Thursday, February 28, 2019

Welcome Poets, Welcome Spring!

          Welcome Poets, Welcome March, holding spring! 

When I signed up for March 1st, I thought I would simply share a breezy, flowery poem, readying us for what's coming, at least for those of us still held up in winter. I know some of you are already posting buds and blooms!

"Spring is nature's way of saying 'Let's Party!" Robin Williams

"Spring adds new life and beauty to all that is." Jessica Harrelson

and this: “In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” Mark Twain

        However, I have become interested recently in anagrams, began searching for lists, and discovered more than I could have imagined were there. Within my own discoveries, I found spring and grew a poem. Perhaps you'd like to try a couplet or two if you discover some anagrams that inspire?

A Gander to Garden

In the heart of the earth
sap warms in a spa.
Trees ready for a reset
though the wake may be weak,
miles to go before they smile.
Snow sometimes owns
the tales, can steal
into a forest in softer
tone, keeping a winter's note.
Finally, a nester brings extras
palest, pastel petals of
lemons and melons,
pear blooms we'll reap,
rosiest of stories,
the Charm of March.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

Inlinkz Link Party

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Picture Book Wednesday - Things Not Always What Is Seen

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 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!

Monday, I posted a giveaway HERE for a Shakespeare pop-up book!

        It's an intriguing thing to read of a gorgeous movie star who regretted her looks because she was also an inventor, also smart, though it wasn't easy to prove it. "People seem to think because I have a pretty face I'm stupid...  I have to work twice as hard as anyone else to convince people I have something resembling a brain."
        In this new bookLaurie Wallmark, with Katy Wu, (the team that also gave us Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code) show Hedy's life as a contradiction, a young girl who loves to take things apart to see how they work and one who also loves acting, who sets up a stage beneath her father's desk in order to put on plays with her dolls. In her native Austria, her acting was noticed when she had the lead in a play, thus she left for America under contract with Louis B. Mayer. Laurie Wallmark shows her public life filled with glamour and beauty, romance and intrigue, yet the true intrigue was behind the scenes as she set up her parlor into an inventor's workshop. Underneath the lines she learned and the designer clothes she wore, she looked for problems that needed solutions! Among those shared, she solved the problem to help people out of the bathtub, a 'flavor-cube' for thirsty travelers, and a glow-in-the-dark dog collar to help people find their lost dogs. 

        While Hedy was inventing and becoming a beloved movie star, World War II arrived where guidance systems "couldn't prevent the enemy from jamming the weapon's radio signals." She, with George Antheil, a composer and former weapons inspector, devised a 'secure' torpedo guidance system. Here is Hedy's exciting (secret?) story, their persistence to make their idea workable and to obtain a patent. Wallmark's text celebrates their idea and the patience taken. And that is the interesting, but frustrating, part. They did obtain the patent, but sadly, according to the text, the Navy has neither the time nor the money to use the idea. However, this idea, one called "frequency-hopping spread spectrum" is the invention that keeps our cell phone calls and texts private. Fifty years later, Hedy and George were "finally" recognized for their work. Hedy said, "It's about time."

Monday, February 25, 2019

Monday Reading - Books 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 post their favorites. 
        It was quite an amazing reading week, time to read three fantastic chapter cooks & fall in love with more picture books. Winter weather helped!  
        And I have a second post today HERE with a giveaway of a Shakespeare pop-up book for two winners!
        Mapping The Bones is another story of that terrible time of World War II, focusing on two children caught in the nightmare of Hitler's plan to rid the country of Jews and other undesirables. Yolen weaves the Hansel and Gretel tale into this story of Chaim and Gittel, twins who are taken to the labor camps in 1942 and the horrific abuse they endured especially being young twins at the hands of an evil doctor. I've read that an alternate title was "The Candy House".
        First, forced from their beautiful home and made to live in the Lodz Ghetto, those awful circumstances become too dangerous, and their parents decide to flee to the nearby Lagiewniki Forest, where partisan fighters help spirit the children away. Earlier in the ghetto, the family first is made to share their small apartment with another family and in that time, those children's parents die in separate tragedies. The two left, Bruno and Sophie, also travel with Chaim and Gittel. Sadly, all four are captured by German soldiers, their partisan saviors killed. The story does not stop leaving one wanting both to stop reading and keep reading. It feels like an underlying drumbeat of danger as chapter by chapter, the days and nights terrify. 
        The relief of the story is the loving connection between the twins, Chaim, a boy of few words, but writing poetry, and Gittel, reflecting between chapters as if she's telling their story from afar. It felt comforting because one read and thought that because she was reflecting, she must have survived. Yet because of the utter loss of trust in this time, I found that hard to trust too. I didn't know until the end who was finally free and able to continue their lives and who was not. 
         Jane Yolen has written a story that seems all too real, a fiction based on tragic truth. And through Chaim, Yolen has also shown her poetic expertise. The poems in such a sad story offer relief, though often sad. Yolen also gives Gittel another strong voice. She writes the words and lets Gittel tell them: "Our hearts were minefields in those days. Befriend someone, get to know someone, even dislike someone, it didn't matter, for they might well be gone forever in an hour, a day, overnight." It's a terrific and tragic, heroic and loving story.

