Thursday, March 23, 2023

Poetry Friday - Inspiration

          At Imagine The PossibilitiesPoetry Friday is with Rose Cappelli HERE, sharing a poetry springtime post. The three wonderful poems she shared might make you impatient! Thanks, Rose, for hosting! 

        I've spent a fair amount of time in both Taos and Santa Fe in New Mexico. I've vacationed there, traveled with students there, and spent time at the Taos Pueblo. One visit in all those years, I discovered Nancy Wood, who wrote poetry and prose, married numerous times, and led an intriguing life in both New Mexico and Colorado, among other places. You can read her bio here if you are interested. 

        We are stretching toward April, poetry month, so I'd like to share one of Nancy's poems, one that is inspiring to me. I hope it will be for you, too!

The Old Man Born of Dreams
                                       by Nancy Wood

You must not be afraid to travel
       where there are no roads.
You must not give in to the darkness
       when there is no sign of light.
You must not be afraid to grow wings
       when you are tired of the ground.
                         read the rest here

This is a favorite book of mine by Nancy Wood, but there are numerous others you may enjoy!

Have a terrific weekend!

Monday, March 20, 2023

It's A Special Monday - Sharing A New Book You NEED


    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 Spring, everyone!

     I'm excited and pleased to have an advance copy of Jessica Whipple's debut picture book, illustrated by Nicole Wong. It arrives on April 18th! Also, to let you know, Jessica has a second book on its way, titled I Think I Think A Lot, arriving in August. Congratulations for both, Jessica!

       This first book coming, however, is one to savor and to consider for use with one's own children or in the classroom. I wish it had been available when I taught because during the school year, students and I examined the differences between needs and wants. We examined them from the views of not only humans, but also animals, even inanimate objects, sometimes seriously, other times with humor, i.e, does a certain chair really need a pad, or is the hard seat enough? 

       In Jessica's story, a young girl examines the concept of happiness and when one believes the feeling of "enough" brings it. It's a quiet book that sneaks up on you. Word by word, paragraph by paragraph, readers will watch, and listen along with this girl who is also watching and listening. 
       Wandering through the book, Nicole Wong's lovely, captivating illustrations include all kinds of kids in various situations, at school, at lunch, in a library, and on the playground. A favorite is a double spread in a rainstorm, filled with colorful umbrellas and that young girl using her backpack as a shelter–enough? She couldn't find her umbrella!  Each illustration helps Jessica's story show how the questions feel real to kids.  I am imagining the questions: When do I get another turn, another shirt, or a new book? Someone has three friends and I only have one. Is that okay?
        Peer pressure to have more and better is a challenge for many, even adults. Jessica writes that more "can be loud and pushy" and enough is a whisper.  The comparison and the illustration that shows a child struggling with a tight sweater says "The first time you try on Enough, it can feel like a sweater that’s a bit too small." This idea shown feels so appropriate.
       However, it isn't always the same. Sometimes one can have enough and it can also be shared as a page shows the girl offering half a sandwich to a friend. And enough can feel just right because it can stretch. Remember that sweater? Readers will see this girl making decisions about wants and needs, what truly is enough for her, to bring happiness and satisfaction. 

       I hope you will be able to find this book and enjoy it yourself and with others. It may lead to new ways of thinking about life, those needs and wants, and when one can be satisfied with what "is". 


      Thanks again, Jessica, for the ability to share and to read your thoughtful book!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Poetry Friday - Springing Into Poems - review

  At Small Reads for Brighter Days, Poetry Friday is with Laura Purdie Salas HERE. She is one busy poet recently with three books out recently, prepping for a book launch party, and getting ready for poetry month! Congrats on those books and thanks, Laura, for hosting! 

        Spring will be official this coming Monday. I'm waiting for rain, more sprouts, less snow, and cold. It was 72 Wednesday and we woke up to 29 and snow Thursday. And, many of you are thinking ahead to April, Poetry Month, right? Perhaps you have a project already, like Laura, or maybe you need inspiration. The young boy in the book I'm sharing today by Katey Howes, illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee demonstrates beautifully to poets that it does happen, that tiny seed, just needs a push, rain maybe, but courage is included, too. 

      Using growing a seed as a metaphor, a young boy starts out into the world, giving encouragement as raindrops touch something inside. Roots grow but first, he must overcome the fear of what others might think if he allows it to grow, he must accept, then celebrate, the words. With the gorgeous, almost beaming, illustrations by Heather Brockman Lee, and nearly all double-spreads, Katey Howe's brief rhymes are there to give hope to every writer of poetry. 

        Here's one sample toward the beginning:

Some of Katey's inspiring words:
                                  "They build a foundation
                                 connect, and grow strong
                                 in soil rich with memory,
                                           simile, song."

