Thursday, September 12, 2019

#Poetry Friday - By the Light of the Moon

          This full-moon Friday of September, Laura Purdie Salas hosts this Poetry Friday at her blog, Writing The World for Kids. Thanks to Laura, there is a wonderful moon book ready to excite children about this particular Friday because of the full moon and If You Were the Moon. This 'early' harvest moon, on Friday, the 13th, is the first one connecting these two things since 2000 and will not happen again until 2049! 

        Today, she's also getting us ready by sharing her newest book, Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle-How Animals Get Ready for Winter which I reviewed here. We might take some hints from this book as we head toward October! Laura's also asking what things we do to prepare and hosting a giveaway, too!

      I love the moon, have moon journaled with my students, written more than one poem about it, feel more energy when the moon is waxing. Yes, I do! This time I am sharing a poem I discovered in an old anthology that was donated at the used bookstore where I volunteer. If you didn't know, it is non-profit and run entirely by volunteers, a special place! Here's the book, and the poem.
                                                             The Moon-Sheep
The moon seems like a docile sheep,
She pastures while all people sleep;
But sometimes, when she goes astray,
She wanders all alone by day.

Up in the clear blue morning air
We are surprised to see her there,
Grazing in her woolly white,
Waiting the return of night.

When dusk lets down the meadow bars
She greets again her lambs, the stars!

     When I researched the poem, I discovered this lovely book by Christopher Morley full of other poems by him on Project Gutenberg. You can read more about him here at The Poetry Foundation where it reads that these words were added to his obituary by Morley himself. “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”

#MustReadin2019 Fall Update

   Thanks to Carrie Gelson of There's A Book for That for hosting a #MustRead group each year for those who continue to create a list of lonely books on shelves or lists that we are excited about when bought or listed, then ignore, or find others that call more loudly.  See the above link to Carrie's blog to find out more!

       I still haven't read them all, but three more since the last update, shown in red. Here's what has happened thus far--ten out of thirteen! Of those recent three, don't miss any! Of course it depends on the genre you love or the age you want to read for. They are all terrific with their own unique stories.
Earlier books read are in blue, with links to my reviews on Goodreads.

Mary's Monster - Lita Judge

The Poet X  - Elizabeth Acevedo

Illegal - Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin

Blood Water Paint - Joy McCullough

I Am Still Alive - Kate Alice Marshall

Front Desk - Kelly Yang

Children of Blood and Bone - Toni Adeyemi

Dry - Neal Shusterman

Me And Marvin Gardens - A.S. King

Solo & Swing - Kwame Alexander

Educated: A Memoir - Tara Westover

Becoming - Michelle Obama

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Non-Fiction Wednesday - Women's Early Rules

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone!

           This is not a non-fiction story, but a story for younger children to help them begin to understand the rules made for girls and women long ago of things they could not do. It will inspire good conversations and a desire to learn more! Backmatter added will help that journey. We've heard about those things allowed only for men and boys, still sadly happening today. This time, it's bicycle riding and the terrible things that could happen when girls (or women) rode this new, wonderful invention. 
          In the story, Louisa Belinda Bellflower, a young girl wants badly to ride her brother's bicycle, no matter that she might get "bicycle face". The story shares that is because "girls aren't strong enough to balance, that your eyes will bulge, and your jaw will close up from the strain of trying--maybe FOREVER." Belinda flings off her skirt, puts on her brother's pants and asks him to teach her to ride! One other great thing about the book is the never-give-up attitude shown by Belinda. She falls, then falls again, but keeps getting back on until she is riding! Her eyes did bulge, her mouth did widen, into a "gigantic, joyous smile"!
         Larissa Theule adds extra information at the back, "About Bicycle Face" and the warnings about women riding along with the dangers of not only "bicycle face", but "bicycle leg" and "bicycle hump". Nevertheless, women and girls rode, called Wheelwomen and new fashions were devised as well. There is also a page explaining the bicycle influence on the women's right-to-vote movement.
        This quote by Susan B. Anthony is found at the beginning: "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman riding by on a wheel."     
        Kelsey Garrity-Riley's colorful illustrations not only show Belinda's story and joy in her riding but tell a second story of the historical background with her mother working with other suffragettes in the right-to-vote movement. It ends with the mother sewing herself a pair of bloomers and both she and her daughter ready to ride! 
        In a personal family story, I was told that my grandmother caused quite a stir when she rode her horse through the little town where she had gone to live with her new husband. She rode astride wearing riding pants! I'm glad times have changed, am sorry women are still fighting for power to make their own decisions.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday Reading - A Range of Wonderful Books

Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites.  

