Thursday, March 30, 2023

Poetry Friday - An Artist's Choices

          At A(nother) Year of ReadingPoetry Friday is with Mary Lee Hahn, poet, quilter, embroiderer, fisherwoman, and more HERE, sharing so much poetry goodness, including her "poetry month" project. Thanks, Mary Lee, for hosting!          

         It's the day before Poetry Month! Are you ready? Enjoy all the days ahead! 

          In still another post, Mary Lee shared the following: "This month, the Poetry Sisters are writing etherees. This ten-line form begins with a single syllable, and each line expands by one syllable until the tenth line has ten. We’re continuing with our 2023 theme of transformation, but how you interpret that topically is up to you.

          Somehow, some way, the topic of color entered my brain. Here is what I created. 

color wheel credit: By 8 leaf-clover - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons


Monday, March 27, 2023

Monday Reading - New Books - Great Reading


    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 Spring, everyone!

 Thanks to Peartree Publishing for this copy.

       Noel Foy & Nicholas Roberts have written a book just right for anyone starting a group project, showing how those with diverse talents can help with problem-solving, how acceptance of differences can be both fun and helpful, along with trying and trying again for success. Young Sky, a little bird that still can't fly believes that the whole world is its nest. However, when he falls out, he isn't sure what to do so sets out looking for his mother. Along the way, he meets a few new characters, asking "Are you a bird like me?" What happens after meeting a squirrel, a giraffe, and a butterfly is both funny and inspiring. Colleen Sgroi's illustrations of the animals' actions and emotions create feel-good pages along with a bit of tension. Will Sky ever get back to its nest and his parents?
           Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following books!

Owen Davey's pop-up books (earlier about dinosaurs and then mythological creatures) offer small bits of information while ensuring that the creature created to "pop-up" takes center stage. Each page also gives the area where the animal lives. Those included are both marvelous as pop-outs and sad to see as well because of their plight. There's the California Condor that I've been fortunate to see, an awesome bird! Also, the Western Gorilla from Africa and the Whale Shark that is found worldwide. Davey shares that they are not actually sharks but are the world's largest fish, and can grow longer than a bus! This will be a younger reader's introduction to this category, enticing and informative.

1st published by Nosy Crow, LTD in England

          A young girl says goodnight to her mother as her mother goes off to work. The girl tells about all the important night work going on while others sleep, like the delivery people who deliver the "goods" to a bakery so the baker can be ready for morning breakfasts. Others include office building cleaners and security people, the police, paramedics and ambulance drivers, medical staff (including a midwife delivering a baby), and even parents up at night with babies. The story by Polly Faber is enhanced with the full-page illustrations by Harriet Hobday centered on the dark blue of night, lights in windows of city buildings and stores. For younger readers to learn about those important people taking care of many needs while many are sleeping. There's a fun surprise at the end when readers will discover that young girl's mother's "nightjob". It's a nice, informative book for the early grades.

        This book of poems by Betsy Franco is full of trickery, about math! She covers lots of topics, not only "Counting in Dog Years" and includes palindromes, geometry, fractions when talking about summer vacation, and even multiplying mice! All in clever rhyme, with hilarious creatures and kids in the illustrations by Priscilla Tey that are full of action on every page. There's an especially funny one about the number of missing socks after washing! Students can use these in math class or for inspiration in writing poetry about math. It's laugh-out-loud fun!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Poetry Friday - Inspiration

          At Imagine The PossibilitiesPoetry Friday is with Rose Cappelli HERE, sharing a poetry springtime post. The three wonderful poems she shared might make you impatient! Thanks, Rose, for hosting! 

        I've spent a fair amount of time in both Taos and Santa Fe in New Mexico. I've vacationed there, traveled with students there, and spent time at the Taos Pueblo. One visit in all those years, I discovered Nancy Wood, who wrote poetry and prose, married numerous times, and led an intriguing life in both New Mexico and Colorado, among other places. You can read her bio here if you are interested. 

