Monday, January 31, 2022

It's Monday! Picture Books Enhance Our Lives

   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! 
I finished Torrey Maldonado's Tight, my first #MustReadin2022, a re-read, remember? It was great this time, too. I admire his clever ability to show real kids at the same time as bringing intensity into their lives as if it's what should be! Understanding it's all about choices is something everyone needs to learn.

           Uniquely beautiful, the following picture books offer subtle messages for living our lives, taking care of selves in more than one way! Enjoy

     I've waited a long time for this book. There were many holds! It was worth every hour of waiting. 
     Jacqueline Woodson offers inspiration to all, though this book clearly is meant for children as it tells a story of a young girl and her brother, first sad because it's raining. They cannot go outside! Their grandmother's advice is to close eyes and believe in a thing, knowing that you are not alone. Somewhere someone else is bored, not knowing what to do. And so they try! Raphael López reflects this small, and later larger, drama in gorgeous full-page color. Emotions are real! That was the summer they learned to fly! When one can imagine something beautiful and travel there, one can make life better, survive. There is one lovely illustration where the two kids are in bed reading The Day You Begin, also a collaboration between Woodson and López. More kind and valuable words come from Grandmother who tells how she herself learned to fly from the people who came before, "brought here on huge ships, their wrists and ankles cuffed in iron." They "closed their eyes and flew away home." It's a wise and endearing book. In her author's note, Jacqueline Woodson shares her own inspiration, the time she read The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton. 

        It feels like an ode to smoke, this intriguing book by Henry Herz. He tells all the ways it adds to our lives, like "the dark dance from every campfire", helping with bees, and flavoring various foods. His 'smoky' and lyrical way of telling is enhanced even more by Mercè López who tells that she captured patterns of swirling smoke on art paper as the beginning journey of the illustrations. Finding smoke in centuries past that signaled, took part in religious ceremonies, and helped with medicinal cures are other additions to what seems like a brief tale but includes the science and the art, too. Also, they did not forget its harmful aspects. Herz adds information at the back with an extensive source list.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Monday Reading - Quite a Variety

  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! 
      Remember the ALA Youth Media Awards are happening this morning! Do you have favorite books you hope will receive a shiny medal?

       For Poetry Friday, I shared the review of and a poem from this anthology!

               Yes, it took me a long time, reading other books along the way, then turning back to this beautiful book set in various places and times, woven together by a story from ancient times, a story of Aethon, who wants to become a bird in order to fly to a paradise in the sky. As the different characters come into the story, we readers find that in their unique ways, each one yearns for another life, wondering how it would be "if only". If you wish to know of each one, read the summary on Goodreads. Anthony Doerr writes that it is a paean to books, yet it also feels like a story of humans, a zest for what they believe is better, and perhaps (or hopefully) discover that better is really what they already have. From one page: "Sometimes the things we think are lost are only hidden, waiting to be rediscovered." Usually when reading, one falls in love with a singular character, yet as I consider the five disparate characters who play into this new story, I realize that each one touched me. I would read a part from one, enjoying or fretting about each specific plight, but at the same time, wondering what was next for another. The secondary characters played essential roles, too, adding in the ways they helped bolster the lives of the main ones, each one's actions adding kindness to those lives. It is a very special book!
Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following two books!

         Jo Knowles, so loved for her numerous chapter books like See You At Harry's, an all-time favorite of mine, and Where the Heart Is, now has a picture book, out tomorrow! Little Worm is on his way outside when he discovers he has an earworm and wonders who put it there! As he sings "Shimmy, shimmy, no-sachay..." he meets various animals, first Owl. He asks if Owl put the earworm in but Owl replies, "No." And he sings his own song. Moving on, with Owl, Little Worm meets Chipmunk, Bunny, and Fox, all of whom have unique earworms to which they sing and dance, all together! Galia Bernstein's illustrations wonderfully show the animals prancing along with glee and song, so happily that Little Worm forgets he's looking for who gave him that earworm! He does find out but I'll leave that for readers to smile when they discover the answer at the end. It's a cute story that will make a great one for bedtime for the little ones.

