Sunday, July 30, 2017

It's Monday, Sharing Books

              Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!                                      
                      tweet #IMWAYR

       I finished Nikki Grimes' One Last Word. and several other wonderful picture books, have started The Best Man by Richard Peck, on my #MustReadIn2017 list. I have one new title from NetGalley, too! 

          Sorry that I've waited so long to read this, but finally I did, reading and savoring a few pages all this week! Nikki Grimes has written a book's worth of tributes to those poets of the Harlem Renaissance by sharing some of the poems and writing what are called "Golden Shovel" poems in response. A Golden Shovel poem asks the writer to take a line, or "all" the lines, and place each word at an end of a line, weaving one's own words to create one's own poem. Each poem and response are illustrated, and by a variety of artists. Those, plus the poems themselves are heartfelt, considering and celebrating African American experiences. They are contemporary, show the grit and feelings of a variety of people, young and old, parents and children. A favorite of mine is written from a line by Paul Lawrence Dunbar's "We Wear the Mask". In part, Grimes writes, "freshen your mouth/with ferocious lines of potent poetry, with/metaphors that mightily reveal the myriad/of emotions you feel--yet, in all their subtleties. It's book for the middle and upper grades, to share, to respond to, to love.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Celebrating A Birthday

          Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. Come visit to see how lovely it is to celebrate all the delights of the week! 

         It feels good to choose the celebrations of the week. I've been home a week from our beach time, and while I'm sorry that our weeks flew so fast, I've also enjoyed the week at home. There are things that make my life good, and the time I have in retirement now helps, too, like time for reading, writing, the bookstore, and family.
         Today, celebrating my youngest granddaughter, Imogene Marie. She is six, a lovely and lively curious young girl. This week, at the museum, Imi chose to return to the rocks and minerals exhibit. She loves learning about the mining and adores the mystery of this special crystal cave. Among many others, we've visited this one several times in the past.

 Enjoy A.A. Milne's "Now We Are Six".

Happy Birthday, Imi!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Poetry Friday - Swap Sweets

           Poetry Friday is hosted by the enthusiastic Linda Mitchell at A World Edgewise! And tonight, she's sharing a delightful activity for poets, word and image prompts and a challenge! Thanks, Linda!

Summer poem swapping is the best thing. For one who receives little more than junk mail in my mailbox, finding a package with surprises inside is a joy. Thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for organizing us several times a year!

My swap this time is from Buffy Silverman, who loves and writes about nature, and shares gorgeous pictures from nature on FB, and often! I am grateful to have a special poem from her, and included with a note were two bookmarks with two more Buffy-written and illustrated poems.

                  she casts off her skin                                                      I wait for sunset
                  with her underwater ways                                              to spill its streaks of amber
                  life after life                                                                    damselfly settles
                                                                                                          on hollow pickerel weed
                                                                                                          her secret glow fills the pond

created by Buffy Silverman

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Older N-F To Remember

  Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific non-fiction picture books!

       I don't have a recent non-fiction book to share and thought I'd share an older one I found at my library's big book sale, one by Steve Jenkins that's new to me! If you want to learn basic and important information about dogs and cats, with some comparisons, too, this is the book. It's Dogs and Cats, or Cats and Dogs, depending on which side of the book one is looking at. It's a book that explains about each, but you flip the book in the middle to read the "other" side. 

        When studying evolution one time, I gave my students the assignment to research the history of one dog, its origins and how it came to be the breed we know today. It was fascinating to learn what really was the "backstory" of these specific dogs. In this book, Jenkins writes some of the parts of how dogs descended from wolves, through circumstance of geography and later, human need. Each page answers some questions, like how one can tell "who's the boss?" through physical actions. Also, on each page, there is always a tiny silhouette of the "other", in this case, the cat, and telling that many of the cat's messages mean "leave me alone". There are other pages that are fun facts, special things about the dog (or cat), things that Jenkins wonders. 
        Of course, Jenkins' collages illustrate with both small and page-filling collages. It's a book to use for younger children to read and discuss together or for sparking an interest in older children to do further research. There's no back matter, no source list. 

        I read and reviewed this book several years ago, but because it also is by Steve Jenkins, and holds unique ideas in the poem observations by the late Valerie Worth, I thought I'd share again in case some do not know it. 
         My earlier review: This is a wonderful discovery to me, another book with those gorgeous collage illustrations by Steve Jenkins and he’s illustrating exquisite poems about animals by the late Valerie Worth. She writes of a whale floating easily in the sea, “light as dust in sun-baths”, a wasp as a ‘sharp flake of night” and a porcupine “held fast in the thicket of its own thorns”. Her poems don’t just teach us the basics of the animals, but hold questions to consider. It’s a book of poems that older students could enjoy and study.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Slice of Loving Nature

  Join us on Tuesdays with the Two Writing Teachers and others who post. 

