Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz

Do you love blue as much as I do?

Is it a codeword for depression or is blue

sky high beauty, to you?

everywhere-blue-jkt_front_9-24-20

Cover art by Elena Megalos

As soon as next week on June 1, EVERYWHERE BLUE,

Joanne Rossmassler Fritz’s debut book, appears. Everywhere.  

This amazing Pennsylvania author bested two brain aneurisms.

She collected a crackerjack medical healing team, supported in

her unexpected journey by hubby and two clever sons who,

 tho grown, provide her with hijinks. After serious health

trauma, she completed her first-ever novel, in verse, and is

now at work on her second verse novel where a character

 may have an experience with aneurism; there’s not a hint

 of aneurism in the first, but the important topic of mental

illness plays a key role.

Joanne’s career life is also fascinating to any writer.

And I know she is a craftful poem maker because I’m fortuante to have met

Joanne at a Highlights Foundation workshop. Let’s take a ramble with Joanne:

Q WHAT PARTS OF YOUR PAST PROFESSIONAL JOBS ARE A FIT WITH BEING

A NOVELIST FOR MIDDLE GRADE?

A: All of them! I worked the longest in an indie bookstore (ten years in the Children’s Department), but I also worked for four years in a school library, and for two and a half years in the Children’s Department of a major publishing company, as an editorial assistant (back when I was young!

Q HOW DID YOU PREPARE TO WRITE A FIRST VERSE NOVEL?

A: Over the space of about 20 years, I wrote at least a dozen picture books, which I never managed to get published. I believe that experience helped me hone my writing down to the essential words, although I never thought of writing a verse novel at that point. Then after my first brain aneurysm rupture (in 2005), I started writing novels. Between 2007 and 2013, I completed four novels in prose. I was getting frustrated at not finding an agent or getting any nibbles from publishers, so I started submitting poems and flash fiction for adults to literary journals. I managed to get a few of these published in 2013 and 2014. Then, hoping to get another poem published, I started writing one about taking oboe lessons when I was in junior high. I loved learning the oboe, but I hated getting out of the lessons after dark on winter afternoons. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the beginning of EVERYWHERE BLUE. I never submitted it anywhere. Instead, in early 2015, I wrote three chapters of a new novel about a girl who plays the oboe and whose brother vanishes. I immediately realized that it wasn’t working in prose and it needed to be in verse. That’s when I went back to my poem about the oboe lesson and started over again right there. From then on, it flowed.

Q. CAN YOU SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT HOW THE INDIVIDUAL POEMS AND FORMS DEVELOPED OVER TIME?

A:  I started out writing only in free verse. But after much revision, it was actually my agent, Barbara Krasner, who suggested I add some formal poetry. I wrote a few couplets and tercets, and then spent three weeks in August 2019 writing a villanelle. That was a real challenge for me, but I loved it! I will definitely add one to my next book. After my editor, Sally Morgridge, read the manuscript, she had me add quite a few more brief poems, and even add some stanzas to existing poems.

Q WHAT’S NEXT IN WRITING FOR YOU?

A: I’m working on another novel in verse. This time it’s YA. I can’t say too much about it because it’s not finished! And the way I write, it will change quite a bit. 

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Readers, I hope you will ask your library to order EVERYWHERE BLUE & to learn more:

Poet Jone Rush MaCullouh’s wonderful blog.

Across the Big Pond at the blog of a teen London journalisthttps://livswonderfulescape.wordpress.com/2021/05/19/interview-with-joanne-fritz/

WoW! The publisher’s lovely brag page includes cheers from National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine (MOCKINGBIRD) & poem samples from the advance reader copy. Not. To. Miss!

JRR on twitter @JoanneRFritz

Her website

Bookseedstudio is part of #PoetryFriday hosted today by the creative visual artist & poet, Michelle Kogan.

#MarvelousMaryLee #PoetryforMaryLee

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday. Today’s connecting hearthoughts are 

#MarvelousMaryLee #PoemsforMaryLee

because, we are lucky to celebrate the joyful 37-year teaching career of a Poetry Friday icon,

Mary Lee Hahn, my poetry pal.

Brown fur on green canvas – poem for Mary Lee Hahn

Brown fur on green canvas

Floppy fountains of spring grass on public

school lawn can’t hide hop hop hop!

Free-range bunnies garden as intently

as bigger bent bodies groom their Beacon Hill patches.

[Mary Lee left carrots for bun-buns]

Harriet Tubman South End

Harriet Tubman – poem for Mary Lee Hahn

Harriet Tubman

Hello, Ms. Tubman! In awe we share your memory at

streetside sculpture park, a reflection upon 13 bold trips from 

Maryland, secretly walking BeLoveds out of cruel bondage 

that never ever should have been.

[Mary Lee left flowers for Moses, Harriet Tubman]

unnamed

Surprise! Mary Lee Hahn, writer, reader, poetry-pusher &

educator extraordinaire, recently, mysteriously, invisibly,

imaginatively [as storytold in poem + fotos above] joined in

on select sojourns in at BostonTown, where

I’m temporarily in residence for great food &

expert health care.

YEAH! HAPPINESS ALWAYS dear MARY LEE!

I salute the singular Mary Lee, retiring soon after 37 years.

She incomparably devotes & dedicates her energy to

providing abundant time needed for uplift of children. Her

inventive & brilliant wings-bringing to each 

student, is the school experience 

every child should have. 

 Applause, applause applause, dear Mary Lee!!!

Here is chalk poster, from this year’s earlier fun frou! frou!

for Mary Lee’s 60th birthday. Mwah! to Mary Lee from someone feeling

joy to be part of Mary Lee’s Poetry Friday hoopla.

0 5

I also wish a boisterous Happy Birthday to today’s other marvelous

P.F. birthday person, Christie Wyman, of Wondering and Wandering fame.

who is graciously our Poetry Friday hostess –  many appreciations, Christie.

Please visit her site to find more links for this celebratory MLH week.

[I expect to return here before the month’s out, with a Bookseestudio

splash for my Highlights Foundation Novel in Verse workshop pal, 

Joanne R. Fritz, who has created a brilliant MG novel, EVERYWHERE BLUE.]

37 Days at Sea: new MG verse novel

[#PoetryFriday is hosted today and all week by Margaret at REFLECTIONS on the TECHE!]

Ruthie Arons is a curious kid who has known recent horror, including Nazis brutally ransacking her beautiful home. Yet, she is still is a sprite who ponders all that crosses her path aboard the M.S. St. Louis, sailing from Germany to Cuba. Ruthie pranks passengers in an inventive way. She initiates shipboard friendships with all ages and cheers each of her parents as they fall ill. She is a companion to cherish.

Cover art by Kelly Murphy

51xi6ZCDwiL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_

Q. I am a Ruthie Arons fan. Please share something of Ruthie’s arrival in your author-mind. Is it possible she is modeled on strong or fun-loving young girls you know today or in family history?

BK: I did not base Ruthie on any girl I know today. I did interview a St. Louis survivor in 2010 who had shown a lot of spunk and I had her in mind a bit.

Q. It’s clear that Ruthie not only admires her father, who becomes a shipboard leader on this troubled voyage. But also, Ruthie discovers the German captain is decent, too. She finds out that others of the crew don’t know the word, decency. Why is it important reveal the kindness of German Capt. Schroeder?

BK: Passengers of the St. Louis nominated Captain Gustav Schroeder for his Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center recognition as Righteous Among Nations. The captain was most decidedly not a Nazi and he truly cared about the passengers. One man I interviewed, who had been about ten years old on the ship, said the captain was “a peach.” I wanted to show that not all Germans were Nazis, not all Germans hailed Hitler, not all believed in or adhered to the Nazi ideology–at great risk to themselves.

 Q. Ruthie and her parents leave the MS St. Louis in Belgium knowing they will journey to England, after being turned away by Cuba and the United States. What do you think they experienced in England that we don’t see in the story? 

BK: Once in England, Ruthie’s father would have been interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien. In Germany, he was a Jew. In England, he was a German. Ruthie would have been evacuated out of London during the Blitz. So “safe haven” was only temporary.

 Q. In your acknowledgements, there is summary of what feels to me like years of perseverance in research, especially with your careful speaking to trip survivors found by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. How do you approach a survivor, who may not want to discuss such a time?

BK: I first contacted Scott Miller of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He co-authored Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust. He gave me a list of survivors in the NJ-PA-NY area. I already knew that most of these people had been working with the museum as spokespeople about their experiences. I read as much as I could about the St. Louis experience before meeting with these survivors in their homes. The issue was not so much whether they wanted to talk. Rather, it was a challenge for me to get them to go beyond their usual spiel, to get underneath the narrative they typically shared so it would relate to kids. I learned so much from these people. Nothing fazed them, not a locked gate to their senior living community after 8 or a dishwasher that flooded the house while the family was away.

Q: Let’s speak about creating a story in verse. Is writing in verse something you’ve always gravitated to? What in your child days, career or study prepared you for writing poetry and especially a verse novel? What makes a story ideal to be presented in verse to young readers? And do you have preferred poetry forms to read or to write, other than free verse?

BK: I began writing poetry after I received my MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2006. When I first drafted this narrative about the St. Louis, it was middle-grade nonfiction. After hearing a panel at the 2012 Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference about historical sources and contemporary poetry, I rewrote the book as adult poetry in several voices. I workshopped and workshopped. Then I attended two Novel in Verse workshops at the Highlights Foundation and the story finally took shape as a fictionalized account with a single narrator for middle grade. I did take a post-graduate semester at Vermont in poetry with David Wojahn and read Holocaust poets in particular. What makes a story ideal to be presented in verse–that’s a great question. Trauma narratives lend themselves to verse treatment. I’ve also seen novels in verse feature many narrators which would be unwieldy in prose. I like to use certain repetitive forms at particular points of the narrative. For instance, I use villanelles at moments of great despair.

Q: Who are the poets you read frequently or especially feel drawn to? 

BK: I’m always learning about poets and their craft. I appreciate in particular Paul Celan, Miklos Radnoti, Wislawa Zymborska, Theodore Roethke, Dylan Thomas, and Elizabeth Bishop. I also like reading Nikki Grimes, Jacqueline Woodson, Richard Blanco, Mark Doty, and many others. I attend poetry readings on a regular basis and invest in literary journals.

 Q. Can we hope for another verse novel from you, now that your first is birthed? If so any early details?

BK: I do have a young adult biography in verse I’ll be able to talk about soon. That book, too, underwent a long process starting as nonfiction prose. I’ll just say it reflects the early Cold War period. My agent is shopping around a contemporary YA novel in verse, and I’m working on a new one–a narrative of a 16-year-old who had been a hidden child during World War II who comes to America in 1951 as an orphan to family she’s never known.

This is news I welcome, Barbara! Appreciations for your visit today. 37 Days at Sea leaves me feeling that this debut verse novelist is destined to add more beautiful words to my bookshelf and yours. And I would love to see this book be a movie. jga/Bookseedstudio

ALSO ~~~

Please know that one of children’s literature most-honored authors, Kathryn Erskine, writes of 37 Days at Sea that it is “a timely, compelling story of real-life refugees, seen through the eyes of a child, who is both innocent and wise.”

