Thursday, November 21, 2019

Poetry Friday - Thanksgiving Means FOOD, Doesn't it?

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Rebecca Herzog at SlothReads! She gave us a challenge last week which you can read about here. Thanks, Rebecca!

           First, another big thank you to Michelle H. Barnes and the TLD committee for this wonderful new volume of The Best of Today's Little Ditty. I have received my copy and am loving reading all the poems from those I know from Poetry Friday, those I know from other places, all gathered together in this wonderful book. Just look at that fabulous cover! I am grateful to have a poem included.

           Second, wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving, however it works for you. My daughter and family and I have worked out various things we cook for this day these recent years, but I've spent Thanksgiving in various ways through the years, all special memories with people, no matter the food. But, it is mostly about food, isn't it? Here's Rebecca's fun challenge!

            Briefly, Rebecca writes: "to write a poem about what food you feel is most deserving of its own National Day. Or perhaps there is a food that you find so disgusting that it should never have its day in the spotlight. Either way, tell us why in a poem."

             I tried to focus on one thing, but couldn't get it out of my head about certain drinks that are beloved each season. I am often tickled by the excitement on social media when some drinks appear celebrated, FINALLY (some say), at Starbucks. Yet, others have been around seemingly forever, and they deserve a National Day on their own, don't they?

Thanks for the challenge, Rebecca! It was fun remembering all kinds of food and drink, choosing what I really like.

A National Day for A Season’s Best

Yes, it’s fall and that’s not all;
‘tis time for apple cider.
Taste the sharp and tangy brew
bottled apples – just for you!

Cold brings winter’s minty twist,
down at Starbucks once a year.
Their brand insists your order be
peppermint mocha delight (not free).

I yearn for spring, escape outdoors
while sipping iced tea, cool delight.
Just brew a teabag, maybe two,
sit and praise green leaves anew.

My childhood memories win in summer –
friends giggling on our porch
with icy lemonade, sitting on a swing,
sipping summer’s tasty fling.

                                       Linda Baie ©

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Non-Fiction Picture Books Share Inspiring Lives

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone! This week, Alyson shares all some new award lists and events she's excited about at NCTE this week! 

Thanks to Charlesbridge for this copy!

Elizabeth Rusch tells the inspiring life story of Mario Molino, scientist, the person that is great to have on a "climate change" team.

         When Mario Molino was eight he was given a microscope for his birthday, thus beginning his journey of "what ifs?". His chemist aunt brought more tools for his "lab" and eventually he talked his parents into creating his own laboratory from an extra bathroom. Here's a picture of that "new" room, illustrated whimsically by Teresa Martinez as she shows Mario's swirls of lab equipment. 

         After earning his PhD and beginning work in the US, he continued his earlier questioning about the new "sprays" and their effects in the air. This led to a breakthrough of the deadly ways CFCs were changing the Ozone. He had a partner, F. Sherwood Rowland (Sherry) and they confirmed that the Ozone was being destroyed--by CFCs! Then came shouts from the detractors, of "A load of Rubbish", "It's a Science-Fiction Tale" and "Utter Nonsense". 
          "He never gave up." The text tells us that twenty-eight countries all over the world eventually agreed to stop making CFCs. Now, Nobel prize winner Mario Molino, has taken on a new challenge, to face the current crisis of global warming. As seen in his life's timeline at the back, he was part of the support to join other countries in the Paris Agreement, signed in 2016. Unfortunately, President Trump calls global warming a hoax and has made the US withdraw from that agreement. Teresa Martinez's illustrations set a tone through the books with lights and darks, offering cartoon-like pictures like the one above.
          In speaking before the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Molino says, "Climate change is perhaps the most worrisome global environmental problem confronting human society today." This is found in a fine epilogue, sharing all of Molino's amazing accomplishments. 
         In the backmatter, one can also find similarities between the research of "The Ozone Hole" and "Global Warming" in an easy to navigate graphic. Also included is a page of sources (Read More) and a short piece of actions ("Do More"). An author's note explains her research process.