Yesterday I celebrated Grandparents Day with five wonderful picture books. When you have time, be sure to check them out HERE!

As brutal and terrifying as the original, perhaps more so with the images already there by Renee Nault. It is a message needed, for daughters and granddaughters, the future. It does include less narrative information so if you haven't read the original, you may miss some important points.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the advanced copy of these next three!

         Randy Cecil has written another brief chapter book (with four Acts) for early readers, this time about a little mouse named Douglas and a young girl names Iris Espinosa. Iris loves going to movies, buys popcorn each time from a vendor before the movie, but this time didn't expect to bring a mouse home in her sweater's pocket. It's easy to hear giggles as sweet Iris is thrilled to find the mouse, not alarmed at all. Loving adventure movies, she names him after her favorite actor, Douglas Fairbanks. I think kids may need to look that name up, but it is cute to see that not only does she give him a name, but a vest from one of her dolls. How the adventure continues makes an imaginative story that moves quickly, including a woman from the theater, Iris' older sister and boyfriend, and a cat with six toes. The hijinks, scary escapes and, thank goodness, satisfying ending along with Cecil's detailed illustrations that fill most of the page will be fun for beginning readers. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Celebrating Grandparents Day

Hurrah, it's a day for celebrating. Happy Grandparent's Day!

I have a heap of books to share this day, all newly published, all thanks to Candlewick Press! 

            There may be important moments in one's life, high school and/or college graduations, getting one's driver's license, first job, perhaps marriage, and on. After becoming a parent which is on a list all its own of best things comes becoming a grandparent. That is the phase I'm in in my life. It is a special, special thing. I also must say that my own memories of being with grandparents are wonderful, too. (I had good mentors!)

My three grandchildren in a scene at the beach t
his past June. Yikes!
Is that a sea monster about to attack?

            In bright and friendly watercolor and collage, Joowon Oh creates a loving picture book about one special day a week when Papa welcomes his granddaughter for her weekly visit. Deliberately going to bed early to prepare, stopping by an arts and craft store for supplies, plus two orders of dumplings to go, he is ready for that "run-for-a-hug" seen on the book's cover. My granddaughters live near and each has a special "grandma" day with me and like this story, I prepare according to specific "likes". It only takes a few words and a satisfying play to show the love the two in this story have for each other. Papa says: "I got us some dumplings for lunch." His granddaughter says, "Yay! I love dumplings!" And so their time goes, eating and creating and playing together, a "grandparent" kind of day!

       Henry wants to play yet his Grandpa keeps gardening, seems not to hear when Henry asks questions in this story by Wendy Meddour. His mother says "Give him time" and we readers realize that something is not quite the same anymore. A favorite game is sharing favorite "top threes" which Grandpa finally answers with his top three sandwiches after Henry shares his own. Sweet Henry runs off to make Grandpa's favorites, pulling Grandpa into their special "game", which later includes "top three jellyfish" while eating those sandwiches at the pond. The story's heart is revealed when Henry asks about Grandpa's top three grannies. Grandpa answers with love as we realize his favorite granny is gone. While this may be a surprise to children reading, it is a way to talk about grieving and ways that might help when finally, finally we talk about missing loved ones. Soft watercolors by Daniel Egneus include the varied emotions of the story as Henry and his Grandpa smile over their 'top threes', even when they speak of those grannies. 

         In every culture, grandmas and grandchildren share a very special bond. This time Mina Javaherbin lets a young girl share all the wonderful things she shares with her grandma, up early for prayers, going to the Mosque together, playing under a table draped with all her grandma's chadors, and visiting best friends that include one for both. The mix of Iranian and Islamic traditions of the grandma and the Christian traditions of her best friend show the loving ways that connect all of us. It is full of things in this culture that connect to all cultures, eating, playing and praying together. Lindsey Yankey's weaving of parts of Iranian culture in her illustrations adds to the story, but the love between the grandmother and granddaughter is universal. There is a sweet note at the back from the author.

          You will recognize this cumulative tale, made new by Melanie Heuiser Hill through sharing the diversity included in all the ways families and neighbors share the bounty "around the table that Granddad built". Not only do they share the glasses from Mom's and Dad's wedding, but the silverware from Dad's grandma and the napkins sewn by Mom. The tale diverts from the continuing tale when food is introduced, a wonderful variety of food that is set on that table. There's garden squash and 'beans, overflowing', to 'toasty tamales' and rice pudding. There are the pies, too, of course. It's a delightful gathering full of happiness shown with Jaime Kim's child-like acrylic and crayon drawings.

