Thursday, June 29, 2023

Poetry Friday - The Moon and Me


             It's Poetry Friday! Several weeks ago, Irene Latham, hosting today at Live Your Poem, wrote this invitation:  Friends, I will be hosting Roundup on the last Friday of this month, June 30. I'm in the process of creating educator resources for my forthcoming THE MUSEUM ON THE MOON, and of course, I'd like to give them lots and lots of poetry! With that in mind, I'd like to do a "Moon in June" themed Roundup! You're invited to share a favorite moon poem (yours or someone else's), a moon story, a moon memory, a moon dream...or whatever your moon-heart desires! Together we'll be able to provide a moon-poetry-landing for all.  
           Thank you, Irene, for making a special Poetry Friday. I can't wait to see what everyone shares.
tonight's moon peeking through
the branches

           Several times through my teaching years I facilitated a moon journaling unit in my class, with the help of a special professional book, Moon Journals: Writing, Art, and Inquiry Through Focused Nature Study, by Joni Chancer and Gina Rester-Zodrow. Other books with moon themes like Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen, Many Moons by James Thurber, along with native American tales of the moon, enhanced our study. There are more recent ones today, like Laura Purdie Salas' wonderful If You Were The Moon, illustrated by Jaime Kim. We journaled every night for five weeks, first waiting for, and then observing our wonderful earth's moon. We wrote, sketched, questioned, watched with family and friends, and concluded with a full-moon watch on the prairie outside of Denver. 
         Since that time, I have continued to be so aware of the moon in its cycles and its beauty, and was lucky enough a few years ago to see a moon eclipse right here in Denver. I collect poems and quotes about the moon, like Karla Kuskin's awesome collection, Moon, Have You Met My Mother? and have written a few poems through the years.  Here is one that remains a favorite! 
           Thanks for hosting, Irene. I can't wait to see your own "moon" book!

Monday, June 26, 2023

It's Monday - More Summer 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!

        Alan Barillaro's debut middle-grade novel is one you, and your students or children, will not want to miss. It's about Ava, an eleven-year-old sent to her grandparents who live on a lake. They are wonderful to be with but this time, Ava's mother is about to have twins and it's a troubling pregnancy so Ava is sent away so she won't be a "burden"! She is hurt, anxious, and appears to be so worried that she's resisting nearly every good thing from the minute she arrives. During the story, a storm brings Ava in her canoe to Deer Island where she sees a bird die and convinces herself she must be cursed. On top of that, A boy named Cody visiting with his dad keeps popping up in annoying ways. He wants to do more with her; Ava thinks he's awful. 
        Working through anxieties for Ava is never easy, as Barillaro deftly shows in Ava's thoughts. Her grandparents are kind and try to find ways to comfort and distract her, but she's not having any of that either. She's a mess, needing to realize that some things may not be easy to change. Cody wanting to be a friend is one, then the events with helping a discovery of abandoned bird eggs hatch and a great storm brings Ava to knowing she does have strength in ways which surprised her. I am reminded of the quote "Be kind, you never know what someone is going through." as the story of Ava unfolds. Sometimes people dismiss young children's feelings who also often hide them. This time, Barillaro lets us know to look further, there is more to discover than we think! It's a book filled with feelings that will remind you to look again at people you think you know.
Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       It's a new set of small stories by Jarvis, with another one coming in October. Bear and Bird are best friends, and do so many fun things together. Sometimes, however, they show just what a good friend can be, no matter the incident. For example, they're on the way for a picnic and Bird asked Bear if he brought the picnic, and the music player, and if he'd remembered to go to the bathroom. Bear replied "yes" to all, but Bird saw that the backpack was not very full, yet he went along with what his dear friend said. There are more adventures and mistaken assumptions. You'll need to get the book to see what friends do to stay friends and enjoy the delightful illustrations and expressions in this very fun story! 
                            Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       This time, young Clara, almost a third grader, is deemed old enough to spend her summer with her grandmother, Unci, and her cousin, Juniper, at the Standing Rock Reservation. A surprise for her is that Uncle Louie brings the tipi that's been in the family for generations. All the 'how-to' put up the tipi, what to do when it rains, or if it gets too warm, are shown. Unci lights a small braid of sweetgrass to bless the tipi and say thanks for it. One scene shows the girls having a snack, talking about the drawings on the tipi, and a special evening with Unci, Uncle Louie, and others. He speaks of the tipi being a circle, encompassing other important circles of life to take note of and care for. Illustrations, also by S.D. Nelson, offer a happy and warm feeling as the girls spend their days in and around Unci's land, swimming, adding their own painting to the tipi, enjoying the stars, sheltering from a rainstorm, and loving the rainbow after. A beading project happens, too! Goodbyes come all too soon, but plans are made for being together again in the fall. Nelson adds a long author's note explaining the long history and beginnings of the tipi and her own special connection and history, too. It's a lovely book. 
          I loved the summers I spent with my grandparents, wishing every child could have such a memory.

