Monday, October 31, 2022

It's Monday - Good Books Are Everywhere!



            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'm working at the bookstore today, and will return in the afternoon to read your posts! Happy Halloween!

         These first two show the sadness of middle-school challenges, and I wish they were not so true to life! The third shows kids a little older, and definitely more loyal and wiser. It's an intriguing contrast!

       It was a hard decision to call this sci-fi/fantasy because the events that happen to Tommy Tomkins are all too real, now that he and his family have had to leave their real home of Elberon, a secret lizard city below the earth. Tommy, that seventh-grader tries hard to fit in but when he's seen on the playground crunching a beetle, game over. He does find a few friends, one new kid from another country, and one other who has a different haircut that's also blue, but the discovery that they might "like" each other and abandon him causes more turmoil. Tommy fights back, a hurt that's hard to undo. Jonathan Hill has written about mixed-up middle-school kids who bully and teachers who try but can't fix it all in a drama that's so very real. Even if you're not a Lizard Boy, but if you're different, perhaps in looks or language, perhaps you limp or lisp, it's never easy to fit, to just be the good person you really are. It would be wonderful to read and discuss with a group at school!
                     Thanks to Candlewick Press for the copy!

      For middle grade (and probably younger YA), a heartbreaking story of bullying and not-so-loyal friends, trying to figure out how popularity and friendships need to work, and what they really believe is the good way to act. These middle-school kids fight back at each other instead of for each other. Tae Keller's writing feels true and there is hope there in her writing, yet secrets that are kept from parents, friends and teachers tragically keep away the support and words that could help. When Jennifer Chan, new to the town and small Christian school, goes missing, in chapter one, Mallory Moss, a 12-year-old girl in this small Florida town, is afraid that her past behavior is part of the reason. Alternating chapters of "then" and "now" keep the book's fabric strained with heartbreak, a realistic tale of middle-school struggles.

        Oppel's "Bloom Trilogy" kept me reading as fast as I could get them. This book has a terrific "main" threesome whose characteristics build and build until I cared very much about each one. And then there is Rebecca, the main ghost, not the easiest to figure out what she might do (or think) next, but she is smart and picks up texting quickly, though she's been dead for 200 years! The horror of Oppel's 'rules' in this ghost story, "Ghostlight", kept tension flowing until I read faster and faster in order to see the end of the next nerve-racking scene. I loved the world-building and Oppel's "extras" who appear at the right time for that small group of three who cared so much, about getting things right and for each other. I enjoyed it very much. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Poetry Friday - Crow Fest


        Poetry Friday is with Jone Rush MacCulloch HERE at her website. Thanks for hosting, Jone!

        This week: I Voted! Don't forget!

           It is nearly Halloween, so it seems appropriate to feature crows. After all, they group in "a murder of crows", right? However, I want to share something that is not frightening that I see every evening, flocks flying over my house, on their way to downtown Denver for the night. According to, "this behavior is thought to play an important social role for crows, helping them exchange information, look for mates, and generally socialize. There may be other reasons for crows to gather as well, including funeral behavior, feeding, and social gatherings." This site explains more if you are interested.
         In the early evening, I watch to see the crows flying over. There aren't many at a time but they usually keep coming for about fifteen minutes. Here's a video of the conclave in our downtown, then my poem and my picture capture of a few from my own backyard.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2022

It's Poetry Friday - Sharing An Old Book Discovery


        Poetry Friday is with Bridget Magee, HERE at her website, Wee Words for Wee Ones with a poem for peaceThanks for hosting, Bridget!

        I hope you all are preparing to vote! My ballot arrived in the mail yesterday!

          Many of you know that I volunteer at a non-profit, all-volunteer-run used bookstore. We rely solely on community donations but do purchase a few new books for one shelf. I am one of the people who vet the donations every week. We find a few gems among the many books we do put on our shelves. Some are exciting finds for me, most often older children's books. When I spotted this book and the author, I grabbed it. It was published in 1973 (50 years next year!) and though I was teaching at the time, I do not remember ever seeing it. I suspect you, too, would love to discover an older book by Aileen Fisher! But perhaps you know it and I have missed out all these years?

        It's illustrated by Gordon Laite, lettering by Paul Taylor and it's a wonderful book about fall, in what is labeled the Bowmar Nature Series! What surprised and delighted me is that so long ago the illustrations included a diverse group of children. I've shared some of those pages and a few of Fisher's rhymes! Enjoy the peek!

           We have had warm weather very late this year and the mountains are in need. Skiiers are waiting. . .

Monday, October 17, 2022

It's Monday - More Lovely 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! 

          I wish I could tell you I've finished Ghostlight by Kenneth Oppel but I have not. Too many things going on keep me from long bouts of reading. It has started well, and as books by Oppel are, it's a bit scary!

       Cheriee, some of these books below are by Canadian writers, and are wonderful!         

