Thursday, October 29, 2020

Poetry Friday - Ring the Doorbell! Halloween Practice

           Welcome everyone to a pre-Halloween party! Although this holiday is going to be different this year, it's still good to prepare with candy, ready for the children who still might ring that doorbell! Happy Halloween!

            Many decorations in my neighborhood differ this year. I have enjoyed what is out there and took a picture of one that brought a smile. The kindnesses around us are there if we only pay attention. I am grateful for this neighbor's thoughtful Halloween shout-out to all!

Remember that the tinman was looking for a heart!

           I love Halloween and sadly this week, with new restrictions in Denver, warnings about Trick or Treating being unsafe have been announced. My small neighborhood group had planned a parade in our little park with all of us ready to see wonderful costumes and give out candy bags --all canceled. I will drop some bags on some porches of those who have shared their addresses, but that's about it this year.

           I've tried to stay away from politics but have written a little bit into my poems. Yes, I wrote two, a nostalgic one for the adults and one that's more fun for children. Wishing you a nice holiday full of treats however full of tricks it seems to have!

In My Mind - Prose Poem


       How swiftly days shorten when October begins its frosty cold. Trees reveal their wild growth of tangles via shakedowns. Then we know that All Hallows’ Eve must be preparing its own mysteries of creaks in the crannies

to welcome children on the sidewalks. They hold hands with Mom and Dad, ring doorbells, shout “Trick or Treat”. They are prepped to say “Thank you” but do it only after peeking in the sack when they glimpse the KitKats and Snickers, M&Ms and Milky Ways. Ah, sweet time to come. They scurry away, and I notice big smiles on everyone’s faces especially Mom’s and Dad’s. Remember?

It exists for all of us,

not to lose,

but to celebrate –

this thing called Halloween.

                             Linda Baie ©

Still Halloween 


Now we speak of masks that mean

helping others sight unseen,

but I desire one scary day,

All Hallows’ Eve, the children’s way.


To neighbor’s doors on tiptoe feet

ready to shout out trick or treat;

dodging shadows that alarm,

racing by to keep from harm.   


Tiny heroes, ghosts, and clowns,

traipsing all around the town,

costumed in the latest fad,

holding hands with Mom and Dad.


They want this night to last and last         

but jack ‘o lanterns’ lights dim fast.

House to house with daring dash,

they grab the mostest candy stash.


Bright full moon lights winding paths.

Bags sag; now comes the aftermath!

Pour the haul on living room floors,

Snatch, then trade, no need for more.  


In treats kids gathered on the streets

lie memories tucked among the sweets.

         Linda Baie ©

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Monday, October 26, 2020

Monday Reading - WOW Books!

   Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!

     Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR 

Wishing you all a good week ahead! 

           Thanks to NetGalley for this special book from Sharon Creech. We know that Sharon Creech knows about special teachers. You only have to read Love That Dog and Hate That Cat to understand. This time young Gina Filomena tells the story of her year with a new teacher, Miss Lightstone, who approaches things very differently from the terrible, pointy teacher the year previous. Gina has a great imagination which feels good instead of bad after meeting a new neighbor, Antonio, mysterious with a beautiful smile, who just happens to be in her class! There happens a world full of mystery and magic that connects to writing in this story when the class, and perhaps Miss Lighthouse, too, begins to answer the questions, "Who am I?" and "Who do I want to be?"  
          Other characters, classmates, neighbors, a very fun Auntie and Uncle Pasta (you must read to discover why the name) plus Gina's grandmother, Nonna Filomena who lives far away are made memorable, too. It makes a place one wants to be! I could not stop reading and my own wide smile appeared at the surprising end. Teachers, you will want this for a read-aloud!

           I've never known someone who struggles with stuttering, but now, with Jordan Scott's beautiful story and with his letter at the back, I begin to understand a little more. In that letter, he writes "What would happen if you concentrated on the feeling of speaking? As an "older" person, as he wrote, I do notice I am losing words as I speak, then they pop up sometimes hours later. 
          Jordan Scott's book, illustrated with such feeling by Sydney Smith, lets a boy tell about his own experiences through a day, a tough day even for him where his "tongue is tangled", a C is a crow "that sticks in the back of my throat". When asked to speak and share about a favorite place, he shares that all his classmates hear "is how I don't talk like them." His dad picks him up on this "bad speech day" and they go to the river. What happens that helps is to watch the river with all its sounds. It isn't smooth, it bubbles and churns. The boy "talks like a river". The inside double-page fold out is gorgeous, a boy alone, swimming in that river. The book needs to be shared by everyone, a book that may help those who stutter and those who hopefully will begin to understand. Thanks to Jordan Scott for sharing his story. 