And further, Barbara is known to many for her notable p.b. bio limning a moment for Goldie, a schoolgirl in Milwaukee, who history came to know as Golda Meir, future elected Prime Minister of Israel.

See a book trailer for GOLDIE TAKES A STAND.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ4qJh2Bup8

Barbara Krasner’s fascinating website is The Whole Megillah.

https://thewholemegillah.wordpress.com/author/thewholemegillah/

Pre-order 37 Days here

Lerner/Kar-Ben https://lernerbooks.com/shop/show/20730

#2021ProgressivePoem

#2021Progressive Poem of #PoetryFriday flits here!

So, let’s jump right into the mix now at Day 6. 

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!

Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I’ll spread my joy both far and wide,

As a force of Nature I’ll be undenied.

And yesterday Irene Latham, who is kindness defined and delivered, 

tapped [or penned but I feel it was tapped/keystroked] two juicy

next lines. But! Only one line can win! Really? The competitors are: 

See that child sharing grapes with a friend?

OR

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

2021 Progressive Poem [in-the-making]

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!

Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I’ll spread my joy both far and wide,

As a force of Nature I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Wouldn’t cha’ know it. I totally love both of Irene’s detail-rich line friends.

I see an illustrator running away with them – so much liveliness in each line. 

My pass-along two choices are 

A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!

OR

See that child sharing grapes with a friend? [by Irene Latham, Day 5]

And yes, you sharp-eyed ones, I added heft to nature,  but of course,

Nature doesn’t have to stand. What’s going to unfold tomorrow? The one

who knows [or will know by the lovely morning] is Day 7 poet 

Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities

With Appreciations to Rose, and also to Our Collector Margaret Simon [otherwise

known as 2021 Day 9] living further West along my fragile Gulf Coast among her

lovely live oak grove writing at the creative blog, Life on the Teche.  And Joy to

all poem-makers from the earlier April days especially Line Leader Kat Appelt,

no doubt at this moment, busy as a mama wombat, in the lovely Down Under!

I feel lucky to slip in here whilst Bookseedstudio is otherwise On Break, tho please

give a visit again this very Friday April 9 when I return with with words, including a

Beloved Author’s endorsement for, the gripping new MG verse novel,

37 Days at Sea by Barbara Krasner.  

And now, Hello there, Rose! Have fun, xo from Jan

We have these sites to visit and discover day by day. Or to return to

for a quick recap. Viva! #PoetryFriday and #2021ProgressivePoem

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers 
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman 
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch 
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26 Tim Gels at Yet There is Method 
27 Rebecca Newman
28 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
29 Christie Wyman at Wondering and Wondering
30 Michelle Kogan at More Art 4 All



kidlitosphere-progressive-poem-2021

Sing dance submit: call for poems

[nota bene: book covers to know, below] 

Subject: Children, reading, writing or both
Form: Any. 40 Line Limit.
1st PL $40. 2nd PL $20. 3rd PL $15. 

Conjure your own memory. Or you might pen a poem about other real-child readers or writers. How about imagining a character-child? This call for a poem is part of the 2021 Florida State Poets’ Association’s annual effort to raise poetry’s profile. You don’t have to be a Florida resident or a member of this non-profit to enter. Details are here. The group often looks for new ways to engage poets, so, as someone who joined only in 2020,  I was pleased they accepted my suggestion (it does exempt me from this fun category but not you!). Detail: The contest team (which I’m not on) receives poems postally. No submissions are considered that are sent in before 1 May, for the deadline, 15 June 2021. Take care with submission details, as category #s must be included. (My guess is that overseas submissions are not invited, as a small fee in check form, is asked for the entry.) Last year I floated, when my poem “Surfing” won an Honorable from Oregon poet Tiel Aisha Ansari.

::::::::

“Dear Poet.” Now for a second take on submissions, at Poetry for Children last month, I learned of an essay opportunity for students called “Dear Poet.”  I plan to listen to as many of these richly experienced and published poets Poetry.org has collected, reading a poem on line. Students will do the same, but can submit their responses to the poems. I began with Marilyn Chin, reading her original piece “The Floral Apron.” If I were a student I would write an essay about how this inky poem reminded me of watching my mother-in-law take her knife to squid, about the depth of family ties and why it’s important to share family history. Hey, an idea. Hmm. 

Sing!

I laffed in attempted bopping to a Jerusalema loop. Song, music and lyrics of the isiXhosa language of South Africa (nearly 19 percent of souls there use it) filled our spaces, in the space of an evening. It’s a 2019 to present day song/dance phenom in wide parts of El Mundo. A few ~  Antigua/Barbados, Argentina, Finland, Israel, Italy, Ireland (my own fun fumble in Florida, unrecorded thank you very much!) Palestine, Sweden (at winter shore!) & onward. Despite cute video versions of wiggle kids and flapping animals, my favorite visit with this levitating song & line dance remains the initial launch, staged outdoors in a small community courtyard between simple low buildings as friends enjoy a meal. The mood is casual joy. The skillful choreography wink to the audience – this regards plates – is a contributing pleasure. The performers are Angolan dance troupe Fenómenos do Sembato, celebrated widely in Africa and now, The World. The song is reimagined from a hymn sung in South African, bought forward by South African music dance impresario, MasterKG (Kgaogelo Moagiand singer Nomcebo Zikode, also now famous.

After the original video, my 2nd favorite Jerusalema goodjuju includes all socially distanced medical professionals who undertake the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge in the sterile halls of hospitals.  And my 3rd fave arrives with the airport crew at Antigua/Barbados Bird Airport. Find them & hundreds on YouTube.

In a nod to “May the wind be always at your back” St. Patrick’s Month (part of my heritage is iconically Irish) I’ll share that several versions from The Emerald Isle were uploaded online just last month. Here is one at Twitter Beyond the bounce, I wanted to know the words.

Jerusalema ikhaya lami
Ngilondoloze
Uhambe nami
Zungangishiyi lana
Ndawo yami ayikho lana
Mbuso wami awukho lana

Jerusalem my home
Keep me
Walk with me
Don’t leave me here
My place is not here
My kingdom is not here

South African theology student Nkosi Mlambo wrote his take on  Jerusalema – The Dance, the Meaning, the Theology”, linked here.The song struck him deeply, remembering an original version in primary school at morning assembly. This article is source of verses I’ve shared here.

Jerusalema – The Dance, The Meaning, The Theology

 

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The #PoetryFriday March 2021 Hosts line-up is beautiful to behold.

5 Kat at Kathryn Apel

12 Heidi at my juicy little universe

19 Linda at TeacherDance

26 Susan at Soul Blossom Living

            :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

978110199629451xi6ZCDwiL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_519u53azjPL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

It’s Women’s History Month! I’m pleased to note 2 verse novels and one p.b. bio forthcoming in spring or summer 2021 with girl or women characters worth remembering.// Saving American Beach by Heidi King and Caldecott Honoree Ekula Holmes, p. b. bio about a little-known Black eco-warrior who left an opera career to advocate in Florida. // 37 Days at Sea by Barbara Krasner, a MG family story verse novel inspired by a heart-tugging true event of the Holocaust that also touches Florida history. // Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz, a MG family story verse novel of oboe practice, siblings and a missing person emergency that triggers mental health concerns.


A Pause. Woot!Woot! Except for some short appearances this blog will be taking a pause.  Expected appearances are: A line of the one and only April 2021 #PoetryFriday’s Progressive Poem hosted by Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. A warble of “wonderful” with more of the verse novels shown above, each that I love to the moon and back ~ 37 DAYS AT SEA by Barbara Krasner and also EVERYWHERE BLUE by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz.

I expect to draw nourishment from visits to your posts & to keep social media active, but less so. Below, some goodies. The calendar of April #PoetryFriday hosts. A give-away book plate. And this reminder: consider creating a poem for the Childhood award at the contest mentioned above. Woot! Woot!

Gifting a complimentary bookplate download, courtesy of My Home LibraryDan_Morelle_2

For great April expectations, the 2021 #PoetryFriday hosts in an #AprilPoetryMonth lovely line-up!

2 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

9 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

16 Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup

23 Catherine at Reading to the Core

30 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

:::::::

Collected at Reflections on the Teche by Margaret Simon, April 2021 Progressive Poem contributors!

April 1 Kat Apel at Kat Whiskers
2 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
3 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
4 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
5 Irene Latham at Live your Poem
6 Jan Godown Annino at BookseedStudio
7 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
8 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
9 Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
10 Molly Hogan at Nix the Comfort Zone
11 Buffy Silverman
12 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
13 Jone Rush MacCulloch
14 Susan Bruck at Soul Blossom Living
15 Wendy Taleo at Tales in eLearning
16 Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
17 Tricia Stohr Hunt
18 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
19 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Leigh Anne Eck at A Day in the Life
22 Ruth Hersey at There is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town
23 Janice Scully at Salt City Verse
24 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference
25 Shari Daniels at Islands of my Soul
26

 

ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME: poem story

[nota bene: a give-away at the end is over & the selected recipient is FRAN HALEY. Brava, Fran!]

0 4

IF your heart skips a beat at this Naomi Shihab Nye poet line ping: “A peony has been trying to get through to you” OR if your family knows to stop and appreciate a field blessed by the color purple, as Alice Walker beautifully wrote, THEN your picture book collection will cosy up to ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME, new contribution to poem stories, beautifully told. (Beaming Books, Minneapolis.)

            “Feel the wind/ upon your skin. Imagine where/ that wind has been.” poem lines copyright by Charles Ghigna and Matt Forrest Esenwine, allrightsreserved Once Upon Another Time, illustrated by Andres F. Landazabal.

This book of natural world, Past, contrasted with the world, Present, made me sing. The new-to-me multi-genre artist, Andres F. Landazabal, working in South America from Armenia, Columbia, creates moments on the page that inspired me to abandon my desk, grab family and meander at a meadow we love. Right now! Impossible at that moment, but it figured in why my hubby & I spent an uninterrupted three hours wandering on connected nature trails this past weekend. And ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME promises more. The artist’s exquisite pastel pages matched to the authors’ words help me ponder the ways Planet Earth has changed with human progress & intervention. The authors and artist prickle my sensibility to think of celebrations and help, to further preserve what’s at my part of the planet~~ gopher tortoise hills, manatee springs, turkey woods, anhinga roosting swamps, so they can’t be paved, glassed or picked over.  This Earth poem by Charles Ghigna [Father Goose to many!] and Matt Forrest Esenwine [author of my favorite evening hours p.b. FLASHLIGHT NIGHT] cues a love of what remains of Nature on Earth. The potent part of this is how the story prompts me to ask what good actions I can begin, or continue, without ever suggesting this in a didactic way. The scenes and imagery in words touch my heart to consider this on my own. This book will be an excellent compliment for many sweet areas of student interest including: animal friends, backyard, city/town, geography, sky, fields, forest, mountains, nature, lyrical language and poetry. Applause! Applause! JGAnnino/Bookseedstudio

Resources Charles Ghigna Matt Forrest Esenwine Beaming Books The Color Purple Naomi Shihab Nye Alice Walker

The mood of ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME lives at a nearby springs, where I snapped this image as if from another epoch. Question: What is your place to “imagine where/ that wind has been” as ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME evokes? Leave a comment below [moderated] that shares one place, or a few ~ by the end of MONDAY March 8. Beaming Books will provide a copy to one Bookseedstudio poster. Or you may comment but opt out for the give-away. Or leave a less-detailed comment and still opt-in. Provide contact info if I don’t know you. I”ll alert the lucky ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME recipient after March 8. This book launch began Feb. 25 with a blog from Ellen Leventhal. It’s a great interview! Go, enjoy.