       It's a wonderful book about the Red Cross program in WWII I had not known about. Women were recruited to work in what were called Clubmobiles and serve coffee and donuts to the troops, this time in the European theater. They were "Donut Dollies". (Though they didn't much like that.)They started in London and ended up on the front lines in Germany. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking. My full review is here on Goodreads.

Up Next: Finishing Big Tree by Brian Selznick and starting Race Against Death by a new WWII non-fiction book by Deborah Hopkinson.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Poetry Friday - The Special Swap


             It's Poetry Friday! Thanks, Linda Mitchell HERE at A Word Edgewise for hosting. Linda is reminding us today about her annual "clunker" call.

And for next week, Irene Latham posting: The Moon in June" will be the theme for Poetry Friday Roundup happening June 30 at Live Your Poem. Can't wait to read your moon poems!

       Today I'm celebrating the summer poetry swap, begun by Tabatha so long ago. I haven't always participated but have a huge folder full of all I've received during the past years, always wonderful to see and read again!

      My first swap came last week from Patricia Franz, who has given me permission to share the two poems she wrote and as a bonus, a beautiful card showing a lake picture from a favorite photographer. The poems are inspired by her own photos and her goal to write ekphrastic poetry this summer.  Here are the poems with the card and the photos from which Patricia wrote, then my own response to the lakes. Before my husband and I, with two small children, moved to Colorado, we lived on a lake, a beautiful one that I know we didn't know how wonderful it was until we left it. However, I appreciate so much that Patricia has given me a new chance to remember! 

peace be

peace be the spring sun
snowmelt and scree
peace be the pinecones
peace be me

peace be the forest
snowmelt and trees
peace be the pinecones
peace be me

peace be the pollinator
snowmelt and seed
peace be the pinecones
peace be me

peace be the morning hike
snowmelt and plea
peace be the pinecones
peace be me

©draft, Patricia J. Franz

Monday, June 19, 2023

Monday Reading - Books for Summer



    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! After all our cooler-than-usual May and June, we had our first real summer day yesterday, 82! Welcome to summer on Wednesday! And, Happy Juneteenth today!