        A clever tale by Roger McGough begins with Bobby saying there's a new moon tonight and Betty wondering what happened to the old one. Bobby says it's in his honey cupboard; he stole it to give to Betty! Yikes! Thus the tale moves along as a love story with Bobby telling all the ways Betty could use that moon and Betty questioning back. What a grand read-aloud with beautifully-imagined illustrations by Penny Dann.  

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Poetry Friday - Knowing Others

       Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup hosts Poetry Friday today. with yummy cider and apple cider donuts plus a poem that makes one yearn for autumn and write poems! Thanks, Jama!

      Thinking of this particular autumn into winter, the need to pay attention to others and their "inside" from the "outside" as well as I can. Many needs have emerged during these weeks and months of the pandemic. I believe my need to be especially perceptive of others who may be hiding their feelings. I've resurrected an old poem I wrote when I was then thinking of my middle school students who are often reluctant to tell what's really going on. It fits everyone, don't you think?
             I'm hosting next week for #PoetryFriday, no matter what, we'll do some Halloween celebrating! Please, VOTE! 

             What Can You Know?


Inside, at 60 beats a minute, 

my heart stays resting,

accumulating layers

of life on the outside.

These layers, like tree rings,

remain hidden inside,

show only a peek to the outside

of the sometimes sweet

and occasionally bitter

when we add a pinch of salt

and then a lot of sugar.

Now inside, my heart is racing

but you might not know

until I tell you, on the outside.

                                 Linda Baie ©

photo credit: adam_moralee age rings via photopin (license)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday Reading - More Wonderful Books

  Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!

     Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR 

Wishing you all a good week ahead! 

          Yes, I managed to finish it, but it took a week because I kept re-reading different parts; I wanted to remember every single thing. Then I went back to browse through Dear Martin, wanting to remember more of Justice and Quan together. I can't tell all the story. You don't want to miss this, the thoughts of both, but this time particularly the inside/outside cries for help from Quan, cries for someone to "see" him and to "love" him. This is one that can break your heart from both sadness and relief from breath-holding. How can it be that a youngster is held in a juvenile correction facility for two years without a trial? It's a tragedy that must be addressed! Nic Stone writes in her afterword that much of Quan's story is true. Nic Stone interviewed many juveniles in prisons and used their experiences to help her write. 
Other characters are there, too, with their own poignant stories. It's a story I hope lands in classes and school libraries everywhere.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

         Sweet Gustavo, yes, he's shy, lived unseen in his world, even for a ghost! Flavia Z. Drago shares this sweet story for young readers about someone who is terrified to make friends, never "dared to speak to any of the other monsters". Her words tell it plainly but her illustrations show his fear with creativity. Gustavo remains close but he's disguised as a balloon, sneaks into a painting, or in a clothesline sheet, and is not seen! His true love is named Alma, an invisible girl who wears glasses. A Mexican feel is noticeable in the art like the colorful papel picado banners and skulls tucked in everywhere. In some good self-pushing, Gustavo decides he must be brave, so decides to invite everyone to a violin concert, his favorite thing. What happened after that made Gustavo glow and will make readers "glow" too, with lots of smiles.  (When they are there, I always check out the endpapers to see what has been done. This time, the opening shows Gustavo in a strip of pictures like one from a photobooth. You can imagine what the back shows - a happy GROUP with Gustavo!

Thanks to NetGalley for this book!

        Based on his own son and experiences through that young son's life, Michael Waters tells a family story of Jeremiah and his persistent questioning about the shootings, particularly of young black boys but also including that of five police officers. Jeremiah is waiting for his hair to grow so he can have locks and there's a chuckle when he gains permission plus later comparing it to the patience people must have when working for equal rights. As he grows, more tragic shootings happen and the phrase, "That doesn't make sense" repeats. Beautiful black boys like Jeremiah fight for better, shown in "also beautiful" illustrations by Keisha Morris. There are two pages of activities for extending the learning at the back. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Poetry Friday - State of Mind

     Poetry Friday is hosted by Janice Scully here at Salt City Verse! Thanks for hosting, Janice!  