Below please find the rest of the tour links. And keep going for the moderated comment box. Appreciations for your visit. And first ~~ links to our gracious #PoetryFriday host this week & all through March. Go see them soon.

March 2021#PoetryFriday Hosts

5 Kat at Kathryn Apel

12 Heidi at my juicy little universe

19 Linda at TeacherDance

26 Susan at Soul Blossom Living

photographcopyrightJanGodownAnninoallrightsreserved"WakullaSpringsOnceandNow"

“WakullaSprings, Once and Now”copyright JGAnnino allrightsreserved© ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME” BLOG TOUR:
2/25:      Ellen Leventhal:  https://www.ellenleventhal.com/#blog
2/26:      Michelle Knott: http://mrsknottsbooknook.blogspot.com/
3/1:        Maria Marshall: https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/2:        Matt Forrest Esenwine: https://mattforrest.wordpress.com 
3/3:        Jan Godown Annino at Bookseed Studio: https://bookseedstudio.wordpress.com/
3/4:        Celebrate Picture Books: https://celebratepicturebooks.com/ ( giveaway on 3/5)
3/5:        Maria Marshall #PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday): https://www.mariacmarshall.com/blog
3/5:        KidLit411 – Charles Ghigna interview http://www.kidlit411.com/
3/10:      Melissa Stoller: https://www.melissastoller.com/blog
3/16:      Kellee Moye at Unleashing Readers: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
5/5:        Andrew Hackett https://www.andrewhacket.com/blog

 

Book Bun-Bun picks a recipient of ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME! Fran Haley, congratulations! Please send your mailing address.

Lisa Desimini & Arnold Adolf in LOVE LETTERS + more

This is the perfect moment to flap wings & yodel-le-e-hoo! that February is a lovely season in so many ways that I haven’t already shared here in recent days.

We celebrate, this week, the anniversary of our wonderful daughter’s marriage to her wonderful sweetheart. Happy Days Always! to our Beloved Anna & Petar, seen here in Boston at a New Year’s Eve[before Covid]

I always spend quality picture book time in February with the inventive love drawings of my pal Lisa Desimini, who created heartmelt individual art works for each poem of one of the best Valentine books on the planet. Her co-creator is the esteemed poet Arnold Adoff, & the modern classic book to know is LOVE LETTERS.

And, it’s also time to drum a big Ta, dah! with Lots of cheers & all that jazz for our dear pal Stan, who is an active 100 this week. Stan, You always put the jazz in jazztime! And I hope my oyster plaque shows our affection for you. Finally, My man & I snuggle extra [foto before Covid] all February ’cause at the top of the month his parents wed in their native Sicily. I am blessed big time in February connections of Love.

00-1Anna Petar Boston fireworks

IMG_2166

AnnaAnninoArtwork allrightsreserved

AmnaAnninoArtwork allrightsreserved

Pubbed! Fresh Fish book & MoSt Poetry Center chapbook

What do you know about your statewide poetry people? After my children’s picture book debuted I added nourishing connections in children’s literature, internationally, nationally & statewide which endure. Hey, that’s how I found you, wonderful nest, #PoetryFriday. In crazy 2020 I pursued an added path, answering writing prompts from poem makers in my area who aren’t necessarily involved with literature for children.

From a call for submissions shared by Florida State Poets Association, which I joined, first-time, two original poems found publication online with the Lake Cane Restoration Society in May 2020. This made me a Bard of the Lake, for “Meditation” and also, “Orlando Orilla de Lago”

Through exploring this long noodle of a state’s poetry community, one of my poems is fresh-pubbed in an art book from the Florida chapter of the Studio Art Quilt Associates. More on this in a second. Next, please know I expect to read a new poem online with a poetry community on Sunday, Feb. 21. I wrote it from a prompt-a-day poetry challenge that ran from mid-Dec. ’20 to mid-Jan.’21. [listening/link info is below] 

This newest prompt idea connected with me in two ways. It’s a wordpool. I first learned about (& silly me, forgot about) wordpool from Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge in her nourishing guide poemcrazy. Gary Thomas of MoSt Poetry Center in California brought me back to brilliant Susan by casting a wordpool. This was his Prompt #19/ January 2, 2021. His poem puzzle challenged us to conjure poetry to include: bleach, Blursdays, hellacious, levitate, salty & wig. Thought I: UGH! Didn’t do it.

But came the end of the prompts from MoSt/Gary. I didn’t feel a pull to other of the lines I had scribbled/doodled in response to the great ideas. But. Pinged in my heart by one word, I went back to that #19 Day wordpool. As someone with dear pals who have lost (& recovered) hair due to cancer treatments, and because I’m living/working post-treatment for stage 2+ kidney cancer that I appreciated receiving great surgery for in 2018, time-two around, with the prompt, I acknowledged the wicked word, wig. Dear people, it wigged me out. So, I knew that with my fear of this word, I should dig deeper. The result is my poem, “Shore good friday,” in the fresh-printed MoSt chapbook, which I expect to find in my traditional postal box any day. To listen to how I put wig & those unlikely companion wordpool words into “Shore good friday,” tune in this week, Feb. 21. It’s a MoSt Poetry Center two hour program & my spot is likely in the last hour because fortunately, two fabulous poets are keynotes of this Sunday’s event. I expect to share “Shore good friday” here in a post, later. **Time note** The MoSt link shows Pacific Time, as MoSt is in Modesto, Calif. I’m figuring on 5-7 p.m. EST. 

Back to FRESH FISH. I glom onto this book’s vibrant colors & forms. Rich, luxurious, playful,  delightfully fantastical, sometimes moody hand-made textile artworks ~~ all mesmerize me. International art contributors are from Canada, Sweden and the UK. It’s also a joy to blend with poets not only from my fabulous region of the universe – Florida – but also, who knew poets in Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Louisiana, Oregon & California would become colleagues in publication?

My favorite FF piece, shown here with bias admitted, is by Maggie Vanderweit, a renowned textile artist in Ontario.  FRESH FISH, Textile Artists and Poets Explore Underwater Life is expected to swim again, as part of a future event in a gallery setting, when traveling members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates convene their delayed in-person international conferencing. 

Susan Goldsmith Woolrdidge        Florida State Poets Association            Studio Art Quilt Associates

 

Bookseedstudio is part of the #PoetryFriday community that visits around on line & when lucky, in person, to celebrate poetry. We are hosted  inventively this week from Haiti by Ruth who is stitching together a community poem! [I added yellow lion lines] & next week, please visit with our host, Karen E.

 

Chocolate news, 2nd edition.

 

c.allrightsrservedJGA/Jan GodownAnnino”LoveTypewriter”

Doodle~toodle:::: sending all my PF poet pals Valentine love! Hoopla abounds about Feb. 14 candy, yes?  So I hope you can spend time this month, or any time, with a NEW student video & radio interview, dear to my heart. Because of #FSU college students’ hard work, we have become fans of TONY’s anti-slavery chocolate, finding it with ease at online purveyors & walk-ins.

Below, my fresh d r a f t poem, “He said”

He said

He said “Get in Good Trouble”

and he meant it I know

reading about, seeing newsreels of

Rep. John Lewis, giant of civil

protest & action no longer

walking the Earth.

I feel what students are

doing about

child abuse in production

of our chocolate treats, fits.

“Get in Good Trouble”

© JGAnnino

Meet young friends advocating against the still-occurring in 2021 child abuse in the production of cocoa:

Just released! on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC0BtL6BwYE

Regional NPR on January 8, 2021   [students’ foto is from before the epidemic]

TONY’s very unusual chocolate bar story is here.

[PoEtrY Friday! I welcome poetry tips/news/links in the moderated comment box, below & I look forward to visiting your blog. I’m linking this post in Poetry Friday with marvelous Molly. Nix the Comfort Zone.] Next week be sure to stop by Ruth’s blog, from Haiti.

 

Poetry Friday is here :)

Poetry Friday is here :)

Appreciations for your visit! Until Feb. 5, Poetry Friday is based here. (more details below.) Please know I’ve been singing:

Down the wavy path

in the budding park

along the Miccosukee sidewalk

my jaunty footsteps hum

to

Here Comes the Sun

Amanda Gorman’s books
A song poem spoken-word book of Biden-Harris phenomenal inaugural poet, 
22-year-old Amanda Gorman, of Los Angeles, is due out late summer/early fall.
CHANGE SINGS, An American Anthem is illustrated by the children’s 
Pres. O’Bama book (of THEE I SING) artist Loren Long, of Ohio.
Ms. Gorman’s older ages book, of inaugural poem and more of her poetry is
THE HILL WE CLIMB and Other Poems. I expect to love all these, as
one of uncountable millions of 40 million watching, who teared up during her 
soaring performance at the U.S. Capitol on January 20th.

Bookshop is the independent bookstore community, online. It offers CHANGE SINGS + THE HILL WE CLIMB and OTHER POEMS.

Learn more about Amanda Gorman

ESSENCE online :::: Dr. Jill Biden-connection https://www.essence.com/articles/meet-amanda-gorman-the-youngest-inaugural-poet-in-u-s-history/ OZYMedia :::: 2017 Youth Genius winner https://www.ozy.com/true-and-stories/how-a-young-poet-is-nurturing-empathy-with-virtual-reality/77355/ COVEN :::: on not being “the black history voice” in class, 2036 presidency, her mother’s teaching in Watts. SESI magazine :::: #BlackGirlMagic, her One Pen One Page non-profit foundation.

” I remember all those people (particularly women) who have been rendered silent by illiteracy, and how lucky I am that I get to use this pen. I remember that, to me, nothing is funner than a little word play, and I return to that little kid who is excited to put pen to paper.” Poet Amanda Gorman in COVEN online magazine interview

Prediction: President Amanda Gorman

In year 2036

she will bring her nourishing fix

third woman President.

A shock. Not a precedent.

Thrilled she was prescient

when Biden-Harris won

in 2021,  their

democracy restoration begun.

©JG Annino, 2021 :::::

One Little Word

It’s a thing, to pick One Little Word at each new year as mojo for writing practice. My 2021One Little Word is Sing. In serendipity Sing called me before I knew about Amanda Gorman’s presenting at the inaugural or about her sure-to-be uplifting CHANGE SINGS picture book.