         First published in Australia in 2020 by Walker Books, in the US in 2022!    
         Young Audrey finds a lion with a special-looking cake, imagines, and asks if it's his birthday. "Sometimes," said Lion. "But not today." Lion had a cake and Audrey asks what he is celebrating. He tells her Tuesdays and coconuts. She was okay with that so they ate cake. Moving through the pages, readers will see that celebrations can be for lots of things, not only birthdays. Edwina Wyatts tells this sweet story and Tamsin Ainslie illustrates with lots and lots of colorful details. Audrey and the lion have a happy time with all kinds of fun while celebrating.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Poetry Friday - A New Favorite Poem


         Thanks to Tabatha Yeatt who is hosting this Poetry Friday, at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference, here.  Thanks for hosting, Tabatha, for adding a piece to our puzzle every time you share! 

        Wishing you all a warm and cozy weekend, with at least a few poems that make you smile. It seems that lower temps have even reached the deep south! 

          I've read this over a matter of a few weeks, a poem or two each day at bedtime. There is solace and connection and a world to believe in within these pages. It's one I will return to.

         Ninety-seven poets have contributed to this, including many you will know, like William Stafford and Naomi Shihab Nye, Ted Kooser and Jane Kenyon, Joy Harjo and Ross Gay. As I read through all the brief bios at the end, I saw that each have published books of poetry, some a few, others many. I imagine I now have quite a list of poets' work to find and enjoy! 

        One poem toward the last touched me quite a lot, seemed to be especially for our "now". It's titled "Trust" by Thomas R. Smith. He has published seven books of poetry and his bio shares that he has edited two other works, and has published poems on various sites. You can find more about him if you search.

Here is the beginning:


It’s like so many other things in life   
to which you must say no or yes.                                    
So you take your car to the new mechanic.   
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.   

The package left with the disreputable-looking   
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,   
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—   
all show up at their intended destinations.   

The end is here!

Monday, January 17, 2022

It's Monday! Reads for All!

 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! 
    My #MustReadin2022 can be found above and I posted it with Leigh Anne yesterday here

                In this world of discontent, let us remember the goodness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today and follow his path!

      All Bryan Collier needed for inspiration were the words to"We Shall Overcome" the gospel song that later became the protest song for Civil Rights. Here is his priceless book to share on this special day, our celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday every third Monday in January. His real birthday is January 15th. The young girl in the yellow dress moves along through a day as Collier's breathtaking illustrations take her through the past and present movements, protests, and demonstrations of the twentieth century. There is the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, Rosa Parks, too; Little Rock Central High School, where people tried to block nine black students from entering. And, there is the Black Lives Matter mural on the street. The young girl takes a part in working for peace through all the story. There is more to see and remember, with more explained in the back if needed. It is really a beautiful book, one to read in every classroom, every home.

           How can it be? One "WaaaAAH!" from Baby Izzie and one by one, the whole building's inhabitants awaken and create their own unique racket, piling on. As the soothing begins, softer sounds help everyone! Anne Wynter's cumulative tale which includes hilarious sounds with Oge Mora's exquisite collage work makes a delightful book, to admire page by page, or read with a group! 

           There are countless stories of the brave people who helped Jewish people hide and/or escape the Natzis during World War II and this time, Amalia Hoffman tells of Gino Bartali, a weak child, who managed first to ride his father's bicycle though it was too big. He lived in Florence and later took a job as a sixth-grader and managed to save enough for an old, rusty bike of his own. Then, working for a bicycle repair shop, he learned more about how to fix bikes, and in the meantime, he became stronger. There is the first part of his winning the Tour de France in 1938, then being contacted by a friend who was a Cardinal during the war who asked Gino to begin delivering forged papers from forger to printer, on to those in need. It's exciting and inspiring while imagining the danger as he rode that route of 110 miles although Gino did not stop this help. After the war in 1944, he began training again, and again won the Tour de France, at age 34, an "old man" according to those who knew the race. Chiara Fedele's realistic illustrations show the persistence and courage from boy to man of this cyclist who used his power for more than winning races. Hoffman adds information at the back with a great photo of Bartali. Here's a quote from the book's beginning by Bartali: "If you're good at a sport, they attach the medals to your shirts and then they shine in some museum. That which is earned by doing good deeds is attached to the soul and shines elsewhere." 
       (Note: A person contacted me on Goodreads bringing up controversy about this story. I have done some research and there are some who claim his work in Italy has not been proven.) I was unsure whether to share, yet thought it was a lesson that sometimes our own research is needed at least to be able to share other opinions.

