Friday, February 28, 2020

Poetry Friday - All Month Birthday Celebrating!

It's Poetry Friday, final week of February, here with Karen Edmisten at The Blog With The Shockingly Clever Title.  Karen is sharing a beautiful poem by Jane Hirshfield that will start your weekend with heart!

             February is Laura Shovan's birthday month celebration. In a group together, for a lot of years, some of us have been writing to a daily prompt. This year, each chose a date and posted a picture connected somehow to "water", our daily inspiration for a poem. As I think everyone would say, it's fun, a challenge, and some poems certainly are better than others to each of us personally. Perhaps it's because the picture really did bring inspiration or a memory from our lives? Perhaps we just wanted to try a new poem form? Laura's even posted a page for us to share a poem form! However the day goes, I've managed a poem for each day, so far. I'm not pleased with all, revision calls! But there are a few that are my favorites. Here are two!
            Thanks, Laura, I hope you've had a marvelous birthday month. This group writing feels like icing on a cake!

This picture, which I don't have permission to share, but think you can imagine a river in winter, banks snow-covered, trees bare, from Ruth Lehrer.

The Prescription

ancor  (which often sends me reeling)
ases    (what I have been feeling) 
ollow   (trails of a river’s path)
uminous  (sights remove the wrath)
arth.  (a blessed gift for all)
alm   (if I only heed the call)
ransition (occurs when walking free)
ntimate   (whispering with the trees)
blation  (gift offered – water born)
eeded.   (now no more forlorn)
                                           Linda Baie ©

Here is the picture from number two, of Kay McGriff's husband on a river crew. She wrote that her group has collected trash from this river for fifteen years!  

Liege Lord Earth

Not wooing Lady Fairs with sash,
this courageous knight is wooing trash.
Canoe glides o’er his favorite stream,
gathering tires, nightmare, not dream.
His task accomplished, honor soared –
 “Order of the Bath”, a just reward.
Yes, I imagined this short story,
no knights here, but there is glory.
For a cleaner world, we need to fight
all should mimic this good knight.

                                  Linda Baie ©

      I guess you might say I love nature and want to help preserve it! Spring is coming!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Show us Heroes

   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! 


             No one, I think, starts out to be a hero, but sometimes it happens. An event so strong that one leaps into the start, and the actions become heroic. The two men in these biographies has different beginnings, yet it really all came to doing what was right. 

          "Kum aher. Sit Down, I want to tell you a story!" Thus started the story told to Aaron Lansky by his grandmother, who had carefully packed her suitcase for her voyage to America. Upon arrival, her older brother greeted her and threw that suitcase into the Hudson River. Aaron did not forget, studied Jewish history in college and learned Yiddish because so much of that history was written in that language. His goals were about to change! He visited his rabbi and noticed a bunch of books in a basket, books written in Yiddish! They were about to be buried, no longer useful. Aaron took them home, beginning his journey for more and more. I liked that Macy has included Yiddish words and phrases throughout the story.
           Sue Macy tells the story of this mensch, now an English word from the Yiddish mentsh, meaning a 'person of good character'. There are other words that have move into English, found on a double-page spread in the book, words like bagel, schlep, and klutz. But Aaron wanted the history, the stories, the books! He put the word out, soon had so many books in his apartment in Montreal that he feared the floor would collapse. He said that because Jewish people were really homeless until the creation of Israel, these books were the "portable" homeland of the Jewish people". That was the start, but eventually, with so many books collected, he founded the Yiddish Book Center, collecting always, earning acclamations. This center is digitized, with free downloads, and conducts educational programs.  In her illustrator's note, Stacy Innerst writes that she follows the path of Marc Chagall, who was a poor Jewish boy born in Russia.  She shows a faded style as if it's an old story, only found in people's memories and in books. There is an afterword by Aaron Lansky, notes from Sue Macy and Innerst, a glossary of Yiddish words, and added information.

Monday, February 24, 2020

It's Monday - All Kinds of Favorite 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 

Special Announcement!
             I shared a new poetry book by David L. Harrison and Stephanie Laberis last Wednesday. After Dark publishes on February 25th and is a wonderful book about animals and their lives at night. I hosted a giveaway, too, and am happy to announce that Midway Mo won a copy. Please send your address via email. CONGRATULATIONS! And thanks to Boyds Mills and Kane for the giveaway copy!

