Thursday, April 2, 2020

April - Poetry Month - Day Two




It's April. It's Poetry Month!


         Remember to check out the list of what everyone is doing at Jama Rattigan's blog: Jama's Alphabet Soup.


          And check on the Water Poem Project where every day, a poet is sharing a prompt connected to water, hosted and created by Laura Shovan!


Plus! Check each day for the added line to the Progressive Poem, created by Irene Latham, now hosted by Margaret Simon! Link is above!

           TIME TO CELEBRATE POETRY! 




           I'm taking a leap with the theme of CIRCLES for poetry month, poems & small sketches. I am looking forward to reading everyone's posts. I'm sure I will love each one, knowing they're done during a time we've not lived before. Best wishes for continuing good health to you all!












Here's number two, a cinquain





all wait
for spring blooming,
something to celebrate,
a harvest to anticipate,

needed


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April - Poetry Month - Number One



It's April. It's Poetry Month!

         Remember to check out the list of what everyone is doing at Jama Rattigan's blog: Jama's Alphabet Soup.

          And check on the Water Poem Project where every day, a poet is sharing a prompt connected to water, hosted and created by Laura Shovan!

          Plus! Check each day for the added line to the Progressive Poem, created by Irene Latham, now hosted by Margaret Simon! Link is above!

           TIME TO CELEBRATE POETRY!






           I'm taking a leap that I can manage this challenge I've given myself. A while ago I bought a
small box of tiny round wood circles. I've been playing around with how I can use them for something, and am planning to use the theme of CIRCLES for poetry month, poems & small sketches. I'm a little scared and as I wrote last Friday, a little scattered even though I am home and have so much time. 
       I am looking forward to reading everyone's posts. I'm sure I will love each one, knowing they're done during a time we've not lived before. Best wishes for continuing good health to you all!











Here's number one, a haiku:



out walking,
dandelions play greeter –
no Walmart now



Non-Fiction Picture Books - Stories That Inspire To Learn More



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

        Wishing everyone safety and good health in your lives, family and friends, too. It's a time filled with questions, learning how to adapt to new ways of living. 

         It's wonderful always to read stories of strong women during Women's History Month. Though it's April 1st, I want to share one more book that is not new, but somehow I missed it. What a wonderful, though poignant, too, story of Barbara Jordan.


            I'm old enough to remember Barbara Jordan giving that thunderous speech during the Nixon investigation. I didn't really know her. Knowing politicians, until that time for me, who weren't necessarily in the news so we didn't know them well unless they were from our state. 

           Chris Baron's book about Barbara Jordan makes me want to go back in time to watch what she does in "real" time, not just read her history. I am glad to have read Baron's book, a lovely celebration of this congresswoman's life. She grew up in the Fifth Ward in Houston, even as a young girl she gained attention by reciting poetry in church and memorizing speeches for school. She won a contest and traveled to Chicago, leaving Texas for the first time. Then the wondering began. What would (could) she do with her voice? She worked hard and became a lawyer, but was bored with so much desk work. She looked around, again wanting to use her voice! Thank goodness for the inspiration because she became a politician, “bitten by the political bug”.  Ekua Holmes’s intricate illustrations blend painted background designs with cut-paper collage work, each page having one dominant figure but adding subtle content. For instance, she is pictured in shadow with a mix of campaign buttons and headlines and, as a congresswoman, on television, a realistic view. Sadly, in her fifties, Jordan’s multiple sclerosis leads her to retire from public life and move into education. Her voice has been carried on by those who worked with her and studied under her.
             Baron adds an author's note, a detailed timeline of Jordan's life, a "recommended viewing and reading list." 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday Reading - Loving Old & New


              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


Thinking of all of you during this challenging time, hope you are doing well and finding joy in your lives every day. This continuing challenge is so hard for everyone. I'm trying to help where I can by supporting those who are virtually closed, still offering carry-out, etc. 


