Verse novels love persona poems

Creative Margaret hosts the Poetry drumming this week at

LOVE for persona poems

posted by J.G. Annino

I’ve been enjoying a stack of novels in
verse & they send me looking into what these engaging
creatures are all about.

A visit to poet/instructor/sweet Poetry Friday pal/Tuscany expert
Renee LaTulippe’s No Water Water poetry site,
led me to that site section of Post Index & the entry, Verse Novels.
Many nourishing details there!

Then I toggled over to Michelle H. Barnes’
Today’s Little Ditty. In this month, May 2016,
Michelle, my poetry workshop pal/Poetry Friday guru & all-around
wonderful Florida colleague, features an interview with poet Laura Shovan about personal poems. Laura’s debut MG novel, which I featured here in my last post, is a novel in verse.
Laura asked for poems written in response to her writing prompt
and they appear daily on Today’s Little Ditty this month.

Did you know persona poems love verse novels and
of course, vice versa?

A persona poem lands

The shore at our part of the Gulf of Mexico is sand marsh. And that marsh and that shore make all the difference, in spring & fall.

For some birds, the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is the first
landfall, after a punishing migratory haul across water.

And so it was that recently we ventured on an
old path at the St. Marks refuge. Old, but never before trod by us.
The grassy way was busy with plant & insect inhabitants,
but not with visiting uprights.



We admired everything, including water lilies opened to the sun
in still pools, the last pom pom bursts of purple thistle spikes
and assorted small yellow and orange beauties.

We found adult butterflies and juvenile grasshoppers.
When we met one critter I couldn’t identify & I wondered –
who are you?

by J.G. Annino

Dear bird watcher,

You saw a flash, pale yellow
I heard you – “What a pretty fellow>”
Do not think me here for show
I face treacherous miles to go

While you watch me on this thistle
Think – he had to stop and wet his whistle
Think – what other creatures has he seen
Think – what is his perch when humans dream

I lift my wings – I’ve seen seeds
After drink and rest it’s food I need
While wings beat steady steady again
Go write a poem, be my friend

I must fly,
Bob, traveling bobolink

c. Jan Godown Annino 2016

c. JanGodownAnnino

c. JanGodownAnnino

Some after story
Bob O’Lincoln is the call some birders
attributed to this bird. Over long time that name
evolved to the lyrical way we say it today.
A tagged bobolink once traveled 12,000 miles in migration.
In a day a bobolink can fly up to 1,000 miles. Without a
suitcase! Bobolinks like rice fields, to glean the grains, such as
in Louisiana & South Carolina on their way to Canada or The North U.S.
Sources: Cornell Ornithology Lab online

A thank you chirp for bobolink identification of this photo –
which I took May 7, 2016 on our walk at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge –
trilled out to my birding/writing pal, dear/near neighbor, Ann Morrow.
And two chirps of thanks to Michelle H. Barnes of the always illuminating Today’s Little Ditty, & to Laura Shovan for the persona poem prompt.

Laura Shovan, April Halprin Wayland, Jame Richards

Happy Last Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month goodness!
Bloggers of the poetry party, are well-rounded up by the
talented Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog

My post here at Bookseedstudio
is about three novels in verse new to me, which
I recently devoured.

GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING by April Halprin Wayland

Each of these stories look at love in an eloquent & moving way.
I admit my bias toward the first two. They float from the pen
& keyboards of two exceptionally talented Poetry Friday folks.
When our big black mailbox offered the third author’s novel,
and I began reading I decided I hope to know her, too.

fresh-born book I wish I could have read in my middle grade years when I moved far from one beloved school to an unknown district. The students in this class face the final days of their beloved school buidling, which is an old friend. I like how with humor & feeling Laura Shovan profiles the different & sometimes volatile personalities that make up a 5th grade class. Laura deftly brings them all together in their feelings for the old school. They want to keep it from being demolished. She crafts this effort with surprises & even musical riffs, for a charming debut novel about an entire classroom of kids.

Ideal readers are fans of stories involving
conflicts within a diverse, middle-class community
friendships within same
disagreement process with parents and school authority figures
exemplary teachers
student ingenuity
Favorite character voice
With 18 enjoyable narrators I will allow myself two – Gaby Vargas & Jason “Seuss” Chen
Favorite line (s)
“I wish we had school in the woods.” Ben Kidwell in “Dream School” poem.
“I love the dragonfly appearing on my paper.” Rachel Chieka Stein, “Japanese Painting”
“A stranger, a reader,
a poet, a brain?
Will you forget who I was
or stay just the same?” Edgar Lee Jones “Time Capsule Rap
Book bonus
perfect student portraits by Abigail Halpin
some students are in Zoo Creatures Band
end pages – poetry forms explained, prompts & poetry glossary, given
If you are a 60s fan, some fun references via a teacher

It’s fitting that nourishing articles about the wonderful
abound online, along with top reviews. Please see
Linda B at TeacherDance, Jama R at Alphabet Soup,
(4.21.16 edition) & a host of others.
Laura’s blog & website are

GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING is school-set too, in the vibrant
voice of one middle grader who remains unnamed. Multiple poems from
the student narrator – about poems! – make me selfishly love this story. I expect to read some of them to my writer’s groups.
Ideal readers are fans of stories involving
challenges of the school year
young romance
the heart & soul of an emerging poet
exemplary teachers
family connections
Favorite line (s)
“…music is so amazing
it builds a nest of tears
in my throat.”
Book bonus
Elaine Clayton’s distinctive artwork, created for each of 100+ poems
Shakespeare’s Sonnet Number Twelve

April Halprin Wayland’s website is
I first found my way to her titles through the nourishing blog, Teaching Authors, where April is a frequent contributor.

THREE RIVERS RISING is a race for life, during the 1889 Johnstown, Ohio Flood. Events in days leading up to the break of an insufficiently engineered dam owned by wealthy men including Andrea Carnegie, are shared via the story of a budding romance. I liked being pulled into eddies created by the couple’s deceptions & joys. I was also swept into the story of the sensible & sad nurse, ministering to the flood victims. With multiple narrators and voices, the true love between Celestia & Peter make their poems poignant & powerful.
Ideal readers are fans of stories involving
actual disasters in times past
young romance
differences between the powerful & those without power
individual heroics
dysfunctional family dynamics
Favorite character
Favorite lines
“When will this hell of rain end?
I haven’t seen the stars in so long.” Peter
“Fun always knows where to find her.” Celestia
Book bonus
detailed South Fork Dam chronology, suggested readings
Jame Richards lives in Connecticut & her blog is at

posted by J.G. Annino/Bookseedstudio

Progressive Poem, Poem in Your Pocket Day & More

Hello from Bookseedstudio.

It’s the 21st day of National Poetry Month.

It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day.

It’s also the 21st day of the 2016 Progressive Poem party,
with a new line for you to read, below.

The poem party is an annual online meetup launched by my (& your)
terrific poetry pal, Irene Latham.
of Live Your Poem fame.
Who by the way, has a brand new ARTSPEAK poem up
at her site. Along with picture book, poetry book & adult
novel, goodness.

2016 Kidlit Progressive Poem
After today the 2016 Progressive Poem, as yet unnamed,
bounces from Florida up to South Carolina, to my
Haiku & artist pal Robyn Hood Black at
Life on the Deckle Edge. Yesterday the poem
visited Haiti, and Ruth at
There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken
Town. From that important post, she provided an intriguing line.
April 1st the lively children’s poet, picture book
author & mentor, Laura Purdie Salas, set the stage.

2016 Progressive Poem

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.
A hummingbird holds and then hies.
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees.

A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand.
If I could breathe under the sea,
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee.

A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
Kites soar while joyful dogs run.
I sing to spring, to budding green,
to all of life – seen and unseen.

Wee whispers drift from cloud to ear
and finally reach one divining seer
who looks up from her perch and beams —
West Wind is dreaming May, it seems.

Golden wings open and gleam
as I greet the prancing team.
Gliding aside with lyrical speed,
I’d ride Pegasus to Ganymede.

To a pied pocket, the zephyr returns

. . .
But there is more. First, here are each line’s contributors:
1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
2 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Diane at Random Noodling
5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots
6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
10 Pat at Writer on a Horse
11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
13 Linda at TeacherDance
14 Jone at Deo Writer
15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly
17 Kim at Flukeprints
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Charles Waters at Poetry Time
20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
21 Me at Bookseedstudio
22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Mark at Jackett Writes
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
30 Donna at Mainely Write

Quite a crew, eh?
But wait – there is more.
Remember Poem in Your Pocket Day?
A pocket is one of my favorite features of clothes.
Pockets tie in first place
with buttons & hats in my delightful duds pantheon.
For 2016 Poem Your Pocket Day, I wear an apron for its pockets,
to carry poems for sharing in Kindergarten, where I am a longtime
volunteer with the lovely national literacy program,
BookPALS. Some of those poems are quite naturally, from poetry picture books of the Poetry Friday crowd.…/poem-your-pocket-day

But there is more.
As I said, it’s National Poetry Month.

In a lovely surge of synchronicity, I’ve soaked up
up wisdom in person from poetry greats. In my April 15
article here at this site, I wrote about past U.S. Poet Laureate
Robert Pinsky’s visit to our town.

Devon Glover’s lively Sonnet Man
visit to our just-closed
Shakespeare Festival
immersed me that historic form,
& also as it can be recast in rap.

Nikky Finney’s visit to FAMU’s literature conference
last month set a sensational poetry stage. She told how
her Talladega College mentor strode up to her on a Friday
when she saw that this student was, as students will do
on a Friday at 4 p.m., goofing off with her pals before they
headed to the gym to dance.

“Miss Finney, tell me, do you really have time to sit there, have you
finished reading every book in the library?” asked
Dr. Gloria Wade Gayles.
The formidable mentor turned and strode off with her briefcase.

Nikky Finney said the abrupt reminder – great expectations are held
for the promise of your talent – kept her reading books in the library instead of goofing off all through college. And yes, she read in the library that night instead of hanging out in the gym.

Who is Nikky Finney? Child of South Carolina
segregation-into-integration times.
National Book Award Winner for Poetry for the atmospheric
HEAD OFF & SPLIT and winner of other mighty fine honors
including fellowships, grants & awards. Her other titles include

Happy Poetry Month to you & yours
in all its varied celebrations!

Favorite Poem Project & Robert Pinsky

Favorite Poem Project & Robert Pinsky

Such an honor! The former U.S. poet laureate,
Robert Pinsky, brought the national Favorite Poem Reading
Project to our town, Tallahassee, recently.

Of course we managed to get to the event.
Everyday people from around the state of Florida read a poem,
by an established author. This is the road show for a previous online invitation at the Favorite Poem website. I didn’t enter, as it was some time back. But I’m so glad so many (at least 18,000) people did.

They picked one poem that, over and over, calls to them.
This is one of Robert Pinsky’s favorite challenges. To ask everyone to find a favorite poem or two, read them regularly, and further, he urges us to read the poem out loud and not stop there. Memorize a favorite poem. That allows us to carry it with you, everywhere.

Now, if you are a Poetry Friday regular, this is a given. But
for Bookseedstudio readers who are here from other paths,
might this be a good thing for you to try?

Recently I saw this:

“When was the last time
you did something
for the first time?”

Maybe memorizing a poem will be that new first time
neuron nudger.

