Monday, February 28, 2022

Monday Reading - New 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! 
  This will be as quick as I can write. I am so busy, sprained my ankle last Tuesday which took a day, doctor, etc. It has no breaks, thank goodness. I'm leaving on a long weekend trip this Thursday, meeting my son and daughter-in-law and flying to Lexington, Kentucky to see my grandson, at UK. I am finishing one poetry writing group every day in February, starting another today! What am I doing, reading others' writing instead of books! Thus, I am not finished yet with Too Bright to See! Maybe things will settle down soon?

            However, none of my busy days compare to the terrible events in Ukraine. I am watching the news, trying to help from afar, hoping for resolution.

Thanks to Candlewick for all the books shared today! 

         This new book by Leda Schubert is one to be sure you have in March. It is a tale for the year, defining each season as the title states, "Firsts & Lasts". Starting with spring, celebrating, and/or regretting what's coming "first" and what may make you sad or glad to say goodbye to. For example, "Fall is . . the last time we are too hot to move" and "Summer is . . the first time we hear june bugs hitting screens". It's simple and would be so much fun writing personal or class poems that include personal "first times" and "last times". Clover Robin is a collage artist and fills the pages with delightful items and scenes in her illustrations. It's a new idea of a book, just right for younger readers. 

          "Justice is not three hots and a cot. Justice is having your own key." Christine McDonnell (remember When The Babies Came to Stay?) tells a poignant story of Kip Tiernan who grew up living with her grandmother during the Great Depression. Although her grandmother had ten kids, most of whom lived with them, she still made extra food and Kip helped serve those who came to the door for a handout. She watched and helped and grew into the woman who could not look away, began to notice that some in the lines for food were women, dressed as men. They had nowhere to go for the shelters were only for men. This story, shown poignantly in Victoria Tentler-Krylov's illustrations, tells about another woman who persisted, finally was given a building in Boston, and opened Rosie's Place. It was a place for women where people would listen, would help in more ways than just "three hots and a cot". 
           A memorial to Kip Tiernan can be found in Copley Square, Boston. McDonnell has added more information and an extensive timeline of her inspiring life at the back.
           This tragedy here in our country obviously continues. Denver is now working to build homes in various ways for the homeless but the population has grown during the Pandemic. There is a shelter only for women here that also has a daycare, employment education, and help with obtaining GEDs, plus so much more. Its name is The Gathering Place. My students volunteered there in their daycare and kitchen. It is one place I donate these new books that I receive. 

         If you have a school garden, you need this book of marvelous, funny, thoughtful, and informative poems. Most are in rhyme, not all, and Allan adds a brief note at the back about each one. The poems include topics, as the sub-title says, "poems fresh from a school garden". One celebrates volunteers, another shows the children making observations in their journals. Here is a part: "We are keeping track of progress/in the garden day by day./From the moment spring comes calling/until winter's here to stay." There is a hilarious one titled "Diary of a Carrot" who, until the bitter end, cannot figure out what it is. "Day 20 ---- I am not a hairy snake./But now long green blades/are reaching out from my head./I think I am a helicopter. Hooray!"  Whimsical, enhanced by Daniel Duncan's illustrations that include all kinds of children working and plants growing, bugs entertaining and fighting, but having a marvelous (most of them) time in their garden. Terrific book. 

Next: Finishing Too Bright To See, Kyle Lukoff. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Poetry Friday - Almost Women's History Month


         Poetry Friday is with Tricia, at her blog, The Miss Rumphius Effecthere.  She is sharing her own amazing poem from her #PoetryPals latest challenge, writing from a game named "Exquisite Corpse." Want to know what that is? Be sure to visit! Thanks for hosting, Tricia!

        We had a fabulously warm last weekend, then THAT next storm moved in and temperatures plunged 50 degrees in about two hours. Now we have highs pre-teen, lows, does - 1 seem real? February mercurial, yes! Warmer coming again!
         I'm participating in Laura Shovan's birthday poetry group where we share prompts day by day, and write! I like some of my poems, occasionally wondered at my mindset at others. Nevertheless, it is always fun to write and then read all the other poems, poems that take my breath away!

            Because in a very few days, it will be March, Women's History Month, I'm sharing the first poem I wrote, from a prompt from Laura, about the sphinx. Here's part of what Laura shared: "The winged sphinx of Boeotian Thebes, the most famous in legend, was said to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to a riddle taught her by the Muses—What is it that has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?—and devouring a man each time the riddle was answered incorrectly. Eventually, Oedipus gave the proper answer: man, who crawls on all fours in infancy, walks on two feet when grown, and leans on a staff in old age. The sphinx thereupon killed herself. From this tale apparently grew the legend that the sphinx was omniscient, and even today the wisdom of the sphinx is proverbial."

If you'd like to discover more, look here.

And here's my poem:

Rarely Mutable 


Who? That woman there we see,

the one speaking to riddle thee.

If she true knows the answer’s letter,

it may not be that truth is better.

