Thursday, March 31, 2022

Poetry Month - It's Friday! - Day One - That Fourth Month

         Starting off fabulous April, Poetry Month, is Heidi Mordhorst, at My Juicy Little Universe! She has much to share and celebrate, including birthdays, a truly exciting send-off slide to April! Here we go, Heidi! Thank you!

        The bookmark, on top of the picture above, came into the bookstore at the end of March. Often people do donate books and leave 'treasures' in them. This time, it became my own treasure and I knew what I would do for April's poetry, write about found treasures, perhaps find new places to look? Happy April!

Plus! Check each day for the added line to the Progressive Poem, created by Irene Latham, now hosted by Margaret Simon! The link is to the right!  

And, if you want to discover what everyone is doing for this special month, head over to visit Jama Rattigan here at Jama's Alphabet Soup for a list.  Thanks, Jama! 

That Fourth Month

In April,

words wake each day,

flutter and fly

aglow in my sky

hoping to settle into

Poetry Month –

no longer lonely


 Linda Baie ©

Monday, March 28, 2022

It's Monday - All Kinds of Stories

 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! 
 Sorry that my post is so long, but I am sharing some lovely books and wanted to be sure you knew them!

My 3rd Must-Read book
          I want to be sure readers know that I would like to share every superlative for this book in order to be sure that you read it. Irene Latham and Charles Waters have done extensive research to offer an account that readers will not forget, will tell others about, and that we will realize, I hope, that Africans who were sold and taken across the ocean, while in horrific conditions, held strength I'm not sure can be imagined. This is the story about the last who were captured and taken across the water, against the law already passed that made it illegal. They gave comfort to their shipmates, even giving their one spoonful of water offered so that the one who needed it more, survived. This is the story, in verse, where Irene and Charles let those people tell their own story, the one that starts with meeting the African characters at home, the home in Africa. Most are just growing up, some starting their initiation into manhood, noting the smiles from beautiful young girls. Kossala, as all young men are, is impatient to be included into the orÒ, the highest level of his society, the Yorùbá, located in Benin, West Africa. Later, his continuing cheer gives hope to the others as they lay naked, hungry and thirsty on the bottom of a ship, wondering how they will make it, what will happen to them? And I will not forget the women, Abilè and Kêhounco, whose courage and friendship never wavered. In one terrifying moment, they even manage to make fun of one of the white men who captured them, dissolving into giggles. 
         In addition to Kossola, there are others to meet at the beginning of this story, then later as slaves in Alabama, and much later, free, smart, purchasing land and with their own, starting a town, now called Africatown. During that earliest time, there is one who pushes others to note the surroundings, take solace there. Kossola tells that Kupollee "again points to de sky. Its Blue/is now blanketed by fat, billowy clouds. Different again. My stomach settles/as I follow my friend/and press one foot in front of de other." In subtle, poetic ways, Irene and Charles show the care each offer to each other. They show the strength of a powerful people.
        Readers also meet the captains of the ship, Clotilda, learn what that ship itself has to say, and later, read words from the white plantation owners. The story fills with tension, sorrow, hope and joy for all the years.
        Added are sources, what's happening in Africatown today, parts about what happened to each character later, a timeline, and the poetry forms used for the characters. I continued to be struck by the emotion in the poems, what is revealed in continuing strength and determination to live. One quote from the barracoon where they are kept before being sold to the white men: "It's true de ocean doesn't/stop being the ocean, and even locked up,/we don't stop being people." An inspirational story, yet also endearing, as we meet these people who survived and created a village, a family of survivors. I won't forget this story. 
           One nice thing in life is when one realizes that where they live is rather a wonderful place. The grass is NOT always greener elsewhere. In Hawaii, Claire is learning about the seasons but is sad because she's never seen snow. Her father drives the family to the top of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world, to see snow! But it's crunchy, not like the feathery snow Claire has imagined. They do make a snowman, but it's a little chunky. Along the story, she and her brother, Timbo, imagine what they could do, yet it still isn't the same. A new way of thinking happens when they go to the beach, when Claire realizes her home is very nice after all. Lois-Ann Yamanaka, who lives in Hawaii, tells a great story that shows learning about other places is wonderful, yet may make one's own home even more special personally. With Ashley Lukashevsky's bright and colorful illustrations, it makes me want to live by the ocean while at the same time, I love my snowy Rocky Mountains. Both Lois-Ann and Ashley have notes at the back, with an added glossary of a few Hawaiian words. There is more information within the story, too.

