Thursday, June 27, 2024

Poetry Friday - Wabi Sabi - My Broom


created by Linda Mitchell

It's Poetry Friday, and Tricia Stohr-Hunt is hosting HERE on her blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks for hosting, Tricia! 

           I've read a book that discusses Wabi-Sabi and have that special picture book of the same name. If you don't know it, here's a picture. The way some discuss the concept seems like an un-definition, a feeling, a 'thing', that is impermanent, something that is not necessarily thought to be beautiful, yet has beauty. I am not an expert, but trying out the feeling this time for the challenge by the Poetry Sisters, here at the end of June! 

          This month, the Poetry Sisters have given us this challenge: In June, we’re writing poems about Wabi-Sabi, with Wabi-sabi as the title. In Andrew Juniper's book Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence, wabi sabi is defined this way. 

Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic that finds beauty in things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. Taken from the Japanese words wabi, which translates to less is more, and sabi, which means attentive melancholy, wabi-sabi refers to an awareness of the transient nature of earthly things and a corresponding pleasure in the things that bear the mark of this impermanence.

             In his book Wabi-Sabi Simple, Richard Powell described wabi-sabi as a philosophy that acknowledges a lifestyle that appreciates and accepts three simple truths: "Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." Will you write with us? Good! You have a month to craft your creation and share it in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!  

          I'm unsure if it's okay to share a picture, too, but I have!

Wabi Sabi

My beloved broom

sweeps away

leaves blown onto the porch,

offers time 

      for thoughts of the day,

      the week,

      sometimes even a life.

It brings a sweet swish of a sound–

my background music.


Linda Baie ©

          Thank you, Poetry Sisters, it was satisfying to write about my broom. I am a sweeper at heart!

Monday, June 24, 2024

Monday Reading - Great 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 need to share that these four books, varied in style and story, as well as imagined types of readers, are fabulous! 

         Sometimes, I hope it's enough to write a review that brings readers to know that it's a book that must not be missed! Lois Lowry, among all her other books to love, has written another one. It's amusing that it has to do with memory because this is one I imagine few will forget! Sophie Gershotitz and Sophie Winslow live next door to each other in what seems like an ordinary New Hampshire neighborhood. However, the people we get to know from Lois Lowry's new book are not so ordinary. They have stories to tell! Sophie G. is 88, and Sophie W. is 11, and they are best friends. The younger one tells this story of their enduring, special friendship and the recent rumblings that Sophie G. needs a little help with memory. Her son, Aaron, the young Sophie tells, is coming for a visit to take his mother to get tested, to see just what's going on. In the voices of those Sophies, we feel love and care, even when the young Sophie tries to help by letting the older Sophie practice some memory tests. What comes is more than ever imagined, connections to history that are more than dates, and secrets are revealed. Lowry never fails to make all the characters interesting, too, as she has here, with young Sophie's friends, Ralphie and Oliver, and her parents, who are realtors. Oliver's mom plays a little part, too. In other words, we readers start caring and connecting to everyone, even Mr. Katz, Sophie G.'s cat! Don't miss this story!

            Leslie Helakoski's poetic language shows how people come together to help when a natural disaster comes, this time "When The Rain Came Down." Illustrations fill the pages with beautiful collaged art showing people helping amid the terrifying destruction from, this time, flooding. "The water went down/and hope rose up. . ./meals were passed/and children slept." shows a double-page spread filled with what we've all seen during these kinds of times– people, dogs, too, all in cots, away from their homes: "hands were held/and nurses wept/come over! come over!" – a call for help! 
             An author's note adds more information, including hope and suggestions for how we can all "help" avoid these in the future! 

          The dictionary defines 'anthem' as "a rousing and uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause. This is indeed an 'anthem' for Asian America. We Who Produce Pearls, written by Joanna Ho, feels like music, the words illuminated in glorious colors by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya. Its few words are filled with many references I know I didn't understand, but I did recognize a few, like "We are the water that coaxed spring shoots from the soil," referring to the work done in irrigation and agriculture in California, also references to laying railroad tracks across the country which I've read about in other histories. I realize I am woefully ignorant of this history and there is a wealth of information in the back matter, several pages of questions, background historical references, lists of important names to know, varied areas of colonialism effects, and much more! 

