Thursday, October 31, 2013

Poetry Friday-After Party!

Poetry Friday is here today!  Welcome!  It's an interesting time to be hosting, the day after Halloween, the beginning of November, a month filled with gratitude, nearly ending with Thanksgiving, family literacy month, NaNoWriMo.  Yes, it is filled!  Leave your link at the end of the post and leave a comment if you want to share the special things about your post, or about November.  Have one more handful of candy corn, read, look, and enjoy!

      I need to apologize for giving the incorrect origin last week for Mortimer's Minute.  Thanks to Janet Wong's wonderful idea, many of us have had a great time hopping around!  Thanks Janet!

               Here's a poem of contemplation for what is past.  Now you have the chance to take all the next year to choose a new costume, and to decide just what kind of pumpkin will be best for making the next fabulous jack o'lantern.

Chalk-A-Bration-Halloween style

           Come celebrate Halloween at Betsy Hubbard's website, TeachingYoungWriters, by chalking a poem!  Happy Halloween everyone!  Every end of the month, Betsy hosts a chalk time, to share poems you have created and shared.  I share mine only online. creating with a chalk app.  Here's my October chalk.  Lots of Halloween poems floating around. Thanks Betsy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Loving the final days of October

            Travel over to Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life!
                       Tweet at SLICE2013! 

        It was a gorgeous weekend of fall weather, so warm we were back to shorts and short sleeves, outside, outside, outside!  I walked and took pictures, knowing the time (and leaves) were fleeting, would be floating down soon.  Yesterday, a high of 70; today of 35.  It's snowing (or freezing rain) tonight.  I can hear the tap, tapping on the windows.  By Wednesday, the sun and warmer weather will return, but the view will again have changed.  

Roots below,
hopeful sending
messages up
leaves sprouting
giving shade
then color adding
-autumn's parade
          Linda Baie©All Rights Reserved

my neighborhood-click to enlarge

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hetty Feather and More PLUS a chance for an IPad Mini!

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS, and shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS.   
         And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

It's been such a busy week, but good reading too.  Here are a few books I finished, including the review of the Hetty Feather trilogy later on in the post, and the entry form for the giveaway:

The Year of Billy Miller – Kevin Henkes
               I was afraid to read this book because a few others' words said it was a 'teary' book, and I wondered what that meant. It's not that I'm afraid of tough topics, it's just that I couldn't imagine how an author could write something that would bring tears for younger readers. I shouldn't have worried! The Year of Billy Miller is a lovely story that started so beautifully that I read most of it one evening, then had to leave the final part until the next morning. 

Friday, October 25, 2013


Discover. Play. Build.
tweet at #celebratelu
          Link up at to share your celebrations, tiny ones and large ones, those in between-all deserve a mention and applause!

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey!    Barbara Hoffman

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Bunny Hop – Poetry Hop That Is!

               Poetry Friday this week is hosted by the lovely and talented writer, Irene Latham, who blogs at Live Your Poem!  Be sure to congratulate Irene on her 1000th post!   Go over for a long visit!

 Started by April Halprin Wayland of the Teaching Authors blog a few weeks ago, I am officially joining the Children’s Poetry Blog Hop, letting Mortimer hop around while I write.  
       I’m supposed to answer one question from the person who tagged me, then add two of my own, and answer them as well.  Finally, tag one or two others that will continue on… 

Jone McCullough tagged me, writing from her blog, Check it Out on October 10th.  Thanks Jone!

The question I chose to answer from Jone's HOP is "Do you like funny poems or beautiful ones?"
       I think I've loved beautiful ones, like Mary Oliver's or William Stafford's, more often, but lately have been examining the challenges of writing funny ones and enjoying them more and more.  It seems to me that poets who "write funny" have an extraordinary talent and sense of humor.  I am trying to look at everything in different ways lately and hope it will help me improve my attempts at funny poetry.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Always Learning New Ways of Teaching

        Visit Stacey, Dana, Anna, Betsy, Tara, and Beth for the Tuesday  Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers 
Tweet at SLICE2013! 

As I write this post, I am reminded of a favorite introduction to a book.  The book is The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen, and the end sentences to the intro, titled "Tuning" is this:  If books could have more, give more, be more, show more, they would still need readers who bring to them sound and smell and light and all the rest that can’t be in books.

            The book needs you.

        You can download the entire passage from the link here.
         I've been facilitating several book groups over the recent weeks, and want to share one thing I've not done as formally until recently.  As luck, and planning needs required, I've ended up reading Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, two groups in a row, in different classes.  I enjoy the book for so many reasons, its fast but thoughtful pace, the strong voice in this scared young boy that gains in character as the book progresses, and Gary Paulsen's beautiful writing that is so useful to show off to budding writers.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monday Review!

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  And shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS.   
         And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

Yesterday's post reviewed one of Jacqueline Wilson's books about Hetty Feather, titled Emerald Star.  You should visit to check out what's next on the blog tour, and submit your name on the Rafflecoptor entries to try to win an IPad Mini.  