      The book certainly inspires me, hope this glimpse will give you a boost, too. It would be fun to share with a class, I'm sure.

     If you haven't seen it yet, here's a PDF of the Poetry month poster. You can request a free copy at Academy of American Poets here!

Happy Writing!

Monday, March 13, 2023

It's Monday! Need a New Great Book?


    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! 

Finally, I read the first "Witch Boy" graphic novel, a great story that highlights those who take different paths in spite of others who fight against them. Aster's family is filled with those who have magic but boys can only be shapeshifters; girls can only be witches. Aster's spying on the witch girls and learning their secrets despite getting caught and also teased, he finally finds one friend, Charlie, a girl from the other side of town, the side without magic. Pushing on together, they take on big trouble. It's an exciting tale that kept me reading and rooting for these two friends who would not give in to pressure in order to be who they wished to be. I'll be looking for the next adventure!

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

        Matt Tavares discovered the history behind this new graphic novel when reading Phillip Hoose's book We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History. It's based on the story of Judi Warren and the winning girls' basketball team of Warsaw High School, their first girls' team! The fictional Judi in the story is a cheerleader, along with her friend, Stacey. As they prep to go to a game at school, it's clear that Stacey is excited, already shaking her pompom while Judi has to pull away from shooting baskets at her home, not smiling at all. 
         Tavares' early frames set up the story well and then skips to the girls' senior year. Oh my goodness! The announcement is made that there is going to be a girls' team! Wending through that year, filled with both excitement and quite a lot of seeing that change is needed at this time when schools and other organizations need to step up for equality. It is the year Title IX is passed! First, the coach happens also to be the art teacher and is late to the tryouts, held in a nearby elementary school, is late to the practices, and says a few words about the school thinking it should be a volunteer position. That was straightened out but a lot of other things were not. Practicing off-site and late in the day, no uniforms, and no transportation to away games are a few examples. 
         These girls, like so many earlier and since that time, love the sport, showed persistence and finally joy in their accomplishments on and off the court. Tavares' graphic work will fill readers up with the story of accomplishment, joy, and frustration in this story of girls who never wished only to stay on the sidelines but to run mid-court, heft a basket into nets, dribble down and around their opponents. 
          I played even earlier than this time when the school only played intramurally and only half-court. Girls evidently weren't thought to be strong to play full court. My team did win one tournament in junior high. We were the Sinkers!
          I loved the book and love that it brought back some wonderful memories!

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

         How tough it is to be "different"! Tacko Fall, born in Dakar, tells his story with Justin Hayes in this amazing, inspirational story. He was taller than everyone in his early classes, teased and called names often. His grandmother told him there were more important things in the world than others' words. They were to be ignored because he had lofty goals ahead! He first saw basketball with her and later a friend got a basketball. That's when it all started, noticed by a coaching group, starting training. He had the chance to go to high school in America, then college, the big start, but it was sad not to see his family for seven years! Reggie Brown's illustrations shows it all, the triumphs and the challenges, and a lot of grit! For young athletes or those who have goals in other areas and need a boost, this will show a journey they might see ahead and know that others have done it and succeeded! 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

It's Poetry Friday - Sharing An Old "Maybe Ghost" Story

          Poetry Friday is with Heidi HERE at My Juicy Little Universe. She's reveling in March with odes to March from a few poets you will recognize, celebrating her birthday, and sharing some of her own poems of reflection in this wild and crazy life. Thanks, Heidi, for hosting! 

         I've sent a postcard every week to my grandson for a lot of years since he and his family moved out of state. I was going through my stash and found a really old one, perhaps bought in an antique store which I do sometimes. There is a story behind the one shown here. History has its way of pulling us in, wondering. . . I suppose one could say this story "blew" my way! Happy March and wishing you all one filled with stories in the wind!


nature spots problems

I'm wishing for her patience –

not always her fix 

          Linda Baie © 

       In Jamestown Island, Virginia, in the late 1600s, a young wealthy girl, Sarah Harrison, was betrothed to an appropriate suitor. However, she refused to marry, had instead met and fallen in love with an older man (who by the way turned out to be the founder of William and Mary College). Her parents hated this new man and were embarrassed, thus fought the marriage, but Sarah was determined. The parents and one sister journeyed to find a lawyer to make an annulment of the marriage but were struck by lightning in a sudden storm and perished. Later in life, Sarah and her husband, James Blair, died and were buried on the island.

     Through the years, one can see in the picture that a sycamore tree grew between their graves, pushing them away from each other, thus the story of "the mother-in-law" tree and James Blair's mother-in-law who didn't stop hating the marriage even after death. 


            The whole story can be found here! Nature may have been on the side of the mother-in-law and perhaps nature was trying to help since Sarah got her way in life, and now it's the mother-in-law's turn? As in some stories, my imagination runs wild.