter between 12:00 AM Mountain Time on August 1, 2017 and 11:59 PM on August 31, 2017.
    • Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
    • Winners will be selected at random on or about September 3, 2017.
    • Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
    Prizes provided by Amberjack Publishing.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Sunday, July 30, 2017

    It's Monday, Sharing Books

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

           I finished Nikki Grimes' One Last Word. and several other wonderful picture books, have started The Best Man by Richard Peck, on my #MustReadIn2017 list. I have one new title from NetGalley, too! 

              Sorry that I've waited so long to read this, but finally I did, reading and savoring a few pages all this week! Nikki Grimes has written a book's worth of tributes to those poets of the Harlem Renaissance by sharing some of the poems and writing what are called "Golden Shovel" poems in response. A Golden Shovel poem asks the writer to take a line, or "all" the lines, and place each word at an end of a line, weaving one's own words to create one's own poem. Each poem and response are illustrated, and by a variety of artists. Those, plus the poems themselves are heartfelt, considering and celebrating African American experiences. They are contemporary, show the grit and feelings of a variety of people, young and old, parents and children. A favorite of mine is written from a line by Paul Lawrence Dunbar's "We Wear the Mask". In part, Grimes writes, "freshen your mouth/with ferocious lines of potent poetry, with/metaphors that mightily reveal the myriad/of emotions you feel--yet, in all their subtleties. It's book for the middle and upper grades, to share, to respond to, to love.