Thursday, November 15, 2018

Poetry Friday Is Here - With A Giveaway

Poetry Friday is here! Welcome to all! 

        I have a special giveaway today, a new book for bedtime by Rosemary Wells and a signed print from it! I assume most of you know Rosemary Wells, author of so many sweet books, ones my children grew up with, and now my grandchildren love them, too. We especially love the adventures with Max and Ruby during the holidays. 

      I love this book so much that I wish I could photograph each page to share with you. As evening comes, Rosemary has written a lullaby with what she shows are the seven steps of bedtime: Eat supper, Put away toys, Take a bath, Put on pajamas, Listen to a story, Hear a good-night song, Drift off to sleep. They are not written that way, of course, but shown in the lullaby, a line and a picture at a time. It begins with "The owls and the crickets are singing together", that beloved evening sound welcoming day's end. In rhyming lines, Rosemary shares the happiness of time with dad playing a song on his fiddle: "May the noises of evening be gentle and airy." and with mom reading the bedtime story: "The morning is hiding behind the next cloud." If you are the kind of person who sings, I imagine that anyone reading the story could sing it instead of reading it. With sweet illustrations, the book will soon be a favorite for young children, a snuggly ending to their day.

       The opening immediately brings a smile:

The owls and the crickets are singing together.

The night wind has taken the moon for a ride.
The first rain of summer is bending the heather
as soft as a feather, I hear it outside.

The Print you will receive.

      I will place your names in a basket and draw two! Yes, there are two giveaways. I will send one book and print and the publisher will send the second one, US addresses only, sorry. If you'd like to win the prize, please leave a comment sharing a favorite bedtime lullaby, song or book. I'll announce the winners next week. Happy Thanksgiving to all, however or if you celebrate. I hope it is a restful one as well as tasty!

      A big thank you to Karen Walsh at Candlewick Press for this giveaway opportunity!

      One last thing! I've read this book to the granddaughters. It made me nostalgic to remember all the bedtime books and lullabies I've enjoyed with babies and young children, mine included. A recent quote I found touched me, wondering if it's not only for these sweet bedtime moments but for time with everyone in today's fractured world. By Arnold Bennett, a British Author of the early 20th century: "Ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by tone of voice." 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Non-Fiction Picture Books Tell Truth

art by Sarah S. Brannen
           Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

I am grateful for Michele Knott who shared this wonderful book earlier HERE! It is still another inspiring biography of this woman named one of "The Most Significant Americans of All Time" by Smithsonian Magazine in 2014, according to the author's note at the back. 

           One year when I taught, my students studied biographies and one assignment was to discover a little-known person in history, research her or him, and create a scrapbook of that life as if they were the persons they chose. One of my students chose Sojourner Truth. Now I wish I had that scrapbook to look at again. Most of what I remember is that she had accomplished so much that took great courage, like walking away as a slave and being helped by some abolitionists. I know that my student would have loved seeing this picture book.
          As the story evolves, the illustrator Daniel Minter chose to create a poetic page in the same style every few pages, serving as a comment on what has occurred or what's to come. It begins with “In Slavery Time, when Hope was a seed waiting to be planted.” 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Monday Reading - Best Reads

          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.