From those who brought you Illegal, a graphic novel that shows two children, Yuki from far Northern Canada and Sami, from a village along the Indian Ocean. Yuki goes out to capture a photo in order to help the bears, whose habitat is melting. Sami, with his grandfather, has lost his home to rising waters. They rebuild but another storm is threatening again. They fish for a living but bring back fewer fish. It's an adventure for both kids that through harrowing scenes show both in peril, both trying so hard to do their best. The story focuses on these two, among millions, who are affected by climate change. It's an adventure like no other with an added graphic explanation of "climate change", a few pages of character sketches, and short bios of the two authors and the illustrator. It's a terrific and terrifying read. 
        Elaine Dimopoulos gives readers this wonder of a tale of a young rabbit, Butternut, and her siblings who are protected by Grandmother Sage's experiences from her own life when she made her escape from being caged. It's Butternut's strong voice that tells this heartfelt story of her own "brambles" of worry. She knows that the family's power, termed "milkweed" like butterflies eat, is their brainpower. They must follow certain rules to stay safe. But when the bully Bluejay eats one of the robin's eggs, Butternut becomes a true friend to Piper, a later baby that hatched, and they find ways to overcome fear and the old rules to both help a baby fawn who broke its leg and eventually realize that all the forest animals working together makes their world a better place to live. Butternut is one who tells stories to her family and her voice telling of this specific adventure is strong and delightful, especially with energetic Piper adding in her own opinion of how the world could (should) be. Other characters enter into the plot, too, which deepens the story of a rescue that Butternut would previously never imagined possible, including a human girl. It's a book that will be special to read aloud, to talk of connections to our own human experiences. A map and a few other illustrations by Doug Salati enhance the story!
         Thanks to Charlesbridge for this copy! 

           More from the happy people from Cubby Hill. It's the day of the "Great Giving Festival' and everyone brings something to share, to play, generously giving all they can. There's a Bounce House and pumpkins to paint, hairstyling (called 'Fairstyles') and face painting, for example. Cooper Cub is old enough to help hand out the last of the honey for Grammy Bea. Though Cooper is helpful to everyone, mishaps occur and he is left feeling he can't do anything right. He does find that he's not correct, and everyone in town lets him know it. He's "Super Cooper"! Cori Doerrfel again fills the illustrations with a crowd full of happy animals having a grand time "giving". Sweet story and illustrations!

Thursday, June 15, 2023

It's a Poetry Friday Buzz


             It's Poetry Friday! Thanks, Michelle Kogan HERE for hosting. She's sharing beautiful words and art as a celebration of feathered dads, also those dads in our lives now and those we miss. 

Happy Father's Day! 

             Well, it is summer. While I am attacked infrequently when out in the garden, sometimes I feel the tickle of you know what, a mosquito! We've had a lot of rain recently, something unusual for us in Denver, setting records. Thus, already more insects, like bees, spiders, roly polies (pill bugs), no butterflies yet, hoping soon! 







buzz and whine,





you’re mine, you’re mine!

swat, slap,

gone this time.

Linda Baie © 

Free Stock photos by Vecteezy

Friday, June 9, 2023

Poetry Friday - Special Day for Special Family


             It's Poetry Friday! Thanks, Buffy Silverman HERE for hosting. Don't miss her post with amazing photos and poems. They're 'camouflaged'! 

       I had to write and share in honor of my brother, Jim, and sister-in-law, Glenna, on their special day. It's their 50th anniversary, wow! So many memories to gather, so many good times we've had although for years and years, we've lived apart. I am blessed to have them in my life.

        Here's a poem and a collage of one picture for every two years. I don't think you would be able to see any of them clearly if I had included fifty! They have three children and six grandchildren. In fact, they're on their way to celebrate both high school and college graduations of two of them! 

How It Was, Is, and Will Be


A jumble of years

with a tumble of tears,

then clusters of cheers –

your anniversary!


Celebrate every day,

one should never delay,

that filament a strand –                          

a guarantee.


50 years over land

over sea, holding hands,

sharing joy on demand –

a splendid spree!


Linda Baie ©

Monday, June 5, 2023

Monday Reading - Read These Books!


It's Monday - Book Love 


    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!

           Sara Pennypacker (remember the Pax stories?), with the help of a few illustrations by Matthew Cordell, has written a story for readers like no other about Leeva, a girl who seems to have been raised by parents who don't parent. In all actuality, Leeva, from a very young age, has been given an employee handbook of expectations. She does it all, cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, but the most asked of her is to stay out of their way. Oh, and to do a few math problems for her father some mornings. It is shocking to read in the story's beginning until Leeva draws strength enough to ask the question, "What are people for?" You see, she has never been to school, has never been out of the house, until, until, she must. And that is when she sneaks through the high hedge and discovers the library, discovers the librarians, also cookies and hugs and so much more. But it takes a while for those. Along the way, she also makes two other friends and learns that she actually can help them, too. Pennypacker's mixed-up world shows how kindness and accepting the unusual make life better. It's a surprise when it's nearly taken away but an equal surprise how Leeva responds. I loved every part, a new kind of world that became endearing in many ways.