Back to Pinsky

This acclaimed poet looks like a cross between Bill Nye, the
Science Guy & that great space educator Carl Sagan. With a
wide grin & great voice, he was just as engaging
as each of them.
“A poem is a work of art made for a human voice,” he told us.
“But it’s not the art of one expert. It’s the art of any and all.”

Here are just three of the poems read that evening.

“Nick and the Candlestick,” Sylvia Plath
“Why I Am Not A Painter,” Frank O’Hara
“Soneto XVII” Pablo Neruda

And I still remember how Pinsky quoted James Baldwin,
“Culture is everybody’s birthright.”

So, everybody, I have always been one of those who can’t pick one
favorite poem. But he said in that case, know that you are
working with one of your favorites. Despite the title of the project,
it doesn’t have to be THE one and true only favorite. Like picking
among children, impossible to do.

So here is the title of a poem section I like a whole lot among
many favorites. It is, “Alphabets,” (part 1) and it is
from the pen of the great Seamus Heaney. It begins:

by Seamus Heaney

“A shadow his father makes with joined hands
And thumbs and fingers nibbles on the wall
Like a rabbit’s head. He understands
He will understand more when he goes to school.

There he draws smoke with chalk the whole first week.
Then he draws the forked stick that they call a Y.
This is writing. A swan’s neck and swan’s back
Make the 2 he can see now as well as say…”
c. Seamus Heaney

Now, I must not have been paying attention because
I didn’t have much advance notice of this long-planned
event & jammed in time, was I, so I had no Pinsky
collection, to nail a book autograph, one of my hobbies.
But everyone says to start with “The Song of Poetry,”
which is both a terrific poetry collection &
an informal primer for poem-making. So it’s on the way.

Thank you Robert Pinsky, for your service as U.S.
Poet Laureaut, for putting Tallahassee
on your map & to Erin Belieu of FSU,
for making this evening happen.

Next time I expect to have a few words about
Tallahassee’s great good luck in the visit to FAMU of
transformative poet Nikki Finney (Head Off & Split.)

Also then, I expect to be playing the National Poetry
Month 2016 Progressive Poetry Game, with Irene
Latham at Live Your Poem & Equally Wonderful
Others. Here’s the lineup (apologies for
computer gremlins -drat! & no links…)

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Diane at Random Noodling
5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots
6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
10 Pat at Writer on a Horse
11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog
12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty
13 Linda at TeacherDance
14 Jone at Deo Writer
15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly
17 Kim at Flukeprints
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Charles at Poetry Time
20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
21 Jan at Bookseedstudio
22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Mark at Jackett Writes
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
30 Donna at Mainely Write

AND today’s Poetry Friday frolic is hosted by my pal Michelle H.
Barnes at the tuneful Today’s Little Ditty.

FRESH DELICIOUS, Irene Latham, Mique Moriuchi

If you are in the market for a market,
grab your basket and stop by
the vendors of FRESH DELICOUS.
It is a crisp collection of
more clever than a cucumber poems
from Poetry Friday’s perfectly wonderful
poem vendor, Irene Latham.

It may be the only poetry collection for children
& I also think for adults, to be honored by its
publisher with a poem printed right
on the BACK COVER!
With artwork front, back & middle,
of adorable paper cut outs,
by Mique Morichi.

"Pole Beans" by Irene Latham, from FRESH DELICIOUS, artwork including back cover, by Mique Moriuchi.  Do you see there is a poem printed on the back cover? Yay!

“Pole Beans” by Irene Latham, from FRESH DELICIOUS, artwork including back cover, by Mique Moriuchi.
Do you see there is a poem printed on the back cover? Yay!

Pole Beans
by Irene Latham

from vines,
they no longer

Now they
in bins-

soon to be

©2016 Irene Latham

I’m the delighted owner of three of Irene’s books,
one poetry collection for adults
this tasty one I’m munching on today,

I can’t imagine what will arrive from her
desk, next. But I will be so eager for it.

I wonder if the next publisher will be as wonderful
as this publisher WordSong, to put a poem on the back cover?

For grammar groupies, this clever collection also
tickles the funny bone when Irene finds
punctuation –
in summer squash.

But it’s not just me. FRESH DELICIOUS is piling up a
buncha fresh accolades, such as:

“A collection of lively poems celebrate edible delights from the farmers market…. Written mostly in free verse, clever poems show farmers market produce in a new light…. Moriuchi’s colorful collages pair perfectly with Latham’s poems…. This poetry collection will inspire readers to rush to the farmers market to compare Latham’s images with their real-life counterparts. Kid-friendly recipes are also included at the end of the book. Whimsical poems will inspire readers to play with their fruits and vegetables.” —Kirkus Reviews

I think you’ll want to pick your favorite poem from this collection soon!

This is my introduction for this fantabulous month –  April. It is when poem making,  poets & poem reading is celebrated.

Today is Poetry Friday. Host  Amy Lv dives into it with a poem about coral at

THE POEM FARM. That’s at

Also, beginning today, lines of a community game known as

the Progressive Poem, take shape on various blogs. The complete list

is with FRESH DELICIOUS author, my friend, Irene Latham, at

LIVE YOUR POEM.   I’ll be back with the URL for that goodness.

Am noodling on not my regular laptop & doing my best.

Happy poem reading, poem teaching & poem making!





St. Patrick’s Day

I like thinking about my Irish roots in March.
Bailey is like Smith is like Jones, eh?

But I snatch my mother’s few stories from my memory
& stir my own recollections. My dear mother
was New Jersey-born, but her grandparents hailed from
the Emerald Isle, I’m told.
My mother made Irish soda bread, or more correctly named,
railway cake, because of her added raisins. She and her
sisters (one of six girls & boys) were religious about
sending St. Patrick’s Day greeting cards, often homemade.
I have asked one cousin, who seems to have
more detail about which part of Ireland our Baileys
immigrated from, for connections because Mom emphasized
my father’s interesting French Huguneout lineage,
& shirked the Irish side of things.

IRISH LITERATURE, edited by Maureen O’Rourke Murphy
& James MacKillop, helps stir the pot. Here are lines of
a poem I like returning to, among several, from this collection.

Emily Dickinson
by Michael Longley
Emily Dickinson, I think of you
Wakening early each morning to write
Dressing with care for the act of poetry.
Yours is always a perfect progress
Through such cluttered rooms to eloquence, delight,
To words – your window on the mystery.

I’ve been considering how writers of some lyrics are
poets, especially when I listen to ballads and other
songs performed live.

"Leaving Connolly Station" CD -  Sligo Line

“Leaving Connolly Station” CD –
Sligo Line

We recently enjoyed a performance of our area’s premier
Irish music group #Sligo Line. Now their lovely CD is headed down the line
to our daughter’s godmother,
Florida-born but Irish through and through.

Happy Luck o’ the Irish & good poetry
reading & writing to you.

The weekly Poetry Friday ceili (dance) & feasta (party)
are hosted by wonderful poet & Haiku Highness
Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle edge. It is
for new participants as well as returning contributors &
just for fun, readers. So take a look.

Snappy alligator, sleepy alligator

Last Sunday we went out the door and ran into a bunch
of alligators.
They were loafing.

#St.MarksRefuge c.JanGodownAnnino

#St.MarksRefuge c.JanGodownAnnino

I decided their back story was that they
were full from hunting blue crabs, snakes, mullet
& turtle & similar meals abundant in their home, about
45 minutes from our home.

I was there hunting.
For ideas – poem thoughts, finger play actions,
things to say about alligators. In town I’m looking for
children’s books, quotations, crafts about alligators.
To have fun with kids next month
at a regional literary event, outdoors in a park in
the StoryFort. All ages kids possible, but likely 2-6.
Your suggestions are most welcome.

Which brings me to Muhammad Ali.
I enjoy the lines & verses I read from
this underrated poem maker. As a reporter
I was at a campus press conference for his
appearance in town. It was a thrill to hear him
recite, with joy & great expressions, his ditties.
I also know from the reporter who rode
two hours back to the airport with The Great One,
that Ali grabbed the tape recorder & made up a funny
ditty on the spot for the reporter’s father, when Ali
learned he was a fan.

ALI RAP,  The First Heavyweight Champion of Rap

The First Heavyweight Champion of Rap

Here is part of one Ali ditty on my current topic:

“I’ve wrestled with alligators.
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning,
And throwed thunder in jail.”
c. Muhammad Ali

I don’t like Ali’s sport that is damaging to
the human brain & body. I want to say that.
But I do like his talent with words. And his
many humanitarian actions.

Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee is more likely
one pleasure I will share with the kids.

I am also appreciating my visits with serious
poems that reference alligators, such as The
Alligator Bride by Donald Hall.

Happy (alligator-absent) weekend & coming week,
to all.

Today’s Poetry Friday is a lovely walk in the park
with Live Your Poem/Irene Latham.

That same alligator weekend for me, was a book debut weekend for the wonderful & talented Irene. And fortunately for me she was in a Georgia bookstore that we love to visit from Tallahassee. I expect to return here this month for a visit with FRESH DELICIOUS,
her third enchanting poetry collection for young readers.

Here are some more looks at last weekend’s resident reptiles.







For our bird lovers!

#St.MarksRefugec.JanGodownAnnino  - we lucked into white pelicans, too!

#St.MarksRefugec.JanGodownAnnino – we lucked into white pelicans, too!

More poetry, promptly!

DAY 28 of Laura Shovan’s found prompt project

Today is the most special Sunday in February 2016
because it is the last Sunday of Feb. 2016
we will ever see rise
& set. Ever.
We will see other last February Sundays, but
never the exquisite 2016 version that today is.

If you are seeking a way to make it live on,
add a poem to this day’s incredible photograph
from Mary Lee Hahn. Appreciations to Mary Lee!

photograph from Poetry Friday's Mary Lee Hahn, Day 28, Laura Shovan's 2016 Found Object Poetry

photograph from Poetry Friday’s Mary Lee Hahn, Day 28, Laura Shovan’s 2016 Found Object Poetry

Add your responses in the comment section,
or provide links there to your poem making at
your site.

Here is one to start


Dear garden pals,

And so I see you
puff your stuff –
golden ears
bleeding hearts
floret duets
cotton bolls
paper coins
pods of pea
and the assorted
riff raff
fly by

Now is my year to bolt
burst my veil
do not be alarmed
by this cascade bloom
my offering is
the part of me
that doesn’t
clear the room

Mum Allium
c. 2016 Jan Godown Annino

Also please visit the site curated by Carol Varsalona her
for “Spring is in the Air,” her lovely response.

And join the joy tucked within this contribution from
poet Charles Waters

Day 28


Seedlings huddle

for one final group hug

before sprouting away

to feed the world.
c. Charles Waters

I appreciate the brevity with a punch, of these from Carol & Charles.

And now Margaret Simon sets the stage –

Blossom shrouded in
lace waiting for curtain call
to dance moonlit waltz.
c. Margaret Simon

And Diane Mayr backs up for the wide perspective –

Day 28 was almost a nonstarter. I managed a tanka, but without the alluring allium flower!

new neighbors
riding their new mower
we roll our eyes
at the dandelions and
spring onions gone to waste
c. Diane Mayr

Appreciations to creative Margaret, Diane, & to all you inventive poem makers.
Some day I will catch up to you.

