Thursday, June 23, 2022

It's Friday, Time for a Poem


  Poetry Friday is with Catherine Flynn, who's hosting HERE at Reading to the Core.  Go visit to read her abecedarian recipe for teaching. Thanks for hosting, Catherine! 

Don’t Call It a Loss


Wednesday morning became a poem.

Trinkets have over-stayed for grandchildren

now no longer playing with trinkets.

Granddaughters are on a trip.

“I have the day free,” I said to myself.

"I’ll do my walking early,

then get to the task".

I brought all the dishes and baskets

to the kitchen to search for

throwaways. I know the memories

will stay, but 

mystery game pieces,

tiny cars,

plastic spiders,

pretty rocks,

worn plastic people

had to go.

Rocks remain but

now garden strewn.

Here were small bead bracelets 

plastic coins,

two metallic pieces engraved

with ‘love’ and ‘joy’,


pieces of jewelry 

all with a goal

to sparkle a collage –

never made.

I found one mystery,

A tiny red foam ball.

I had no idea why it was kept,

Then I saw the slit.

It was a clown nose,

worn by my young daughter

on Halloween.

I’ll demonstrate

on a beloved sloth

who lives here for the girls

to play again.

Stoic she is,

like this day

when I’m patiently perusing

my memories

And giving my goodbyes.


Linda Baie ©

Monday, June 20, 2022

It's Monday - Don't Miss These!

         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! 

        It's a long list this week because I had to skip last week. Hope you will find a book that will make you happy!
        I'm featuring this new book, One Hundred Percent Me, by Renee Macalino Rutledge.

          I know that all of us, in one way or another, have been told that we look just like our mother (or father, grandmother, Aunt Barbara, Uncle Sy, etc.) It became amusing at times, for me with a stepfather, to hear people say I looked just like him. Slowly, as I grew older, I began to realize I was me, and it was a compliment, nothing more. 
            In our increasingly multi-cultural world, it possibly happens more often in others' experiences. Renee's story about a young girl with a Puerto Rican dad and a Filipina mom shows her puzzling out what all the speculation means to her. She asks her parents, "Do you think I look exactly like you?"  Their loving answer is "You look like yourself." In the travel across the city in public transportation a stranger's question, "Where are you from?" becomes something to ponder when that stranger persists with "I mean, where is your family from?" The young girl knows a final right answer, after saying they're from New York, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, and the Philippines, she continues with these words, "I'm from Oakland, and I'm one hundred percent me." This continues with visits to other family members and questions easy to answer now that this young one knows the beautiful and heartfelt words to answer: "Mama's eyes and Papi's  eyes make my eyes one hundred percent mine." 
         As the trip through family visits, school, and a playground, up in a tree with children from many places, (a beautiful double-page spread), this young one learns about ancestors and other kinds of connections, all mixed together, confirming them, but remaining herself,  will always be "one hundred percent me"!

         Anita Prades, from Brazil, illustrates the story beautifully with the softest of colors. This is her first international experience. Renee writes in an author's note that her story comes from her own growing up and from that of her children, too. It's a book to enjoy and to ponder with a group of children, or perhaps only your own. 
         Thanks to Bloom Books for Children, an imprint of Ulysses Press for this copy!

              from Goodreads: "
When 11-year-old Ellis Earl Brown learns that a famous United States senator might be coming to Mississippi, he can’t believe it. After all, why would a fancy man from Washington D.C. come all the way to the Delta just to see how poor folks lived?"
           One reads on various social media posts that people praise some people by saying a phrase like "Be like _______, not like _________." Mostly each one is a news star, a politician, one who has done some good deed. This time, I'd like to tell everyone to read Linda Williams Jackson's book, The Lucky Ones, then  "Be like Ellis Earl Brown!" This story takes place in 1967, centering on Ellis Earl's family, from eleven and sometimes fifteen people (mostly kids from the very young to teens) with one mom, living in a shack. It has no running water, no toilet, no electricity. mattresses everywhere. There is always a food shortage. Sadly, I need to say that now, fifty-five years later, Mississippi still has the highest poverty rate among all the states. That feels like a crime to me. 
             When you read this story about Ellis Earl, you feel the love, no matter the little fights, among the family members. You see the heartfelt help given by a teacher who picks up some to take to school and brings food to feed his students at lunch! And you hear the hope in Ellis Earl's words who tells his story, wanting never to miss school, coveting the books his teacher lends him, including Dahl's Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, where hope for that "Golden Ticket" feels very real to Ellis Earl. It's quite a story, giving me a bit of heartbreak, too, for the family but also for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, that "fancy man from Washington" who aims to help, but I know he didn't make it. I do wonder how this would be as a read-aloud? Would it help students know that the very real need shown in the book still exists and they can help, as Ellis Earl aims to do, too?
                Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       Goodale shows the ways of memories in brief words and lovely illustrations, bright, some faded. Here we are at Grandma's but "also" a memory of other times emerges. From grandmother to daughter to granddaughter, what become memories are lived and then stay. "Today my mama is coming down the hill, coming to find me. And also she is remembering. . ."   This would be a special book to share and use as a mentor text, for you, for a class!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