American Library Association Last year I sang of many books here at Bookseedstudio, with special glow for CAT MAN of ALEPPO, A PLACE AT THE TABLE and EIGHT KNIGHTS of HANUKKAH. This week these 3 great books’ various groovy honors were sung by the ALA. Congratulations to all involved in these stellar projects & special Love to those creators who I’m lucky to call Friend.\

:::: 

 Comments Bop and hum around the links listed below, in comments. (Later, I’ll bring them up here in this text.) You’ll find a sweet shelf of Poetry Friday blogger posts. If you have a poetry blog the URL details can be added ~~ keep going, below, find the word “Comments” in tiny type ~~ there!  Even just a “hey, howdy!” can introduce you to Poetry Friday. A blog is never needed to participate, just goodwill about sharing poetry, especially poems for young readers.

February comes singing next week! Find it hosted by dear poetry pal Jone. https://www.jonerushmacculloch.com/blog

  [This weekend I learn more of poet/author Zora Neal Hurston with historians here in Florida. On breaks I intend to bring your links here, pulled from where you left them in comments.]

 I appreciate your poem study very much. ~~ Jan

Some week of 1.29.2021 Poetry Friday goodness, from all around~~

Michelle Kogan Art shares artwork & her fresh poetry ponderings about hero, heroes & conversos.

Linda at A Word Edgewise shares poetry lines of others in a New Year Cento. The lines all came from New Year postcards but form one poem with Linda’s magic.  https://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/

At Alphabet Soup, I’m all about snow, with a poem by Richard Greene and a recipe for Snowball Cookies. https://jamarattigan.com/2021/01/29/snow-doubt-about-it-we-love-snow/(my link goes live Friday at 6 a.m.

This week I’m learning from a legend. It’s amazing how much we learn from reading the words of other poets Alan J. Wright Poetry Pizzazz

https://alanjwrightpoetrypizzazz.blogspot.com/2021/01/poets-must-read-learning-from-legends.html

Robyn’s report: I have a New Year poem postcard gift to share, and it fits perfectly with your theme! Also, info on an online haiku workshop I’m leading in February that just got finalized this week.
http://www.robynhoodblack.com/blog/posts/38085

Teaching Authors guiding light Carmela talks the idea of “Indistractable,” and shares a found poem on a strategy for doing so.
https://www.teachingauthors.com/2021/01/becoming-indistractable-and-a-found-poem.html

Kay is thoughtful with a collection of poems by Madeleine L’Engle in Cry Like a Bell and a golden shovel poem using a line from one of her poems. https://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org/2021/01/28/poetry-friday-a-cry-like-a-bell-review/

Poetry Sisters poet Andromeda pens an original poem as part of the Poetry Sisters’ challenge for January: https://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/2021/01/Timetraveler.html 

Little Willow brings us lines from the poem 1938 by J. Patrick Lewis on her blog, Bildungsroman:
https://slayground.livejournal.com/915488.html

Find Tabatha at https://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/ featuring an auntie, some empathy, and letting meaning find YOU.

Laura shares a poem called “Forever Four” and asks for some help with names at https://laurasalas.com/poems-for-teachers/four-forever-poetry-friday/

Carol V. offers a post filled with creativity sparks and connections from this week at https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2021/01/creativity-sparks-and-connections.html. Poetry postcards and my Sanctuary of Thought slide share are the highlights of my post.

Tricia is in with a poem inspired by words from Merriam Webster’s Time Traveler site. https://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2021/01/its-new-year-with-my-poetry-sisters.html

Linda B.shares more lovely postcards, my hugs in the mail! And I have a ‘song’ for you! https://www.teacherdance.org/2021/01/poetryfriday-poems-and-songs.html

Matt Today, I’m continuing to celebrate my first board book – and my only one written in prose – and also sharing another of my late mother’s poems in memoriam: https://wp.me/p2DEY3-2DU

Janice is inspired with nesting poems, suggested by Irene. http://janicescully.com

Catherine I’m sharing a butterfly cinquain I wrote for our workshop with Georgia, “Resilience.” https://readingtothecore.wordpress.com/2021/01/29/poetry-friday-resilience/

Carol of The Apples in my Orchardis at https://theapplesinmyorchard.com/2021/01/29/poetry-friday-the-return/ 

Sara time-travels with poetry sisters today, writing poems with words from our birth years. Come join us!  http://saralewisholmes.blogspot.com/2021/01/poetry-friday-dictionary-time-travel.html

Tim ponders a reflection on letting go, or not, as the case might be. https://timgels.com/2021/01/28/marcescence/

Margaret retells a story of time with a new poet, student Kaia, who is taking off and realizing she can write. It’s amazing and fun to watch. https://reflectionsontheteche.com/2021/01/29/poetry-friday-doing-the-work-of-a-poet/

 Heidi has revisited her poetry shelf, looking for connections and inspirations. Today I’m reading Lucille Clifton and Janet Wong. Let the women sing! 

https://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2021/01/stps-slps-2-lucille-clifton-janet-wong.html

Find Ruth at https://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/2021/01/poetry-friday-shepherds-purse.html

Yvona has reviewed many poetry books on the My Reads section of http://www.yvonafst.com – check them out! 

Bridget hopes to tap into the ‘sparks of creativity’ of the PF folks with a call out for submissions for a poetry anthology!
http://www.weewordsforweeones.com/2021/01/looking-for-creative-outlet.html
Kat sings the praises of Janet Turner  – young illustrator for her recent picture book.  Visit

https://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/2021/01/29/introducing-janet-turner

Molly H. is inspired by two photos, including one from Poetry Friday’s Margaret,  to gift us with two short poems, from her time with beautiful images. 
https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2021/01/29/pf-two-short-poems/

Susan weaves some wonderfulness:  a song/poem performed by future president Amanda Gorman and MILCK. Also a Tolstoy thought about candlelight and heart light & much more. 
https://www.soulblossomliving.com/by-heart-light-and-candlelight-inspiration-for-tough-times/

Jone offers a poem from an important revision class: https://www.jonerushmacculloch.com/blog/poetry-friday-a-poem-from-georgia-heards-class And let’s all sing: Next week Poetry Friday is collected by Jone!

 

 

 

::::::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holocaust Remembrance 1/2021

 

Needed More Than Ever Is this a crucial year?  Yes. More than ever it’s necessary to remember the mass murders carried out in multiple European countries in World War 2, only to satisfy Adolf Hitler’s maniacal desire to annihilate children & families who were Jewish.

Symbols of hate, including Hitler’s swastika & a mocking T-shirt that bore the message “Camp Auschwitz” were as sickening to see as was the violence in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

I’m pleased to share that this month young writers in my big state (Florida) began thinking of what they will submit to the WHITE ROSE program by early March, 2021. This event engages students in grades 9-12 – traditional or home school settings – to express thoughts about the bold, brave & lesser-known German high school and college students who became Nazi-resistors. They worked against their narcissistic leader & his campaign of genocide that led to The Holocaust. WHITE ROSE was one crucial resistance campaign.

If you know of an educator or student or other learning community such as synagogue where the  essay project information is unknown (perhaps to start the essay effort in another area?) please pass idea of the project along. I’m delighted to know this is the inaugural year of the prize, which feels in keeping with the synergy of peace-teaching & kindness-spreading I felt Jan. 20 watching from home, the inaugural of Joseph Biden & Kamala Harris & that evening’s uplifting activities & events.

Click to access WR-educator-guide-1.pdf

 

Appreciations to both the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center and to the Holocaust Education Resource Council for the information.

Why is this a Holocaust Remembrance time? It was on January 27, 1945, that Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army. Another annual Holocaust Remembrance time is in April, a month WHITE ROSE students were executed in Germany for trying to create Peace.

More resources

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum https://www.ushmm.org

Kip Wilson, author of WHITE ROSE, an outstanding & award-winning Young Adult verse novel. The book’s poems follow German student Sophia Magdalena Scholl to her sacrifice, once she begins to understand the murders of children & others her country commits, following Hitler.  http://www.kipwilsonwrites.com

“Innocent children

killed

by this regime.

 

Yet what can anyone

                 do

to stop it?”

 c.KipWilson, WHITE ROSE lines from the poem, “Truth in Rumors”

 

::::::::::::::::::::

 

Martin Luther King Weekend, 2021

ZORA, SHIRLEY & ARETHA

Good wishes to you this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend. More needed insight will be my goal in this weekend’s re-reading of CASTE, by Isabelle Wilkerson, my book group’s conversation this month. I also expect to re-read MARTIN’s BIG WORDS from Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier, which I often shared as a volunteer in K-2nd grade. I’m fortunate that 3 books from my unread new book stack are also part of this MLK Holiday.

They are Victoria Bond’s ZORA & Me, The Summoner, spun from child days of Zora Neale Hurston. Katheryn Russell-Brown’s SHE WAS THE FIRST traveling in 1972 to “Follow the Chisholm Trail” lifetime of U.S. Presidential Candidate, U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm, illustrated by Eric Velasquez and also, Katheryn Russell-Brown’s A VOICE NAMED ARETHA, celebrating the rhythm and blues icon whose hits can be sung from memory by me, my friends & likely you, too. This is illustrated by Laura Freeman.

Here are just brief riffs, from pre-reading skims. ZORA & ME, The Summoner. Together, the families of Carrie, who is Zora’s school days bestie in Florida, & Zora, elude white mobs descending upon Eatonville. The pair investigate skin-prickly stories of zombies & grave robbing, leavened by their keen interest in science.  Zora confronts bullies, including her rough and rude but town-respected, preacher Father, who in turn receives her brave spunk:

“You got it all wrong, Daddy.” Zora says. Often after that, there will be a slap.

Carrie says, “A faithfulness to mystery, to strange unknowable symmetries vibrated Zora.” 

This is part 3 of the richly researched ZORA & ME older middle grade novel series, ages 10-14.

SHE WAS THE FIRST, The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm. It is great to learn that U.S. Rep. Chisholm’s child days embraced Barbados in a deep way. I like this found poem from the book:

Shirley Anita

had a gift

people listened

and followed 

“the Chisholm Trail.”

c. Katheryn Russel-Brown

A VOICE NAMED ARETHA. Verses this musical genius wrote include a cheer from 1972:

In this whole world, you know


There are millions of boys and girls


Who are young, gifted and Black


With their souls intact, and that’s a fact!

c. Aretha Franklin Young Gifted and Black

[in lyrics I added a cap. for Black.]

::::

This poetry post is part of the informal & nourishing Poetry Friday community. The first week of the new year Ruth hosted Poetry Friday, and Sylvia collected us in Week 2 for a wonderful list of poetry books to be published for young readers in 2021. Right now we travel to the bayou with Margaret for the Pres. O’Bama inaugural poem picture book by Richard Blanco and Dav Pilkey you won’t want to miss. After the historic inaugurations of Pres. Biden & V-P Harris, we meet up with Laura. On the last Friday of this new month of the new year 2021, we return here to Bookseedstudio.