      I've read a few books this week in addition to the reading for the Blog Tour and for the books I'm reading with teachers and with students.  Nothing finished, but good conversations!

Here's my reading for the week:

Graphic novel:
A Bag of Marblesbased on the memoir by Joseph Joffo and adapted by Kris, illustrated by Vincent Bailly, translated by Edward Gauvin 
       I found this book on display at my library, a serendipitous find of a serious and
The French cover!
inspiring story.   In 1973, Joseph Joffo published his memoir of his constant movement with his brother, sometimes with the older brothers, and his parents throughout occupied France in order to escape the Nazis.  He was ten years old when he first left Paris with an older brother, Maurice.  As Jews, they had to lie, sometimes cheat, but so often they also helped others, even at their own risk.  Their quick wit saved them again and again. They traveled from city to city in the south of France, called the free zone, although it was often as harsh as the northern part ruled by the Nazis. 
         This is the graphic novel adaptation that tells that amazing story.  All but their father survived, but the boys say that they learned to be courageous from stories their father told, some of which are included in the early part of the book.  The art is so detailed, showing many, many people and settings that occurred in this harrowing, four year crazy life that many led at that time.  I think middle school and up will enjoy reading this specific tale that shows one small part of WWII, not in the Death Camps, but the challenges of staying hidden from anyone’s notice. 

Greet Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather + a Giveaway!

You can access Jacqueline Wilson's website right here!
         You cheeky little varmint!  I've just saved you from drowning. You might at least say thank you!  shows the sometimes fiery, sometimes lonely, always courageous Hetty, heroine of Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather adventures. Until recently, Jacqueline Wilson had published three books about Hetty's life, but now there is a fourth.  They are Hetty Feather, Sapphire Battersea, Emerald Star and Diamond.  The stories chronicle, in first person, the story of Hetty Feather, a child brought up in the Foundling Hospital in London in the age of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Celebration, almost at the end of the 19th Century.  According to information offered at the end of the first book, this was the first special children's charity in the UK.  Anyone could bring their child to the hospital, where over 27,000 abandoned children were cared for.  As you can see from the book's story, care was not always the best  given.  I'll review the entire series Monday, Oct 28th

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Celebration Saturday

          Link up at to share your celebrations.  Light some fireworks or candles, blow a party horn, have a red velvet cupcake, AND tell your favorite way to celebrate!

           I continued to celebrate my son, daughter-in-law and grandson coming in to help me celebrate my birthday last week.  (I wrote about the surprise last Saturday.) They left on Monday evening.  It was a grand weekend!
           I just returned from my staff retreat yesterday.  We go to a mountain resort each year for a Thursday evening to relax and have fun together.  We were in a beautiful place about two and a half hours south of Denver, way back in the mountains.  We had snow in the night, and loved the sparkle in the morning.  Awesome sky, too!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Retreat Today

          Go over to Cathy Mere's Merely Day by Day to find all the Poetry Friday people who love, enjoy, write, then share their special ideas about poetry on Fridays.  It's such a great time!

          One definition of the word ‘serendipity’ is “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.”   This time at my school’s fall retreat, I love how our time is going to fall around us, delighting us with the usual people, like having Thursday evening to hang out with everyone, having some wine or beer, just talking, snacking, playing silly games, and laughing.  It’s been a huge rush of busy-ness since school began, and this is a time of renewal before the second rush to conferences, then the holidays.         

Monday, October 14, 2013

Excited to Have A Poetry Group Again!

             Visit Stacey, Dana, Anna, Betsy, Tara, and Beth for the Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.  
Tweet at SLICE2013! 

             All of a sudden, I'm busy at work! I'm reading three PD books with three teacher groups at school, facilitating a book group with students, prepping for a speech group, and teaching a poetry group for a while as they write, revise and prepare poems for the River of Words annual contest.  These meetings are in addition to meeting one on one with teachers, about their work and how its going, always a celebration of the good things, and the talk about that which doesn't appear to be going as well.  There are few things I enjoy more than all these different kinds of conversations.  I like my job, hope you can tell!
            My wonderful poetry group began today.  I know almost all the students, have watched them grow up at our school, even worked with them in other groups, and they are now in what we call "Advanced School", middle-school-aged kids.  They are sophisticated (mostly), interested in doing well (always), and wowed me immediately.  I was given a "first" poem by their teacher last week.  I had read through them, and made a few "private" notes.  I saw glimmers of poetic wording in each one.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's Monday - blog tour links!

Monday Reading  

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  And shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS.   
         And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

         Here is information about the first days of the Jacqueline Wilson blog tour, and HERE is the website where you can learn more about this popular British writer, and register to win a new IPad Mini.  As you can see, I'll be posting about my book(s) later in the tour.  So far, terrific reads, but I'll share more later.  In the meantime, check out Karen Yingling's week of reviews and more!  

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Time to link up for Celebration Saturday with!  Thanks for starting this, Ruth.  It'll be fun to see all the different ways to celebrate!

