Thursday, January 30, 2020

PoetryFriday - Places

Jone Rush MacCulloch hosts this Poetry Friday at Deo Writer with some postcards, too, and a giveaway! Thanks, Jone!

          What an exciting Monday it was to tune in to the ALA Youth Media Awards. My granddaughters and I read one of the Caldecott Honor books I have that's a favorite, Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris and LeUyen Pham and talked about all the favorites we've read this year. 

          I received more postcards this week, more to help me appreciate the creativity of poet friends. I began to imagine postcards going from place to place, began to wonder if I could write a few about places I remember, thus this first one. I grew up in a small town in Missouri, a town my great, great grandfather helped found. My father died in World War II, lost in the Pacific over Leyte. I lived with my maternal grandparents for those early years and heard story after story. This is rough but I wanted to try.
           Thanks to Robyn Hood Black, Diane Mayr, & Christie Wyman for your wonderful postcards!
"All hail" indeed, also time to pay attention to this maligned creature this year!
Hugs to Robyn Hood Black for the big smile! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Praise

     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! 

         It was an exciting Monday morning this week to hear the awards at ALA Midwinter. Alyson's post shared some of the non-fiction books that will now wear a shiny medal. I have not read them all, so I have some catching up to do! Congratulations to everyone!

               It is always a pleasure to read about Dr. Martin Luther King, just days after celebrating his birthday, too. Yes, there are numerous books about him, about his "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963. This time, Barry Wittenstein has shown the careful deliberation of Dr. King to want so much to respect those thousands who were coming to hear what he had to say. He's shown those others who added their thoughtful words the night before, to find the right "picture" that would be forever ingrained in people's minds -- and hearts. Those meeting with him thought they had a good idea, that a "bad check" needed to be made good, at last, after so many years of the promise of equality. 
               However, Dr. King went off to bed without anyone knowing what wonders would happen the next day. Actually even Dr. King didn't know until the famed Mahalia Jackson shouted: "Tell them about the dream, Martin." 
              History is made in those small turnings in a moment. Martin listened and realized that while many of his people had heard it, many, many others all over America, white people, had not. Wittenstein tells the good parts, adding in those not so good, like the meeting with President Kennedy who up to then was "slow to embrace the civil rights movement". And while much acclaim was there, Dr. King and his brothers knew that battles were to come. 
              Jerry Pinkney's illustrations flourish on the page with so much energy and thoughtfulness. The people closest to Dr. King are there, serious and contemplative. People in Dr. King's thoughts are there, like Rosa Parks and Emmett Till, shadows who fill his thoughts. And the crowds are there, right there by the soldiers in full battle gear, but it was a day of peace, as shown in the beautiful double-page spread of people linking arms and singing "We Shall Overcome". 

              Added information at the back includes author's and illustrator's notes, short bios of the Willard Hotel advisors (those who helped the night before), Other Voices, and "Who Spoke at the March on Washington", plus Source Notes and a Bibliography.

Monday, January 27, 2020

It's Monday - Award Day!

              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!

        I have a second post today, sharing a new book that's out next week! Look here!

           The Youth Media Awards are this morning! It's exciting to imagine which books! 

               Deborah's editor showed her a blurred picture of a red jacket, asked if she would like to look into the story, thus began her journey of discovery. It was one that is a heartfelt tribute to courage, in physical and mental acts that defied death. And it is one of heartbreak when so many victims of this tragedy had no chance to show courage, but immediately were lost. Many stories from war have been told, all showing people's brave acts to save others and to save themselves. This is one outstanding one. I am grateful that Deborah Heiligman was curious and dug deep to find the numerous stories surrounding that red jacket. Her research notes are extensive and the small parts included in the book found from meticulous research made the story very real, made the people and their plight come alive on the pages again and again. 

#MustReadin2020 number two!
     If you take off the paper cover, you see the front & back of this book, filled with some clues to what's inside! So fun to see!
      I imagine Aven Green will continue to have power over those who want to take her down, but not without terrible hurt and worry. Starting high school is a huge thing for every.single.student. Now, Aven is starting, this time without Connor who's moved across town, but still with Zion, sticking with her through everything. And yes, there is a lot of "everything" in Dusti Bowling's new, again heartbreaking and heartwarming story about Aven's growing up. It's a book that I hope gets into the hands of every young teen, offering hope and a whole lot of powerful words to remember.