        Thanks to Candlewick, I've read this latest book by Lindsay Eagar, out in October. I have previously loved Lindsay's Hour of The Bees, then Race To The Bottom of The Sea, all three realistic family stories of girls struggling to overcome personal (inside family) challenges, brushed with the magic of both believers and non-believers. In The Bigfoot Files, there happens to be a television show that follows and documents those thought-to-be-crazed searchers and believers of beings in our world like the Loch Ness Monster, or Bigfoot! Twelve-year-old Miranda Cho had always believed it all, believed her mother's obsession with monsters, her life filled with talk of sightings, overnight camping trips with others using night vision to capture a first look, and stories from her mother she asked for with the words "Tell Me A Monster." At twelve, a skeptical, want-to-prove-it Miranda has emerged, especially when her quirky mother, Kat, embarrasses her before a friend, now lost, and hides unopened bills and notices of foreclosure in a silverware drawer. Her eyerolls and words of disgust say it all. She wants proof like every scientist. Miranda agrees to go on one last creature hunt and plans to prove once and for all that her mother is wrong, wrong, wrong. It's time to grow up and be a real mother. 
        Detail by detail, I felt the sadness and tension of a young girl who really just wanted a mom who remembered to turn in library books, who didn't drive a crazy-looking "Critter Mobile", one who paid the bills. Sadly, she also wants a mom who hadn't driven away her father. Miranda tries so hard to be perfect. She's an A student, she's recently been elected to be Student Council President. And when she needs inner strength, she pulls out one more hair. In this final trip that goes terribly wrong, Miranda learns her mother's own belief, one that it appears Lindsay Eager loves teaching all of us readers, that "some things are true whether you believe them or not." It's a terrific story with love for all kinds of families.
         I also am grateful to have a copy of this wonderful book from Candlewick, just in time for holiday gift-giving, for those you know love poetry, OR a gift for yourself. Publisher at Nosy Crow, Kate Wilson, remembered a book she had as a child filled with poetry, one she still has, from which she loved poetry. She wanted to create a new book filled with poetry too, asked Fiona Waters to select them and Frann Preston-Gannon to illustrate. You can choose to read a poem a day next year, or begin as soon as the book is in your hands. You can find favorite poets, look for new ones, find your birthday poem or your child's. Poets familiar and poets new to me are included. It's a must-see, must-have book for poetry lovers, for a classroom perhaps, for a favorite person. Here's the Thanksgiving page I thought you'd like to see since that holiday is near.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Poetry Friday - Legacy

           Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty has the Poetry Friday Roundup today, a gathering of words that feel good to the soul. Thank you, Michelle!

             I'm been thinking much about women recently, those close in my family and those I know only through well-known, sometimes famous, deeds. And I've been watching campaigns by women all over the U.S. I am proud of all the women who ran in this election and prouder still that so many will be traveling to Washington. It's often a surprise what poetry finds me. I do write every day, not always a poem, but some lines that intrigue me I want to capture. This time, with so many posting #Vote pictures and art on social media with quite a few of them using the suffragettes as inspiration, I've written about mothers and daughters, what links between, what is passed on from one to the other, implicit hopes from elder to youth. Perhaps it's also about our links from woman to woman? It's a sestina, a form I like writing though don't do often.

Sestina Memoir

From the mantle shelf, the book
was brought with a smile by the mother.
She turned then toward her daughter,
inviting her to sit by the fire
and listen to poems of the seasons,
at this time of cold, snow, ice—of winter.

Soon, the words reminded of a long-ago winter
when others sat and marveled over a book,
this book, the only one 'twas valued, about the seasons.
It told of long years' wisdom, that mothers
passed on to their daughters.  The fire
blazed, illuminating the face of the daughter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Non-Fiction Picture Books Scream

art by Sarah S. Brannen
Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

            That name "Assad" continues to be in the news, continues not to have anyone confront him, continues to be supported by Russia. Protests happened years ago and those protesting lost to tanks and bombs and soldiers, and they have continued to have to escape for their safety. This book by Don Brown, like his "Drowned City" about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, is a heartbreaking one, told in frightened pictures, over and over again. Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria. The surprising numbers of fleeing victims have overwhelmed neighboring countries, and chaos has followed. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are "the unwanted". I recently read a news article telling of the resentment felt by East Germans from the pressure of over one million refugees arriving in their country. Evidently, those in the East still feel their lives are not as good as those in West Germany.

       A long time ago, an older couple became friends with my parents. They were lovely people and I loved visiting them, ate my first pita bread in their home. I'm sure they have passed on now, but also remember them visiting family in Syria in those years. I know they would be horrified at what has happened to their country. Don Brown shows moments of both horror and hope in this continuing  Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.