Appreciations to Laura Shovan, who is one fantabulous poem maker,
debut MG author & poetry blogging pal.

Promptly, poetry! Laura Shovan’s February gift.

Each year poet Laura Shovan plays with words and poem-making,
by sharing prompts, catalysts for creativity with words.

This year photographic images are the wardrobe door into idea spinning.
(And we are all spinning about Laura’s forthcoming novel in verse.)

Today’s photo is one I snapped in Washington, D.C., in the tunnel
between the Library of Congress buildings.

I’m pleased to have this response to the photo prompt,
from poet Charles Waters, via Laura Shovan.

Day 23

My pouch is bundled with news,
thoughts, sweepstakes, prayers
that I can’t wait to share.
c. Charles Waters

. . .
Another look at it –

Bin binge
by Jan Godown Annino

O what treats
what treatises
treasure maps



babbling brooks

have been rollin’
in this underground
river of words.
© 2016 Jan Godown Annino



This traveling photo prompt party would be pleased to have your thoughts, lines or even poems.
Share here in comments.
Or at Laura’s blog (the link is in the first line of this post, above. And there is another link, below.)

Or via your own blog, with a link to your blog left in comments here.

And you can do this any time.
Or use the prompts but keep your results to yourself.
That’s mighty fine, too.

If you are joining recently here’s Laura’s intro.

And here is the way the found poems went last week –
Week Three

One little word 2016

Both my one little word for 2016 &
also a new occasional feature here
are the lovely term –

There are also some lovely links below.
. . .
MOMENTS collected in December by JGA
MOM Annino serves her Sicilian stuffing of perfectly seasoned ground beef & rice
GARDEN-clogging past the front-step toad
FIRST-time learner! I now unzip the big purple red ball to share & devour the arils of the French fruit, grenade, a giant pomegranate berry splash zone! (scroll to 2nd item…)
OUR daughter’s moist golden ring cake of dried papaya, cherries, pecans & cashews
MY hubby finding dolphins as they charge & devour fish caught behind a sand bar in Ochlockonee Bay (Tampa’s SaltStrong’s video – it looked just like this!)
LEAVING extra postage stamps on the P.O. packaging counter, various walks to
our neighborhood USPS, in December
GINGER cat is back to his jumping, joyful self, after a worrisome muscle attack.
. . .

In February I plan to return here with January MOMENTS
. . .
The MOMENTS inspiration comes from an author
I was fortunate to meet in 2015, after following along
in social media for some time.
You may have guessed she is the smile-spreading Irene Latham.
She writes beautifully, for adults and children.

Next month you can put on a parka for one of her new books,
WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA, And Other Poems from the Frozen Continent.

by Irene Latham illustrations by Anna Wadham

by Irene Latham
illustrations by Anna Wadham

After this Antarctica book has me fluffing up
my feathers for warmth up against a picture
book shiver – I can develop goose bumps
at 50 degrees – I’ll be taking my market basket out to carry her
FRESH! DELICIOUS! Poems from the Farmer’s Market.

(Maybe there’s a pomegranate poem in there.)

So, my occasional MOMENTS blog here at Bookseedstudio
is inspired by Irene’s Live Your Poem blog listing of experiences
that elicit her gratitude.

If you like the idea of thinking further about the magnitude
of our Moments,
you may want to visit with two more muses:
MUSICIAN Velma Frye’s original poem song, “Moments,”
from the album/CD I AM TO SOMEONE. (Proud that two
comments of praise for her talents at this site are quotes from my magazine feature.)
ACTOR/performer Roberto Benigni, having the best MOMENT,
with life, with his favorite poets, with love! Settle in -not to miss.

APPRECIATIONS to you for sharing your moments with me here this year.

MOMENTS & Poetry Friday
I’m content to find MOMENT as this year’s guiding word, my first Poetry Friday OWL (one little word)
If you want to read more about Poetry Friday, this article is for you.
AND here is the Poetry Friday organizing plan in 2016.

In progress – anaphora to the P degree

Happy New Year! It’s Jan here.
And good day or good evening to you, with my special best
cheer for a chirpy 1st week of 2016.

In summer, which conveniently lasts through October at a
minimum, on humid beach walks that turned into Gulf
of Mexico floats, I attempted to write
a pantoum poem.

The winter holidays brought me the gift of more salty
beach hikes. Now I walked against cool breezes,
even wind, wrapped up in jacket, long pants
+ my hubby who doesn’t feel cold
the way I do.

So I had images from quite a stretch of sand, surf & sound
to work with, revising the poem.

A pantoum uses anaphora, repetition, which
was what I was doing visiting the same shores
and the topic felt like a smooth fit.

I’ve enjoyed some appreciative eyes on this
one-in-progress, with a generous + patient
critique reader kindly arriving from
points north to school me in the
traditional pantoum ZAZA close,
which carries the final line back to
the 1st. Thank you, Donna at
Mainely Write.

My gratitude extends also to my weekly
critique partner, the poetic Adrian at
Slow Dance Journal.

My pantoum attempt is incomplete,
but it washed me with a swoosh!
into the first full writing
week of my New Writing Year.

The challenge to try an original pantoum
popped up from the creativity & generosity of
Angie Karcher and the poet wizard J. Patrick Lewis
who teamed up last April inside this article.

They have my warm breezes of appreciation, with a
a beach picnic on top (if they come to town.)

Pantoum plan
lines 2+ 4 become 1 + 3 of the next stanza,
except that the last stanza goes wild,
with lines 2 + 4 appearing as lines 3 + 1 of the
1st stanza. This is known as ZAZA. I think.

Feel free to float by with –

better explanations
links to your pantoums
others’ pantoums
your beloved pantoum sources/wisdom/shrieks.
Among my consultations –
+ the colorfully illustrated by Chris Raschka, A KICK IN THE HEAD from Paul B. Janeczko (I’ve always liked a man with Jan in his name.)
Salt Beach
by Jan Godown Annino

Listen when the laughing gull is silent
Catch winds that sigh down the shore
Dig where coquinas click in sand
Jump a purring tide that rolls to land

Catch winds that sigh down the shore
A bare foot squeaks on slanted sand
Jump a purring tide that rolls to land
Ghost crabs scuttle and then retreat

A bare foot squeaks on slanted sand
A wet wash of shells chime in rhyme
Ghost crabs scuttle and then retreat
Jump a purring tide that rolls to land

A wet wash of shells chime in rhyme
This will take you where you want to go
Jump a purring a tide that rolls to land
Listen when coquinas click in sand
©Jan Godown Annino, 2016

Now, if you are still here, you see how
this is NOT a pantoum.
I didn’t rhyme correctly +
I don’t have a ZAZA pattern close.
Maybe even more pantoum errors
have drifted in there.
So I expect to return with this poem
in true or at least, truer pantoum form,
later. But it’s
fun to be this far along +
to share the process.

Here’s a ripple of pantoum joy.

An animated pantoum!

An Oscar

And lessons!

Christmas tree + more

Are you seeking the gifts of Poetry Friday this week?
It is generously hosted at LIVE YOUR POEM by kind Irene Latham.
. . .

Inspired by Adrian Fogelin at Slow Dance Journal,
I’m dreaming of Christmas past.


I hope you like the recollections.
My special best Christmas cheer to you!

In my child days my dear Dad walked into the flatwoods just
outside our little red house’s kitchen door, a wide,
double-Dutch door that stood just past the coal-burning
pot-bellied stove, near Quakertown, N.J.

I never said “Hey, Pa, where are you going with that ax?”
I knew where.

He brought back a little tree that he felled by himself. (I wasn’t
allowed to take but a few steps into the woods. I was told the
Jersey Devil might be in there.)
In our second house, set among eight large and flowering dogwood
trees, where I enjoyed Christmas from ages eight to 12, I was
allowed to skitter down into the ravine woods behind our cul-de-sac street
of 10 homes. (Maybe the Jersey Devil had gotten his due.)

But this world of fragrant trees and rushing creek was off limits
for tree-cutting. So we went into the town & brought back a tree
from Dad’s pal, the tree farmer who propped his, leaning on posts,
under lights strung across his wide side yard.

Today in Florida we delight in going to our kind neighbor
whose family still runs a tree farm in the mountains. He
personally brings our tree down here (snuggled with a full
load of other homegrown firs.) The fee for the tree
goes to charity.

And so I sit reading + writing before dawn, in the glow of the magic
of bubbles. Bubbles rising in the bubble lights, bubbles that echo
the old glass bubble lights of my childhood, treasured hand-me-down lights
linked on a frayed old electric cord that miraculously
never caught fire.

The continuation of traditions are what I wrap up most, at Christmas.

Our many angel ornaments, especially the hand-made oyster shell
angel from lively Mrs. Danford, our gal’s 4th grade teacher,
cluster in a choir at the top of the tree.

Although I rarely make a Christmas card these days, I still
like signing a special card for card-exchanging folks.
(Mindful that sending paper is discouraged by some pals
these days.) My annual card is made by a United Nations
artist & carries the message of Peace in as many
languages as possible.

I also continue the tradition of the crèche tableau, although
along the way, the handmade stable of my child days, cut and nailed
by my dear Uncle John, had to be replaced with a wood stable
from a store. And the chipped manger players, who moved with
us from New Jersey to Florida, gave way to a
newer, still reverent, crew.

Our glued, painted and sparkled Popsicle Star of David that
our daughter made at preschool is still a favorite ornament.
As are the nearly 30-year-old hand-made felt creations – Woodstock, Snoopy,
and others, from my crafting sister-in-law, Lynn.
And the ornaments sent by my dear pal Susan, who left our town
for Washington.D.C., feel like a little hug each year I place them on the tree.
I have a sturdy metal star from a dear pal that doesn’t
go on the tree, although it guides me elsewhere in the house.

We often drive highway miles during the holidays, so it’s fun
to sing carols along the way. There are more loving traditions
carried on. But I’ve been up since five (that darn but loveable
Ginger cat!) I’m hungry & want to get into the kitchen & start
a pot of oatmeal, served at the table with glass bowls of nuts & berries,
with a cinnamon shaker nearby. So I’ll close with more thoughts of food. Our Christmas Eve
meal will be homemade seafood dishes. Most likely, 12 separate items. Our daughter’s
passion is baking treats, so aromas wafting from our oven this
time of year include: rosemary shortbread, gingerbread, pecan pie,
sweet potato pie & a special request, fruit cake with papaya &
pineapple nestled in it.

Our new tradition is that as long as they last, we gift special folks with juicy Meyer lemons from our sheltered tree in the side yard. Not a tradition from my child days, but I feel my long passed-on gardening parents are approving of that addition.



c. Jan Godown Annino

c. Jan Godown Annino

With the arrival of our gal from Boston,
we here in the little yellow cottage are feeling
much Christmas cheer.

Inspired by J. Patrick Lewis, who created a poetry
form called Careerhyme, I offer, “ELF.”

ELF: A sprite, an industrious assister;
A rare visitor; A child charmer,
Who delivers wishes come true;
A needed part of Holiday frivolity.
I wish one, or a bunch, for you.
– c. Jan Godown Annino

Appreciations not only to JPL, but also to his
colleague David L. Harrison, for his generous blog,
which shares writing prompts + much more.

Do you love Christmas books as much as I do?
This year, the first book I’m reading is the volume of
Father Christmas letters of J.R. R. Tolkein to his children.
Then I will nest in the rest.

