Thursday, June 14, 2018

Finding The Words I Need

         Poetry Friday is hosted by Karen Edmisten this week, at her blog of the same name! Thanks, Karen! And thanks for sharing the wonderful poems of love!

       For more than a year much of the news has been bleak. For over a year, nearly every day there is still another event that for me and some people in the U.S., even the world, has produced outrage. It's been a tough time and continues to be.

       I discovered this book from someone's recommendation although I don't remember who so I can say thanks. It's been a delight to read the poems within, so many celebrate life while others decry situations. It is worth reading bit by bit, poem by poem, re-reading favorites you've bookmarked.

         I was delighted seeing the numerous poets, poems and some quotes included, like  "Praise The Mutilated World" by Adam Zagajewski, also known as the 9-11 poet, translated by Clare Cavanagh, "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, "Good Bones" by Maggie Smith, "Refugees" by Brian Bilston and "Barter" by Sara Teasdale, a most favorite of mine. Life does have loveliness to sell!
        I know you'll recognize "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye, "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry and "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou. If you cannot find the book, enjoy these words I've shared. We can stand on and with them, can we not? 

       Here is one more favorite that speaks loud to me at this time in our history:


Ella Wheeler Wilcox

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.
Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.
          And toward the end of the book: 
"There is a crack in everything.  That's how the light gets in." 
Leonard Cohen

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Celebrating Goodness in The Week

      Celebrating today with Ruth Ayres and others who share. I want to celebrate what you can do with children, in this case, my grandchildren. Recently, a friend told me that she flew out of state to spend time with a grandchild so his parents could take a short trip. All he was willing to do was play with his Ipad or watch TV. She was quite upset, wondered why they didn't just hire a sitter since he was not interested in going anywhere, playing anything, reading books together, etc. My own granddaughters do play with different apps and they do watch TV, but mostly they "play" with toys, or imagine different scenarios in that kind of "play", or when something comes along that grabs their interest, they create, too. 
        I shared the following review earlier this week and had already read the book to my youngest granddaughter who will be in first grade. The girls spent part of yesterday and overnight till after lunch today with me. First, scooters around the neighborhood, then after dinner, this is what we did, after playing numerous games of Uno. 

      My review: I wanted to be sure to share this wonderful older book (1955) from Beatrice Schenk de Regniers and terrific Maurice Sendak. I can imagine kids taking off with their own ideas after reading this. These two ask the questions, then act out the silly answers, and in rhyme, too. What can you do with a shoe? "You can put it on your ear/on your beery-leery ear; You can put it on your ear, tra-la./Or wear it on your head/Or butter it like bread/Or use apple jam instead, ha ha." They move on to say this is nonsense and put the shoe in its proper place. There is more: what can you do with a chair, a hat, a broom and on. It is hilarious and my youngest granddaughter and I laughed and laughed. I hope you can find it and use it to find more items to brainstorm lists of "what can you do with a . . .! 


Scootering around the Block 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

#PoetryFriday - Wings & Things

photo-Linda Baie
Poetry Friday is at Whispers from the Ridge with Kiesha Shepard this week and she has a beautiful poem that invites us all to step inside to sing along her "Summer Song"! Be sure to visit to read everyone's poetry offerings!
        My youngest granddaughter Imogene's kindergarten class studied insects all year and I shared David Harrison's new poetry book, Crawly School for Bugs: Poems to Drive You Buggy a few months ago in this post

       Now I've discovered Carol Murray's Cricket In The Thicket: Poems About Bugs, illustrated by Melissa Sweet. I just had a bit of time to share it with Imi's teacher and copy a couple of poems for the class, wish it had been around all year. Imi came home talking often about insect parts, knew them all, and the differences among the sexes, the work they did, and on. I was impressed, as I am by the creative way Carol has integrated what's fact with clever wordplay in her poems. Melissa Sweet's mixed-media style adds to the invitation of the book to smile and learn and enjoy these animals some think are scary!
         Twenty-seven different insects float, sit, fly and crawl along the pages while basking in the poems written about them. The gorgeous dragonfly becomes a "mini-glider in the sky" while those wonders of playthings, Roly-Polys, "lodge in camouflage,/all rolled up in a ball,/but a gentle nudge will make them budge,/and then they start to crawl." Also called "pill bugs", the book tells "they are actually crustaceans, like shrimp and crayfish, and have seven pairs of legs." 
        A favorite double page shows a caterpillar, the larva of the monarch butterfly, munching on milkweed, poisonous to birds, those pretty green pods seen in the wild. The page includes a cocoon above, then butterflies flying away into the air on the right. Lucky they are! Carol writes, "Most usually, I'm hidden/when attackers choose to dine,/and birds don't like my milkweed taste. How very, very fine!" 
         Insects on the "to-be-avoided" list of many are included, too, like ticks and mosquitos, cockroaches and termites. Carol acknowledges the harm they do in the poems but also includes quite amazing information as in Par-tick-u-lar-ly Awesome: "No wonder that the tiny tick/seems so abundant, often thick./The female lays (now here's the scoop)/five thousand eggs--in one fell swoop." 
        I've only shared a few examples from the wide variety of insects in the book. Those beloved are there, too, the honeybee and the firefly, along with the title crickets plus grasshoppers and praying mantises. Melissa Sweet's art enhances every page, adding to parts of her collages snippets of print that have words concerning insects. It's a wonder of a book that will excite anyone who wonders about those flitting, crawling animals that are now showing themselves this spring. Here are two pages I loved and learned from. 
      Extraordinary adaptations show off throughout the book, like this spotted water beetle who have a way to breathe underwater by carrying air beneath their wings. Carol Murray has cleverly adapted her poem to a television show you may recognize in her title, "Water Beetles Got Talent" and in the words: "I creep and crawl and glide the sky,/I'm begging for your vote./I've got a lot of talent,/I can flip--and fly--and float!"

