Monday, May 25, 2020

Monday Holiday - Sharing New 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.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR

     
           I hope all of you are doing well and doing the best you can during this time. 






               Thanks to Candlewick Press/Walker Books for the advanced copy of this seaside adventure, out last week! Thomas Taylor has written a second wonderful adventure set on Eerie-on-Sea. The illustrations in the book are by Tom Booth, not all finished in this ARC, but those included add much to the exciting, sometimes scary atmosphere of Eerie-on-Sea. 
               Here is Herbert Lemon, still the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, teaming up again with Violet Parma, whom Herbie met in the last adventure. This time another 'thing' has washed up and found by Mrs. Fossil, beachcomber even in storms, owner of the Flotsamporium where she sells her finds. It's a mysterious bottle that happens to gleam with light, sometimes. The whole town, especially the fisherfolk, are ablaze. They see the bottle has "Eerie Script" written on it, know that it belongs to the ancient Gargantis who has been waked up and is causing the terrible storm that's coming, that might finally destroy the town. And they all claim it as theirs!
             Again, Herbert and Violet are the center of the tale, but Taylor's included regulars from the first book like Mrs. Fossil as mentioned above, and Dr. Thalassi, owner of the town's museum. Even characters met earlier that appear only a few times are memorable, like Seegol of Seegol's diner, serving up the sumptuous fish-and-chips and new fascinating characters like Blaze, captain of the Jornty Spark, helper in this adventure and persistent searcher for his uncle, Old Squint Westerly. 
            I love reading Taylor's stories, the details are extraordinary from the frightening to the descriptions that ensure we see everything in our imaginations. He introduces a villain named Deep Hood who seems to have a tentacle that can lash out from his hood and a sidekick called a clockwork crab. There are bits of solid friendship and support between Herbert and Violet that show the good feelings that come when a friend always has your back, no matter the danger. He even left a few questions, meaning there's bound to be still another trip to Eerie-On-Sea, and certainly with Herbert and Violet. I can't wait!

       I hope that my family and I can make it to the beach late in the summer and though we might not create a castle that looks like this one, it is fun to imagine new ways to build when reading this amazing book by Einat Tsarfati. Sad to say considering the social distancing we are supposed to be doing, the opening page of many, many people hanging out on blankets by the sea makes me sad and nostalgic for the way it used to be. But the illustrations are true-to-life from before, detailed and filled with color! 
       A young girl gazes at the sea, then sits and begins, saying "I love building castles in the sand. So I built a sandcastle." And what a castle she created! Wow! You can see from the cover that this isn't just "any" castle. She is that little one way up on top! People come to visit from all over the world, and they love it. I'm reading an e-copy and must imagine the glorious double-page spread of the interior, so many details show the private bedrooms, the public rooms like the library, the inner workings in the lowest "cellar" part, etc. Evening brings a wonderful party, but in the morning, ugh, trouble. The food looks elegant, yet guests stick out their tongues, complaining of sand, yes, in the food! This problem remains, in athletic contests, in sheets where they sleep. One Egyptian princess says it's even worse than a pea under a mattress! The ending, well, you must read to discover how this little girl who loves sandcastle-building solves it all. 

           I shared The Camping Trip by Jennifer Mann here a couple of weeks ago, and now I'm happy to share two more books about camping, both for younger readers, both lots of fun and things to think about! Thanks again to Candlewick Press for the copies!

         Who says dogs don't take care of their families? This could be re-titled McTavish Knows Best. Meg Rosoff shows he really does take notice of the family who does not often agree, on anything. This time youngest child Betty is trying to have the family go camping for their summer vacation choice. Ma Peachey does, too, and remembers a long ago campsite that has made a wonderful memory. Pa Peachey says terrible dangers wait; Ava, the older sister, only wants to read her philosophy books; and Ollie, the older brother, wants to find a dance place (and a girlfriend). They do go and despite the varied opinions, nice things do happen, all because of caring McTavish. It is a cute early reader, but would also make a nice read-aloud in order to discuss the different family members, how each one changes, at least a little bit.



           There is a life lesson to be learned in these Infamous Ratsos stories by Kara Lareau and this one is learned after a long and tiring day of camping by the Big City Scouts, not directly by them, but by their leader, Grandpa Ratso. He believes that the real motto is that every Scout should be able to solve problems without asking for help. After raising the tents, attempting a fire, and finding their way on a hike, they realize it's tough without advice. One person, toward the end, comes to the rescue, and a lesson is learned by all, including Grandpa. This too will be a great read-aloud for discussing. When is it time to ask for help? When should one try and try again? Another adventure by the Ratsos includes some humor, too, helped by the fun illustrations by Matt Myers.

