A palette + Kristine O’Connell George pantoum

Hello – Poetry Friday is hosted by the creative Diane Mayr –
photographer to the woodchuck kingdom – at
Random Noodling.
(And, in truth, she is a whole lot more.)

A Palette
Out of the goodness of her heart, an artist of moody
coastal shacks and lush palmetto thickets invited
strangers to her easel. Her lessons benefited an art program
for public school students in an historic Florida oyster village
where a water use war over the Apalachicola River may end up
at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oyster Boat c. JanGodownAnnino

Oyster Boat c. JanGodownAnnino

She scraped off her palette – Cynthia Edmonds uses glass,
because it’s easier to clean. She shared her color choices of the
day and showed off the canvas possibilities that recent Sunday
of the cerulean blue sky. Such fun I had, to stand next to this
ultratalented & fascinating artist & pick up a brush &
push around real oil paints.

http://cynthiaedmonds.com/

tip: a glass easel may be easier to clean

tip: a glass easel may be easier to clean

So this day of play rewarded me many times over. My hubby & I enjoyed more of this slice of Florida Panhandle coast, which I’ve visited since 1980 (and where my novel in progress is set.) At home, I pulled down
my books that blend art and literature. I re-read a longtime favorite,
EXCHANGING HATS (1971 edition, William Benton)
The subject, poet Elisabeth Bishop, lived for awhile in Key West.
And she painted there.

you tube book synopsis

But today for Poetry Friday, the volume I’m sharing some lines from, is compiled by award-winning art topic author Jan Greenberg. HEART TO HEART, New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art pairs works by O’Keefe, Calder, Benton, Avery & others with works by poets.

A Pantoum

Have you written pantoums? What was your path into them?

Last month I was challenged by J. Patrick Lewis to write in more forms that I usually attempt. So I’ve selected the repeated-line pantoum poem form.
(I am not special – he suggested that of everyone reading his article on a specific day as presented by Angie Karcher, my Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators colleague.
I’m reading more pantoums than I have ever before, piled on my plate due to the urging on to stretch, from Mr. JPL.
One that blinks at me is from a poet whose book FOLD ME A POEM, I find such fun to share with K & 1st graders through BookPALS.
images-1
But the pantoum is not in the lovely FOLD picture book from poet Kristine O’Connell George & beautifully illustrated by Lauren Stringer.

Kristine O’Connell George selected an intriguing print by
Kiki Smith, Untitled (Fluttering Eyes) 1990 to use as catalyst for her poem.

Pantoum for These Eyes
by Kristine O’Connell George
Let yourself slide under their spell –
these eyes have something to say.
Write the stories these eye tell,
look deeply, don’t look away.

These eyes have something to say
Come, come meet these eyes.
Look deeply, don’t look away,
find their truth, discover their lies.

© Kristine O’Connell George

This shivers me. For the impact of the complete poem and print together, please find the book, HEART TO HEART.
greenberg_hearttoheart
The form is perfect for the eyes in the KiKi Smith print (if I find a link to an
image online will come back & post later. But I didn’t see it & that included looking at her representative, Barbara Krakow Gallery.) There are four sets of the eyes. The poems’ repetition is as hypnotic as the eyes. How could there ever be an equal pantoum?

So now I have a way to conjure a topic for a pantoum. When an art image speaks to me, it may be my pantoum catalyst. I would like to be well along working on this JPL pantoum challenge by the end of the year. Have you written a pantoum? What inspired it? Are you still writing them?

And I hope your path takes you listening & looking,
down Apalachicola way some day.
greenberg_hearttoheart

Painter Cynthia Edmonds., on the right, in Apalachicola.

Painter Cynthia Edmonds., on the right, in Apalachicola.

Katherine Paterson: In Collaboration! Poetry Friday + Children’s Book Week

Could this be true?

The chance to collaborate in writing with Katherine Paterson? And for the price of my time?
True.

And so, I have done just that. Fast, before I chickened out. So today’s poem is fresh. For more in the Poetry Friday world, please visit today’s kind host, TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY, created by Michelle Barnes.

TEACHING AUTHORS
To learn how you can work with the beloved author of the BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA or – with Daniel Handler, Barbara Park, Jon Scieszka & others modern legends in the children’s literature world, visit the generous Teaching Authors. These teachers of me and many others, are my go-to boutique online, for spiffy eyedeers, encouragement & just plain goodness.

http://www.teachingauthors.com/2015/05/wednesday-writing-workout-celebrate.html

So here ‘tis.
WHAT I DID

Begun by National Ambassador for Children’s Literature Katherine Paterson and completed by Jan Annino at Bookseedstudio

I’d be the first to admit
I’d done plenty of things in my life
have gotten into trouble
some I’ve even regretted
but I never imagined a simple

walk in the little park across the street on Sunday night
would bring me to a vacant bench
empty except for a book
that I took

It said “The Hithchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
I sat there in the light of the park lamp
I found that when I read the story
I sat
in the little park across the street on Sunday night
but when I looked up I was not there

When I looked up it was different
From my street and my park
It was not a street or a park
When I looked up each time
I found I was driving a car

A Ford Prefect like my pal Samantha’s family owns
And I love cars
I will get my permanent permit in June
And Mum has promised a Ford Mustang
But this was a Prefect

But you know what?
I thought the it was perfect
To drive the Ford Prefect in the dark
In the little park across the street on a Sunday night

And I still have that stolen book
© 2015 Jan Godown Annino (beginning at line 6)

(Although the lines via Children’s Book Week, shared at Teaching Authors are prose, I think in the spirit of creativity your or your student writers can put them into poem form.)
………………………………………

Here is a Ford Prefect, courtesy of Wikipedia

280px-Ford_Prefect_997cc_June_1960

Children’s Book Week, 2015

So many Poetry Friday readers have just motored out
of the week’s partees of Children’s Book Week. Me too.
Here is an image of part of my celebration of the week,
presenting on my children’s book, She Sang Promise,
The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader
.
(Illustrated by Lisa Desimini, with a letter to readers from Moses Jumper, Jr.)
I read, we sang alligator songs (BMTJ wrestled alligators)
& the children played their handmade rattles, all arranged
by the very creative art teacher Sally Ash of Woodville
Elementary School, Florida, who also thoughtfully snapped
this picture on her phone.

unnamed-3

Poem in Your Pocket Day + Poetry Month Wrap + Alligator

Poem In Your Pocket Day is fun to play.

The poem in my pocket is my original little ditty, created this month for an outdoors presentation where no alligators showed up. But they could have – it’s Florida here, all day & night.

"...Watch that mouth..." from  "How Do You Make an Alligator?" by Jan Godown Anninp
How Do You Make An Alligator?
By Jan Godown Annino

Stinky breath
Slappy tail
Watch that mouth
Or we will land in alligator jail!

If you are a wrangler of pre-K & K you may already be practicing this as a finger play poem, with hand signs for each line.
I hope you have fun with it! I’ll be bringing it to some little ones soon.

BERNICE SCHENCK de REGNIERS

images-3

The bouncy Poem In Your Pocket Day name, derives from the bouncy opening words of Beatrice Schenk de Regniers’ beloved creation.

KEEP A POEM IN YOUR POCKET
by Beatrice Schenk De Regnigers

Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head…

These lines are repeated often, but
for today I plucked them,
tucked in a favorite
illustrated poetry book, INNER CHIMES,
selected by Bobbye S. Goldstein
& illustrated by Jane Breskin Zalben.

And besides ordering the book yourself,
you can read the entire poem here online at a handy clip n’ paste site.

END GAME

The end of April means the end of what has been a packed
poetry month of postings.

Collectively, the 2015

National Poetry Month Progressive Poem has swum ashore.

What Are You Wearing to National Poetry Month is all beautifully buttoned up.

Rhyming Picture Book Month pages are all well-read.

And at this page’s end space is my Rhyming Picture Book Month Report
(when you go there it’s incomplete – finishing from notes, presently

ARTSPEAK has hung the last lovely poem and image

hotTEAS of Poetry have steeped sweetly – but did you catch the outlier?

It was all a right fine rumble & I am tickled to be
included in the presentations, either by direct invitation or by commenting. Appreciations, ever’body!

This is my Poetry Friday Post – please visit our host & see what May be in store for you at Space City Scribes.

And, although I’m writing & posting this on April 30, 2015, a Thursday, my communication with my site is such that it & I are dwell in another time zone, meaning, I’m ahead of myself! That’s cool.

The 2015 National Poetry Month Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem – Day 27

Good Monday, poem readers & poem writers.

The 2015 Progressive Poem in Kidlitosphere’s National Poetry Month Celebration swims here today.

2015ProgressivePoem

In writing my addition & revising & I felt appreciations to each Day 1-26 poster.
And the most appreciation is directed to novelist & poet Irene Lantham,
originator & organizer of this creative challenge.

In summary

Our water spirits are father and daughter (such a surprise!) & the tide turned.
Yesterday, Sunday, we learned from the educator Brian Kelley –

Straining for fading incandescence, flecks of silver, his eyes and hands clasp cold silt,
flakes of sharp shale seething through fingers – crimson palms stinging.

I linger over his rich terms
incandescence
cold silt
sharp shale
crimson palms
And follow this action! Straining, fading, seething, stinging.

Don’t you want to get back to middle school for one of Brian’s
classes? You can at least sit on the sidelines over at Walk The Walk.

Find the poem to date with today’s catch of lines, just below, alongside Brian’s words from Sunday.

Tomorrow, who sings our sea shanty? None other than National Poetry Month’s sing-along sensation, creative Amy at The Poem Farm whose Sing That Poem! series has everyone warbling (me less wonderfully than Amy.) Amy, your turn to navigate!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

TO BE TITLED,
2015 Poetry Friday Progressive Poem by an assembly collected by poet Irene Latham

She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms.
Her hair flows, snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
 strokes the turquoise stones,
and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide…splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,
listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp

an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory;
“Born from the oyster, expect the pearl. Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.”

The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.

Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares clearly into
 Green pirogue, crawfish trap,
startled fisherman with turquoise eyes, twins of her own, riveted on her wrist–

She’s swifter than a dolphin, slipping away,
leaving him only a handful of memories of his own grandmother’s counsel:

“Watch for her. You’ll have but one chance to 
determine—to decide.
Garner wisdom from the water and from the pearl of the past.”

In a quicksilver flash, an arc of resolution, he leaps
into the shimmering water
where hidden sentries restrain any pursuit
and the bitter taste of impulse rushes into his lungs.

Her flipper flutters his weathered toes – Pearl’s signal –
Stop struggling. The Sentinels will escort you

He stills, closes his eyes,
takes an uncharacteristic breath of…water!

Released, he swims, chasing the glimmer of the bracelet
Gran gave the daughter who reveled in waves.

Straining for fading incandescence, flecks of silver, his eyes and hands clasp cold silt,
flakes of sharp shale seething through fingers – crimson palms stinging.

A sea change ripples his shuddering back.
With a force summoned from the depths, her charged turquoise eyes unsuffer his heart

…………

April 24, 2015 Poetry Friday What Are You Wearing? and prelude to Progressive Poem lines

DSCN2110  What are YOU wearing to Poetry Friday?

 

Hats on! National Poetry Month is this merry merry month of April, a time when folks canvas closets for lighter, flightier,

spring fling frocks (my heavy Big Bird costume socks are a mash up with spring sandals.) I tip my hat to the one and only poet who provides NPM with a month-long bead on how connected some of us feel to the vests, shoes, shirts, skirts, scarves, boots, belts & the sundry other mottled frippery & finery we array ourselves in.

And that poet is the talented Laura Shovan at AUTHOR AMOK. (If you are seeking today’s Poetry Friday host, please visit

NO WATER RIVER & the talented Renee LaTulippe

SKIRTING

But back to our What Are You Wearing? topic, for a roundly wild wrap up on skirts – please unbutton the April 22, 2015 AUTHOR AMOK page. There, Laura, as we have mentioned, hosts
Donna JT Smith’s silky poems. On skirts.

Donna’s contribution enfolds a deft tutu drawing & zippy skirt images, including fun skirts her daughter created, such as one skirt her gal whipped up from recycling classic menswear ties. It’s a sweet whirl. And I can imagine it flapping at the beach over a swimsuit or in a summer parade of style.

If you haven’t gotten too wrapped up in those wraps that run from waist to various lengths (someone please share your synonym for skirt? I can’t conjure up one today) I’ve provided a skirt poem for Author Amok, April 24, 2015 – that’s today.   

Laura, appreciations to you, for including me in this ensemble.

BETTY MAE TIGER JUMPER

My contribution is about a woman who is remembering a beloved homemade skirt she missed as a child, one that was far away from her as she studied in boarding school. The poem stems from a person so memorable & important in history, that I went on to write about her in newspapers & magazines & later, when I wrote books, I was able to present her story to young readers in picture book biography format. I met this woman as she sat at a table outdoors, selling skirts and jackets & I was among the purchasers. Each clothing item she offered was sewn by her family or friends; some were made by her. The poem is a tribute to this high-achiever I knew a long time before I wrote about her – Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, elected leader of the Seminole Tribe of Florida (elected, 1967.)

 

APRIL’S APPAREL at AUTHOR AMOK

To enjoy the full ensemble – to date – of Laura Shovan’s signature month-long outfit of poetry, please poke into these pockets –

Introductory Post/Laura Shovan

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-are-you-wearing-for-national.html

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-are-you-wearing-for-national.html

Jane Elkin looks in her childhood closet. Poems by Mark Irwin and Ron Koertge.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-jane-elkin.html

Tabatha Yeatts shares an ensemble of clothing poems by Greg Pincus.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-tabatha.html

Margaret Gibson Simon tries on orange high heels. Poem by Ellen Bass.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-margaret.html

Robyn Hood Black borrows Alice Schertle’s “Hand-me-down Sweatshirt.”

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-robyn.html

Jone MacCulloch wears her Grandma Mac’s aprons.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-jone.html

Heidi Mordhorst pulls on some big, black boots.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-heidi.html

Linda Baie’s outfit would not be complete without a poem in her pocket.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-linda-baie.html

Catherine Johnson getting dressed with Alexander Resnikoff.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-catherine.html

Robyn Campbell is showing off her favorite vintage clothes with a poetic picture book from Mary Ann Hoberman.

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-robyn_20.html

Donna JT Smith savors skirts

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing- donna.html

Bookseedstudio/Jan Annino shares about a skirt-maker

http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/04/npm-2015-what-are-you-wearing-jan.html

As the layers continue, return for more What Are You Wearing? National Poetry Month links through April.

 

PROGRESSIVE POEM 2015 in National Poetry Month

poetryfriday

 

Since April 1, new lines of a progressively arriving poem surface at various

Poetry Friday contributor sites/blogs. Each person in communion by keyboard one

following another, adds after pondering the newest words. So far & likely to the end, there is one perfect exclamation point –  it is a splash tale.

I’m progressively scared & then giddy that a line is soon to be mine. I haven’t written it and won’t until just before my deadline to post it here – Monday, April 27, 2015. I can’t write until I read the day’s previous line – popping up this very Sunday. Dactyl danger? Couplet craziness? I calm myself by saying stanza symphony.

The charmed 2015 NPM Progressive Poem is a seaworthy meander awash with mica, pearls, turquoise and a fisherman & a mermaid. You don’t have to wait for my line to read this creation that has me in awe of the previous line leaders. There is a depth to it that I hope I don’t take into the shallows.

Here it is, to date.

(Arrayed artistically & looking to credit the arrangement, which varies from how I first saw it…)

 

TO BE TITLED, 2015 Poetry Friday Progressive Poem by an assembly collected by Irene Latham

Now titled & completed!

………………………..

“Ocean Dreams”
(The 2015 Poetry Friday Progressive Poem)

She lives without a net,

walking along the alluvium of the delta.

Shoes swing over her shoulder,

on her bare feet stick

jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing

at the ends of bare brown arms.

Her hair flows,

snows

in wild wind

as she digs

in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval

cuffed bracelet,
 strokes the turquoise stones, and steps

through the curved doorway.

Tripping

on

her

tail

she

slips

hair first

down

the

slide…

splash!

She                  glides               past                 glossy              water

hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises

roosting in the trees

of the cypress swamp

an echo

of Grandmother’s words, still fresh

in her windswept memory;

“Born from the oyster,

expect the pearl.

Reach for the rainbow

reflection on the smallest dewdrop.”

 

The surface glistens, a shadow

slips

above her head, a paddle

dips

she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy

and turquoise eyes.

Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares

clearly into
 Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled

fisherman with turquoise eyes, twins

of her own, riveted on her wrist–

She’s swifter than a dolphin,

slipping away,

leaving him only

a handful

of memories

of his own

grandmother’s counsel:

“Watch for her.