I was distracted last week and did not notice that I published my 2000th post! I've been blogging since 2011 and what a joy it has been to meet so many wonderful people online, like you during this Monday morning sharing, and in-person sometimes! Thanks to all of you for being online friends, rarely more important than now!


I finished Internment by Samira Ahmed. Despite wishing I had read it earlier, I'm also glad I have read it this week, sadly realizing that the issues brought up in terrifying ways feel even more prevalent, but in danger of being overlooked because of the coronavirus pandemic issues. 



on my #MustReadin2020" list
       All at once, Layla and her parents hear loud knocking at the door. Army guys, now called Exclusion Guards, are there along with the police, one whom they know. They order them to pack one bag each, are being taken to a newly opened facility. It's according to the new Presidential Order by the Exclusion authority. It's time for their relocation! Thus begins this horrifying journey as told by Layla to a place near Manzanar, that place of the Japanese Internment during World War II. They are Muslims and with the election of the new president, every part of the lives of this particular religious group are being taken away. This is the first camp, the one that must be successful in setting the precedent that all is okay. "These people" are happy and being taken care of. Layla will not accept it, and with new friends and her boyfriend she had to leave behind, an 'insider' guard, and others revealed as the story moves along, she resists. One line that made me understand how powerful Samir Ahmed has shown Layla's strength, her thinking in the midst of a scary moment: "And that's the opening. The only one I may have. At their core, bullies are cowards. He is what he always was. He can still hurt me. Kill me, even. But he will never win." And from a special author's note: "When fascism comes to America, it will come draped in an American flag." Ahmed shares the background history in her note and a Resource List. It's a book that will stay to be read in years to come. 

            I am grateful to Candlewick Press that keeps me reading wonderful new picture books. These three were published just last week!

          I can't go hiking in our Rocky Mountains now because the slopes are still snow-covered. But, Pete Oswald takes us all along with this father and son on this special hike, up early and driving, big excitement to get there, and finally, they begin. Pete delights with so many details in the colorful illustrations of his wordless tale. There is a backpack that one must click straps tight in the front, binoculars that let one see deer on a faraway slope, an animal track ID book, and one should never forget a camera! Rabbits, Rabbits, birds, flowers, and bees are all around on this long hike in and out of the forest. A bit of fright, then courage happens as they stride over a log bridge with a gorgeous waterfall in the background. They do have a purpose when they, at last, the two reach the top (you'll have to read to discover it), and a surprise in the author's note at the back. I imagine taking this virtual hike with a child, wondering if one could do it, too, or using it to remind of one's own hike to a special mountaintop. One fun addition is the family's marmalade cat at home at the beginning and at the end. It's a wonderful book!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

It's Poetry Friday - Sharing Scraps

         Tabatha Yeatts of The Opposite of Indifference is our lovely and thoughtful host today for Poetry Friday. She's sharing an original poem giving advice during this challenging time using the most caring words. You will love it!




          I have written that during this time I have been, am, scattered. This results in a flitting from thing to thing, asking myself, what next? before I've even finished the current task. 

Thus, 


a Dictionary online defines ‘scrap’ as “a small piece or amount of something, especially one that is left over after the greater part has been used. You can see from my hasty collage what is taking my time. I've written notes on the wonderful notecards from Robyn Hood Black. I've done a bit of inventory work at the bookstore, carrying along my Clorox wipes. I'm reading from Irene Latham's and Charles Waters' new Dictionary, reading Internment (apt perhaps?), reading Cosy, a bit of joy, enjoying lessons from Peanuts and Tuffy, The Tugboat (read that page), and of course the New Yorker. And I'm walking to find nature's gifts. I'm fortunate that I can be home, but so often wish I was elsewhere!


Scraps – Now That The Greater Part Has Been Used

S o I’m trying hard to find some 
C ogent argument to stay on a schedule.
R ealistically, the idiom “all the time in the world”
A t last, seems like a gift, does it not?
P lease don’t expect much production, however.
S cattered motions from task to task only fill hours of empty. 