       First published from Tehran, Iran in 2017, now a First Elsewhere edition, distributed by Penguin Random House. It is indeed a "Meadow of Fantasies" showing a young girl "gazed at the meadow through the window of her fantasies". There are seven horses, each different, counting through their colors, their homes, but the seventh is always left out until the others share. It's an intriguing story, of diversity that shares with those who are in need. It's also interesting to read the author's, illustrator's, and translator's notes, having varied upbringings yet all express desires to create. I imagine lively conversations will come from reading this book together. 

         The wordplay in the story, told by this "boy", is what you might imagine a pet's words would sound like. With swirling color by Catiá Chen, Derick Wilder allows this dog to tell his story of what he and his 'foreverfriend' do when they are together. One quote: "Little gives me her tightest 'lovesqueeze'. I give her my wettest nosenuzzle." Be prepared for tears. I won't say more except that it's one book you must experience yourself and then decide if it's a good one to share with your children or your class. It is fabulous.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Poetry Friday - One Love


         Poetry Friday is with Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, at her blog, The Poem Farm here.  She's sharing her past and future plans for April, Poetry Month! It's nearly here! Are you ready? Thanks, Amy, for hosting!

         The #PoetryPals challenged everyone this month to write an ekphrastic dodoitsu, four lines (7-7-7-5), most centered on love or laughter. There are many things to love and laugh over, yet I have special memories of both collecting and candling eggs with a grandmother, where eggs meant that bit of eggs-tra money for them to live, and so many humorous moments spent with her, with chickens and ducks! Now, today, I take joy in the eating and in the discovery, though sad, of an egg found on my walks, the one that didn't make it. 
       So much of our world is in turmoil, I'm happy to focus on the little things for a while. Thanks, #PoetryPals. 

an eggs-ceptional package

eggs-travagantly colored

eggs-traordinary taste

eggs-actly ovaled

Linda Baie ©

Carpodacus erythrinus erythrinus MHNT.ZOO.2010.11 Vyborg
egg of common rosefinch   

Monday, March 21, 2022

It's Monday - Check Out These Special Books!


Monday Reading - Enjoy 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! 
     I also have a giveaway HERE on a second post today!

Thanks to Candlewick Press for all the following books!

       It begins with a sense of sadness. Young rabbit Cress's father has not returned. Though wishing that a miracle might happen, Mother, Cress, and baby brother Kip move. They find a rental tree named Broken Arms where the landlord, Mr. Owl, collects three dead moths a day for rent, for a one-room lower apartment! Gregory Maguire brings readers into this magical circle of an animal community with a mouse manager named Manny, the Oakleaf squirrel family where Cress makes a friend, some sinister characters like Reynard the fox, and a surprise bear named Tunk who it turns out isn't so scary after all. The illustrations will be in color but my ARC is only in Black and white. Still, they are lovely. See that cover! This would be a lovely read-aloud for young ones, just scary enough with some good outcomes, too.
         With imaginative paintings and brief rhyming couplets, Dr. Eve M. Vavagiakis introduces the neutrino to a young audience. Each page shares different parts about them, like what they look like, how very tiny they are, and more. (also in Ilze Lemesis, the illustrator's imagination). Information is added at the back for each double-page spread, plus a list for further exploration. If one is interested in our universe, this will be a basic start. Illustrations show parts of our amazing universe, including people! 
       On Friday afternoon, this school has an assembly where announcements are made, sometimes a song is sung, and when there's time, a student does something for the group, tells some jokes, does some magic, and so on. This particular Friday, it's John's turn. He's nervous, but brings his special clothes, prepares, and dances. Mac Barnett tells all there is to know, lets the children's faces and John's by Kate Berube tell the rest. It's a wonderful book about courage and support. Wait until you see the double-page spread with John dancing! 