You’ll have but one chance

to 
determine—

to decide. Garner wisdom from the water

and from the pearl

of the past.”

 

In a quicksilver flash,

an arc of resolution, he

leaps

into the shimmering water

where hidden sentries restrain

any pursuit and the bitter taste

of impulse rushes

into his lungs.

Her flipper flutters his weathered toes

–      Pearl’s signal –

Stop struggling.

The Sentinels will escort you

He stills, closes his eyes,
takes an uncharacteristic breath of …
water!
Released, he swims

chasing the

glimmer

of the bracelet

Gran gave the daughter

who reveled in waves,

Straining for fading incandescence, flecks of silver, his eyes and hands clasp cold silt,
flakes of sharp shale seething through fingers – crimson palms stinging.

A sea change ripples his shuddering back.
With a force summoned from the depths, her charged turquoise eyes unsuffer his heart

And holding out her hand to him, she knows. He knows. She speaks,
as his hand curls ’round her bracelet-clad wrist,

“Papa, just a little longer in the pool! One more time down the slide! Please!”

He nods; she won’t be his little mermaid much longer.

…………………………………………………..
I expect to add the daily lines above as they emerge from the water… And I must not forget to weigh in on Monday. (As if!)

C. Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

C. Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

PROGRESSIVE POEM ORIGINS

Please visit the creative site conducted by talented poet & novelist, Irene Lantham,

LIVE YOUR POEM to learn more about the Progressive Poem origins.

To see the flow tide by tide, follow each days links/site I’ve tucked, here.

 

2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

1 Jone at Check it Out

https://maclibrary.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/national-poetry-month-2015-kidlitosphere-progressive-poem/

 

2

Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy

http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/search?q=progressive+poem+2015

3

Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2015/04/progressive-poem-2015-line-3.html

 

4

Laura at Writing the World for Kids

http://www.laurasalas.com/blog/for-teachers/2015-prog-poem/

5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog

http://www.charleswaterspoetry.com/#!POETRY-TIME-BLOG-24/c23vc/5519ad2d0cf21933cd241eb1

6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

http://pleasuresfromthepage.blogspot.com/2015/04/2015-kidlitosphere-progressive-poem.html

7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson

http://www.catherinemjohnson.com/?p=8875

8 Irene at Live Your Poem

http://irenelatham.blogspot.com/2015/04/artspeak-poem-8-our-progressive-poem.html

9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

http://www.maryleehahn.com/2015/04/2015-progressive-poem-my-line.html

10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

http://michellehbarnes.blogspot.com/2015/04/day-10-of-progressive-poem-plus.html

11 Kim at Flukeprints

https://flukeprints.wordpress.com/

12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

https://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/2015-progressive-poem/

13 Doraine at DoriReads

http://dorireads.blogspot.com/2015/04/2015-progressive-poem.html

14 Renee at No Water River

http://www.nowaterriver.com/the-progressive-poem-2015-is-here/

15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog.htm?post=992838

16 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

http://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.co.uk/

17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

http://buffysilverman.com/blog/?p=725

18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

http://www.sheilarenfro.blogspot.com/2015/04/progressive-poem-2015-and-poetry-book.html

19 Linda at Teacher Dance

http://www.sheilarenfro.blogspot.com/2015/04/progressive-poem-2015-and-poetry-book.html

20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots

http://pennyklostermann.com/blog-a-penny-and-her-jots/

21 Tara at A Teaching life

https://ateachinglifedotcom.wordpress.com/ara at A Teaching Life

22 Pat at Writer on a Horse

http://writeronahorse.blogspot.com/

23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy

http://www.tamerawillwissinger.com/the-writers-whimsy/2015/4/23/2015-progressive-poem-day-23-is-here.html

24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2015/04/poetry-friday-2015-progressive-poem.html

25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference

http://www.tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/

26 Brian at Walk the Walk

27 Jan at Bookseedstudio

28 Amy at The Poem Farm

29 Donna at Mainely Write

30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

If those are your eyes I see here, you have reached the part of this post with the couplet iteration –

TO BE TITLED, 2015 Poetry Friday Progressive Poem by an assembly collected by Irene Latham

Now titled & completed!

……………………………….

“Ocean Dreams”
(The 2015 Poetry Friday Progressive Poem)

She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.

Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,

pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Tripping on her tail she slips hair first down the slide… splash!
She glides past glossy water hyacinth to shimmer with a school of shad,

listens to the ibises roosting in the trees of the cypress swamp
an echo of Grandmother’s words, still fresh in her windswept memory.

Born from the oyster, expect the pearl.
Reach for the rainbow reflection on the smallest dewdrop.

The surface glistens, a shadow slips above her head, a paddle dips
she reaches, seizes. She’s electric energy and turquoise eyes.

Lifted high, she gulps strange air – stares clearly into
Green pirogue, crawfish trap, startled fisherman

with turquoise eyes, twins of her own, riveted on her wrist–
She’s swifter than a dolphin, slipping away, leaving him only a handful of

memories of his own grandmother’s counsel: Watch for her. You’ll have but one chance to
determine—to decide. Garner wisdom from the water and from the pearl of the past.

In a quicksilver flash, an arc of resolution, he leaps into the shimmering water
Where hidden sentries restrain any pursuit and the bitter taste of impulse rushes into his lungs

Her flipper flutters his weathered toes –Pearl’s signal–Stop struggling. The Sentinels will escort you
He stills, closes his eyes, takes an uncharacteristic breath of … water! Released, he swims

Chasing the glimmer of the bracelet Gran gave the daughter who reveled in waves,

Straining for fading incandescence, flecks of silver, his eyes and hands clasp cold silt,
flakes of sharp shale seething through fingers – crimson palms stinging.

A sea change ripples his shuddering back.
With a force summoned from the depths, her charged turquoise eyes unsuffer his heart

And holding out her hand to him, she knows. He knows. She speaks,
as his hand curls ’round her bracelet-clad wrist,

“Papa, just a little longer in the pool! One more time down the slide! Please!”

He nods; she won’t be his little mermaid much longer.

…..
To be continued here Monday, April 27, 2015

Newly minted. Song + story = WordofSouthFestival

If given a chance to waltz in pro bono time in the cause of literature,

who wouldn’t want to attend that dance?

And if this shimmy arrived wrapped up with seats at the feet of author Ann Patchett,

or before expressive storyteller Romona King, or with comics ace Nathan Archer leading children
in story-making, wouldn’t you do that?

 

RAMONA KING, STORYTELLER

RAMONA KING, STORYTELLER

So it was that I found myself signed on with a new Southern tradition this month – WordofSouth.
This festival of sound and story unfolded in my hometown, but I would have traveled for it,
just as it was designed to be enjoyed here by folks from far away.

COMICS ACE NATHAN ARCHER

COMICS ACE NATHAN ARCHER

 

Creative writers and performers from New York City – STORY PIRATES –
entertained. As did Gustafer YELLOWGOLD. And the Emmy-winning
actor Tony Hale, read from his new children’s book ARCHIBALD’S NEXT BIG THING,
(created with Tony Biaggne)

 

On the sound side of things, the stages rocked to SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK & also with the poignant melodies of Aaron Copland’s LINCOLN PORTRAIT, spoken by newly minted Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons.

 

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It was so much wonderfulness. Even with April showers.

 

Storyteller Ann Patchett

 

What I kept thinking of, as I sat with writers on the floor at the feet of Ann Patchett was – Stephen King. Not that the two occupy the same genre bookshelves. But the last time I heard a novelist as generous in public speaking
in our town, it was masterwriter King, who spun personal story after story for us in a sweet – yes, sweet – way. And then, he genially autographed our daughter’s books in a privately memorable way.
Ann Patchett, wearing her stand-up comic mask well, gifted her audience with one story after another direct from her life. (Ann Patchett is on right, introduced by Mary Ann Lindley.)

Novelist Ann Patchett (right) introduced by Mary Ann Lindley

Now we know something of her sister/college administrator, of Ann’s own personal nun, the endearing employee who fled NYC, the endearing employee who sells poetry books for her in her headline grabbing store, Parnassus, Sparky & the shop’s dogs & lotsa other morsels readers & writers gobble like so much kibble.   On opening day a photo of Ann in her revolutionary bookstore in Nashville appeared on Page One of The New York Times. Newly opened indy bookstores that carry new books are a rarity. My hubby & I love visiting our two, which are a hike, WOS sponsor –THANK YOU Annie & Jordan – the bookshelf in nearby Georgia & down by the bay, Downtown Books & Purl.

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Story Fort

So now onto the part of WordofSouth that stole my heart, as much as I loved
Ann Patchett’s and other main stage presentations & I now am committed to reading all her books that are out & will be published henceforth.

 

Story Fort is the WordofSouth
safe place for the youngest ones, a festival within a festival.  Artist Linda Hall, ghost tales-teller Doug Alderson & others were on hand to create fun for young ones. Danielle Shelton, who has impressive educational degrees with her name, brought her geetar & lovely voice to kneel on the Story Fort mats & create songs about the toddlers. She was a lively close-up wee ones’ entertainer.

My hubby & I saw many Story Fort events but we are human & weren’t able to spend time with every performances & art project, of the two days.

Danielle Shelton - Story Fort - WordofSouth Festival

Danielle Shelton – Story Fort – WordofSouth FestivalWe clapped along with our one-and-only-, beloved babytime/storytime/Legostime icon, “Mr. Gary” from our favorite local public book palace – the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library.  And we sang “This Land is Your Land” with the equally beloved, one and only duo of HOT TAMALE, (with Craig Reeder) which uniquely features musician and songwriter Adrian Fogelin. Adrian, my dear pal who appears in my posts now and again, is also a hot-off-the-press book-launching middle grade author, with SOME KIND OF MAGIC. And it’s her most recent novel for students, following the legendary CROSSING JORDAN & other titles, such as SORTA SISTERS. Her books justifiably win mega awards. It won’t be long before Publishers Weekly starts granting her column space, I predict.

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Here are more, incomplete, images from WordofSouth. In a previous articles here at Bookseedstudio and over at Group Blog, I covered commemoration of Days of Rememrance, which we honored at Story Fort.

I felt fortunate to present to the kiddos three times in the Story Fort during the WOS weekend. Thank you to author Mark Mustian for originating this festival of sound and story. If you travel to attend book festivals WordofSouth has got the power to return, so keep visiting the site for the eventual posting of next spring’s date. Sponsors included the National Endowment for the Arts. And that’s company we like to keep.
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Sara, Ayla &  Jan - Story Fort - WordofSouth Festival 2015

Sara, Ayla & Jan – Story Fort – WordofSouth Festival 2015

TCC scholar Briana Byrd  at WOS Festival's Story Fort

TCC scholar Briana Byrd at WOS Festival’s Story Fort

 

 

 

 

 

April 17, 2015 Poetry Friday post

So much to ponder this glorious day. But before pondering,

Poetry Friday today is hosted by

my pal with the perfect name,

haiku wrangler Robyn Hood Black, at her blog, Life on the Deckle Edge.

 

Days of Remembrance.

The White Rose resistance of teens against Hitler is on my mind

these days of Remembrance April 16-19.

And I have no book of poems for younger students on The Holocaust

to recommend. (Later in the post the poems from Terezin are mentioned.)

 

Bully Poems for the youngest?

An illustrated collection of poems about bullies, for the youngest

readers could be a start, if anyone knows such a collection. If not,

perhaps Poetry Friday should originate one. I would imagine subjects

of the poems would be bully-animals in the wild or at home,

top-cat, top-dog pets who scratch and bite the other family feline &

canine members. Perhaps.

Our bully is Ginger, who will not tolerate any other animals.

 

When the puppy visited

by Jan Godown Annino

Old Ginger cat arches at the door

stares down the

visiting

shivering

pup

hisses

glares

scares

him back out the door

©JanGodownAnnino

 

Remembrance References.

I hope any educator researching for their classroom can

look at award-winning former teacher Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s

HITLER’S YOUTH. This non-fiction 170-page photo-illustrated reference

not only documents what you would expect from the title, but also those

brave German non-Jewish teens who paid with their lives, by creating an underground in Hamburg and other locations.

 

 

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Artwork & poems of the children and young people

held in the Czech concentration camp

called Terezin are presented with important contextual essays of the

history of the enclave in I NEVER SAW ANOTHER BUTTERFLY. It is for

teachers and older students and very ably illuminated at this school site.

 

It’s National Library Week.

I was able to hug not one, not two, but three favorite librarians recently

at the WordofSouth celebration of books and music. Where, I am proud to say

our StoryFort’s offerings including the sharing of student art submitted to our

regional Holocaust Resource Education Council.My hubby & I attended
other gre8t events, which I will cover here on another day.

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Appreciate your family, your friends & your one & only life, this day & every day.

 

 

 

 

April + cool = 1st Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month, 2015

Expect more than the usual fiesta on Poetry Friday each Friday in April – National Poetry Month!

Today Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s THE POEM FARM hosts PF with a melodic invitation. Click at her site that in April is like a free jukebox, daily spinning an original poem this month that is cleverly written to be sung to a familiar tune. I expect to be singing a few of THE POEM FARM’S ditties when I read with BookPALS, Amy. Thank you for the tunes! And I think it’s a Music Hall of Fame feat!

Marshmallows in National Poetry Month

For a good-looking & good-tasting April round up of poetree partees, with marshmallow pillows you will want to share, try a perfect portion of Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

Freehand, long hand

Here in North Florida April is a sweet month to live outside; the mosquitoes & other biting creatures aren’t bugging us, and heat hasn’t wrung itself out of the wash cloth sky to settle underarms, around the hairline, and between foot and flip flop.

Free time involves strategies to stay away from screen glare, to write in longhand in a blooming park. I also bring paper notebook-writing into our back yard, where green tree frogs jump out from the patio umbrella, their favorite shelter in this suburban neighborhood of tall pines and live oak trees that are perches for owls and other raptors.

The wild violet blooms curled and fell into the earth, so that means hot times are ahead. To prepare, I share lines from two poems by two different poets, which speak to times when sandy shores are visited barefoot.

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Laura Shovan

“American Flamingo,” is one of the striking poems in the chapbook MOUNTAIN, LOG, SALT, and STONE that has sustained me in the past week as I’ve gone around my everyday rounds and found nourishment in reading the collection’s quotidian observations that make me think, I wish I had written
like that. But since I didn’t, I’m glad this poet did.

The poems are by the award-winning Laura Shovan, of Author Amok, one of the significant PF partee hosts.

“Marsh wader
balanced on one leg
like an apple tree in bloom…

“Marble eyes blue as the water
your boomerang beak
scoops for shrimp…”
© Laura Shovan
from “American Flamingo,” in MOUNTAIN, LOG, SALT, and STONE

Nikki Grimes

It’s not too far along the shore to pluck from another perfect seaside poem.
Last year I bought the novella in verse, WORDS WITH WINGS by poetry powerhouse Nikki Grimes, and enjoyed sharing some of the poems from it at a summer writing workshop in middle school. It’s the story of a child’s process in poem-making and in understanding her parents.

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Today I return to a poem from it that visits the edge of sand and sea when father and daughter share a sweet moment.

“Say ‘sand’
and I am running
along the beach,
snatching up shells
for my memory box…”

Dad right beside me.
He oohs and aahs
when I find
a beauty…”
© Nikki Grimes, from “Sand” in the novella in verse WORDS WITH WINGS

APRIL is the coolest month – 2015 National Poetry Month unfurls!

April joy to readers, writers & everyone in between. It is poetry month!

I expect to ring-a-ding the poem gong here & sprinkle morsels of poem
nourishment through some of the days.

Roz Chast poster

Roz Chast Poster

First up, I suggest that you gaze at the National Poetry Month Poster
by our World’s one-and-only Roz Chast, including an interpretation of her clever thoughts in
a most unusual poetry medium over at Jama’s Alphabet Soup,
the tastiest poetry blog I’ve ever munched upon.

This is the National Poetry Month Poster, but not in the unusual medium. Go see Jama’s Alphabet Soup – scroll past this

wonderful poster version to see what I had no eyedeer was a poetry possibility.
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© Roz Chast/ 2015 National Poetry Month Poster

And to keep my NPM days straight, I’ll be returning to this flavorful
round up of Poetry Friday writers who expect to measure their month in dayspoons of poetry, this menu also by the same, Jama.

Back at the oak branch

Here in North Florida, I let the teensy wild violet blooms that unfurled under the giant

matriarch live oak tree fade into ground without tasting one. I counted 12 scattered plants at the purplest

of petal times & I wanted to always see their color in the yard so I didn’t nibble. Next year…

The wild violet plants still give us growing, apple green, funneled leaves where the tender blossoms were just a week ago, the two Myer Lemon trees bubbled out with tight buds that are bursting every day into fragrant splayed petal blossoms & I saw a honeybee feeding on them this week, & the anemic purple wisteria inched out some promising mini-grape like clusters. All of this springness adds to the allure of April & the poetry partee.