Linda Baie ©

         Best of my wishes to each of you during this sad time in our history. There are moments of celebrating humans who are doing good and I am so grateful for them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Celebrate Women



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

        Wishing everyone safety and good health in your lives, family and friends, too. It's a time filled with questions, learning how to adapt to new ways of living. 

         It's wonderful always to read stories of women and more about their lives. These two following stories show two women who kept their passions all their lives. They are both inspirations.



         Shy, smart, pushed herself to be strong, found that her Grandmother's words helped her gain strength to do what she knew was right: "Take the high ground if someone insults you. When someone opens a door to you, go forward." She was lucky to go to college at a time when girls were not expected to go. There, like her noticings when she was younger, she became even more aware of those who were working in terrible conditions. She knew she wanted to speak up and as Kathleen Krull writes Frances Perkins' story, Francis "realized she had to make her voice hear, even when speaking made her uncomfortable." And her voice was heard, over and over again. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

It's Monday - Adventures in 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


Thinking of all of you during this challenging time, hope you are doing well and finding joy in your lives every day.





           It took me a while to read this, not because it wasn't a special adventure story set in the California gold rush days, but because of the challenging days we're experiencing. I'm fine, staying home except for a few trips to the grocery, but feel a little scattered! 
           However, this story by Avi is quite a wonderful trip back to the San Francisco of Gold Rush days where a young girl, Victoria Blaisdell of Providence, Rhode Island whose father has lost his job and gets the 'fever', opts to take only her younger brother along to California. "Tory" wants independence and hates the expectations of a 14-year-old girl, no school but dancing school, act like a lady, no outings without accompaniment. 
Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy!
            Readers will be thrilled to see that Tory won't be stopped. She stows away on the ship, thus beginning the adventure that is not always easy, but her strength does not stop her will to be who she wants to be. You'll be surprised at the terrible conditions of that old San Francisco, most living in tents, mud everywhere, no schools for the younger brother whom Tory is left in charge of as her father takes off to the goldfields. It's a tale hard to imagine, but Avi says there really was a Blaisdell family that lived in Providence and his descriptions of "Rotten Row" where hundreds of ships were abandoned in the bay as men arrived to take off for the fields nearly defy belief. Those wrecks now at the bay's bottom have since served as a landfill for what is now land extended into the bay.
            Tory makes one good friend, a boy, and then another, who help her rescue her brother who's been 'crimped', kidnapped to serve on one of the few ships that leave for other destinations. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Poetry Friday - Spring Arrives with Snow

     Michelle Kogan at her blog of the same name is hosting this week. She's bringing spring poems from the latest edition of Today's Little Ditty plus a bonus from her, too. 




     In these challenging days, I hope each of you keep good health and find ways to share some goodness in your communities. I am aware that many of you are online helping with ideas for children who are out of school, which is wonderful. There are many kinds of needs that I am becoming aware of each day. It's a sad, tough time. 








              On the first day of spring, a snowstorm blew in. Here's the view from my desk!  It was near 70 yesterday so I went to the store to do some work in our inventory. We closed the store indefinitely last Saturday, but some of us will continue to do a little work. I'm glad I got to stay home today!



































            At the end of January, 2019, on this post, I shared a very old book donated to the bookstore that was falling apart & couldn't be offered for sale. Once in a while, I bring it out again to read some of the old poems. This time, I found one without an author's name, but feels just perfect for this interesting spring day! Surely after this rain, then snow, violets will be along soon! Here are the book and the poem I wrote last time.


for an old book of poetry, Gems of Poetry

Page crumbles spill into my hand,
what others held on laps to read.
Attend the poets, accord encores.
When words are read, they live again.