        We are stretching toward April, poetry month, so I'd like to share one of Nancy's poems, one that is inspiring to me. I hope it will be for you, too!

The Old Man Born of Dreams
                                       by Nancy Wood

You must not be afraid to travel
       where there are no roads.
You must not give in to the darkness
       when there is no sign of light.
You must not be afraid to grow wings
       when you are tired of the ground.
                         read the rest here

This is a favorite book of mine by Nancy Wood, but there are numerous others you may enjoy!

Have a terrific weekend!

Monday, March 20, 2023

It's A Special Monday - Sharing A New Book You NEED


    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 Spring, everyone!

     I'm excited and pleased to have an advance copy of Jessica Whipple's debut picture book, illustrated by Nicole Wong. It arrives on April 18th! Also, to let you know, Jessica has a second book on its way, titled I Think I Think A Lot, arriving in August. Congratulations for both, Jessica!

       This first book coming, however, is one to savor and to consider for use with one's own children or in the classroom. I wish it had been available when I taught because during the school year, students and I examined the differences between needs and wants. We examined them from the views of not only humans, but also animals, even inanimate objects, sometimes seriously, other times with humor, i.e, does a certain chair really need a pad, or is the hard seat enough? 

       In Jessica's story, a young girl examines the concept of happiness and when one believes the feeling of "enough" brings it. It's a quiet book that sneaks up on you. Word by word, paragraph by paragraph, readers will watch, and listen along with this girl who is also watching and listening. 
       Wandering through the book, Nicole Wong's lovely, captivating illustrations include all kinds of kids in various situations, at school, at lunch, in a library, and on the playground. A favorite is a double spread in a rainstorm, filled with colorful umbrellas and that young girl using her backpack as a shelter–enough? She couldn't find her umbrella!  Each illustration helps Jessica's story show how the questions feel real to kids.  I am imagining the questions: When do I get another turn, another shirt, or a new book? Someone has three friends and I only have one. Is that okay?
        Peer pressure to have more and better is a challenge for many, even adults. Jessica writes that more "can be loud and pushy" and enough is a whisper.  The comparison and the illustration that shows a child struggling with a tight sweater says "The first time you try on Enough, it can feel like a sweater that’s a bit too small." This idea shown feels so appropriate.
       However, it isn't always the same. Sometimes one can have enough and it can also be shared as a page shows the girl offering half a sandwich to a friend. And enough can feel just right because it can stretch. Remember that sweater? Readers will see this girl making decisions about wants and needs, what truly is enough for her, to bring happiness and satisfaction. 

       I hope you will be able to find this book and enjoy it yourself and with others. It may lead to new ways of thinking about life, those needs and wants, and when one can be satisfied with what "is". 


      Thanks again, Jessica, for the ability to share and to read your thoughtful book!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Poetry Friday - Springing Into Poems - review

  At Small Reads for Brighter Days, Poetry Friday is with Laura Purdie Salas HERE. She is one busy poet recently with three books out recently, prepping for a book launch party, and getting ready for poetry month! Congrats on those books and thanks, Laura, for hosting! 

        Spring will be official this coming Monday. I'm waiting for rain, more sprouts, less snow, and cold. It was 72 Wednesday and we woke up to 29 and snow Thursday. And, many of you are thinking ahead to April, Poetry Month, right? Perhaps you have a project already, like Laura, or maybe you need inspiration. The young boy in the book I'm sharing today by Katey Howes, illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee demonstrates beautifully to poets that it does happen, that tiny seed, just needs a push, rain maybe, but courage is included, too. 

      Using growing a seed as a metaphor, a young boy starts out into the world, giving encouragement as raindrops touch something inside. Roots grow but first, he must overcome the fear of what others might think if he allows it to grow, he must accept, then celebrate, the words. With the gorgeous, almost beaming, illustrations by Heather Brockman Lee, and nearly all double-spreads, Katey Howe's brief rhymes are there to give hope to every writer of poetry. 