                 Perhaps we all have a "yesterday" we would love to return to. Alison Jay's story starts at the beginning with this boy who tells his wishes and uses as many scientific ideas as possible to time travel back to "yesterday" which in his mind was "the best day". He calculates the speeds he must travel, tries to find a 'super hypersonic rocket' or a black hole, but with no luck. Jay's illustrations show ice cream and kite-flying, plus whimsically exaggerated pictures of dinosaur and airplane rides along with a magical merry-go-round. Granddad and a dog are along for that wonderful day. Granddad is asked for help, but instead he shows this boy that there are many beautiful memories of "yesterday". They look through a scrapbook and gorgeous pages of some of his memories like 'dancing by moonlight with the love of his life', or climbing high "to the top of a snow-capped mountain".  The best thing, however, Granddad says, is that every day can be filled with a new adventure, making today a best day. It's a wonderful book to share with children to consider the good things about being present, right now, today!


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Poetry Friday - Goodbyes

          This first Friday of September, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong hosts this Poetry Friday at their blog, Poetry for Children. Thanks, Sylvia and Janet! I have also been watching the hurricane news, wishing a good outcome for all those in this community. It is heart-breaking to see the news of those in the Bahamas. 

          This past Wednesday it was six years since my husband, Arvie, left us. I still want to tell him things, ask him questions, be with him. My life is as good as I can make it, but I've never stopped missing him. I, with Arvie, have raised children of which I am so proud, who have chosen loving spouses whom I love being part of our family. And many of you know because of them, I have three special grandchildren. 
         Time is fleeting. We all know that. Thoreau touches me with this quote: "“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.” ~ “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” Walden 
          Here's a poem I originally wrote for Carter, my oldest grandchild, now in his first year at college. I've changed it a bit to include the grand-girls, too, now ten and eight. I've written more than one poem about them, call them "goodbye" poems, trying to capture them at certain ages before that time flies away!
         When I am with them all, I wish Arvie could see the children growing up, and have fun with them as I know he would have if he were still here. He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather.

at the beach - June 2019
         Sometimes Goodbyes

Oops, it’s time. I must depart
     from these kids who stole my heart.
     Now, they’re looking very tall;
     some never play with toys at all.
     I remember they used to be
     the ones who sat and read with me,
     and held my hand as we walked along
     and listened while I sang them songs.
     I also know though nearly grown,
      they’re still the little kids I’ve known.

Linda Baie ©

Monday, September 2, 2019

It's Monday - Great Books to Share

Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites. Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

       I was lucky to get this book just out in August here in the US, will be sure to purchase it for my ten-year-old granddaughter. Onjali Q. Rauf manages to give her storyteller a true voice of an "almost" ten-year-old, sharing her life outside and inside school. She has friends and those she does not like, especially the bullies (teachers included). She takes care of herself but keeps her questions ready to ask her librarian mother, one she counts on to not say, "Wait 'till you're older." The questions keep coming when a new boy arrives and sits in the chair "at the back of the class". With her friends, she decides that having one more to the group would be great, thus begins the journey to learn about Ahmet who turns out to become a Syrian refugee, who plays soccer really well, but whose parents are missing. That journey turns into a quest where adventures await to help them re-unite, a quest that turns into something the kids never thought would happen. This girl stays strong to her values, wanting to be a 'best' friend who stays and helps, who believes "It would be too boring if everyone was exactly the same as each other." There are a few sketches sprinkled throughout that add to the story, a wonderful one to be read aloud and discussed in the classroom.
      Special quote: "And whenever we did it together, our whispers made us sound like an ocean."

          The boundless love of a pet holds NO boundaries. As Truman, a tiny tortoise realizes that his dear Sarah has been gone so, so very long, he sets out to find her. A surprise awaits, but it doesn't take away the journey he accomplishes. Jean Reidy's story makes a smile all the way through as I rooted for Truman's success. Lucy Ruth Cummins' illustrations beautifully show the tortoise view of things, more smiles for this sweet and charming story.

             It's a ride (and a book) NOT to be missed, like life, when we all work together, everything works better, shown in this story by Richard T. Morris. I can't imagine not loving this book, and the joyous illustrations by LeUyen Pham. (I thought I had read this one, must have mixed it up with another bear book, but now I'm so happy that I have it!)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Poetry Friday - Reflecting in August

            I've changed my Poetry Friday badge to a picture of a small plant in the alley outside the used bookstore where I volunteer. In the news, the word "survival" serves as fitting for much that is happening. Survival as an asylum seeker, survival as a refugee, survival of the Amazon, survival of essential institutions in the U.S. democracy, and this week, survival of a hurricane! My poem is brief, wishing and hoping for this plant, a tiny survivor, as metaphor for the rest of the world.