         Kate DiCamillo never fails to tell a great story. With Carmen Mok's illlustrations that show the emotions and fright, the decisions to be made by "a good and noble choice," a tale of a possible friendship emerges through stories! One thing that gave me a big smile was Orris, the rat, using the phrase, "For the love of Pete." I haven't thought of those words in a long time - perfect! From the ending, I think we readers can look forward to more, a wonderful thing!

Next Up!  The Kid by Jeff Schill

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Poetry Friday - One Summer Day


created by Linda Mitchell

It's Poetry Friday, and Tabatha Yeatts is hosting HERE on her blog, The Opposite of Indifference. She has a special guest that's resulted in a spectacular poetic interview. Don't miss it! Thanks for hosting, Tabatha! 

            I almost wrote a list of 'summer' things, but ended up with one day of celebration. So many signs of summer have emerged these previous weeks. A favorite is when I'm out walking and find the flax in a nearby park has bloomed! Hooray, it's summer! Happy Solstice!

One Summer Day


Bedroom curtains

dance in wisps of summer air.

Callings for unplayed games

send un-tied shoes running out the door.

A watermelon awaits 

the midday of summer sweat,

plump and deepest green.  

The cut unveils a madness of red.

The first bite is taken

with drips of pink laughter

dribbling down the chin.

The sun circles through the afternoon

of Monopoly and naps.

Supper’s cold cuts cool the palate.

We take our iced tea to the porch,

listen to the locusts sing the day’s elegy,

and the sun leaves the fireflies to do their duty.

Linda Baie © 

Monday, June 17, 2024

It's Monday - Books I Loved


        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 back from a lovely visit with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson where we saw Yo Yo Ma in concert! It was very special! 

         If you like thrillers, I've finished the third in Don Winslow's trilogy, a saga of the illusive and conflicted Danny Ryan, coming from the mob back east and settling in Las Vegas. The outcome will both dismay and thrill readers and those close to Winslow.  It's been quite a journey Winslow took us on, from 2022 to 2024. I imagine he might be sad it's complete. Yet, as Dr. Seuss wrote, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

     It took a while for me to get into this. It felt rather repetitive and I was confused about the characters, who was who, etc. But as it kept going and becoming more intriguing, I started to like the attitude of Olive Cobin Zang, the main young one who's found herself dropped off at a new school, like no other, while her parents go on still another business trip. As the story deepens, Olive ends up in a small (secret) group set to solve some mysteries. Each group member has unique qualities, but they learn as a team and to "work" as a team, despite some who are a bit more negative than others. The story, and the mystery of "Who stole the jewels?" deepens and becomes more exciting, not too scary, but just intriguing enough for middle readers. Dan Santat adds just the right amount of illustration to heighten the excitement. Seeing kids do some dangerous things will entertain the readers! It's a satisfying and surprise ending I didn't imagine at all, too!


Thanks to Charlesbridge for the following two special picture books!

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Poetry Friday - Celebrating Fathers

created by Linda Mitchell

It's Poetry Friday, and Denise Krebs is hosting HERE on her blog, Dare to Care. Visit Denise to learn about a new form, "the sacred seven" and then read the thoughtful poem she crafted in that form! Thanks for hosting, Denise! 

There are several themes to choose at this time in June. It's ALMOST the first day of summer, next Wednesday is Juneteenth, and Sunday is Father's Day. Today, I'm giving a shout to all the fathers, real or otherwise, in my life. 
         Many of you know that my father was killed in action in World War II. He was a pilot and his plane was shot down in Leyte Gulf, the Philippines, never recovered. I was two. My mother and I were already living with her parents, dear grandparents whose home became my home until later when my mother re-married. My father's parents were dear to me, too, and I spent a month there every summer from the time I was about eight. And, my step-father's mother became a third dear grandmother. His father was already gone when they married.

There's no date on this old picture, just a note on the back that
says "a splendid couple"! These are my maternal grandparents, Sarah Ann Morris
(from whom my daughter received her name) and James Hardy Coleman.