         Most recently, courage and persistence are two traits that have been admired and written about in various ways. This book can be another to be placed on a list of picture book biographies that celebrate those traits. Also, in story fashion, the book offers an admirable role model for children, where those who are fascinated by something as Mario was with his microscope, can find their passions and be proud.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Monday Reading - Special Books

              Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites. Yikes, sorry this is so long! I wanted to share them all! 
             If you're going to NCTE, wishing you a marvelous time! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!
        I've enjoyed reading and seeing so many books this year, from serious to humorous, from frightening to satisfying. And I am grateful to all the authors and illustrators whose words and art have landed in my lap. This book by Helen Cooper is one you don't want to miss!
         If you like a fantasy for middle readers and if you love just a few illustrations in chapter books, and if you like those tense, scary moments that make you stand up to take a wee break and pace around a bit before going back to the page, this is the book. The first time in the US, published in the UK a couple of years ago, I am so glad to have read The Hippo at the End of the Hall. It all revolves around a young boy, Ben, with a single mom, trying hard to make ends meet via a little shop above their basement apartment. An invitation arrives with the milk, delivered by bees. It's one from the Gee Museum, "Come Now or Come Never", and Ben, never before deceiving his mother, takes off to discover answers to questions he has held to, but never thought would be answered. His father was lost at sea. His mother won't talk about him. And somehow Ben keeps secret a dream (or was it?) from years ago where his father had taken him to meet someone, to visit, and at the end of the hall, was a hippopotamus! Ben certainly now wants to know more. After all, he has that invitation! 
         The book takes place over only a few days, but it fills one up with museum delights, often called "curiosities". There is danger lurking from greedy landgrabbers and a terrible rainstorm, plus a witch who may or may not be good. Animals can talk, yet only a few people hear them or listen. A few, like the hippo and an owl, stand with Ben no matter the danger! I adored every bit of this tale, would think it would please many young fantasy lovers and make a great read-aloud! Both text and pictures are by Helen Cooper.
          Helen Cooper's website is here! She has won the Kate Greenaway medal twice, for Pumpkin Soup and The Boy Who Wouldn't Go To Bed. In the author's note, Helen writes of the genesis of the story, her early fascination with museums. Among others, she highlights The Harvard Museum of Natural History. I was so excited because I have been there and I have seen the hippo! It is a fascinating museum, has a fabulous exhibit of glass flowers and sad-to-see, the last dodo.

        Margaret Simon and I have known each other for a lot of years, online! We met while blogging and continue to keep in touch in various ways. Margaret has published several books, most recently a beautiful book of poetry focusing on her Louisiana home place, the Bayou Teche. I love it and not only does it have beautiful poems but shares some prompts for writing and art. This time I'm sharing about the sequel to Margaret's first novel, Blessen
       Blessen LaFleur, now a sixth-grader, tells her story with all its meanders, just like the Bayou Teche. Despite the sorrow of losing her hen, Blue, in the earlier book and the tragedy of her father drowning while saving Blessen, she is happy with her new hen, Sunshine. As readers learn of the love she has for her chicken, Margaret also lets us know that this setting is an important part of the story, allowing Blessen to repeat the "snake" story, legend of how the Bayou was formed. Blessen is often outside, doing chores or playing. She says, "I imagine walking on the clouds with the treetops as my roof. The tall grass tickles my bare feet."   
         Blessen and her single mom live in a trailer. We learn about her grandfather, who also passed away recently. There has been sorrow in her life, but she is surrounded by a loving family, a grandmother and aunts. There is a 'for sale' home nearby and Blessen first notices a little girl playing, thinks she might have a new friend/neighbor. After a few days of being curious, she meets Harmony, a joy-filled seven-year-old. Blessen eventually figures out her new friend is homeless and now missing her mother. Blessen's such a loving child, and after a few days of play, she brings Harmony home. It doesn't last because social services arrive to take Harmony for placement in a foster home. What happens next to Blessen as she tries to save Harmony from a strange foster home? Together they call themselves "the guardians of nature." And what an adventure for a day they have!     
            Margaret deftly weaves the various parts of the story allowing Blessen tell what's happening, what she feels about her past, the fact that the father she had barely known and is now gone, was African-American. Her mother and her mother's family is white. While Blessen does tell about it, a concern in part is that she doesn't look like her mother with straight blond hair. Blessen's curls give her fits! That small thing gives us a peek inside, and realize she's a typical, happy, sometimes grumpy, 11-year-old who loves her chicken and her family. Her introspection shows a thoughtful girl growing up. She thinks about being a hero: "Isn't that what a hero is someone who tries to do the right thing at any cost?"             
           One final thing I loved is knowing that other important character, Harmony. She's a seven-year-old who's been living in a vacant house, but is a cheerful girl, happy to find her new friend, Blessen. Margaret shows this "bouncy" young girl so beautifully through poetry. When something big happens, she sings a rhyme! Here's one example: 

     Monkey see, Monkey Do
     We are together, me and you.
     swinging in the high gum tree
     Praying someone sets us free

           "Swinging in the high gum tree" is a fun inclusion in the midst of sadness. For a rather brief book, I found myself more and more involved, loving Blessen more and more, wishing for good times for Sunshine (along with some struggles), and of course, crossing my fingers for a happy outcome for Harmony. I enjoyed it very much.