      Brown has visited refugee camps in Greece and offers short pieces in the backmatter about each one. In addition to his postscript, there are few good things to share. He says there are 5.7 million registered Syrian refugees. In the first three months of this year, 2018, the United States has accepted eleven for resettlement. There are also source notes and a bibliography. The heartbreaking final page is a poem titled "Hope Behind The Shadow of Pain!", showing a young child drawing the word "Hope" on a refugee tent.
       For anyone who wants to read and feel the refugee plight, this book is one to read and share, with friends, with students.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

It's Monday - Books I Loved

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

           Thanks to Candlewick Press for these first three books, recently published.

         I enjoyed Steve Light's Black Bird, Yellow Sun, and now here is another "flight of fancy" where two children run off to find their dad who's forgotten his lunch box. He works at a construction site, thus the reader meets the "Builders & Breakers", those two introduced at the beginning along with other parts as the story progresses into detailed and varied scenes from a construction site. Those two kids are there, searching, searching, and until the end, no luck. However, on the search, there are many things to see and some astound, especially in two vertical double-page spreads. The second one is when "Diggers dig down, down, down." showing how that excavation works with the help of workers and cranes, even showing hidden dinosaur bones. Many details invite slow poring over the pages.  There is an interesting letter from the author at the back explaining the need for both a builder and a breaker to achieve balance in construction. Endpapers are filled with examples of architectural drawings.

        For the youngest ones, but not a board book, and from Australia, out this past month from Candlewick in the US. Can you tell an animal by only seeing its behind? This is the game, a clever one with clear word clues paired with that so interesting tail! It even begins with the endpaper before the title page, a beautiful peacock's tail. John Carty's art is new to me, but his fifteen watercolored animals are realistic and gorgeous. The copyright page shares that the art is adapted from nineteenth-century artwork. I'm sure that it will be a popular guessing time for young readers and they may learn some new names in case they don't know them all.

an extraordinary gift for kids
         An idea from Jules Verne's Around The World In Eighty Days, there Phineas Foff makes his marvelous bet: that he can travel the circumference of the world in no more than eighty days. Perhaps you've read the book or perhaps you've seen the movie of years ago, but this time, kids can visit each double-page spread and take the challenge there. Most pages include hundreds of modes of travel, like hot air balloons, bicycles, and sailing ships. A few pages visit iconic places in the world, like the Eiffel Tower. On the pages, readers are asked to spot a certain thing or things. For example, on a page with buildings that show outside staircases, you're asked to choose the one building with staircases all the way to the roof. Aleksandra Artymowska fills each page with colorful intricate designs. There is one added challenge at the very back where answers are found. It's a terrific book that will bring lots of fun when taking on the challenges. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Poetry Friday - Looking Out Into The World

         Poetry Friday is at Jama's Alphabet Soup today. Thanks for your inspirational post, Jama! We will not stop fighting to do what is right for our country, for the world.

         My grandfather used to quote this to me, telling me that we all are part of the world and we need to work for others, not only ourselves. 

'No Man is an Island'

No man is an island entire of itself; every man (and woman)
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's (and womans') death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in (human)kind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne 

        It is November, election month, is a great time to share this new rhyming picture book by Dave Eggers. When I read it, I remembered the John Donne words above, and celebrate that this book shares that same message for younger children, really for us all.

         If you study social justice in the classroom, if you want to share and inspire your own children, or grandchildren, to be good citizens, this will be a terrific book to read together. I hope it will inspire you readers, too. Lists can be made to see where in the community one can help. From small deeds to large ones, all of us need to find some way to help our neighbors, our neighborhoods, our towns and cities. 
        In rhyme with delightful cut-paper illustrations by Shawn Harris, Eggers shares a simple and straightforward message : 
From a beginning looking out. . .
"A citizen's not what you are--
a citizen is what you do.
A citizen cannot forget
the world is more than you."
To going out and joining in, wherever one sees a need.

          Enjoy the book when you can, go out into your special world and find actions that will make it better.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Non-Fiction - Being Citizens

art by Sarah S. Brannen
Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

          It is a bit late to be sharing these two books, but I wanted to be sure that people knew of them for this week before the election and for the future.