        Here's one sample toward the beginning:

Some of Katey's inspiring words:
                                  "They build a foundation
                                 connect, and grow strong
                                 in soil rich with memory,
                                           simile, song."

      The book certainly inspires me, hope this glimpse will give you a boost, too. It would be fun to share with a class, I'm sure.

     If you haven't seen it yet, here's a PDF of the Poetry month poster. You can request a free copy at Academy of American Poets here!

Happy Writing!

Monday, March 13, 2023

It's Monday! Need a New Great Book?


    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! 

Finally, I read the first "Witch Boy" graphic novel, a great story that highlights those who take different paths in spite of others who fight against them. Aster's family is filled with those who have magic but boys can only be shapeshifters; girls can only be witches. Aster's spying on the witch girls and learning their secrets despite getting caught and also teased, he finally finds one friend, Charlie, a girl from the other side of town, the side without magic. Pushing on together, they take on big trouble. It's an exciting tale that kept me reading and rooting for these two friends who would not give in to pressure in order to be who they wished to be. I'll be looking for the next adventure!

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

        Matt Tavares discovered the history behind this new graphic novel when reading Phillip Hoose's book We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History. It's based on the story of Judi Warren and the winning girls' basketball team of Warsaw High School, their first girls' team! The fictional Judi in the story is a cheerleader, along with her friend, Stacey. As they prep to go to a game at school, it's clear that Stacey is excited, already shaking her pompom while Judi has to pull away from shooting baskets at her home, not smiling at all. 
         Tavares' early frames set up the story well and then skips to the girls' senior year. Oh my goodness! The announcement is made that there is going to be a girls' team! Wending through that year, filled with both excitement and quite a lot of seeing that change is needed at this time when schools and other organizations need to step up for equality. It is the year Title IX is passed! First, the coach happens also to be the art teacher and is late to the tryouts, held in a nearby elementary school, is late to the practices, and says a few words about the school thinking it should be a volunteer position. That was straightened out but a lot of other things were not. Practicing off-site and late in the day, no uniforms, and no transportation to away games are a few examples. 
         These girls, like so many earlier and since that time, love the sport, showed persistence and finally joy in their accomplishments on and off the court. Tavares' graphic work will fill readers up with the story of accomplishment, joy, and frustration in this story of girls who never wished only to stay on the sidelines but to run mid-court, heft a basket into nets, dribble down and around their opponents. 
          I played even earlier than this time when the school only played intramurally and only half-court. Girls evidently weren't thought to be strong to play full court. My team did win one tournament in junior high. We were the Sinkers!
          I loved the book and love that it brought back some wonderful memories!

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

         How tough it is to be "different"! Tacko Fall, born in Dakar, tells his story with Justin Hayes in this amazing, inspirational story. He was taller than everyone in his early classes, teased and called names often. His grandmother told him there were more important things in the world than others' words. They were to be ignored because he had lofty goals ahead! He first saw basketball with her and later a friend got a basketball. That's when it all started, noticed by a coaching group, starting training. He had the chance to go to high school in America, then college, the big start, but it was sad not to see his family for seven years! Reggie Brown's illustrations shows it all, the triumphs and the challenges, and a lot of grit! For young athletes or those who have goals in other areas and need a boost, this will show a journey they might see ahead and know that others have done it and succeeded! 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

It's Poetry Friday - Sharing An Old "Maybe Ghost" Story

          Poetry Friday is with Heidi HERE at My Juicy Little Universe. She's reveling in March with odes to March from a few poets you will recognize, celebrating her birthday, and sharing some of her own poems of reflection in this wild and crazy life. Thanks, Heidi, for hosting! 