Fun books for the little ones! They're cute with surprises and beautiful to see!

         I have a granddaughter who loves jumping on beds, just like Little Snow. His mother has made such a wonderfully warm and puffy feather bed for him, and it's perfect, for jumping, especially when he's sure his mother is not around to hear. There is a fun surprise at the end, too. It's a darling and pretty book all by Grace Lin.

         Another surprise lies in this book, too. It's fun, a mystery, and what a surprise! Collaged illustrations are gorgeous! The endpapers and double spreads are awesome! 

It's Monday - Introducing a New Book

              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!


     "Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment." Ellis Peters

             I'm excited to share a new book coming out on February 4th, in one week and a day, by a poet friend of mine whom I first met through Poetry Friday, then at a Highlights workshop. 

#OnaSnowMeltingDay  #NetGalley

           Buffy is known for her beautiful photography and many many stem books. You can find all about her poems in anthologies HERE, including one poem "What Does A River Rock Gather?" that is a marvelous example of her love of nature that spills over into poetry! 
           Now look HERE at her website to discover all kinds of non-fiction books that include topics like dwarf rabbits, mako sharks, baby chickens, and bonobos!

          But now it's time to be thinking about spring, yes, SPRING! In her introduction to this newest book full of nature's wonders, you'll find those things we all look forward to (even in February), signs of the season we love to welcome. 

Buffy invites us to "Watch the world come to life."

           In a poetic slide from the beginning, using gorgeous photos (some by Buffy, too!) she adds her poetry like "Clouds break./Salamanders wake./Icicles drip/Chickadees sip." all the way to the end.

           Buffy has created a celebration of this season so welcome after wintry snow and cold. The picture on the back cover shows a gorgeous purple crocus pushing up, up, though crunchy snow! Remember how excited you were when you discovered that first color, heralding spring?

           The book creates a wonderful way to celebrate a welcome to spring. At the back, Buffy has added short paragraphs explaining each part, like "peepers" and "beaver gnaws" along with a glossary and books for further reading! 

          If you study seasons or simply want a grand welcome to spring for a classroom or for your own children and grandchildren, this is a wonderful choice.

           Thanks to Buffy and NetGalley for the advance copy!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Poetry Friday - Smiles in Various Ways

             Kat Apel at her blog hosts us today. Thanks, Kat for the somewhat good news of the fires receiving a bit of rain. Hoping that Queensland receives some soon, too. Kat also shares a fun poem with her own picture of a couple of possums and a different look at school because it's time in her part of the world for everyone to start the new school year--happy and exciting times ahead!

Starting in November, I've been reading a poem a day from Ted Kooser's Winter Morning Walks I love Kooser's poetry, his style, the way he writes about life, his metaphors, his "seemingly" easy way of talking to us readers. Kooser wrote these poems as he was recovering from surgery for cancer in 1998. He sent them on postcards to his friend Jim Harrison. I cannot remember how I learned about this particular book, perhaps someone shared it, perhaps in browsing at my local Indie? But I've loved it and it makes me look harder when I go out walking, too. Here is a taste of Kooser's words:

         from Rainy and cold:     "The sky hangs thin and wet on its clothesline"
       from Clear and at the freezing point, about his old willow: "sweeping the rusty roof of        
                                                            the barn/with the pale blue lacework of her shadow."
        from Gusty and forty at dawn: "Sunlight like honey this morning."

                                                                                                                                                                          There is a small lake in a park near me, where I walk often. It's elevated enough that I have a great view of the mountains while walking by the lake. I could see even more if I could fly! 

           If I would send poems on a postcard, here is one I would send.