What's Next: I finally received a couple more books from my favorite Indie. They have had so many orders, a wonderful thing, that it's taking a long time to receive the books (by mail). I have They Went Left by Monica Hesse and The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate.  

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Poetry Friday - Gratitude Doesn't Stop

            Poetry Friday's party today is hosted by Carol Varsalon at Beyond Literacy Link.  
            Carol shares a  poetic 'memo' to Mother Earth today and offers all of us a poetry bouquet (changing from bouquet, now it's truly an entire flower shop!) of entries for her #naturenurtures gallery. Thanks, Carol!

         We are meeting and working hard planning to re-open the used bookstore where I have been volunteering.  It will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary! Once upon a time, there was a part-time paid manager but in the past few years, this non-profit is entirely run by volunteers. As I said, we're working hard and without the special rewards of helping customers and talking with them about books! But soon, we're going try to open again as safely for all concerned as possible. This entails lists, some meetings, individually working at the store itself, going through donations, choosing books to sell online (we only do some), pulling books to pass on to make room for new ones. It's a lot of work, but I and those others with me love the store. I have only been there for a few years since I retired from teaching, but others have been there literally for years and years. 

         This poem was sent to me and to other workers by one of our leaders as a thank you for these recent weeks, for getting ready! I'm sure every one of you has a list of workers to thank, too, as I do: those on the front lines--medical personnel, grocery workers, transit & delivery drivers, those who are in charge of cleaning, the police and firefighters; the teachers finishing a year they won't forget, and those small business owners preparing some kind of open, all worried about safety and their businesses. It is thoughtful to consider the work and to say thank you. 

Here's the beginning of the poem. 



To be of use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

and the rest can be found HERE!

Small Matters Make Things Easier

writing with a group from Ruth Ayres' invitation: "sharingourstoriesmagic".
You're welcome to join in!
         When reading Ruth's invitation today, I was struck by the term, "small matters", something I believe might be a key to some help in surviving this tough time we are experiencing. Most Thursdays, "before", I worked my shift at the used bookstore where I volunteer. Now I spend them with my granddaughters on these days. It is all morning until after lunch when they need to go home for their zoom guitar and ukelele lessons! They love them and don't want to miss!
         Every time we get together, I leave it up to them what to do. We went weeks without being together and miss the time very much. Though I've been a few places, the bookstore (not open) and the grocery is about it. They have not been anywhere and though they have a wonderful backyard play space and much to do at home, ALL the time is not so fun. 
         So today, small matters meant they wanted to make pla-dough. I have a recipe that's awesome and they get to choose the colors and create all they want plus take it home for later. Then, they decided to get into the costume box, and this time, took it all home for creating plays, presentations, whatever is fun for them. They love to sing and dance, they love to dress up for their "acts", so that's what happened today, my "small matters". 
         One more thing that feels important: the girls and I laughed for all these hours, making jokes, pla-dough creatures, dressing up as the silliest characters they could imagine. Laughter truly is the best medicine!
Sharing a dose of this laughter with you!





Monday, May 18, 2020

It's Monday - Celebrating Brand New 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.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR

        


   I finished Emily St. John Mandel's new adult book, The Glass Hotel. You can read my Goodreads review here.



             I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe as you are able. I seem to have more to do or I'm wasting more time than I used to, getting less reading done it seems, but I have enjoyed what I did finish. Including loving Emily St. John Mandel's older Station Eleven, I have adored the following new picture books by favorite authors of so many other marvelous books!




          I expect you know Laura Purdie Salas' previous special poetry like Water Can Be, A Rock Can Be, and the more recent Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle or In The Middle of The Night. There are many others. Her newest book just came out at the end of April and I've already seen numerous reviews that show how special the book is. Now, I'm sharing to urge you to add it to your non-fiction poetry collection, a perfect way to enjoy learning about animals, this time, the life of a loon, from hatching to flying! The exceptional photographs are by Chuck Dayton, a nature photographer, and the book was published by the Minnesota Historical Society. 

