Thursday, October 21, 2021

Poetry Friday - A Special Book with Life's Only Answer


         Thanks to Jama Rattigan who hosts this Poetry Friday, at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup HERE. She's found a new poet whose poem about October will bring a lot of cheers and uh - huhs! Plus, she has cookies! Happy October back to you, Jama, and thank you for hosting!

         In our months-long, mixed-up world, here are a few quote reminders of what tops the needs list - love. Charles Ghigna has it quite beautifully correct in his new book, cover above, that publishes this very next Tuesday: Love is Everything. Personally, I also adore books where bears tell the tale, so I doubly like this one!

         In this sweetest of calming rhymes, this older bear speaks to the younger one sharing through the seasons all the love found in every place they visit. In the morning, birds sing, and in the evening stars shine as the bears' moon shadows glow. The older bear offers a promise with "I believe in me. I believe in you./I believe in everything that is good and true." Illustrations by Jacqueline East bring this love of life in each romp out of doors. The bears lie on the grass among the flowers, reveling in spring. She shows them planting trees as Charles writes of doing what is right. Birds' murmurations fill a sunset page. Music and art add to the beliefs that every part of life can be embraced, WITH LOVE!

        It's a loving book for evening reading, a time to celebrate the day, to snuggle in and talk over the day, then look forward to what may be tomorrow's love. Here's one peek!

         Thanks, Charles, for the digital copy. Congratulations to you and Jacqueline for this special book!

One more thing!

            I have Charles' Halloween Night, Twenty-One Spooktacular Poems which the granddaughters and I read together every year, so just wanted to remind what a terrific Halloween book it is.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monday Reading - Get Outside!

    Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading! 
          I hope you're enjoying beautiful Autumn weather. Our mountains have had good snow and two ski resorts are open but we down in the flat have had warm and gorgeous days. 

         If you want to discover how a fifth-grader processes things, you need to read Maple Mehta-Cohen's story. Kate McGovern allows Maple to tell us readers a lot, not only a deep secret of what she cannot do but the wonderful things she can do. We need to pay attention! 
        Maple's a terrific storyteller, as is her creator, Kate McGovern. And if you know the definition of "story", you'll also find that Maple makes up the stories she should not. In the harshest of times for her, she lies. Maple, half Indian, half Jew, loves dictating her stories into a small recorder, and some parts of them are included in this book for readers to see how good she is. Unfortunately, Maple has kept a secret for a long time; she can't read. Her dear teacher has caught on, finally, to all the clever tricks Maple has used. She smart, after all. But this time, caught, she and her parents have just been told she's being held back. She will repeat fifth grade! She has fooled her parents, too, and perhaps, as the story moves on, she really has fooled herself. Falling into the deep pit of lying, missing her two best friends who are now cool sixth graders, and going to the 'baby' class for those who do need extra help. What could be worse? 
          I've known a few students like Maple, always clever at hiding that those words on the page cannot be deciphered, make the brain hurt, swim around. You've possibly heard these things about those with learning differences. It's a poignant story that parents and teachers will love along with many students, those who are hiding out in plain sight, and those who wonder about a friend, a classmate, or two. 
           Thanks to Candlewick Press for this advanced copy. 

           I have delayed this book too long, my thanks to PR By the Book for the copy of the fourth book in this series! My family traveled to Belize this past July! Although we didn't have the thrill of seeing "The Great Blue Hole", we did do some snorkeling to see some of the coral reefs - Amazing! Robert Scott Thayer has also recorded an audio CD with "Kobee's Song." The book published on September 28th.