With a Mountain View and Water Birds, too

I look, I listen, I watch them land--
splash, bump, glide.
They ignore me because
they own the sky, the water,
and the land.
It's cold today but remain they do.
The squawking and talking
makes me lonesome,
wishing I might glide along
to listen to the gossip, gleaning
some warmth from the sun.
             Linda Baie ©

              As I wrote in my recent Poetry Friday post, postcards give smiles, thus here are two more smiles I've received.  Thank you, Kay McGriff and Robert Ertman for these special words and images to send me happily into the new year.

from Robert, who tells me this photo was taken at the 
Washington DC Botanical Gardens:

among fifty shades of brown

from Kay McGriff

stacks of books, rivers
of words beckon adventure
through the new year 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

NFPB Wednesday - Two to Inspire

     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! 

         I'm looking forward to the Youth Media awards given next week at the ALA convention in Philadelphia! You can watch the presentation next Monday here!

         Oge Mora's collaged illustrations celebrate this amazing story of Mary Walker written by Rita Lorraine Hubbard. Piece by piece, she chooses what to highlight in Mary's story of her long, long journey to learning to read. Here and there are words tucked into the pages of Mary's life. Mary was a slave and even at eight years, she worked in the fields, not allowed to pause for a minute lest she is punished by the overseer. She says: "When I'm free, I'll go where I want and rest when I want. And I'll learn to read, too." Sadly in her life first full of earning money for her Mama, then raising her own family through cleaning others' houses, cooking for them, too, and continuing to work to survive in her seventies. There was never time to learn to read. But, one late day, after she had outlived all her family, at age 116, she enrolled in a reading class. She was given a certificate and people, even presidents, all over the country, celebrated with her. Mary lived through twenty-six presidents, passed away at the age of 121. 
             Photographs of Mary show some of her celebrations, like her first plane ride, on the endpapers. In her author's note, Hubbard acknowledges that some of the story is imagined as only the main dates are really known about Mary.

            There are two favorites from my own children's growing up that I have kept. I've read them to my grandchildren, though not as often because they're not with me every day, but sometimes I get them out just for me. They are both the early books by Gyo Fujikawa.

          I was excited when I first heard there was a picture book about Gyo Fujikawa and by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad, two favorite picture book creators! I've waited a while to get this from my library. Evidently, others wanted it, too. Starting at Gyo's early life when she loved to draw, "loved the feel of a pencil in her hand." "Every day she started with an empty white page . . . and filled it with pictures." She was ignored at school, even the way she drew, but finally, they moved to San Pedro, California which had many residents who were Japanese American. Gyo was happy in her new life and a teacher helped her with the money to go to study at an art school in Los Angeles. 
           Through many kinds of jobs illustrating, Gyo was successful and ended up working for Walt Disney in New York City. In the story, Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad work together with a few words and swirls of art showing Gyo studying in various ways as she traveled, including to Japan. A few years later, the U.S. declared war on Japan and her parents and family were sent to an internment camp. Gyo was exempt, evidently because she lived in New York City. It was a sad time for them and for Gyo, helpless to do anything.
            Eventually, she began to draw again and  noticed the same old thing in books at the library: "mothers in aprons and fathers with pipes and a world of only white children." She imagined, "A book can be anything that anyone imagines it to be." she wanted to show many kinds of children, all babies or toddlers. Her publisher said, "NO!" It wouldn't sell. It was the early 1960s America.  A double-page spread shows Gyo thinking. "It shouldn't be that way." And Maclear and Morstad showing those darling babies just about to turn the page, saying "But babies can't wait." They did not. And neither did Gyo!
              There is a timeline with photos, a note from author and illustrator, and a source list in the back. It's a beautiful book about this special, spectacular, artist.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday Reading - All Good!

              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!

         I have a second post today! I'm excited to share a cover reveal for Laura Purdie Salas' first fiction picture book!

          Thanks to Walker Books US, a Division of Candlewick Press for these first three advanced copies!