         Laura uses quatrains to tell the story of chick to grown-up, including its learning, patient parents, the dangers, and the push to learn how to fly. They are brief, yet packed with information in a strong poetic voice. I can imagine reading this aloud to a group who will learn as they enjoy the story, eager to know what's next? I love the way the photographs bleed into one another in double-page spreads, carrying the story's progress beautifully. Here's one example:



























           There is extra information at the back, also interesting. I always knew that loons struggle and flap wildly in order to get off the water, but did not know it's because they have solid, heavy bones. According to the information, that helps them dive deeply. It would be great for students to study a favorite animal and create their own book with Laura's poems as mentors. A favorite line: "“Every secret Moon needs, / she carries inside.” which refers to the learning from parents and that mystery still unsolved as to how birds know where to migrate when they go to warmer climates and when they return to their original places. What a great book to add to favorite poetry and science books.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Yeh! It's Poetry Friday!

            Poetry Friday's party today is at Jama Rattigan's Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Be prepared for laughter and chocolate chip cookies. Sounds great to me during my usual stay-at-home time, Jama. Thank you for hosting!


         




           Since April and poetry month, I've been struggling to find some new goals for writing. I am enjoying the #PoemsofPresence group on twitter and those who have also been writing for Margaret Simon's challenge on Today's Little Ditty, but it doesn't fill the time like my April work did. I am working on a picture book idea, but that too does not fill the day. So these recent days I've turned to the ABCs and alphabet books, enjoying the ones I have for their creativity and their awesome differences. Each approach can be a story or stand-alone letters and the illustrations are ones also to linger over. 
          Thus, I've worked this week on abecedarian poetry. These two seem to reflect my moods throughout the days, worry over the times we're in, and trying hard to look on the sunny side of life. I may find some other themes for these. If nothing else, they are a vocabulary challenge! Best wishes for goodness in each of your days!

          Here's a pic of some of my favorites. Do you recognize any? Do you have one or two favorites?

As Beauty Comes, 
Debuting Every Forgotten Garden, 
Heaven Is Just Knocked Lower, 
Managing Newest Overflow Passing Quickly –
Random Salvage,
Tortured Undercutting,
Vast Wasteland Xenophobic,
Yearlong Zoo.
               Linda Baie ©


Adding Balance Can Define Each Feeling:
Good Hearts Imparting Justice, 
Kitten Love, Mothers, 
Neighbors Optimistic, Peace, Quiet,
Robins, Sunrise, Take-out, 
Understanding Voices,
Walking, Xeriscapes, Youth, 
Zoo-Cams
              Linda Baie ©


        Note that both Z words are the same but looked at in very different ways. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Tell About People We Should Know



   Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing.  
       From others, too, who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 


            I'm grateful to have received a copy of this wonderful book from Candlewick Studio, an imprint of Candlewick Press.

            I enjoyed reading this story of, to me, this little-known scientist who came to the same conclusion and at nearly the same time concerning evolution and the origin of the species as Charles Darwin, thus "Darwin's Rival". Christiane Dorion tells the story of Alfred Russel Wallace from his earliest years in a poor family, making his own fun by playing in nature. He had to stop school at age 14 to become an apprentice to his older brother as a surveyor. That experience would foster a love for being outdoors and learning more and more about the plants he was seeing. He brought them home and learned to identify them. Moving on to a job as a teacher, though not so satisfying, it gave him time for further study. He began collecting insects and studying what he was seeing, asking questions, the same ones he asked nearly all his life: "Why do they all look so different?" and "Where did they all come from?" He had started his lifelong love of natural history. 


          The first step was to plan a trip to the Amazon rain forest with his friend Henry Bates. Darwin had already made his travel to the Galapagos and was home studying his notes and specimens, trying to figure out his own answers to those questions above. Wallace went to the Amazon, then on to the Malay Archipelago for specimens to sell so he could study even more. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Monday Reading - Reading & Writing Makes a Difference


              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.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR

        


      Yes, it's May and we carry on! I hope this month finds you continuing to do well, finding great books to enjoy, time to be outside enjoying your family and spring blooms. Perhaps in a safe way, you'll get to see some friends again? There are still challenges and an overwhelming list of people who need help.  


On Friday, I shared Irene Latham's recent poetry book published last month is titled NineA Book of Nonet Poems, illustrated by Amy Huntington. 


Today, I have another poetry book to share, this time a poetry book for teachers to use when enjoying poetry with students!