The Friendly Mouse - Sharing a Debut Plus A Giveaway

       Midst all the pain in these recent weeks, those of us who are not near the war can only watch and hope and do what is possible to help. One thing possible is really not a new idea but it feels like a boost of kindness is again needed. Sophia R. Tyler has written and illustrated such a book and The Friendly Mouse is a debut! 

The Friendly Mouse lives in a lovely place as you can see by the cover. He gets going every morning to work, a friendly small soul, happy in his home. However, there is a bit of trouble beneath that smile. He has a long, long walk to work which makes him tired, often desperate for help. Some days, he sees a seagull flying high above, yearns for a "lift" that would be so much nicer than his lo-0-ong walk. He calls out to ask for a ride but Seagull says he's too heavy, NO WAY can it happen!

The story takes place mostly at Mouse's work, where when a tiny bit late, the boss, Mr. Roo, yells at him. On other days, Seagull continues to refuse a ride. Mouse can barely work, he is so, so tired. 

One day, Mouse notices Mr. Roo speaking of the stress of his paperwork. Even Mouse, tired that he is, feels bad for Mr. Roo. And the rest of this story will make readers smile. Doing kindnesses does not mean one should be rewarded yet there are moments when good things happen, for everyone! Some acts take courage, something Mouse's actions show. He takes a risk knowing it could mean he loses his job. Nevertheless, he chooses to help. 

I love the book's cover 'spread' showing this wonderful neighborhood. Colorful illustrations make a joyful book amid the troubles. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Poetry Friday - Thinking of Ukraine


         Poetry Friday is with Ruth, at her blog, There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town here.  She is writing from her new home in Asunción, Paraguay. While I've read about other wonders Ruth has shared so far, this time, a bird-watching excursion with her brother sounds fabulous. And she's written about it to share! Thanks for hosting, Ruth!

         I find that I am unable to gripe about anything, sitting here in my home with heat and food. It is snowing again and very cold. I am sad, feel helpless to do much for the Ukrainians but I am donating, writing my representatives, watching the news for hope. I've been re-reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of The Mind. Even the title feels like a small getaway. Here is a poem he wrote long ago that feels as if it was written for today. 


             In woods where many rivers run
                                              among the unbent hills
       and fields or our childhood
                                      where ricks and rainbows mix in memory
although our ‘fields’ were streets
                              I see again those myriad mornings rise
      when every living thing
                                            cast its shadow in eternity
            and all day long the light
                                                 like early morning
                    with its sharp shadows shadowing
                                                                   a paradise

the rest is here on

Monday, March 14, 2022

Monday Reading - Enjoy 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! 
         I missed last week, was on a trip to see my grandson at UK in Lexington, a great time visiting him, the university, and the town!

        Highlighting this new book by Laura Purdie Salas. If you aren't familiar with her special books, check her webpage, here!

             This was published on March 1st. I have an advanced copy but my trip kept me from sharing then. While Laura Purdie Salas could not foresee the tragic events happening in Ukraine, she's written a book that's perfect for our time now! Yes, We Belong! It's a welcoming story all the way through: "and I'm glad we are here. I'm glad that you're you." Laura's rhymes keep the pace, from excitement to empathy, always finding a way to support each difference, whether it's being quiet or loud, everyone's skin color, and a choice to "be who you are"! The celebration and support feel terrific and are enhanced by Carlos Vélez Aguilera's color-filled illustrations filled with diverse children and activities. "You and I, we're alike, but we're different, too./That's not good./That's not bad./It's just what is true." It would be lovely to share with a group and talk about all the unique ways in which we can "be", still enjoying our lives and life! Laura does a super job keeping things simple for younger readers, but making the important point for every reader that "We Belong."

