Thursday, June 21, 2018

Poetry Friday - Swap Fun

           Poetry Friday is over at Michelle Kogan's site, here! with a beautiful introduction to Margaret Simon's book just out three days ago, Bayou Song. Margaret blogs at Reflections on The Teche. Thanks, Michelle!

          I have only words of appreciation: to Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference for the idea of poetry swapping, to all the poets (of which there are many) who continue to send what I think of as "slow-mail smiles", small packages arriving in one's mail with wonderful words. 
            This time, my swap begins with a lovely poem with a special collaged frame from Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise. It feels just right to start the summer with a poem about a poet, doesn't it? Thanks, Linda!

Here's the text:

A poet

The poet doesn't invent. He listens.
                                            ~Jean Cocteau

A poet listens with all the
senses —tree, moon, flower, child, dance. An artist 
in a playground--each morning, recess. She doesn’t
simply write words…she can invent
nuances of knowing. She
begins a poem and even the pen listens.

Happy Summer, Everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Two Poets Who Loved Nature

art by Sarah S. Brannen

         Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  
           Both the following books fill with words, in the stories and the illustrations! I am reminded of part of the poem "Eating Poetry" by Mark Strand, 

"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.  The rest is here!

       I enjoyed the way Natalie S. Bober chooses Lesley, the oldest child of Robert Frost, to tell this story about their lives and about the life of her father. It begins with their arrival in NYC after spending over two years in England. Frost has been writing, has published two books in England, but that day he discovered that a U.S. publisher has bought his books, and they would pay him, too. He did not get paid in Europe and now he's making money as a poet! Leslie’s story is sprinkled throughout with her father’s words, when he went out into the fields, when he took the children out and taught them the names of all the flowers, when he told them about metaphor: “To think the country and not know/The hillside on the day the sun lets go/Ten million silver lizards out of snow!”  
      An author’s note, special quotations, and numerous poems are shared at the back. Illustrations are filled with details of happy times mostly out of doors. It’s a wonderful introduction to this favorite poet. 

           I recently discovered this older picture book about Pablo Neruda and beautifully illustrated with Julie Paschkis' illustrations. She has embedded his words into every possible aspect of the pages while Monica Brown writes of his love of so many things, the sea, rocks, children's play. She writes "above all things and above all words, Pablo Neruda loved people. He joined in with others fighting for justice for workers "who struggled for freedom".  Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. In the author's note, Monica Brown shares that after Neruda's death in 1973, his poet friend Yevgeny Yevtushenko, wrote: 
                              . . . he carries his poetry to the people
                              as simply and calmly
                              as a loaf of bread." 

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday - Reading Recap

          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link

           I skipped last week because I had family visiting. It was a fast visit, but oh, such fun! Here are two adult books I read and links to my reviews on Goodreads.

7 of 34 #MustReadIn2018
            The friendships hold the story together as only John Green's stories do and the thoughts of sixteen-year-old Aza continue to challenge her abilities to keep those friendships. Aza never meant to reunite with Davis Pickett, a friend from elementary school. And he's a friend who's wealthy but whose father is on the run from the law. And there's a hundred-thousand-dollar reward to any help that can be used to catch him. Daisy is up for the search and soon realizes that Aza and Davis like each other, a lot. It's complicated, mostly because of Aza's struggles with thoughts of certain things that will kill her, germs from others that will swim inside until it's too late. She cannot stop them. When we hear others share worries, we say things like "think of something else". Or try to use our words to show intellectually how the worry is not possible, even silly. From the book: "Thoughts are just a different kind of bacteria, colonizing you." It is hard to imagine how Aza felt and the story helped me understand, will help others, too, and I hope will help those who have similar life challenges. Some parts are heartbreaking; others made me smile at the empathy shown within the friendships. Great book, as so many have shared.

          All the books I'm sharing including the above are books that examine challenges that happen in children's lives. There is some hope in each, yet there is also sadness. I think each one will be valuable to share with students and teachers who know their classes well can make that decision. 
            Brown-toned illustrations denote sadness, and at first, I thought this was about some kind of abuse. In a way it is, but it shows the good and bad of the father in the son’s eyes, who tells this story. As it meanders through his thoughts, the mother’s sadness is evident, too. The boy says fog clouds her eyes. But there are some parts of happiness, the mother hugging when a scary thunderstorm happens, the father and son wiggling ears together. And then there is the end when the reader realizes that this is visiting day and the father is in prison. It's a book for everyone who may have a child with the same experiences and for others who need to know how it feels.