I hope your nest is your best!


It’s now Hanukkah 2015 + #Readukkah

After posting one of the incredible poems of the Karen Hesse/

Brian Pinkney Hanukkah book, THE STONE LAMP last Friday,

I was away for the weekend with my hubby on a delayed & delicious

anniversary trip to the coast. It was accented with lighthouse

lights, not Hanukkah lights & by long walks on near-wild beaches.

So – I’m late in posting the second part of that column & I’m

eager to make the rounds of Poetry Friday columns from the first Friday

of this festive month. I’m alsp part of Heidi Estrin’s round

up of Hanukkah columns, so for Heidi I’ll add – #Readukkuh.

Along city streets or in country village homes menorahs in

windows through Dec. 13 are a special sight.

So I have a video treat for this season. I’m of Christian

faith, with an interest in some other faith’s ways of worship. I

feel that we all deserve the advantage of knowing about a variety of

holiday faith traditions. Especially so for children, who are likely

to wonder about new ways when overheard at school or when visiting new

friends. I’m also researching my Holocaust-topic illustrated

manuscript, finding myself immersed in all manner of good books on

Jewish themes.



I’m tickled to share a lively animated children’s menorah story,

read engagingly from the book, which was written Barbara Brown.

The reading is by a young talent you may recognize.

It’s fun to see the clever animation of the mighty fine book

illustrations Stacey Schuett created for HANUKKAH IN ALASKA.

The animator is Jacqueline Godsey. It puts a whole new spin

on Hanukkah!

The video comes to us via a volunteer literacy organization I love

deeply – BookPALS. (I’m lucky to have many years experience reading in

schools for BookPALS.)

Here are more Hanukkah picture book titles I’m happy to share:

by the husband and wife children’s literature team of Daniel
Pinkwater (author) & Jill Pinkwater (artist.)

by the team who bring us all these fun dinosaur
visits – Jane Yolen (author) & Mark Teague (artist)

by Eric Kimmel & Mike Wohnoutka

Thank you Diane Mayr for the Hanukkah Bear recommendation and I like it that it was already on my list. Diane also thoughtfully suggests LATKES and APPLESAUCE by Frank Manushkin.

I appreciate Buffy Silverman’s idea to look for HANUKKAH GHOST & HERSCHEL and the HANUKKAH GOBLINS, which are also by Eric Kimmel.

And I’m grateful to Liz Steinglass for mentioning her family’s
fun in reading THE MIRACLE OF POTATO LATKES by Malika Penn.

Now, here is a light of the coast kind, with my wishes for bright & peaceful December lights, to all. It is from our area’s historic
Crooked River Lighthouse, a treat to visit in Florida’s Panhandle.

c. 2013 Bob May, for Crooked River Lighhouse Association Lanternfest, all rights reserved.

c. 2013 Bob May, for Crooked River Lighhouse Association Lanternfest/McKenzie News Service, all rights reserved.

Hello, it’s almost Hanukkah

(A weekly Friday roundup of doings in the children’s literature world that centers on poetry is provided by the delightful

Today I share lines from the poetry of Karen Hesse in
THE STONE LAMP, which features the artwork
of Brian Pinkney.

Third Night,
Third Light

by Karen Hesse

Venice, Italy 1546

. . .

Mother makes ready the lamp,
though she dare not place it in the tall window.
The stone lamp is not our most beautiful.
But it is our oldest and dearest, a present from Uncle Diogo,
dear uncle Diogo, who always smelled of honeyed lemons.
. .

Outside, the call of geese.
I glimpse a flutter of white
and for a moment I see
angels gliding past our widow,
the light from our room glazing their wings.

© Karen Hesse

This excerpt above is from the poem-story of Reyna, age 15, one of eight child characters, ages eight through 16, Karen Hesse creates to tell of the endurance of Jewish families through history.

Reyna’s story is for all. Adults, surely, and let’s say, students
ages 9 and up, maybe younger, depending upon the family & the school.

The full title is THE STONE LAMP, Eight Stories of Hanukkah Through History.

I feel when you locate it at your library, you will want this collection for your school or home library,
The free verse poems are offset with a page of history, for each period of time reflected.

Because the artist for this project is Brian Pinkney,
you also know that the illustrations are museum quality. If you are
seeking to add one in-depth, beautiful, illustrated resource about
the enduring love of family, and the resilience of a celebration of
freedom of religion against indescribable hardship, this can be it.


Each of eight poem stories, beginning in 1190 at the time of
the Christian war against the Muslims to retake Jerusalem,
and completing the circle with a night after Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1995,
reflects a child’s beloved moment with Family and with
the treasured Hanukkah lamp.

I have become educated in a way I already should have been
by now, from this richly researched and exquisitely illustrated journey among Hanukkah ceremonies that span the centuries.

THE STONE LAMP pulls me in with a similar luminous effect
as I feel from the poems in AMONG ANGELS, by Jane Yolen and
Nancy Willard, (illustrations by S. Saelig Gallagher.)
AMONG ANGELS is not about the Holocaust or Hanukkah; it shares
meditations between friends, one Jewish and one Christian writer
(but O, like Karen Hesse, what masterful writers we know they are) about angels.

Your titles?

This Monday, Dec. 7, the second night of Hanukkah
2015(and also, we know, Pearl Harbor Day), I plan to post a sweet Hanukkah
book-video for young readers.
I’ll also share two other young-reader Hanukkah picture book titles that
I felt fortunate to carry home this week from the library.

It would be nice to have more titles, so if you can recommend Hanukkah picture books,
now or next week, I will want to light a candle to celebrate you!

How to find a ThankU


courtesy of

How to find a ThankU
by Jan Godown Annino

(first- a deertale – follow the blue words for POETRY FRIDAY.)

My heart is wrapped in appreciations.
& I want to share a few of them.

I have seen the eyes-wide
open photographs of Ian, a bursting-new babe in my
Circle of Love world.

ON THE DAY YOU  WERE BORN c. Debra Frasier

c. Debra Frasier

I wake up every morning & am fortunate to see
the smiling face of my handsome husband.

And, this is indulgent, forgive me, but I see
good news for my work.

So I am thinking – THANKU

As you may guess from the inventive name,
a Thanku is a form of Haiku.

I read about it via the Teaching Authors of 2011 –
April, Carmela, Esther, JoAnn, Laura & Mary_Ann_Rodman”
(I hope I’m not forgetting anyone vintage 2011.)

And it was author/teacher Esther Hershenshorn who created the Thanku.

So, a 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables construct is the guide.
An appreciation is given. Like that – a ThankU.

So if you have time to read now, or later, I’m sharing
three. All c. Jan Godown Annino. And ThankU, for visiting
this page.

ThankU, Ian

Stretchy legs feel air
Wide eyes seek out shapes of love
Toes say “nibble me”

ThankU, Paolo

Morning wake-up call
Wrinkled faces meet at lips
Doesn’t feel routine

ThankU, Book notes

Unanticipated joy
is the finest kind

Regarding the last ThankU, recent developments
related to a book of mine published back in 2010
are quite fine.

In 2016 the trail-blazing BETTY MAE TIGER JUMPER (1923-2001),
the subject of SHE SANG PROMISE, will be celebrated alongside other
great women of achievement. The National Women’s History Project will honor Betty Mae Tiger Jumper’s historic leadership of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

As if that isn’t enough to appreciate…

This fall, Betty Mae Tiger Jumper was honored by the Library of
Congress when that same title was featured at the LOC
National Book Festival, as one of 52 Great Reads for Young Readers.

(see poster, below)

Also, Scholastic has brought out SHE SANG PROMISE in a lovely paperbound edition. It’s on sale at a nifty price right now at the Scholastic Teacher Store.

Some of the opening lines in SHE SANG PROMISE are –

Think of the gigantic glades near the end of land
A mama alligator floats babies on her back
And itchy black bear takes a palm tree scratch
Leaving soft fur tufts that swamp mice fetch

© Jan Godown Annino

My November cornucopia is ripe, sweet, spilling.

I am thankful to all helping along this book’s path, especially
the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum & Store (where She Sang Promise is sold online),
the family of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, notably Moses Jumper, Jr. the artist
Lisa Desimini, the editors, especially Jennifer Emmett.


a WILD lesson

a WILD lesson

For more articles on today’s topic prompt – wild –
look for them at Live Your Poem, tamed by Irene Latham,
who is celebrating a 10th Anniversary of Live your Poem!


Wild oceans

c. all rights reserved  Jan Godown Annino

c. all rights reserved
Jan Godown Annino

At graduation from Coastal Systems Class last

week, I brought some of my mollusks. The animals were long dead (not by

my hand.)


(I am holding my rugged old conch)

Ever since my pudgy toddler hand picked up a Jersey shore

clam, I’ve been lured to shores to collect more.

c.2015 all rights  eserved JanGodownAnnino

c.2015 all rights eserved JanGodownAnnino

My pink Queen conch here ( found empty on Cayman Island sands)

amplified a traditional Pomp + Circumstance played

on another student’s phone, during the awarding of our certificates.

The pale, rugged Queen conch, a family relic from the mid-1800s

(fuzzy on the decades) found a student who knew what to do with

the sliced-off tip.

She got everyone’s attention.

c. 2015 all rights reserved Rugged queen conch is a horn, again

c. 2015 all rights reserved
Rugged queen conch is a horn,

The original owner sounded it long ago on the Delaware River

as he rounded bends. Family legend says this river trumpet belonged

to our relative, maybe even the boatman who used it as a horn.

I feel honored that it is entrusted to me.

A Wild Horn, Plenty
by Jan Godown

Conch spiral leads me inward

unwinding a calcium chamber

a big grit at birth

queenly large at death

How many years did this

creature vacuum sea grass beds

before a plucking by man

from coastal waters

I ask it

Who ate you

Who sliced your tip, making you into a tool

How many times did your dead chamber


Aural warning of a barge’s path

Siren saving river travelers lives

Many times I pet your shell, wondering this



Wild child

You will likely have similar remembrances to mine,
of two often-read children’s books with wild in their titles.
So I won’t spend a buncha time with them here.

WILD WILD SUNFLOWER CHILD, ANNA is probably the first
book I read our daughter that she remembers me reading
to her. When I want to look at it, I can’t find it among the
hundreds of books on my wall of shelves. It’s in her room.
And she is post-college now.

It helped that her name is Anna.
But it more perfectly worked that Nancy White Carlstrom’s
tumbling words celebrating a child in nature, matched our Anna’s whirling
days splashing and dashing. But a child of any name and their parent
will want to run into the wild with this one. The crownng piece of the creativity
is the abandon Jerry Pinkney brings to his paintings of character Anna at the babbling
brook, blowing on the dandelion, always a spinning, turning, wild child.
I hope this will call you to go back to be wild with this book again or meet it, fresh.
Here is a peek of what awaits in it, by Nancy White Carlstrom.

c. Nancy White Carlstrom and Jerry Pinkney, WILD WILD SUNFLOWER CHILD ANNA

c. Nancy White Carlstrom and Jerry Pinkney, WILD WILD SUNFLOWER CHILD ANNA

Lifting up the pressing stone
beetles rushing giddy

Silent spinning
buzzing, blinking
breathing rainbows

©Nancy White Carlstrom

is even more wild a walk
through childhood than I remember, when read by
wild man actor Christopher Walken.
That’s all I’m sayin’. Go listen to what Walken does
with Maurice Sendak’s masterpiece. WILD!