       In this Skunk & Badger book # two, there are more adventures, more rock vocabulary because Badger still wishes to do "important rock work", and more cooking because Skunk is the cook. Chickens, especially one named Augusta, continue to be a big part as well. Amy Timberlake manages to make me smile, become anxious, yes, for Skunk & Badger's safety, yet even a bear comes through, along with a clam moving company. Yes, hard to believe some of this tale, but it is another filled with adventure and kindness, also a baby dinosaur! I wrote in the review of the first one that you will grow to love these two characters and learn quite a lot about geology and chickens and maybe yourself! And, Jon Klassen adds his special muted and sentimental illustrations. It all holds true again! It is a delight!

What's Next: I am nearly finished with Cloud Cuckoo Land and am in awe of what Doerr has created with such disparate parts, coming into a whole. And, still reading for the Cybils poetry. I have Gary Paulsen's final novel, Northwind, am anxious to read it!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

MustReadin2022 - Fourteen to Love

          Thanks to Cheriee Weichel and Leigh Anne Eck who continue this really important tradition, originated by Carrie Gelson, see the graphic above. If you wish to link a post for 2022, Leigh Anne is gathering HERE until the end of January

          I'm going to write nearly the same thing I did last year!  I didn't finish my list again. Too, too many books are moved to the top of my reading. This time, I'm showing you a book stack of those that will be on my 2022 list. These are those I own and really WANT to read, so will try again for two!  My goals have changed somewhat, am more aware of new authors, some BIPOC, and I want to read their books while also reading those authors I already love. I'm now reading poetry for the Cybils, am a judge for Round Two. And, I seem to be reading more adult books. There are some special ones recently published. Yikes, there are so many!  

         Remember I work at a used bookstore with co-workers and customers also recommending their recent "great reads". My list grows longer there, too, in addition to reading all your posts, and ones on Monday with the #IMWAYR group, on twitter, etc. It's a pleasure that I won't whine about. How could we ever tire of learning about good books?

Here's my round-up for last year of those I've read, and I've added the link to my Goodreads review of them. I will add two others to my list from 2022. I READ NINE OF TWELVE ON THE LIST.

With The Fire on High - Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land - Elizabeth Acevedo

Echo Mountain - Lauren Wolk

The Black Friend - Frederick Joseph

Prairie Lotus - Linda Sue Park

We Dream of Space - Erin Entrada Kelly

Coop Knows The Scoop - Taryn Souders

Superman Smashes the Klan - Gene Luen Yang

Show Me A Sign - Ann Clare LeZotte

And here's a pic of my new list, fourteen in all! 

Two from last year:

           The One and Only Bob - Katherine Applegate

           Doodleville - Chad Sell


Nine new on my list - Middle School and Young Adult

           African Town - Irene Latham and Charles Waters   (just out)

           Tight - Torrey Maldonaldo

           Flying Over Water - N.H. Senzai and Shannon Hitchcock  

           The House That Wasn't There - Elana K. Arnold

           The Shape of Thunder - Jasmine Warga

           The Hedgehog of Oz - Cory Leonardo

            Everything Sad Is Untrue - Daniel Nayeri

            Piecing Me Together - Renee Watson  

            Charming As A Verb - Ben Philippe

    Three for Adult

            Small Things Like These - Claire Keegan

            All That She Carried -

                The Journey of Ashley's Sack, A Black Family's Keepsake - Tiya Miles

            Lightning Strike - William Kent Krueger

Happy Reading Everyone!

One note: I just picked up Gary Paulsen's final book, Northwind from my local Indie, Tattered Cover. While bittersweet, I know I'll read it soon, too. He has given us many stories to love.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Poetry Friday - The Thing About Waiting


         Thanks to Mary Lee Hahn who is hosting this Poetry Friday, at her blog, A(another) Year of Reading, here.  Thanks for hosting, Mary Lee, and for showing us those spectacular and personal attributes of pomegranates.

                  I have been watching and watching the news about the terrible fire north of me, in Superior and Louisville, Colorado. The tragedy has touched me deeply. I try to imagine what I might feel if I lost everything. What would I escape with if needed? And, like most of you, I'm guessing, I'm waiting for Omicron to slow. We had 20,000 cases posted Wednesday, one day!  So I do what I often do with strong emotions, I respond in writing. I wonder how you feel sometimes when people tell you, "Be patient!" In certain places, I suppose it's okay, but in these circumstances, it's a challenge to do so, to achieve a sitting back, to wait.

