Friday, December 30, 2022

Poetry Friday - A Poetic Invitation

 

It's Poetry Friday - Goodbye 2022



   Poetry Friday is with Patricia Franz HERE on her website, Reverie. In it, today, she offers a poem that shows the many ways we are blessed. Thanks for hosting, Patricia!

               First, I am excited to share that Editor Bridget Magee's anthology, Two Truths and A Fib will be available on 1.1.23. I have yet to see it, but it is available for pre-order wherever you purchase your books! You can watch the trailer HERE! I am proud to have some poems in this book along with others whose names you will recognize. And, I want to thank Bridget for the idea, the opportunity, and for all the work in the production! Congratulations to Bridget and all the poets!

               It's time to ponder the new year, as Rilke wrote, "full of things that have never been". I've wondered what to share and this week, keep returning to Robert Frost, a longtime favorite because of his love for nature. If you ever see my posts on social media, you know I often use the hashtag, #getoutside. This poem feels like an invitation to us. Wishing you a Happy New Year full of love, happiness, and the beauty outside.


The Pasture

                   Robert Frost

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring; 
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away 
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may): 
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too. 

I'm going out to fetch the little calf 
That's standing by the mother. It's so young, 
It totters when she licks it with her tongue. 
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too. 


Thursday, December 22, 2022

It's Poetry Friday - A Light Celebration

   Poetry Friday is with Irene Latham HERE on her website, Live Your Poem. She's sharing all kinds of gifts for us this next to last Poetry Friday of 2022. Thanks for hosting, Irene!

    I took this picture Wednesday morning as the sun rose and I welcomed the sun. Now, this Thursday, after the shortest day , then longest night, the winter solstice, it is below zero and light has come, but the sun hides out. I don't blame it, do you?


       At the school where I taught, we tried hard to be inclusive of all the celebrations our students celebrated with their families, often occurring this time of year. We named it our "Celebrations of Light" where each class created a response to share. On one special day near the holiday break, all the students walked through each classroom, reading what was shared, looking at the art, learning of new ways that people throughout history, and during their lives today, celebrate light. Here is an old song that was our theme the final year I taught. Each of my students found various ways people celebrated, wrote prose or poem pieces, and built small homes where we placed lights in order to have the windows shining. I wish I had some of those pieces to share but I only have the song and one picture. Happy Solstice to you all. Wishing you a special celebration of light in your own homes here at the end of 2022 or whenever it occurs.

This time of the year is spent in good cheer, 

And neighbors together do meet 

To sit by the fire, with friendly desire, 

Each other in love to greet; 

Old grudges forgot are put in the pot, 

All sorrows aside they lay; 

The old and the young doth carol this song 

To drive the cold winter away. 

~Traditional Carol

          That final line seems quite apt this week, does it not? Keep cozy!




Thursday, December 8, 2022

Poetry Friday - Action Packed!

  

        Poetry Friday is with Michelle Kogan HERE on her website, More Art 4 All. This time, along with a poem and painting that shows her love for nature, she shares from a New York Times article that tells of artists all over the world whose countries are at war, like Ukraine. It's both inspiring to read how they are combating their war-torn homes and heartbreaking to realize that it is happening. Thanks for hosting, Michelle!

         I'll be in Lexington, Kentucky next week for my grandson Carter's graduation from the University of Kentucky. The poem is for him, from the joys of watching him grow.
         I'm reminded of the song "Turn Around" by Harry Belafonte. Because he is singing to a girl, I'm changing a word toward the end of the first verse. You can listen to it here!

Where are you going my little one? Little oneWhere are you going, my baby, my own?Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're fourTurn around and you're a young "boy" going out of the door



























Turn Around 

 

From babyhood coo-cooing to crawling and exploring,

To walking and conversing, then running and ignoring

those calls of “Hey, be careful”, and you kept right on going!

To baseball and then Scouting, on to musically marching.

 

In spite of the pandemic, stepping slow, slow, and slow,

Your game became Monopoly, passing Go, then Go!  

Along with your friending, your working and the play,

You raced and you rocketed to clock into this day.

 

It’s time to slow your breathing and have a bit of fun.

You’re zooming to the finish, 

Now celebrating, shouting: 

“I’m done!”

 

Linda Baie ©



Monday, December 5, 2022

Monday Reading - Sharing New and Older 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 hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving wherever you celebrated. I did travel to be with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson, with little time to read. There was a lot of visiting and eating! In a little more than a week, I'll be seeing them again because my grandson, Carter, is graduating from the University of Kentucky, a semester early! Is December busy? Absolutely. I have yet to do anything about Christmas. But I have read some great books over the recent weeks! Take a peek!

         I shared this book last week on Poetry Friday! It will be a gift just right for someone you love. The link is here!