It's lovely to celebrate this week, it was a terrific week filled with good meetings with those I work with at school, some good times with students, reading with a book group and giving a book talk about recent books, starting a Newbery lunch club with our librarian.  Work was good!

I finished a poem started at my Highlights Foundation workshop that I'm so proud of, that was very meaningful to me.  And I posted it on Poetry Friday (yesterday).

The ending-today-it's my birthday, and I received a phone call from my son (who lives in Texas) about 9pm last night to go look on the porch.  I told him I had just arrived home and didn't see anything, but he said to go look anyway.  And there they were, my son, daughter-in-law and grandson Carter!  They flew in to surprise me and to help me celebrate! They're here, now, still sleeping in, a best gift of all!

Will I celebrate, yes, the best kind, with family and friends for all the good things this week!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


             Poetry Friday participants are hosted today by Laura Purdie Salas at her new website and blog, Writing The World for Kids.  Thanks Laura!     
Remember, the deadline for nominating for the Cybil's awards is Oct. 15th, just a few days from now.  If you haven't nominated, go check it out here!

       I wrote with other poets last week at the Highlights Foundation workshop led by David L. Harrison, and I posted about it both Last Friday and Tuesday.  It was a fabulous experience for me, and a new one.  To be able to immerse myself in all things poetry was a gift I gave myself, and I am so happy that I did.  During that time, it was not only beautiful autumn weather, but the setting was the beautiful Poconos.  One of the problems with loss of a loved one is that we (I) kept wanting to share things with that person, and yet I could not.  Thus, I did write several poems capturing the experience, and one of them is this one I am sharing with you.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Exciting Time-A grand slice!

             Visit Stacey, and the New Gang for the Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.  
Tweet at SLICE2013! 

     This is going to be a lumpy, bumpy slice of life because I’m not sure how to tell you about my adventure last week at the Highlights Foundation with 17 other poets (including our leader, David L. Harrison and skyping with Renee La Tulippe and J. Patrick Lewis); sometimes a few editors, like Rebecca Davis, Sr. Editor for Boyd's Mill Press; a kitchen staff (thank you chef Joe); and time, time, time.  Oh wait, I guess I just gave you a summary.  And my hope is that you can fill in the rest, with words like marvelous, comforting, supportive, filling, inspiring, exhilarating, friendly, informative and a.very.good.time!  Here is a sketch of my little cabin from my notebook:

Here are some photos to fill in even more.    

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's Monday-Two Weeks of Sharing!

Monday Reading  

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS.  And shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS.   
         And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. 
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

      “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance. ~Confucius

      I was in the midst of poets this time last week, at a Highlights Foundation workshop in Honesdale, PA, led by David L. Harrison.  Fifteen of us had such a great time talking and writing and learning that we didn't want to sleep, although we did, in wonderful little cabins for some of us, and a lodge for others.  I have done some reading this week and want to share some wonderful books, some published by the Boyd's Mill Press, the Highlights publishing house.  It was a wonderful time!

Chapter books:
Wake Up Missing – written by Kate Messner
           I received an ARC of this before it came out, but life’s events kept me from reading it quickly, yet how I wanted to!  It seems that every time I had to stop reading, I left at another exciting and crucial moment.  The story concerns a topic of concern, the epidemic of concussions among high school athletes, and the effect they may have on these kids’ futures.  Kate Messner chooses to have the main character, Catherine, tell her story of having a debilitating concussion and her family’s search for some medical treatment that will help her recover.  They find an innovative clinic, seated in the wilds of a swamp, titled I-CAN, the International Center for Advanced Neurology.  Cat (Catherine’s nickname) is enrolled, and the story begins with her mother taking her to the clinic, seeing the grounds that sound like a fancy resort, and saying a teary goodbye.  There are hints of tension already as slowly we meet the other patients and learn bits of their backgrounds: Ben, Sarah, Quentin, with only brief mentions of Kaylee and Trent, who enter the story later.  A few questions arise even before Cat’s mom leaves, like why only six patients, which the clinic head, Dr. Ames, calls ‘guests’.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Poem for New Poet Friends

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Dori at Doraine Reads.  Come by to immerse yourself in all things poetry.  Thanks Dori!

            I've just returned from spending most of the week in Honesdale, Pennsylvania at a workshop with David L. Harrison named Poetry for the Delight of It, and a delight it was.  We wrote and talked, and listened and shouted hurrah for the wonderful poems written and shared.  We skyped with J. Patrick Lewis and Renee La Tulippe, learning much from them as well as from the continual wise words from David.  Janet Fagal stopped by on Thursday just to visit and add a little of her poetry enthusiasm. Joy Acey and Matt Forrest were there, along with 13 others whose names you may know from other poetry worlds besides poetry Friday:  Cory Corrado, Deborah Holt Williams, Heidi Bee RoemerJeanne Poland, Joy Acey, Julie StiegemeyerKaren Eastlund, Kathy Doherty, Linda Dryfhout, Michele Schaub, Patricia Cooley, Tom Ohl and Sue Fowler.