            I taught middle-school-aged students for many years and it was important to me to teach (share?) poetry often with them, hoping they would leave me with a love they would have for the rest of their lives. Thus, I had a lot of books full of poems, and books for teaching poetry, too. They helped me grow my love as well. Now, Marjorie Maddox has written a book that I would have adored during those teaching years. In an exciting opening letter from her, she says: "Welcome to a world of mind-doodling, eye-dazzling, ear-bending, new-fangled, old-fashioned fun! Inside Out teaches writing (and reading) from inside the poem, with plenty of tips and tricks for everyone in and out of the classroom." 
              Marjorie's book is not full of explanatory paragraphs explaining poetry forms and poetic elements like other teaching texts. Her poems themselves are the explanations, as she wrote above and as the title predicts: "Inside Out!"  
               Here's an example of the shortest one, clever and definitely a 'show, don't tell'. 

Couplet

Poetic twins all dressed in rhyme
stroll side-by-side in two straight lines.

Nine different 'how-tos' (like 'How to Touch A Poem') have fun with the senses, simile and metaphor, then concrete and abstract (in a tug of war). Following are the wonderfully creative poems that each demonstrate a poem form! Sestinas are a favorite form of mine, but it is complex and not so easy to teach, or write! That's one best part about Marjorie's book pages. Her teachings are poems! Wouldn't everyone smile if they saw that a poem titled "Fishing for Sestinas" or "How to Write an English Sonnet"? Here's a taste of this one:

"Good day young reader, might I have this dance,
an English two-step, which I know you'll learn?"

               There is more! The second half of the book is titled "Insider Exercises", beginning with "Befriending A Poem". In these, writers are connected to the earlier poems through various creative activities. Explore more about "concrete and abstract" or "colors", perhaps "smells".  Direct ideas such as "write similes about eating spaghetti" and whole-class exercises in onomatopoeia. When teaching new topics, like these poetry elements, it always felt good to me to offer lots of choices, but under that same umbrella. Marjorie Maddox manages this with expertise in this new book about poetry writing, yet she remains clear in the definitions of the poem forms and elements. 
                 I'm sure I will use some the ideas in this wonderful book in my own writing, and as I said in the beginning, I wish I had had it when I taught!
     


            I loved Victoria Jamieson's earlier graphic stories, All's Faire In Middle School and Roller Girl. She tells stories that tackle topics that are good for readers to know. This one is a bit different, written with Omar Mohamed. It tells the story of Omar's childhood spent in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Omar and his younger brother Hassan fled their homeland of Somalia when civil war broke out and spent the next 18 years in Dadaab. He did finally immigrate to the United States with his younger brother, Hassan. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Poetry Friday - Sharing a Joy-filled Number

            Poetry Friday's party today is at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes' Today's Little Ditty. She has a special guest this week, Nikki Grimes, who is sharing about her new book, Southwest Sunrise, a gorgeous picture book illustrated by Wendell Minor. 


       

        I love life's serendipity. Even in this topsy-turvy world in which we now live, it happens. Irene Latham's recent poetry book published last month is titled Nine, A Book of Nonet Poems, illustrated by Amy Huntington. And, my granddaughter Imogene's birthday is July 29th, when she will be, you guessed it, NINE! Shh! Don't tell anyone that this book will be one of her birthday gifts!



           I was quite excited when I heard about Irene's new book coming out. Can you tell? So I'd like to share some of it with you in a "nine-ish" kind of way. Here are NINE things that I love about this new book: 
  1. It's emotional! Read the poems about a runt cat perhaps using up its 'Nine Lives' but being saved at last "as small hands reach, cuddle" or read "The Little Rock Nine" that remembers those brave children who arrived ready to integrate an all-white school where they symbolize "One more brick toward/equality," After, you'll know how much Irene cares about all parts of life!
  2. It's divergent! Irene has created poems that cover topics from "Dreaming with Pluto" to "Game Night". 
  3. It's frivolous! Irene takes a step back from more concrete topics to celebrate "The Poem on Page 9" - "No/poem/dazzle-shines/like this one!" And, Amy Huntington's double-page spread illustration demonstrates that frivolity with a diverse crowd gathered together by a star-studded nine.
  4. It shows potential! As readers read Irene's poems and enjoy Amy's imaginative pictures, they will begin to remember their own favorite numbers, perhaps begin writing a favorite number book of their own?
  5. It's connected! A favorite number + poem topics of science and history + art make a grand circle of friends. The poem "Apollo 9" integrates all the areas: "Spider and Gumdrop floated in space–"
  6. It's addictive! Amy takes one poem, the "Nine-Banded Armadillo" which "dances by moonlight" and places a tiny armadillo somewhere on nearly every page. I loved this added attraction and couldn't stop looking for it after I noticed.
  7. It's fictional! One can imagine a place called "Cloud Nine" and Irene's words do that for readers: "Like a bubble, you rise and rise".
  8. It's scholarly! The poem, "Nonagon" defines a shape new to readers, "Almost a decagon,/but not. Can you picture it?" The illustrations show that shape in a nest, sweetly home to robins and their babies.
  9. It's marvelous! With examples above, the fact that Irene has written nineteen nonets for this new book and Amy has included a thread throughout that follows a sister (turning nine) and her younger brother through all the nines defines a grand adventure indeed!