In Dog Time

Today I’m sharing opening lines from my poetry colleague Christine Poreba’s, fun poem, King of the Dance.

It is published in the UK along with two other of her poems of sweet canine lines, in  Manchester Metropolitan University’s collection, LET IN THE STARS.
from King of the Dance by Christine Poreba
My dog is King of the Dance –
the whirl, wiggle, leap
the shake and the prance.

First a wag of his tail,
then a wag of his self,
his whole body goes wag,
like a windy-day flag.”
  © Christine Poreba

Christine is an award-winning poet, a magician to those for whom English is a second language, gently helping them through the maze of perfect past tense and subjunctive whatevers & very busy with her young family, who are each of them, quite talented. I am fortunate to have her as a beta commenter on some of my fledgling poetry. Although I am a cat person and she is poetically and in practice, a devoted dog person, we are in pawfect harmony at our poetry get-togethers. I lead you to Christine’s lovely site.

p.s. the lines above are even more fun with Christine’s original formatting, which I can’t wrestle right. Must need a juicy bone!

Magic Time

Now –  the prize of this post is that April 1 is also the release day for my dear pal Adrian Fogelin’s newest novel, SOME KIND OF MAGIC. It is some kind of wonderful & I said so over where there is a contest to win it open all April – so try pleze try your luck!

A last course – a rolling tea cart tally of National Poetry Month pleasures I savor to be added now & again, insitgated by ANGIE KARCHER’s month of reading.

https://angiekarcher.wordpress.com/?s=nikki+grimes

Week 1
W/Picture Book – SWAMP SONG by Helen Ketterman, illustrated by Ponder Goembel

Poems by Christine Poreba, “How to Wake Up in Dog,” “King of the Dance,” & “Itch” published in LET IN THE STARS/ Manchester Metroplitan University/UK

TH/Picture Book – ALL BY HERSELF, by Ann Paul, illustrated by Michael Seirnagle

Poems by Ann Paul, including “Golda Mabovitch”

* F/Picture Book – THE BED BOOK, by Sylvia Plath

Poem by Janet Wong, “Coin Drive,” in POETRY ALOUD HERE! / Sylvia Vardell

SA/ Picture Book – ONE MORE SHEEP by Mij Kelly and Russell Ayto

Poem by Douglas Florian, “A Poem Can Sing,” in POETRY ALOUD HERE!/ Sylvia Vardell

SUN/ Picture Book – TERRIBLE TERESA and OTHER VERY SHORT STORIES by Mittie Cuetara

poem by Jane Yolen, “A Poem Is,” in I AM THE BOOK, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

I+AM+THE+BOOK+Cover

 

…………
Yikes! Adding 2 weeks in today (April 28th & I’ll be back with more, later)

Week 2
M/*Picture Book Reading – MEET DANITRA BROWN, by Nikki Grimes
Poem by Lee Bennett Hopkins, “Poetry Time,” in I AM THE BOOK, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
TU/Picture Book Reading – LLAMA LLAMA TIME TO SHARE by Anna Dewdney, author & illustrator
poems by Lois Ehlert including, “Mosquito,” in Oodles of Animals
WED/Picture Book Reading – MY TRUCK IS STUCK by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “What Was That?” in I AM THE BOOK, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
TH/ Picture Book Reading- BUBBLE GUM, BUBBLE GUM by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
poems by Dinah Johnson, including “Sonia,” in SITTING PRETTY, A Celebration of Black Dolls, illustrated by photographer Myles C. Pinkney.
F/Picture Book Reading – THE BIG GREAT GREEN by Peggy Gifford, illustrated by Lisa Desimini
poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, “Who’s Rich?” in I AM THE BOOK, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
SAT/ Picture Book Reading- THE PET PROJECT, by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Zacariah OHora
poem by Karla Kushkin, “Wonder Through the Pages,” in I AM THE BOOK, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
SUN/Picture Book Reading- SAY WHAT? by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Joey Chou
poem by Alice Schertle, “Violet’s Hiking Hat” in BUTTON UP , Wrinkled Rhymes by Alice Schertle, pictures by Petra Mathers
………….

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Week 3
M/ Picture Book Reading –DOG GONE! Leeza Hernandez
Poem by X.J. Kennedy “How to Stay Up Late, “ in POETRY SPEAKS TO Children, edirws by Elise Pachen
TU Picture Book Reading –HOT ROD HAMSTER by Lynthia Lord, illustrated by Derek Anderson**
Poem by Nikki Giovanni, “Knoxville, Tennessee” in POETRY SPEAKS TO CHILDREN
WED Picture Book Reading –THE JAZZ FLY by Matthew Gollub, illustrated by Karen Hanke
Poem by Kristine O’Connell George, “Snake” in FOLD ME A POEM**, illustrated by Lauren Stringer
TH/ Picture Book reading TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAY TODAY, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Lauren Stringer***
Poem by Tony Johnston, “Sunset” in I’M GONNA TELL MAMA I WANT AN IGUANA, illustrated by Lillian Hoban
F / Picture Book Reading – SEADOGS by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Mark Siegel
Poem by Langston Hughes, “Drums” in LANGSTON HUGHES, Poetry for Young People
SAT / Picture Book Reading OODLES of ANIMALS, Lois Ehlert, author & illustrator
Poem by Arnold Adoff, “Spring Saturday Morning” in TOUCH THE POEM, illustrated by Lisa Desimini**

SUN/ DINOSAUR ROAR! by Paul & Henrietta Strickland
Poem by J. Patrick Lewis, untitled kitchen mouse poem in GOOD MOUSEKEEPING, illustrated by
Lisa Desimini
……………………………………..

If you are looking to visit the site this reading & notetaking stems from please visit ANGIE KARCHER

Week 4
Mon – Picture Book reading – THE SNOWFLAKE SISTERS by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Lisa Desimini
poem “On an August Day” by Lee Bennett Hopkins in THE SEA IS CALLING ME, selected by L.B. Hopkins/ illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessel.
Tues – P.B. – NOT ALL PRINCESSES DRESS in PINK by Jane Yolen & Heidi E.Y. Stemple
poem “Book Protection” anonymous, in I SAW ESAU, The Schoolchild’s Pocket Book, edited by IonMA., with pictures by Bruce Degen
poem “The Mosquito’s Song” by Peggy B. Leavitt in DIRTY LAUNDRY PILE, selected by Paul B. Janeczko & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Thurs PETITE ROUGE, A Cajun Red Riding Hood by Mike Artell illustrated by Jim Harris
poem “Jellyfish” by Valerie Worth in ANIMAL POEMS, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Friday MARSUPIAL SUE by John Lithgow, illusrated by Jack E Davis
poem “The Coyote” by Douglas Florian in MAMMALABILIA poems & paintings by Douglas Florian
Sat MADELEINE by Ludwig Bemelmans
poem “A-Camping We Will Go,” by Kelly DiPucchio in SIPPING SPIDERS THROUGH A STRAW, Campfire Songs for Monsters with pictures by Gris Grimly
Sun BRAVE POTATOES by Toby Speed, illustrated by Barry Root
poem “Ink Drinkers” by Andrea Perry in THE SNACK SMASHER, illustrated by Alan Snow

Week 5
Mon LLAMA LLAMA MISSES MAMMA by Anna Dewdney
poem “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop (it’s a villanelle) reprinted in an excellent MG/YA collection – POETRY SPEAKS WHO I AM edited by Elise Paschen
TUES
poem “Fossils” by Jack Prelutsky in THE CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS (Camille Saint-Saens’s music) illustrated by Mary GrandPre
WED
poem “Those Crazy Crows” by Margaret Wise Brown in NIBBLE NIBBLE illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

Seven Kinds of Wonderful: Adrian Fogelin & SOME KIND OF MAGIC + giveaway

Award-winning author & my pal, Adrian Fogelin’s new novel is SOME KIND OF MAGIC.
It is released April 1.
The magic of knowing an author is that you can peek at not only the Work-in-Progress. But you also hold
the Advanced Readers Copy in your eager hands.

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To help celebrate this neighborhood story, which visits characters Jemmie & Cass, from Adrian’s ground-breaking
1st novel, CROSSING JORDAN, I’m sharing seven kinds of wonderful things connected to this novel & the author:

SOME KIND OF MAGIC 7s
Warning: a highly personal list. After reading SOME KIND OF MAGIC, your 7s will depart from this – perhaps.

1. Set in my town – Tallahassee, Florida

2. Features a 6-year-old boy & a fedora – two favorite topics of mine, younger readers & hats

3. Features Cass & Jemmie, their friendship is one I love

4. Adrian employs the word “plinky”

5. An adult character’s name is Paul, which is the American version of my hubby’s name, Paolo.

6. The neighborhood pals have a cool hangout place that isn’t a mall, arcade or boardwalk/sidewalk.

7. KIRKUS (professional, well-regarded review service) agrees with me: “A fine, complex tale of family, friends and magic.”

Over at the seven kinds of wonderful GROUP BLOG, Adrian shares her own 7s.
Plus that’s where I’m giving away a copy of this new one.
And there are some lovely author & publisher links.
Please go have a visit!.

http://groggorg.blogspot.com/2015/03/middle-grade-book-launch-give-away-some.html

poem for Roasted Oysters + more

Poem for Roasted Oysters

I don’t eat oysters

O! No- I don’t

How is it that one

slipped

       down

             my

                   throat?

c. Jan Godown Annino

Well, anyone knows that it is food that makes or breaks an occasion.

The food was fabulous and hosts/servers/chefs were wonderful –

at the 2015 Authors in Apalach festival of books, readers & writers.

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Apalachicola Municipal Library

Caty Green, Library Queen of the municipality of Apalachicola,

seen somewhere in this post on the sidewalk with an author at the

village’s 2015 Mardi Gras event,

convened about 20 or so scribes including the cookbook maven

Joyce LaFraye and also Janis Owens, originator of so many great Southern tales

such as My Brother Michael.

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Susan Cerulean,
whose new one, COMING TO PASS, will be featured at a cafe event in Apalachicola April 24
overseen by Downtown Books & Purl, led a panel with Mary Jane Ryals and Faith Eides.

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A LAUNCH

Adrian Fogelin rustled up a panel featuring Kim Cross Teter, Leslee Horner,

Mary-Lois Sanders, Perky Granger, Vickie Spray & myself. I
vote Perky for Best Author First Name of the panel.

Adrian’s SOME KIND OF MAGIC, her new middle grade novel,

found a lively launch at this event & it was seven kinds of

wonderful that a local student purchased the first copy of it.

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Children’s books panelist & Nashville author Kim Teter’s ISABELLA’s LIBRETTO came home with me,
autographed, & I intend to mention it on a future Bookseedstudio post because already in chapter
one, I’m hooked.

River Jordan (other Best First Name of the Event) & Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Judy Conklin, Jane Doerfer, Olivia DeBelle,
& Dawn Radford were wonderful participants, even though they weren’t on the children’s books panel.

I was happy to see local bookseller Dale Julian of Downtown Books & Purl
handling event purchases again, which benefit the Apalachicola Municipal Library.
Susan Wolfe of Forgotten Coast Used and Out of Print Books, added to the bookish aura.

MOVIE NEWS

News was announced – I learned that Tallahassee force of nature Prissy Elrod
sold her memoir FAR FROM THE ORDINARY for a movie deal to Lucky Dog Filmworks.

Go & get your memoir written – all you stragglers. Hope Prissy’s story can film on site in Tally.

I read it right after I came away with my signed copy & it’s a page-turner.

 

TRADING CANOE

At #Authors in Apalach, the book tables were set against lovely scenic paintings,

& art & books were all arrayed around the locally famous Apalachicola Trading Canoe, said to be the longest

such historic commerce canoe in all of Florida (created circa 1750-1800). This 52-foot boat

is the 1st-floor centerpiece of an 1836 historic brick-walled warehouse, now the Center for History, Culture & Art.

This totally intact boat set the tone for thoughtful conversation about the 106-mile long Apalachicola River

& estuary system, which requires constant vigilance to maintain the water quality necessary

to support the region’s vast web of life in the air, on land and in water, especially for those

water residents we eat the most – shrimp, fish and oysters. Fox squirrels and fox can

mosey further into the Apalachicola National Forest, but those salty little

guys have no where else to go.

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Apalachicola Trading Canoe (circa 1750-1800)

credit: Apalachicola Center for History, Culture & Art

 

ON THE WATERFRONT

My husband cast his hook at favorite area spots & noshed, especially on the roasted Apalachicola oysters, created by attorney Donna Duncan, posing just before the city’s Friday night musical events kicked up in the street around the corner. She is one of my hubby’s favorite former students. Donna’s oyster recipe co-maker, who we enjoyed meeting, was John Solomon. The Duncan-Solomon Chamber of Commerce cooking team earlier took 3rd place for their Authors in Apalach-presented tricky* recipe, in a contest of the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department’s Oyster Cook-Off & they won 1st place for a unique oyster pot pie.

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Thinking it was something else, I ate an ostreidae because Duncan-Solomon dressed it in broiled bacon and savory spinach & I didn’t know it was an oyster until later – that’s how their morsel *tricked me.

In non-food news, Paolo watched my Seminole Indian patchwork at the book table as I dashed upstairs to the airy top-floor room, where the sunny view of the blue sky -blue water dock, across from our location at 86 Water Street looked inviting. Writing tips from authors were noted by constant scribblers in attendance from points far and near.

Love, Apalachicola
It is clear that Apalachicola loves books, readers, literature, writers & fresh seafood eaters, fun times & all their accompanying fisher folk, café-goers & cottage-dwellers. And we love Apalachicola, back.

The night before we sat on bales of hay set out along Market Street & enjoyed great live music, spotting our pal Caroline & waved at folks we met, earlier in the day down by the bay.
 

 

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books: LET IN THE STARS

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A package landed in our big, black mailbox here in the steamy state

 

                                       “where the alligator wallows”

                                                         -Sue Hardy-Dawson

 

That perfect line appears with the other perfect lines of a poem from this crisp new book,

which flew to me in recent weeks from the land where a poet for children could name

an exquisite piece of discovery,

 

“St. Ninian’s Isle, Shetland, 1958”

-Chrissie Gittins

 

The book is LET IN THE STARS, New Poetry for Children, edited by Mandy Coe.

 

Skin prickles

I am still first-reading and re-reading through, skipping around. Although every poet &

poem isn’t in my pores yet, I want to be your tip-off to this prize collection.

Cramming for a book festival out of town & with reading/writing ahead of it in the queue, I report on this book without looking up the authors or artists to know more about them. Not important. Skin prickles tickle my arm as I read LET IN THE STARS; this make me feel it will add multitudes of pleasure to any reader or writer’s bookshelf.

Just like big Puffin collections such as Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry, Twentieth-Century Collection of Verse and the equally valuable Oxford Book of Poetry For Children, brought me to children’s poets of the UK beyond Spike Milligan, A.A. Milne & Roald Dahl, (some of the latter would be Benjamin Zephaniah, Jackie Kay, & John Agard, for starters) this 86-page small & potent volume is not only entertaining, but also a sky bridge to a galaxy of poets new to me. I am telling myself I was smart to order it:http://www.mcbf.org.uk/books

 

An extra snap

There is an extra snap in each of these pieces. The black and white spot art and color illustrations also convey the respect afforded the young readers. This tone is set with opener poem, “High Achievers,” by Kate O’Neill, taking place during a steep climb and that zip continues for 78 contributions to the closing 3 couplets from Matt Goodfellow in “With the Waterfalls,” which makes me feel I’m reading Robert Louis Stevenson. A mighty fine collection, this is.

“Cycle” follows a child who is inventively relentless about continuing a journey that begins on a bicycle of seven wheels:

“…I’ll travel on a chestnut mule

            When the mule begins to tire

            I’ll tiptoe on a tight wire

            When the wire starts to snap

            I’ll go by tube and mind the gap…”

                                    – Hannah Meiklejohn, from “Cycle”

 

            “End of the Day” in short order sums up:

“…the sea slops

in the moon’s bucket

the sun’s penny drops.

– Anthony Watts

That is a moment I’ve seen but haven’t been able to write.

 

Crocodiles to poignant hills

I feel the aim is to please readers ages nine and up, but the voracious page turner age seven and eight will chuckle and jolt with recognition about besting the low expectations of grown-ups. Even younger students can enjoy having read to them several long or short pieces, including, “Invitation,” by Louise Greig about a crocodile, and “Little Red Bug,” from Sneha Susan Shibu.