             I just returned from two weeks on Captiva Island, in a house by the ocean with my family. Aside from glorying in the ocean, swimming and playing every day, saying goodnight to the sun, I do what I seem to do everywhere, watch the animal life. I couldn't take pictures of the live sand dollars I found, but we brought them out briefly in order to wonder at their small waving tentacles. I couldn't take a pic of the black snake with yellow under the head I saw wriggling through the sand, but I'll remember where I think it lives, in an awesome tree outside the house that must be home for a wealth of small creatures. My regret is that I don't have the time to observe for months. I think I would see changes that would surprise, just as I do in my own home. I'm hoping that the grandchildren will continue to notice, love and respect their own natural worlds as they grow up.
    That special tree where the snake disappeared.

    Here are the animals I managed to capture, among so many others we saw. 

    Live shell found, observed, and returned to the sea.

    Sunday, July 23, 2017

    Monday Reading

                  Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!                                      
                          tweet #IMWAYR

          We had a wonderful time at the beach, and I visited two of the terrific book stores on the island, too, always fun. I did finish Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave, but not Nikki Grimes' One Last Word. I'll start soon. Now I'm reading Eula Biss' Notes From No Man's Land, American Essays, a fascinating collection of this woman's observations in various parts of the country, including thoughts about race, those left behind, historical background, too. 

            The writing is to be relished, the story to remember, to re-read again. It's a love story swirling in the beginning of World War II in London, touching on other parts of the world between the British and the Germans. There is one page where two of the characters spoke of war that touched me deeply, and part of that holds these words: "Perhaps it was true, thought Alistair, that Septembers would come again. People would love the crisp cool of the mornings, and it would not remind them of the week war was declared. Perhaps there would be such a generation."
              It’s a fantastical story. After all, when would an alligator really show up at dance class? But it did, and while the teacher and dancers were a bit scared that the alligator (called Tanya after a famous dancer) might become “bitey” (author’s word), they did welcome her. And they did their best to accommodate her needs, like creating a part in the coming recital. The mystery is that after that, she disappears, and where she went is what you will discover when you read the book. I liked the end, but wish there had been a bit more added within this end. Young dancers will like it, I suspect! All those tutus!

                     Here, Matthew Cordell has “brushed” a story in his unique style of sketch and color of the feelings and dreams of parents with a new child. Where will that child go, what will befall him or her? “A great journey was beginning on this very bright night” declares the parents as they hold their baby and look up at the stars. Holding love in their hearts, we see these parents dreaming of the future, holding close the present. This will make a wonderful gift.

    Saturday, July 22, 2017

    Celebrating Family

    Celebrating with Ruth Ayres at Discover, Play, Build, and linking with others who share, too. I'm always grateful to Ruth for our weekly celebrations together.

    By the time you read this, I'll be on my way home from our ocean vacation. There is much to celebrate and those of you who know my posts on FB or Instagram know most of it. This time, I am grateful and celebrate my children and their spouses who work hard to ensure they make the time to get together each time we do this. It isn't easy maneuvering jobs and vacations at the same time, but we've managed it for five years now, planning for more! The first time I came to these islands, Arvie and I brought Carter, so it's my sixth year here loving the ocean, exploring with family!

    Imi didn't want to turn around!

    Clearly, Carter has changed a bit since this was taken.

    Thursday, July 20, 2017

    Poetry Friday - "Nothing-to-Do"

    Katie hosts today at her blog, The Logonauts! Thanks, Katie! 

             I've been at the ocean's edge for nearly two weeks now. The last part of my family has left to go home, and I have one more day to savor. Today I've walked it, driven past it, watched others dive in, and swum myself, looking for signs of the dolphins, manatees and manta rays that we've seen before. I did see the wonderfully different bunnies again, and crabs were out in the evening. 
             I've watched my grandchildren and children play and laugh and be, here in the magic of nothing-to-do but follow John Masefield's Sea Fever: "I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky." 
    The grandchildren say goodbye to their own final sunsets.

       Nothing To Do

    My dreams tangle
    with the reality.
    The ocean flashes, splashes,
    dashes in to smooth the sand,  
    backing out to allow a shell shock
    of quick gathering.
    The body arrives,
    knots untied
    from the joy of immersion.
    Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved

    Thursday, July 6, 2017

    Poetry Friday - Sensational Swap!

              Carol Varsalona, poetry collector extraordinaire, and new grandmother serves as our first July host of Poetry Friday today. She blogs at Beyond Literacy Link. You're welcome to visit for lots of poetry wonders, including the announcement of Carol's most recent collection, the Springsations Gallery about to be shared! Thanks, Carol!

    As posted recently: One of the delights several times a year is the Poetry Swap created by Tabatha Yeatts, at The Opposite of Indifference. See the sidebar for the beautiful image she created for us swappers!

    This week, I am grateful for another gift of "happy mail", as Keri Collins Lewis called it when I emailed my thanks. I appreciate the collage created on the notecard face, love those 'happy' message cards, and adore the poem. 