         Did you notice all my adjectives are nine letters? I think I've become a "nine" fan.

         At the beginning, the nonet poem form is explained and then accompanied by its own poem! Also, Irene includes notes at the back giving some extra information about the subjects of each poem! 

          Congratulations, Irene, for this new and exciting book!




Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Dig New Stories From History


   Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing.  
       From others, too, who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 
        I hope you are all keeping healthy and finding good ways to be at home and to help others if you can!
         Sad to write this is my final non-fiction picture book from the library. I have a few more of my own, however!
         Somewhere I have heard this story of Anna Strong, a woman spy in the American Revolution who used laundry on a line to send coded messages that were passed on to General Washington! For example, she hung a black petticoat when she wanted other waiting spies to know there was a new message to be delivered. She was part of what was called the Culper Ring, a group of American spies. They devised a code to send the messages, sometimes written in invisible ink. Parts of that code are given in the back matter, along with a recipe for the special ink!


        Many of Anna's relatives were loyalists, rooting for Britain to win this war, but not Anna or her husband, Selah, also a spy. The story shares that Anna, a woman, was never suspected or caught, but in the back matter, Sarah Glenn Marsh explains there is "no clear documentation that Anna was, in fact, a spy", but she further adds numerous stories and "indirect" proof that it must be true and was never revealed to protect Anna's identity. Anna lived in Setauket, New York in a home that happened to be well-positioned to watch for ships and share the information through secret messages like her laundry. In the author's note, Marsh also writes that this "has remained a part of Setauket's folklore and family tradition to this day."
       Sarah Green adds her own explanation of her illustrations, choosing to follow artists of the Revolutionary period and MOMA's Costume Institute for "a sense of motion and action." She also has included some framed spots, connecting with the look a spyglass might give along with including some of the numbers from the code. Anna Strong remains the central figure in most pages, showing her casual, friendly look while in actuality, she is a spy. The book includes some references to varied parts of this time that will inspire further research, like the Battle of Yorktown, an important one to the revolutionaries in this war.
        Extra notes, a bibliography, and an index are added at the back with the author's and illustrator's notes, plus the Culper Spy Code and recipe mentioned earlier. It's a great story to know from our country's past, just out this year!


Monday, May 4, 2020

Monday Reading - More to Know & Love


              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.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR

        


      Yes, it's May and we carry on! I hope this month finds you continuing to do well, finding great books to enjoy, time to be outside enjoying your family and spring blooms. Perhaps in a safe way, you'll get to see some friends again? There are still challenges and an overwhelming list of people who need help.  


TODAY - 3 pm Central Time, Laura Purdie Salas is having a launch party for her new book, Secrets of the Loon. Find the details here! They're giving away copies, too!



         This is so well researched, filled with information, primarily about the book but early on very much about Louisa May Alcott and her family, with added information throughout about them. Rioux has written nine chapters, created in three parts. It starts at the beginning with "The Making of a Classic", continues on with "The Life of a Classic" and finishes with "A Classic for Today". I have read Little Women several times through the years and with students but had no idea of the ups and downs of this book as it aged through different periods in history and no idea of the many films and television series that have been made. The book was written before this recent film out, but Rioux did refer to it. I wonder what she thought of it? That final Part Three includes arguments for reading today, what has happened to it in the past and what may happen with it in this century. 
from my #MustReadin2020 list
          There are acknowledgments, an extensive notes section, and an index. If you have Little Women on your list of all-time favorites, you will love this book.


