          A verse non-fiction book, written by one of the students who lived this "first" in 1956, first school in the American south to integrate after the landmark Brown vs Education of 1954 case that decreed that separate schools for black and white children are "inherently unequal". Jo Ann Allen Boyce partnered with Debbie Levy to write this story, Jo Ann's story! It is about that year, from end-of-summer prep, some family and neighbors' introduction, then those months that actually began fairly well, but worsened day by day, until Jo Ann's family moved to LA. At this beginning are her words "If school were weather, I would say it's serious/with a chance of friendly." Still later, more protests brought in the troops who had to escort the students "down the hill" to school. FYI - African-Americans mostly lived on a hill above the town. 
          " P lease, let the troops bring Clinton back from the
            E dge of the cliff
            A ll we want is to go to our school without the
            C yclone of ugliness without fear without hate with
            E ase "

            There is nothing easy about this story, nothing easy to read about those who spit, hit, shoved, wrote hate notes to these twelve students. It's well done with an underpinning of loss that made me sad for the kids and for the families. And you know some is still happening in our world today, sixty-three years later. 
            There is a wealth of backmatter, notes from both authors, a timeline, a bit about the kinds of poetry, a bibliography and further sources. I can imagine a classroom could use this as a beginning study of desegregation history. 

It's A Giveaway, It's a Pop-Up, It's Shakespeare!

No problem here, just a taste of this fabulous giveaway/Shakespeare/pop-up!
             Thanks to Candlewick Press, I've have the pleasure of a giveaway, offering this pop-up book created by veteran pop-up artist, Mennie Maizell to TWO lucky winners. 

Written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, two members of The Reduced Shakespeare Company,  (a troupe that specializes in first condensing and then performing works of literature and film), it's a pop-up that includes an enticing overview of Shakespeare’s work and times. There are five double-page spreads illustrated by veteran pop-up book designer Jennie Maizels and including numerous lift the flaps. The first spread introduces the world of Shakespeare. It is thought that he may have been an apprentice to his father, a glove-maker and written rhymes to be put into the gloves. One small rhyme was discovered in a pair for a man named Aspinall. "The gift is small./The will is all./Alexander Aspinall." Small facts like this are spread among the flaps and art, along with the pages for the plays and poetry described below.

The bulk of the work is contained in the next four spreads which present summaries and comments about all of Shakespeare’s plays, divided into four categories: comedies, histories, romances, and tragedies. It is humorous, even on the tragedy pages, and accurate. To include all the information, one must turn these pages around. You can see an example below. I'm sure it will be terrific for upper elementary and middle school classrooms for a beginning study of Shakespeare. 

the front

the back

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

        Fill out the rafflecopter entry form below and be sure to leave a comment sharing your favorite play by Shakespeare.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Poetry Friday - Now Remembered

Robyn Hood Black, of haiku and artistic fame, is our host today at Life on the Deckle Edge, remembering her wonderful time in Scotland! Thanks, Robyn!

It's Poetry Friday! Three weeks ago on this post I shared an old anthology that I was fortunate to get at the used bookstore where I volunteer. And I chose one poem that I liked the writer of which was not acknowledged. I assumed it to be anonymous until Heidi Mordhorst (My Juicy Little Universe) asked. It was then it occurred to me that I could Google the poem's lines. I did, and found a large amount of marvelous information about a Celia Thaxter, the author! With a red face, I'm now sharing about this "past" well-known poet, a bit of her life, and another poem! I did look through the anthology again and still found no mention of her name.