       Thanks to Kathryn Erskine for my copy of this special book, set during the Civil Rights era, the story of Red Porter, a middle-school-aged boy who struggles through grief after the recent death of his father, the questions of why certain families seem to hate his family, and why he can no longer be a friend to an African-American boy with whom he played and played in their earlier days. Red's attempts to make things right, to stay in their home when his mother is determined to move, to help friends is shown so beautifully through Kathryn Erskine's text of Red's thoughts. He knows from his Dad that running away from things is not the way to be. Though it's so hard to face the truth, Red, young as he is, takes it all on, even becoming a super older brother to his younger brother, J, a real pain, until he isn't! So many characters play a part, good and bad, in Red's growing up, including a thoughtful teacher and a family friend who helped run their convenience store. It's a beautiful story! 

        Come along down memory lane with Charles Dickens where Nick Manning and Brita Granstrom start at his beginnings, all the way to his passing, offering his own words, then further explanations in comic-style boxes. I haven't read every piece or book he wrote, but many are featured with the connections that make the stories even more precious. It's a lovely, brief collection that can serve as an introduction to this most well-known writer all over the world. The endpapers show a map of special places in Dickens' life and novels and there's backmatter with additional sources, a glossary of terms people may not know, like "blacking" which is boot polish, a list of his works, and more!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Poetry Friday - The Warmth of Poetry

 

        Poetry Friday is with Catherine Flynn HERE at her website, https://readingtothecore.com/ with the answer you will love!  Thanks for hosting, Catherine!
         I enjoy celebrating winter in numerous ways, among them getting out the heavier comforter for my bed. Our weather was predicted well below freezing, and flurries started as I went to bed last Monday. I knew I'd see a sparkling blanket when I rose in the morning.      



       I bought this in early 2021 when it was published, have read through it, and picked it up when I wanted some comfort during these troubled times. The poems are loving and caring, by such special writers as Ted Kooser, Jane Hirshfield, Amanda Gorman, Joy Harjo, Naomi Shihab Nye, Ross Gay, Tracy K. Smith, and Ellen Bass, whose poem I'm sharing today. Best wishes to everyone during this holiday season, wherever you find a poem in time of need. 
        There are invitations for writing throughout the book, and reading group questions and topics for discussion in the back.

Getting Into Bed On A December Night
                                                    Ellen Bass

When I slip beneath the quilt and fold into
your warmth, I think we are like the pages
of a love letter               Read the rest here!
                                                Happy December!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Poetry Friday - Still Smiling

  

        Poetry Friday is with Jama Rattigan HERE at her website, Jama's Alphabet Soup serving up a delicious poem of leftovers. Thanksgiving is on its way!  Thanks for hosting, Jama!


       I am traveling next week to be with my son and family for Thanksgiving and gratitude is on my mind. I've kept this poem from Your Daily Poem in a file titled "gratitude" and read it more than once during the year. It's a lesson to me for the best of living. I see that Mary Lee has commented which I almost never do. Now that I'm sharing one of Jayne Jaudon Ferrer's poems, perhaps I should comment more to tell her how much I enjoy waking up to a poem every morning. Here's the beginning of 

Some Days Most Things Go Well
                                        by Rob Baker

despite feeling puffy lately,
you’ve lost five pounds
                   —or gained five
but shrug it off
as an acceptable price
for good cake, wine,
and camaraderie;

all eighteen commute lights
glow green
                 —or red,
but the pauses
slow your pulse,

 
           the rest is HERE

         I wonder if you who have read this special poem might have one brief moment you 
would add in the comments, that small "something" where you are able 
to see the best of both worlds in it?

         My mail comes late, ugh,
           some days not until seven.
           But I have learned that
           when I walk the block
           to the locked group of boxes,
           my wonderful mailman, Mickey,
           is often there, still smiling
           after his long day,
           glad to chat and say "How are you?"
           excited to hand me
           the letters and magazines.
           Now I'm smiling while
           walking back home.
                               Linda Baie ©

  Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, however you celebrate!

       


Monday, November 14, 2022

It's Monday - Sharing New, Beautiful 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 am traveling for Thanksgiving this year to be with my son and family. Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, however you celebrate. 

         I am grateful to Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten for sharing the real story of the first Thanksgiving and to Garry Meeches Sr. for his evocative illustrations. The book jacket reads that "his style is reminiscent of the Plains style of art and evokes the Eastern Woodlands tradition." Each author and Meeches are members of various Indigenous nations. As you see from the sub-title, this is WeeĆ¢chumun's Thanksgiving Story. WeeĆ¢chumun means corn, and along with its two sisters, Beans and Squash, it shares what happens when a large boat with white sails is spotted coming to shore and the two winters after. The authors let a modern-day Wampamoag family tell some of the tale along with WeeĆ¢chumun. There is an intro, words to know, and added information in the back matter, including a recipe. It is a book for every household to read together and learn the true history of that first feast. 