         I finished these next two books from Candlewick Press, Walker Books, in exchange for reviewing. I am very grateful that I have these copies. I miss the library very much! And I have an order coming from my local Indie, Tattered Cover. The good thing is that they are overwhelmed with orders. The bad part of that is that it takes a while to get the books. But, I'm willing to wait and am excited for new ones on their way!



        An eleven-year-old protagonist, a Stalin camp in Siberia filled from his terrible 'purge', and an escape that turns into a magical fantasy powered (at first) by a terrifying witch gives a story that stumbles into scary moments nearly day after day! A young girl, Lina, is part of an escape attempt (approved by her mother as the only possibility to save her daughter) and is suddenly plunged into the freezing Siberian wasteland with dangerous companions and one true friend; a young boy called Bogdan. Thank goodness for this relationship which was a strong support as Lina and others face daunting challenges over and over again.

         A mystery concerning her parentage. Could her father be the vicious camp commandant? There is the overarching search for the grandmother that Lina is certain will help her return to rescue her mother. There are the tiny hints that Lina's grit to overcome terrible creatures like those in the escape group or those things called "ghost wolves" reveal that she might not be just a young girl wanting more of life than a prison camp; she might have some extra power of her own!
          This story that begins as historical fiction turned quickly into a fantasy based on Russian folklore (Baba Yaga, Baboushka etc) as the group, then only Lina and Bogey meet up with a sorceress and fight to continue their journey towards Moscow in search of Lina's grandmother. 

          There is more and more and more, revealing so many secrets about this mystery grandmother, a shadow child, a special necklace, and Lina, thoughtful Lina, herself. For a middle-grade story, I enjoyed it, but perhaps another venture into old Russia would fulfill my dream to have more of the story from Lina, her friends old and new, and her family. I enjoyed Nevertell very much. And I'll "Never Tell" all the secrets! You'll need to discover them yourselves!
         Thanks to Candlewick Press & Walker Books-US for the advanced copy!



Thursday, April 30, 2020

Poetry Friday - Finding Connections

  Liz Steinglass here at her blog hosts today on our first Poetry Friday in May! It's May Day perhaps the beginning of some better times. Liz has begun her May by airing her first author video, sharing poems from her wonderful book, SoccerVerse!  Thanks for hosting, Liz!


            There was much to sadden us in April, but also much to celebrate with so many writing poetry in April. I hope you all have read at least a few of the poems written and shared. The Progressive Poem hosted by Margaret Simon is complete, well, almost. Someone needs to create a title and it needs a bit of punctuation finished, though Amy LV did some. You will love that final line added by Michelle Kogan shared here! Not only did she write the final line, she sang the entire poem accompanied by her banjo! Wow!


        On the Poetry Friday before April 1st, I shared a poem about 'Scraps', my days changing because of this challenging time we now are living, finding it hard to settle down and the things, though nice, that were taking my time, though I moved often from piece to piece without a concentrated focus on any. My April did change that, my challenge to take those small wooden tree circles and create a poem and sketch from each. I did it and they helped me spend long and comforting hours writing and doing art. They certainly weren't all perfect, but they created a month-long capturing of strange April, what Shakespeare foretold and now I agree was "the cruelest month". I am glad I found such a challenge. You can read the list of my blog posts, including the kind of poems and the topic of each one up above. 

         And, this Pandemic time pushes me on. In my search for reading about other past Pandemics, I found the book that I'd read a few years ago about cholera:  The Ghost MapThe Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, by Steven Johnson.  I'd forgotten it and now feel its connection profoundly. 
         In the time of the 1850s in London, the city had grown to enormous proportions, and the leaders were facing some of the biggest challenges ever faced when groups of people moved together. There were just too many people and too much waste to deal with. Some of you may know the background of this time in history, the time when most scientists thought it was the miasmatic air that caused cholera and other diseases. The experience of those contracting cholera was horrifying. but no more than what those with Covid19 flu are experiencing right now!  

          And I found this poem by Linda Pastan. It isn't easy to comment about people passing, but Linda Pastan does just that, about a time, perhaps in her own life, when saying goodbye was happening too often. And it feels like a connection from this past to our own now. I am heartbroken for those who have died during this time, and those who are struggling with many personal challenges. I'm trying to help where I can, hoping all who read this are staying healthy and helping if you can, also. 

Departures by Linda Pastan


They seemed to all take off
at once: Aunt Grace
whose kidneys closed shop;
Cousin Rose who fed sugar
to diabetes;
               the rest is HERE