It's Poetry Friday - Keeping June


  Poetry Friday is with Michelle Kogan, who's hosting HERE. Be sure to visit to read her loving poem to her dad and listen to some fabulous music!

         I've been blessed to have many fathers in my life, from grandfathers to a father who died too young in World War II, then a step-father who filled big shoes with love! My dear husband was the sweetest dad, and today, my brother, nephews, my son, and my son-in-law are those I know are loving fathers. Happy Father's Day -- for special memories and for making more!

a haibun

       According to Merriam-Webster, a few synonyms of "keeping" are "custodianship", "guardianship", and "safekeeping".  I then ponder "keeping house", "taking good care", all I imagine and smile about when I think of "keeping June". This year, despite the drought we fight in Colorado, watering the garden and sunny days have brought gorgeous blooms everywhere. I suspect July will bring even hotter days, and flowers will tire, hence my wish for a slightly different definition of "keeping". I don't want to say goodbye! 

June premieres

a garden theater–

evening primrose


Linda Baie © 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Poetry Friday - Overheard In My Garden


  Poetry Friday is with Buffy Silverman, whose blog is HERE. Be sure to visit to read her delightful poem about the beautiful but tricky lady slippers! 

           It's been a very late spring this year for us in Denver. I have peony memories of cutting bunches to take to the cemetery for Memorial Day. A week has passed, and finally, there is one bloom! My imagination flies!

     Peony Whispers


“Hang in there,” shouted the roots.

“We’re closer,” sighed the leaves.

“It’s only a sprinkle of snow,” shivered the stems.

“The sun will come out tomorrow,” sang them all.

“Wait a bit longer,” cautioned the bud.

“I’m preparing to open.”

“The rain helped us,” said the roots,

almost there.”

“It’s time,” trilled the stems.

“We’re ready,” called the buds.

“At last!” answered the bloom.

"Welcome!" shouted the columbines.

“Thank you,” whispered the gardener. 


Linda Baie ©


Monday, June 6, 2022

It's Monday - More Terrific Books to Love


        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! 
       For Poetry Friday, I shared a wonderful and poetic picture book by Liz Garton Scanlon, Would You Come Too? Find it here!

      I enjoyed the first book about this Peach family, those ups and downs from losing their mother to the challenge of running a food truck. Now they are back facing a new challenge, renovating Aunt Lucinda's old mansion for their home and for starting a bed and breakfast! Whew! I like that Erin Soderberg Downing digs deep again into the family's personalities. Knowing each one's strengths and challenges means readers might find themselves or at least see that no matter the quirks, everyone can contribute to goals. Many adults believe that children are not capable of doing much and this book plus the first one show even the young ones mastering new things, creating new ideas, and adding to the family's goals with heart and expertise. Sometimes they work together for everyone's good. This time there are a few secrets kept, but it all works, just "peachy"! You will love the surprises in this old house, too. I liked "The Peach Pit" very much.