Linda Baie ©

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Tell Stories



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

      






Several vertical double pages
 highlight the beauty
of the French's sculptures!
            With Shawn Fields' marvelous pen and ink sketches, Linda Booth Sweeney tells this story of a boy who grew up on a farm, then small towns in Massachusetts who became a famous sculptor whose work can be found in many places, foremost in our capitol. He didn't do well in school, loved being out in nature observing and drawing birds. The story shares that one time he carved a turnip into a frog and his parents noticed his talent as he discovered what he was going to do in his life. He did different studies in art. When the family moved to Concord, he took art lessons from May Alcott, Louisa May Alcott's sister. His first commission, at age twenty, was of the "Minuteman" leaving his plow, found now at The Old North Bridge. He went to Italy to study with a famous sculptor. Thus, he began this artist life.
             Knowing his journey to this culminating monument of Lincoln, the book also becomes the story of Lincoln. By the time it was to be created, Daniel was already famous and his friend, Henry Bacon, an architect that had been chosen as the designer of the memorial, wanted French to create the statue. That part itself is fascinating.

             The back matter is extensive. It includes the author's and illustrator's notes, a Daniel Chester French Timeline, a brief piece titled "Dan the Maker", a page of the history of The Lincoln Memorial, a list of French's creations and their location, and a resource list.
              I loved that Sweeney began the book as a story, with Field's drawings of a boy and a girl listening. They are there several times in the book and at the end. It's a nice touch.




           I've been to Washington, D.C more than once in my life, traveled the many steps to all the museums and monuments. One favorite memory is when I went with students, middle-grade age, and of course, they were often ahead of me and my colleagues, eager to get to the "next" destination. This time we were to rendezvous at The Lincoln Memorial. My students and I kept field journals of all the places visited, notes and sketches. When we arrived at this special place, the students were sprawled on the floor under the sculpture of Lincoln, looking up, sketching, reading the quote, in awe. That was years ago and we had learned a bit about Daniel Chester French, but not this story by Linda Booth Sweeney. I wish we had had it then. This memorial gives a sense of calm when one is there. I'm glad I have visited and have these memories.


Monday, March 16, 2020

Monday Reading - Nature Teaches Us


              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


         We all hope that we can practice the best ways to care for ourselves and for each other. It's been another week of worries, especially closings, here in our state and beyond. Wishing all of you will remain well and manage the challenges ahead for yourselves and your communities.



           Thanks to Candlewick Press for all the books shared in this post. I am grateful to have the copies. I already had purchased The Nest That Wren Built, so will pass a copy on to my granddaughter's school! Each one published on March 10th!

I have not finished Gold Rush Girl by Avi and it is exciting. I'll share it next week.
           This week was challenging, as I imagine it was for many of you. I am thinking of all of you who have to create different ways to teach and/or do your other work because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Best of my wishes to you for continuing good health.




          In a cumulative tale, the author, and here in a picture book, the illustrator, must repeat and repeat. This time, in Randi Sonenshine's spring story, clever and subtle changes in that same rhyme swing us readers through the story wonderfully. Papa Wren begins the construction with "These are the twigs, dried in the sun,/that Papa collected one by one/to cradle the nest that Wren built." I admire Randi's ability to keep that favorite rhyme, yet build the nest part by part, just as wrens out in our own world do. Included are "leaves of ruby and gold"; "moss, softer than suede"; and later, "the hatchlings scratching within".  Images feel new and perfect for this life story, filled with anticipation for "what's next?", like "spidery rootlets" and "tuft of rabbity fur" that's "plucked from a sharp, persnickety burr". 
             Just as Randi adds to her telling, Anne Hunter creates her own cumulative illustrations in ink and pencil on colored papers. Page by page, she lets us see the work as the nest becomes, a NEST, and one that becomes the beautiful dwelling for eggs, and then, those lovely little hatchlings. There is a sweet surprise at the end which readers will adore. 
             Randi adds the science of wrens in a glossary and "Wren Facts" in the back matter.



          Mary Murphy is from Dublin, Ireland, wrote this lovely text which needs to be read aloud and seen! She states that she used brush and ink rendered digitally to illustrate. The book throughout is gleeful, celebrating trees, fish, dogs, the earth, and each of us, the only ones who truly know how to be themselves. In the part about dogs, they "flick water into their mouth to drink./I can't do that, but then/only a dog knows/how to be a dog."  Endpapers are filled with all kinds of people and trees, water, too in a swirl of a crowd of those things, Being Them! I'd love to read this aloud to discover what readers would create with other things, knowing what a particular thing knows how to be. What a fun book that emphasizes individuality! 