Louise Greig also contributed poignant pieces, including, “I am going off to be a hill,” producing skin prickles. Greig returns me to the buttercup, daisy & sheep that will never line up like that again. Prickly loveliness, that poem.

I know quite well, one of the non-UK poets here. New poets writing for children all over the world via the WWW could submit their works for a contest that turned into this book and so not every contributor is from the UK. It was published by The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

When I am done absorbing every poem, I hope I am forgiven if my friend- poet’s pieces are my favorite. I will share about those three pieces in a separate future post.

For now, let the collection sing us out with a few lines from a clever riddle, “lol” by Heather F. Reid

             Lots of laughs,

            lots of love,

            lots of librarians,

            linger over lunch?

                        -Heather F. Reid

 

 

Letters of light, this collection is.

The online collection of bloggers known as POETRY Friday is sent well on its way today by Robyn Campbell.

http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com/2015/03/click-to-view-in-external-page.html

 

 

Make Way for Winter Walking

unnamedPoem below dusted the keyboard lightly after a flurry of false starts. (Appreciations to Carol Varsalona’s, Winter Whispers prompt)

( In icy snow and hot sand land, Poetry Friday links up weather zones, via Cathy Mere at http://merelydaybyday.blogspot.com/)

 

Make Way for Winter Walking 

by Jan Godown Annino

In my snow white winter meadow

paved with petals of a plant

that peeks,

then peaks in winter

hear the whispers of real weather –

winter in far Boston town

 

Dear one near the river Charles

hails from the simple winter –

winter of the warmer weather

snow white petals of camellia

blanketing the ground

 

Her beloved city slumbers

smothered in white snow blanket

and across the Charles River

silent ducklings poke from snow clothes

 

Make way for winter walking

©2015 Jan Godown Annino

 

Happy Valentine’s weekend to the dear one of this poem & to my Dear One & only.

 

 

Children of many cultures, celebrate! #ReadYourWorld

Welcome to the party. The vibrant Children’s Literature Community is celebrating Multicultural Children’s Books Day!

On Twitter we are at #ReadYourWorld.

For Jan. 27,  a world of attention lights upon what many editors and writers focus on all along the year – books for children ages pre-school through 12, which illuminate ideas of creativity, fun, friendship, dedication to justice, love, and peace among the many cultures of the World and especially among  children.

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To see some of the Multicultural Day leaders, please check out below. I share here from a possible 300 books or perhaps 3,000 in the universe – who knows how many with these values, there are? Certainly a higher number than decades back, but there is wide room for more.

~~~

 

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            The Hawaiian Hiatus of Herkimer Street by Desirae Foston, collects a community where neighbors are so in synch with each other and their pets, that they dream of a vacation together. This 15-page story with short text on color block art pages, is narrated by an unnamed child. Neighbors lift off in a home-sewn giant balloon. Adventures ensue. Surfboards and tropical flowers appear in this tall tale, which names a real NYC street. (Book sent by publisher.) Visit an author interview by Valerie Budayr and link to an audio connection.

~~~

While I have your attention I can’t resist sharing the stage with some previously celebrated multicultural titles & also pointing out a couple more.

~~~

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Poetry for Young People by Langston Hughes is a visit to music-making, work days and community celebrations from one of the country’s most important writers. The 26 story poems, songs of accomplishment at home and out in the world, are edited for grades six and above, by David Roessel & Arnold Rampersad. The illustrator is the late Benny Andrews, of Georgia, a celebrated artist who provided a folkloric style for this book. (My book purchase.)

~~~

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Crossing Jordan, by Adrian Fogelin, sets the stage for two middle school neighbors – Cass, who lives in the fixer-upper, working class neighborhood of a southern town, and a newcomer this summer, Jemmie. Crossing Jordan is the first novel in linked storytelling from this award-winning author; others include the forthcoming Some Kind of Magic.  Despite parental anxiety and outright hostility, about the girls being from different races, the two discover with exuberance, sweat and joy, what they have in common. This is an International Reading Association Notable Book for a Global Society Honor Book and it won many state awards & other distinctions. (My book purchase.)

~~~

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             MALALA/IQBAL by Jeanette Winter is a flip-the-book-over concept design to package two separate, but chillingly similar, stories together. It tells the activism of two children in Pakistan.

Future Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai is only 11 as she starts to speak up against the Taliban, advocating education for girls. Instead of agreeing with her, the Taliban shoots her in the head and neck, on a private van, en route to school. She survived. And the world will benefit from her leadership the rest of her life.

The poignant story of Iqbal Masih is shockingly, lesser known. With this potent picture book thousands of children will know that this boy was only 4 years old when he was chained to a factory loom, to make carpets. When a new law said factories couldn’t abuse children this way, he becomes a child-activist, telling children in carpet factories all over Pakistan that they are free. Iqbal’s life is threatened but he doesn’t stop spreading the good news. He is only 12 when riding his bicycle one day, he is shot and killed. (Borrowed from LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library.)

~~~

Although I haven’t seen Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt De La Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson, I’d like to share this link to a New York Journal of Books review by Janice Floyd Durante, who offers a website that exemplifies Multicultural Children’s Book Day values. I would also like to shine a star on The Brown Bookshelf, a thorough source for a long time. http://thebrownbookshelf.com/2015/01/19/shining-the-light-announcing-the-new-honorees/

Bookseedstudio blogger Jan Godown Annino is the author of the multicultural story, She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader, illustrated by Lisa Desimini, with a letter to children by Moses Jumper, Jr. , an ALA/Amelia Bloomer Top Ten Title.  But wait, there’s more!

The important nuts & bolts….

For more on Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration’s sponsors/leadership visit 

First Books’ Virtual Book Drive, Children’s Book Council

also

Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global BookshopSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing; Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books, Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing & ,East West Discovery Press.

 

also

Africa to America, All Done Monkey, The Educators Spin on It, Growing Book by Book, Kid World Citizen, Many Smiles, Multicultural Kid Blogs & Sprouts Bookshelf which are all beautifully linked together at Pragmatic Mom, the blog of this event’s co-creator, Mia Wenjen.

Valarie Budayar, of Jump Into A Book, is also the co-creator.

Brava, to each of you!

 

Marilyn Nelson + Jerry Pinkney Make Music

Poetry Friday is arranged wonderfully today by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.

Wanting poetry with a bit of swing for readers who swing, I noted a few. I came up singing with a big (90 pages!) hardcover picture book of musical poems from 1940s segregation times, Sweethearts of Rhythm.

It is from a potent creative team – Coretta Scott King Honor Book author Marilyn Nelson, holder of the Frost Medal & countless honors. The art is by Jerry Pinkney, also a King recipient & winner of the Caldecott, among many other honors.

The book is about a band.

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

Each musician who performed in this history-making, interracial, all-woman musical group that eventually performed in post-war Europe, endured hardship to create their successful troupe.

So a surprise of this melodic, thoughtful & lovely gallery of words and paintings is the voice.  Instead of writing each poem in the voice of the accomplished woman artist, the musical instruments stir to life with Marilyn Nelson’s sharp attention, as she conducts the opening poem:

                    “With a twilight velvet musky tone

                   as the pawnshop door is locked

                   an ancient tenor saxophone spins off a riff of talk.”

The women pounded, tooted, blared, sang & drummed swing music. They coped with Jim Crow laws on their cross-country bus tours. They performed before sold-out, wildly approving audiences that were primarily all-black. The band members’ heritage was African-American, Chinese-American, Native-American – Puerto Rican & Caucasian, too.

 

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 “Traversing the United States

performing one-nighters, traveling thousands of miles in a year:

The gals had a mission, expressible only in tones.

My gal could quote Satchmo so people stopped dancing to cheer.”

 

The above is the voice of a trumpet expertly played by legendary Sweethearts band member Ernestine “Tiny” Davis, who also sang. I found this expectedly lively clip.

The audiences responded so joyfully, the fans included an admiring Louis Armstrong, who reportedly offered Ms. Davis a huge salary to ditch the women and join his troupe. She declined.

The gals come across as you would expect for a lyrical, energized group – so dang fabulous. I would love to talk with someone who saw them blare forth in top form. And Hollywood, let’s see them in a movie.

I’ll close out with lines from another poem in this important collection, which innovative music educators along with poem-teachers in classrooms may want to chart for their, oh, let’s say, grade four through college students.

This poem voice is the baritone sax of band member Willie Mae Wong speaking:

   “She lugged me, like a grown-up-sized infant, from place to place

     (Her strength was XL, though she was a 2 petite).

      Carrying her handbag, her suitcase, and me in my case,

     She trip-tripped around on dainty high-heeled feet.

 

      Should I apologize if we “only” made people dance?

      That one is alive is an adequate reason to sing!

      Must beauty apologize for simple elegance?

      Shoot, we didn’t need a “philosophy” to swing!

If you are looking for more on the poet conductor who delivered this concert- in- words, Marilyn Nelson (A Wreath for Emmett Till and many other titles) is interviewed about this book with Jerry Pinkey, by Janelle Mathis.

note: Due to my schedule I’m writing & posting this on Jan. 15, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, which we begin commemorating today rather than await the official holiday on Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silly Me

Poetry Friday is arrayed beautifully today by Tabatha Yeatts.

~~~

In anguished times we nest in joy –

welcoming babies, nurturing the toddling ones,

helping kiddos in our own vibrant circles & seeing that other

young ones who cross our paths feel secure.

Despite. Still. In the face of.

 

With this week’s events in Paris, I renew my pledge to freedom of speech, bread & butter theme in my years as a community journalist. While at the same time I will visit a favorite school & my story time circle this Friday for laughs with Kindergarten and First Grader sprites who should be allowed to be spritely. The best way I can do this is with my traveling hand puppet, Book Bear & with books that make children laugh out loud.

With awful timing, a long-planned piece about silly book titles ran on Jan. 7, 2015. It begins:

 

 

Silly Me

by Jan Godown Annino

There was a young woman said, ‘Howww..,”

my mother would sing in the kitchen.

My aunt would chime in with,

can I flee from this horrible cowww?”

And my other aunt would trill,

Shall I sit on a stile and continue to smile…”

so that my mother would finish,

which would frighten the heart of the cowww?”

thereby completing their own particular cracked

take on Edward Lear’s rhyme.

Aunts Singing Chants

This trio left me in stitches, ladies in flowery ruffled kitchen aprons, cutting up meat and veggies, cutting up in words and songs. (Not that the gals couldn’t argue stridently but that’s a different genre of story…)

The ladies performed Lear, Lewis Carroll, Gelette Burgess & the words of others with a knack for nonsense. Their impromptu silly making at holidays, directly lopes to my seeking out fun poems and hilarious picture books to read with BookPALS.

~~~

Now, the rest of the story

The article just quoted was published just before the magazine staffers and police guarding Charlie Weekly (named for the Peanuts character Charlie Brown, from the reports I’ve read) in Paris lost their lives this week in a terrorist attack.

I invite you to read “Silly Me” at Group Blog, a cooperative of readers and writers of children’s stories, organized last year by an innovative public school librarian, Todd Burleson.

I wish my readers happiness in each day.

New Year New Day 2015

New Year New Day 2015 

by Jan Godown Annino

Pairs of coots, licorice gumdrops on the surface

Great blue herons, statues ready to spike fish (frogs, snakes…)

Black anhingas tend wings, arched in pine tree branches

 

Watch animals

Read poems

Make notes

 

My handsome returns from a marsh path, with sightings to report

If we had opened a fortune cookie the night before

it could have read: You will be rewarded for seeking joy in Nature

©Jan Godown Annino

……….

Now we are back, after dark, from a wildlife refuge that lures us down a spindle road in marsh and through ponds to the saltwater coast. Earlier on Day One, 2015, we welcomed young friends in for Italian cookies.

The night before, plunging into NYE we had laughed and clapped in front of a wide stage, with a friend our age, as national & state & local foibles paraded  through a comedy cast who we knew.

After this fine fuss I feel celebratory and exhilaratory about the year ahead of work, the writing work. So I hope these lines from poet Alexis Rotella, who put them in “Purple,” feels like a gift to you, as they have become to me.  With my appreciations for your poem-sharing & story telling that buoyed me in 2014.

from Purple by Alexis Rotella

“In second grade Mr. Barta

said draw anything:

he didn’t care what.

I left my paper blank

and when he came around

to my desk

my heart beat like a tom tom.

He touched my head

with his big hand

and in a soft voice said

the snowfall

how clean

and white

and beautiful

© Alexis Rotella

STEP LIGHTLY: POEMS FOR THE JOURNEY, which is one of the poetry books I like to travel with, especially to a wildlife refuge, is how I learned of Alexis Rotella, through one of my favorite poets, Nancy Willard, who collected the volume.

If you meandered here via Poetry Friday, or even if you didn’t, you’ll be well-rewarded with a toggle over to the nourishing Miss Rumphious Effect, today’s host.

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Hobbit – Tuesday Trees

It’s hard to scratch the surface on the ferny forest of tree titles available to young readers that celebrate that most woody of Hobbit-land evoking entities.

cedar-key-christmas-tree-inside-0011

But, as someone who leafed through her chapter book pages in a dogwood tree during aboreal child days, I’ve liked planting this list.  Climb a favorite branch, if you’re in a temperate climate, & take a peek.

NUTS TO YOU text & art by Lois Ehlert

THE BUSY TREE text by Jennifer Ward, artwork by Lisa Falkenstern

CHERRY TREE text by Ruskin Bond & artwork from Allan Eitzen

PLANTING THE TREES OF KENYA – text & artwork by Claire A. Nivola

POETREES poems & artwork by Douglas Florian

THE GREAT KAPOK TREE text & artwork by Lynne Cherry

THE CURIOUS GARDEN text & artwork by Peter Brown

THE MONEY TREE text by Sarah Stewart & artwork by David Small

STUCK text & artwork by Oliver Jeffers

TREE-RING CIRCUS, text & artwork by Adam Rex

WE PLANTED a TREE text by Diane Muldrow & artwork by Bob Staake

WELCOME TO THE GREEN HOUSE text by Jane Yolen & artwork by Laura Reagan

CELEBRITREES text & by Margi Preus & artwork by Rebecca Gibbon

THIS IS THE TREE text by Miriam Moss & artwork by Adrienne Kennaway

THE OAK INSIDE THE ACORN text by Max Lucado & artwork by George Angelini

THE KISSING HAND text by Audrey Penn & artwork by Ruth Harper/Nancy Leak (because of where Chester ends up….)

LINNEA IN MONET’S GARDEN – text by Christina Bjork, artwork by Lena Anderson

thumbnail.aspx            The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein) & The Lorax (Dr. Seuss) are two famous books for young readers about trees.

After experiencing the good fortune of spending time under and around the ethereal Lichgate Oak at this event, I visited trees in lesser-known books where trees are central to the story, or are characters, for young readers.

Some picture books listed are favorites I returned to & others are new to me & perhaps to you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this no -particular -order offering.

Imaginary acorns to those who add a title/comment.

This article is part of Bookseedstudio’s Tuesday Trees, where Jan roots for the proliferation and longevity of our saplings and also for their mature elders, even if they aren’t alders. It is inspired by our community-wide project to celebrate arbors.  

For more on the lovely fishing net tree at the top of this column, please see this previous Bookseedstudio column.

Merry Sea Gull, Merry Crow

If the white stuff on your ground comes from sand,

as happens here in North Florida, that’s a fair-weather trade.

We recently pulled lemons from our Meyer citrus tree.

Because we can do that we won’t be brushing snow off our red cedar.

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No sticking out a tongue to catch snowflakes. Nor – making snow angels, riding the sled, making snowballs, snow forts or, snow families with coal eyes grabbed from the scuttle next to our pot bellied stove. No, no, no rushing to the window to call dibs on the first feathery flurries, as I remember from my woodsy, across-from-a-dairy farm Quakertown, New Jersey early child winter days.  Our daughter, who grew up in the 1990s in Florida, missed out on most of that & our Christmas visits up nawth didn’t make up for it – now she catches up, with Boston winters…

But O, thank you poets, who take us everywhere – to deserts,craggy volcanic islands, to rice paddy shores. And of course, into snowy days.

I share some snow-set lines of a favorite poet queen, Kathi Appelt, which she gifted to young readers with lovely illustrations by Jon Goodell, in the sweetly celebratory, MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CROW. Along with THE SNOWFLAKE SISTERS by an equally favorite poet king, J. Patrick Lewis (illustrated by Lisa Desimini), these books top my picture book stack for sharing when I read in K and 1st grade.

(If your snowflakes dropped you in here for Poetry Friday, it is collected this time, with my appreciation, by Anastasia at BookTalking. We join the poem story, finding Kathy’s crow to be a busy avian…)

 

copyright Kathi Appelt & Jon Goodell

copyright Kathi Appelt & Jon Goodell

Merry Christmas,

Merry Crow

by Kathy Appelt

A button here

A feather there

A crow can find things anywhere!