            I'm off Saturday to the beach for a couple of weeks, carrying this poem along, steering toward adventure, just as Keri wrote! And looking for clamshell clouds as Brenda wrote in the poem I shared last week! Thanks to both, anticipation is high!
        A special, and yummy, announcement from Tabatha Yeatts who is our host next Friday at The Opposite of IndifferenceJuly 14th is National Macaroni and Cheese Day. The Poetry Friday Roundup will be in honor of the event and for those who wish, please share for an optional Mac-N-Cheese theme!

    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

    Non-Fiction - People to Know

      Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific non-fiction books!

           I realize that there are many things that I do not know, and am grateful for non-fiction picture books that add to my knowledge of the world and its history. Here are two books that tell the stories of two people who in different ways, amazed the world.

    "Queen of Computer Code" she became, and "problem solver" she always was. Starting on the inside cover with a poem about Grace, "Software tester. Workplace jester./Order seeker. Well-known speaker." and on into her fun as a young child taking things apart to figure out how they work. Through high school, then on to Vassar and Yale, Grace took on the math and science classes, reveling in her continuing learning. She began teaching, but when World War I started, she realized she could be of greater service there, and finally, they let her join. There are numerous computer discoveries attributed to Grace Hopper, among others the idea that repetitive code could be saved in the computer and used when needed. Really, she was the first to realize this! Her retirement was mandatory until the Navy realized they needed her, so she returned, until 80 years old! It's a story with different inspiring quotes placed on some of the pages. There is plenty of back matter support including a source list, a piece about the honors Grace received, and a wonderful list of books about other women in Stem.  You may remember Laurie Wallmark from another recent book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine. Katy Wu's illustrations are toon-like, interacting with the content in different ways. They're colorful and fun.

            In 1325 at twenty-one, Ibn Battuta set off on a journey from Tangier, Morocco to Mecca. He didn't return home until nearly thirty years later, visited throughout the Islamic World and beyond. He kept journals, eventually turned into a book, from which Fatima Sharafeddine wrote this story. Fatima's story of Ibn is told in first person, offering an overview of all the places visited and some of the experiences there. Intelaq Mohammed Ali interlaces the text with maps for her illustrations, showing small parts of where some cities, rivers, and oceans are. If studying the middle east, this would work well as a departure for the topic. There are many, many ideas/places discussed by Ibn about his travels.

           Happy Reading!

    Sunday, July 2, 2017

    Monday Reading - Many Wonders

                  Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!                                      
                          tweet #IMWAYR

          I'm trying to catch up with my library books, but will only share a few favorites today. I'm taking a couple of weeks off, will be off to the beach for that time starting next Saturday. I imagine we'll all be reading there, am planning to read some adult books, too! I've started Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave, and before I go, I hope to finish Nikki Grimes' One Last Word. 

           #MustReadin2017: finished Zusak's I Am The Messenger, number 12 of 26!

             I've heard of "Deadbeat Dads", but this book is about a 'Deadbeat Teen', nineteen-year-old Ed Kennedy, an underage cabbie with a few seemingly good friends, Marv, Ritchie and Audrey and an old smelly dog. His mother hates him, there's bitterness in his voice, but he moves along day by day, just the same, knowing his siblings are loved because they're doing well. They have educations and good jobs! It feels like life will stay the same, and Ed's friends seem settled into that kind of life also. There is suspect camaraderie, and a bit of a glaze in their lives until Ed gains some notoriety because he catches a bank robber. That robber told him that every time Ed looked into a mirror, he'd see a dead man. Ed is scared, but deadbeat that he is, he soon forgets the threat, until he gets the first card, an Ace of Diamonds, until he becomes the messenger. There are holding-your-breath scenes, sweet scenes that make you smile, and scenes cruel to believe they might be real. I'm only sorry I took so long to read this book.
    for young children, early readers perhaps

                Feelings depend on perspective, and Little Hippo felt “little” all the time, compared to his siblings, his mom and dad, the big old crocodile and the tall, tall giraffe.  However, things can change when Little Hippo helps turn over a small beetle trapped on its back. This simple and beautiful story with soft black-outlined-colored illustrations all by Valeri Gorbachev will please young children as it moves from unhappy to happy, all because of a good deed. 

    Saturday, July 1, 2017

    Some Baskets Full - Not All

    Celebrating with Ruth Ayres at Discover, Play, Build, and linking with others who share, too. I'm always grateful to Ruth for our weekly celebrations together.

           I haven't shared for a couple of weeks. My life is good, all things filling my days are good, and a week from today I'll be at the beach! A favorite thing to celebrate there, and all the rest of the year. I wish everyone a good holiday this Independence Day, one in which to celebrate our wonderful country.
           Here are some pictures that show some of what's been going on, library book sale finds, fun with the grand-girls, flowers, of course, my favorite "gargoyle" at the airport and sky!