Hopes holding & prayers outgoing, the U.S. reaches the other side of Jan. 20th, 2021 in peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”  

 

The U.S. Capitol 1/2021 & Higher Ground

It’s time to get up! /It’s time to get up! It’s time to get up!/ It is morning! ~ Revelry

Shortly after the first day of this New Year I picked out from my tempting tower of To-Reads, a book that immersed me in a fascinating part of a topic of my heart, World War Two. MARE’S WAR is an unusual novel of the 6888th Battalion of Black enlisted servicewomen, overseas. These volunteers offered all the hours of their days and nights to follow their orders in the unified effort to quash the narcissistic inflammatory demagogue leader Adolf Hitler & his vast campaign of murder of people he hated based on their religion or birth.

To read the story of Marey Lee Boylen, nicknamed Mare, born of poverty in Bay Slough Alabama, and her allegiance to the United States of America, to be paying through her invented 1940s based-on-history life in the same time of last week’s destructive, death-producing mob action in my own nation’s Capitol, is answer to a prayer. I appreciate that gifted author Tanita S. Davis researched her grandmother’s military history, which sparked an idea for the film-worthy character Mare of the ETO (European Theatre of Operations.) This book earned accolades including a Coretta Scott King honor, ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and Junior Library Guild Selection.

Here is real-life clip from the Black Women’s volunteer work unit, at the author’s website.

::::

Teachers keep on teachin’
Preachers keep on preachin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long
Oh no

Lovers keep on lovin’
Believers keep on believin’
Sleepers just stop sleepin’
Cause it won’t be too long
Oh no

C. STEVIE WONDER, lines from the poem song “Higher Ground”

I’m also grateful in this same time for cultural enrichment & writing ideas I had already subscribed to in mid-December, from Gary Thomas with MoSt Poetry. His notes ~ ranging from introspective riffs to uplifts ~ helped me through each day. I gratefully took one respite suggested ~ with Stevie Wonder performing his classic “Higher Ground.” Listening to that modern classic soothed my soul more than once since Jan. 6. And you know how I learned about Gary Thomas? By reading around at the nourishing website/blog of Tanita S. Davis, the author of the just-mentioned, MARE’S WAR. Serendipity.

Wishes for your best way forward during this fraught time, with faith that our new President & administration, the addition of two progressives in the U.S. Senate (from my next-door neighbor state, Georgia) will be served & joined by moderate Republicans to tend to the health, housing, food, jobs, safety & education needs of those who are suffering. I read in the Wall Street Journal “Law Enforcement Braces for More Violence” that Jan. 17 & Jan. 20, specifically, (others days possible) may be rough times at our state capitols & the U.S. Capitol. Again. These dates are targeted for massive actions by angry right-wing travelers who may be armed. Remember how in 2016 when Democrats lost a Presidential election, they joined/supported social service non-profits in higher numbers than before & knitted pink hats they wore in peaceful, singing, marches? [thanks to my AZ cousin for sharing that memory running around social media.]

Were I in charge I would have Mr. Biden & Ms. Harris celebrate after the C-19 jabs are widely given & because we are numb from the injuries & the loss of life Jan. 6, 2021 & just general shock of mayhem by our own people in the U.S. Capitol riot. Why would I want a motorcade & outdoor ceremony at the Capitol in January 2021? A tightly controlled space, via video to the World, gets my vote. Our next Commander-in-Chief is already leading in a sorely needed Presidential fashion. Ms. Harris is already leading in Vice-Presidential fashion. Please stay safe and I hope you find the words & resources you need to speak to students, your conservative BeLoveds or yourself, as I have, from veteran educator Mary Lee Hahn.

Mr. Stevie Wonder & HIGHER GROUND

The full lyrics are here

Peaceful wishes for you at this fraught time. This poetry post is part of the informal & nourishing Poetry Friday community. The first week of the new year Ruth hosted Poetry Friday , with Sylvia collecting us in Week Two with a wonderful list of poetry books to be published for young readers in 2021. This Friday 1/15 we travel with Margaret & then 2 days after the historic inauguration, we meet up with Laura. On the last Friday of this new month of the new year 2021, we return here to Bookseedstudio.

download

FRESH FISH art & poetry

A watery & welcome distraction arrived Jan. 7th’s nite, in email. Allow me to share this cover of a new art & poetry collection I’m pleased to be associated with.

Cover Artists: Jerri Penney, Sally Maxwell, Michele Dowdel, Gabriele DiTota, Diana Bennet

If you love visiting a salt coast, or have a friend who is enchanted by a sea urchin, squid, starfish, seahorse and others of the sandy depths, please consider buying this gift book, a non-profit project of the international Studio Art Quilt Association

The accomplished artists featured in FRESH FISH enjoy layering their works in hand or machine stitching or a combo. Some textile artists begin a creation with blank fabric or even papers, and then add dye, paint, embellishment, printmaking technique, drawing, photo transfer, embroidery, beading or buttons, among the many features of fine art quilting. Some pieces are collages or assemblages. I’m thrilled my poem in this juried art collection, “Fish Fandangle” is paired with the talented visual artist Maggie Vanderweit. 

While poets write about an individual work of art in what we call ekphrastic poetry, inspired after spending time with a sculpture, painting or other work of visual art, we weren’t writing poetry in that method. The process here followed a serendipitous difference to create an undersea world of joy. Literary & visual artists arrived separately at their contributions ~ working from the same sea theme ~ an unexpected process I found organic, scary & a bit magical. I hope you do, also. The 90-page book features 97 works of visual art & 39 selected poems. Although I haven’t yet held the book in my hands, my understanding is that it’s a book for both adults and school students who are enraptured by encountering all sorts of life in the sea. (Mermaid alert!) And, it’s especially for readers whose eyes love to linger over textile arts.

Until Feb. 1, FRESH FISH can be purchased & shipped postage-paid via the Studio Art Quilt Association, through this link. After, it can be found at a different price on Amazon. I’m eager to put up another post on this book at a later date, when I expect to share colleagues’ poetry from it, with a line or two of mine. But of course, I hope you will be holding the poems in your own hands.

:::: Peaceful wishes for you at this fraught time. This poetry post is part of the informal & nourishing Poetry Friday community. The first week of the new year Ruth hosted Poetry Friday & now Sylvia handles collecting us this current week with a wonderful list of poetry books to be published for young readers in 2021. The following two Fridays, we travel with Margaret & then with Laura. On the last Friday of this new month of the new year 2021, we return here to Bookseedstudio.

to buy, to read: Everywhere Blue

In June 2021, the story of Strum and his sister Madrigal, an oboe player, debuts from verse novelist Joanne R. Fritz, who I am entirely biased about. But, you should pay attention anyway, despite my tilt in favor of this book. For more details than I can reveal, please visit MG BOOK VILLAGE’s recent interview with Joanne. Madrigal is known as Maddie & I feel we will all love how she is revealed in verse. I must tell you that Joanne is enamored of the magic that unfolds during Highlights Foundation workshops. Hoping EVERYWHERE BLUE becomes part of your favored reading. ARTIST of the epic cover is Elena Megalos.

 

Winter Solstice 2020

C. DAVPILKEY, illuminating Richard Blanco’s poem, ONE TODAY.

On night walks a sense of comforting smallness seeps into my soul. The Northern Hemisphere’s Dec. 21, 2020 extra longest-night shift of a super Saturn and meteor show, is a phenom noted by Florida’s Bishop Planetarium and Scientific American.

Headlines call for head’s up

See it seep out in south direction following crimped daylight of quickest sunset

Overhead, find deep field with no fence, a cyclorama banner 

Constellation-watcher or wayward wanderer can each behold quiet radiance.

 

Saturn, meet Jupiter, meet Saturn.

 

Find steady Polaris, North Star, Star of Judea, prick sky fabric

as key spree of Winter Solstice 2020.

poem “Headlines call for head’s up” © JGAnnino

It’s a calm world that visits in Richard Blanco’s love-to-all poem titled ONE TODAY, as interpreted in stunning sky-present scenes by children’s author/illustrator Dav Pilkey. This poet and artist created a beautiful book for any season but this week it feels especially like a hug, if you want it:

Lenita Joe

Luminous Library Lady Lenita Joe

Children’s authors in our area loved to learn how to lead kids to be lifelong learners through books, from Mrs. Lenita Joe, luminous Teaching Librarian Emeritus. We spoke on the phone during this pandemic time while her body reacted to a challenging condition not Covid-19 related, and I treasured those gift moments. At the top of this year, before the pandemic, when she needed a major medical trip, she & her husband sent my husband & me in their place to meet the Librarian of Congress. How typically generous of her & how chuffed we were! Please keep reading on for a way, regarding books, to honor this literature heroine.

I met Mrs. Joe during her Leon Reading Council volunteer work, when she hosted the wildly creative sister-authors of COOK-A-DOODLE-DO (Stevens and Crummel) at her school, Sealey E.S. Lenita’s parade of book events in the library-turned media center, such as annual Young Authors’ Day, were earned-invitations for aspiring student writers. Book Week, celebrations of the books of Dr. Seuss, kid fun on famous author birthdays, puppet events & other literacy parties were legendary. My husband & I have heartfelt empathy for her devoted Family, including U.S. Army Col. (retired) Ron Joe, steady uplifter of young Black Men, and for her many Beloved communities, including Sealey, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and 100 Black Men, among others. Book boosters are extending generosity to Sealey E.S. (memo: Lenita Joe Media Center) check/money order to Principal Demetria Clemons, 2815 Allen Road, Tallahassee Fl 32312. All the days of my life I will feel close to Mrs. Joe, grateful for the gift of her friendship, keeping faith with her lessons & remembering her joyful path, which ended on Earth surrounded by her Family at home, Dec. 13, 2020.  [my pizza party foto from a Book Week & my husband’s foto from the wider world.]

A Book Week Report is here.

c.allrightsreservedJGAnnino

 

Pine tree blessing

Night notes

In a Florida nighttime

Temperature plummets

 

In a tree’s lifetime 

Elder pine releases hold.

 

In a moment’s sleeptime

Aboral limb crash down.

 

In cosy blanket of down time 

Dreams continue to cocoon.

c. Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

 

 

In sudden reaction to chill air (28 predicted, 30 F realized) our neighbor’s  graciously tall pine tree, in the middle of the night, dropped limbs upon us. They were long but not lumberjack wide and yet still pierced our usually  reliable reverse-air heat/cool unit – otherwise known as an air conditioner.  People here don’t have furnaces. Or baseboard heat or radiators. Or whatever else systems those in Iced Lands employ in homes and businesses.

Following one 30 F night, fabulous Harper-Revell repair folks assured us we could safely dial up heat. Fabulous Mr. Gilmore responded fast to check on the branch that settled on the roof. (In a previous year one pierced it.)

Glory be, we were lucky.

Thanksgiving Week 2020

Thanksgiving Week Peace! Previously I offered, “A Native American Thought of It,” links that are especially important in November, including a Nov. 30, 2020 event link, with The Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Now I want to share how we stepped only slightly off trail recently to peer – with no touch- at a natural creation of North Florida woodlands. It’s a gift of #forestwalks #forestbathing & #fungi. And in time for Thanksgiving2020.