       I took a long time to read this book, but not because of the book, because of different life challenges in my life. I finally, finally had the pleasure of reading to the end! It's about Bug, about to enter middle school and its challenges, wondering how to fit in, grieving over an uncle's death, and worrying about the family business. No one should have so many of these challenges yet Bug does persist in reaching some conclusions with courage, and with the help of the uncle, whose ghostly advice helps so much. What a special story for kids this age who are trying hard to grow up into who they are!

          One papa bear has a wonderful idea, to take his little bears out before bedtime to see the night sky. His words: "Sweaters on." bring so many shenanigans while his offspring are trying (maybe?) to get those sweaters on. Matt Phelan's story, with so few words the story really is told in his hilarious illustrators. There are seven little bears to get ready, and they do, with some help from Papa and siblings. The outside is lovely but all too fast it's time for "Sweaters off." then, you guessed it, "Pajamas on."! What a treat of a book that makes one smile all the way through.

       Years ago, I read At Day's Close, night in time's past by A. Roger Ekirch, a comprehensive history of night, mostly in Great Britain, some in America. There is where I learned about London's challenge that is written about in this picture book, The Great Stink. The adult book is amazing in its description of the alarming lives people lived, at night. This book by Colleen Paeff, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter will entice readers to know more. It certainly helps imagine this one challenge in London, where people had no idea that their poop was disease-ridden. Their only wish was to get rid of it and to get rid of the stink that almost overcame the city. 
        In those times, cholera was overcoming and killing the masses and most all believed it came from "miasmas", "smelly pockets of air". People continued to drink the water, just let the sediments sink to the bottom of the containers first. The story of wrong assumptions and the man who finally convinced the government that gigantic sewer pipes were the answer is one of persistence and actually, a bit of luck.  Bazalgette couldn't convince the government to spend the money on his plans, so until eventually the stink from the Thames grew "so feculent, so foul", people realized that they could no longer live with that "stink". Carpenter's illustrations fill the pages with scenes accompanied by the story, making it come alive with the period's costumes and conflicts alike. (It's good they didn't add smelly stickers!) Paeff adds more at the end with "Poop Pollution Today", a detailed timeline (up to 2018), and ways to help. One quote from our lives today: "Every year, 3.4 million people die from water-related (which means poop-related) diseases." Joseph Bazalgette helped save many lives, and still more is needed to bring safe drinking water to everyone.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Poetry Friday - Reflecting and Asking


         Poetry Friday is with Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, at their blog, Poetry for Children here. They're sharing their newest anthology, Things We Eat, food poems from A to Z.   Thanks for hosting, Janet and Sylvia.

        We had a fabulously warm last weekend when I went to visit my grandson, met my son and daughter-in-law there in Lexington, Kentucky. He goes to UK. Then upon return, THAT next storm moved in and temperatures plunged 50 degrees in about two hours. Now we have had more snow since yesterday and highs pre-teen, lows, does - 1 seem real? February mercurial, yes! Warmer coming again, along with Daylight Savings Time!

               I am impatient. I want change now! I want those in power to make life better all over the world. I am doing what I can, little me trying to be a better person for and to everyone. Wishing the events in the Russian war against Ukraine were not true, yet they are. Wishing the events happening in our own country weren't true, but they are. This is one poem I wrote for Laura Shovan's birthday poetry group, reflecting on all of our actions, asking a question of readers. It is from a wonderful prompt, a collage created by Linda Mitchell, with the theme of time.

Will We Spark A New Kind of Joy?


Can we recuse ourselves

from parts of history

packed tight into 

the basket of the past

holding power over the future?

Are you unpacking,



what was then 

into a better now?


Linda Baie ©