Monday, May 27, 2024

Monday Reading - For All Ages!


        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!

      I lived through this, at home, as a high school teen, then watching from college, the terrible news coming back from Vietnam, the loss of one close friend, what my stepfather and uncles who had served in WWII and the rest of the family and friends said, then argued about. Yet, Kristin Hannah brings the story of the women who also were there, women we didn't talk about. All the way through, she tells us about their own terror, this time especially about the nurses, with one focus, Frances, "Frankie," McGrath, and her life there, after graduating from nursing school and enlisting because her wonderful older brother, Lynley, had gone to that war and been killed, no body returned, only an empty casket to bury. 
      Frankie and two friends served in hospital units together, came home one by one, and when needed by another, each one went to support. Sometimes, learning of the crazy times of horror, the upending times of grief and betrayal, it felt like a soap opera. But isn't life a soap opera, and this particular time also, like other wars, meant death along with unimaginable betrayals. More has happened, and continues to occur as we readers all know, but perhaps it's time to read this book and see the parallels of our own time today, the different responses, the lies, still happening. It's good to know the history that Kristin Hannah told so well, but sad to acknowledge parallels. 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for my copy!

       Jarvis tells a great story for young ones.  At bedtime, they can watch the bedtime of two friends, Lion, who needs a story first, and Penguin, who'd love to get right to sleep. Penguin drifts off into dreams full of candy treats but wakes fast when Lion starts drumming (see the cover!). How they figure out a compromise makes a calm, sleepy-time story. Bob Shea's illustrations are just right for young ones, lots of color and big expressions of feelings from both Penguin, yawn, and Lion, bright-eyed! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for my copy!

         Well, I wish I had this long ago when I was a first-grade teacher! David LaRochelle takes us on the adventure of "Go and Get", and with Rex, a dog! Young Jack and Jill are there, too, and when asked to bring back something that begins with a certain letter, they race off to do just that. For example, the letter F is asked for. Jack brings a frog, Jill brings a fish, and Rex brings . . . a duck! He's told, sorry, duck does not begin with F, Rex; however, Rex replies with that duck is his FRIEND! Hoorah, Friend does begin with F. Running and racing with vehicles, or cycling, Mike Wohnoutka illustrates this fun game with great enthusiasm, and smiles all around! LaRochelle's answers also add more words for the special letter. It's a great "game" of a book!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Poetry Friday - A Joy in My Hands!


created by Linda Mitchell

It's Poetry Friday, and Michelle Kogan, artiste extraordinaire, is hosting HERE on her blog, More Art 4 All.  There, among all the other poets, Michelle has created a May Birthday celebration of other poets who have their birthdays this month! It's Michelle's birthday in May, too! It's a delight to read all the nature poems! Thanks for hosting us, Michelle!

     Every day for a while, I've read a few poems, savored them and the photos, read again, and felt as if I'd taken a walk. I am a walker in my neighborhood and at a nearby lake with all kinds of wonders to see and experience. A daily mantra, no matter the weather, is #getoutside. This is a post to honor Carol Labuzzetta for her courage to #getinside the minds of poets, gather the flowers of ekphrastic poetry, and publish an anthology. It's for us, and considering what's inside, it's for everyone! 
    Carol has especially made it so accessible for teachers to share about this kind of poetry with their students. She has added about ekphrastic poetry, including the kinds of poetry forms one can use, in an informative section at the back. It's all ready for them, and happily, for us, too! If you need a walk out into nature, take one by reading Picture Perfect Poetry! Thank you for it all, Carol, for your dream come true and for all the work you accomplished!
    I won't pick a favorite. Each poem is a delightful look at parts of the outdoors. Sometimes, I connected completely, and other times I found new ways of seeing. Thanks to the other twenty-four poets whose poems brought me joy! 

       I am thrilled to have two poems included. Both connect to nature, but the one I'm sharing today is not only about being outside, but a memory of my husband and I outside, hiking the trails in the Rockies. We had a small cabin in those woods, stayed there as much as we could, hiked and climbed up and down. Sometimes, we took a tent and stayed in a few favorite places just for a different view. 

Melancholy Air


These boots that

laced up the memories

of kinship with mountain trails,

and those who hiked

along with me,

sit idly waiting

for those feet to fill them

one more time.


Linda Baie ©

         Wishing everyone a nice Memorial Day weekend, giving our respect to those who gave their lives for our country. My father is one of those who died in World War II. He was a pilot whose plane was shot down in the Leyte Gulf, Philippines. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Monday Reading - A Few Books to Love


        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!

      Byron Graves is Ojibwa, was born and raised on the Red Lake Reservation. There, like the main character, Tre, of Rez Ball, he played high school basketball. Here in his debut novel, he weaves a sophomore boy's life in and out of his dreams of playing on the Red Lake Warriors varsity team, then winning the first state championship ever by a reservation team, then, on to the NBA! His goals are made harder, sometimes he thinks unattainable because his father also was a Rez star, and his brother, a star last year, died in a car crash on winter roads. Now, Tre has to overcome those reputations, too! The story includes a longtime friend who is beginning a documentary of Tre's b-ball beginnings, a new girl at school who looks at things a bit differently, helpful and causing a collision with those friends at times. Complicating it all is the racism the team meets constantly from teams outside, something readers all need to realize has happened often all their past, and today as well. It's a special story focusing on one kid who tries really, really hard to do the right thing always. I loved this many-layered story!
         FYI - This is a young adult novel that contains strong language and party drinking.
         In addition, this was fun to read because it's basketball tournament season. I learned about some of the moves players use!