           With my own fathers and grandfathers, watching my late husband become a most wonderful father, and now watching my son, son-in-law, and brother as great fathers, I know how special that role in a child's life can be, starting with my own life. My mother's father, "Pop" to me, the first "dad" in my memory, was a farmer, feed store owner, and full of wise support to me all my years until he passed. He is who taught me that all people deserve respect and love. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone. He and I spoke on the phone often when I moved further away. The poem that fits, the poem that is him is this one. In my own memories, I see the washing up with that grainy bar, while I waited to be with Pop at the end of the day. I wonder if any of you connect with Lava soap in your memories!
         I am aware that Father's Day may be a sad one for some, am hopeful that you will find a way to honor fathers, whether in your lives directly or by only seeing them in your daily lives. 

         David Allan Evans was the poet laureate of the state of South Dakota from 2002 to 2014. The poem can also be found in Ted Kooser's The Poetry Home Repair Manual.


Monday, June 3, 2024

It's Monday - More for your TBR 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! 

       I'll be off to Texas and visiting my son and family next week. It'll be hot, though we're heating up in Denver, too, but lots of fun! Happy June reading, everyone!

         Maybe there's more than one ghost in Violet Hart's life. Her life feels like it's continuing to change. Now she's starting middle school, and one long-time friend thinks adding more friends to the usual circle is important. Now, Violet's growing family, with her mother and her stepfather having a new baby who's growing older, and her older sister has no interest in Violet anymore at all, also means life is different. The family finds an old house whose space seems just right, and they're moving! Violet's room, rejected by her sister, is an attic room with old wallpaper crawling with vines and flowers. After the move, Violet begins a sickness that no one seems to understand, even her long-time pediatrician. Her long-time friends think she's pretending, and her parents try to help, but it is a mystery. Some nights hold nightmares in that old house and things move in Violet's room that even her cat seems to see! It's a complicated story that made me sympathize with Violet but, like others, lost in wondering how she was going to get help. "Not Quite A Ghost" is a apt title, and giving a voice to the house itself adds to the many layers in this poignant story. Readers will experience a range of emotions when reading, in particular when reading of Violet's challenges. 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

         A young girl and her mother move to a new place. The girl is shy and feels perfectly satisfied playing alone and has no interest in meeting new friends. She even becomes tearful when taken to storytime at the library. Then she meets Millie, a young rescue dog, friendly and fun! When this girl sees Millie's excitement meeting anyone and everyone, she notices, and finally finds the courage to greet a young girl who may become a friend. Lauren Castillo tells a story for those who might feel the same way, or those who see others like this and don't understand. Everyone will learn! The illustrations by Castillo are always sweetly drawn, showing her stories with heart and understanding for young readers. 
        Bonus! Just yesterday, The Children's Book Review shared Just Like Millie, too. You can find a special interview with Lauren Castillo in this post

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this copy!

       Timothy Basil Ering, illustrator of Kate Dicamillo's Tale of Despereaux, wrote this story of Earnest Sandpiper, the day Earnest and his siblings are set to fly for the first time. Off they go, well, the siblings, just not Earnest. It looks very far off the dune and down to the shore. His wings are too heavy. He just can't! Mama draws a heart in the sand and gives Ernest some love and support, and she, too, flies away with the others. Then, Ernest sees a balloon, one with a smile and a heart like his mother drew! He's curious and follows it, drifting in the water, but "Oh, no." the trailing string wraps around one leg. What happens next depends on the family love and Ernest's courage. Illustrations are gorgeous as can be seen from the cover. They pull one into the new adventure of someone that needs a little nudge, from outside and inside! 
      Ering adds his own note at the back about these popular helium balloons when let free in the wild and their danger, even when finally deflated. 

       Two boys build together, and their creations become more and more complicated. The question is will they last? It's an adventure that ends with an answer that will bring a smile to all, what really will be important to last! Amazing, full-to-the-brim illustrations by Dan Santat bring Minh LĂȘ's meaning-filled story to life with a roar!

   What's Next? Reading The Misfits: A Royal Conundrum and the last of the Don Winslow trilogy, City in Ruins