For her, for women alive today,

they try, they work, yes, Eves do play

Yet stories oft from centuries past

take flavors of betrayal’s cast.

No matter how man’s power’s lost,

what females earn is often tossed. 


Linda Baie ©


Enjoy your own March's beginning. It holds the first day of spring!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Monday Reading - Add to the Stack!

   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! 

Have you seen the Cybil's winners? You can find them here!

                   Happy Reading

Still reading, but it's good!

       I nearly didn't share this title page from Mel Fell, but there are even more surprises than orientation inside.
     Young Mel, a kingfisher, decides it's her day to learn to fly. What happens next, with the whole community there cheering and helping, will make you smile at her flighty adventure down and worry at the end! Corey R. Tabor writes and illustrates this book of nervous anticipation and happy relief in colorful pastel illustrations with lots of white space. His focus on an inspiring story about challenges and courage is both inspiring and fun. He adds a brief paragraph about kingfishers that shows the science behind the story. Don't miss this one!

      Here is Ben Shahn, his amazing life presented to us from his shtetl in Lithuania to the immigration to America and beyond. Cynthia Levinson's story starts with his words, "The first thing I can remember," Ben said, "I drew." There was little paper available so he drew in the margins of his book of Bible stories. Even then he became angry at some of the injustices in those stories. Showing the ups and downs of his artistic yearning, like being pulled from school at fourteen to make money for his family, did not stop him. He apprenticed to a lithographer, practiced and practiced the letters, letters he did not know well, but soon his signs were seen everywhere. He was meticulous in the work. Through his learning, his art passion grew and he went to art school at night. Later, becoming so admired, he was asked by President Roosevelt. to travel the country finding ways to show the terrible needs during the Depression. (I am reminded of the story of Lewis Hine - The Traveling Camera.) There is so much to enjoy about this story of someone who helped so many while immersed in his passion, art. Evan Turk's illustrations show Shahn's life in intriguing ways, filling the pages with a plethora of scenes and faces filled with emotional highs and lows within Shahn's life. There is an author's note, an illustrator's note, and a timeline in the backmatter. It is another story about someone to know and admire in our history.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following books!

        An older man loves the squirrels, puts some peanuts in the top of his hat every day, sits quietly as they come to greet him and have a snack. One day, reaching for the hat after the visit, he finds a surprise, a tiny cat. What happens after that shows lots of love though not very much trust as the man and the cat navigate their relationship. Then, it all stops for both. How a good ending happens, I'll leave for readers to discover. Eve Coy illustrates Troy Wilson's story inspired by his own grandfather in a lovely range of bright colors. I'd love to read this to a group to hear the discussion! 

         Saturday, February 18th, was the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which began the forced internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans. In time for one story of life in those camps, Maggie Tokuda-Hall tells this story based on her own grandparents' life. In beautiful full color, Yas Imamura illustrates the story of Tama and George Tokuda. Tama was the librarian and at first couldn't figure out how George could read so many books, so fast! He came in and took out a stack of books every day, a big smile on his face. He brightened her days in this internment camp, Minidoka. From the text: "Although each camp was different, they were all the same. Uncomfortable and unjust." and "Whole families shared single rooms. No one had any privacy." The relationship grew as readers will see, despite the terrible circumstances. The story shows hope and will offer readers a glimpse into this time for many American citizens. Tokuda-Hall's Author's Note shares the stark realities that even today, little has changed. It is a book for deep discussion and dialog about making changes in our world. There is a photo of Tama and George at the back.

           At a certain time, but each child differs, children feel the itch to wander and explore by themselves. Robie H. Harris tells a story about this Daddy and his young girl who wishes to go "Somewhere". He lets her go, and clever illustrations of this gorgeous garden by Armando MariƱo show he's really not as far away as she believes. She finds some treasures like a shiny peso and a big green leaf and suddenly wants to show him. There's just a bit of tension until she finds her way, back to Daddy! He asks where she's been. I imagine readers will know the answer is "Somewhere". There's more, a book of wanting to grow up, maybe yet still needing some comfort? 

What's Happening: Yikes, still reading Too Bright To See, Kyle Lukoff. I am doing too many things!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Poetry Friday, "Neither Rain Nor Sleet"


         Poetry Friday is with Laura Purdie Salas, at her blog, Small Reads for Brighter Dayshere.  Don't miss her sharing of another part of her new book, We Belong out very soon! Thanks for hosting, Laura! 

        Wishing you all a warm and cozy weekend, with at least a few poems that make you smile. It's been snowing again, after sixty degrees early in the week but today, more sun! I hope you've stayed safe and mostly cozy! 
         The last time I shared my lovely postcards, I lamented about the late or missed mail and all that postal workers have to do, even in a snowstorm! It has improved! 