Thanksgiving woods

Brown ribbons ripple.

Announcing dead wood corsages. Radiating necklace rings.

Saying: Stop, see what unfolds here.

Saying: Nature’s way is life, from death.

What of the ancients, who put words to this?

Who was the one who first saw feathers in fungus?

Who pronounced a (polypore*) phenomena to be ~~

turkey tail?

c.JanGodownAnnino2020

[polypore = the way this mushroom forms – fast explainer of complex process]

For more basics on this beauty: already known to most everyone but me.

And for artistry inspired by this step-stopping act of decomposition, I’m pleased to link to a beautiful turkey tail poem by Alexandria C. Eisenberg, who is new to me. So glad I found her pages & poems. And at this time of year. At her site, see “Love Poem for a Mushroom” in Tiny Seed Literary Journal.

I wish you all the steps you can take to give yourself a soothing week. I hold giving-thanks time gratitude in my heart for so much, including for magic woods, for continuing walks in them, for my family, friends & for Poetry Friday & Co.

“Turkey Tail Fans,” by JanGodownAnnino,2020, allrightsreserved.

Last week I wrote about another holiday soon upon us ~~ Hanukkah.

Hanukkah poems & Eight Knights of Hanukkah!

[Here is where to visit #PoetryFriday!]

At mid-week, a gift arrives at my inbox from a brilliant author and poet I met at a nourishing Highlights Foundation verse novel residential workshop. Because of the newsletter, The Whole Megillah, emailed from Barbara Krasner, I know of a sweet, fun, peace-building book.

It is The Eight Knights of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is just around the castle corner, with a Dec. 2020 first night on the Tenth. Since I know some of the beautiful work of poet Alieen Fisher, I’m sharing from her Hanukkah poem at Poetry Foundation, with appreciation for the holiday round up from poet Becca Klaver.

Light the Festive Candles

BY AILEEN LUCIA FISHER

(FOR HANUKKAH)

Light the first of eight tonight—

the farthest candle to the right.

Light the first and second, too,

when tomorrow’s day is through. ~~

c. AileenFisher,allrightsreserved, continued here.

::: Also, regarding Hanukkah!

When I held the cover of the book that creators Gailia Bernstein and Leslie Kimmelman sent into the universe, I smiled. This creative fantasy from Holiday House adds joy to an already festive, yet, spiritual time. And if your computer just read the title out loud to you or if someone else did, make sure you understand the spelling of Knights.

Best Big Bits: Medieval Knights? At Hanukkah. I never expected that. Representation. This is not your white-only, boys-only-allowed, Knights Story. Hanukkah Weapons? The weapons of choice do tug my heart.

And, the mitzvahs! 

And, the surprise ending.

Best Little Bits:

Map! Two pets! Noticing each Knight’s shield emblem. Finding a castle-full of details, Leslie Kimmelman’s deft words. And did I mention, Galia Bernstein’s ultra witty artwork spreads? My huge appreciations to Barbara Krasner for the tip about this book at The Whole Megillah, with Barbara’s fabulous duo interview of the creators, here.

Don’t you want to see if your Library can add EIGHT KNIGHTS to their world culture, Jewish studies, holidays & associated topic, shelves? If you curate a home Hanukkah collection, this is a keeper. Although I am of the Christian flavor of faith path, I’m interested in many many spiritual traditions. And if I did ever have a previous life, it’s likely I was Jewish 🙂

Autumn poetry news Through digital events miracles, I visited in the studios of both

RITA DOVE and

JANICE R. HARRRINGTON in one blessed evening.

I sat rapt as two of my favorite contemporary poets shared conversation with those of us attending, via The New School/NYC. And, they read to us. Bliss. [photo from the Zoom of RITA DOVE and fabulous interpreter, Cynthia Norman]

I felt lucky to attend a children’s literature poetry workshop, with Poetry Friday’s Catherine at Reading to the Core. She limned it recently in a fun piece. After I complete asks & tasks inspired by The Craft and Heart of Poetry with exquisite poetry team Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard, I hope to follow in her footsteps with a post about an event that even in virtual, digital space, is an experience for poem readers and writers to savor. I know several of you feel fortunate to have written with them via the Highlights Foundation dreamy woods creek fields setting. I hope you find time to read Linda B.’s blog of this duo’s on-site workshop, different year, at her Teacher Dance.

One item more! “Surfing,” a 2019 poem arising from my wild toss into the sea, years back, recently received an Honorable Mention from poet Tiel Aisha Ansari of Oregon. I’m pleased to be learning about Ms. Ansari’s important works (see below) and her experienced pen for an adult readership. This was the first time I entered & yes, yes, I’m chuffed. I’m not publishing it here as I’m advised that posting in social media can make a piece be considered already pubbed. Any tips for workarounds?

Now giving much thanks in this Giving Thanks Time of Year, I’m pleased to share this, on Tiel Aisha Ansari:

a post after 2020 Election Results

Life is for me and is shining!

Inside me I

Feel stars and sun and bells singing.”

c. Gwendolyn Brooks, “A Little Girl’s Poem”, THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort

Inside I am a bubbly girl, looking and listening as my husband of 33 years in this November handles pages of the homemade card I hand him for his gift. “Life is for me and is shining!”

The stars twinkle as usual, as they did a million years ago… Though something tremendous and sad has changed us all, I am comforted by the beauty of the night sky.” Kurni Heo, illustrator, speaking in the book of poems, THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort.

C. JanGodownAnnino, allrightsreserved

And, yet.

Seventy million people expressed themselves and the misguided direction they expected this country to continue on, at the polls. So, as a continuing, self-directed student of The Holocaust and on aspects of World War Two connected to it, I feel relief that a mature adult who loves God, will be leading the Nation. But, 70 million ~~~

I find no better way to reach adults and older students, with the reality of how the personality of #45, who continues as the head of the Republican Party, echoes the hatred, narcissism and tyrannical nature that Hitler steamrolled with, than with the popular graphic novel, THE FAITHFUL SPY, from the pen of artist/author John Hendrix. [point of personal privilege, I was raised in a BeLoved Republican Family, & a dear relative was once invited to a Republican-term W.H., for a small-business award.]

This is a season of holding close to my heart the privilege to focus on Holocaust education. Many adults and students this year are viewing an empowering presentation from the multi-talented Mona Golabek, who you may know as author of THE CHILDREN OF WILLESDEN LANE. I hope you can spend time with the above linked video sampling, of her personal story of connection to the historic Kindertransport.

You may also like to share information about

Museum of Jewish Heritage – complimentary lesson plans (not just for NYC)

YadVashem

ADL

And I can’t resist sending love to our own powerful site in my state, FloridaHolocaustMuseum

If you are interested in other states, this list is comprehensive.

On some of our many night walks in recent weeks clear skies beamed us the red dot of Mars and yellow glows of Jupiter and Saturn. Then the full moon face floated through a tree frame and my husband pulled me to him, beholding Our Sky. I am so fortunate, so lucky, to walk This Path. I hope you feel the same way about keeping close what makes your heart sing, halfway around the world or just up a wannabe hill.

“Life is for me and is shining!

Inside me I

Feel stars and sun and bells singing.”

c. Gwendolyn Brooks, THIS PLACE I KNOW, Poems of Comfort, selected by Georgia Heard

US The Globe Theatre, London 2019

from Anniversary weekend 2020 visit to #HobbitWoods ~ Florida.

::: #RememberTheChildren #HonorHolocaustSurvivors #NeverAgain #DaysofRemembrance #HolocaustEducation

My favorite Veteran is my dear #Sgt.Dad, of Fort Dix, N.J., who prepared young men to stand up against the Nazis & Axis in #WorldWarTwo. #RedPoppyDay #Veteran’sDay2020. (Yes, I was his laaate-in-life kiddo 🙂 Thank you, Daddy. Thank you, Veterans. Thank you, Holocaust educators.

::::

Please join me as I a visit around with the poetry pals of Poetry Friday, this time’s roundup by Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge.

Last week we toured with Soul Blossom Living.

a Native American thought of it

See Soul Blossom Living, coordinating Poetry Friday’s list. Last week we danced with LINDA B at Teacher Dance.

[11.30 alert- I’m grateful to add this Nov. 30, 2020 event with The Seminole Tribe of Florida.Gather ” is available to stream throughout the month. A panel discussion  with FSU faculty from four different departments and representatives of the Seminole Tribe will take place at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.” From The Florida State University communications office.]

::::

“Once upon a time when the world was new there was only one language.”

c. all rights reserved, Betty Mae Jumper, LEGENDS OF THE SEMINOLES

::::My spirit lifts each time I find more quality books about the Western Hemisphere’s First Peoples/Indigenous/ American Indian/ Native American families and communities, meaning, I find titles that are written by and sometimes illustrated by, enrolled members of tribes or those writers with strong, continuing connection with tribe communities.

This idea arose from the Native community and gains supporters each book launch season.

I feel the popularity of the  National Museum of the American Indian (a Smithsonian Institution agency) has helped raise the profile of these books. Mighty work in looking at these titles is evermore prominent from the untiring and detailed research of Dr. Debbie Reese, at American Indians in Childrens’ Literature.

More Native American Topics , a resource page, is available on this site year round ::::

Here are highlights of excellent referral opportunities

::::Blogs at American Indians In Children’s Literature on published POETRY from tribal communities and members.

::::2020 AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH LITERATURE AWARD the inaugural year

As already mentioned, AMERICAN INDIANS IN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

and

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

OYATE

::::Today I’m sharing from a book that I’ve re-read for enlightenment in this year of 2020, by poet Leslie Marmon Silko, of Laguna Pueblo heritage. I went back to it on my shelves after not one but two people mentioned an unpublished lovely anecdote about this impassioned author. It’s prose piece I’m reading as a poem, from her introduction to the book, Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit:

Except for a few fragments

the magnificient folding books

of the Maya and Aztec people

were destroyed in 1540

by Bishop Landa

who burned

the great

libraries

of the Americas.

©1996 Leslie Marmon Silko, all right reserved

I have not yet seen this 2019 title for adult readers, NATIVE VOICES: Indigenous American Poetry, Craft and Conversations, from Tupelo Press, but it looks to be a superior volume to read.



Photo of a map, created by Aaron Carapella, C. all rights reserved. Photo is C. by Hansi Lo Wang/NPR, all rights reserved
Aaron Carapella, a self-taught map maker in Warner, Oklahoma, has designed maps of Canada and the continental U.S. showing the original locations and names of Native American tribes before first contact with Europeans. View the full map (PDF).PHOT If you have a home or classroom wall that it would nourish, it is offered here.

November is Native American month, each year, where once in the land every month of every year was Native American month.

A Place at the Table

Poetry Friday is danced this week by the always creative LINDA B. Last week we visited Janice at Salt City Verse. Go, travel! And I’ve got a Q for you, if you can stay to The End. Appreciations.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::I reached for Karla Kushkin’s SO WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A CAT? illustrated by Betsy Lewin and out fell Mary O’Neill, next door to it I know not why, but quite providentially, Mary fell open to her John Wallner illustrated poem, “BLACK.”