A strand of tinsel

Twigs and twine

Berries from a twisty vine…

(The crow cruises in the village where shadowed buildings are night-lit and people are out & about…)

…Up and down the snowy streets

 Jangly tags

A tiny wheel

A luscious curl of orange peel…

 I know that isn’t enough so please listen here for the clue that you’ll want to know and to a treat of a reading of it. I hope you can find MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CROW in your public library or school room, or home library, or local bookstore – it’s a treasure. Looks mighty fine in ribbon & wrap.

I am thankful for the Poetry Friday community & wish everyone lots of  Happy Holly Days & Happy Holidaze. Prepare to be dazzled in this season of peace & love.

~ j a n

Appreciations

November evokes warm good feelings and smiles. It’s my anniversary month with my hubby who made my heart melt because he was game enough to put on a silly wig and dress up with me for Halloween with friends who also did the favor of dressing up & reciting original scary tales or poems or reading favorite traditional spoofy pieces. It carried me into November the way I like it to be – a full month of giving thanks, not just on the significant Nov 27.

For several years, where I’m a volunteer picture book reader in a school I love, I’ve shared poems that are written about thanks and thanks-giving,  from authors of First Peoples/Native American/American Indian heritage.

Some of the resources I turn to are:

THE CIRCLE OF THANKS: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving told by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) with pictures by Murv Jacobs

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THE EARTH UNDER SKY BEAR’S FEET: Native American Poems of the Land, collected and told by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), and illustrated by Thomas Locker

ENDURING WISDOM, Sayings from Native Americans, selected by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, with paintings by Snythia Saint James.

Each is beautifully illustrated and look like jewels, sitting open on the top of a child-height bookcase.

Additionally Joseph Bruchac features original poems at his site. Further, I find materials that expand on the topic, from these four resources, previously mentioned on this Bookseedstudio site.

Many poems for children speak to a keen awareness of animals, trees and plants, land, or the Earth itself, rivers, lakes and sky, particularly during what Joseph Bruchac calls, “the living night.”

Because we are anticipating the homecoming of our daughter for Thanksgiving, which she hasn’t been able to celebrate with us for many years, I especially relate to these lines, from THE CIRCLE OF THANKS:

“As I play my drum

I look around me

and I see my people.

And my people are dancing

in a circle about me

and my people, they are beautiful.”

(Micmac, Northeast Coast)

copyright Joseph Bruchac

I am thankful for poets, for teachers, for the children’s literature community, for Poetry Friday creators, and for every breath I take. And of course, for my Family.

 

 

First Peoples Month

sb_sys_medias_media_key_757First Peoples Month: Kid Lit Heroes

by Jan Godown Annino

If you are around young readers who could benefit from some myth-busting about the heritage & culture of North America’s first peoples – and isn’t that every kiddo? – I’ve found some accessible, expert resources.

The creators of the four sites here deserve hero status for more than one reason.

Notably, in their forging ahead with an important unsung job, the pushback sent their way surprised me when I first came across it in researching a book for kiddos. Since it’s thought that there are thousands of misconceptions about the hundreds of Native tribes in the Americas, it’s a bit of a gulp, to grasp why some folks, even writers intent in interpreting a First Peoples story for students, don’t want to catch up to speed.

Here then, I would like share a selection of the many sturdy groups & individuals, who tirelessly make the effort to send out a nuanced, more complete, message of North American tribes’ culture & history.

National Museum of the American Indian

Our family’s favorite history museum.

Not just because of the sublime recipes & meals we savor in front of the mesmerizing waterfall wall. But it’s true that sometimes we head to the cafeteria first, before visiting galleries in this building that is itself a work of art.

I treasure the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) for its celebration of living artists, for a vibrant sense of humor & an emphasis on how enrolled tribe members live in the moment, today. The pull-out drawers of artifacts are also mesmerizing.

And I have been fortunate to listen to Kevin Gover (Pawnee), the esteemed director, speak in the museum auditorium and also in the entry atrium, as a rainbow pierced a sky window.

Your older students who are artists and members of Tribes should know about NMAI opportunities.

If you take away one lesson from the museum website, where the collection is available to view online, or from a visit in person, I hope it is that every library and school reference shelf deserves to hold the NMAI title, DO ALL INDIANS LIVE IN TIPIS?

“Are dream catchers an authentic tradition?”

“Do successful casino tribes help out poor tribes?”

“What is a Tom-Tom drum?”

“Why is there still poverty on some reservations?”

This isn’t a book that shies away from interesting questions. Or from a chuckle.

Your students’ reports will be enhanced by their reading of the evocative Qs and As. And your responses in family conversations or class discussions will shine as a result of lessons gleaned. NMAI is a Smithsonian-affiliate & located on the Nation’s Mall close to the U.S. Capitol.

 

American Indian Library Association

An affiliate of the American Library Association, this group is most publicly known for deciding the annual American Indian Youth Literature Award.

So of course that list is a guide to collection building for your home shelf or school or public library. The site also offers valuable research links. Also, you may want to let any tribe-affiliated student or adult you know, who is thinking about library service, about this site’s scholarship links and student membership opportunities.

 

American Indians in Children’s Literature

 

Dr. Debbie Reese may be the most important children’s literature specialist writing on kids’ books that deal with depictions of tribe history, culture, & individual tribes or members’ characteristics. Her site is American Indians in Children’s Literature.

The stories written for young readers by non-Natives are usually intended to supply information by way of telling an entertaining story. Yet Dr. Reese shares how easy it is to misrepresent, misinterpret or simplify complex details. Her site offers links to quality literature from those valued primary sources, that is, created by literary & visual artists who are enrolled members of Tribes or who have proven deep connections to the topics, such as longtime residency with tribal peoples.

I felt fortunate to meet Dr. Reese (Nambe Pueblo, Upper Village/Yates Family) at an American Library Association national conference, where we were each appreciating a storytelling panel hosted by noted author Tim Tingle (Choctaw). She is a literacy advocacy hero

 

OYATE

When I was writing for children about Seminole Tribe of Florida elected leader Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, who was also a newspaper editor, a memoirist & a visual artist working in fabric/textiles, I wanted to attend one of Oyate’s workshops. But they were held in California & I couldn’t get there from way east in Florida. If you are in easy distance of an Oyate presentation, you’ll want to sign up. In the meantime we can all visit comprehensive titles list & website & order books from Oyate.

This non-profit organization co-founded by the poet and librarian Doris Seale (Santee/Cree/Abenaki) provides important reference books, such as THANKSGIVING, A NATIVE PERSPECTIVE and also, HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE, A GUIDE TO EVALUATING CHILDREN’S BOOKS FOR ANTI-INDIAN BIAS.

 

Owl Bee Thinking of Owl-o-ween

Owl Bee Thinking of Owl-o-ween

Whole universes of poets and their poems from countries afar,
and originating from our own states just up the road,

who I don’t yet know,

became an obvious missing part of my education when I sat in a graduate poetry seminar that I devoured at a green little place tucked into Virginia hills,

Hollins summer children’s literature program.

In moments after the first class, the student in the next seat
started a litany:

“Onct they was a little girl…”

She had begun an obscure-to-everyone else verse that ended…

“And the Gobble-uns’ll git you

Ef you
Don’t
Watch
Out!”

gobble-unsll-git-you-joel-schick1

And so I joined in on James Whitcomb Riley’s old piece, finding not only
a kindred gobblin spirit in the student, Regge, but also a memory.

Riley’s poem became an annual Halloween spine-tingler, my mother’s performance of
The Hoosier Poet’s classic cautionary poem-story, “Little Orphant Annie,” meant Halloween had arrived. She rose up high as a Gobblin and shrunk down low as a meek orphant sent up to bed at night

 

“A

waaaay

Up
Stairs.”

And I was a mite lil’ deliciously scared girl by the time she completed her unique recitation/performance/thriller. Reading the poem today I see that she edited, embellished & pronounced as suited her acting temperament at the time, as any creative would. She was a baby when Riley was still living, so he was truly her childhood poet as her mother loved his work too.

And that’s why Riley’s verses about autumn became one of the standards of my October child days. Years later when we learned that my father’s older cousin, who we knew as Aunt Kay, grew up across the street from the Riley Lockerbie Square home in Indianapolis, his poetry developed a larger patina in the family lore.

You may find some the many picture book versions of his poems as he was also known as The Children’s Poet.

They are beautifully presented in this blog, Sing Books With Emily. Appreciations more than Emily can have known when she put it together, for this Riley article that includes an uncommon silent movie of the poet. Any one of the girls in this black and white historic movie clip could be my “Aunt Kay.” Did you see all the hair bows?

Since this is Halloween Week, how about timely books you may want to add to your annual Stack-O-Ween titles?

James Whitcomb Riley

The Gobble-uns’ll Get You (1975 ) (cover is above) Riley’s poem illustrated by Joel Schick or another version to covet,  illustrated by Diane Stanley.

 

Illustrated by  Diane Stanley

Illustrated by
Diane Stanley

 

Lee Bennett Hopkins

RAGGED SHADOWS, Poems of Halloween Night, is a collectible, illustrated by Giles Laroche. “Somewhere/ in the black-cat dark,/ Halloween begins.” With historic scenes from Salem, Massachusetts in a cut-paper format & titles such as “Skeleton Key” from Alice Schertle, these 14 poems, created by favorites, including Nancy Willard and  Barbara Juster Esbensen this collection lurks in the pumpkin’s light.

 

Mary Ann Hoberman

YOU READ TO ME, I’LL READ TO YOU from Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Michael Emberley. Such a team, their fourth “read to me” partnership. Zombies, ghouls,ogres, knights and even a dinosaur join witches & others for Halloween season delights.

 

by Mary Ann Hoberman & Michael Emberley

by Mary Ann Hoberman & Michael Emberley

 

 

 

Annette Simon

Annette Simon’s inventive, ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN!
Recently I popped into Annette’s home bookshop on the Florida east coast. And busy artist and creator that she is, she was not in residence but her books were appropriately on display. I enjoyed a shop tour from Nora & found several delights, including a prominent perch for one of my poet faves, Naomi Shihab Nye represented by her POEMS FOR GIRLS.

Written & illustrated by Annette Simon

Written & illustrated by Annette Simon

Appreications to Jama’s Alphabet Soup for this lovely look at Annette’s first picture book  from 2012, & you’ll want to read all the way to the book trailer, I think!

Tara Lazar

The Monstore has a secret place in the back that … well, bring gummy worms that you can buy in the store & find out yourself. Hope monster  is a fun word for you. This silly skip-a-beat book, is from creative  Tara Lazar who is thanked (or cursed!) every November for the inventive & p0pular kids’ writer/illustrator game that I’ll be playing for my second year, known as PiBoIdMo Picture Book Idea Month.

written by Tara Lazar & illustrated by James Burks

written by Tara Lazar & illustrated by James Burks

Owl Moon 

I think of this title every fall & you may recall the scary scene where the large owl flies at the father & daughter. It’s a Caldecott winner illustrated by John Schoenherr & written by the wonderful talent, Jane Yolen.

 

Finally, here are some of my past Halloween title posts here

at Bookseedstudio.

 

written and illustrated by Lisa Desimini

And if you think it’s

pronounced Boo-seedstudio this time of year,

you are correct.

 

Next blog up:

November is First Peoples/ American Indian/Native American Month.
Where to Learn What We Should Want & Need To Know About This Topic? Early, on a weekday in November I hope you’ll come back for a visit.

POETrees & an OCTOBER POETry Day

c. 2010 Douglas Florian POETREES

c. 2010 Douglas Florian POETREES

POETREES is an arbor picture book illustrated & written by Douglas Florian.

It cascades with leaves, trunks, roots and tree canopies.

As is delightfully typical with this poet, invented words are seeded to be found among the pages. One is “glossatree,” in the handy reference section.

POETRESS brings me to some exciting non-native woody towers that can flourish in South Florida that I miss occasionally here in North Florida,

where our chill winter & soil aren’t welcoming.  Some lines  from “Banyan” by Douglas Florian are –

 One thousand pillar roots spread wide,

Branches,

                  trunks,

                                    and roots in chorus

It’s not a tree –

It’s a forest!

C. 2010, all rights reserved, Douglas Florian

For more on POETREES, see Jama’s Alphabet Soup, March 12, 2010

 

On a different poetry topic,  my pal in the blogosphere, Suzy Leopold

reminds me of  the utterly wonderful

National Poetry Day. In October? Not April!

 It’s put on by our partners across the pond.

Makes me want to #thinkofapoem

Also, please know that today’s Poetry Friday roundup is tastefully hosted by the aforementioned, Jama’s Alpahbet Soup.

 

Silliness from Shel

Anyone in Florida or other coastal spaces, or inlanders yearning to return to summer beaches, may enjoy lending their ears to the punny poems by gifted artist & creative, Shel Silverstein, in Underwater Land.

Warning:

“He sole it to a loan shark” & other silliness stirs the sand.

 

And  I’m  already planning our Halloween Meal, so here is a cutely creepy Shel video poem from You Tube celebrating his ditty, Man-Eating Plant & also, a page for his Halloween poetry.

 

I’m feeling creative in notebooks & at the keyboard. A few words from Shel  about that:

                                “Put something silly in the world

                                     That ain’t been there before.”

 

And with Labor Day fresh in mind & thinking of freedom, I consider how the poet’s absurd lines create calls for censorship, from a librarian’s post on YouTube.

Here are Shel links, at the  Poets.org site & also at his publisher’s place. He was born in Illinois in 1930 and died in Florida in 1999.

 

If you are here via the good graces of splendid POETRY FRIDAY, or even if you are not, please visit this week’s talented host LAURA PURDIE SALAS, for her post & also, for links to others posting.

If you are new to Poetry Friday, when you comment at her blog,  pls. tell her Bookseedstudio sent you.

JoAnn Early Macken

DownloadedFileA storm that rolled in the day our daughter recently

winged back home, made me think of poet

JoAnn Early Macken’s WAITING OUT THE STORM.

 

This gentle prose poem is an appreciation

of finding shelter in a storm, to then watch it in wonder.

A mother and daughter consider the small creatures

who live outdoors as they make their path from

a hill of daffodils,

to their own cozy nest to watch and wait out the weather.

It is illustrated by Susan Gaber in a way that

transports the reader inside veils of rain.

 

I’m sharing these raindrop lines:

They burst from the cloud

skipping and leaping and laughing out loud

They spin and they tumble.

They bounce on the breeze

They dance to the tune of the world in the trees

2010 JoAnn Early Macken, “Waiting Out The Storm”

 

You can learn more about JoAnn Early Macken, who

I met through Teaching Authors, at JoAnn’s web site pages.

And in your visit to JoAnn’s site, be sure to look at her, WRITE A POEM

information. This is about her book that I was fortunate to win

more than a year ago.

And also, please check back for one of my favorite rain images

from a few years past, of our gal, appreciating

cascades of drops. It’s not handy at the moment but I expect

to locate it soon.

 

Mindful that this week’s Poetry Friday gathering, collected at NO WATER RIVER

by Renee La Tulippe arrives the day after Sept. 11 memorials, I offer

JoAnn’s poetry lines, above, as a way of honoring quiet sweet moments in life that

our protectors endeavor to make continuous for us all.

 

Peace to you this week & always.

 

 

Diane Ackerman by Poetry Light

Poetry Friday is hosted this week at AUTHOR AMOK!

 

For the high school, or even advanced middle grade poet,

today’s PF post here at Bookseedstudio suggests  that

lines from some of Diane Ackerman’s poems, which speak

to doubts about creative ability, can rock their world.

 

Part of  ORIGAMI BRIDGES,

a Diane Ackerman poetry collection,

new to me, that was a surprise find this summer,

are about what happened after Sergei

Rachmaninoff heard his first symphony played.

The poet tells us he rushed from the concert hall in shame.

He deeply felt he had created an awful,

imperfect work.

 

From Diane Ackerman’s ORIGAMI BRIDGES

“We cannot know all the sounds

Dahl and he exchanged,

but rubbing one word against another,

Dahl gradually restored

Sergei’s confidence. History tells

that Dahl used affirmations

and auto-suggestion:

“You will compose again.”

You will write a piano concerto.”

“You will write with great facility.”

Repeated until the words saturated

his gift from head to fingers.”

copyright, all rights reserved 2002

Diane Ackerman, ORIGAMI BRIDGES

 

These lines are from Diane A’s, “Rachmaninoff’s Psychiastrist,”

which lifts me up . Two more lines:

“In truth, nothing can kill a gift,

but it may become anemic…”

I love the way the poet kindles “…rubbing one word against the other..”