                    Genesis Begins Again, a Newbery Honor book, with Scary Stories of Young Foxes, shows a young thirteen-year-old driven by a list given to her in fifth grade: "100 Reasons Why We Hate Genesis." She's added to that list, and the first time we meet her, she must sit on her sofa outside her home because all the family's things are in the front lawn. They've been evicted! Genesis tells her thinking, her story, in a heartbreaking gush of words, from this situation to a new one, a home her father seems magically to acquire in a mostly white suburb. How she navigates her life there and with the friends made and lost while trying to save her family in crisis felt like a rollercoaster of emotions that is her life. I wonder how very many young people see themselves in at least some part of Genesis' story? My hope is that they do and that it gives them hope or a way to understand that life for others is not so easy. It's a special story.

            Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following three picture books, out this month!

            When my daughter was very young and her older brother came in from play one day, told us he had seen the first dandelion, she cried and said she wanted her own "dandy lion". After all these years, perhaps Yoko Tanaka has made her wish come true! In dreaming-along pictures, he tells the tale about a special spring flower getting its wish. It goes on a magical trip to faraway places, ending in the very place it was meant to be. Finding the path to being who you are is a message for everyone. It's a beautiful book to experience.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Poetry Friday - Wishing

        It's Poetry Friday, third week of February, here with Cheriee Weichel at Library Matters. She's introducing a favorite poet, Avis Harley from Vancouver. You'll find a lot to learn and enjoy from Cheriee as she shares about Avis and her work. Thanks for that, Cheriee, and for hosting!

        I'm teaming up with Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference and others to write and bring attention to election/balloting issues this election year. In the 2018 election, I helped drive people to their polling places when needed, hoping to do that and more as the election nears. 
          Too many intimations of voter intimidation have been documented in these recent years and too many discoveries of hacked machines have caused alarm. Most, but not all states have been acting, as shown in this article, from The National Conference of State Legislatures. It is one that gives information from all the states as to what has been, by law, decided for the use of paper ballots.  I hope you find it useful.
Muddy Tech Trail  

Yes, I have my ballot.
And yesterday dropped it in.
I hope it will be counted.
I'm wishing for a win.
But with the news reported
of mysteries and hacks.
I'm also counting on the truth
that America has our backs.
The truth is that I'm troubled
as never before I've been
that people in our country
ensure that we ALL win!

 Linda Baie ©

photo credit: gameraboy "Patriotism" - The Hope of a Nation Poster Series, Works Progress Administration, 1937 via photopin (license)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

NF Picture Books Reveal the Night - Blog Tour & Giveaway

   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 on a blog tour today, excited to share a new book of poetry written by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis that is out February 25th. It's After Dark, poems about nocturnal animals. And, you have a chance to win a copy of this book!

           Vincent Van Gogh said, "I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day."  For this book, David has written twenty-two poems about animals who live and ensure their survival in the night and Stephanie Laberis shows their unique hues and markings in her own "richly colored" illustrations. When you read and see examples below, I imagine you will say that Van Gogh is right.

            Sometimes, I sit outside (longer in summer) to see if I can be still enough to spot a creature moving nearby, to hear an animal's cry. Most often I see a rabbit hopping, stopping for nibbles. Sometimes I hear owls, and one very surprising time, I saw a coyote walking down the street, readying itself for night work. Here is one view from my porch. We humans can't see much, but many animals can and need to.

        I don't fool myself, however. I know that other creatures are out there, living their night lives, just as David shows us through his poems, as Stephanie has illustrated those words. In this book, they've offered a peek at the magic "After Dark". As I read the poems, I imagine sharing them with students, excited that David cleverly includes so much of each animal's behavior in his words, including clues in the titles. For example, the very first one, "The Rehearsal" includes the behavior of grey wolf adults who hunt for food to feed young pups, keep them safe for now as they grow. I.E., they rehearse!
                   "For now, 
                     play tag,
                     pretend grr,
                     pounce ferociously
                     on your siblings."
Stephanie creates three scenes from the comprehensive poem with a double-page spread, a wolf howling at the moon, allowing the moon to light up the entire two pages; the wolf mom nursing her pups; and the pups themselves playing in the night. Here are those pups and the poem:

        This opening poem's delight sets the stage for more questions, this time about wolves, but also a wonder about what's next, what else can be discovered in the night? If only for a time, we can explore the night through David's and Stephanie's "night eyes"!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday Reading - Books Loved This Week

              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 

       It was a very busy week and I'm sharing fewer books than usual, but each one is a gem! Happy Reading!

