Monday, September 26, 2022

It's Monday - Check Out 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! 





       Minni, a middle-schooler in Mumbai, is the light of her family's life, working so hard to pass her final exams so she can "stay" in school. Sadly, the bottom drops out when a fun ride in a fancy car brings disaster as her brother and friend spy on a water thief, and just barely escape capture. They need to leave the city quickly because they were recognized. Now Minni misses her brother, then her mother becomes ill and also has to leave to be cared for by her sister. Can life get any more complicated? Minni has to do her mother's house-cleaning job in a rich people's home after school. She has to gather water at the pumps, then boils it for cleanliness early in the morning, and all the time trying to study, too. 
       For young readers seeing a child's life in another culture will bring them new knowledge of hardship in our world, and then Minni also shows them her courage, and how important the help and support from a best friend can be. I've taught this age and love that Varsha Bajaj has shown how capable under the worst of circumstances they can be. It's a wonderful story of a courageous young woman.

        Once Haven landed on Ma Millie's doorstep as a raggedy kitten, her life was filled with at-home goodness: the smell of baking bread, tasty food in a blue bowl, and the warmth of Ma Millie's lap. But when Ma Millie became sick, then sicker, Haven knew that something had to be done and there was no one to do it but her. Building up the courage she knew was needed, she took the first step into the unknown, frightening forest to find help. She figured she could do it, yet wasn't sure how. Megan Wagner Lloyd has created quite a small hero who did big things in this story with the help of a forest creature who could have eaten Haven but instead helped her and became a friend. Some frightening moments keep the tension high and the slow buildup of friendship, then even loyalty makes the story to enjoy and remember.
                Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy!

            Published twenty-five-plus years ago, this wonderful book has a new and updated edition, answering what appears to be all the questions preteens and teens may want and need to know. According to the jacket flap: "This refreshingly open and thorough presentation of the facts of sex includes information about puberty; reproduction; birth control; STDs, including HIV/AIDS; pregnancy; gender; and safe Internet and social media practices." and "Throughout, two cartoon characters, a curious bird and a squeamish bee, reflect the diverse feelings today's kids often have about sex."  Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley's update brings readers into their current lives being lived. The cartoons help lighten the mood while giving the straight scoop in these serious topics, including chapters that include "Changes and Messages" within the section on Puberty and "Who We Are" in the first section, "What is Sex?". Within "Staying Healthy", they've included "Talk About It", concerning sexual abuse. Also, there is a thorough section about abortion, including historical explanations of the law but unfortunately, it is now out of date. If used with a child or a group of students, further research and knowledge will need to be added. Nevertheless, it really is a fine book. 
                Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy!       

        After hearing special stories from his Mommy about where she grew up, a young boy is excited to actually visit and see those magical places for himself. Yet, all is not the same. After years away, he and his Mommy find that things are very different. The small town has grown up, too. It's now a city with tall buildings and paved streets, lots of vehicles, and people. They visit grandma, a nice thing, and as they explore all those favorite story memories, find that some good things remain, like playing and splashing in the river and finding treasures underneath the stones. No matter the changes, some things do stay! Hope Kim was inspired to write this story from her own experiences returning to her hometown in Korea. Jaime Kim's illustrations show happiness all through the book from imagining the places then finally, finally being seen. This may connect to so many kids whose parents don't often return to their 'faraway' first homes but tell loving stories about them.  
                     
Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy!

          It was delightful to first meet Cornbread & Poppy, fast friends who were first introduced early this year. We learned how friends can be close and still disagree, still not be exactly the same. This time, with Cordell's ability to tell a story for young readers with just the right amount of detail and tension, Poppy comes by for lunch with Cornbread with the "best" of news. A carnival is in town. Cornbread has no idea what that is but tells Poppy that some of her other "best" ideas haven't been so great, like the 'terrible runny cheese'. Well, despite some skepticism, he is convinced to give the Carnival a try. They try some games and Cornbread wins a prize; Poppy isn't so pleased. They try some fritters; Cornbread loves this new food! Rides like "the Nauseator" or "The Brain Tweaker" are rejected by Cornbread but both get on the Ferris wheel. There are surprises, an argument about a peanut, and finally, they do show that they are really, down-deep, best friends. You'll love the fun of the surprises that I have not shared! Now I can't wait for number three!

Now reading: The final book about Merci, Merci Su├írez Plays It Cool by Meg Medina.



Thursday, September 22, 2022

Poetry Friday - A New Poet!

 


"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."

         Poetry Friday is with Rose Cappelli, HERE at her website, Imagine The Possibilities. She, too, shares a post connecting to grandchildren. Thanks for hosting, Rose!