& I have to say that every verse of this poem is layered with her signature

devotion to what words can say.

 

Here are more of Diane Ackerman’s poems at

Poetry Foundation.

Here is Sergei Rachmaninoff in a 1929 recording of

just a segment of Piano Concerto No. 2, written after his

help from Dr. Dahl.

And here is Rachmaninoff’s playing of the entire concerto:

And, it was my mother’s favorite so I was fortunate to hear it

as much as I heard, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

 

images

Flora & Ulysses

 

DownloadedFile

Gladiola. Caramel. Spiral.

Of the words and terms that evoke a relaxed feeling

for me, many can’t mean the same thing to you.

For example, the names of my husband and daughter,

my first childhood kitty, Wacky, my mother’s sister, Lily,

and the places on Earth where I felt one with the universe.

But one of my charmed words may be yours:

                            P   O   E  T  R  Y

So, I invoke this word to talk about the book I brought home from my

wunnerful public library. It is the 2013 novel for young readers,

FLORA & ULYSSES: The Illuminated Adeventures. I knew it won the 2014

Newbery. I had read it was about a girl and a squirrel. But I had not read it.

Imagine my summer reading surprise to see in it that a lively character, on page 82,

quotes with good effect:

 

“You, sent out beyond your recall,

go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like flame

and make big shadows I can move in.”

 

This is from Ranier Maria Rilke.

As I scrunched further into the comfy sofa, racing through page after page, I found that in this always switching-around tale, a story that produces in me laughs out loud,  readers discover that faith & hope & love = poetry. Or something. Or, they can equal poetry. That depends on you. The way certain words can be your charmed words.

Kate D. gives the story delicious made up words, vigorous real words, charmed words, airborne moments & every poem tucked inside is fine to read. Flora is a self-proclaimed cynic who is immershed in the world of comic books about a superhero. And then the story leaps on four paws from there.

I expect the best with this author but still, I feel charmed to read a story once again that leaves no question why she steps out so well as our country’s Ambassador for Children’s Literature. She is like a matter-of-fact big sister in speaking to children & the link below is especially demonstrates how she takes her readers seriously, but always offers a smile.

KATE!, a view from across The Pond

http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/jul/29/kate-dicamillo-flora-and-ulysses-guardian-childrens-fiction-book-prize-2014

Rilke/the poem, “Go To The Limits of Your Longing”  from which DiCamillo quotes:

http://www.onbeing.org/program/wild-love-world/feature/go-limits-your-longing/1448

Illustrator K.G. Campbell who is all over the place in the best illustrated books:

http://www.goodreadswithronna.com/2013/10/25/interview-k-g-campbell-illustrator-flora-ulysses/

Finally, you likely have arrived here through POETRY FRIDAY. A little nook of the Kidlitosphere. Today’s host is  CHECK IT OUT & I invite you to

take a trip to the West Coast & visit the host, Jone. Many thanks.  `  j a n

 

DownloadedFile

 

 

 

I met Enola Holmes!

If you know children’s mystery series, especially ones that riff on the BBC-loved Sherlock Holmes canon, you know Enola Holmes. She is Sherlock’s younger, brilliant sister.

And she is the creation of an American writer, Nancy Springer.

 

DownloadedFile-1

 

Enola loves to ride bikes, uncode secret messages & fool her much-older brother, who she admires a great deal,

despite the distance he keeps from her. Enola is also the alter ego of young Nancy Springer, originally of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

She began writing as a young mother and pastor’s wife. Much later she divorced and moved to North Florida with her second husband.

She has said in social media that an alligator keeps her from swimming in her pond, where she  fishes. Sounds just like North Florida to me.

When she spoke in Tallahassee this month, I felt fortunate to have books autographed by her for gifting (not only THE CASE OF THE MISSING

MARQUIS,  Enola Holmes Mystery #1, but also copies of ROWAN HOOD, Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest and winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award.)

9780698119727_p0_v1_s260x420

 

Nancy Springer’s conversation with Tallahassee writers and editors was punctuated with a lot of laughs, due to

her conversational storytelling. Her comments were geared toward those writing suspense for adults. Her new novel

is DARK LIES. Due to the breadth of her life’s work, 50-plus books, & her engaging manner, I scribbled many notes.

Here are a few to share:

“The night shift” is when Nancy Springer writes. This means her mind ruminates as she sleeps. At the start of her

day, she writes before other activities, allowing the fresh night’s thoughts to help her storytelling. She said that she wouldn’t be

effective if she tried to write at night when she is tired out from the day’s events.

 

She is compelled to create active characters. “Meek, docile characters don’t do anything.”

 

If a writer needs to add a nasty character to a story, “A six-year-old is an ideal nasty character, or a dog, or a fairy.”

 

She advises that a difficult character should always have something to care for, such as a dog.

 

“Do bad things to your main character. Challenge them with danger, distress, dismay.”

 

The main character should have memorable quirks.

 

Be alert to the expectations you set up. “If your reader sees a girl drawing a horse in her class notebook in the beginning,

your story has to have horses in it.”

 

Once, only once, she outlined a novel. When she was finished with the outline she felt she had finished her interest in the story.

 

She uses everything she can from real life, in her novels. For example, a narcissistic dance partner she had is the

catalyst for a forthcoming novel’s character. She reads widely in nonfiction, especially quirky nonfiction, and loves to research

extensively, especially for a novel set historically.

She is a fun, irreverent person who loves coloring books as an adult because she was denied them as a

child. And she openly shares that writing as a young mother saved her emotional life. Plus she is a poet,

the author of MUSIC OF THEIR HOOVES: Poems About Horses.

 

1563971828

For more on the refreshing Nancy Springer and her many adventures & awards, this should be a good link.

(note: if there are glitches in this or the previous post, I’m working on them. I suspect my mac took a rare-

to-me virus, only recently discovered…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ubutu, the facts and the heart

bookseedstudio:

UBUTU “These are the important things in life.”

From Kathy Erskine, author of MOCKINGBIRD & the forthcoming THE BADGER KNIGHT

Originally posted on Kathyerskine's Blog:

scan0143 - Version 2August 26 is a bittersweet day.  My fifth book will publish (sweet) but 18 years ago to the day I lost my mother.  She was warm and wise, witty and fun, brave and beautiful.  And she’s the one who inspired me to pursue a writing career although she never knew it.  While she was proud that I became a lawyer and would always be able to take care of myself, I think she would’ve loved to read my books (whose mother doesn’t?) and been a proud supporter (like my sister, who has already ordered 30 copies of The Badger Knight for friends, whether they want it or not).

My mother was an excellent writer herself and I think dreamed of writing the Great American Novel but ran out of time.  Growing up, homework was our responsibility but she couldn’t help looking at papers we wrote with a critical eye.  Like a…

View original 518 more words

Summer

 Summer

by Jan Godown Annino

more time immersed in water

meals made without cooking them

less care with my looks

pared schedules

serendipity

daydreams

writing

reading

c.  Jan Godown Annino
Water!

This summer I’m in the water more than usual, but also,

working with deadlines I didn’t expect.

Below, I’m sharing lines from a poem that feels suited to my writer self, from a poem which I have long-admired by Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet who I have long-admired for more than this one poem.

After her poem, “The Art of Disappearing,” I share links to more about her and also, short poetry from Nye’s students.

The Art of Disappearing

by Naomi Shihab Nye

….When someone you haven’t seen in ten years

appears at the door,

don’t start singing him all your new songs.

You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.

Know you could tumble any second.

Then decide what to do with your time.

c. Naomi Shihab Nye

For more please see Naomi Shihab Nye

and also, American Academy of Poets

Fourteen years ago Nye brought students to publication in

SALTING THE OCEAN, 100 Poems by Young Poets, 

with perfect illustrations from Ashley Bryan.

If you remember family kerfluffles (usually the grownups) in tight summer quarters, this untitled one from then-student Amy S. A. is for you:

Untitled by Amy S.A.

The sky looks like the ocean.

The flowers smell like perfume.

But nobody’s happy.

c. 2000 Amy S.A.

 

That should be enough to help the grouchiest cottage-sharing grump

want to go sniff the roses.

 

Here is an excerpt of one by Karen A.L. from the same collection, in case your summer is sailing away too fast.  

Untitled

by Karen A.L.

Where does my free time go?

Does it fly off like a shooting star?

What if I don’t use it?

Does it feel neglected?

Or does it understand?

Is it all-encompassing?

Or know give-and-take?

Does it keep an alarm?….

c. 2000 Karen A.L.

POETRY FRIDAY  swims along this week, watched over by Reflections on the Teche.

Nelson Mandela by J. Patrick Lewis

copyright KADIR NELSON

copyright KADIR NELSON

 

July 18th is a day for Mr. Nelson Mandela, who said,

 

“It is within your hands to make of our world, a better world for all.”

 

Thank you, Anastasia Suen & POETRY FRIDAY & J. Patrick Lewis.

The J. Patrick Lewis poem gives me goose bumps, especially at one line:

Nelson Mandela International Day poem by J. Patrick Lewis.

 

Here is more on Mr. Mandela, Nobel winning peace maker:

http://www.mandeladay.com/

And here is even more, from his Foundation:

http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/biography

And finally, from Alicia Lewis Murray, (I don’t know if there is a Lewis-Lewis connection..)  here is a look at Mr. Mandela from the perspective of children’s books:

http://www.balancingmotherhood.com/2013/12/12/nelson-mandela-childrens-book/

The artwork here is from KADIR NELSON’s exceptional book, NELSON MANDELA as displayed with Alicia’s article.

 

Collecting poets : William Jay Smith

copyright 2014

copyright 2014

Collecting poems & poets: William Jay Smith

 

I’ve known one person with a hat box of printed poems she collected from here & there.

Magazines, mainly, but also plucked from church bulletins, found on post cards, and in newspapers, back when newspapers printed poems. The collector was my amazing mother, a secretary at Rockefeller Center, Victory Garden newspaper editor in WW II, agricultural census taker, country weekly editor & when I came along, agricultural features writer. She snipped & secured her poems inside the covers of books or slipped them into her many Bibles. James Whitcomb Riley, Robert Frost & Edna St. Vincent Millay were among her finds.

 

copyright 2014

copyright 2014

 

I like to think there are still poem collectors busy at their hobby, such as my mother was. Saving and snipping, keeping & curating individual poems. Her collected poems frequently illuminated nature, patriotism & death. A published collection I read that came close to what she did was put together by Caroline Kennedy, about her famous mother’s favorite poems.

I think the fun thing to do in collecting individual poems from hither & yon, is to find a topic so unlikely, the chase lasts long & the reward of finding a poem on that topic is more thunderous.

I did not find any William Jay Smith poems when I sifted through her treasures after she died. Smith is one of those esteemed creatives who is better known today for a title he held, than for individual poems. His selection as the first poet laureate was such a brand new thing in 1968, his title was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress before the more poetical laureate was added.

Although most of his considerable work is for adults, Smith also collected children’s poems into books, such as LAUGHING TIME, as you would expect, it’s a trove of nonsense verse. I got lucky in a used bookshop & discovered a volume of a handful of his children’s poems, AROUND MY ROOM, delightfully illustrated by Erik Blegvad.

AROUND MY ROOM   William Jay Smith, with illustrator Erik Blegvad

AROUND MY ROOM
William Jay Smith, with illustrator Erik Blegvad

Now, if you were collecting poems on a theme, how far would you have to go to find a poem on toasters? Or on dragons? And if a poem collector wants  a poem that incorporates a toasters & dragons, here is one not many people know, but they should.

 

The Toaster

A silver-scaled Dragon with jaws flaming read

Sits at my elbow and toasts my bread.

I hand him fat slices, and then, one by one,

He hands them back when he sees they are done.

_ from AROUND MY ROOM by William Jay Smith

 

I am indebted to the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University for introducing me to Smith, one of the university’s esteemed past-faculty, via a curated wall display of his work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your are reading this via the lyrical group of online poet fans, Poetry Friday, it is my hope that your own poems are destined for such a publication. Write on, write on….

 

Dad’s Days

Advice shared by my father –

Live as close to your work as possible

Never go to bed angry at anybody

Think pleasant thoughts

Grow vegetables & flowers

Look up at the night sky

Stand at the shore & think about who & what are on the other shore

Doubt what leaders, including preachers, say – look at what they do

Reading history is a better use of time than reading novels

copyright 2014

copyright 2014

  I think of his holding me under the night sky to watch a satellite pass by, helping me plant my first cherry tomatoes, carving me a letter opener & other gentle moments. 

My dear Dad died in the mid- 1970s. He arrived in the world the same year that the brothers Orville & Wilbur flew into history at Kitty Hawk, 1903. If you are low on your U.S. history time line of obscure cultural details & who isn’t –  this was also the same year that this limerick, which he never ceased to delight in reciting, is thought to have reached a vogue (WHAT HAPPENED WHEN/Gorton Carruth) –  

 

There once was a man from Nantucket

Who kept all his cash in a bucket

But his daughter named Nan

Ran away with a man

And as for the bucket – Nantucket!  

 

After salt-water fishing & intensive vegetable & flower gardening, including his prize-winning gladiolas, beloved pastimes of my dear Dad included reading non-fiction accounts of history, especially the ancient wars, the religions & cultures. He held a lifelong fascination with the Ethiopian emperor Haile Salassie.

 

His job as “Sarge” in the segregated military led him away from his racial prejudices. He said many times as I grew up, “The black recruits worked 10 times harder than the white boys & if I had to go off to war & I could choose, I would choose black soldiers first.”

Few people active in my life today knew him. And fewer still can spin me a yarn about him from the good ol’ days. But just in time for the sweet/bittersweet sequential slew of holidays that help me conjure up good memories of him

Memorial Day

His June birthday

Father’s Day

July 4th

Labor Day

Veteran’s Day  

 

on a sunny day in mid-May just a few weeks back, I opened our big black postal mailbox to find a cheerful yellow envelop with a card inside –

 

“Have I told you how very much I liked your Dad? He was so supportive after my Dad died. ….Once he took me with him to help set up fireworks in Princeton for the 4th of July….” The story kindly shared about this adventure is likely from the 1940s, well before I was born & involves my dear Dad & the locally famous Iorio Family with whom my father was pals. This surprise gift of a fun memory keeps me humming in what is now Florida’s Good Ol’ Summertime. I expect to pull the card out at bedside years hence, when I am in my 90s & reread (or, have it read to me…) when I want a moment of cheer.

DSCN6751 Dad lamented that he was too young to go to fight in World War I & too old to fight in WW II. But he wasn’t too old to shake a metal bed frame at 4 .a.m. in barracks at Fort Dix. N.J. (Camp Dix in 1917, near Wrightstown & almost named Camp 13) to cheerily greet raw recruits

Get off your a * * & on your feet

Your mama’s gone & I ain’t sweet  

 

He relished the call-and-response drill, which, among other rich history or origin, has the story/legend of  Private Willie Duckworth & his cadence, a marching sing-song famously associated in military folklore with a soldier marching in segregated drill on Long Island at Fort Slocum. I hasten to add that Private Duckworth’s clean lyrics didn’t remain that way as they spread through the service branches.  

As a kid Dad marched me, to my delight, with safe rhymes for child ears & I always remember the close –

Sound off! one two

Sound off! three four

Sound off, one two three four

one two three four!  

 

At times in my drill of writing, if I am finished with a piece  & able to write THE END, I also silently repeat the Sound off close. Won’t mean anything to you, but remembering that is a mighty fine shiver.

As a decommissioned Army warrant officer, Dad, who, was also a frequently lauded community blood donor, became a leader in the American Legion. In my rural child days at Quakertown N.J.’s cozy Fourth of July parades & then in longer patriotic tributes in the county seat, Flemington, N.J., I delighted in seeing him in military uniform. He marched beside the flag honor guard at the head of our holiday parades. It was on the sidelines of these parades where I learned to stand up & put hand over heart as the ruffle of drums approached, with the grand U.S. Flag, next marching by.

 

In the way children figure things, in my mind the entire parade was my father’s parade, because after all, he was the Leader. And with both my mother and father involved to various extents in local weekly newspapers, I was raised to understand that our patriotism celebrated not only the military victory in WWII, but it also included a fierce pride about the First Amendment.

 

Recently I learned that the Legion grounds, plus the building he helped to have constructed, as commander of his post, had been valued for the American Legion at $2..2 million in Flemington, N.J.

 

Well done, dear Dad, good &  faithful, U.S. servant.DSCN6743          

Poet characters

ZURI Jackson is a junior poet character who writes:

Danitra’s scared of pigeons. I promised not to tell.

Then I opened my big mouth and out the secret fell.

I tried to shove it right back in, though it was much too late.

I told her I was sorry, but Danitra didn’t wait.

lines from “The Secret” in MEET DANITRA BROWN by Nikki Grimes.