I should have researched further, and thanks to Heidi's question, I did! Celia Thaxter lived from 1835 to 1894. You can find more about her here and an interesting essay about her among other women in the nineteenth century here. If you don't have time for it all, here is one paragraph about Celia: "The economic straits of most nineteenth-century American women were all but inescapable, and Celia won a degree of financial independence too late to do her career any good. Levi's high-minded Transcendentalism didn't include such mundane considerations as allowing his wife household help, and thus Celia was forced to write most of her poetry in a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion." 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

NF Picture Book Wednesday - A Man Who Made History

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 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, really for everyone.

As written above, I am grateful for these NF picture books telling us readers about the history we did not know before. This time, I'm sharing about the man who sowed the seeds of Black History Month by creating Negro History Week (2nd week of February) in 1926. They chose that week because it encompassed the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Sadly, I admit that although I was in school long after that year, I don't remember anyone celebrating that week. It became official in 1976, but the first celebration occurred in 1970 at Kent State. That information and more is in a Wikipedia article here

        Thanks to Deborah Hopkinson and Don Tate for telling this inspiring story in their new picture book. Carter was the second African-American to earn a PhD in history from Harvard University. (The first was W.E.B. DuBois.) He was the first and only Black American whose parents had been slaves to receive a doctorate in history.

Monday, February 18, 2019

It's Monday - "Wow" Books

 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. 

          Happy to share two brand new picture books, out this month!

I completed quite a few reviews last week, books read from my #MustReadin2019 list & others. I couldn't share them earlier because they were all on the Cybils' Finalists for Poetry list and I was a second-round judge. You can find them on Goodreads if you like. I know that many of you have already read them.

Congratulations to the Cybils winners announced here on Valentine's Day!  I enjoyed being a second round judge for poetry, but it was a hard task to choose among the seven marvelous finalists. You can find all the finalists' lists here! If ever you need a new book to read, find these lists! 

Recent reviews:

In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs by David Elliott (Candlewick Press)

Mary's Monster: Love, Madness by Lita Judge (Roaring Brook Press) (#MustRead)

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen) (#MustRead)

Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (Seagrass Press)

             I struggled to put this down, know many have read ahead of me, some loving the story, others revolted. A personal journey that's chronicled, supported by journals and 'outside' family presents both a tragedy and a triumph (probably I'm repeating others). Sometimes I was frightened by what was happening, for Tara Westover, yet always hoping there would be a path out, a way to escape. Then I realized that physicality aside I could not see a way out until Tara chose it herself. Adults, older teens, need to read this life illumination, perhaps to help one's own self-reflection. My third #MustRead book this week!

        I could not finish this book without looking for the statistics on homeless children in the U.S., could not find very recent numbers. In 2014, The National Center on Family Homelessness says 2.5 million children are homeless, half of which are without shelter. And, as you all probably know, the experiences are worse in other countries, hence this book by Padma Venkatraman, heart-breaking and hard to imagine. Her author's note tells that she's based this story on experiences and interviews with countless people, including children) in her native India.           
        This was both tough to read and equally hard to stop. That young girl, Viji, telling the story, has a voice that's so strong, showing what her childhood with an abusive father has been. She's had to become strong, defending her mother and caring for her sister, Rukku, who has a developmental disability. It's a new look at voice to me. Viji tells this story as she speaks to Rukku, describing her sister's actions, imagining and ensuring her needs, until she can't anymore. 
      The beautiful way Padma Venkatraman offers this story makes me know well that all children have something important to tell us, thoughts that often go unheard. Here is an excerpt of this voice of a young girl who has escaped with her sister and marvels at an orange thrown at them from a rich family's tree: "Until then, I'd thought it was a sad thing that you were sometimes slower than the rest of us. But that day, I realized that slow can be better than fast. Like magic, you could stretch time out when we needed it, so that a moment felt endless. So the taste of half an orange could last and last."
        Viji and her sister, Rukku have run away to live on their own. Life on the streets of their city of Chennai is terrible for girls considered outcasts. These two sisters manage to find shelter on an abandoned bridge and befriend Muthi and Arul, two boys in a similar predicament, who willingly help Viji navigate this new and frightening world. They are often hungry and scared but they have each other and they actually adopt a puppy, Kutti, the best dog ever. Good things happen, like when they visit the garbage after a wealthy family's wedding. Yes, I did write "garbage". This time, it is fresh and they marvel at what has NOT been eaten, has been thrown out, consider themselves lucky. Certain scenes are tender in the relationship--a scene where Arul explains his faith in Jesu, his God and helps Rukku light candles and one where Arul tells of his terrible past and the others comfort. I hope that those children able to read this book, adults, too, will feel it's a life-changing experience, will want to find ways to help the children in our world whose obstacles are many.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Poetry Friday - Mixing It Up

