Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Non-Fiction Picture Books Tell Truth

art by Sarah S. Brannen
           Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

I am grateful for Michele Knott who shared this wonderful book earlier HERE! It is still another inspiring biography of this woman named one of "The Most Significant Americans of All Time" by Smithsonian Magazine in 2014, according to the author's note at the back. 

           One year when I taught, my students studied biographies and one assignment was to discover a little-known person in history, research her or him, and create a scrapbook of that life as if they were the persons they chose. One of my students chose Sojourner Truth. Now I wish I had that scrapbook to look at again. Most of what I remember is that she had accomplished so much that took great courage, like walking away as a slave and being helped by some abolitionists. I know that my student would have loved seeing this picture book.
          As the story evolves, the illustrator Daniel Minter chose to create a poetic page in the same style every few pages, serving as a comment on what has occurred or what's to come. It begins with “In Slavery Time, when Hope was a seed waiting to be planted.” 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Monday Reading - Best Reads

          Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who post their favorites.

        Thanks to Candlewick, I've read this latest book by Lindsay Eagar, out in October. I have previously loved Lindsay's Hour of The Bees, then Race To The Bottom of The Sea, all three realistic family stories of girls struggling to overcome personal (inside family) challenges, brushed with the magic of both believers and non-believers. In The Bigfoot Files, there happens to be a television show that follows and documents those thought-to-be-crazed searchers and believers of beings in our world like the Loch Ness Monster, or Bigfoot! Twelve-year-old Miranda Cho had always believed it all, believed her mother's obsession with monsters, her life filled with talk of sightings, overnight camping trips with others using night vision to capture a first look, and stories from her mother she asked for with the words "Tell Me A Monster." At twelve, a skeptical, want-to-prove-it Miranda has emerged, especially when her quirky mother, Kat, embarrasses her before a friend, now lost, and hides unopened bills and notices of foreclosure in a silverware drawer. Her eyerolls and words of disgust say it all. She wants proof like every scientist. Miranda agrees to go on one last creature hunt and plans to prove once and for all that her mother is wrong, wrong, wrong. It's time to grow up and be a real mother. 
        Detail by detail, I felt the sadness and tension of a young girl who really just wanted a mom who remembered to turn in library books, who didn't drive a crazy-looking "Critter Mobile", one who paid the bills. Sadly, she also wants a mom who hadn't driven away her father. Miranda tries so hard to be perfect. She's an A student, she's recently been elected to be Student Council President. And when she needs inner strength, she pulls out one more hair. In this final trip that goes terribly wrong, Miranda learns her mother's own belief, one that it appears Lindsay Eager loves teaching all of us readers, that "some things are true whether you believe them or not." It's a terrific story with love for all kinds of families.
         I also am grateful to have a copy of this wonderful book from Candlewick, just in time for holiday gift-giving, for those you know love poetry, OR a gift for yourself. Publisher at Nosy Crow, Kate Wilson, remembered a book she had as a child filled with poetry, one she still has, from which she loved poetry. She wanted to create a new book filled with poetry too, asked Fiona Waters to select them and Frann Preston-Gannon to illustrate. You can choose to read a poem a day next year, or begin as soon as the book is in your hands. You can find favorite poets, look for new ones, find your birthday poem or your child's. Poets familiar and poets new to me are included. It's a must-see, must-have book for poetry lovers, for a classroom perhaps, for a favorite person. Here's the Thanksgiving page I thought you'd like to see since that holiday is near.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Poetry Friday - Legacy

           Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty has the Poetry Friday Roundup today, a gathering of words that feel good to the soul. Thank you, Michelle!

             I'm been thinking much about women recently, those close in my family and those I know only through well-known, sometimes famous, deeds. And I've been watching campaigns by women all over the U.S. I am proud of all the women who ran in this election and prouder still that so many will be traveling to Washington. It's often a surprise what poetry finds me. I do write every day, not always a poem, but some lines that intrigue me I want to capture. This time, with so many posting #Vote pictures and art on social media with quite a few of them using the suffragettes as inspiration, I've written about mothers and daughters, what links between, what is passed on from one to the other, implicit hopes from elder to youth. Perhaps it's also about our links from woman to woman? It's a sestina, a form I like writing though don't do often.

Sestina Memoir

From the mantle shelf, the book
was brought with a smile by the mother.
She turned then toward her daughter,
inviting her to sit by the fire
and listen to poems of the seasons,
at this time of cold, snow, ice—of winter.

Soon, the words reminded of a long-ago winter
when others sat and marveled over a book,
this book, the only one 'twas valued, about the seasons.
It told of long years' wisdom, that mothers
passed on to their daughters.  The fire
blazed, illuminating the face of the daughter.