         Just out in the US, this is the second in a series, this time instead of raising a piglet,
Jasmine Green has the exciting opportunity to hatch a duckling. For early readers, a story with sadness but a rescue; a flash fire, but a good ending makes an exciting adventure. Jasmine lives on a farm. Her mother's a vet and her father is a farmer, so she knows a lot about animals. When she and a friend rescue a nest of abandoned duck eggs, Jasmine works hard to "fix" the problem. First, she borrows an incubator and the fun with great anticipation starts then. Lovely black and white drawings by Ellie Snowdon accompany chapter beginnings and a few other scenes. It's a good story that moves quickly, brings up lots of topics for discussion, like the children's freedom on this farm. I enjoyed it.

   This is the first in this new series by Helen Peters. I do love being introduced to Jasmine
Green who lives on a farm and shows such love for all the animals. The main topic in this story is how sweet and smart Truffle the Pig came to be with Jasmine, but there is so much more. There is grief over her lost pet chicken Blossom, and sympathy with their dog, Bramble, who has recently lost his companion, Bracken. Jasmine's persistence to rescue her friend Tom's guinea pigs (whom she is watching) whose hutch was blown over in a fierce snowstorm brings in some frightening scenes, but happily, all ends well, and on Christmas morning. It's a lovable start to this new series that introduces the ups and downs of farm life and in family, too.

                    This debut novel, the first of what Joseph Elliott has titled the Shadow Skye Trilogy is terrific!  The story from mythical Scotland centers on interesting young Agatha, a girl some in her clan term "retarch". It follows her struggles being accepted and her strength of character showing great courage as she follows what she knows is the right thing to do. Her words show this in the ending crisis: "But I have to do it. For Jaime who is my friend and for my clan to be rescued." Agatha's clear sense of how to act sometimes gets her into trouble and there are times she is reprimanded for it, but you will cheer for her and also her friend, Jaime, a young boy who questions his abilities so often, I wanted to reach out to tell him he too is strong and brave. He, too, can do hard things.  

                These two introduced above certainly drive Elliott's story, but it is complex in that others add to the relationships in the group called the "Clan". These two young people set off in an adventure unimaginable from the Isle of Skye across the Scotian mainland to Noveg. They are caught, then helped by a group of Nomadic bull riders as well as other animals when Agatha needs them. Yes, she has an extraordinary gift, but you'll need to read this book to discover this hidden part of "The Good Hawk". Fantasy, human needs, and feelings underpin the emotions of fright and courage, compassion and hope.    
          The new words Elliott uses in this book are from the Scottish Gaelic and he has added his own created language that is spoken by an enemy group called the "deamhain". I am reminded of other books that introduce new words, words that add to the thrill of a place and time one has never experienced. My only wish is for a map to add to the knowledge of this created world.

Monday Reading - Exciting Cover Reveal!

              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.   

     I'm excited to host a cover reveal for Laura Purdie Salas' first fiction picture book!



          I own a few of Laura's books. Do you recognize these? They are all wonderful and all poetry!


This time, Laura is branching out!  

 Introducing Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarden!

          Coming this summer, you'll have the pleasure of reading all about Clover Kitty who goes off to Kittygarten only to discover that the classroom is too loud, other kitties get too close, and her teacher Ms. Snappytail doesn't smell good! Things are not "purrrrrfect" at all. For kids who are sensory sensitive and need some alone time, too, the story will be a feel-good one for them and will help others understand their classmates better, too. Hiroe Nakat's illustrations are filled with bright and colorful Kittygarten images.

You can find Laura at her website HERE.

You can find Hiroe Nakata HERE

                       Congratulations, Laura and Hiroe for this book debut!        

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Poetry Friday - Postcard Smiles

             Catherine at Reading to the Core hosts us today, sharing some lovely haiku written in December. Be sure to read her post, then visit others who are gathering to share their poetry offerings. Thanks, Catherine!

               And, thanks to Jone MacCulloch for her yearly postcard idea. Finding more than ads and bills in the mail is always wonderful. 

from Carol Varsalona

frosted winter hopes
undeniably etch
windows of life
painting shadows of
wonder across a new year
dreams not deferred

from Jone, who always makes me envious
of her beautiful ocean visits

from Linda Mitchell
on the other side: a story of the year of the rat, and--

Some days we dash
to win the race.

Others, friends carry us
over dangerous rivers.

Each a heavenly gift.