       Folktales make a new world when reading aloud, talking about the truth inside along with the wisdom and the humor. This one from West Africa does all of that as young boy Anansi learns more about his namesake who happens to be a trickster. How does that Golden Pot make the magic? Selasi adds more about the story and translates some of the delectable dishes that filled that pot. Tinuke Fabborun's illustrations create the colorful world of Anansi, both at home and while he visits his Nana at the beach. What a fun book this is!
       On their way to a violin recital, a young girl, visually impaired, shows "her" city of so many sounds: "hasty honks, impatient beeps, distant chimes" and more. Full-page collaged illustrations by Ashley Barron show how full a city can be while the girl and her father walk together. It can be an inspiration for children to listen to sounds at home, on their own way around their neighborhoods, or at their schools. It's lovely. 
       Once again a story is told about a little-known woman scientist, Anna Atkins. She was an English botanist and photographer, often considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images. Fiona Robinson starts the book by showing Anna's father teaching her from a very young age to identify plants and insects and to draw what she finds! He also begins teaching her their Latin names. Anna's life spanned from 1799 to 1871. During that time, girls were not usually educated but Anna's father was determined that she become as educated as possible. They work together gathering specimens and gathering information about them for years. Later in her life, she and her father hear of a new invention, photography, and she receives her first camera from him. She is believed to be the first woman to take a photograph.
       You may not realize the reason for Robinson's alluring, blue illustrations until she explains the later discovery and Anna's use of cyanotypes, an extraordinary invention that helps her begin to create a book of her seaweed collection of thousands. Anna's sex kept her from being included in The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge but her father passed on as many papers and information he could to her. Later, Anna was given membership in the Royal Botanic Society, one of the few institutions to admit women.
Anna did publish beautiful books with that cyanotype invention, and there is an additional author's note that tells more about her published works. The blue illustrations beautifully bring readers into this spectacular story.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Poetry Friday - Nature's Nurture


  Poetry Friday is with Karen Edmisten, whose blog HERE, is named after her but with the sub-title, "The Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title" always makes me smile! Thanks, Karen, smiles are always welcome!   

     Another long week, just as I wrote two weeks ago. Sometimes we need a break from the news, where we see every day something to take in, wondering how to help, how to press for better. I do want to find answers for helping but taking time to enjoy beauty outside and books inside gives me the energy to find those answers. 

         One recent book I adore is Would You Come Too? by Poetry Friday pal, Liz Garton Scanlon. Although the book appears to invite children out to play in nature, the wonder of it is that she's showing how they would "be" IF they were the animals they will meet.  Of course, those animals come, too! In the briefest of poetic lines, Liz shows us how with the help of colorful joy in Diana Sudyka's illustrations.

    One double-page spread shows a tree with birds in flight, and children planting:

               If we were birds, we'd eat berries
               and scatter the seed sweet and bright

And the next double-page:
               If we were seeds, we'd be hopeful,
               reaching for water and light."

          I love the idea of children running with abandon out in a wood, have my own special memories of our family's cabin in the woods as my children grew up. I've had the pleasure of seeing my middle-grade students playing hide 'n seek in snowy woods, shouting with laughter as they dive into snowdrifts to hide. Experiences outside stay with us, don't they?

A favorite page might become your favorite, too, when you see it, those magical shadows of children "boundless and wild and free".

Thanks to Liz, readers can have a getaway from her book!

Monday, May 30, 2022

It's Monday - Know These 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! 

       Sodsai Mudawan has worked her way onto a ship sailing toward the unknown—as long as no one discovers the truth about her past.
       She isn't who she pretends, being from the Fens, the poor and discounted, but changes her demeanor in order to grab work with the Mangkon Royal Navy's Master Mapmaker, Paiyoon. She's twelve and will have to do something else at thirteen when she won't receive a lineal, the gold bracelet that shows her ancestors, which will show her for what she really is. The early, then later underlying story of her hard life with her father, not only shows how tough she has learned to be, but how very smart she is. The further adventure on the sea brings more examples of this young girl, ferocious and kind, smart enough to survive yet also enough to admit her failings. I loved the story and that Christina Soontornvat manages an underlying theme of the sadness of colonization, too.        Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy! 

Tanya Landman tells her own creation story of the world of sky and earth, beautifully colored, yet the animals have remained dull and drab. It's time, the painter thinks, to bring color to those animals, too. Flamingos gain their pink, ladybugs receive some red with a few black dots, the rascally mandrill accidentally sits on the paintbox, and penguins receive their suits. Laura Carlin's inspiration comes from Landman's words and the animals add their unique colors to the world, all except one, the nightingale. Finding one dot of gold helps as you will learn after reading this very special story of our world and that dear nightingale.
     Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Monday Reading - Lots To Share!

  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! 

          The books below in the collage are all picture books, some new, some older. If you're interested in my review, you can find it on Goodreads. I had lots of cleanup from our snowstorm this past weekend and have read these through the week. I've been trying to read (or re-read) books by Jerry Pinckney since he passed last October. John Henry is another gorgeous book and fun story. Enjoy what you can! Each one is terrific in its own unique way. 