             Like other grandparents, I have shared a lot about my three grandchildren through the years, and feel blessed that I have them. My son and daughter-in-law's child, Carter, soon will be a college grad. My daughter and son-in-law's children are Ingrid, thirteen, and Imogene, eleven. And like others, I could go on and on about each one's lives that I've been lucky to be a part of.
             This week, Ingrid shared a poem with me and I have her permission to share it. She attends a charter school of the arts in Denver, is now in eighth grade. Her major is Video Cinema Arts. Recently, her language arts class has been reading and writing poetry and she shared a few with me. Ingrid told me that this particular poem is called a "catalog" poem. I would add that she's also a pitcher on a softball team. She is a busy young woman with a passion for many things! Here's a pic of her this past summer on a league team, although now she's on a school team, still pitching! 


Still To This Day

 

A poem by Ingrid Krahling ©

 

Still to this day I enjoy scooping the walk

Piercing frigid weather

A coat of flakes on the pavement

Grasping your shovel

Mittens on

 

Still to this day I take those hikes 

Crisp air

Pine needles 

The roots of the sagacious trees born before you 

Delving into the dirt along the trail

Never wanting to look away

 

Still to this day I serve that ball

Lifting that Racket 

Blinding sun

Desperate for hydration 

 

Still to this day I board that lift

Purposely riding 

Contemplating

The glacial bitter surroundings

And the same two sticks

Below the arch of my foot

 

Still to this day I go to the beach

Extensive ocean

Afraid of the fish

Saltwater swallowed 

Hair frizzed and curled 

Adjusting to the humid air 

 

Still to this day, I bike as I did then

Sweat inside my helmet although I don’t take it off

My legs burned out, knowing that it’ll pay off

 

Still to this day

I am myself



Monday, September 19, 2022

It's Monday - Grow Your Reading Lists!


  

            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 autumn this week!

             A companion book to Pet, both of which were so lovingly reviewed by Max that I had to read them. I shared Pet last week. This time, the time during which Bitter and Aloe meet and fall in love, Bitter's background is harsh foster families where she ends up hiding anywhere she finds whenever she can because of cruelty. Now, as a teen, she has found Eucalyptus, a private school/enclave where, while it took a while with a loving teacher, the enigmatic Miss Virtue, and friends like Alex and Blessing, she finally feels safe. Behind those walls, students feel protected from the hurtful and harmful behavior found in the town outside, Lucille.
       In her past, she has learned that some creatures she draws come to life, kind of frightening but they soon fade and disappear. At least they have in the past. Although she does not approve of those who are protesting for change, some of those are her friends. She is too scared to go outside the walls. When a friend in the outside groups is injured, Bitter explodes into her art, and spends hours in anger, drawing and pasting things onto the work, including blood, until what is known as an "angel" appears. It is "Vengeance", made possible by Bitter, ready to hunt and kill all monsters. Bitter is now wrapped up in the group she had earlier rejected, frantically realizing that what she has just released is something that needs to be stopped. All the characters are intriguing and complex. I wanted to know about each one because they all appeared to have a demeanor that was important to creating a safe town in which everyone is welcome but without violence. They are young and fighting so hard! The intertwining of straight and queer relationships felt comfortable, a part of the world in which we all live, and in which, sadly, many fight to live. It's an inspiring story to imagine how hard young people are working to help the world, today as well.

             These next two stories show beautifully that the feeling that those you have loved who have left will always stay with you. They are both poignant and will be special read-alouds for a child or a class that can help talk about grief.

           The best thing I can write is that it made me cry. Emilia's grandpa, moving a bit slow, leaves a walnut on her bedstand, and then he tells his story of another walnut he brought as a boy when his family immigrated. I won't tell it all, but the tree from that nut is in their yard beside a smaller one that Emilia's mother planted. Perhaps you will guess the rest of the story but it's a book you won't want to miss with Felicita Sala's full-page and softly-hued illustrations. (Side note: My own grandfather planted a maple tree for me when I was young. It is far away in Missouri in the little town where I grew up. It is very tall now and I visit it once in a while when I visit my brother.)

            Rashmi Sirdeshpande writes in her author's note that Ruchi Mhasane has painted illustrations that are very like what's in her memory of visiting her own grandpa, without any talk between them. This particular grandpa's story is told by the grandson, from painting together and painting with neighborhood children, every painting a work of art and cherished. But when his grandpa dies, he locks everything away and stops painting. One young girl in need herself helps this boy learn that painting again brings the best memories back of the time with his Dadaji. It's a bittersweet story, heartfelt with grandfather love as well as the love of painting. That paintbrush is a big part of the story!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Poetry Friday - Golden News

  

  Poetry Friday is with Kathryn Apel, HERE at her website. She's sharing many celebrations from down under, a special kidlit festival where it seems her two recent books got lots of love and two wonderful poetry swaps she created. Thanks for hosting, Kat!


