Thursday, November 30, 2017

Poetry Friday - December Haiku

         Poetry Friday is hosted by Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading this time, the person who keeps us organized and who challenges us with her own beautiful poems. Thanks, Mary Lee.

         It's fun that Mary Lee is hosting today because she mentioned last week that she's going to do #HaikuforHealing again this December. You can read her explanation here. After this year I find I need distractions and a goal to look more thoughtfully at the world beyond the screen. We've broken heat records here in Denver this November. It was eighty-one degrees last Monday! While that did not stay, and Tuesday the temperature dropped to a high of about forty, now it's back again to the sixties. We need winter and the moisture snow or rain brings. Thus, I will try to observe what's happening in my world this month, away from the screen!



warm November,
re-claims summer ­–
joggers in shorts

Linda Baie ©All Rights

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Non-Fiction Wonders

    Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover terrific nonfiction picture books!
     I have a giveaway today on this post. It's a fun middle-grade novel, The Splendid Baron Machine by Eric Bower.

         Looking for the music of Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, made me realize that I'm not sure I've ever heard her voice, and it is powerful. Because the tragedy of Soweto of many children being killed is mentioned in the story, here she is in concert with Paul Simon and Graceland singing "Soweto Blues". 
         Miriam's countrymen of South Africa were fortunate indeed to have her fighting for them, against apartheid, first in her youth, then all over the world. And she lived to see freedom, but only after years of living away, watching her people live under harsher and harsher restrictions, and die because of them or fighting against them. This story of Miriam begins with her early childhood when she was already singing, through the praise for her voice and for her ability to sing in the numerous languages of her people. Charly Palmer's wonderful full-color paintings bring both sadness and exuberance to the text. A favorite, but sad, page shows Miriam with tears streaming because she has just become banned from re-entering her country. Kathryn Erskine spent part of her childhood during apartheid and reflects on this and the story of Mama Africa in a beautiful afterword. There is also a timeline, a bibliography and a list of books for further reading. Erskine interjects different foreign words and phrases into the text and gives the translation and pronunciation in a glossary.

The Splendid Baron Submarine -- Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Yes! A second book about the Baron family! The Splendid Baron Submarine, the Bizarre Baron Inventions by Eric Bower was published in mid-November and it's sure to please a lot of young middle readers.

       The tour is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Amberjack Publishing.

        Sometimes it's a challenge to get into the minds of middle-grade readers, but Eric Bower has succeeded in this book about W.B. (Waldo) Baron, a middle-grade boy who has started a new school year in the classroom corner wearing a dunce cap. He has just read some of his summertime adventures to his class, and his teacher is convinced he's lying.         
        Only those of us who have read this whole story realize that no matter the outrageous shenanigans W.B. told, it is true life for a young boy. At first, I too wondered how a boy whose family lives in the horse-drawn carriage age, whose parents, world-class inventors, can possibly already be "flying" an Air Oh! plane, shrinking things, and using a submarine to find treasure with a pirate's curse? Then I believe I understood. Young readers' inner imaginations are like this. They wish they could have these crazy adventures instead of their often-boring daily lives of school and soccer, music lessons and home. Yes, a good life, but not even close to as exciting as Waldo's. 
       In the corner, Waldo manages to whisper about his summer to a group of mice, also in a corner home and we readers get to listen, too. There are those unique inventions (a steam-powered submarine!), secret meetings, and a rude monkey one this journey.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Slicing Up The Days

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


         It is hard to watch the news. I know many of you feel that, and have felt it for over a year now. I am trying to keep up, send letters, contribute to those organizations who are fighting for our freedoms. And I am finding time to take a break, to keep my spirits up, to find that the world does hold joy when one looks. 

I saw a piece this past Sunday about the plight especially of the children in Syria where not only are soldiers being bombed, but the hospitals who are caring for the injured, and many are children, badly injured, dying. But they also showed doctors and nurses who stay, despite the risk to their own lives. 

I see journalists carrying on to find truth, what we in our country count on, and I wish I could tell them all "thank you".

I see my grandchildren, eager to live their lives in play, whether moving into college searching and passionate about photography, or navigating new social changes of 3rd grade, or discovering that letters can turn into words, they are learning that growing older can be 'life-changing" and just plain fun, too. The girls spent much of the day with me today, last day before returning to school. It was play, play, play! I contributed snacks, project materials, and some Christmas books.

 I talk to my family, proud to know they are aware of those things important to our country.

And I am lucky that I have the time to be out in nature, visiting all over my neighborhood, even in my own garden. We've been unusually warm recently. I saw a ladybug today and took one picture of the rose hips, colored beauties, bird food! 

Searching for good things helps, knowing that I can make my days better helps. Reading and writing, that too creates joy.
rose hips in one part of my garden 


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Monday Reading

              Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!  Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki who share from their own reading lives and support this meme, too.