          In the final anthology created by the late Lee Bennett Hopkins, he left readers with lots of love by finding a few poems he must have loved and asking some poets to write about certain animals/pets. Fourteen poets, including Lois Lowry, Charles Ghigna, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, write about beloved pets, and one of the "almost pets" that was let go, a box turtle. Lita Judge brings more love to accompany the words in her sweet illustrations. Did you have one of the small furry pets, a hamster, a guinea pig, or a gerbil. They're here, too, along with dogs and rabbits and cats. The poems will bring laughter with the memories along with a bit of sadness when they remind of pets one had years ago. And, you may be inspired to bless your own, dear pets by writing a poem about them!

        Dulce's abuela is coming to visit from Peru! Hooray! And she's bringing maletas full of surprises, ones that Dulce cannot seem to get enough of, like "Candies in crinkly wrappers" and "blankets softer than cotton balls". Many memories are made during this time, like hearing stories and learning new recipes, but Abuela soon must prepare to leave. Dulce is so sad but figures out a way to fill a few of those maletas for her cousins back in Peru whom she wishes to meet, maybe soon? It's a lovely grandmother story with loads of happy details shown by illustrator Juana Medina. I liked that Spanish words are sprinkled throughout as Natalia Sylvester tells this family story of visits from far away. 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Poetry Friday - Busy Bees Answer Linda M.


created by Linda Mitchell

It's Poetry Friday, and Patricia Franz is hosting HERE on her blog, Reverie. She's been planting tree seedlings in a nearby national forest, and luckily for us, she recorded their message! Thanks for hosting us, Patricia!


               Dear Linda Mitchell, not only giving us a PF star, but last week she posted her wondrous poetry clunker challenge. I chose what has become the title to my poem response.  

My photo, taken in September, 2022. Busy!

            I did some research, buzzed around some sites myself, and the preparation seems fierce! Here's what I wrote, still messy but hope you understand that in Autumn, bees are BUSY! I learned a lot and had fun, too. Thanks, Linda! 

What is Autumn to the Bee?


Billy Bee says to me, 

his sidekick, Clare, 

"Tell Freddie over there,

'Beware, Autumn’s coming.”

Get out the crew!

You know what to do:

find the late flowers,

work as many hours

as you are able.

Busy buzzy bees,

no time off for you!

Work together,

that’s our label.

Assess the hive.

Is there room for all

to keep us alive

cause winter’s after fall?

Does anyone know

of a place we can grow?

Use the waggle dance, y’all.

Take the message far.

We’ll soon be inside,

waving wings, warming all,

especially our queen,

still laying the eggs

and many appear!

But first, buzz around

if there’s space to be found,

to prep a new place.

Time brings a race

before winter’s affair.

Freddie, beware!'"


Linda Baie ©

Monday, May 13, 2024

Monday Reading - Two Books, Great Reads!



        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! I had a very busy week but have two brand new books to share! 

           Jennifer Nielsen's bases this story on the extraordinary real-life story of Polish teenager Lidia Zakrzewski, receiver of the Polish Cross of Valour. This tale of the war in Warsaw begins when twelve-year-old Polish-born Lidia rushes outside to see planes flying over, planes with the Nazi cross on each wing. Nielsen show the father leaving to take a military position because he was an officer in World War I. Soon they learn he has been captured by the Russians. Yes, they were on the other side of Poland, also fighting to invade. Remember, Poland was the first country that Hitler invaded, and soon surrendered. This is a tale of citizens in an occupied country, and like many who were fairly wealthy, Lydia's family soon had to give up their home to Nazis moving in. They moved to a small apartment in a poor neighborhood, in fact, next to the soon-to-be erected Warsaw ghetto, for the Jewish population! It's a complicated story of surviving, and performing dangerous acts while frightened, but doing them anyway because they are needed. It's a story of wanting to follow her brave older brother in the resistance but at first, she is too young. She is a pianist, but must leave the piano behind when they move. Schools were closed but Lidia defied the law and went to an secret school, punishable by arrest and taken as a POW if caught.
        Nielsen takes us on this courageous journey of this life, and as it unfolds, the wonder of the brave people who never stopped fighting, resisting, even in the circumstances of extreme hunger and watching friends and countrymen die and/or betray is a story to know and to understand that humans often do what might be thought to be impossible. And they survive and conquer!  Lydia did many, many courageous and dangerous deeds, and lived a long life, continuing her piano playing and achieving a PhD, married and had three sons, immigrated to America. It's a new and inspiring story from Jennifer Nielsen. 

        Laura Purdie Salas is known for her books of poetry, often based on science, sometimes a story but in verse, and more! This time, it's all about shapes, allowing each one to apply for a new position, "Keeper of the Treasure" at the Valley View Library. As each shape moves along to get to the interview, Line included, they shout a few barbs, like "Why are you so plain?" but Line just keeps going. When presenting, the shapes each share how it suits the new job "perfectly". For example, Rectangle states: "I  am PERFECTLY  sturdy.  I am buildings and books and boxes. I  will hide the  Treasure inside." Others show similar traits, but only Line "shows" it can "Lead the Way". You'll need to read this celebration of those who are thoughtful, resilient, and who appreciate uniqueness. It's enhanced by Alice Caldarella's lively and colorful illustrations full of emotions in shapes!
        Thanks to Laura and NetGalley for my advance copy!

Still Reading: I started Rez Ball by Byron Graves last week, but when I found Uprising just in at my library, I grabbed it, then couldn't put it down! I've read more of Rez Ball and like it, but Uprising took center stage! After it, I also found Anne Ursu's new book, Not Quite A Ghost, too. Reviews say great things and I've loved her other work. 

Happy Reading Everyone!