Thursday, May 28, 2020

Poetry Friday - Can We Change?

            Poetry Friday is hosted by Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading. She's sharing about a challenge given a few years ago by Gene Luen Yang he called "Reading Without Walls" and some beautiful poems by a poet you may or may not know: Marilyn Chin.
           The latest tragedy, the terrible and unnecessary death of George Lloyd has happened and my mind swerves to a different sorrow. Mary Lee's sharing of this challenge is one all of us should pay attention to.

            It's been about ten weeks since I've 'mostly' been at home. Things are changing; days have changed. I'm planning to spend more time with the grandgirls, guiding them through a kind of 'summer camp' of learning, in lieu of all the past camps they usually have attended in the past. And, the bookstore is opening, albeit on a limited and restricted schedule. Being flexible feels like the key to good days now. April's poetry challenges and the #PoemsofPresence challenge from Margaret Simon at Today's Little Ditty, then on twitter has been a boost for everyday poetry, plus reading and simply enjoying other's beautiful and thoughtful words. 

          Last week for Poetry Friday, April Halprin Wayland proposed a new form here at Teaching Authors. We could choose a word, perhaps a favorite, and write from all the words that can be found within it. We can do that ourselves or, wonderful find, we can go to a site called Word Maker and let it do the work. I did try myself, but then succumbed to the invitation of this site.

          I chose the word, serendipity, long a favorite. I love that things happen with great connections yet without understanding how, but they do!

          Thus, a poem emerged in response to where we are in this time we could never have imagined. I am hopeful that our new and changing world will help those in most need. 

We Are Intrepid

Now that we  are riding fewer riptides,
though some types
try to be trendy,
try to pretend
a different present,
follow the spin from the president.
I am only inspired
by truth-tellers who take pride
in helping us understand how to reset,
how to gather good resources for proper nests,
protecting within changing tides ­–
the needy,
our peers,
even welcome those who deny.
We see truth with our eyes.
We feel it ripen.
Now, we have a spirit
like our elders,
ready to create a new destiny.

Linda Baie © 


Monday, May 25, 2020

Monday Holiday - Sharing New 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.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR

           I hope all of you are doing well and doing the best you can during this time. 

               Thanks to Candlewick Press/Walker Books for the advanced copy of this seaside adventure, out last week! Thomas Taylor has written a second wonderful adventure set on Eerie-on-Sea. The illustrations in the book are by Tom Booth, not all finished in this ARC, but those included add much to the exciting, sometimes scary atmosphere of Eerie-on-Sea. 
               Here is Herbert Lemon, still the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, teaming up again with Violet Parma, whom Herbie met in the last adventure. This time another 'thing' has washed up and found by Mrs. Fossil, beachcomber even in storms, owner of the Flotsamporium where she sells her finds. It's a mysterious bottle that happens to gleam with light, sometimes. The whole town, especially the fisherfolk, are ablaze. They see the bottle has "Eerie Script" written on it, know that it belongs to the ancient Gargantis who has been waked up and is causing the terrible storm that's coming, that might finally destroy the town. And they all claim it as theirs!
             Again, Herbert and Violet are the center of the tale, but Taylor's included regulars from the first book like Mrs. Fossil as mentioned above, and Dr. Thalassi, owner of the town's museum. Even characters met earlier that appear only a few times are memorable, like Seegol of Seegol's diner, serving up the sumptuous fish-and-chips and new fascinating characters like Blaze, captain of the Jornty Spark, helper in this adventure and persistent searcher for his uncle, Old Squint Westerly. 
            I love reading Taylor's stories, the details are extraordinary from the frightening to the descriptions that ensure we see everything in our imaginations. He introduces a villain named Deep Hood who seems to have a tentacle that can lash out from his hood and a sidekick called a clockwork crab. There are bits of solid friendship and support between Herbert and Violet that show the good feelings that come when a friend always has your back, no matter the danger. He even left a few questions, meaning there's bound to be still another trip to Eerie-On-Sea, and certainly with Herbert and Violet. I can't wait!

       I hope that my family and I can make it to the beach late in the summer and though we might not create a castle that looks like this one, it is fun to imagine new ways to build when reading this amazing book by Einat Tsarfati. Sad to say considering the social distancing we are supposed to be doing, the opening page of many, many people hanging out on blankets by the sea makes me sad and nostalgic for the way it used to be. But the illustrations are true-to-life from before, detailed and filled with color! 
       A young girl gazes at the sea, then sits and begins, saying "I love building castles in the sand. So I built a sandcastle." And what a castle she created! Wow! You can see from the cover that this isn't just "any" castle. She is that little one way up on top! People come to visit from all over the world, and they love it. I'm reading an e-copy and must imagine the glorious double-page spread of the interior, so many details show the private bedrooms, the public rooms like the library, the inner workings in the lowest "cellar" part, etc. Evening brings a wonderful party, but in the morning, ugh, trouble. The food looks elegant, yet guests stick out their tongues, complaining of sand, yes, in the food! This problem remains, in athletic contests, in sheets where they sleep. One Egyptian princess says it's even worse than a pea under a mattress! The ending, well, you must read to discover how this little girl who loves sandcastle-building solves it all. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Poetry Friday - Gratitude Doesn't Stop

            Poetry Friday's party today is hosted by Carol Varsalon at Beyond Literacy Link.  
            Carol shares a  poetic 'memo' to Mother Earth today and offers all of us a poetry bouquet (changing from bouquet, now it's truly an entire flower shop!) of entries for her #naturenurtures gallery. Thanks, Carol!

         We are meeting and working hard planning to re-open the used bookstore where I have been volunteering.  It will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary! Once upon a time, there was a part-time paid manager but in the past few years, this non-profit is entirely run by volunteers. As I said, we're working hard and without the special rewards of helping customers and talking with them about books! But soon, we're going try to open again as safely for all concerned as possible. This entails lists, some meetings, individually working at the store itself, going through donations, choosing books to sell online (we only do some), pulling books to pass on to make room for new ones. It's a lot of work, but I and those others with me love the store. I have only been there for a few years since I retired from teaching, but others have been there literally for years and years. 

         This poem was sent to me and to other workers by one of our leaders as a thank you for these recent weeks, for getting ready! I'm sure every one of you has a list of workers to thank, too, as I do: those on the front lines--medical personnel, grocery workers, transit & delivery drivers, those who are in charge of cleaning, the police and firefighters; the teachers finishing a year they won't forget, and those small business owners preparing some kind of open, all worried about safety and their businesses. It is thoughtful to consider the work and to say thank you. 

Here's the beginning of the poem. 

To be of use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

and the rest can be found HERE!