       I remember this time, the youth-led rebellion that toppled Romania's CeauČ™escu because my own children were teens and amazed at the courage now shown in this new fiction story about one teen, 17-year-old Cristian, who keeps a secret notebook of his life, his family's life, his locked-down, and beleaguered country. Ruth Sepetys has crafted a poignant and poetic story laced with violence, heartbreak, and sorrowful betrayal. Teens are able to do so much more than the credit given to them. The poetry from Cristian, through Sepetys' apt words as Cristian observes bus passengers: "Wrinkled faces. Wrinkled clothing. Wrinkled spirits." It's a terrific new book from the world's history, made more relevant today because of our witnessing of Russia's war on Ukraine. There is a lot of added information at the back. 

Fantasy? Yes. Underlying truth? Yes. Learn and discover how very young Alex Green lives all her life of sadness and fierce love without failing to follow the rules, not follow the rules, all in a new kind of world after the dragoning of 1955 happened. Kelly Barnhill has written a story for girls, for women, to celebrate the inclusion all wish for, yet seems at times far away. 

         Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin aren't the answer to all challenges in life, but this book may be one answer to some of them. Chronicling that year of 2020 in one family brings it back to reality, the worries and gripes, the wishes to breathe. How did some families do it? You'll love how this one lived, cried, and made it! Teen challenges in their emotional wellness have lately been in the news. It might be helpful for many to read this book, alone, with a group, to consider the gift these Jasons have given in their beautiful book.

       Many poetry books by David Elliott illuminate some particular part of our natural world and this one is no different. Poems that tell about the fliers and swimmers and the plants which live with them are there, At The Pond. Where else could you read about a pollywog that David celebrates with "Golly! Frog!" or "a loving appellation: Old Harry./the Catfish That Won't Be Caught."? Amy Schimler-Safford's collaged illustrations add to a delightful visit for readers of the poems.  And added information about each pond native can be found at the back. It's another beautiful book.
           Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

What's Next: Finishing Falling Short by Ernest Cisneros and The Last Mapmaker by Christine Soontornvat.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Poetry Friday - Escape


  Poetry Friday is with Carmela Martino, at the blog, Teaching Authors here.   She's sharing about a new program for young ones named Wee Steamers by Heidi Bee Roemer and one of her own spring/outside poems about dandelions, bee favorites! Thanks, Carmela!  

     It's been a long week, hasn't it? Last weekend I had a joyful visit with my son and daughter-in-law, only to have some of it dampened by more news of senseless killings. I feel I must write, to never forget this loss and those who will miss them. I do find peace in the outdoors and wish that for all of you, too.

An etheree



days bring

on despair


news-watching becomes

my only addiction

fiddling for the cold hard facts

until I have no need for more 

I lean on that which offers solace 

nature-made, dependable, bud escape


 Linda Baie ©


Monday, May 9, 2022

Monday Reading - New Books to Share


 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! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       From Jo Knowles' earlier Where The Heart Is, we readers get to know Rachel's nine-year-old little sister, Ivy. The family has lost their farm and moved into a small apartment where Rachel and Ivy have to share a room. Ivy's parents and sister have sad feelings about the move but Ivy does not. For the first time, she has close friends, in the building! Ivy, with Alice and Lucas, become friends and have the most fun watching a weekly baking show. They take notes and try hard to create something yummy with the list of ingredients given. It's fun and Ivy loves it all, continues to say, and think, how she never wants to move, and feels determined to make the rest of her family think the new home is terrific. Knowles keeps things on a young level, showing so well Ivy's worries, and her sincere attempts to be a good friend. When Alice has some problems with her mom not returning (she lives with her grandmother) and does not want to talk about it, then Lucas's father has a struggle walking, Ivy wants to help, but struggles to understand why her words and intentions don't make things better. She gets a boost when she starts helping the building superintendent fix things. She's good at it! And that super helps Ivy figure a few things out about what can be fixed and what needs time before it can be fixed.
           Growing up is hard as Knowles shows so well. With a thread of different proverbs for life bugging Ivy, it seems that nothing she does helps. She is learning, however, as all of us must, even if we're already grown! This would make a great read-aloud for a class.  

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy! 