“Black is kind~ it covers up The rundown street The broken cup. Black is charcoal. And patio grill.~~ Black is beauty In its deepest form~~ Think of what starlight And lamplight would lack Diamonds and fireflies If they couldn’t lean against Black.”​

excerpts from HAILSTONES and HALIBUT BONES by Mary O’Neill and John Wallner. (with apologies for lack of line breaks)

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Recently in this nourishing Poetry Friday community I was grateful to read in a comment to a post, wise words from Mary Lee Hahn about her sensitivity to students whose families don’t celebrate & are possibly uncomfortable with, Halloween. So her thought brought me to share today (of all days!) about a MG new novel, A PLACE AT THE TABLE by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan.

This is the third LS novel I have read & loved but I’m grateful Laura teams here with an equally vibrant, but new-to-me author, Saadia Faruqi. If you want to read and recommend a lovely friendship book set in the Season of Autumn, I hope you will consider A PLACE AT THE TABLE. I bought my copy independently.

WHO WILL TAKE THIS TO HEART ~~ Cooking school fans, recipe creators, community festival-goers, fans of girl friendship stories, Pakistani-Americans, ex-pat Brits, Jewish families, readers with family members or friends who may have depression or non-conformist grandmas, and, especially anyone needing to understand much better than they do (such as me) about the path Muslim students in Western society neighborhoods and schools may travel.

FAVORITE QUOTES ~~From Sara: “I envy my brothers. They feel no shame in being Muslim. They’re too young to appreciate, how different they are from their classmates.” From Elizabeth: ” When the congregation sings my favorite prayer, Ma Tovu, Dad rocks back and forth on his loafers. The melody is sad, but hearing it fills me with hope. I love the line about the temple being a place of glory. I look out the windows. The autumn leaves are more beautiful than stained glass.”

IN SHORT ~~ Their missteps smoothed, dutiful daughters of very different families that each have their own daily home stresses, grow organically into close pals despite their religious divide, which in the end, isn’t a wall at all. My heart tugged. Appreciations to the authors for creating this collaboration, which should be much-noted and appreciated.

Anousha Syed created the lovely cover illustration.

SAADIA FARUQI. (who, it turns out, sometimes has Florida on her mind 🙂 Hope to read more of your words. Congratulations, Saadia!

LAURA SHOVAN Congratulations on another literary treat, dear Laura!

You are invited to Send a Q or commeent about Halloween to Saadia or Laura via Instagram today (Oct. 30, 2020)

From Laura: Today, 5 pm EST! Chat with me and @saadiafaruqi about Halloween. This American tradition is an important chapter in our book, #aplaceatthetable. Does your family go all out or lights out for Halloween.”

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::My Q. Know a source of groovy doodle and writing daily prompts? I expect distraction more than usual in November but I’m feeling a lift about the idea of something-a-day. Like INKTOBER? Maybe something like NAPOWRIMO, but in November?What prompts look lively, to you (even if you don’t do them.) Thanks a bunch.

2020’s Halloween

[Poetry Friday is with Salt City Verse this week. Last week we were way over in Europe with Bridget. Go travel!]

C r e a k! The first treat out of my Halloween book fault was created by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

RAGGED SHADOWS, Poems of Halloween Night will delight! Haunt the collectible book sites for this unnew treasure to spend All Hallow’s Eve with Jane Yolen, Nancy Willard, Fran Haraway, Karla Kushkin,Deborah Chandra, Barbara Juster Esbensen, Alice Schertle,Valerie Worth, Marilyn Waniek, Pamela Espeland andof course, Lee. Such a partee!

Here is Lee’s poem.

And isn’t it so like Lee, in his selection for the collection, to remind us of the day-after all-safe! day of Allhallowmas. It’s only been a year and two months since Lee left this earth, but it still feels fresh. So grateful to find a Lee hug within each of his books.

This year I’m late to Halloween preparation but here is my short confection.

2020 Halloween

 Ghost stories for a Celtic celebration.

What October traditions have you seen?

Thank you, olden times Irish refugees

for your gift import, of All’ Hallowe’en.

 𝕔𝕠𝕡𝕪𝕣𝕚𝕘𝕙𝕥©𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘JGAnnino, all rights reserved

Please look for KNOCK ON WOOD from poet Janet Wong and artist Julie Paschkis.  It’s great for older kids who still love Halloween but deserve a more nuanced illustrated journey. This one weaves through the world of superstitions.

copyright, JULIE PASCHKIS, from Knock on Wood. Poems about superstitions. by JANET WONG, all rights reserved. 

A favorite treat in Knock on Wood is this poem:

“Wood” copyright JANET WONG, from KNOCK ON WOOD, illustrated by JULIE PASCHKIS.

I also like to run my finger over the branches  finding all the tree details.

Halloween isn’t just an outdoor partee at our house. This year I’ve used the fireplace hearth, too. Where in the house do you decorate?  We are still feeling festive about a socially distanced Halloween. How are you handling things? I have an idea to put a big plastic bowl of candy on a chair at the end of our drive & keep lights off, blinds down.  

RAGGED SHADOWS art C. Giles Laroche, all rights reserved

The RAGGED SHADOWS page-turning step-this-way don’t-be-too-scared! cut paper artwork is from the very talented Giles Laroche.

Trusted friends are also recommending, these I haven’t seen:

THAT MONSTER On THE BLOCK, by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and Luke Flowers MONSTER MAKES A SANDWICH by Adam Rex                                              SHE WANTED TO BE HAUNTED Marcus Ewert and Susie Ghahreman       PICK A PUMPKIN by Patricia Toht and Jarvis,  earlier love, here.                      FLASHLIGHT NIGHT by Matt Forrest Esenwine and Fred Koehler                   MONSTER SCHOOL by Kate Combs and Lee Gatlin

Just in today’s traditional mail post, a treasure from an author I met through Michelle Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty, rhyming poet Carrie Clickard, who has sadly passed on, but not before creating this treat with artist John Shelley, MAGIC FOR SALE.

“On the corner of Hemlock and Blight/. skulks the shop of Miss Pustula Night/ with a sign on the stair:

COME INSIDE. BUT BEWARE

THE UNWELCOME MAT’S LIKELY TO BITE!”

copyright Carrie Clickard, illustrated by John Shelley

Please add your favorites in the comments. Day and night we visit with our October gal when we pass down the drive.  Her flair is the work of my artist mother-through-marriage, my hubby’s talented Mom, and it’s just not Halloween month without her riding herd on our yard.  She never arrived with a name and I feel we are way overdue in conjuring that. Hmmmm.

Hope the zombies don’t get you!

On stage with the FSU Flying High Student Circus, Halloween edition, 2017

#RBG #AmericanAnthem

I’m uplifted by the uncountable celebrations in many mediums/forms, and by many people, of the life of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

American Anthem”, which I wasn’t familiar with, was sung at the U.S. Capitol ceremony for this incomparable woman. You can see why it is so fitting, from even one verse.

from, “American Anthem”

For those who think
They have nothing to share
Who fear in their hearts
There is no hero there
Know each quiet act
Of dignity is
That which fortifies
The soul of a nation
That never dies

The Smithsonian Institution hosted the first performance of the anthem, in 1999, at the unveiling of one of my favorite treasures to see in D.C. ~~ the mended “Star-Spangled Banner” flag. The song’s creator is Gene Scheer.

Every S.C. Justice who has served with #RBG, paid tributes. Many are here.

Heart-felt, deeply moving statements from all the current justices & many retired shouldn’t come as a surprise. Without regard to political party, they all knew and openly admired her work ethic, her courage, her mind, her personal gentility, her comradeship & kindnesses to them. It was unanimous.

I particularly smiled at this one:

Retired Justice David Souter: “Ruth Ginsburg was one of the members of the Court who achieved greatness before she became a great justice. I loved her to pieces.”

Again, from “American Anthem”

For those who think
They have nothing to share
Who fear in their hearts
There is no hero there
Know each quiet act
Of dignity is
That which fortifies
The soul of a nation
That never dies ~~

The reports on the Capitol memorial said that the song was one of  #RBG’s favorites. And suitably for an opera superfan such as #RBG, it was sung in the Capitol by one of her favorite opera stars, Denyce Graves. You can hear the anthem sung on You Tube (at the link following) in its entirety, by this incredible opera singer who was a friend of The Justice. It was this star who also presented it at The Capitol. At this link, the pianist is Laura Ward, who also accompanied Denyce Graves at the Capitol Memorial

The website for the composer.

Michelle Barnes highlighted this wonderful #RBG quote earlier this week.

Poetry Friday is collected this week by Jone (at her outstandingly beautiful new site.)

d-liver d-letter

SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED/ Stevie Wonder

some picture books about postal mail

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I slip a hug onto paper.

Pen a poem.

Soothe a tear.

Share a quest.

Mail it off

to a point further west.

~©JGAnnino,2020

 

For some seniors, the postal mail is medicine. ~~ actual prescribed

pills that arrive to keep a BeLoved alive. And for most seniors & juniors,

personal paper mail is the good medicine of a smile from far off miles.

 

This year, many of us want our US Postal Service to be delivering election mail.

But Republicans in the Senate need to stand up to the President in the White House as he appears to plan to eviscerate the Postal Service & thwart the 2020 vote-by-mail elections.

:::

My love of postal mail is generational.

My parents wrote (and saved) fun postcards to each when they were courting.

If not for the historic U.S. mail, my father wouldn’t have received from his

relative, the cherished Civil War love letters that a Union Lieutenant relative wrote his

fiancé. They married, after the war!

Our daughter and her husband send us paper mail delights from their changing postal zones. I think her delighted reading and opening of all the little envelopes in THE JOLLY POSTMAN  interactive picture book, by the Ahlbergs) set her up for a StampLife.

Not only am I happy to have postcards and sweet personal letters sent to me, I also love to trade through the US postal mail. I can’t imagine how shopify and etsy traders would have fared without the USPS. Here, a nod to my favorite Poetry Friday etsy shoptraders, Robyn and also, Michelle.

 

On one of our several trips to D.C. we family Postal Lovers visited our US Postal Museum. We had fun!

https://postalmuseum.si.edu/

I find it wrong-minded and unpatriotic (nod to Ben Franklin)

clearly an Anti-USA act, to stifle, squeeze, or shutdown the historic and necessary hallmark of a free government

that my postal service is. Here are some resources.

PBS

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-vital-role-of-the-u-s-postal-service-in-american-elections

League of Women Voters

https://www.lwv.org/blog/why-we-need-fight-united-states-postal-service

NPR

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/14/834336341/hoping-to-save-the-postal-service-people-rush-to-buy-stamps

Buy US Postage Stamps online. Create an account for free. LOVE stamps, flowers, cartoon characters & other miniature works of art, can come at you in your postal mail.

In these times of #saferathome, #selfisolating  we’ve felt fortunate to use the snorkel USPS collection boxes.

Here’s a picture of them from Wikipedia. 