        Without words but with so much emotion and activity, Thao Lam, using creative shapes to create all kinds of creatures, shows them having fun at play, at adventure, until some begin to notice that line in the sand. What to do about it (or with it) shows different perspectives, a bit of consternation, and with a surprising entry of a bee, a kind of conciliation. This will bring so many ideas when read aloud to a group or to a few. Will it help them see a new way to consider what happens on the playground, in a workgroup, and how to compromise? It's a new way for all of us readers to look at things, like a line in the sand!


          Is it okay to just write that these Friend Hedgehog books are going to become favorites for years to come? At the beginning of this sweet book about family finds Hedgehog and Mutty on their way to Owl's home for a new story. On the way, a shock to Hedgehog occurs when she sees herself looking back. She hurries on, fast, not at all interested in something that feels a bit frightening. Owl finds just the word Hedgehog needs, a "doppelganger", Hedgehog's "lookalike". There is much more to Lauren Castillo's new story, about the meaning of just who is family, how people become family, a warm story of those who can stay who they are and still belong. Along with her words, Castillo's colorful illustrations invite all readers to step into the story and feel welcome.
 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

            A song by Rhiannon Giddens written in 2020 for the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth has become a picture book with gorgeous full-page illustrations by Monica Mikai. Slaves everywhere performed work for their masters then are often told to leave, to find another place. This is one of their stories, a man and his family worked on a plantation, the man helping to build the big house, then was kicked off the land. They found another piece of land, and built their own home, only to have it burned down. There is a final, happier place, a tribute to the people who never gave up, and kept on caring for their families, and for their lives. 
           In the back, one can access a QR code to hear the song sung by Giddens, accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma, and to see the book as the music plays. You may be able to find it on YouTube? It is a special book!

Still reading! Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine. I was so busy this week, just didn't have time to finish. I'm enjoying the story.



Monday, November 7, 2022

It's Monday - Find 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! 


It's the Day before the election! Please vote if you haven't already! 
         I forgot to share this one last week, for Halloween. It can be for any other time, however, not just for Halloween.
Thanks to Candlewick for the copy!
       For readers, but on the younger side, this is a cute story about a witch with all the 'witchy' vocabulary to smile about. This young witch, Crimson, follows a different path. She doesn't wear a black hat, nor pointy shoes, and loves her polka dot dress instead of the usual black like everyone else. Instead of cackling, she giggles; instead of nightmares, she dreams! It's a clever story that supports being oneself regardless of the push to be like all the others. 

       I don't know if I should describe much of this book because I simply think you and everyone else should read it! Intertwined with a teacher who censors by blacking out a few words and phrases, a town who does it, too, through creating rules thought to make things "better" (think, no junk food), as well as family struggles and friendships strengthened through the context of reading Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic makes a compelling story.  Amy Sarig King writes that part is based on a happening in her own growing up. Don't miss this one!



       For a young girl, her beloved cat is her playmate. However, cats being what they are, this tale shows no matter the enthusiasm, the cat sits and looks, lies down and looks, does not "Fetch" or "Roll" or "Heel". It's a book for early readers and lots of repetition and laughs as Charles Ghigna offers the words for play and Michelle Hazelwood Hyde fills the pages with a young girl loving her cat, never mind it doesn't play the way she wishes. Lots of smiles happen when reading this tale, especially if you are a cat lover!
        Thanks to Schiffer Publishing Ltd. for the copy!

         It's an uplifting book by Marc Colagiovanni, one I imagine that could be read aloud with such enthusiasm to a group or to someone dear who needs advice in solving a problem or two. It's a new way to learn for anyone, young and old. It's time to lessen those doubts and worries, fears and frustrations, no matter how much they wish to grow! You can handle them if only you "go left". Peter H. Reynolds shows a young boy pondering all those things as he learns to leave the bags of doubts behind. The small creatures, like a suitcase of 'fears', scream "Don't do it!" and "Stop!" as he is about to attempt a high-dive. He "simply turned and gave them a wink" while climbing the ladder. It's a terrific book!
         Thanks to Scholastic for this Advanced Copy! This has a March pub date!  

Now reading:  Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine and I snagged a paperback of Hamnet which I haven't read, and will start soon!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Poetry Friday - Early Morning

 

        Poetry Friday is with Heidi Mordhorst HERE at her website, My Juicy Little Universe, carrying on with her Inklings and folktales. Thanks for hosting, Heidi!

       


Don't forget!


Early Morning 

 

I went out on this day

without sun.

The wind crackled the leaves

that have settled another layer

 in the garden -   

again.

I peek at the place I know ants live.

A lone ant carries something white,

another creature’s egg?

Can it be feeding its crew?

I watch this brave insect escape into the crack.

 

You know how people write

To be a certain someone 

                                                            who does good?

                                                            Be that one ant!

                                                                                       Linda Baie ©




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 WorldBirds.com, "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. . .