         My neighbor just got their first 'family' dog, what is called a "Bernie-doodle" which is thousands of years from the first ones, per a timeline and story of dogs from Lita Judge. It's a special history for those who love dogs and those who wonder how the wolf which still survives became an important part of our lives. Whether a beloved pet, that "best friend" from the title, a rescue dog, or an explosive-sniffing or disease-sniffing animal, Lita Judge takes us along on this amazing journey of a pet we just might take for granted, but should not. There's a dog at my airport that greets passengers, welcoming and often assuaging human nerves as they head out. One text keeps the story going while an added piece relates more facts. "Dogs have a sense of smell between 10,000 and 100,000 times greater than that of humans." 
         Illustrations just make one smile at so, so many different dogs throughout their illustrious history. Lita adds an Author's Note that includes ways to help dogs, a double-page spread of a few varied dog breeds, another with short bios of famous dogs, a timeline, and sources. It is a terrific book!

    Thanks to Charlesbridge for these next two books!

                   For young readers who may not know one way that scientists learn about birds, this time, night birds, specifically saw-whet owls who are migrating south for the winter.  It's termed "catch and release". Young Sova is excited and is finally old enough to accompany her mother on this scientific journey. They arrive, put on headlamps, and go to check what is called a 'mist-net', a light net that will be able to catch any owl flying through. No owls are found at the first check so they go to the nearby sanctuary cabin where they will wait some time, then return to check again. The excitement lowers a bit and Sova learns that waiting, then waiting more, takes a lot of patience. They are eventually rewarded as the story moves along and as Susan Edwards Richmond shares some of the processes that will happen "if" they catch an owl, like measuring and weighing, and banding. The creative way of storytelling while taking readers on a research trip is a wonderful intro to this process. Maribel Lechuga's illustrations show the night in its mysteries beautifully, even adding a special page of Sova's pretending to fly with the owl. There is more information about owls and banding and lists for further reading at the back.

Friday, June 2, 2023

It's Poetry Friday - The Bouncing Ball


             It's Poetry Friday! Tricia Stohr-Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect here, for hosting. She's sharing a poignant poem about moving, this time from her office of many years, brimful of memories! I imagine many will connect. Thank you, Tricia!

       Most of you will understand that this all came from my heart. You may know my grandson graduated last December from the University of Kentucky. What a special long weekend that was. Then, this week, Wednesday and Thursday, Grand-girls Imogene and Ingrid, graduated from fifth grade and eighth grade, off to middle school and high school! 

The Bouncing Ball Keeps Bouncing


there comes a line one crosses

or perhaps it is a bouncing ball

when one is a parent

from the sitting up without falling clown-like to the side

to the time the baby awakened,

and you went in to pick her up from her nap

and she stood, leaning over rattling the rail,

smiling big-time saying Out, Out!

you know the rest

down the steps and 'round the block

to a friend’s house

down the steps and into the car

off to kindergarten

up the steps and on the bus

bouncing off to middle school then high school

flying off to college

all mushed together like a layer cake

that icing in between so sweet

you keep tasting it

but sometimes, after a while,

the cake itself feels dry in one’s mouth

and you must wash it down with

water and more water

until you aren’t choking anymore

but only cherishing

the icing


Linda Baie (c) 

Also, I want to give a special shout-out to Laura Purdie Salas and Laura Shovan for their poetry books published recently. You can find my reviews on my blog or Goodreads, links under the book covers below. Congratulations, Laura and Laura!