             Jone MacCullough hosts Poetry Friday today at Check It Out. And she is celebrating with a Cybils Party. Congratulations to the Cybils winners announced here yesterday! And hope each of you enjoyed a sweet Valentine's Day, too. I enjoyed being a second round judge for poetry, but what a hard task to choose among the seven marvelous finalists. You can find all the finalists' lists here! If ever you need a new book to read, as Joan's blog title aptly tells, "Check It Out"!

                It has been a busy week. I worked at the bookstore today, a lovely day to be there because of Valentine's Day. There were lots of customers and along with helping them find books to love, we gave out chocolate and bookmarks for the children (or maybe adults) to color.

          But I am so distracted by the current political state, I was not sure what to share today. I found a poem I wrote two years ago and considering it, I suppose I felt similarly, though I did not know then how challenging these past months would be. The fall elections helped. I am still hopeful. 


I feel the need for a narrative tale,
hard porcelain words, but a sweeter scale - 
no more need to rewrite the tweets
with pseudo illusory echoing beats.
We will continue a skeptic’s cry,
that will not fade in the bye and bye.
The only tears for a twisted mind
will slip down cheeks of a human kind
to rue artifacts of yesterday
that acquired a tarnish we’ll clean away.
But do not plug all past mid-deeds,
or rearrange tales with a goal to please.
Cylinders will spiral; it’s called evolution -
the intent to flourish, in our Constitution.   
      Linda Baie (c) All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Non-Fiction Picture Books Help Us Know!

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 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, really for every reader!

Tomorrow, Valentine's Day, the Cybils Awards will be announced. I am one of the Poetry Judges, am excited to see all the winners!
            African Americans have had to fight for their freedoms all the years since they arrived here as slaves. Every time I read another book, even in recent time periods, I am saddened and angry by the stories that kept our citizens from full lives. Just imagine if it were different, how much richer everyone's lives would have been or would be if every person could be in the world adding their expertise without fighting for it.
             Here in these picture books are two more stories of those we would not have heard without wonderful authors and illustrators telling about past lives that need to be known.

            The name Walter Dean Myers caught my eye on this book on the shelf at the library. It was published in 2008 and Myers died in 2014. We readers are fortunate he gave us many a wonderful story, fiction and non, including this one. Here, he introduces the extraordinary Ida B. Wells. who as teacher, writer, leader worked her entire life to better the lives of African Americans. She was consulted by Susan B. Anthony, lead an African-American women's group in the women's march at Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. She was one of the organizers of a group that eventually became the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples.

              Ida was born three years before the Emancipation Proclamation, still grew up in a poor black family, but did get to go to school. The book says her mother also went with her for a while in order to learn to read the Bible. By the age of sixteen, her parents and one sibling had died of yellow fever and she took on the raising of her family, taking the teacher's test and traveling six miles on a mule to teach. That was her beginning, but realizing the harm done to her people, she began to protest, to call for more action, especially against lynchings. She wrote a book titled The Red Record for which Frederick Douglas wrote the introduction. 

            Is this enough to show that history books could have written about this amazing woman long ago? We should know about her life! She never stopped writing, protesting and pioneering for equal rights. Thanks to Walter Dean Myers for the writing and Bonnie Christensen for the gorgeous watercolor paintings. There is a timeline at the back and a double-page spread of important quotes by Ida B. Wells, like "I'd rather go down in history as one lone Negro who dared to tell the government that it has done a dastardly thing than to save my skin by taking back what I have said." She died in 1931 at the age of 68 and there is a postage stamp created in her honor.