And remember to congratulate Irene Latham at Live Your Poem (link above)

Grackles cackle! It’s Halloween 2015!!!

Grackles cackle. Crows glow. Ghouls drool.

It’s Halloween 2015!
(If you are seeking the Poetry Friday link click-clack, scit-scat over to
Check It Out’s post, which beautifully looks ahead to Veteran’s Day.)

My favorite goblin-night reading for teens & adults is a privately
printed poetry chapbook, ON ANY DARK AND SPOOKY NIGHT.
It was a gift to me in 1992 from the poet author, Audrey Parente. It
is one of the first orange items I reach for each year to decorate
the house.

ON ANY DARK AND SPOOKY NIGHT c.1992 Audrey Parente, read by woman with ghost-color legs!

ON ANY DARK AND SPOOKY NIGHT c.1992 Audrey Parente, read by woman with ghost-color legs!

The spine-tinglers in Audrey’s collection are creepy
& kooky & make adults shiver.

Here is a less-ghoulish poem for the wee ones.

When Goblins Sing
by Audrey Parente

Oh, when the goblins sing,
your skin begins to crawl
with bumpy, goosey flesh
which drives you up a wall.
But scary as this is,
if they seem down the hall,
don’t you worry dear,
for they’re not there at all!

©1992 Audrey Parente

I love how I always go back & read it again to see what
she did there! Her Halloween poems are perfect presents.

Fortunately we held a Halloween poetry partee last weekend,
before All Hallow’s Eve. This way we would be free this weekend to enjoy
some of the many bubbling cauldrons of festivals & treats our town puts on.
But this year we are both under a sick spell (bad sore throats, etc.) now
at Halloween & feel fortunate to have these pre-Halloween memories.

c.2015JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved

c.2015JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved

The first set of images are from the partee.
Outdoors images in the second group were
made at our nearby park. It provides a naturally ghostly atmosphere
with rugged live oaks, swaying Spanish moss (not truly a moss but an
epiphyte) & an annual scarecrow row. The artists who create them
are local folks who love Halloween.

My Halloween picture books for young readers can fill a bottomless caludron but include –
TRICK OR TREAT, SMELL MY FEET by Lisa Desimini, TRICK OR TREAT, OLD ARMADILLO, by Larry Dane Brimner, with illustrations from Dominic Catalano, THE MONSTORE by Tara Lazar & HAMPIRE by Sudipta Bardhan Quallen.

c.2015JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved. subject: Abraham Lincoln & a bear.

c.2015JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved. subject: Abraham Lincoln & a bear.

Walk this way! c.1992, all rights reserved

Walk this way! c.1992, all rights reserved

c.2015 Classic Scarecrow

c.2015 Classic Scarecrow

c,1992 Bee-utiful Scarecrow

c,1992 Bee-utiful Scarecrow

c.2015 Village Philosopher

c.2015 Village Philosopher

c.2015 Eyes so sad... could it be...

c.2015 Eyes so sad… could it be…

c.2015 Cheer up, dear!!!

c.2015 Cheer up, dear!!!

c.2015 GO AWAY BIG GREEN MONSTER, by Ed Emberly. The Emberly family has several cool monster picture books. Check 'em out of your libraree!

c.2015 GO AWAY BIG GREEN MONSTER, by Ed Emberly. The Emberly family has several cool monster picture books. Check ’em out of your libraree!

c.2015 Classic Caludron Gals

c.2015 Classic Caludron Gals

c.2015 That's right dearie, this way...

c.2015 That’s right dearie, this way…

c.2015 Good. You're drawing closer....

c.2015 Good. You’re drawing closer….

c.2015 Good. You're drawing closer....

c.2015 Good. You’re drawing closer….

c.2015 You are at The End, protected by Classic Smiley Pumpkin! Happy times always.

c.2015 You are at The End, protected by Classic Smiley Pumpkin! Happy times always.

In poetry this week – Beach bear, 1800s

In poetry this week/ Beach bear of 1800s
by Jan Godown Annino

(!st – Poetry Friday is served by Jama’s Alphabet Soup</a>.)

I’m sharing a bear on the beach poem I wrote, published
in 2006. It was inspired by an account of a traveler
in 1800s Florida.

You may not know what is happening in Florida

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 a nearly 20-year ban on killing
this state’s remaining wild bears is to be lifted.
Up to 320 random bears, mostly minding their own
business in woods of North Florida &
Central Florida, far away from tourists, can be
shot. And shot. And shot. And killed.

I repeat, wild black bears in our lovely & wild forests
which remain mainly in Central and North Florida, will
lose the safety of deep woods for the duration of the hunt.
This includes females who have cubs.
Where will they run to? Where will they hide?


Here is my poem.

Beach Meal, 1820s
by Jan Godown Annino

first published by Milkweed Editions, 2006

The beach is lit by the light of the moon
when she-bear pads along the shore

She stops
lifts wet snout to salted air
moves on

She repeats this testing until
sniffs satisfy

She pads to a sandy place on strong feet

Sand and shell bits plume

to snow back down on thick fur
she digs

She stops
shoves her mouth into a mound

She tears and slurps
soft gift from the sea
round white balls

A secret treasure chest
buried by a sea mother

She-bear shoulders through palmetto
to home,

frosted with smear of yolk
with glitter of sand
©2006-2015 Jan Godown Annino
revised 2015

I hope your news outlets will carry information about
protests of the hunt.

For years, this state that still holds pockets of paradise
despite being loved to death by a populous that has made it 3rd in
the nation, has struggled with balancing panther, sea turtles + bears
against growth, new housing + winter visitors.

Almost magically, we have areas where wild panther
And we have clear waters with several species of sea turtles. They
are protected by lights out or lights dim at night, so the pregnant
females can be encouraged to pull themselves along sand, to lay eggs. Once,
our state residents + visitors took them for soup and shell.

And, once, bears were protected in Florida.
Until now.

I don’t know what accounts for the political change.
Visitors + residents still rank our nature parks + national forests +
protected estuaries + beaches as top reasons they return.

I do know that uninformed residents feed wild bears, either deliberately
or inadvertently via trash. This makes me think of
uninformed visitors + residents who try to get close to alligators
for a photo op.

There are so many ways to restrict garbage collection sites, to
impose rules, as in Canada, about family trash bins. So many
other strong education measures to take that is more than advice.
So many enforcement measures about feeding bears.

Instead, bear-feeding people have flaunted the situation. And
that provoked encounters that sent people to the hospital.
And now we have a bear hunt.

If you are interested, here is the address of the Florida
Chamber of Commerce. It may be worthwhile to let them know
that the business of hunting bear isn’t as important as
the business of attracting wildlife-appreciating visitors

Florida Chamber of Commerce PO Box 11309 Tallahassee FL 32302
twitter @FLChamber

If you have a connection with a visitors/tourism bureau in a
part of the state, you may also want to contact them.

I don’t know what accounts for the political change.
Visitors + residents still rank our nature parks + national forests +
protected estuaries + beaches as top reasons they return.

image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

We don’t hunt manatee. Anymore.
Why bear?

In poetry this week

This seems like a moment to share a collection of
poems by creatives who are deeply connected to places
such as Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Palestine, Syria,
Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Turkey & even as far east
as India.

This volume of adult-written poems for students,
selected by Naomi Shihab Nye, is an original Aladdin Paperback,
offered to classrooms where students ages 8-12 are
expanding their horizons.

With many national flags represented in the collection.
one of the poems I especially return to has this in it –

“ …the ones who raise the flag of childhood high.”


In this season of anguished refugee news & intense military fighting
around the world, I meditate on the idea that despite everyting that is
rotten among countires on the planet, families are united by the flag of childhood.

Here is more of that poem.

from Letters to Childhood
Mohammed Shehadeh
translator: Aziz Shihab

All the children of the world
in all my abodes
you are the roses in my courtyard,
the green and the fresh,
the sun and the stars,
you are the beautiful hands,
the ones who raise the flag of childhood high.

©Mohammed Shehadeh

Other poems in, THE FLAG OF CHILDHOOD, carry titles such as “Beginning Speech,” “History Class,” “Growing (after Pablo Neruda’s ‘Walking Around’), “Class Pictures,” “I Have No Address,” & “Why Are We in Exile, the Refugees Ask.”

Another poem in this 98-page collection that I return to is, “The Bridge” by Kaissar Afif, who writes, in part – Poetry is a river/ And solitude a bridge

I have appreciated that Naomi Nye collected this group of poems.

Also this week, I turned to Worlds, Words & Wings, for a list of books about peace. The link is for middle grade; at the end of the post you can find links for the other school ages.

Also this week–

In some of the English-speaking world, such as Scotland, Ireland & England,
readers & writers celebrated National Poetry Day – October 8, 2015.

Perhaps I tune into it even tho I am on the Florida side of the Big Pond,
because of my good fortune at Hollins University to take one class with an invigorating guest lecturer from Wales via England – Prof. Morag Styles.

For Your Inquiring Mind

What is National Poetry Day, Oct. 8?

Did anything happen in the U.S.?
Student Poet Event Washington D.C

I had absolutely no role in this but I would like to raise up one student from my state, Chasity Hale, who was honored in a ceremony with President Obama and Mrs. Obama, for her poetry this week! Here is a link to a lovely photograph of the ceremony.

Please find Poetry Friday well-schooled by Laura at WRITING THE WORLD FOR KIDS
To be ready for next week, Poetry Friday cultivation on Oct. 16 is in the autumn garden with Amy, at The Poetry Farm



If books and pens and words are your loves, you
have likely scheduled in time to find & see
the film about the Pakastani child, a girl of 12,
who was shot in the brain, on her school bus.

For the crime of being a girl, for going to school.

She lived.

And the film, HE NAMED ME MALALA
just completed an advance screening for students
of Florida State University. My husband is on the
faculty of the law school & we were privileged to
attend & to listen to the panel, afterwards.

This is not a column where I recommend movies. But.
This documentary was sold out, with tickets grabbed
days in advance by the students. And for good reason.

Books, literature & the freedeom to speak are woven
through this story that manages to be elegantly told.
It is about an entire family, & a daughter’s
bond with her father.
This young woman (she is now about 18) is
likely to lead us as a world people the rest of her
life. I hope to hear her speak in person some day.
We are fortunate she walks the Earth.

If you know of sites relating to her story, I’m
pleased to have you share them here or on my fb page
on twitter, or thru email. jgaoffice at


Sites to see


More on Jeanette Winter’s double book, MALALA & IQBAL




An apple poem by Barbara Juster Esbensen

For more about poetry & young readers,
please see Heidi’s drinkable roundup at
My Juicy Little Universe.

apple star photo/

courtesy of kiwicrate

courtesy of kiwicrate

All you living in autumnland, as I write this it is
summer weather here.

And yet at the market the best fresh berries are
gone. Or, they are too far from Florida, for me to be
interested in them.

I was happy to carry home a fruit I haven’t bought
since spring. A reliable crisp round fruit, to slice, with a
sprinkle of cinnamon on it, for a snack & to add to my
cereal – hot or cold.

And I thought of one of my favorite children’s poets,
Barbara Esbensen.