       This book is twenty years old, donated to my used bookstore. It doesn't surpass all the RBG books out for older students, but if you want a book that thoroughly offers the background history and the way courts, especially the Supreme Court, works in an accessible way for young children, it is a good one. Told in verse with fun examples like the case considered that all mice must eat a different cheese every day, against freedom of choice! There is an extra historical note at the back for parents and teachers with more detailed information. 
       My students had the good fortune to sit in on a session with our state supreme court, examining a case, then making our own decision later, and returning to hear the court's final decision. If you have older students and are able to do this, it is a marvelous experience.

          This book is a beautiful one for election prep. Each double-page spread answers one question like "How do we know who to choose in an election?" where it explains the two-party system, how the Republicans and Democrats got their mascots, and the importance of asking lots of questions before choosing. 

         There is diversity included in the illustrations and extra boxes of information along the way. Colorful art that seems to have red, white and blue dominating the pictures. They are cartoon-like exaggerations sometimes, quite entertaining as they accompany the explanations. It flows well, tells just enough to inform about each topic.
A favorite part of a page!
       The back matter includes a timeline and sources for additional reading.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Monday Reading - Lovely Books

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

          I have held onto this second book, The Remember Balloons for a while. My husband passed away from Parkinson's with its own kind of dementia, and it wasn't a book I was really wanting to read, though I know it is good to have a picture book to help open the topic for children, to help them understand. Then, Candlewick sent me this first book, Dad's Camera, and I didn't know that it, too, was about Alzheimer's Disease. Both are good reminders that dementia can take different forms and be explained sweetly to children who may need to understand a family member.

           Each person with a disease that attacks the memory is different, as is this father in this moving picture book, an emotional look at a family touched by Alzheimer’s. Dad keeps taking photos with an old camera he has found. The snapshots are meant to celebrate his memories and his life, so his family has something to remember him by. However, they don't understand why he is taking photos of strange things, like his keys, his coffee cup, the objects scattered on his desk. He starts doing a lot of things that are hard to understand, like putting items that belong in the fridge in the cupboard and ones that belong in the cupboard in the fridge. At the end, they do realize that he loved them very much. First published in Australia.

        Jessie Oliveros does a terrific job of telling about Alzheimer's Disease in an easy-to-understand way for young readers. She uses the analogy of balloons as memories and at first the boy telling the story shares he has way more "balloons" than his little brother. His favorite is the one filled with his last birthday party. His mom and dad have more than he does, but his grandpa has more than all of them together, with marvelous stories. As the story moves along, Grandpa sometimes tells about one balloon twice, and then he begins to forget those stories. They simply float away. The boy is shattered, but his parents help him realize that now Grandpa's balloons belong to him that he can share. Dana Wulfekotte illustrates the story with a limited palette except for those beautiful memory balloons.  

       It's a week after the full moon, a delightful time to read this beautiful story, a folktale, of a mother making huge mooncakes, making sure her daughter knows that she is not to take any bites of it. That daughter's name is Little Star. However, in the night, Little Star wakes to look up and see how tasty that cake looks. Perhaps she can have just a nibble? With black sky background, Little Star dressed in pajamas covered with stars, and that beautiful, glowing, delicious-looking Mooncake filling up the pages, bit by bite the reader sees the moon's monthly journey across the sky. I adore the little details, like the crumbs on Little Star's face after her first bite. And the endpapers include the cooking scene with a boxed mix titled Leo and a small splash of spilled milk turns into spiral one sees in outer space. It's a magical book.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Poetry Friday - Those Goodbyes

Kay McGriff at A Journey Through The Pages hosts this final Poetry Friday in October with a view of her own sunrise inspiration. Thanks, Kay!

I'm visiting Irene Latham at Live Your Poem today with an "Octopoem" for Agnes, her favorite octopus, celebrating #Octopusmonth.

My days filled with leaves this week, alongside the challenging news, daily things like checking for a roof leak (no answer to the ceiling crack yet-yikes), and fun, too, with the grandgirls and at the bookstore. 

        I raked them. I filled paper bags from Ace Hardware and delivered them to our "Leaf Drop" program for future mulch. I gathered some beautiful ones to lay on the dining table and show Ingrid and Imogene how to identify them. And, sharing below, I took a walk. Actually, I took more than one, but. . .  I am fortunate to live where there are many trees, a forest city! So, a poem, too.