         Thanks to Kat Appel from across the water in Queensland for hosting. Today, she's sharing two verse novels that sound quite wonderful and some grand news about a new picture book from her in the making! Congratulations, Kat!

        a skinny

Sometimes in need - 
will I ever learn?

Linda Baie ©

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Non-fiction Picture Books Celebrate Important Women

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone!

      I bought this when it was published and still haven't shared it. For every child who slept after being read Goodnight Moon or The Runaway Bunny, or learned from Red Light, Green Light and celebrated with The Summer Noisy Book. And, for me as a teacher who read The Important Thing often to my middle-grade students to help them make personal choices, this is a book of forty-two pages honoring Margaret Wise Brown who lived to be forty-two. You will gather other memories as you read this, hopefully with a child, too. She wrote over 100 books, a myriad of chances for favorite stories. It's strange and quirky and the important thing is that Mac Barnett wrote it and Sarah Jacoby illustrated it. You'll know what I mean when you read it.

       In lovely and poetic language, apt for Maya Angelou, Bethany Hegedus shares an overview of Maya's life, from the time she was sent to her grandmother's home in Stamps, Arkansas with her older brother at the age of three to the publishing of her final memoir a year before her death. Angelou's life was filled with heartbreak and success. I learned a lot from this picture book, did not know that Maya Angelou was a dancer, a performer, later a director. I did not know that she escaped to Ghana when there was a threat to her son during the Civil Rights era, aligning herself with Malcolm X, soon assassinated. She lived in turmoil but was surrounded by love at her grandparent's home and later through those with whom she worked and lived. Although in Stamps, she saw terrible discrimination, she learned to "Rise", to overcome and continue to learn, to write, to dance. The book really is an overview and though reviews say it's for seven to ten, it feels to me that most readers will need background help in some that the book contains. 

       The illustrations fill the pages with words swirling around Maya each step of her life, rising into success and acknowledgment for her talents. There is a detailed timeline given at the end plus further resources.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Monday Reading - Wonderful Shares

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. It's been a nice break and I really haven't read much except one adult book. These I read early in the month. As you read, you'll know that I enjoyed them all.

         I enjoyed this second book, though there were lots of repeats in order to bring anyone who hadn't read the first book into the story. The tension continues, the plans continue to help everyone survive, but evil is there, those who are not interested in anything but destroying.
          I read book number three with trepidation, wanting it to be as good as the first two, wanting Eric Walters to wrap up this amazing story in a satisfactory way. He did more than that. I liked number three very much. I became wrapped up in this sixteen-year-old Adam's world, one that he certainly had no wish for, but one where he stood up for good, remained true to his beliefs and fought hard for them, was hurt by them, yet did not waver. I don't know how a teacher could have students read all three, but know that they would bring discussions like no other. What would they do in these situations? How would they react? I taught middle school-aged kids for a long time and often felt helpless knowing they were so capable yet our world today does not often ask real tasks of them. I know they could do more if only given the challenge. It's a terrific trilogy that I enjoyed very much.

          As you see, from "We Need Diverse Books", a new collection that is easy to imagine readers loving, hopefully, teachers reading it aloud so that every single student can learn so many ways that acts of kindness can occur. Each story has its own magic, sometimes fantastical, often realistic, but always satisfying. I am grateful to this organization that is giving us ALL the faces of our students and to the writers who brought life to some of them.

           Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following picture books. 

         First published in the UK, out this month in the US comes a series of trickster tales from Mulla Nasruddin, a 'trickster' beloved by Muslims all over the world. He is wise, a fool, sometimes an iman, a teacher or a judge and when you read stories about him, you will understand why you both laugh and learn. I loved reading these by Sean Taylor aloud to my granddaughters to see how they would react and they loved them. Shirin Adl's collaged illustrations sometimes are set against painted backdrops, and the differing depictions of Nasruddin are creative and varied. They're also filled with details like the double-page spread of the market. 
The stories are brief, just right for beginning a school day with a smile and a brief discussion. What do they mean? Often, Nasrudden caps the tales with answers, yet other times, he allows the reader to do the solving.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Poetry Friday - Grateful Words

         It is a particularly special Poetry Friday today, a celebration, a remembrance for Lee Bennett Hopkins. Noted for his support of many children's poets through publishing 120 anthologies and support of their writing. The words will live on, as memories of Lee will.            
         Thanks to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm for hosting. 
         Tag with #DearOneLBH 

I chose a line from a poem in the anthology Small Talk, A Book of Short Poems, published 1995.