          Kobee Manatee wants to swim from the Cayman Islands to see his cousin, Quinn, to help her clean up her new "all-vegie, underwater bistro", Quinn's Seagrass CafĂ©. He's traveling with his friends, Tess, the seahorse, and Pablo, the hermit crab. Vivid, colorful illustrations by Lauren Gallegos fill the pages of the travelers' journey. Very soon, they must act on a challenge: a loggerhead turtle is caught up in a plastic bag. Luckily, Pablo cuts away the bag with its claws. And as we readers "swim" along with these friends, each page holds a visual titled "Kobee's Fun Facts". They add to the information in the story. For example, this page tells that "More than fifty percent of all sea turtles consume some form of plastic during their lifetimes." It also explains how plastic never goes away. Throughout the book, there are recommendations of organizations that are fighting plastic in the oceans.
        The group keeps traveling, encountering and protecting each other against a Portuguese Man of War and a spotted scorpionfish, along the way learning about climate change and the challenges for ocean life. This picture book will be a terrific way to begin an ocean study, sea creatures, and climate change. 
      Here is one of  Kobee's Fun Facts - Yikes! Did you know "Shoppers in the United States use about one plastic bag per resident per day? Meanwhile, shoppers in Denmark use an average of four plastic bags a year."
     There's another adventure at The Great Blue Hole and all about it, too. It has stalactites, which "Scientists believe these formed in a dry cavern above sea level during glacial periods." Jacques Cousteau explored it in the 1970s. 
     In reality, I could continue for a long while because Robert Scott Thayer has packed a myriad of info into this one book! One can research keywords throughout from those "Kobee's Fun Facts".  

HERE is the Kobee Manatee website, with a sign-up that offers games and coloring pages.  

Thursday, October 14, 2021

#PoetryFriday - Cold Whispers


         Thanks to Bridget Magee who hosts this Poetry Friday, at her blog, Wee Words for Wee Ones HERE, a post you must atTENd!

I am thrilled to have poems in the anthology that Bridget has created. So many poetry friends' lovely poems are in this book. Bridget, you've chosen TEN-der poems that will continue to brigh-TEN my every day! Congratulations to you and thank you, too! 

This Friday is the last day to nominate books for the Cybils Awards. Go HERE if you are interested!

        My heat has returned and it's a good thing. The first freeze has occurred!

I imagine I will tire of the winter days after the new year but usually, I continue to go out walking, mostly in the neighborhood if it's too snowy to drive. There are good things about the seasons changing, no boredom here!

Cold Whispers in October


It’s a salt and pepper season.

Simmering soup sits in the pot.

Candles brighten the room

as dusk peers in the window.

Birds wing into nests, 

murmuring good night,

but I imagine bees muttering

as dark is arriving earlier.


Music sprinkles notes 

into the air; life becomes

a taste of memories.

I hold a spoonful of bitter,

but have learned 

to add honey to sweeten 

and salt to open my eyes.

I appreciate the days.

Linda Baie ©

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Reading - Celebrating More Books!

   Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading! 
       I have a Blog Tour also posted today for You Are Revolutionary which comes out tomorrow! Find it HERE!

          It's another human-kind story from Christian McKay Heidicker, yet also, a fox story of gigantic proportions. Could it be that they belong with other myths told to children? This time, Heidicker writes eight connected stories, each introduced by a storyteller who seems to know it all. Well, it was that way until some others had to help end the stories, other young heroes. O-370, a fox kit who yearns for more excitement than a cage that keeps him warm and a farmer that keeps him well fed takes a chance, showing his courage, and when he discovers the true nature of this farm when foxes unite in the White Barn, he does his best to release the others. In another group in the wild, young Cozy travels in certain places with a leader named Dusty, but danger is there, too, as the face of someone who is killing foxes. She and her group flee to the city. They know its dangers there, but it's the only solution now. When they find O-370, they chuckle at the name and think he's really Oleo. Unexperienced, he turns out to be one important part of this group, in the city, then back, back to The Farm. 
         Each part brings tense moments and wonder at the actions of these foxes, facing danger from a human with a stick, one with rubber hands, and hounds that carry a yellow scent. It's a surprise, often terrifying, other times poignant, on every page. And, as questioned first, one can find a parallel with human lives, too, if you allow it. What a terrific sequel, enhanced by Junyi Wu's spectacular illustrations.