Looking around, I found a sort of poem here, from Mental Floss. It is a history I did not know. No matter what you and others may believe, this is NOT the motto of the USPS, and was written in ancient times. 
          From the article: While the Postal Service has no official motto, the popular belief that it does is a tribute to America's postal workers. The words, thought to be the motto, are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue and come from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus. During the wars between the Greeks and Persians (500-449 B.C.), the Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers who served with great fidelity."  

Neither snow nor rain

 nor heat nor gloom of night

 stays these couriers 

from the swift completion

 of their appointed rounds.

             Thanks to those whose beautiful creations have inspired and made me smile. It is lovely of Jone MacCulloch to manage this exchange for those of us who signed up. Thanks, Jone, for all the 'smiles' I find (finally) in my mailbox. Here are pictures from Jone, Robyn, and Carol V. I am grateful to each one of you, delighting in your fabulous creations.

Monday, February 14, 2022

More Lovely Picture Books - More Stories 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! 

Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️ ❤️
 I am participating daily in a new poetry challenge, working extra at the bookstore, and reading for Cybils. But, the Cybils award winners are announced today and that wonderful work is finished. Be sure to look for the announcements! 
       And because I didn't share last week, I do have a lot to share, though still haven't been reading as much as usual.
                   Happy Reading!

          This was a Christmas gift from a friend and it is marvelous writing, poignant, heartbreaking, and a deep look into the life of a man who is trying hard to do his best for his world. You can read the rest of my review HERE on Goodreads.
        Wonderful storyteller Irene Latham and creator of spectacular illustrations, Mehrdokht Amini brings a special story of friendship in this new picture book, just out! Mehrdokht also illustrated A Dictionary for A Better World which Irene wrote with Charles Waters! 
       This time, Irene's poetic text tells about Esther the snail who woke one day and realized a storm was coming. What she didn't realize was it was going to be the biggest storm that had happened in the world! Animals streamed by, "heavy ones, hooved ones, clawed ones." And Esther got moving! On the way, she worried she would be crushed by elephants, but, whew, they missed her! She took a little time to look for her friend, Solomon, worried he might not know about this storm. Through a lucky move, she found him and together, with some special help, they made their way to the ark! Friends take care of friends, don't they?
         As the adventure unfolds, though the word is not said, illustrations show the ark coming closer and closer. But wonderfully on the double-page dedication page, there's an up-close illustration of that Ark being built. Reading this sweet story to young readers and talking about helping others will be a delight. 

       This was donated to the bookstore so I grabbed it fast. It's older, from 2010 but I couldn't resist another book telling the story of Wangari Maathai, the woman who saved Kenya with her planting of trees. Donna Jo Napoli tells this inspiring story of what one person can do. With Kadir Nelson's extraordinary collage work, it becomes a book of beauty. Napoli adds more information in the backmatter.  
       Today, more than 30 million trees have been planted throughout Mama Miti's native Kenya, and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Poetry Friday - Welcome


Poetry Friday - Hearts Everywhere

 Happy Valentine's Day next Monday 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. How about you? Do you have some reminders of love around your own home?

          This is part of a repeat of my Valentine's Post which I hosted two years ago. That was a few weeks before our lives changed in ways some still seem to fight against, our lives changed in ways we could not imagine then, perhaps do not remember the old ones now. There has been much sorrow since then, and yet, much love given. 

        A few of my favorite things: birds, sweet Peeps, finding heart rocks.


         I am in the midst of Cybil's judging this week. Be sure to look for the winners on Valentine's Day!  I decided to share some poems that feel full of love from an old book I've used before. This is the one I have to keep in a paper bundle because the leaves are so fragile, they're flaking off. 

         Enjoy your sweetest day however you wish but find some poetry to love, too!

the title page - that odd shape
in the middle is a leaf found
tucked inside - totally shriveled

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Poetry Friday - Loving Systems Thinking


         Poetry Friday is with Elisabeth, at her blog, Unexpected Intersections, here.  Thanks for hosting, Elisabeth! 

        Wishing you all a warm and cozy weekend, with at least a few poems that make you smile. It's been quite a few days of winter weather for many of us. I hope you've stayed safe and mostly cozy! 
         Our neighborhood and probably others have struggled with receiving our mail in a timely way these past weeks. It has always arrived late in the day but now it may take 2 or 3 days to get anything or a big part of it arrives mid-morning. They are struggling with illness and, as the postman told me, about half the staff. This one I spoke to is doing double shifts, working from early morning until late evening.
           Thus, I'm trying to say thanks to those wonderful and creative people whose postcards I have received. I know that others have been sent because I am subscribed to the USPS 'informed delivery' but I still have not received some. I'm trying to be patient but it is frustrating!
             Thanks to those whose beautiful creations have inspired and made me smile. It is lovely of Jone MacCulloch to manage this exchange for those of us who signed up. Thanks, Jone, for all the 'smiles' I find (finally) in my mailbox. Here are pictures from Margaret S., Janet F., Michelle K., Gail, Mary Lee, Laura S., and Carol L. I am grateful to each one of you, delighting in your fabulous creations.