          Thanks to Candlewick Press for the advanced copy of this book, out in mid-October. Here is a heroine whose voice does not waver, though tears fall in sorrow when shouting over a success, while proudly knowing deep inside what is the right thing to do in living life. Lindsay Eager does not stop weaving this story with current adventure, flashback chapters (Just wait until you’re in the middle of a wonderful part and turn the page to “Two Years Ago!”) Eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail, daughter of well-known Drs Quail, ocean scientists, grew up with the sea, with so much knowledge she is nearly a partner to her parents. Disaster breaks early, and Fidelia faces the biggest problem of her life, at least the biggest until she is captured by the most vicious pirate of the seas, Merrick the Monstrous. There is suspense, the science of Fidelia’s inventions, the ocean’s creatures and the ocean itself. Readers will read about passion and heartbreak.  Not only is Fidelia a character we are able to know deeply, but the other characters also enrich the story with unique personalities, stories that are revealed slowly, often with sympathy, but sometimes with horror. And there is beautiful writing! I cannot wait for the next book but will savor this one for a while first.

A Week of Celebrations

     Celebrating with Ruth Ayres and others today. After this Thanksgiving, I have had a day or two to bring up the boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement. It makes me happy to see old favorites and to fill my home with glittery trees, small wooden signs, and holiday art I don't see but once a year, like this painting, a gift from my husband years ago. We have lots of art, but this newly hung piece means Christmas is near. 

      I created displays at the bookstore yesterday of all our holiday books that we have stored. No picture, but there are many available! 

       And I began reading an old favorite book, also a gift long ago. If you don't know it, see if you can find a copy, especially if you love children's books like I do.
        It's been a lovely week of visiting. Nathan, Barb, and Carter arrived over a week ago because they had appointments to visit CU and CSU. It' hard to believe Carter is looking at colleges! And they brought the new "kids", Abe and Teddy, sweet dogs, but they are now big enough to escape my yard, so we had to create a few barriers in a couple of places. They all moved to the mountains to our condo to be with friends for a ski Thanksgiving. I had the holiday with Sarah, Dave, Ingrid and Imogene. Some of the pics show that the girls really wanted to eat dinner fast so they could have PIE. 
click to enlarge

        A week of celebrations ends with me having finished the cleaning and am writing and reading, ready for a regular week! But actually, the girls will spend part of tomorrow with me, still one more day of school vacation! They'll help me decorate! 
        Have a wonderful week everyone!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Poetry Friday - One More

          Thanks to Carol, at Carol's Corner, for hosting Poetry Friday and sharing a wonderful new book about a special man and his special library. 
           I hope everyone had a good day of Thanksgiving!

          You may like to read this article about the origin of the poem form, The Golden Shovel. Or you might want to read the whole book by Nikki Grimes, out early this year,  One Last WordWisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, "all" written in this unique form. 

          Instead of 'one last word', I have one last poem about autumn, using one line from Loss by Carl Adamschick.

The first line must mention the wind,
in November, master of the lifting
of the trees, naked without their leaves,
stretching out as they turn from
summer, intermingling branches.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Journey for Thanksgiving

Thanks to Jane, who really is a Rain City Librarian, for hosting Poetry Friday. If you don't know, Jane recently had her first book published. Here's a pic of the cover! Congratulations, Jane!

      I had quite a journey trying to share one poem with everyone. I am in the midst of unpacking a few Christmas things. One of the first things I do is bring out the books, especially for the grand-girls, but some for me, too. This time, I found an old Cricket Magazine from 1987, but with the Thanksgiving theme. It was tucked inside a bigger book! Inside is a poem that I loved by a poet named Emanuel di Pasquale, the title: "Joy of an Immigrant, a Thanksgiving." It is a beautiful poem, and I wanted to share considering the turmoil that immigrants today are experiencing all over the world. They are looking for their "nests".
      When I looked for the poem, I found something about the poet here. And the Academy of American Poets offers this: Emanuel di PasqualeBorn in Sicily in 1943, Emanuel di Pasquale came to America in 1957. He earned an MA from New York University in 1966 and has been teaching college English ever since. There is more here.
       I am sharing this information because I checked the Cricket Magazine that does show that Pasquale gave permission to share his poem. He was alive then, and still is. Then I found a text of this poem that I can share, but it states: "Here's a poem supposedly written by one of the pilgrims." It's an interesting journey to "think" one has an answer, then when exploring more, one questions, and looks again, hopefully discovering the truth.  