             Kate Messner never fails to write stories I love. They are complex and joyful, entertaining and heartbreaking, like life! Chirp, in its many layers, celebrates that complexity by sharing a tale of one young girl, supported by mothers, female entrepreneurs, friends, and a grandmother who won't quit living her dream. Sometimes I do not want to tell the plot because I really want readers to experience the book without me telling them what it's about. So, only a brief few words about Chirp. I'd prefer you read it yourself!

         It's a mystery how Messner knits all the pieces together, but I'm so happy she does. Here are the parts needed in all of our lives: friends helping friends and family supporting each other. A varied group of friendly, cool, not cool, crooked, clever and joyful characters makes a wonderful book. "But nobody else got to say who she was going to be. Mia would decide that herself."

          It's hard to wait, especially when it's ALMOST TIME for the sap to run and for the loose tooth to come out! Day by day, Ethan has to eat his pancakes, his cereal, cornbread, too, without syrup. Night by night, Ethan waits for some light to show that days were longer. And one time, he notices he has a loose tooth. Dad says it will fall out before long. Gary Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney (the pseudonym of Gary Schmidt's late wife) show the s.l.o.w trail that waiting takes when one waits for something very special, maple syrup and a tooth out! G. Brian Karas' illustrations show those ups and downs of a young boy waiting and his father's understanding. It's a sweet book!

          I read this on Valentine's Day, a love story to be sure to remember for next year. Here are poetic words and gorgeous ocean scenes by Anna Pignataro, an Australian writer and illustrator, out in the U.S. this past month. A whale sings as it swims through ocean creatures and plants, warming everyone's hearts, but his own. In the book, Pignataro writes: "weaving a path of starlight/into the seagrass taller than a forest." And, "Whale thought how quiet the sea could be at times . . . and how there was no song big enough to fill his empty heart." When he sighs, the grateful ocean responds by carrying his wish to the perfect place.

Now Reading/What's Next: I am still reading When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald an especially wonderful story, but fraught with tension. I'll start Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams (Newbery Honor) soon.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Poetry Friday - Hearts Are Everywhere

 Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to Poetry Friday to celebrate our sweetest day where, yes, hearts are everywhere, even in Peeps. I find them all over my home and am happy to share some old-fashioned Valentines given to my mother-in-law years ago. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Non Fiction Picture Books Take Us Outdoors

     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! 

        We had snow in Denver last night. It was very cold, but when I woke up, the sun was out and sparkles were everywhere. As I stood and watched for a while, two chickadees were busy at a large cottonwood in my garden. It is old with deep grooves in the bark and that is where they were, digging into the grooves -finding breakfast! I've read that they hide seeds in those grooves and return on cold winter days to eat.
          I tell this story because Marcie Flinchum Atkins includes the chickadee in her book explaining 'dormancy' in nature, how plants and animals enter it, using the minimum of energy to survive. This isn't always in the winter months. For some, like the crocodile, just a cold spell can make them "pause" and burrow into the mud until it warms up again.
           Atkins has created a book that feels poetic, celebrating the evolutionary characteristics of animals and plants when they go dormant. She uses that word "pause" to great effect in varied situations. She asks readers to imagine being that creature, then tells what "you" would do. For example, she writes "If you were a dormant chickadee on a cold winter night, you would . . . cool down/slow your heart/save energy. For just a few hours, you would pause." She continues with the next step, in case of the chickadee, it would wake up and fly. 
            I enjoyed that included are a variety of living things like trees, ladybugs, Arctic ground squirrels and alligators. Each one differs in its surviving action. Some go into this "pause" for only a few hours, like the chickadee, and others rest for a whole season, like trees. Also, various awakenings are explained, as in leaves unfurling on trees or ladybugs which "wiggle awake, feast, flit away."
            Back matter explains the different terms of dormancy: diapase, hibernation, torpor, brumation, and estivation. One interesting fact included here is that some scientists use the word "torpor" for bears in winter instead of "hibernation". 
            Each part, whether going into dormancy or coming out, is illustrated with beautiful close-up photos. There is further reading which includes books and websites and photo acknowledgments. Because Atkins mentions Laura Purdie Salas' poetry book Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle: How Animals Get Ready for Winter, here is my review which I also shared on Kidlit Frenzy.
             Wait, Rest, PAUSE - dormancy in nature is a book that adds an extra for learning about changes in the environment that cause changes in animal and plant behavior, showing it is not only "hibernation", but more complex and varied in nature. It's a terrific book!