          Usually, I purchase small plants at a local garden center to fill a few pots I have. This year I bought a packet of marigold seeds and planted them (I think) in early May. They have grown into a gorgeous plant, with now only one bloom. It feels like I have been taught patience! The bud burst on the day Queen Elizabeth died. It felt somewhat shivery, nearly a sign that life, and beauty, will continue. I understand that my imagination often bursts with silliness, but nevertheless. the bloom happened exactly when it chose, not a day before, nor a day later.
          As it is nearing autumn, this reminds me of Buffy Silverman's new book out in August, On A Gold-Blooming Day. Many have been sharing it. I did here and Carol Varsalona did here. It's a special book welcoming autumn you don't want to miss!



new bloom

no better name for you –

marigold

 

Linda Baie ©














Monday, September 12, 2022

It's Monday! Books To Know!


  

            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! 

       David Almond always gives us a story to enjoy, one that is thought-filled beneath all the action. That "brand new boy" whose name is George arrives at school one day, with a companion who sits in the back of the room, taking notes and helping him talk when needed. It's a complete mystery who this new student is, and before they realize it, Miss Crystal says it's enough for the first day and takes him away. Daniel and Maxie are buddies, but along with them come Billy and Louise, entering an adventure they will remember for all their lives. If you want to read about loving kindness and what being a boy (or girl) really means in the great adventure called 'life', this is the read. Daniel tells the story, and Almond layers it with school friends, teachers and administrators, an understanding and loving mom, recess monitors, and even kindergarten fairies! You'll see, all the school you know is there. A few illustrations by Marta Altes are fun!
                  Out in 2020 in the UK, thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy.

 
      Max wrote such a thought-filled review of this book by Akwaeke Emezi, that I was convinced I had to read it. How did I miss it? I don't know, but I was mesmerized from the beginning when young teen Jam pulled a monster from her mother, Bitter's painting. This monster is on the hunt although Jam's town, Lucille, thinks it eradicated all of them years ago. It has not. Jam's courage shows how much young people can do despite the many times adults do not believe that teens are capable. She pushes through her fright and does the unthinkable to help a friend and save a child. 


       I know many things about the ocean but until this amazing book by Elaine Alexander, I have never heard about anglerfish! Alexander tells about this "Seadevil of the Deep" that lives at about 13,000 feet down, known as the "midnight zone". There is no light, so few inhabitants that can feed this creature that when it encounters another creature, it swallows it whole! A protuberance in the top of its head glows via bioluminescence, helping to lure the next meal. Fiona Fogg creates the darkest atmosphere in her illustrations, helping readers imagine this little-known creature of the deep. There is added information in the backmatter that aids in the understanding of new, but well-hidden, life in the deep! 
                  Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

It's Poetry Friday - Mail Call

 


  Poetry Friday is with Carol Varsalon, HERE at Beyond Literacy Link, as she says goodbye to summer.  Thanks for hosting, Carol.  

           In my mail, any one day, I receive many requests for help. I do donate to some organizations but all online. It hurts my heart to read of so many needs in our world, crisis after crisis. I gathered some words, brief and true, for a found poem this week. I imagine each of you receives at least some of the pleas. 


Emergency Request

displaced,
a crisis without choice
violence
increasing. . .
help makes a difference

Linda Baie ©



Thursday, September 1, 2022

Welcome to Poetry Friday - Welcome September

 

          Yes, green grass with yellow leaves, more are coming! Welcome to Poetry Friday everyone, September's beginning. It's twenty days until autumn! Click on the link below to add your posts.

      For all those starting anew: "The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps–we must step up the stairs." ~Vance Havner

    Our lives hold numerous thresholds; from youngest to oldest, starting can be exciting, daunting, happy, and sad. This time, I'm thinking of schoolchildren who wonder so much before that first day.  Do you imagine the first day's morning?

     I am not a great artist but I do like trying to sketch once in a while, thus my attempt from my imagination about that first day with all ages beginning again! Enjoy your Friday and the weekend!

Tick-Tock

 

See the afterglow

on students’ faces,

sunshine souvenir

from the neighborhood pool.

So long silly races with 

splashy-ends,

relentless fun,

their vacation run.

 

Hear the sighs

as they keep the swing-along,

goodbyes up the stairs

to summery songs.

Open doors await

to enter and then

they hop the threshold

to begin again.

 

Linda Baie ©



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