     They Keep Saying “Wait”

                                An Acrostic Ask


N ote: “Be calm.” inflames instead of comforts.

O ne day here, next day, Wait!


P hilosophically, everything must wait for resolution.

A flower bud waits to bloom. 

T oadstools wait for moisture to grow.

I  cicles wait for sun in order to drip.

E very family member waits for a baby's arrival.

N ot one person I know wishes to wait for heartbreak.

C an we keen that kind of waiting

E ven if we have no loss ourselves?


                           Linda Baie ©

Monday, January 10, 2022

Monday Reading - Picture Books Please!

   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! 
   Hoping your 2022 is starting well!

         Mixing in science with something akin to a folk tale, Carmen Agra Deedy tells this tale of how the moon became "The Children's Moon" when it and the sun became, well, friends. You could even call them cohorts! The sun, quite full of itself, shooed the moon away as children went to bed. They never got to see it nor did the moon see them, but did hear the mysterious laughter, and asked what it was. The sun, in all its glory, finally gave in and Deedy described the beauty of the day. Later, listening to the moon describe the beauty of the night, including STARS (like the sun), the sun relented and what came about during a special time of the month became their compromise. Read this to discover the science in the story and enjoy the gorgeous illustrations by Jim LaMarche and the clever word interplay between the sun and the moon. You will love those facial expressions! Two pages at the back explain the science. 

          Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs tells this inspiring story of someone who came from poverty, doing odd jobs until he met his mentor, Frank Manny, a principal who helped him find work as a janitor and to begin his studies at a school. He became a teacher and was appointed the school photographer. This was at the beginning of camera work, a huge fifty-pound camera he lugged around taking school pics then, connecting to the NCLC (the National Child Labor Committee) and taking pictures for them, too. He soon quit teaching to go on the road to capture children working, raising awareness of the need for improved laws. It took until 1941 to finally enact the law at the federal level. In poetic story-telling, Alexandra's words are shown in realistic paintings by Michael Garland, page by page, the sad tales show children as young as five working in coal mines, selling news on the streets, delivering meals, and working in a cotton mill. In that mill, the owner would not let him in, so he made up a story that he was sent to take pictures of broken machines and got those pics! He took thousands of photos all over the U.S., showing the heartbreak of children who couldn't attend school because of their work. The illustrations show the sadness but at the end, with an extensive timeline, are examples of real photographs. Also mentioned is that it continues to be an issue all over the world, and sometimes here in our country, too. How Lewis Hine would have loves our phone cameras, right? A quote at the beginning from Hine: "There are two things I wanted to do. I wanted to show the things that had to be corrected. I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated." Often, the photos he took were the very first the child had ever had taken!  
      (A personal note: My stepfather told stories that when he was young they were very poor and he sold the paper titled "Grit" on the streets to make some money for his family. "Only for pennies," he said, so I guess he was one of those young kids who probably wasn't supposed to be working.) You can read about "Grit" here on Wikipedia.)

              I watched Daniel Miyares in the past year (or more) share sketches and more sketches on Twitter as he prepared this book, so I knew it would be beautiful. And it is! A sea captain in the 1700s prepares for a voyage and his daughter, Hope, does not want him to go, wishes to be part of the adventure. She hides out in a lifeboat on board, but the ship is already at sea before she is discovered. Her father turns to teach her all about the ship and how to be guided by the stars via a sextant. It isn't all wonderful, however, because when returning, there is a terrible storm and they land on the rocks, shipwrecked! Father and daughter do survive, gather the ship's wood that washes up on the beach. A plan is hatched! This ending was a surprise to me as it will be to readers but it was a good one. Miyares' story is quite an adventure to imagine. And his gorgeous watercolor/pen and ink illustrations add to the anticipation of how will Hope be received, then later he adds many details of the ship and the fright of the storm. Don't miss the endpapers, full of tools and other sea-related things. It will be a delight to read this aloud to a group, which could serve as a history lesson support, too, as it seems true to the time period. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Poetry Friday - Anticipation


Thanks to Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link for hosting today.  

I'm beginning to read for Cybil's Poetry Judging - Round Two. It's a pleasure to read the finalists, each one a gem!

