Wednesday, January 16, 2019

NF Pic Book Wednesday - Amazing Women

            Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they continue to be available for kids. 

   I'm celebrating my 1800th post!

"All things are vital to the universe...
all are equal...and at once...different.'
          Gwen Frostic, Beyond Time

           Each of the following books (the first two out this month!) are worth reading in order to celebrate the lives shared. These women's stories exemplify the above quote from one of those women. Each one is unique, follows passions without giving up. They are full of inspiration either together or apart, know their strengths and pursued all possibilities to succeed. The illustrators show the passage of years, the ups and downs with interesting and beautiful choices of setting that include the characters' supporters, naysayers and experiences.

         Janet Collins loved to dance, was rejected more than once because of the color of her skin, but she always pursued a path and succeeded every time. Told in verse, with an author's note, source notes, and an additional websites list.

         Considered part non-fiction and part historical fiction in order to create a story, Mary was a real person, a former slave who went west to make a new life. She tried out for the job of stagecoach driver when everyone thought it was only a man's job and certainly not a job for a former slave. She succeeded, and she began in her sixties! There is an author's note explaining the research and the story's creation.

        Born with disabilities, losing her mother at age two, Jane clearly was also born with money. Upon discovering the needs of people, especially children, she persisted in her dreams of helping people and opened Hull House. Not only did that happen but she was a founder of the International Congress for Women that pursued peace during World War I, then became "Dangerous Jane" because she also aided those in need in Europe after the war. Nevertheless, the world awarded her committment with the Nobel Peace Prize! More information is added at the end with a timeline.

          This is the only book whose subject I had never heard about. Also born with some physical challenges, Gwen's mother urged her to try and try again, and she did. The hardest part was being teased at school and being told she "can't". Pursuing a variety of art media, knowing she had to make a living, Gwen created a variety of things using different metals. Gwen later settled on opening a shop to see her line of greeting cards and art pictures. She was an expert in block printing. The shop remains open and a picture of it and its location is shared in the back matter. There is also a brief description of an art lesson for "capturing" nature's beauty. 
            It's a special group of stories! I am grateful to the authors and illustrators who both teach and entertain me.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Reading - Fun Picture Books

           Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who post their favorites. 

             I'm reading Dry by Neal Shusterman and it is long! But I've enjoyed it so far! And still reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Other than that, here are a few picture books I liked this week--one brand new, some old and worth knowing. I'm also still reading for the Cybil's poetry judging so my reading life is varied and full!

              I'm also celebrating. I have one more post and that will be my 1800th! It feels as if the time has gone quickly, but then when I look back at March, 2011, that also seems a long time ago. For a few years, I also kept a blog with my class, but have now deleted it, saving a few posts only. I imagine I've written more than 2000 altogether. If you've just started, keep going. It becomes a diary of at least part of one's life. Some of you started before I did and I congratulate you for keeping on, despite your busy lives. Most of you are still in education and are marvelous mentors for students.

         Enjoy these gems!

        What if you were a child, a young boy, and loved elephants more than anything? You loved to draw them and talk about them. You loved their "hosepipe trunks and their flap-flap ears, their tree-stump feet and their swish-swish tails." But, but, you've never ever seen a real elephant. This is a story about that boy, Frank, and his adventure with Miss Fancy,  one elephant who spent some years in Avondale Park in Birmingham, Alabama. He is that boy who lived only two blocks from the park and helped collect pennies with other schoolchildren so the city could raise the money to buy Miss Fancy from a circus. 
            Wrapping her poignant story with some truth, this brand new wonderful book from Irene Latham shows the sad history of segregation years ago and the ingenuity of a young boy who only wanted to touch Miss Fancy. Finally, Frank got to see her when she came by train, but when the crowd arrived, with Miss Fancy, he walked with her all the way until he couldn't anymore. The sign said "No Colored Allowed". What if you were that boy, heartbroken? There is a reward for being that boy, and I hope you can read Irene's story in order to discover it. John Holyfield encompasses the words with his gorgeous realistic illustrations, filling the pages with color and emotion and detail of this community, its people and a special elephant. Irene adds an informative author's note about the story, the history and adds a real photo of Miss Fancy! The book will be a great start for children beginning to know the history of segregation. 

           Forty years old, a Caldecott honor. I've missed it all these years, and for those who love the music, those who wish every child yearning to play could, this is the book. Perhaps, according to the description, it could be the story of any young musician growing up in the twenties. With fabulous black and white, art deco illustrations, zigging and zagging like jazz itself, another Isadora book to love.

          "No matter how steep or tough the climb, a friend is worth it every time!" That's the mantra for this book, a cheerful 'let me help' book with a surprise you'll love at the end. Brian Lies tells the simple cumulative story and illustrates with joy, even in a snowstorm. How can one resist a duck with a stocking cap and a chipmunk named Izzy with a striped scarf? 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Poetry Friday - Search & Find

Poetry Friday's host this week is the busy Kat Apel from Australia, sharing her poem-a-day she's named 'Insta-poetry', filling us up with summer, yes, summer! That's what's happening Downunder as many of us shiver. Thanks, Kat for the beauty shared!

        I've been struggling lately finding some kind of goal for writing poems. I've begun a new journal, have delved into favorite quotes and pictures and though I enjoyed creating the beginning pages and sketching, too, I still did not find much to write about. I'm in the midst of reading for the Cybil's poetry award, and perhaps that's part of it, so filled with beautiful poetry that I think somehow it's all been written! Anyway, here's what I did for this day, a bit about looking and some about finding.