I went looking for her poem about this treat that
tucks a sky surprise inside. I’m sure this teacher and mother,
savored many of them, coming from far north Wisconsin & living there
or in Minnesota.

by Barbara Juster Esbensen

Within its polished universe
The apple holds a star,
A secret constellation
To scatter near and far.

©Barbara Juster Esbensen

For the rest of this lovely poem find the first
edition (1964) or the second edition ( 2003) of her seasonal
poems, collected as SWING AROUND THE SUN.
I’m also a fan of the artist Mary GrandPre, so the 2003
edition is handy on my books-to-travel shelves to share in school.
Mary GrandPre’s apple face is all-knowing and kind, even though
it’s about to get eaten.

(My Nikon died & I haven’t aced levitating images from
my new Canon into digital world, so I don’t have a photo of the lovely
apple page in the collection.)

Each season’s poems by Barbara Esbensen in
SWING AROUND THE SUN are illustrated by a different artist – Winter,
Stephen Gammell, Spring, Cheng-Khee Chee, summer, Janice Lee Porter
& five luxurious images from Mary GrandPre, for autumn.

I came to Barbara Esbensen’s work in 2007, through her
WHO SHRANK MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE? illustrated by Eric Beddow,
which I found in a Roanoke, Va. bookshop. Many of the poems
in this collection are free verse. And that is the style of
poetry writing she taught to children, so they would be able
to put pencil to paper pouring out vivid imagery & without
the constraint of rhyming.

I am struck by the poet’s artful way of arranging
words. And I like to share with children how she lavished poem
attention on one of my beloved everyday objects, the pencil.

HOUSE? are thoughts within another autumnal poem,
by Barbara Esbensen.

Tell Me
by Barbara Esbensen

“Why do you think
the birches
are standing in our yard
in their underwear?”


If you would like to treat yourself to a visit with
one of our best children’s poets, I’ve collected a few resources.

A CELEBRATION OF BEES, Helping Children to Write Poetry
by Barbara Juster Esbensen, foreword by Lee Bennett Hopkins

The poet shares fabulous works created by her young students,
sometimes in their own printing or cursive & occasionally
with their own art, such as on the cover. It is an uplifting
guide to helping children discover the poetry inside themselves.

A Celebration of Bees, Helping Children to Write Poetry by Barbara Juster Esbensen

A Celebration of Bees, Helping Children to Write Poetry
by Barbara Juster Esbensen

NCTE interview by M.Jean Greenlaw

Article at Bookology, by her husband Tory Esbensen

An homage to this literary artist (1925-1996)

An article by her editor-fan, fellow poet, Lee Bennett Hopkins

And fortunately, a nourishing video recollection by Lee Bennett Hopkins at the generous Renee LaTulippe’s

And remember, the Poetry Friday go-go juice is with Heidi at her tasty site.

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

[This week’s Kidlitosphere celebration of poetry is hosted by the beachy keen Linda Baie at TEACHERDANCE]

Happy to be back apace after a summer of
three very varied trips, porchstep farming of
potted cotton, eggplant & hot peppers &
coastal jaunts for a new class I’m taking.

Horse conch, August 2015, Florida  copyright, all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

Horse conch, August 2015, Florida copyright, all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

This summer, among other writerly feats attempted, I wrote a pantoum, as part of an early
challenge in the year, made in an online picture book class interview with the incomparable J. Patrick Lewis, whose books brighten my world.

My other poetry thrill of the summer was to return home from a workshop with autographed books from the Guinness record holding anthologist and inspiring poetry guide, Lee Bennett Hopkins. One summery title is THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Walter Gaffner-Kessell.
In case your summer found you near salty shores, “Seashell” by poet
Sandra Liatsos may provide a reflective swoosh. Here are lines from it.

by Sandra Liatsos

This seashell is an ocean cove
That holds a liquid sound
Of waves that rush a hidden shore
Where stranger shells are found…

c. SANDRA LIATSOS all rights reserved

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessell

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessell

Of all the elements that flow together to create a memorable shore experience for children, can it be that shells are the
most accessible? I know fishing is a big part of some beach excursions, but think of how often those fishesget away! The skeletons of marine snails are a more universal accessible treasure. (Although my dear Paolo caught five different species of fish on our last shore trip, all caught & released.)

As for the giant marine snail in the photo, it of course was released back into its home, to forage among turtle grass
& grow even fatter. It is our official state shell, this being Florida & the kind of place where we have a state shell.

Back on my struggle with the pantoum, which is on a salty topic, if you are in the PF community & can spare the time to comment on my
d r a f t , please message me on facebook with your email or leave it here. Or send me an email note at jgaoffice at gmail dot com. I’ll be always grateful. And I would read a poem of yours & comment, in exchange.

Happy hallways, sweet school seats, fabulous Fridays, each week of this school year!

Interview with Katheryn Russell-Brown

It’s back to days of alarm clocks and paying attention in class.
This summer I found a new author who will be easy to pay attention to, for Bookseedstudio’s first interview of the fall semester.

I met the author of LITTLE MELBA and HER BIG TROMBONE
after sweet trombone sounds accompanied her lively library talk.

It was the most musical children’s book signing I’ve ever attended.

Extra fun floated through the room of our downtown library, because Dr. Russell-Brown’s daughter Sasha, a fifth-grader, stood proudly on stage, playing select notes on her very own big trombone.
When the author kindly asked if a little boy in the enrapt audience
wanted to try out Sasha’s big trombone, he did! It almost felt like it
could be a scene from the author’s lyrical Coretta Scott King honor book, illustrated beautifully by Frank Morrison with signature elongated touches. But, we were attending another nourishing event
for readers at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library.


Some background, from the story

Melba Doretta Liston grew up pushing the pedals on a player piano, while
beloved aunties danced in the living room. She was blessed with a mom who
bought the seven-year-old girl a trombone on the spot when Melba spied it offered
by a Kansas City traveling vendor. She insisted THAT was the instrument for her!
The rest is history. A history not widely known.
But it’s told for young readers via a spirited storytelling style in LITTLE MELBA.

Melba was one of the first women of any race to become a world-class trombone virtuoso – playing, composing and arranging. The back-of- the-book material shows a photograph of Melba with Quincy Jones. She also played for many others,
including Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and the Supremes.

artwork c. 2014 copyright, al rights reserved FRANK MORRISON from Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

artwork c. 2014 copyright, al rights reserved FRANK MORRISON from Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Melba experienced discrimination based on her race and for being a woman in a male-dominated artistic realm. Yet she performed all over the world, received many honors such as Jazz Master designation from the National Endowment for the Arts, and she eventually formed her own band. She was composing as recently as the 1990s. She was born in 1926 and died in 1999.

You might suspect the author is a music teacher but at the University of Florida College of Law, she is Dr. Katheryn Russell-Brown, professor of law and
director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations.

I know you’ll want to learn more about the author of LITTLE MELBA and HER BIG TROMBONE (Lee & Low Books) so let me bring her onstage.

Favorite music to listen to.
I’m a rhythm & blues girl, with particular affection for 1970s r & b. My list of favorite bands and singers is long. Let’s see, I love Earth Wind & Fire, the Isley Brothers, the O’Jays, the Spinners, James Brown, the Emotions, the Whispers, Maze, Stevie Wonder, Heatwave, the Commodores, Rufus, Kool & the Gang, the Jackson 5, Deniece Williams, the Dramatics…. I could go on for pages, there were so many amazing groups of musicians.

Author you’d like to meet.
Hands down, Toni Morrison. She writes with a twinkle in her eye. She is a masterful writer. Her fiction has received lots of attention but she also wields a mighty pen when writing non-fiction (“Birth of a Nation ‘Hood) and she’s written children’s books to boot (my kids love “The Big Box”).

What fact about Melba Doretta Liston amazes you the most?
Her incredible intellect and perseverance.

How did you learn about Melba Liston?
I heard a wonderful NPR radio broadcast in 2010 called, “Melba Liston: Bones of an Arranger,” narrated by Nancy Wilson.

Some favorite children’s movies.
I have two favorites. “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (the original with Gene Wilder) is one. It was absolutely magical. I saw it at the MacArthur/Broadway Mall in Oakland in 1971, when it first came out. The movie house was packed with kids who had been dropped off by their parents.

I also love “The Wiz” (1978). The music, the acting, and the production were fantastic. I’m thrilled that it will be back on Broadway next year. I’m taking my kids!

Future projects.
I have a few more stories up my sleeve. Please stay tuned!

Thank you, Katheryn.
It will be a pleasure to listen & stay tuned for more of your books.
Here is a website about Katheryn Russell-Brown

Those of us who are filling our book baskets with titles to read
this school year will want to add in LITTLE MELBA, which is a Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book, illustrated by Frank Morrison. It fits several good connections including stories on

high-achieving girls & women

African-American role models

musical instrumentals, jazz & orchestras

Here are two websites about children’s books on girls & women
Amelia Bloomer List/ALA

KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month (article by Katheryn Russell-Brown,
which includes a link to a video of a grown up Melba, performing)

Here are two websites about books on African-American topics
Coretta Scott King Book Awards
The Brown Bookshelf

Here is a website about children’s books on music

I hope your school year sings.

LOVE Jimmy Carter

He will always be Pres. Jimmy Carter to me. And he will always be robust in my mind. With typical humor & grit, he is offering many
people challenged by cancer, renewed vigor this week with his upbeat remarks & the love he is sharing around the world as his Emory Medical Center team tackles his cancer.

Jimmy Carter met uncountable numbers of people after his Presidency including our family, twice. Plains, Ga. c. Jan Godown Annino

Jimmy Carter met uncountable numbers of people after his Presidency including our family, twice. Plains, Ga.
c. Jan Godown Annino

Gathering Moments, Hours, Days…

(there is an August update to this earlier post…)

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne

…“but a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
and a butterfly flitted across the field,
and all the leaves were calling me
and the wind went sighing over the land
– copyright Richard Le Gallienne

Exploring and experiencing are elements of what the talent-saturated & prolific author Jane Yolen calls Gathering Days. In these summer days & nights,
she recently reminded social media followers to take time to fill the
wells of experience.
For many of us, that includes looking for unusual plants & animals.
Your everyday chipmunk may be my great find. They aren’t known to be in Florida, Disney-contrarwise…

Or wild walk.
Acorn Street, Boston – May 2015
Gathering Wobble!

A Gathering Day, or the Gathering Times & Gathering Moments are

Our yellow cottage front yard blossoms that
will = eggplants!

some of the many ways we connect with the thrum of activities that
can hold kernels of energy that lead to eyedears & stories.

For example, how much better for me to write a garden story,
when I have wet dirt under my fingernails (my garden gloves become soaked
& mucky so I usually pull them off.) And when I attempt to grow a new plant
to my garden patch, such as this year’s eggplant & cotton.

How better it is for me to write these poems
about the seashore that I’m at work on after I’ve been engrossed in
following this olive snail’s trail, down on the Gulf of Mexico at St. George Island.

How easier it is to write about fear if I’ve climbed telephone-
pole-high in tree tops, to wobble along Myakka River State
Park’s shaky tree canopy walkway. I do NOT like heights so much.
Or, even a leetle bit.
And I did this!!

Gather Ye Gathers in Summer!