         I've sent a postcard every week to my grandson for a lot of years since he and his family moved out of state. I was going through my stash and found a really old one, perhaps bought in an antique store which I do sometimes. There is a story behind the one shown here. History has its way of pulling us in, wondering. . . I suppose one could say this story "blew" my way! Happy March and wishing you all one filled with stories in the wind!


nature spots problems

I'm wishing for her patience –

not always her fix 

          Linda Baie © 

       In Jamestown Island, Virginia, in the late 1600s, a young wealthy girl, Sarah Harrison, was betrothed to an appropriate suitor. However, she refused to marry, had instead met and fallen in love with an older man (who by the way turned out to be the founder of William and Mary College). Her parents hated this new man and were embarrassed, thus fought the marriage, but Sarah was determined. The parents and one sister journeyed to find a lawyer to make an annulment of the marriage but were struck by lightning in a sudden storm and perished. Later in life, Sarah and her husband, James Blair, died and were buried on the island.

     Through the years, one can see in the picture that a sycamore tree grew between their graves, pushing them away from each other, thus the story of "the mother-in-law" tree and James Blair's mother-in-law who didn't stop hating the marriage even after death. 


            The whole story can be found here! Nature may have been on the side of the mother-in-law and perhaps nature was trying to help since Sarah got her way in life, and now it's the mother-in-law's turn? As in some stories, my imagination runs wild.


Monday, March 6, 2023

Monday Reading - Much to Love Here


    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 a beautiful story by Cori Doerrfeld (The Rabbit Listened) about young Finn who's feeling very low, so low her grandfather found her in bed covered up with her quilt. He persuades her to go walking and begins to talk 
softly about all the things in the forest that lie "Beneath": there are tree roots, small animals tunneling, a bird on a nest, with eggs beneath, and stating it's the same beneath when people look different. Doerrfeld's illustrations fill the pages with trees, plants, animals, and people as the thoughtful grandpa walks along looking, imagining what is hidden "Beneath". It includes something important personally, too, inside one's heart. It would be so nice to read this with family or young students to discover a list of what they might imagine "Beneath". The endpapers are covered with that quilt!

         The chapter book by James Howe was a favorite of my daughter in early grade school. Now Howe has collaborated with Andrew Donkin and illustrator Stephen Gilpin to tell it again. It is a hilarious story as long as you're ready to meet a late-night reading cat, Chester; a rather skeptical dog, Harold; and the newest pet, a rabbit, who sleeps all day but makes vegetables white at night. He's been named "Bunnicula"! The Monroe family, Mr. and Mrs., Toby and Pete, have their parts in the story but they never really know what's going on behind their backs or when they sleep. Harold knows nearly all or can guess what Chester, a very determined cat, is up to. Harold tells this fantastic and silly story. I hope kids will meet them all and love the story as my daughter did years ago.

        I do know the heartbreak of Emmett Till's end of life but I did not know about his mother and her life from before Emmett's death and then after, especially after. I didn't know she had moved north for a better life, away from Jim Crow laws. And I didn't know that Emmett loved open spaces so moved south to be with family members in the rural south. One week and one day after he left, he went missing. The book by Angela Joy tells all that of Emmett's life, and his death, which became the next time his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley showed courage. Earlier she did not stop studying in spite of teasing by boys and sometimes teachers and became the first African American to graduate at the top of her class. Emmett's death pushed her to become a force in the Civil Rights Movement, working with the NAACP, she traveled to rallies, speaking out, for her people and for Emmett. Illustrations are of cut paper in various somber tones.  In the final spread lies a representation of the National Museum of African American History with twenty names of others who have been victims of race hatred in times most recently like Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. And since that page was finalized, there have been more! 
        Added information in the back adds to the detail of the Mamie Till-Mobley's story, too. All this book adds to our history with somber clarity. 

           It is not easy to describe this new book by Marla Frazee except to write "One must see and read and savor every word that is illustrated with wonder and joy! Don't miss this one and don't miss gifting it for all kinds of celebrations, from birth to a "birth-day" for someone older-from 10 to 100, graduation and wedding wishes, too!