Monday, February 10, 2020

It's Monday! Books Loved Last Week

              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 

It's an exciting day for posts! I'm sharing two others, one HERE on a blog tour for Sara Pennypacker's new book, Here in the Real World, which is fabulous!

and one HERE  joining Cathy Mere, Mandy Robek, Julie Balen and others for the group sharing favorite non-fiction picture books #nf10for10

            I listened carefully, ready to take notes. Woo hoo, I've read the wonderful New Kid by Jerry Craft, the Newbery winner! Now for the honors, I'd read two of four, lovely books: Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga and The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. I had not read this wonderful book above or Genesis Begins Again, by Alicia D. Williams. I checked my library, both were available, so I'll read Genesis Begins Again soon! I am so grateful for my wonderful library, and of course, authors and illustrators!
            This book, this scary book, for kids and for foxes, is a treasure. Christian McKay Heidicker's early beginning says in the opening: "They wanted a story so scary it would prove their bravery and change them forever. All except the little one, that was. She preferred the sound of her mom's heartbeat." When I read these first pages I knew that I wanted to go along on this journey, however frightening it might be. Their mother forbid her kits from leaving the cozy den to visit the storyteller in Bog Cavern. Seven fox kits waited until she began to snooze, then snuck out into the night. When they arrived, "Roots dripped over its mouth. Fog oozed from its throat." I loved Heidicker's language, both the scary and the loving. And you will, too! Here's the marvelous way he can show beauty as well as terror: "She walked to what looked like a hollow tree trunk and drew out something sharp and hooked--a silver claw that gleamed like moonlight on water."
             In the book, they venture into a den to hear a series of interlocking and terrifying tales. There are eight, the openings on black pages (isn't that great?) each embellished by beautiful illustrations by Junyi Wu. Each story sends one kit fleeing for the home den (just can't listen anymore) until just one remains. It's challenging for me not to tell all the story, filled with warmth and love, evil and destruction, loss and hope. Friendship empowers and there is that as well. It's terrific!

         Through the seasons, Julie Flett tells the story of a family, a mother and her daughter, who move to the country. The young girl says she will miss much of her city life, including a tree outside her window. They travel through some beautiful countryside, arrive at their new home, with two trees and creaky stairs. The field is covered with snowdrops. During the year, a sweet relationship happens between the girl, Katherena who loves to draw and a near neighbor, an older woman named Agnes, who is a potter. Agnes and Katherena become closer and that eases Katherena's sadness in moving. Agnes shares her art and about country life; Katherena teaches her some Cree words. Time passes into beautiful fall then winter and Agnes is not doing well. With Katherena's drawings, she, her mother and Agnes's daughter prepare a surprise for Agnes, covering the walls with them since Agnes is now bedridden and cannot go out. Flett's illustrations add such beauty to this quiet journey of friendship. She is a Cree-M├ętis author and has included a small glossary of Cree words at the front of the story. 

Celebrate #NF10for10

Welcome to my post for the annual #NF10for10 2020. Add your link here with Cathy Mere, at her blog Reflect and Refine. Mandy Robek also hosts with Cathy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning Julie Balen at Connecting to Learn is also part of this fabulous book-sharing! Thank you, Mandy, Cathy and Julie! This is year number eight for this special gathering. 
              Go HERE to add your link or to read all the other posts!

In the past:

2013    2014    2015    2016    2017    2018    2019

               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 have a varied list this year, about people and places, seasons, animals and words. Some are prose, some are poetry, but we learn from each one! It seems this non-fiction picture book world we live in has exploded in recent years. I am grateful, but also sad to limit the books to only a few. I also read books I loved about the first dinosaur, secret soldiers and women's suffrage. Perhaps I'll find them on your lists!

           A Place to Land - Wittenstein and Pinkney     - If you want to visit Dr. King again, this time the night before his "I Have A Dream" speech, and the magic that happened during the speech, this is the book. It makes me wish I had had the joy of being there, too.

        The Women Who Caught The Babies - Greenfield and Minter     - I am grateful for those authors and illustrators who bring stories from the past we never knew. This is a beautiful tribute to those women "who caught the babies".

        Snow Leopard - Anderson and Benson   Here the mysterious snow leopard is brought to us in its elusive beauty, a creature we need to protect.