Thanks to Candlewick Press 
for this copy!
         Whenever I read a book by Eugene Yelchin, he takes me on a new journey to a place I've never been. This time, he has written his memoir, a new look at another kind of life for middle grades and up. Growing up in Communist Russia is not easy, especially for a Jewish family. They share a communal apartment with other families and have only one room to themselves; also in this group is a spy who listens to their every word. Taking up much of the space is his father's huge book collection that he must never touch. His father, a devoted Communist, knows poetry by heart, recites it with fervor often. His mother works for the ballet, in love with Mikhail Baryshnikov, wishes a talent for Yevgeny, like his brother who figure skates for Russia. Those with talent are rewarded with better apartments and trips to other countries. Yearning for answers to his questions but rarely finding them, Yevgeny, whose bed is under his grandmother's dining table, sketches out what he makes of life as well as he can. Yelchin beautifully creates those sketches within this text from his memories. There is more to experience for readers despite the starkness of the day-to-day living, lives that include both humor and sadness. You can read a Nerdy Book Club interview with Yelchin here:  I enjoyed this book very much!

       The nicest gift I can give to readers is to tell you to find and read this book. Jonathan Stutzman gives the definition of what a bear really is: "a new friend, a snack, a tissue, a pirate, a ghost, a brave protector" and then, as the years pass, "a piece of home" and perhaps, "a memory". Dan Santat illustrates life's emotions that may bring you tears and certainly bring you smiles and huge agreement. It's a special new book!
         A long time ago my father gave me this bear at about age two. I know because my father was killed just after I was two during World War II. My bear has journeyed with me all my life. I played with it and my children played with it. Now it sits in a room at home in a grandmother's chair, made by her grandfather over a hundred years ago. This "Bear is a Bear", too!

Listen up! It's a Blog Tour -- It's a How-To-Be Revolutionary!

       Thanks to Beaming Books, I have the pleasure of sharing this book that shows how even young children notice and learn about the needs in our world and often want to do something to help! With poetic words by Cindy Wang Brandt and action-packed illustrations by Lynnor Bontigao, Kids will see they, too, can make a difference.  
         Cindy starts the child as a "revolutionary" at birth, a young one, writing "you giggled, you cried,/you declared, "I WILL BE HEARD!" She shows how children know that everyone has a right to food, shelter, water" while Lynnor Bontigao fills the pages with all kinds of children noticing the needs of others along with noticing those who are carrying signs to heighten awareness for the homeless. Through this journey of a child's wishes to make a change, support is given for those who are shy, who feel too young. She shows other children using their skills to make a difference. For example, she writes "If you excel at writing words/as mighty as a sword,/you can share a message/in ways that can't be ignored." And if you're good at music or art, you can write a song or create a sidewalk sign. 
        This will be an inspiration with these words and the colorful art full of children doing something. What fun it would be to read together in a group or with family and to make plans!

Here's part of an interview of Cindy Wang Brandt where she answers the question, "What inspired your story?"
       As I’ve previously mentioned, I have “faith shifted,” meaning I’ve left the faith of my childhood. This has caused significant anxiety and trauma in adulthood. As I’ve sought to understand the source of my angst, much of it was having power wielded over me when I was a child. A big part of my own healing is to become an advocate for children today, that they be afforded full autonomy because they are human beings, not any lesser than adults. If kids are to be treated and respected as adults are, then what excludes them from becoming revolutionaries, people who make a change in the world? It is a human right to have a say in the way we live our lives, and yet we exclude kids from this work. I think our world still has a long way to go to extend children the rights they deserve, and I hope my book helps move progress

Here is a coloring page for you that can accompany this special book!

Finally, here are links that may interest you:

Link to the book: 


For Twitter:  

Author: @cindywangbrandt  

Illustrator: @lynnorbontigao 

Publisher: @@BeamingBooksMN 

Literary Publicity Team: @prbythebook 


For Instagram:  

Author: @cindybrandt 

Illustrator: @lbontigao   

Publisher: @beamingbooksmn 

Literary Publicity Team: @prbythebook 


For Facebook:  

Author: Cindy Wang Brandt 




I am grateful to Beaming Books for the opportunity to share this book of support for young "change-makers"!