       I'm grateful for the following books from Candlewick Press. Although one as you will see is set long ago, all of these books celebrate family, They're warm and comforting, sometimes a bit adventurous, the memories that make us smile.

         In a poetic verse, Tanya Rosie tells the story just right for this time of year. It's fall for a mother and her young child and time to visit a special tree. They rise early, carrying tubs and buckets, and travel by bus to walk into the countryside: "The grass is long, it's wild when it waves. I point to the field with glee." That's when they finally arrive at their wonderful mulberry tree. They pick, stain hands and shirts, then make their way home to make pie! From early morn to bedtime, this family time feels like a memory to have again and again. I wonder if readers will remember one special time they've had. The story shows the mother-daughter closeness of what seems to be a single-parent household. Chuck Groenink's soft and nature-feeling illustrations, both full-page and with panels show the fun of such a day scene after scene. 

         In this debut picture book, high school art teacher Logan S. Kline tells a wondrous tale of long ago when, if people's fire went out, someone must go in search for it again. With a small intro to begin, the rest is an amazing wordless adventure when, after some argument, one young boy volunteers to go for the family. On the way, he takes refuge in a thorn tree from frightful creatures, manages to survive, and trek on with his own "fire" and determination. A lightning storm shows promise when smoke rises from afar. Along the way, he finds a way to save another creature, one that becomes a friend. I've read it more than once, seeing extra details Kline adds like the mountainous landscape, white-capped river waves, the people's attire. This will be one for young readers to imagine themselves in such a time and place. What would they do? How would they face the dangers? 

        Want a way to capture a special memory by the sea? Read this new book by Karen Hesse, with sea-worthy illustrations by Charlotte Voake. It's a rhyming ditty about one seaside walk with Granny and Bean who struggle against the wind, watch the gulls fly and curlews trill. They're bundled up and clearly, it's a chilly day but others are out, too, walking dogs, searching for shells in the sand. Granny and Bean even take tea! The story feels like a song to remember. The dedication from Hesse is to her "beloved Beans", and from Voake, "In memory of Little Granny, and our seaside adventures." Lovely book!
        Poppy's House and Something About Grandma, along with Granny and Bean, are loving books about the special memories made when staying with grandparents. I have them and now as a grandmother hope my own grandchildren bring good memories into their futures, too. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Poetry Friday - More Love for Fall

         Poetry Friday is with Matt Forrest Esenwine, HERE at his website, Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme with some "preview" words of his new picture book, How to Be A Human.  Thanks for hosting, Matt!

        Over the years, I have shared poems I've written or those by others about fall. It's my favorite season, one that holds delightful things for us when we go out into nature every single day. Here's a poem I wrote a while ago, still true, still my celebration. The prompt was "forgotten"

a view out my front window

forgotten in July
tree blaze
leaf crunch
coat days
soup lunch
bird trek
bloom wilt
squash check
warm quilt
doors closed
brown lawn
cold nose
socks on
breath steam
snow shine
beach dream
cold –
     Linda Baie © 

Monday, October 10, 2022

It's Monday - More Special 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! 

          Whew! Busier at the bookstore last week than most weeks, training new volunteers (remember we are all-volunteer-run), working with donations, plus more needed paperwork. And, I have a new laptop and I imagine you all know how much time that takes to get the transfer just right! I'm not griping, just too busy to do much reading. The weather has been marvelous so that takes me outside more than usual! I hope you've all had a good week and wishing you one ahead, too

       Of course, it's a must-read, this third of Meg Medina's trilogy about Merci. As one of my own granddaughters is an eighth grader, too, I loved this peek into this eighth grader's thoughts. It is a poignant ending with Merci and her friends, her wonderfully supportive, and wise, family, wrapped around the dilemmas facing someone who wants to do well, be one of "that group", but do the right thing, too. She really is growing up!
Thanks to Candlewick Press for the advance copy!

            In rhyming text by Irene Latham and Charles Waters with colorful illustrations for every 'bridge-building' idea by Nabila Adani, a child (or a class) can learn about bridge-building in all kinds of ways. They can say "hello" to someone new, offer to share an activity with someone who looks like they'd like to join in and stand up to someone who's saying something mean about another's dress or different way of acting. Connecting to another in caring ways is a good thing to do. Charles and Irene have created a book that will help teachers share with their classes or kids to read and discover their own special ways to "Be A Bridge". 
There is a note from the authors, a list of activities, more book ideas, and a "Bridge Builder Pledge" at the back. Be sure to find this book!

       A book for everyone who's ever wanted a dog or adopted one, a book that animal shelters will love, too! Henry Cole has written another great book, this time about a young boy who wants a dog yet he struggles doing chores like keeping his room clean. His dads are unsure he can take on the extra, and large responsibility of taking care of a dog. Wait till you see what that boy does to show them he can! And be sure to take lots of time to notice all the details of people, animals, and places Cole includes in this marvelous wordless picture book. There's a backstory, too, which Cole adds at the end. It's terrific!