 

 

DSCN4451

My, how I like it that this Zuri, lively child, is eager for the world to know about her buddy, Danitra Brown. And I like it that Zuri shares their foibles, with abandon. And  what introspections the two city girls trade.

A boy said Zuri has toothpick legs & he called out Danitra for her “big and thick and round” eyeglasses. (Since both accusations fit child days of yours truly, my heartmelt happened with the Zuri poem these moments are in,”Coke-bottle Brown.”)

But even more, I like it that Zuri expresses all her vibrant ideas through her own poetry, which tumbles through the entire picture book like a downspout gushing on a sidewalk.

Extra treat –  warm oil wash illustrations by artist Floyd Cooper  are expectedly poetic.   You’ll be wanting more of Danitra, especially her school events, and country days, so look into  her subsequent poetry picture books, also by the poet brings her to us, Nikki Grimes: DANITRA BROWN, CLASS CLOWN &  DANITRA BROWN LEAVES TOWN. They are, to borrow a word from junior poet Danitra, splendiferous.

JUNIOR POETS LIST

Lucky to meet

Zuri, Ratchet, Jack

poets who

hope

cry

laugh

love

in words on the page

Their names collected

on

JUNOR POETS page.

 

There is room for more. Send along a word about the character, title, author please to JGAoffice at gmaildot com

Let me know your name if that’s unclear from your email so I can properly thank you.

Citation: Poetry Characters/Bookseedstudio © Jan Godown Annino.

Green Poetry

Kermit’s green is a color that surrounds us here in North Florida so you would think it is hard to miss. But guess what – don’t we all experience how that which is familiar, can become less special?

But, Ho! Visitors from the parched West arrive. And they play in our nature’s backyard. And so we play, too. And it’s like feeling the world anew with the sensory overload of a healthy toddler.

“Green! It’s so green here,” they marvel, these green-seeking, water-wanting folks. And they are right, thank them. Through their eyes my hubby & I see our gorgeous green world, again. And in celebration, I’m sharing the color green from three poets writing for children.

 

THE GREAT BIG GREEN by Peggy Gifford, with illustrations from my friend Lisa Desimini, is the newest book.

 

“The thing is,

the thing is green.

And the green is,

the green is green.

And by green I mean

real

mean

I mean

dragon green

anaconda green

electric-eel green

green-iguanas-in-the-sun green.”

c. 2014 Peggy Gifford

c. Lisa Desimini and Peggy Gifford

c. Lisa Desimini and Peggy Gifford

 

 

I like the way Peggy dips into the hues and presents  tints of greens not always covered in books about colors for children. The surprise riddle that runs through this picture book is fun to test whether you & the kiddos can solve this one. I think you will!

Lisa provides a note about the scanning of her own skin, photos & other materials for the mixed media collages, including green marble from the Emerald Isle, Ireland.

The spectrum of inventive green art & word imagery of THE GREAT BIG GREEN make this a mighty fine addition to any colorful bookshelf for young readers.

 

WELCOME TO THE GREEN HOUSE by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Laura Regan is the first book about the tropical rainforest (as opposed to our U.S. Pacific NW rainforest) that our family spent time with when our college age daughter was a toddler. It’s a challenge to pick just a few lines to share but here goes:

 

“…where the slow, green-coated sloth

and the quick-fingered capuchin

make their slow-quick ways

from room to room

in the green house,

in the dark green,

light green,

bright green,

copper green,

blue green,

ever-new green house.”

c.1993 Jane Yolen

 

My signed copy is on the To Mail shelf, as it was won just this week, here.

But the claimant didn’t have a chance yet to come forward with a postal address so if that continues, I may become fortunate & move it back to my permanent poetry pile.

 

c. Jane Yolen and Laura Regan

c. Jane Yolen and Laura Regan

 

HAILSTONES & HALIBUT BONES by Mary O’Neill with illustrations by John Wallner (Leonard Weisgard created art for the very first edition) is the standard against which I think about books on color for children. We received this modern classic (with a storylife of its own as a multimodal way of sharing color with sightless or low-vision children) as a family gift from writer/editor Susan Cerulean when my hubby & I were new to parenting. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate how this sophisticated yet accessible book would work wonders. It’s a book to have read to you, with your eyes closed, as each color is represented in a Mary O’Neill poem through the feeling it can create.

HAILSTONES & HALIBUT BONES is a deft, deep & delicious collection of poems about colors. I know I haven’t seen every childrens’ book on all the colors, but I’m guessing that if I did, HH&B would sill rank with as my personal best.

 

Here is Mary O’Neill on, “What is Green?”

 

“Green is the grass

And the leaves of trees

Green is the smell

Of a country breeze.

Green is lettuce

And sometimes the sea

When green is a feeling

You pronounce it N.V.

Green is a coolness

You get in the shade

Of the tall old woods

Where the moss is made.”

c. 1961 Mary O’Neill

c. Mary O'Neill and John Wallner

c. Mary O’Neill and John Wallner

 

“Green Poetry” article citation: Bookseedstudio/Jan Godown Annino April 11, 2014

c. all rights reserved

 

Answering questions

Kathy Halsey, a retired librarian who is writing for children, wants to know:

Q: What is your writing process?

Q: What are you currently working on?

Q: And so forth.

 

all rights reserved

all rights reserved

A:

First, thank you for your career, Kathy, matching books to readers.

And thank you for your 2nd career, as a writer.

Back to the first. You likely answered ga-zillions of queries from anxious writers, seeking, for example an obscure local cookbook/history about Michigan maple sugaring via inter-library loan, from upper/lost/outer beautiful Michigan. Writers are also thankful for that. (Note to local taxpayers, support your library when it wants to continue the inter-library loan service, please.)

More  A:

WRITING PROCESS I

Here is what should be, but is not always, on hand:

Cat, to do the typing

A deadline

Good health, rested body, peaceful mind

Fair trade (no child slave labor) organic dark chocolate, early a.m. only

Guayaki yerba mate (my hubby introduced it when he returned from Argentina), also a.m. only

An idea that I think about day & night & in my dreams & during conversations about movies & while I’m eating & walking & on & on. This is crucial.

The information I find to go with that idea.

 

Look at that.  Very little, to get me going.

I write in a rainbow of genres. For children, poetry, picture story book, concept book (like ABCs) illustrated non-fiction, fiction in chapter book & middle grade. For adults, magazine pieces, chapter contributions to non-fiction books, my own travel guides, poetry, & mystery stories.

So let’s narrow the mass down to a bit about how I wrote the newest book, SHE SANG PROMISE.

And this will also help me answer the pressing question of a school librarian from Winnetka IL, about the process for writing this specific book.

My newest book is an illustrated story from the life of a Native American leader who became a national figure with her achievements, including a presidential appointment. But she primarily made headlines in her home state, Florida.

And for kids, it was important to research one of her career oddities – she wrestled alligators. In the late 1940s, before reality teevee. For very little money.

I needed:

Interviews

Local/regional/Tribe histories

A good oral history library

An understanding of events during the time span 1920s-1980s

My subject’s memoir & other publications

Old photographs/information about period clothing

Site visits to subject’s house/reservation/museums

My subject’s permission to tell her story to children (required by the publisher, but something I desire, anyhow)

Copy of her storytelling video

Details of her adult achievements

Observation of alligators & of people wrestling them

The story of her world took place significantly outdoors, so I needed notes about the flora & fauna & geography & weather of her child days.

I needed to begin lining up expert readers, to review my manuscript.

And I probably needed a few other things, which I am forgetting, here.

 

WRITING PROCESS II

When I amassed shelves & binders & paper files of materials, including my subject’s newspaper articles & columns, because she edited her tribe’s paper, I began to write.

It was clunky.

So I did what any writer does. I turned to the editor for this project.

And bless her. She sent me lovely illustrated biographies. And then she gave me titles of others, to go look up.

 

In the second group, I found one that lit a fire under me & is still a favorite, when I read it in school.

It was created by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & Mary Azarian.

I get prickles on my arm when I remember first holding the powder blue cover, fringed with snowflakes. This wood-cut-assisted beauty is one of the best picture books I know about a real, but lesser-known, individual of our planet (that is the sort of person I am drawn to write about. ) The book  is SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY, a Caldecott winner.

And that book about a boy in Vermont obsessed with snowflakes, was a portal into feeling that I could pick my way along the path of  the story of a girl who grew up in subtropical Florida, keeping all manner of wild & domestic creatures as pets in her own informal hot-climate, outdoors zoo. Very different children, geography & life paths.

But the SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY team’s excellent storytelling in words & pictures inspired me.

 

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Artwork by Mary Azarian

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Artwork by Mary Azarian

Yet, I was still not writing something to send my editor.

How to begin it ? How to begin it?

When I disliked a ga-zillion first pages, I turned to something that has always amused me since my child days when I created a little cartoon character, Beanie. And that is, doodling. And so I doodled loopy loop shapes. And then on another page, after a few shapes took shape, I dropped the pad. I was unhappy. I looked up & saw on my wall, a map of Florida. The state where my subject was from. And I picked up the pad & began to draw an outline of the state of Florida. I began in the far northwest in the Panhandle. When my thick fat dark pencil reached the southeast part of the state, words appearing from who knows where  – the stars? the swamp?  engaged my neurons: “Think of a gigantic place at the end of land…”

And that was it. I was off and running.

Because I had amassed information on aspects of the world of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, my subject, pieces of her life that would be kid magnets, I just kept on & on with the writing. Then, because I had written too much, my editor & the editor above her, helped me squeeze out duplications, of which there were umpteen-many.

O! there were many. But they got gone.

The story is told in chronological order, assisted with luscious artwork from Lisa Desimini, a letter to children from the subject’s son, and notes of further information for older children, parents, librarians & teachers.

Kirkus said: “Short poetic stanzas join jewel-toned illustrations to sing the satisfying story of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.”

It is an American Library Association Top Ten Amelia Bloomer book (a list of titles about exemplary girls and women), it is selected by the National Council on the Social Studies &  it won the Florida Book Awards gold medal. The full title is SHE SANG PROMISE: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader.  It is part of the Accelerated Reader program & its listed on several library/history archives as a reference on Native American topics.

By Jan Godown Annino and Lisa Desimini

By Jan Godown Annino and Lisa Desimini

 

Q: What is your current project?

CURRENT PROJECT

A:  A few in the cooker. This year so far I sent several poems for children to a university publisher’s contest & also submitted to an independent publisher, a 3,400-word mystery short story for adults. Another illustrated biography that I enjoyed researching is finished, not contracted, being read. I recently had fun writing a picture book based on my revision of a children’s folksong that has cool present-day ties, & I finished poems of whimsey, on a theme, for kiddos. A third new picture book manuscript is also almost ready to send out. If any of those see a green light I will  switch off from my zippy novel-in-progress for middle grade, & revise the previous project (s). Much as I love the current story & main character set in the 1960s in Florida, I hope for the temporary interruption via the working with-an-editor phase, of one of the “finished” pieces.

Thanks so very much for these Qs Kathy. And good luck with your contributions to the mighty fine new blog, GROG.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A young poet in character

The poet Naomi Shihab Nye edited the poetry anthology SALTING THE OCEAN, which is afloat with the vibrant writings of young poets. Like Nye, I think that attention paid to young poet voices can build peace, provide future strong leaders and just make any poet’s day.

If you agree, Poetry Out Loud,  is a brilliant program you may want to run out & connect with. I volunteered with POL recently & hope to help out more, next time around.

In the 1950s in my state, Florida, a Putlizer-Prize winning author thought about a young poet.

In doing so, the author created a character not seen often then. An elementary-age poet character. If you know of a recent (within 3 years or forthcoming) picture book or illustrated book (not YA, which pays tribute to teen poet charactersoften enough) for children that features a elementary age character who is a poet, I would like to know for my list.

In the meantime, young poet Calpurnia is a character to consider. She is inspired by her dog, to write poetry:

 

My dog’s name is Buggy-horse

         Of course.

 

Our young poet further writes:

 

Lovely day,

Come what may.

         If I did not love

                           my mother

                                    and my father

 

         I would run away.

         Because

                           it is a running-away

         Kind of day.

from THE SECRET RIVER

 

With the birds chit-chittering outside my open window

 

With the two kinds of azalea in the yard (native & exotic) nodding pink petals on the March breeze

 

With my Western cousins having just swept through town on their way home, enticing us with video of their kayak adventures among manatees, alligators and living whelks

It

feels like

a running-away day.

I can’t run.

Why –

just been away in Boston & then immediately after, Central Florida

hosting a critique meeting soon

have 3 essay deadlines

And mostly, my writing deserves this keyboard time.

But – if you are north of Garden Zone 8 &  your winter has lasted longer than usual this year, is it time for your running-away day?

I hope so, remembering the advice of one of my favorite writers for children, Cynthia Rylant, who said that instead of reading an interview with her online, a writer should probably go and play.

 

Did you guess the adult creator of the young poet who was inspired by her dog?

It is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, in THE SECRET RIVER.

Timeless, lovely story, in each of its two editions:

 

THE SECRET RIVER  by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

THE SECRET RIVER
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

 

 

THE SECRET RIVER by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings illustrated by  Leo & Diane Dillon

THE SECRET RIVER by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
illustrated by
Leo & Diane Dillon

 

 

 

 

Ursus

This time of year big black refrigerators of the woods, bears, still slumber in the United States.

Bear specialists tell us that here in Florida, they don’t enter a true hibernation.

A few published poems of mine are about black bears. That is fitting as these wild, grub and berry eaters and I have met up three times unexpectedly. I’m not looking for any more crossing of paths, except in literature.

When I pick up a poetry collection that is new to me, as I have with Lucille Clifton’s evocative BLESSING THE BOATS, I am drawn to any poem story that employs themes in my world, such as the Ursus topic.

BLESSING’s poem, “imagining bear” is dedicated to Alonzo Moore,  Sr., by Lucille Clifton.

In part, it reads:

imagine him too tall and too wide

for the entrance to the parlor  

imagine his hide gruff; the hair on him

grizzled even to his own hand  

imagine his odor surrounding him

rank and bittersweet as bark  

I am struck by this on a rainy Wednesday morning. An idea I ponder is how fur-bearing animals don’t catch colds, develop bronchitis, from routine soakings in the wild.  (Manatees can develop pneumonia.)

A character I have summoned and have put on an island is someone who I think of in bear metaphors.

Clifton’s bear and my bears,  new character and in poems  (Milkweed Editions, the one & two with The Journal of Florida Literature) aren’t the Orlando bears most associated with my state, the theme world entertainers.

Although, tenderly handling the ragged bear hand puppet that survived my childhood, I found a muse to bring me bear poems for little children.

In sober poems, bears frighten. They are prowlers.

As Clifton writes:

imagine his growl filling the wind  

Here is a review that does justice to Lucille Clifton’s BLESSING THE BOATS.

SUGAR HILL

When I made a trip from Florida to visit a newsgal pal, Deborah, who lived in New York City in the 1980s, one day I arranged to ride a bus to one of the city’s most fascinating neighborhoods, Harlem.

Harlem is connected to Florida in many ways but especially because Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Augusta Savage and other talented cultural icons we share about with our kiddos in school, home & at the library, went from Florida to NYC & then onward in their great careers.

At that time, the only place

for them to be

in NYC

was Harlem.

Our Harlem tour was mighty fine. I have news of a new tour, with these introductory words by poet Carole Boston Weatherford:

                                                Sugar Hill Sugar Hill

                                                Where life is sweet

                                               And the neighbors smile

                                                   At all they greet!

The is from a rhyming tribute to a part of Harlem, Sugar Hill elegantly portrayed in images by artist R. Gregory Christie.

Both the poet and illustrator have earned a block full of children’s literature awards.  Not only have I given some of their books as gifts, but I was also fortunate to hear Ms. Weatherford read her poetry once.

If you are like me, you’ll want to read more of the rhymes. Until you can find this brand new picture book, here are some of Christie sketches for SUGAR HILL, HARLEM’S HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOOD, through the courtesy of the artist and, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  Hope you book your tour.

Arnold Adoff’s LOVE LETTERS

It’s Valentine Time & Poetry Friday on Feb. 14, 2014,  all together in one big cookie.

For young readers in Kindergarten it will be lovely to share some verses from the picture book, LOVE LETTERS, by poet Arnold Adoff.

I will read the verses I know will get giggles, first.

But I think I will close the book with one for those minutes in school (or life) where we need a lift.

Dear Self:

How

are

you?

How am I?

I

am

fine.

Fine I am: because

I am my

number one valentine.

Your

First

Love.

~ Arnold Adoff

Arnold Adoff’s spacing is more poetic than I have represented above; my apologies because my keyboarding isn’t duplicating it.