Joy of an Immigrant, a Thanksgiving by Emanuel Pasquale

          "Like a bird grown weak in a land
            where it always rains
            and where all the trees have died,

Here is the link to the rest of the poem. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating. I am thankful for so many things, but one of those high on my list is the Poetry Friday community.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Problem-Solving Thanks

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

               I first learned about this beautifully innovative deception in the longer middle-grade book Double Cross by Paul B. Janeczko. For older readers, like this one, it opens eyes to the desperate problem-solving done in so many ways to help win wars.
This time Chris Barton tells the story from World War I of the need to stop Germany from torpedoing ships of war or those carrying goods to the United Kingdom. Suddenly, the war's loss seemed imminent if something wasn't changed to help those ships. The UK depends on food and other needed items brought in because it is an island, and Germany hoped to starve them into defeat. Things such as training seals to alert for submarines (really!) were considered, but once a lieutenant-commander named Norman Wilkinson introduced the idea of painting ships to confuse the enemy about a ship's speed and direction, and he convinced the king himself, the idea was carried out. Many people contributed to this work, artists and other workers, too. The endnotes give the statistics of about 3,000 ships painted by the UK and 1,256 by the U.S. No one has a way to prove that it indeed helped, but the U-boat attacks stopped and Germany eventually surrendered. Barton tells the story in step by step brief paragraphs, highlighting important parts that occurred. There is an extensive author's note that adds to the information and a timeline.
         In addition to this interesting story of the extreme problem-solving that happens when trying to win a war, Victo Ngai offers daring full-page illustrations that seem to mirror ocean waves. The swirls of color (see the cover) amaze as he illustrates the big ideas to accompany Barton's words. Each double-page highlights one part of the story's words, with the smaller details included. For example, when the early distress of possible starvation is discussed, a warrior is shown huddling over children with empty bowls, a tipped pitcher, broken plates. Swirling in the water are sinking ships with a larger periscope "eye" looking on. It and others serve as powerful illustrations of the story. It's a terrific book.

       It's hard to imagine going to jail, but for a nine-year-old African-American girl. it feels impossible. Audrey loved going to church, listened at home to what was going on in the protests, and loved the food, especially what was cooked when "Mike" came into town and especially "rolls baptized in butter." "Mike" was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When he came, Audrey listened to his words and learned about protests. It wasn't right to have to ride the freight elevator, sit at the back of the bus, or drink at a dirty and warm water fountain. Because of the plans to march didn't work well until Dr. King called for the children to march, Audrey Faye Hendricks realized this was her time to march and she spent a week in jail. There she was the youngest, was lonely, hated the greasy grits served but stuck it out! She was part of the Children's March that happened in May 1963, a march that filled all the jails in Birmingham, Alabama and helped break the segregation laws and rules occurring at that time. 
       It's a story that shows how influential each person who resists can be, no matter the age. Audrey Faye Hendricks continued her work all her life for Civil Rights, was nicknamed the "Civil Rights Queen".  Vanessa BrantleyNewton enlarges this inspiring story with her brightly-colored pages of realistic scenes about Audrey and her march and time in jail. Back matter added are an author's note, a timeline, a recipe of those "Hot rolls baptized in butter" and a source list. How inspiring it would be to read this to grade-school-age children.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Monday Reading - All Good!

              Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love!  Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki who share from their own reading lives and support this meme, too.
          Happy Reading! I'm taking a break next week for Thanksgiving. Wishing those of you who celebrate a very Happy Thanksgiving with your families and friends.
          I think I’ve read each of Margarita’s books, and enjoyed each one for the content that is so expertly woven in, the voice(s) that strongly tell the story, and the background scenes enhancing the story. This time two children tell duo stories. One concerns the environmental issues that concern Cuba, both flora and fauna endangered by clear-cutting forests in order to plant more crops and by those who would steal species in order to sell for profit. The other shows two children pulled apart by a mother who escaped Cuba with her baby boy (Edver) and raised him in the US, leaving behind her husband and toddler girl (Luza). Through relaxation of travel rules, Edver is traveling to visit his father, and to meet Luza, a surprise to him who has never been told she exists. Luza, growing up in Cuba with her father and Abuelo (grandfather) is resentful, but curious about this brother she knows of but has never met. The two children move back and forth between anger and curiosity, both slowly gaining respect for the other’s abilities. Finally, they must work together to save some species from a terrible person called a “Human Vacuum Cleaner” because their errant email has started what has become a danger in the forest. Descriptions of the beauty of the forest make me want to save it, too! I enjoyed this story told in poetic verse.

            Thanks to Candlewick Press, I had the privilege of reading this new story about grumpy (usually) Eugenia Lincoln. Wait till you see what happens! Eugenia tries very hard to deny that this “unexpected package” is something she will keep. Although her words say “no, no, no”, her actions show different feelings, as Kate DiCamillo subtly conveys. A mysterious, and unexpected, box appears and while Eugenia also tries to refuse it even before opening it, somehow it does get opened and there inside is an accordion. Through the story, step by step, Eugenia changes her tune (no pun intended). Kids will love the changes that happen, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Watson and their popular pig among others adds another fun component to this sweet story about Eugenia. Chris van Dusen adds his own ideas about the characters. The changes in Eugenia’s facial expressions are beautifully done.