          Ernest Everett Just died ten years after Ida B. Wells at the age of 58. His story is similar in some ways in that he fought injustices to African Americans through his work. He refused to give in to what people (especially in the U.S.) thought he should be doing, instead was determined to see science through his own observations, fighting against other well-known white scientists, working hard to prove his discoveries. He saw the whole, where others saw only parts. And he noticed details others failed to see. With fabulous illustrations by Luisa Uribe showing what he did throughout his life and what he saw, this is the story of his life of persistence and accomplishments. His discoveries about the cell in the 1930s continue to be important even in today's science. The book shows his childhood working hard in his studies, his fierce determination to keep going. I enjoyed that Melina Mangal included explanations of his ground-breaking work in showing how cells directed their own development, a controversial idea at that time. Eventually, he moved to France which gave more freedom in his work, but was caught when the Nazis invaded. He managed to get free, moved back to the U.S., but died within the year. It is another life story I am glad to know. 

There is quite a bit of backmatter added: an author's note, more about Ernest Everett Just's science, an illustrator's note, a timeline, glossary, and source notes. Also, there are two great photos of Mr. Just.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Reading - Past and Today

 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. 

          Just-out books to love and a few others, one old one in honor of John Burningham who just passed away last month!

        "You can't split love." is my favorite quote shared by Nisha, whose diary I read, whose life in these few months of the Partition, when India split in 1947, and part became Pakistan, Muslims, and Hindus (among others) became enemies when in Nisha's brief experience (she is only twelve) they lived together in peace. In the larger picture, India's independence from Great Britain laid some of the groundwork for hatred. It is Nisha who cannot understand why people must be enemies, why she must leave her beloved home, and their beloved servant, Kazi. Building the characters, including Nisha's mother who died at her and her twin, Amil's birth, made me want to read on, learning more and more of this family who inhabits this powerful story by Veera Hiranandani. Each one unique in their life approach, but each strong, so strong in their love for each other. That helped their survival in the worst of times, the escape to where now they must go, to India. I would wish almost that Nisha could have remained an innocent child, griping a bit about family members, worried about friends at school and why she was so shy. Yet her words showed a twelve-year-old who must navigate the family problems with her father, between her father and brother, and her epiphany after terrible experiences that some things are now important to her that were not before. It's both a beautiful and heartbreaking book. 

        Thanks to Candlewick for this advanced copy. First published in Great Britain, the book comes out Tuesday here in the U.S.!  A young girl feels like she's always in the shadow of her older sister, who keeps being "a star". That older one wins a costume competition, found Mom's lost wedding ring, and knitted a scarf "without holes", yes, "a star"! Taken by the hand outside, Grandfather notices the younger girl's sadness and gives her a science lesson starting with that very first star, leading to all the wonderful things in the world, ALL made of stardust, including her. There is an upbeat and sweet ending, but the additional star magic to me lies in Briony May Smith's beautiful illustrations. Realistic scenes, from the family scenes to imaginary visits to the ocean, mountains, and forest with Grandfather. Yes, all is Stardust! Here's one example.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

#NF10for10 - Favorites

Hurrah, it's #NF10for10 2019 (non-fiction picture books). Add your link here with Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Thanks to Mandy's partner, Cathy Mere, who tells "how" here at  Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community.  Julie Balen at Connecting to Learn is also part of this fabulous book-sharing! Thank you, Mandy, Cathy and Julie!

In the past:

2013    2014    2015    2016    2017    2018

               Like last year, I'm linking each to my Goodreads review, so if you want to know details, you can take a look. You may know most, but I hope you'll find at least one or two that becomes a "must read"! I've chosen favorite books that have lingered in my mind, although there are many more. Each one is about a person, some known, some I was thrilled finally to learn about. And each one is given center stage so marvelously by the authors and illustrators! 

               Here are my favorites this year.

The Iridescence of Birds - Patricia MacLachlan and Hadley Hooper
         It’s a lovely basic introduction for younger children to Matisse’s life.

Separate Is Never Equal - Duncan Tonatiuh

          Well before the Civil Rights Act, Sylvia Mendez and her family fought a years long battle to get her children into the schools where everyone went instead of those “for Mexicans” which were nearly falling down, without playgrounds, not to the standards of those built for white children.

Brick by Brick - Charles R. Smith, Jr. and Floyd Cooper
         The story of the construction of the first White House unfolds with Floyd Cooper's beautiful paintings of the working men, mostly slaves, who built it.