            Maribeth Boelts lets Kaia tell her story who proclaims she's "hottest-hot-pepper brave" yet we then learn, except for bees! A story about a little girl whose father keeps bees on the roofs shares a universal lesson, to try and try again to face the scary, and then face it again. An early "try" up to the roof with her dad finds Kaia with a sting! After some time, she's ready to visit again with her dad. She finds the courage, this time, to gather the reward, honey. Bright, colorful cartoon-like illustrations by Angela Dominguez show the ups and downs of feelings in a diverse family and with Kaia and her friends, too. For those afraid of bees, and perhaps other things, this might help make a change.
     
Still ReadingThe Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Poetry Friday - It's "A Dictionary for A Better World"


It's Poetry Friday, it's March, that month that cannot seem to behave. All the week it was warm enough for short pants and short sleeves, now expecting snow! Welcoming us is  Matt Forrest Esenwine at  Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme.  He's sharing some coming books by dear Lee Bennett Hopkins and reminding us about March Madness Poetry which you can find here! Considering these days since March 1st, I guess "madness" is the word! Denver Public Schools just announced they will close starting Monday for the next three weeks!  Thanks for hosting, Matt.

             Way back in September, I had the pleasure of revealing the cover of Dictionary for A Better WorldPoems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Here is that post with a few questions answered by these creators who've made what is now a favorite alphabet book. Of course, I imagine alphabet books as page by page reveals a letter, a word and an illustration. And they are wonderful.
              However, this is so much more. And in these times, welcomed and needed! In the past, I have had students create their own alphabet books and now wish I could share this book with them, to see the marvelous ways that Charles and Irene have enhanced the twenty-six letters with more, more, more. Mehrdokht's illustrations are icing on the cake! Each word presents a poem with a footnote that tells in what form the poem is written. Charles and Irene alternate the writing and some are collaborations. The opposite pages offer a companion quote, a comment by Irene or Charles and a challenge action to "Try It!" They've given me much to ponder as I've read slowly, trying to find ways to incorporate their suggestions into my life, whether poetry or actions. 


        The opening poem, an abecedarian, celebrates the words, opening a world that I believe Irene, Charles, and Mehrdokht want us to know, to embrace, to celebrate. 

        One thing I loved, too, was that every word brought a new idea, sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, and Mehrdokht's illustrations added to the emotion. In the final page, after "Z", a poem proclaims "we're all in this together", and there these three creative people are, among other people, children and adults, dogs and birds, crocodiles - TOGETHER! 
        In another favorite, a quiet picture of two children sitting on a sofa, looking at each other. The word (and poem) is Charles' poem, "Listen", the quote, by Jacqueline Woodson: "Even the silence has a story to tell you. Just listen. Listen."
         In "Reach", by Irene, she ends her poem with "all for the possibility/of rising/together." The illustration shows two hands reaching, almost touching, painted on a sketchbook as an artist readies a brush. 
          My own descriptions fail to show the beautiful emotions from the illustrations, gathering all the words together into one beautiful entry!

          There is an author's note and so much more at the back, resources used and recommended, a gratitude list, and an index of poem forms used. This book has it all!
           I've read the book slowly since it arrived, used it to inspire my own poetry, especially during Laura Shovan's birthday month February challenges. Here is one that I wrote to a song shared by Margaret Simon that had the theme of musical freedom. In our world of much divisiveness, my hope "For A Better World" feels more positive after reading this wonderful new book.

Our Imperfect World

Here in my home, we love a storm
while you wish it away –
the trees in need, the grass is brown,
sol reigns another day.
If you send a bucketful,
I’ll send some cloudless blue,
offering a weather change
for all, a different view.
Like life, not always easy
but people aren’t truly far apart.
To find a common ground
we can look into their hearts.
                           Linda Baie ©


         “I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”