Monday, September 28, 2020

It's Monday! Books for All Readers

 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 Reading!
     Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR 
            Still wishing all of you educators good days - having fun and staying safe! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

           The magical story Hayley Chewins has created twists and turns while slowly bringing light to a terrifying challenge that Mayhap Ballastian must unravel. Something was always strange when her parents brought her and her sisters to Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. The father and mother are scientists and intrigued enough to want to study the flora and fauna. They do find that when they sign papers to live there, they are told they will need to give up something. As it happens, that is all we know of the parents because the tale begins after they mysteriously disappear, only leaving a note that says "Wait for us. Sleep darkly." The house itself takes care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine, the three sisters, but when Winnow, the oldest at 14, does go outside (breaking the rules), everything is left to Mayhap, twelve, to save her sister. She persists and discovers secrets that are heartbreaking. There is at last relief and good surprises at the end. Figuring out that love and kindness help solve frightening problems creates an underlying theme. Those who love mystery and unimaginable magic where anything can be taken will love this story. 

            From the creators of the wonderful Crown: An Ode To The Fresh Cut is a celebration, but not just any kind, this is one of all those "good" things a boy believes he is, that he can be. Derrick Barnes lets him tell it all himself in first person. This black boy is energetic, creative, "a coooooool breeze". When he falls, he gets up and sometimes he's afraid because he's misunderstood and called what he is not. Be sure you discover all the things that he is because those many things are very special. Gordon C. James's paintings fill the pages with action and the boy with family and friends and so many smiles. The endpapers are filled, too, with those smiling faces. It is a wonderful book to be shared with children in your lives whether teacher, parent or grandparent!

           It's difficult to imagine any art project more fun this fall than to get this book, read and enjoy it, then create your own rainbow wish! Eighteen artists have shared their own and I noticed quite a few wishing for activities with friends! With the virus restrictions and the hope to stay safe and well, it means very little or no time with a group. Brian Biggs writes "My rainbow is playing ball with everyone." He shows a group of very happy children, and a ball! Laura Vaccaro Seeger writes "We will hold hands as we walk and talk and listen and be . . .  together." She created a collage of whirling colors and many hands. I didn't choose favorites but only samples. Each one will make you smile.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following books!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Poetry Friday - An End & A Beginning

     Poetry Friday is hosted by Jone Rush MacCulloch here at her new, beautiful website!  Thanks, Jone for hosting and for offering a prompt last week to write for National Math Storytelling Day or #NationalBRAVEDay, both September 25th.

      So much is going on, the news seems to flip-flop from chaos to loss to prime-time "he-said, she-said". It is challenging to keep up. I am reminded of My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, though I know he did not mean it in the way it's now happening!
     The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has thrown us all into mourning and a call for resignations along with new Converse or Nike shoes! Have you seen these? Unfortunately, they are only a creation of someone so far. The companies have not yet responded.

           I am writing postcards and calling, donating, will be helping to get out the vote! And I have written for Jone's prompt in a way. I hope "counting syllables" works for the math. I've been writing etherees, the explanation of these found here! And I've written a double one for today, about our Pandemic life, being brave enough to let nature win some days.

Coming Undone




blinking hot

shorts and tees worn

garden obsession

but it really wasn’t –

summer happening, I mean

no baseball games, no summer camp,

undone with no sand between my toes

undone without theater in the park


be brave and welcome what’s dependable

curtained days entice sweaters off hooks

trees begin wild goodbye parties

all lean toward one another

compliment new wardrobes

hail other summers’

beloved days




        Linda Baie ©

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Tell About Families


        Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing.  
       From others, too, who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

June Smalls' poetic text accompanies brief explanations of an elephant matriarch's life. Then, enlivened illustrations by Yumi Shimokawara bring multiple expressions of emotion to these amazing creatures. The book shines on the caring and knowledge of these special elephant leaders. I wish there had been added information in the backmatter, at least links to other sources. 
            Readers see the lovely line of elephants on their way, perhaps over fifty miles to find a much-needed water source from a long-ago memory. There is a twilight-colored page showing elephants mourning one of their own, sharing that sometimes they stay for a few days and often return to the site years later "to touch the bones of their lost family member." 


          The life of a matriarch dominates the text, but other behaviors are shown, too. Interest in this animal will heighten, having the book as a springboard to further research or one in a series that underscores themes. It is a lovely book.