These next weeks are going to be challenging, I imagine, for each of us. Best wishes in doing what you can to be kind to yourself and others. And VOTE!
         I am feeling like I am at a crossroads. Perhaps it's because my birthday was Monday; probably it's because seven and a half months of tension that includes worry about the losses from the pandemic for everyone and now the incredible election chaos. One needs to be strong to face these next weeks and I want to be, especially for my grandchildren. This poem comes from those thoughts.

Forget Everything - Almost

These challenging days,
don't tell anybody,
I'm "almost" forgetting every single month behind me,
the way it was:
the startling whispers,
the "everything is gonna be alright",
that word we fear to hear again,
"lockdown", the angry arguments
for truth.

I will remember
the daughter who brought groceries,
small visits (like vitamins),
the son's phone calls,
making believe he was cross-town,
came from granddaughters,
to the bookstore opening –
out of books
eager for book talk,
the silly smile drawn
on the Starbucks cup,
a text from a neighbor,
so many deviled eggs.

I will not forget walks in
     winter's snowy whispers
     spring bees buzzing
     summer's magpie chatter
     fall trees' defiant goodbyes.

I won't forget 
the name of this poem.

Linda Baie ©

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Share Memories


        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! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following fabulous book!

          I've lived on a lake but in a neighborhood. And my family used to have a cabin in the woods but by a stream instead of a lake. That cabin was built by a park ranger and his family one summer. They had it for fourteen years, then my family bought it from them, and now we have sold it to a new family. Three owners make its history of changes and abandonment, then fun and good times back again. 
           My life stories make Thomas Harding's history of The House by the Lake so very poignant. His own great-grandfather, described as "a kind doctor and his cheery wife" are the ones who built the house, wanting a place away from "the busy city". That city was Berlin, Germany, and as is said, the rest is history. In his forward, Thomas Harding discovers through his search that the history of this same house was on the "frontlines of history".
            First published in the U.S. last month, Harding has researched and told this story again, this time in brief, poetic and poignant words. He traces the story from the impact of the Nazis in World War II to the way the house later ended up near the Berlin Wall when no one sailed across the lake. Finally, the wall came down and with it, freedom for the house that was then reconstructed so a family could again stay there and sail across the lake and build sandcastles by the shore. Britta Teckentrup’s beautiful, collaged illustrations appear muted, not quite gone but over-taken by shadows of years passing. 

         There is an afterword that tells more of each of the five owners, including the restoration of the house by Thomas Harding and the community. It has been renamed the Alexander Haus and reopened as a center for education and reconciliation.

        An interesting article in The Guardian can be found here, showing one picture of Harding in the actual house and sharing a bit more about its history. Harding wrote a memoir of the same title in 2015 about this house.

        It's a special book, may begin someone's interest in researching their own homes or apartments.

Monday, October 12, 2020

It's Monday - Loving Halloween books, History, and More!

 Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!

     Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR 
      Still wishing all of you educators good days with your students! I admire you very much! I ended up talking with a teacher (a stranger) at the grocery last week who told me everything she was doing from morning till night for her students, her teaching. She was so tired, but still, more concerned about her students. 

        Here are two books I loved this week from my regular reading. 

         Sometimes one expects middle-grade books to be fairly simple, but this debut book by Ernesto Cisneros is anything but simple. I am so glad to see his respect for middle-schoolers, that they do ponder important parts of their lives, they do make good decisions, and they are quite capable of doing great things! Efrén Nava's Amá is his Superwoman - or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. The story centers around Efrén but entrenches deeply with his family of mother, father, and two younger siblings. He lives in Highland, California in a one-room apartment with mattresses on the floor, a tiny kitchen, and a whole lot of love. His parents are both undocumented, and the tension arrives at the beginning when they all go on lockdown as a helicopter whirrs overhead. The story intensifies when his mother is deported and Efrén must take over most of the sibling caretaking while his father works two jobs. Little money along with few hours of sleep makes school a challenge for the usual super-student Efrén, along with keeping everything a big secret. Other school challenges with friends and a trip across the border to save his mother made me admire this young boy, but also angry that it should not be like this for children. Despite these huge events, Cisneros keeps Efrén the sweetest boy ever with his family and trying hard to do right by his friends. I love that there are numerous Spanish phrases throughout and a glossary at the back that helped when I couldn't figure out a word. This book is definitely a "soper" story!