Gathering Days ought to be sprinkled in our life all year, but for many
with family & work rhythms tied to the school year, summer is a
fine time to gather aromas, to touch farm animals, to ride horses,
to observe sea creatures, to walk far into fields, run up hills,
even traipse into mountains.

Here are a few Gathering Day moments of mine, through the years,
woven into my stories & poems.

* Meeting a mama bear and her two cubs when they walked up –
and I walked RAN! along a steep Mt. LeConte, TN trail.

* Meeting a Florida panther in South Florida (an actor for movies &
commercials, but nonetheless a moving, bounding panther.)
I JUMPED back!

* Riding horses on Paynes Prairie, Florida, to see bison up close. (They
were re-introduced, having once roamed there.) But the touch-and-go
moment of the ride was dealing with alligators strewn about this wet
prairie, which made the horses nervous. My husband & I are alive to
tale the tell. Or to tell the tale. I rather like tale the tell.

(Todd… this Florida bison is for you!)

If the heat index for recent days wasn’t 103 upwards here in North Florida,
I would go out for my Daily Gathering during the day, instead of at nite.
On a regular foot journey, we small- city nayborhood dwellers can
easily walk from this little yellow cottage to a vet’s office, post office, sub and burger chain & an independent country buffet & indy cookie/cake shop, plus a chain grocery, & bank. And yet –
we can also climb hilly streets intensely wooded in swaths with tall growth pines, live oaks, dogwoods, cypress & other tree beauties.

The area is pocketed with an elevated road thru swamp, undeveloped grassy and woodsy gathering places where the animals in hiding (sometimes not in hiding) include fox, bunnies, coyotes, armadillos, opossums, bats & other small mammals such as the daily tree scrambles of the squirrels. Herons, Canada geese, owls and many song birds such as jays, cardinals, wrens & warblers visit. As do blackbirds, cowbirds, & treat of treats, hummingbirds.
Surprising for a swamp, no gator spotted yet!
Oh – quail. Can’t forget the juvenile quail.

(Cutie flew away last week when I went to fix a leetle
box lined with soft stuff… Our cat is strictly inside,
we have no doggie, so why it landed on our door
mat is a mystery.)

To get back to that Gathering Wobble, our daughter works in Boston
& the Gathering Day events she’s written to us about include bunny-watching,
turkey watching, maple syrup making & kayak drifting on the Charles River.

Some gathering moments our family enjoyed together with her in
May in Boston were chipmunk watching, lilac sniffing, bleeding tooth-plant
finding, cobblestone walking on Acorn Street in Beacon Hill,
(avoiding falling) & robin-watching.

Where do you like to spend gathering days?
What have you gathered in summers past?
Is it too soon to report in on your “gathers” this season?
I wish you many great gathering moments that will fill you with eyedears, words,
poems, pages, stories, scripts, illustrations & books.

APPRECIATIONS update in August/2015 – to author & garden muse Sharon Lovejoy who collected armloads of goodness in her lovely book, SUNFLOWER HOUSES. It’s where I first came across Richard Le Gallienne.

Free Event!
If you would like to join me & several Group Bloggers in an online summer children’s writing school, which is a great boost in gathering pages accomplished and in writing THE END,
please read my essay about it & think about becoming a summer student in the comfort of your own home. It’s created by two energetic SCBWI members. Last summer National Book Award-winning children’s author Kathryn Erskine set the nourishing & exciting pace as the first day’s faculty member.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Cecil The Lion

by Jan Godown Annino

Marjory Stoneman Douglas sat in my living room when she told our
book group that she was flummoxed by people who couldn’t control
the urge to insert themselves into the wild.

by Irene Latham with artwork from Anna Wadham

by Irene Latham with artwork from Anna Wadham

As I remember, the words from MSD that have guided my expeditions since went something like
– After all, isn’t the wild the only place wild creatures have to live naturally? Why go and spoil it for them by your being there? And believe
me, even if well-intentioned, people in wild places can ruin it for the animals.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas wasn’t talking about scientists conducting research.
Or about preserve staff on regular patrol or other duties.
She was thinking of folks taking their entertainment from inching as close as possible to wild animals as the exquisite creatures fed, mated, gave birth, took care of young, simply wandered or rested.
This is different from a wandering wild beast crossing your path unexpectedly as you
amble in your basic park or your own field or even your yard.

Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoons got the people intrusion from the animal perspective just right. Here is letter to the universe from him –
And this is a url to his The FarSide postings on twitter.

Having already inserted myself into the wild by walking two mountains – Katahdin in Maine and LeConte, which borders Tennessee and North Carolina, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, whose environmental credentials made her a lioness of advocacy, changed my view during that visit. National, state and local parks became gloriously wild enough for these eyes and feet, without my needing/wanting to access more wilderness zones where the animals likely didn’t need me there.

I understand the photo safaris support conservation in many important habitat parks around the globe. I am talking only about my path choices, after hearing MSD.

I also like to direct animal lovers’ attentions to captive exquisite animals bred and housed humanely.
And most accessible to all, I read lyrical books about animals to children, such as the poetry in the very topical, timely & eloquently clever
Dear Wandering Wildebeest.

Here is the Letter to the Editor I sent after the #CeciltheLion news.

“Please go and find a copy of a new book about animals sharing a waterhole in Africa, by Alabama children’s author Irene Latham, with pictures from British artist Anna Wadham.
The title is Dear Wandering Wildebeest. Among the opening lines are the words –

Welcome wildebeest
and beetle
oxpecker and lion.
This water hole is yours.

If future dentists and gynecological oncologists learn poetry for children about lions, wildebeests, giraffes, rhinos and other exquisite animals that deserve existence, it’s possible that future grisly outcomes U.S. medical professionals have visited upon the wildlife population in Zimbabwe, can be reduced.

And if you would like to learn more about writing beautifully for young readers, please attend the Sept. 26, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ workshop (10 a.m. – 3 p.m., fee $75) with award-winning local author Adrian Fogelin, at Uptown Café, 1325 Miccosukee Road. Look for registration details to be submitted later, to this newspaper’s calendar.

Jan Godown Annino”

My local newspaper publishes most of my letters so this may be in print and online, soon.

illustration copyright Anna Wadham, from Dear Wandering Wildebeest, by Irene Latham[/caption]

Dear Wandering Wildebeest pages (book borrowed from LeRoyCollinsLeonCounty Public Library)

Another important advocate, Anne Rudloe, scientist, poet, professor, was co-creator of Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory. She wrote Butterflies On A Sea Wind. My copy escapes me on my shelf search as I write this, or I would quote from it. But she once said-
“Protecting the earth gives meaning and wholeness and a sense that you are contributing to a greater good.
This earth should not be allowed to disappear.
Now it is your turn.”

Anne Rudloe

copyright Jan Godown Annino collection/Paolo Annino photographer -  MSD wears the white hat.

copyright Jan Godown Annino collection/Paolo Annino photographer –
As she so often did, MSD wears the white hat.

Explore some more

Judith Viorst

“…I’ll ponder the sea serpent’s slither; the shark’s slashing fin,
I’ll wander the world and beyond it, by foot and by rocket,
To where the sky ends and mysterious rivers begin…”
copyright Judith Viorst, in her poetry collection, SAD UNDERWEAR

A link to the poet, Judith Viorst

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne

…“but a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
and a butterfly flitted across the field,
and all the leaves were calling me
and the wind went sighing over the land
– copyright Richard Le Gallienne

A link to the poet, Richard Le Gallienne
(* added July 22, 2015
This poem came to me years ago in the huggable book,
SUNFLOWER HOUSES by my favorite celebrity garden guru, Sharon Lovejoy. It does the soul good, to dwell with not only Gallienne’s poem, but with Lovejoy’s lovely book.)

I am betwixt Judith Viorst and Richard Le Gallienne to explain
my sensation this summer. I have delighted in discovery of
the next child’s swaying & singing at a reading
but also,
a chimpmunk feeding
a snail leaving a trail

Boston chipmunk I snapped in a garden.

Elegant land snail in our front yard.

I’ve enjoyed three summer presentations to students at two day camps & one at our library. And I’ve managed a mighty fine amount of writing, which is my only summer goal. At the library we sang a verse of mine in the voice of books stuck inside the library on shelves, books that would love to glide out & go home with us.

I’m so happy
I’m so happy
I’m gliding
not hiding


So, lucky me to experience another kind of gliding on the Wakulla River with my family & giant marine potatoes we joined on the long float.

copyright A.A  2015, Anna Annino, all rights reserved

copyright A.A. 2015, Anna Annino, all rights reserved

Because I am fortunate to live in Florida these weren’t my first manatees, but season after season, nothing prepares me for the exotic scene – slow rolls of table-long loaves. In the quiet that falls upon us as we turn our bodies above water to keep them in sight by our side, we hope for the moments when we hear the
pfffft! one emits, when it enters our shared airspace to exhale old air and fill lungs again.
Every breath they take that I witness is the opening of a sea treasure chest.


Bulletin, week of July 13 addition –
This is a gre8t week to use regular registration for Summer School created by two SCBWI members. (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. (pre-reg ended, but not to worry!)

Just after I returned from the SCBWI conference in June, I came across a cute writer chickie handling an impressive eyepiece.
She was pecking around in my mail online.
Chipping about something called the Nerdy Chicks Rule KIDLIT SUMMER SCHOOL.
Here is all about it!

artwork c. JOYCE WAN, all rights reserved, used with permission

artwork c. JOYCE WAN, all rights reserved, used with permission


These are impressions that can’t have been unique to me.
The dedicated artists & writers shared laughs,
love of books & stories & lively discussions
through the weekend.
Perhaps being in magic Florida, helped!

My poetry crit partner Christine & I sat rapt all
Saturday. I was also lucky to soak up picture book
lessons on Friday. Worth. Every. Penny.
The thrills + wisdom shared offset motoring 9 hours round-trip.

(With thanks to my dear hubby who made the trip too & our
generous longtime pals we stayed with who just moved into a big new house,
Brad + Sandy. The neighborhood elementary school is
Spanish-speaking & Sandy is a volunteer reader/tutor with
school stories to share, a bonus for me.)

Still applauding conference volunteers – including
Linda Bernfeld, Gaby Triana, Linda Shute & Curtis Sponsler &
my longtime SCBWI pal, Gloria Rothstein. They conducted
two auctions – live & silent, matched critique givers to
the artists & writers, arranged meals, transportation for
faculty, meeting rooms, onsite bookstore & much more.


You-Heard-It-Here-Today/ Picture Books –
Lee Bennett Hopkin’s JUMPING OFF LIBRARY SHELVES (illus. Jane Manning)
Alexandra Penfold’s EAT, SLEEP, POOP (illus., Jane Massey)
Rob Sanders’ RUBY ROSE ON HER TOES (illus Debbi Ohi)
Tim Miller’s MOO IN A TUTU (he is illus)
Douglas Florian’s HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (he is illus)
Irene Latham’s FRESH DELICIOUS, Poems from the Farmer’s Market &
Mika Song’s TEA WITH OLIVER (he is illus)
Bonus – how about that last author-illustrator’s name?

For a sneak peek at an Advance Reader Copy of a yet-to-be
released Middle Grade novel by the talented author of
Nory Ryan’s Song & about 90 other books, I invite you HERE.
Thrilled to have a 1st look.