       There is additional information about each of the twenty-seven in the backmatter. I imagine that any classroom would love to use this as a mentor text for non-fiction research and writing poems. It's a terrific new poetry book.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Non-Fiction Picture Books - A Favorite Thing

art by Sarah S. Brannen

         Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  
       I have read Biblioburro by Jeannette Winter, Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile by Gloria Houston, My Librarian Is A Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World by Margriet Ruurs, and now, this marvelous one about the woman who created the first bookmobile in the U.S.

       Mary Lemist Titcomb was born in 1852, fortunate enough to have parents who allowed her to continue her education, and the story tells that as her brothers began leaving for careers like medicine, Mary wanted to do something, too. Few careers were open to women at that time other than nursing or teaching. Fortunately, the field of librarianship was just emerging and Mary was excited about the idea of working with books and sharing them with others. There was no formal way to become educated in this new career, so Mary moved to Concord, Massachusetts and began working there as an unpaid intern. She never stopped fulfilling her passion for the library. The book is detailed, including numerous photos and documents about Mary's career. She moved from place to place, never failing to succeed in improving what libraries meant, to her and to her patrons!
          Mary ended her career as the head of a brand new library in Washington County, Maryland, a mostly rural county. Some did not like that a "newcomer" was hired. Some thought it silly to even open a library. Rural people didn't have time to read! When it opened, crowds arrived and never stopped. Mary seemed to have found a real home.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

It's Monday - Terrific Books To Share

          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  
          First, a link you might know, but wanted to share in case you missed it. Here's a great list of "15 picture books to help you raise kind, tolerant kids" from

        This just out May 22nd. I didn't read it fast, found it fascinating, sad, filled with the main character Noah's thoughts, that soon-graduated boy who has been breaking swim-competition records, is being scouted by colleges, suddenly has a back injury. Hm-m, is there more to know? And would teens reading this understand what's really going on? I bet many will and then pass this on as a terrific book! 
       Adam Silvera, in part of his review, writes: "A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us." And it is about friends, and what happens when we think they've abandoned us. And it's about a couple of betrayals, between friends and by one acquaintance. Noah has these "strange fascinations" that become all too fantastic and true, but maybe not. Finally, they change into a few real answers that have been sought by him, knowing he's moving into his own adult life, saying: "I'm beginning to suspect a plot wherein my Strange Fascinations have been conspiring together to remind me that this world is both very real and full of very real magic." 

         How can I know that many teens will like this? I only hope that those who will find a kinship with Noah will read it and re-read it again. There are good things here in this story. Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC.

        In his refugee camp, the biggest thing Joseph wants to do is ride the one bike in the camp. But it is too big. He learns to repair it, then waits to grow so he can ride! Each time he sees the bike, the owner tells him "Tomorrow. Hey!" Then he moves to America, and among all the new, interesting and sometimes scary things, there is a girl whose hair goes "whoosh" who rides a red bike, one that is just Joseph's size! The events after that will fill your heart. Illustrations are black-outlined and full of feelings and color.
       Back and forth mother and daughter go, the mother is willing to work hard picking coffee beans at ten cents a pound so that her daughter can go beyond the mountains and see the world, go to school. The daughter is torn by her decision to leave, seeing her mother's hands "coarsened and scratched." She says "I will stay with you." Later, "Your back, Mama. I can see, How it bends and stoops in pain. . . I will stay with you." Then, Mama tells how she is bound to the village, implying lack of education. Finally, "I will come home to you, by and by." With these brief words between two who love each other, the story shows beautifully the poignant parting, the sacrifice made. I read it to my young granddaughters and they understood and realized that others lead very different lives than they do. The full-page illustrations are wonderful, filled with the present heartbreak, poignant in that final double spread of the two hands pulling apart.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Celebrating Good Things Always

      Celebrating today with Ruth Ayres and others who share.  

"It is no bad thing celebrating a simple life."  Tolkien

           This week filled up fast, and I was busy with gardening, the bookstore, writing, servicing the car, LIFE! I am wishing for a "do nothing" day as Sam described, probably where I'll read all day! Some of my "do nothing" days also mean work in the garden, a pleasure in the time spent in all that beauty. This week, the swallowtails arrived and I happened to be out to see them.  

       This was the girls' final week of school so I had both of them on Tuesday. First, we visited our favorite Indie, The Tattered Cover, to choose books to give their teachers and to browse and discover new ones we'd also like to read. And then we just came back home to sign the books and to read some of the library books I already have, to play. Here's one book to love that I shared last Monday. Author Kyle Lukoff takes a step further in describing those collective animal names of which we are fond. I love ravens and crows, so this page is a favorite. Illustrations by Natalie Nelson are wonderful.

           I worked all day at the bookstore Thursday. We have a new and large donation from a young man who was told to clean out his room! He had so many fantasy books, Harry Potter to Redwall to Riordan's books and on. We are grateful! And we're starting a June sale of half price in Children's books, ready for Summer reading! Here's a small taste!