I Went Out For A Walk

Some trees spread their prints.
Leafy remains lie like tablecloths,
picnic ready.
Crispy crimson clings for show,
ignoring translucent evidence
of goodbyes.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

NF Picture Books - Amazing Nature

art by Sarah S. Brannen
Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

           Thirteen animals are explored in this wonderful book first published in Spain about how animals build their homes and the interesting, and needed, approach each chooses in that construction. With marvelous mixed-media illustrations by Julio Antonio Blasco, Daniel Nassar shares much information about each, like where and why the home type, how it's built, and special characteristics of the animals that aid the construction. Each page has a unique fold-out that mimics a "plan" with materials listed and the actual project drawn on graph paper. (see example below).

An example of a full double-page spread.

What is seen when you lift the flap on the right in the page shown above.

          From insects like termites to birds like the bower bird and including mammals like chimpanzees, it's a wide array of architectural masterpieces explained. I loved the way the home site of each animal is cleverly added to the pages, like those above with the African tree frog's home nestled high in a tree to protect against predators, but over water so when the eggs hatch, those little tadpoles fall into the water. 

         This book will be a great beginning to a classroom study of "homes" or part of a study of "animals". It's terrific. And it will make a great pairing with A House In The Sky: And Other Uncommon Animal Homes by Steve Jenkins and Robin Gourley. See Alyson's post above for its new honor.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Monday Reading - Books Loved

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

          The last time I posted, I shared this book by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin. Now I want to congratulate them for being chosen for as a finalist for the National Book Award! See that new shiny sticker!

            I've been visiting my son and family out of town, so read very little while there, but have tried to catch up this past weekend and want to share a variety of books!

             Yes, finally I understand why all the raving about this story. It is a beautiful read, one I had to put down for my trip away, and raced through last Thursday. There are alternating time settings, a lot of puzzles, especially brilliant that while Candice and Brandon are working out the biggest puzzle, we readers are also tested in solving Varian Johnson's puzzle challenge to us. I enjoyed adding each piece, trying a shape in one place or in another, right along with those two young kids whose friendship grows through some ups and downs, and ends with an honest partnership. There are pieces that might surprise, but ones that will show other kids how life can work out just fine through some honest talk between friends, between kids and parents, and between other kids and other adults (if only they would listen to each other). Don't miss this if you have put it off a while as I did!

             Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. You may know his Ted talk in which he shares this story, but now, in a limited palette that fits his life, it becomes something to love despite the darkness, to admire because of the goodness that he also showed. Unsparing love from all his family, including his heroin-addicted mother whom he only wishes he could be with, and finally just be with a little bit more because full-time was never possible. They didn't count on raising another child, but his grandparents took him, ensured he was as safe as they could make him. Even in the lowest points, they supported and encouraged him. From his beginnings, I felt the underlying sadness throughout but the celebrations happened, too. Jarrett showed in examples throughout that his art passion truly became his "saving grace". Perhaps there are others who have not been touched by drug abuse and sorrow because of it, but my family has. This memoir feels like a kind of hand-holding, something young adults can hold onto with hope in Jarrett's story as inspiration.
      You can hear Terry Gross interview Jarrett on NPR here! Just by chance, I was listening while out on errands this week. It was nice to hear his voice again.
           I've also had the joy of receiving some special books from Candlewick, some that may be the right gift for a special person or class in your life.

         Recently published in the U.S., Ingela P Arrhenius (remember her giant animal book!) has created another over-sized book all about cities. In City, she highlights all the wonders one can find, perhaps not in every city, like subways, but most pages are filled with familiar sights. There are things, like newsstands and airports and construction sites, filled with all kinds of people enjoying those places. She also included people in their own pages, like mail carriers and skateboarders! Graphic images make these city parts come alive and the endpapers also are full of smaller "city" discoveries: people like construction workers, soccer players, and vendors; things like clocks, cranes, and onions! I know that classrooms often have a yearlong theme, like Cities, to study. This is the perfect book to underpin discovering all that a city can be.