       I am always so taken by beginnings, perhaps because I was a teacher and every year's start filled me up with anticipation. So I began to mess around with this new year, 2022, beginning, wondering the five w's and h. Who will be prominent in my life, who will be new, what exciting things will happen, when might I travel and where, why might things get worse? I love the wonder of it, whether good or not.

Wishing you all a fabulous new year!

 A favorite book for every
new year! 

What The New Year Knows


Other years bid us goodbye.

Twenty-one won’t even try.

Sad to say, it’s hanging on

with pandemic Omicron.


Yet, my optimism stays

charging forth in winsome ways.

Twenty-two sees humans act

as kindnesses become a pact.


January’s winter show,

up and down, prep as you go.

February, hearts and flowers,

same as usual, sometimes showers.


No matter how hours carry on,

Reliable remains my song.  

Month by month, I will abide.

Your new year’s ready for the ride!


              Linda Baie ©


Monday, January 3, 2022

It's Monday - Happy New Year

     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 2022 everyone! 
 I do have this post of books recently read and reviewed but may share less because of the heavy reading for the Cybils Round Two poetry finalists. If you haven't seen notice of all the finalists, go here! We in the poetry group have some lovely reading (and conversations) ahead! 

          I will work to publish my #MustReadin2022 this week. Leigh Anne Eck is gathering the posts here at A Day in the Life!

Reviewed this HERE
    for Poetry Friday

          Enter a world of magic with courageous Poppy Fulbright fighting her own fight during World War II. It's 1944 and Poppy's family's bookshop, Rhyme and Reason, welcomes customers from the future and the past. It, and other bookshops like it, use their magic to keep the light, always wary of what the dark could do to them and the world. You'll love the way the bookshop changes with its emotions. Poppy's love of this bookshop means she wants to be the one to inherit it from her father, yet the sentiment is that it will go to her older brother, Al. When a dear friend, especially Al's, is killed in the war, Al listens more and more to the dark and it becomes Poppy's battle to save Al and her beloved bookshop. It's a new world created by Mindy Thompson where the main characters are shown as both strong and vulnerable to emotional ties and other characters show up as great support, too. Poppy will need them all! I did not imagine so many twists and turns, especially at the end. It's a fantastic world to imagine living in!

       Marked for young readers, it feels like every age will enjoy this beautifully inviting book by Margarita Engle with gorgeous illustrations by Raúl Colón. The story focuses on the varied immigrants, including the sad history of those who took land from Native Americans already here and those who came enslaved without choice. Many challenges faced immigrants in the past and do today. They often feel unequal and set apart from the rest of society but at the same time miss their former homes while needing to learn a new language and new ways in a new culture.    
       However, Margarita also shares the love immigrants have for this new country. Surrounding the challenges and the good parts, the Statue of Liberty shines her light for all, the beacon of hope, being "part of the Statue of Liberty's promise." Conversation and questions can happen page by page. Included are the varied ways immigrants bring expertise to America, from doctors to artists, farmers to scientists. Reading the author's and illustrator's notes shows their own immigrant family history. It feels like another invitation to talk with students who can share theirs, too. I enjoyed every part!

       I adore bear books. This is a new favorite, with fantastic illustrations by Dena Seiferling (wait until you see the bear's expressions) and a story about how to be a good friend by Cary Fagan. Bear finds a ukelele in the forest and now proclaims he's a musician and wants to sing a song. Dear Mouse crosses his legs and puts his paws in his lap. "I'm all ears," he said. Bear gets ready but along comes Crow, discovers a tambourine, immediately takes the stage with his own song. Oh, the joy! But as Bear starts again, along comes Snake who finds a drum. That's how it goes and with Mouse trying hard to tell everyone it's Bear's turn, but no one listens. How it turns out okay has much to do with little Mouse, a true friend. Kindness matters! The ending gives a big smile! There are double-page spreads showing a lot of happiness!

         This is my most recent book, loved it so much that I ordered it. Next, when time, a must-read will be the adult version. Nicole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson
 write from joyful beginnings, then why "born on the water" to their surviving, then freedom. They do show heartbreak and horror, but also strength and determination, a will to remember from the before. Theirs is a response to a fictional young girl who is asked to write about her ancestors, is ashamed that she can only count back three generations. Her Grandmother replies with this story. It's one to celebrate, to share with many others. Nikkolas Smith shares that he uses different techniques according to the page's mood and his illustrations bring more emotion to each. Added information is in the author's and illustrator's notes.