        Liz Kessler's longer stories about Emily Windsnap, part mermaid, include "big" adventures and now Liz and Joanie Stone have started an early reader series with that same adventurous spirit. This time, Emily wants so much to swim in the ocean yet her mother thinks it's too dangerous. What she discovers when she sneaks out to try is a "Big Discovery" as the title shares. It's a fun beginning with added Emily stickers at the back! 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy
       Oh my, I would love to have this book for younger readers, full of ALL the seasons and their beauty, written and illustrated by Tim Hopgood. It begins with spring, sharing a poem, gorgeous paintings of blossoms and twigs, birds and eggs, a "how-to-create" chocolate nests. Each season has its unique wonders, something to celebrate and learn about all through the year. There's how to make a leaf mobile and how to paint a butterfly, also pages about stars and the moon. The book is full to the brim with our natural world for young ones. And, you may want to use the ideas for the beginning of further research and learning. Below is a glimpse of the endcovers - gorgeous! 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Poetry Friday - Goodbye Journals


  Poetry Friday is with Jama Rattigan, at her blog, Jama's Alphabet Soup here.   Thanks, Jama, for hosting and for sharing a loving post for all mothers! Happy Mother's Day!

      I've been trying hard to clean out varied things from home, including books I can donate to the bookstore because I'm sure I'll never read them. They are enticing, but too many others are calling me, too. 
       This past week I've gone through all my teacher journals, yes, 25 of them! At the school where I taught, every student (and teachers), from the youngest to the oldest, kept field journals, incorporating field observations in words and sketches, along with book notes and writing drafts, etc., etc. I enjoyed the journey, but I cannot keep them all, though I kept a few, took a few pictures of pages, loved reading about the many, many trips my middle-school students and I took, the writing and reading we did, the wonderful fun we had. I removed the spirals when needed and took a box to be shredded. Yep, they're gone.
            Here are a couple of pictures of how some pages looked. I had taped in lots of poems and kept a few, but I can find others I love, too. Those gone were chosen for certain reasons and now today, others call to me. I suspect you understand.
          And then, again, more political fury arrived Monday night. Since 2016, things have felt uncertain, feel as if we cannot help enough. The list grows as you know, and this week, this Supreme Court leak. So amongst all the poems, I found this. One can interpret it any way one wishes but it seems to fit our oh-so-mixed-up world to me. (I searched the web for this poem and poet, but could not find it. And I have no idea from where it came.) But it's one I saved!

Blue Hum Ramble

Walking the grumby and humfallen sidewalks
along with my namby-panky neighborhood, I stummed
and fammled in my dringy, hamstruck brain
hows I didn't have a drim of an idea where
it was I was maundering and skilfing to.

                                                       Chris Bowman

Monday, May 2, 2022

Monday Reading - More Great 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! 
    If you want to share a #MustReadIn2022,  go HERE to Cheriee's post!

      If you have a list of "Must-Reads" from this year's books, place this one on it.  There are only twelve kids in seventh grade in this small town and each one calls it "Yawn Creek". Nothing new happens, ever, until. . . a new girl arrives. If you know and can guess how middle-school students think and hide true feelings; become cruel to others, or don't, and find real ways to make change, sometimes, you know that Erin Entrada Kelly understands these kids. She shows sympathy for them, even one that remains cruel from a best friend's pressure. Perhaps there will be change and maybe it's because that new girl, Orchid, made a difference? It's quite a story, perhaps a microcosm of our culture itself, and hopefully, we readers will see more of those seventh graders as they grow older. However it ends, I loved the story from a dot of a town on a map, not so yawn-filled as they thought.

       I've never seen a pick-up game, three-on-three, whatever it's called, yet now I think I know more than I did before I read Charly Palmer's book, an ode to those legends that he and many others knew. They were those that rarely, if ever, made it to the NBA or other BIG games, but they were stars. Be sure to get this book, to read and love the names and the energy Palmer has so lovingly put into his swirling, whirling, dribbling, dunking paintings. Meet Gravity, Sky High, Liquid, and Left 2 Right and how they went about their business of winning. I imagine there are many young players out there that will love it and many old players who will remember all that is told! I'm happy I had the fun watching, even in a picture book! It's great!

          It is a special book about  Yo-Yo Ma, one that could introduce him to young readers who may not know him or know his inspiring story. It's rather like a love story to his life, all that he was as a young child prodigy, all that he has done for people all over the world. I didn't know his cello was named Petunia and that its parts, too, come from diverse places in our world. It feels as if it's fitting that he would have such an instrument. Extra information includes the history, and late discovery, of the Bach Cello Suites. Teresa Martinez illustrates with happy colors and diverse people from everywhere, all delighted to listen to Yo-Yo Ma playing Petunia! There is some added information at the back!