Thanks to Barry Wittenstein for this copy in exchange for an honest review. It's published tomorrow!

        Read this book to inspire your children or your students to become interested in history, tracing their homes, or in this case, the proprietors of a local "corner store". Read this book with them and have them research their own personal history of a local store, or of their home. Of course, it would be great if they lived in a place that has been around for a long time, but choosing a favorite building visited in a nearby town or city will work, too.

        Barry Wittenstein has created his own fictional history in Oscar's American Dream of a city corner location that changes with the times, a parallel journey of the highlights of the twentieth century. Oskar Nowicki, soon to become "Oscar" came to Ellis Island with only a cardboard suitcase and "a skinny roll of money", ready to make his dream a reality. In 1899, he opened his barbershop, celebrating the new century coming with his Grand Opening. He gave some free haircuts and lemon drops to all the children. Later, he found work that paid better, and that corner store became full of women, suffragettes, too, moving on toward the 1920s, two sisters getting rich selling flapper fashions. "The good times were here to stay–" 

         You older readers may guess what's coming, the Great Depression. Those sisters lost everything and their store became a soup kitchen for all in need. Years continue to pass as Barry tells this building's story with numerous details added in illustrations from Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell: flappers trying on the latest, the dark times of the Depression, the variety of people sitting together for their free meals, a World War II recruitment office, and on.

                                                    The soup kitchen illustration!




                     This corner store has become a memory during the century for hundreds of peopleI imagine a great cloud floating above that store with people, friends, and family, talking together: "Do you remember when you found green banana cakes from Moises at the corner bodega, or when you bought your first television there? Remember when it burned, then Annie & Danny reconstructed it and opened the first coffee shop? Remember Candy's? 

           Sometimes these places create a bond among us. Sometimes for kids, they are places they could first go alone, for young marrieds, a first big purchase; for company, a welcome meeting place. Curiosity about the history in a favorite building makes life interesting and someday, when you meet old friends, you'll be able to say, "Remember when. . ."

          Wishing you all your own connections, and memories, of a building. And I hope you can read this book with kids to inspire them that the places they visit have histories they will enjoy knowing. 


            I am sad that Halloween will look different this year but continue to depend on my granddaughters' excitement about home decorating, reading scary books, and their own costumes although they will only be going out in their block which is having its own celebration. 
            However, the most fun in October is reading Halloween books. Here are a few new ones and one old favorite we get out every year.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Poetry Friday - Out My Window

     Poetry Friday is hosted by Bridget Magee here at Wee Words for Wee Ones! She's offering smiles for us today along with a prompt and a poem about her favorite color, orange. And it's not political! Thanks for hosting, Bridget!  

These next weeks are going to be challenging, I imagine, for each of us. Best wishes in doing what you can to be kind to yourself and others. And VOTE!

I'm keeping my eyes on the important parts of life, out in nature this time of year is a blessing. Autumn is a falling inspiration! I found this in one of my notebooks and really do not know if I wrote it or I copied it from one of you! Nevertheless, I love its truth!

Out My Window  


windy days 

co-star with leaves –




music –



magical movies –




Linda Baie ©

Monday, October 5, 2020

Monday Reading - All New and Wonderful

Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!

     Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR 

            My post that shares Irene Latham's new poetry book, This Poem Is A Nest, is shared today on a blog tour. The book came out on September 29th. You can find my post here with a list of others who are on the tour.

      Still wishing all of you educators good days with your students! I admire you very much!