INFO bits on the detailed PROCESS to PUBLISHING

>An editor rejected books that another house published. When she
saw them between covers, she wished she discerned, in manuscript form
what the other house perceived in manuscript form – the books turned
out quite good & she wished she had pubbed them.
This is to help us understand how our manuscripts can be wonderful,
just not right at that moment for the editor/publisher we’ve sent it to.

>This same editor shared that when she was at a house where the sales
force wielded manuscript rejection power, one of her championed children’s
books was rejected. She eventually had it published by that house. How?
“There is a lot of turnover.”
She sent to back to the writer to keep working on it. Later the editor
resubmitted it when the naysayer had moved on to another house.

>An editor said a picture book that she originally didn’t like, even
sort of derided to close associates, still had this kernel of emotion that
stuck to her.
She could never shake it from her mind. She went back. Looked at it.
Six years later she is publishing it, pleased with the results.

<Listening to an editor share how short p.b. manuscripts can make her
heart beat fast – I feel I got it. Revising. Short.

A successful YA author said her years of taking picture book classes
to learn to write 500 word manuscripts helped her write succinctly
(I will add successfully) in verse for the high school reader.

First lines that are direct & simple make all the difference in picture books.
Examples an editor shared that she loves –
“Hattie was a big black hen.” Mem Fox
“The mice made a teeter-totter.” Ellen Stoll Walsh

Look up the SCBWI Edited By list to help find editors whose books you like.

Agents, editors, artists & writers! Even spouses, partners & children.
Too many to name, but here is one moment of many from the conference
that are treasures. He is poet, editor & poetry anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins, known
as The Pied Piper of Children’s Poetry.

Lee Bennett Hopkins & Jan

Every faculty member was accessible, warm & funny. If I garbled my words
getting them out, or didn’t get any words out to those I intended to, it was my
own cold feet. Next time, Jan!

I feel good that at lunch I linked a writer I didn’t know before that much appreciated meal,into a nice conversation with an agent at our large table, because the writer had shared with me info about her work I knew the agent would like to know. Put on the spot, I am usually more advanced at promoting others than myself.

At a workshop an editor said spiffy remarks after
I read aloud from my fresh-scribbled words. They were three pieces
of brief writing in response to the unexpected writing prompt. I
blushed, floated. Haven’t quite landed, yet.

Orlando’s newish indy shop, Bookmark It, received a warm welcome.
I turned out to be their first conference book buyer (not just looking)
customer. One of the best sellers of the SCBWI weekend is the book
cradled in my hand, in the photo,
I am so stoked that writer pals, especially Robyn Hood Black,
are represented in this huggable chubby board book, alongside Jane Yolen, X.J. Kennedy, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Kristine O’Connell George, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Alice Schertle & other children’s author luminaries. I am happy it winged away, inscribed, to the dear baby in our family in Rhode Island, who celebrates his 1st birthday this very month.

Here are lines from that book’s SWEET by Peggy Janousky
Next time when I eat this fruit
I think I’ll wear a bathing suit

Since many of us are fortunate to be dripping with watermelon
this time of year, Peggy’s poem is particulary refreshing here
at our house.

We arrived in Orlando not long after visiting our family in CT & MASS during
days of a big ol’ eyetalyen wedding, so it was fun to reflect on very different cities.
We saw a chipmunk in Boston and an otter in Orlando. We saw the pencil
sculpture in Orlando in a downtown art park.
And it strikes me as something Boston would be proud to own.

Consider the SCBWI-FL MidyearConference in 2016. Information on
it will be posted at the Florida site. SCBWI = Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

While I was in Orlando, several title eyedears & other creative writing
thoughts came to mind. My conference-inspired scribbles continue.
I’ve re-read & re-read notes from the two conference
critiques, have thought, made scribbles of phrases, lines, more.

One final summer presentation as a children’s author is on my
calendar. (Since the conference I visited a well-off private school one week
& then drove over to a needy community center program the next &
I appreciated having those contrasts.) The next event is at our lovely library.
Following that I expect to slack off non-manuscript writing
(including here) in these precious summer weeks,
in expectations of manuscript progress & to begin new project eyedears
that bubbled up as a result of this nourishing SCBWI-FL weekend.


Too long since I had cracked open a middle grade novel by
Patricia Reilly Giff who I met with her Irish potato famine tale,
NORY RYAN’S SONG, which taught me much about my Irish heritage.
This author of more than 90 books for children including
two Newbery Honor titles offers a new one at the end of summer.

Fortunately for me, UNTIL I FIND JULIAN is on a topic I glom onto in
headlines and book titles.
Here in Florida, like in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, we feel
immigration pressures directly at state borders, which unlike, say, Wyoming,
are also international/national borders.

Mateo, who must take on the Americanized name Matty,
in his parched journey north, is the sort of child anyone would like to
have doing chores such he handles for his mother, grandmother & a man who
befriends him later when he is far from home.
Matty has an artist’s eye & he loves the hand-stitched notebook his grandmother
created – maybe more than her hand-stitched quilts.
Older brother Julian has covered for Matty’s mild mistakes, such as
skipping school to fish & has also shown him how to be kind to the eccentric
woman who lives down the creek.
Now Julian, eight years older, is missing in Arkansas. He was working
odd jobs illegally, to send money back to the impoverished Mexican family.
Word has come back to the family that he may have been injured in a fall
from a construction site.
Matty’s quest begins. He finds a disreputable man to help with the trip.
There is a river to cross. And despite living by a creek, Matty can’t swim.

Memorable moments
“I kick against the fast moving water, my legs deep under the surface.
Head up like a turtle, I keep my eyes on the island in the center of the river.”
Sidekick moment – Angel, a runaway girl, guides Matty into the U.S. after
he escapes from the human trafficker. She hides sad secrets
that Matty tries to fathom.
On the hunt – Julian is like a ghost, tracked by Matty from one fleeting jobsite to
another in Arkansas, each step dangerous for the younger brother; he has entered illegally & is a child who speaks very little English. How can he “pass?”
Bonus – Because Matty has always dreamed of publishing a book some day,
he manages to take a few notes on the journey. His writings are included,
throughout the novel as, “I Remember.”

I can see great classroom connections for this vivid story of Mateo-Matty, Julian & Angel. Look for it in September or
pre-order now at your favorite bookseller or from the publisher.
About Patricia Reilly Giff
I imagine there will be more conversations near the release date, but here
is an interview in The New York Times by Tammy La Gorce in 2008.

It was my honor to win this book as part of the Florida-SCBWI MidYear conference. Thank you!


image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

[Poetry bloggers can find the weekly reads superbly rounded up by Buffy Silverman.]

Our family of the North hopes for 80 degree days &
cools off with 50 degree nites.

But here in Florida we blister now until, October to early November.
A dear pal transplanted to Florida is not only under the sun, but also, gloriously pregnant. So for encouragement I scratched the memory of my own summer pregnancy days and thought of cool ways.


Teach family/friends to avoid speaking these words or their various iterations near you –


Forget that you like spicy food


Pop into your mouth –
washed individual grapes, spaced apart on a tray, covered, from freezer
same with frozen melon balls, any color; blueberries; ice slivers

A cold salad meal every day or several times in one day isn’t overdoing it

Baked/broiled/cooked foods can taste fantastic cold – steak in salad, for example, shrimp in salad, chicken in…

Move perfume/cologne stick to the fridge for impulsive wrist & ankle rubs

Keep a soft washcloth & small towel in a plastic bag in the fridge

Walk barefoot or watershoe-footed in water – the sea shore, lake shore, splash fountain, creek, pool

Walk on cool grass & in the shade of grandmother trees

Seek the outdoors in early a.m. & in the p.m.

Adore full moonlight & accomplish outdoors work during it

Adore the evening

Embrace linen without a worry about wrinkles – every breeze passes right through it

Before entering a parked vehicle, it should be prepared – windows down, A/C running a blast, dashboard fan on & towel on seat so you don’t stick

Sidewalks, pathways & roads are for walking in the evening

Keep 2 kiddie pools in the backyard – one for little ones & one for

Find books that bring you into the cool – GOING TO EXTREMES, COMING INTO THE COUNTRY…

Floating on your back in an expanse of cool should be the cardinal rule

images copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

images copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

by Jan Godown Annino

Eyes closed
Face up

Water buoys beyond sun shafts

A womb of wet
Where have I gone?

Afloat in an ocean
Drifting in a pond
Lazing on a lake

Am I also somewhere else?

Free of Fahrenheits
Feeling more like me
I am the queen of cool

And what about hats you may say.
Patience to read this far is rewarded with the best.
Thinking of sun hats I felt an old memory linking hats to E.B. White.
Sure enough when I pulled a collection down from the shelf, I found a marker for a summer poem.
These lines excerpted are from “A Father Does His Best,”
connecting summer sizzle, E.B. White & hats.

When this stanza begins, the narrator is at Lord & Taylor & later will visit other emporiums.

“A Father Does His Best”
by E. B. White

Said I to Lord & Taylor:
“Hot are the summer skies
And my son Joe would like to go
In a big straw hat in the year-old size
Have you got such a thing for, for summer skies,
A nice straw hat in the year-old size?
Said Lord & Taylor: “No.”
copyright E.B. White, all rights reserved

excerpted from p. 73, “A Father Does His Best”
in POEMS & SKETCHES of E. B. White


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.

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.
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.
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.

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?

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.

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.

So here ‘tis.

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


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.


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.



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

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.


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.


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
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!


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


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.


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.)



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

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

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

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

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

Jone MacCulloch wears her Grandma Mac’s aprons.

Heidi Mordhorst pulls on some big, black boots.

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

Catherine Johnson getting dressed with Alexander Resnikoff.

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

Donna JT Smith savors skirts donna.html

Bookseedstudio/Jan Annino shares about a skirt-maker

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


PROGRESSIVE POEM 2015 in National Poetry Month



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,


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.







hair first





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


above her head, a paddle


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 decide. Garner wisdom from the water

and from the pearl

of the past.”


In a quicksilver flash,

an arc of resolution, he


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 …
Released, he swims

chasing the


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


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



Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy


Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe



Laura at Writing the World for Kids

5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog!POETRY-TIME-BLOG-24/c23vc/5519ad2d0cf21933cd241eb1

6 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson

8 Irene at Live Your Poem

9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

10 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

11 Kim at Flukeprints

12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

13 Doraine at DoriReads

14 Renee at No Water River

15 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

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

17 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

19 Linda at Teacher Dance

20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots

21 Tara at A Teaching life at A Teaching Life

22 Pat at Writer on a Horse

23 Tamera at The Writer’s Whimsy

24 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

25 Tabatha at The Opposite of indifference

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?




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.




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.


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.


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.



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.

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







him back out the door



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.




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.


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.

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.


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.

© 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.

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


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



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

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
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
poem “Fossils” by Jack Prelutsky in THE CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS (Camille Saint-Saens’s music) illustrated by Mary GrandPre
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.

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:

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!.

poem for Roasted Oysters + more

Poem for Roasted Oysters

I don’t eat oysters

O! No- I don’t

How is it that one





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.


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.


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.




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.


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.


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.



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.


Apalachicola Trading Canoe (circa 1750-1800)

credit: Apalachicola Center for History, Culture & Art



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.

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.






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:


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.



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


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.


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.




            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.



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.)



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.)



             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.

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


Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global BookshopSatya House,,   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.



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.




 “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.



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.


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.


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