I used the poems often, showing the promise of creative communication in only a few words. Lee’s poem itself is a gem, one I shared often at the school year’s beginning. It is titled “Change”. I appreciate so much that year after year, Lee collected the best poetry (including his own) from wonderful, talented and thoughtful poets and gave his collections to the world, to children.

                After Lee’s poem, Change
When the first petals blow,
I see you flying on with them,
sweeping up words as you say your farewell.
When the first petals blow,
I hear whispers of longing:
“Stay a bit with us; come, sit for a spell.”
When the first petals blow,
I’d spare a moment to thank you
for book after book and smile after smile.
When the first petals blow,
and the leaves swirl around us,
We know we’ve been blessed to have had you this while.
Linda Baie ©

         Here is Lee's poem. Perhaps you'd love sharing it this beginning of the school year!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

It's August - Meaning #PB10for10

      It's PictureBook10for10 (#PB10for10) where many share ten picture books that are Must-HavesCathy Mere of Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning host this wonderful tradition. You can find everyone's posts shared on Cathy's blog this year, HERE.

This is a most fun day of the summer. After teaching, I began volunteering at a used bookstore (run entirely by volunteers) and among other duties, am in charge of our children's section. I also review books for various memes and on Goodreads. My TBR list grows. Thanks, Cathy and Mandy, this is a tradition I look forward to every year! Each year it seems that more marvelous books are published. We are fortunate indeed to have the books available.

Here are my previous posts for   2011     2012     2013     2014     2015    2016     2017     2018

This year I thought I'd see if I could share favorite books for a school year's beginnings, for the themes we think of in a classroom, no matter the age. In reality, each book will serve in varied ways. I taught middle school 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade gifted students and read picture books with them often. I cut most of my Goodreads reviews. If you want to know more please visit Goodreads to see my or other reviews.


In a big city, a little boy, among hundreds of people ignoring it, sees a bird that’s fallen with a broken wing. Nearly wordless, the illustrations beautifully tell the tale of loving parents helping their boy take the bird home to care for it, and with time and hope, helping it to heal, and fly again. This could be discussed as a metaphor for an act of kindness that can happen anywhere if only we notice when it’s needed.

             It’s Pet Club Day, and a young boy takes his good friend and pet, an elephant to participate. Sadly there is a sign on the door: Strictly No Elephants! On the way home, he meets a girl with a pet skunk, but she knows “they” don’t want her and her pet to play either. Fortunately, a new group forms, one that allows anyone in. And this group paints a new sign: All Are Welcome. Conversations about inclusion can happen after reading this book to a young audience, perhaps four to nine years old. It’s a wise little story that shows differences are okay, in kids and in pets! Yoo’s illustrations include all kinds of children too, of different cultures, those who wear glasses, girls and boys who dress in what must be their favorite way of dressing. I enjoyed it very much.


            Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. Yasmin is confused when one day he gives her a book that's an old folktale about a flock of doves trapped in a hunter's net. They realize that if they all flap wings together, they can lift the net and fly away to be safe. She knows Book Uncle often tells her that he selects just the right book for the right time, and when she discovers that he has received written notice that unless he has a special permit, he can no longer lend books, she is devastated. She does learn that her actions can help, especially when she has others working beside her. I like that Uma Krishnaswami has include bits of Yasmin's home life, too, from meals to parent challenges, from learning about apartment neighbors to market stall sellers. It is a story to love about community.


            I re-visit this beautiful book every single year in my classroom as a mentor text for writing. Rylant reminds us of the beauty of November. We noticed the repetition of the phrase "In November", sensory details, and figurative language. Don't miss finding and reading if you haven't already.


              This is a wonderful addition, for creating and for enjoying and writing poetry. Amy defines what a maker is in the first poem, "Maker": he or she "is a tinkerer, a maker will explore./A maker creates/something new/that/never/was/before" and adds many poems about the wide varieties of making like painting, knitting, glitter pictures and creating with clay. Readers can use each page as inspiration OR read the poems and re-visit what is most loved and "make something". 
Will you make "Leaf Pictures" where the "leaves look like stained glass" or bake "Cookies" and "resemble/clouds of flour"? The poem forms vary from rhyme to free-verse, list and shape poems. 
            Amy, too, is a maker but of poems, and this book is her sharing of what can be! Everyone should have a copy, old or young, in school or out. I believe Amy wants us all to MAKE something!