          Thanks to Edelweiss, I had the pleasure of reading Jerry Craft's new book, the "next" story after New Kid, about Drew, best friend Jordan, white rich friend Liam, and all the other kids with them in their eighth-grade year at the elite school they call RAD (Riverdale Academy Day school). They aren't "new kids" anymore yet still find they don't know each other very well, and each struggle with the age-old question of who they are and accepting self, something most new teens (later too) agonize over. Through various scenes at school and outside of school, examining how they are treating each other, how the old history of neighborhood friends is hard on Drew. He has a new flattop haircut (see the cover) that gets touched without permission by a few girls who really do like him, but. . .  Jordan hasn't grown very much and still doesn't have that "boy-stink" he thinks everyone else has, plus he loves drawing and still has to decide whether to transfer to an art school in high school. Liam in his huge home, with pool and maid and driver, doesn't see his father very much and his mother is portrayed as a little out of touch. As you see from the cover of Drew juggling several artifacts. All middle-schoolers, juggle their lives as they grow up. That also includes family, included in the boys' lives as an important part of their support. Craft heightens the tension a few times that made me as a reader turn the pages fast, like one frightening scene where Jordan's dad is driving him somewhere and he's pulled over by the police. Diversity is something the mostly-white school is shown to be of concern, creating some serious moments and some decisions that feel uncomfortable especially for those of color. They are all learning, but it is messy.
            Craft has Jordan create cartoon "intermissions" once in a while, talking about race and class, emotions from his and friend perspectives. The chapter title pages themselves are wonderful predictions of what's coming, all different, but some cleverly parody other popular graphic works for readers like Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants - The Adventures of Captain Undertones - now in fool color - Chapter 11.  As you read my review, I hope you realize how much I enjoyed this advanced copy, will be sure to purchase for my granddaughter, sixth grade! It's terrific!

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

           There is a lake here in Colorado where a small town was flooded in order to create the lake. This is a story for October, for Halloween sharing! As the blurb states, all that can be seen of the flooded village of Spetzia is the clock tower, but sometimes with the right light, one can see the streets and buildings of the old village. Some whisper that this lake is haunted, but along the shore, Jacob and his father live together and make their living as fishermen. Ellen meets Jacob at the market and over time she spends time helping with the fish, cooking for them, going to market. They fall in love but Jacob is older and says they must wait a while before marriage. What comes later as he is lured underwater by a beautiful specter is a tale to be read by candlelight and one that might make you shiver! Illustrations by P.J. Lynch are gorgeous, sometimes shadowy, often full of emotion, bring the story to life. It's quite an intriguing story.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

             Wow! Twenty-five years later, Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram (Guess How Much I Love You) have reunited to create a new and special book for the youngest readers. Little Nutbrown Hare wants to play because Big Nutbrown Hare is busy, and he does. He finds another in a puddle, realizes it is the same 'me'. Then sees a second 'me' in his shadow, and the same recognition happens. But then, a white rabbit appears and after a first meeting, they play and play. The possible "what's next?" will give time for wondering and some predictions with smiles for the happy ending. Finding a friend is a great thing! The softly-colored illustrations are lovely and certainly recognizable from the early, loved book.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Poetry Friday - Where Poetry Invites Us to Travel

     Poetry Friday is hosted by Tabatha Yeatts here at The Opposite of Indifference!  This Friday, Tabatha has a surprise for everyone. Be sure to read her post, then check out everyone else's Friday poetry sharing. Thanks, Tabatha for hosting and for always giving us beautiful words to ponder!

      Remember that I work at an all-volunteer-run used bookstore, ever a pleasure! Often a book comes along that I enjoy, and here is one. I don't bring them all home. Yikes! My shelves are full already. But I took a picture of the cover and a poem I thought you would enjoy, with illustration! I am so grateful for all those workers in our world this pandemic year who are helping us live our lives as best we can, who often are taking risks, and who are often in need, too. 


In the rainy season
                                 the streets and alleys are very damp.
During the weather of genial sunbeams
No one remembers          This thin, raw-boned engineer.

In charge of the bent parabolas of umbrella tops,
The most primitive type of thin-shelled construction,
Using the cohesive force of particle for particle,
He perfects the form of tension.

His fuming pipe bowl            burns time
Which, borne by natural currents,
                                                           coils away and vanishes,
His bygone, rose-colored youth (like the tattered slogan)
Is already hanging in ruins from the ramshackle wall.

The umbrella repair man
Harbor's no rancor or bitterness,
With the toil of his two hands      he earns his recompense.
Only the cats and dogs        these unassuming animals,
These alone are his true friends.

                                Chen Min Hwa