Here is a previous Bookseedstudio post on the lovely LOVE LETTERS book, which shows off  images from the book’s artist,

a pal of mine in creative projects, Lisa Desimini:

https://bookseedstudio.wordpress.com/category/valentines/

Here at home my bizee hubby & I began celebrating Valentine’s Day last night.

We laughed for nearly two hours during the SPAMALOT musical.

I hope everyone finds a way to LOVEALOT, LAUGHALOT or even LIKEALOT.

There is more goodness at POETRY FRIDAY. hosted by TeacherDance.

Copyright © 2008-2014 · all rights reserved · Jan Godown Annino

© copyright Bookseedstudio Jan GodownAnnino

© copyright Bookseedstudio
Jan GodownAnnino

Asteroids, sheep, flower

I love where we live but this afternoon I have a strong urge to build a rocket and land it at the Morgan Library,

where our family has enjoyed hours among the giant rooms and manuscripts. Today I would dwell with materials curated by  Christine Nelson, about THE LITTLE PRINCE.

Since I won’t be doing that I’m pleased there are keystrokes and pixels to take me on a tour about how this book that enchanted me years ago and has not lost any charm, came to be.  The disappearance of the aviator /author/illustrator who gave his life while fighting against the Nazis is also covered. As are his New York City locales during his creation of the manuscript.

Maybe you will want to head to these starry Saint-Exupery sites  with me. THE LITTLE PRINCE appeared in

U.S.A.bookstores (1943) before arriving in his native France (1946.)

POETRY FOUNTAIN

THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM

THE NEW YORK TIMES – In His Footsteps

THE NEW YORK TIMES – 70 Years On, Magic Concocted in NYC

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/arts/design/the-morgan-explores-the-origins-of-the-little-prince.html?_r=0

Angel Island

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty were important to  my family, where stories were told about my mother’s Irish and Danish relatives landing on U.S.A. shores.

As a Jersey gal for the first stretch of my child days, images of the outstretched arm and golden lamp were more tangible than other U.S.A. icons, say, for example, Mount Rushmore, or the Golden Gate Bridge.

Our collective U.S.A. heritage includes another immigration station, Angel Island. It is this Western shore processing area that a book including poems translated by Evans Chen, for ages 7-12, now visits. The historic poems by immigrants are presented by the noted non-fiction researcher/writer for young readers, Russell Freedman. I am grateful to know about it, through two librarians, known as The Nonfiction Detectives.

Listen up:

“For more than twenty days I fed on wind and tasted waves.

With luck, I arrived safely in the United States.

I thought I could land in a few days.

How was I to know that I would become a prisoner

                                                                             suffering in this wooden building?”

 

As The Nonfiction Detectives explains, poetry on forgotten walls led to this book. It was only through the interest of a California park ranger, Alexander Weiss, who discovered the priceless expressions and alerted the Asian community to rally to save the works, that the wider world now can know of them through this book.

The immigrants’ journey across the Pacific is covered in non-poetry text, along with the role of Angel Island. The RF trademark,  historic black and white documentary photographs, are counterpoint to some of the immigrants’ saved poems. Unique.

20140116-203129

 

Poetry Friday

Today is Friday, PoetryFriday! (Poetry Friday links are below)

Today, among the three or four mighty fine books I’ll have time to read in school as a BookPALS volunteer to five classes, I’ll share this favorite:

WHEN LUCY GOES OUT WALKING.

This is a fun calendar book from Ashley Wolff.  I am lucky to have met both Ms. Wolff & also, her sweet Lucy of times ago, who was the real model for many an Ashley Wolff book.  Each month brings us the pup, Lucy, in her first year of life.

The children I read to are keen to see how tiny Lucy is pictured  in January, compared to how big she has grown, romping in December’s snowy poem.  Much as they will shoot up there, in 2014, eh?

My favorite poem is August,  for a finicky feline reason:

“When Lucy goes out walking

In August’s muggy heat,

The neighbor cats all scatter

Up and down the street.

To and fro

Where’d they go?

In August’s mugggy heat.”

-Ashley Wolff

The art for this poem include orange kitties. So of course I am sure they are our Ginger cat.

If you would like to dwell more in  poetry for children, please take time today or this weekend to visit:

Ashley Wolff

Teaching Authors

Poetry Friday – today hosted by Donna at Mainely Write.

Poetry Friday is a weekly community of readers and writers in children’s literature. They remember their own childhood joy in knowing poetry. And now they are passing it on.

 

Miracle Mail

Miracle Mail  from  Bookseedstudio/ Jan Godown Annino

The entryway basket brims with these.

December card with lighted trees,  Tucson, AZ

December card with lighted trees, Tucson, AZ

Every holiday card in the palm frond basket is plucked from our ginormous black box at the end of our driveway.

As a child on my appointed rounds, as I ambled in the scratchy fields and skimmed along the sides of dark woods,

a mile post I liked to spot was a mailbox.

They marked entrances to private lanes that snaked through lands where fox, deer and raccoon ate.

When I came upon one or a few boxes collecting road dust, nailed to a weathered wood platform jammed in the ground at the side of our  very Rural Free Delivery route, I thought of them as treasure boxes.

Unlike other country children who made sport of opening boxes to deposit a bubble gum wrapper or to pronounce a distant postmark like

Kalamazoo, I never dared open any mailbox but our own.

My mother raised me to respect the privacy of the U.S. Mail.  I watched how, when her name wasn’t on the address, she wouldn’t open an envelope or package delivered to our mailbox. This held true for 3rd class mail, such as a seed catalogue offering money tree plants and gladiolus bulbs.

My mother was a former big city news reporter with a stunning supply of worldly knowledge, who in my child days met deadlines from her home office as a country weekly agricultural writer. She taught me that it was a FEDERAL OFFENSE to take anything out of a mailbox  that wasn’t ours.  She was the only mother who somehow had the scoop that the mailbox was part of the vast U.S. Postal system and  woe to those who would tamper with the  sanctity of the U.S. Mail.  She did mention jail.

poster311_sml

With her pledge of allegiance to the letter law, she delivered  a gift to this mailbox watcher.

What was in those secret mailboxes? Could I guess?

In my mind the mailbox of the family with the dairy herd and egg-laying chickens got letters complaining about the manure smell.

Maybe our neighbor the airline pilot got tissue paper envelopes with slices of red white and blue around the border, indicating Air Mail from Los Angeles where they made the movies or London where Mary Poppins lived.

And our famous neighbor around on the other side of the fields and ravine woods, by a branch of the Raritan River, the cartoonist, maybe he received boxes of brilliant colored inks and pens.

These far-off thoughts return to me after days away for Holidays, as I resume my appointed rounds past mailboxes in North Florida urban woods. Sidewalks and good pavement smooth my way, instead of having to navigate rutted side of the road ditches. But most mailboxes look a lot like those of my kid  years in New Jersey, in black or silver tones. Ours aren’t locked boxes, as are so many today.

During the holidays, at a resort where went to see some mighty fine clear salty waters that held gentle giants, the manatees,  a woman saw me my reading one morning as I luxuriated in a wonderful newspaper that I don’t hold in my hands often enough, The Tampa Bay Times (formerly known as the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. when I was a cub reporter there, just a teen.)

“Any good news in it?” she asked in a voice that said she doubted that.

I looked up from the resort lobby sofa to find a smiling open face on a woman with a blonde ponytail, who I judged to be about 45.

I smiled back, silent.  I was deep into an article about a thoughtful couple who recently lived for a month using only candlelight after dark.

The smell of print newspapers is like perfume to me. I fished her out the food and feature sections. They are almost guaranteed to carry between the two of them, hundreds of items, small and larger than small, that are good news.  And that’s every day.  I went back to my reading & thinking, before the start of a busy family day.

“Guess there never is any good news,” she continued.

Of course I looked again.

She hadn’t picked up the sections I offered.

“Oh, there is good news in the paper every day, “ I said, pleasantly. I looked down to the sections on the sofa cushion that separated us.

The face that looked back said she didn’t buy that. So I mentioned club news and fun events in the parks and birthday announcements and parties to go to and charity successes and new recipes and Good Samaritan stories. A mailbox full of good news, if you read each piece.

“They always point out the bad,” she went on, ignoring my idea.

So I said, pleasantly, “Maybe it’s that people choose to remember the bad news. Or…” I looked at the languishing sections I had offered, ”…they don’t even read the good news.”  I went back to my reading. I saw her later, filling a to- go coffee in the lobby and wished her a good new year.

When I walk in my neighborhood I notice the flower beds and bikes left in the yard and cats snug against a warm back tire. Remembering F.R.D,

I also like to look at the mailboxes.

Good news # 1.  Almost every mailbox recently held a card of good cheer. Some mailboxes, like ours,  delivered MANY cards of good cheer:

Good news #2.  Isn’t an unlocked mailbox that it opened only by those entitled to, a daily miracle of  the mail? Send someone a treasured family photograph from the good old days, or a box of homemade cookies. Or mail a handmade bookmark, a crayon drawing, a postcard from vacation. Know that your postal mail won’t be tampered with, part of a social experiment that dates back to Ben Franklin (and the establishment of the U.S. Mail P.O. Department in 1792 following his becoming postmaster in 1775.)

Good news #3  If you live in a neighborhood where the mailboxes are locked up because the mail stands a large chance of being tampered with, know that there are still  hundreds, maybe thousands of zip codes (there are more than 42,000 U.S.A. zips according to Wikipedia) where the door to your old-fashioned mail box can hang ajar, even full frontal open, with contents vulnerable inside and yet the most human tampering that will be done is a gentle shoving of the door closed, by some neighbor, on her appointed rounds.

Happy postal mail, happy new year.

In the company of trees

Think of your strong images of trees.

Climbing? Jumping from them? Picking pears from low branches? I am fortunate to know days of those sports. Here are more leaves of this memory scrapbook –

Palms bowing down against the wet sluice of hurricanes.

Brown hairs of Resurrection Fern transforming to lime green after rain.

Morning glory vines traveling up a tree trunk, in purple bloom

Imagining the scattered community Champion trees of Florida & delighting in knowing the giant grove our trees across the state cumulatively contribute, to the national compilation.

An open air performance of my one-act play about visionary Laura Jepsen, under a live oak tree named Lichgate Oak, the tree that Laura Jepsen saved in Lichgate Park.

A bouquet of  shiny magnolia leaves, forevermore evergreen, to editor & writer Nancy Adams, who wrote a journal entry about memories of trees, which brought me to focus my thoughts beyond the annual Christmas tree hunt.

Closing with exuberant wishes for a great Christmas season & also with my photographs of three beloved Florida trees-

Fishing net and lights tree of Cedar Key

Doll tree at Dania/Hollywood of the Seminole Tribe of Florida

Beloved, legendary Lichgate Oak, Tallahassee . All photographs c. Jan Godown Annino

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Gratitude in this latitude

Haiku poems offer the reader stories in three little lines.

For this time of gratitude, here  are Thankus,

Haiku poems of thanks. I am fortunate to know about

THANKUS from poet April Halprin Wayland.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

FLORIDA THANKUS

Giving Thanks #1

by Jan Godown Annino

Run red hills and dale

Not found in Sarasota

We are like Georgia

"Betty Mae" by Pat

“Betty Mae” by Pat

Giving thanks #2

by Jan Godown Annino

A gift from grade school

Impressive alligator

Glad it is paper

 

I still like paper

I Still Like Paper

I am playing around with a parade of poems that might true up into a collection, one that has pieces for families & their young kiddos.

A poem that may not fit, because it is not silly enough,  but still, I like it,  is  “Thinking Cap.”

Thinking Cap

My aunts and mother loved poetry

They rhymed in time

About bugs

Like Emily’s bees

They recited verse from good to worse

Their performance tickled me

“The Quangle Wangle’s Hat”

by Edward Lear

Was one they held especially dear

They hooted at the way

Critters climbed the hat

And sat

And sat

Now when I feel unfunny

Or if I need some honey

I put on my thinking cap

And feel the memory –

Their performance of

That hat

That hat

– Jan Annino Godown

If you take poetry chapbooks along for travel reading you know they impress older folks, who begin to talk about poetry recitation/elocution/memorization assignments of their Youth. Here are two collections I keep close by on my shelves. And then I pick them up for travel around town or across the states.

Natasha Trethewey  NATIVE GUARD

“…jailors to those who still would have us slaves. They are cautious, dreading the sight of us…”

The biography of Sonia Sotomayer, a photographic history of Florida in the Great Depression & Jimmy Carter’s novel about the American Revolution are among my recent, non-poetry, bedside reads. So maybe it follows that in chapbooks I will migrate to ones that collect real & imagined memories of family & history.

Natasha Trethewey’s NATIVE GUARD marches into my heart with the news that in the Civil War, units formed up beginning in 1862 of black U.S. Army soldiers that would eventually guard Confederate  P.O.W.s  This tinderbox, combined with the author’s own Mississippi heritage of being born to a mixed-race couple at a time when that was illegal, helps form the drumbeat for a stark collection that references Faulkner, the Civil War Diary of Col. Nathan W. Daniels, Nina Simone, Winslow Homer & the murder of this poet’s mother when Natasha Trethewey was only 19. It is not easy to put down, unless it is to stare off  & think long & hard. NATIVE GUARD earned a 2007 Pulitzer Prize. And Trethewey was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate.

Nancy Willard  IN THE SALT MARSH

“My mother’s sisters knew the art

of telling tales, and lies so new

all those who heard them called them true”

Here in North Florida, the Gulf of Mexico coast curves like a dancer’s outstretched arm. A marsh grass shoreline evolves, not good for beach blankets. The rhythms of this Other Coast are described by Jack & Ann Rudloe, Susan Cerulean, Bruce Means & Ellie Whitney, among others.  Their non-fiction about this land dimples my bookshelf with a shallow curve, an echo of the treasured salt grass fringe. IN THE SALT MARSH, poems titled “Deer Skull,” “The Sandbar,” and “The Ladybugs,” could have been inspired from our region.  My favorites, “Houses,” (the fragment above) and “The Way She Left Us,” feel as if the poet is a relative who limned people I loved for these lines. Nancy Willard is from Michigan. She created a 1985 novel set in the 1940s that imagined baseball luminaries in an unusual game,  (before the A Field of Dreams movie arrived, adapted from Shoeless Joe.) Her writing has won the O. Henry Award, the Newbery Award, & the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. She is a retired Vassar professor.  I found her through  children’s poetry & stories that she is beloved for, and continue to learn from her in her guides to writing (especially TELLING TIME), her adult poems, fiction, & her other magic, line drawings.

If you are still with me, when I came through recent astigmatism & cataract surgery (never better, thanks to a precision surgeon & staff) it was a soft notebook of thirsty, flecked, rag paper & a gaggle of pencils & pens that kept my ideas from racing away, before I could return to the glarish (is that a word? glare + garish) computer screen. So, I Still Like Paper, and think that I always will.

artwork c. Nancy Willard from an autograph on TELLING TIME

artwork c. Nancy Willard
from an autograph on TELLING TIME

Detour for the Sotomayor Kids

DETOUR FOR THE SOTOMAYOR KIDS

It runs in families, como una maldicion

*

The stories of Greek gods and heroes sustained me

that summer and beyond

*

In a room all closed up in glass

 a man stood breaking necks

one after another

and a machine plucked the feathers

*

Junior and I sat on the floor

surrounded by piles of books

like explorers at the base of Everest

 *

The feeling of the poem

came through

clearly

in the music of Abuelita’s voice

and in the look of faraway longing

in the faces of her listeners

 *

…in Abuelita’s

joyful generosity

her passion for life and poetry

her power to heal

*

Such strong women are no rarity in our culture

— found poetry, from MY BELOVED WORLD by Sonia Sotomayor, United States Supreme Court Justice

My favorite October read is about the only Supreme Court Justice who mixed supremely well with both the Fendi women of Italy and, the fiambrera women of Puerto Rico who packed lunchpails, fiambreras, for their families. What made the difference in the lives of Junior, and his big sister, Sonia? They were from the Bronx, once nicknamed Fort Apache, the sidewalks, playgrounds and school yards were so much a war zone during their childhoods.

Attend Dr. Barbara Heusel’s  outstanding book talk. Read the justice’s unflinching autobiography as an outsider at Princeton and Yale and a rookie prosecutor in New York City. Share with  younger readers  her story by Jonah Winter, with artwork from Edel Rodriguez,

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Poetry Friday in October

Poetry Friday in October

It is easy in October

To forget the clover

Of the summertime shade

As the pumpkin candles flicker

And our steps are going quicker

Find a bit of bookade with the poetry of these days

 

Presenting a Poetry Friday collection of select  silly Halloween Read Alouds. enjoy!

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