YOUR TURN:  Any memorable songs or poems, when you think of postal mail? Enjoyed reading a book to children that features postal mail? Find the link for moderated comments box, below with my appreciations. [ a wonkiness in digital land here at the moment, so there may be x-tra space before box.]

For more on #PoetryFriday, please see Renee and please visit Molly this week @ NIX THE COMFORT ZONE.

::::::

#SusanCerulean: I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird

[please find PoEtrY fRiDaY links at the end]

Susan Cerulean: I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird

Earlier this week on another page here, I honored the “good trouble” created by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who as a young man in segregated Alabama, was positively influenced by Rosa Parks and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

This page turns to a “good trouble” activist in Florida for environmental justice. She is Susan Cerulean. Maybe your Florida kayak glide, escorted above by a fish-hunting osprey, brought you to love this confounding state where I live. Or perhaps your Florida habit began via books by Zora Neale Hurston, such as Their Eyes Were Watching God, or with Oranges by John McPhee, or any of the several books of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, such Hurricane or her best-known, Everglades, River of Grass. Or, perhaps your student brought home from the school library, the rambunctious Florida eco-warrior Skink in the YA novel Skink, No Surrender, a character first crafted years ago in his adult fiction, by Carl Hiaasen.

Whatever the reason you commune with the idea of Florida, please look for the works of our state’s excellent, revered, unique literary eco-definer and eco-defender, Susan Cerulean.

I don’t often depart from children’s literature, especially poetry, as my theme at this site. But please pay attention to an extraordinary new double-memoir, I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird, (University of Georgia Press.) Susan Cerulean movingly blends her care for Florida and its ecosystems, including nesting terns that like to lay eggs where tourists tromp, with her care for her beloved Father, who like so many, migrates to Florida from elsewhere. In this case, from New Jersey.

 

I created a poem in celebration of her extraordinary story. I hope you will find some time for I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird. The birth of it brings a unique author-opportunity next week.  (shared at the end with other resources)

 

Your assignment

 

How to know what it is.

 

Accompanied

by a brightening of the sky at the engaging moment.

Likely, not.

 

What is the assignment? 

Who is the assignment?  

 

The assignment may arrive

as a thin needle jab

of torreya tree you petted in a park

now stuck in pain under your fingernail

so that you can’t forget this struggling creature.

 

 

The assignment may arrive

when your diabetic neighbor calls from her doorway

as you take your nightly walk. At her front step, you learn

you are to dress her unending toe wound.

 

You can’t know the assignment in advance.

 

Just know, it will call.

~JGAnnino, 2020

 

 

I hope you will want to meet Susan Cerulean in a digital meet up 6 p.m. August 7.

Susan Cerulean photograph copyright, Jeff Chanton, all rights reserved

Sample the book in this review by novelist, poet, memoirist Trish (Pat) MacEnulty. Enjoy a feature on it by author and editor, Kathleen Laufenberg.

If you can encourage your library or bookstore or reading group to create an event for this book, contact Susan and please say I sent you.

full disclosure

In addition to her own writing, Susan Cerulean is an environmental nonfiction anthologist. She edited Milkweed Editions’ The Book of the Everglades, which included my chapter, and, works from Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, Susan Orlean, the late famed sea turtle author-scientist Archie Carr, poet Lola Haskins, and longtime Miami Herald columnist and novelist Carl Hiaasen.

I have been friends and writing colleagues with Sue for more four decades. And following I Have Been Assigned The Single Bird, I’ve a hope for what’s next between her book covers  ~ Ursus, which walk, feed, birth and die here in crazy Florida, barely.

:::::::

Poetry Friday is organized and cheered today from the pages of READING TO THE CORE.  Learn more about Poetry Friday from Renee M. LaTulippe. Please keep scrolling to leave your thought in the moderated comments box, with my appreciations.

 

 

#BelovedCommunity Rep. John Lewis

“You never become bitter,” Rep. John Lewis said. “You never become hostile. You never try to demean your opposition.” National Public Radio

A baton is aimed at young John Lewis, on ground, foreground right during a peaceful demonstration. His skull was fractured. March 7, 1965./Associated Press photograph  

Recent monumental pandemic news stepped into background noise for me as I listened transfixed to the heartfelt, emotional and proud commemorations, funeral moments and memorial for the famed #GoodTrouble #BelovedCommunity creator, Rep. John Lewis. I learned that Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, spoke to his courage and strength in sticking to his pledge to always conduct himself nonviolently, even under torture, in events that could lead to death:

IN the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

According to an interview with his sister, she remembered in child days that her big brother John recited Invictus, walking from room to room in their house. They lived in segregated Pike County, Alabama, where the local library denied her book-loving, voracious reader brother, a library card to the whites-only, tax-supported facility. The boy once denied a library card, became a member of the United States Congress in 1987, and later was honored as a book author, at the Library of Congress, on more than one occasion.

Rep. Lewis’ peaceable human rights actions, for what he thought of as #BelovedCommunity, were in keeping with his earliest studies, to become an ordained minister.  His degree from Fisk University was in philosophy and religion. As a boy he thoroughly read the Bible at home, his sister remembered. He also liked learning, from the newspaper, that the already-admired civil rights activist Rosa Parks and a new person on the Alabama scene, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., called for peaceful protest. And, she said, he liked comic books, for their Justice League heroes, who righted wrongs.

So, so fitting, that his National Book Award winning triology MARCH, is told as a graphic novel, as illustrated below by Nate Powell, all rights reserved. See The Horn Book Q/A with the Congressman.

from the John Lewis triology, with Andrew Aydin, illustrations copyright Nate Powell, all rights reserved

As I find poems about Rep. Lewis, I will link them here. “John Lewis” is a tribute poem I recommend to you from  my talented Poetry Friday colleague ,Michelle Kogan.

Appreciations to a group that means much to me #BigBendPoetsandWriters @BigPoets for sharing this poem about US Rep. John Lewis, by Avis Veronica Simmonds 

Float

Welcome to Poetry Friday for 17 July 2020. More on Poetry Friday, is below.

Float

My dear but overtasked Mom, whose occasionally inscrutable life I ponder more often in the summer than any other season, was an excellent small-lake swimmer in her school days.  As an adult, this former athlete, also a high school archer and basketball player, chose as her only sport, the face-up float. So this is for dear Mom.

 

Mom and me in the sea

 

She allowed me to

link by hand,

drift alongside her 

beating heart,

her stretched-out

living raft.

~ JG Annino, 2020

 

I wish I owned a photograph of Mom swimming, or just lounging on a lake dock in her one-piece, sleek, classic Jantzen “diving woman” logo swimsuit,(in blue, not red as pictured at the link.) When I grew older, she confided that to invite her body to feel light, to drift, was free therapy, needed bliss, release, otherworldness.

 

 

So now, switching moods, because we can use a smile in these traumatic times, I share here from the animal kingdom, what Mom practiced – the free-spirit float. She passed on long before I made this image a few years ago on a trip to  Homosassa Springs. A defender of natural Florida, she would want this serene sirenia & you, to enjoy a float if it rolls our way. Strength & peace & also some float to you, in significant days leading to Nov. 3, 2020.

 

"FLOAT", copyright, all rights reserved,JanGodownAnnino

“FLOAT”, copyright, all rights reserved,
JanGodownAnnino

Poetry Friday is within Kidlitosphere, illuminated by poet & educator Renee LaTulippe at No Water River.  Last week Ruth hosted, writing from among the lovely people of Haiti.   Next week, we connect with Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche.  Thank you for your beautiful link ~~ via comments, traditional-style. Keep scrolling for the your thoughts? box, which doesn’t automatically post. If you think there’s a glitch or if you prefer, send your Poetry Friday link to me by owl, snailmail, email, butterfly, turtle, twitter, fb, fern, affirmation or, prayer. I’m anticipating a bit of away-time at zoom events Friday & Saturday that weren’t scheduled when I answered the lovely calendar call, so I’ve posted early. Appreciations for your visit.

As often as I can, I will wrap up your links from comments & notes right here .

^^^^Janice soothes us with an original poem & photo of an element often overlooked. http://janicescully.com/

~~~Amy’s offering some mighty fine lines at BookBuzz. Just can’t get each kind, out of my mind. https://bookbuzz123.blogspot.com/2020/07/window-shelf.html

@@@ Linda’s yuk-yuks are totally lucky ducks. Feel the images, See the sounds! Linda astounds. http://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/2020/07/refurbished-clunkers.html

🙂 🙂 🙂 Michelle, Fine Artist, features feather finery inspired by On the Teche & she offers more fabulous poem-making (I’ma afloat over one in particular). Do inhale her signature, exquisite poetry in artist inks, too.  https://moreart4all.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/poetry-friday-poetry-mix-flowers/.     I also like to play in Michelle’s studio at Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/michellekoganfineart/

Tim, joins in first time here (to my recollection) with work-in-progress/science fiction. Welcome! images.https://timkulp.com/home/visual-stories I’ll spend more time at his site later, where a Middle Grade novels post led me to a link & thereupon I gorged on a photo gallery of libraries’ eye candy at a swoony copyright-free site. Additional appreciations, Tim!

Carol arrives back at New York from Virginia with questions, thoughts, worries building, about #quarantineoverdrive, employing clunker gifts & outasite art. TY, also, for the sweet treat, Carol! https://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2020/07/clunker-line-poem.html

Little Willow peeks out from behind her pile of reading/websitedesign/acting/article-writing/ etc. duties to visit, with her usual depth. https://slayground.livejournal.com/907539.html 

Matt has fallen for flowers, but not in the usual way, wrangling a wort, a vetch & who knows what else, along the path. Be sure to continue on at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme for his You Tube channel. https://mattforrest.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/poetry-friday-summer-flowers-my-first-prose-poem-ever/

Bridget, known for “wee words for wee ones,” is up to something BIG! http://www.weewordsforweeones.com/2020/07/wee-source-floating-poetry-across-world.html

Kind Tabatha, who I’ma never indifferent to,  serves up clever. https://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/

Molly shares artistic comfort at Nix The Comfort Zone – how could she not, with the gifts she unwraps? https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2020/07/17/pf-poetry-swap-and-more/

Tim Gels contributes an original poem that gave me pause, at Yet There is Method. I hope you find time to read & think about it, too.  https://timgels.com/2020/07/17/bothered-or-not/ Welcome to Bookseedstudio, Tim.

Island gal Ruth invites a peek at her Summer Poetry Swap. Not to miss! https://thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com/

Apples drops down into Bookseedstudio for the first time ~~ welcome!~~ with a post about wide-open, tall-towering, water-flowing, grasses-growing, preserved places & spaces. Go & enjoy this fresh-air share. https://theapplesinmyorchard.com/2020/07/17/poetry-friday-national-park-haiku/

Amy of The Poem Farm fame, gets into the kitchen to whip up a list 🙂 A tasty list. A maker list. A go-do-that-list.  http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2020/07/just-make-something-list-poem.html I promise to go-make. Some thing!

Ramona invites us to consider a common summer kids’ drink, through a Marcus Jackson lens. Wow. Appreciations, Mr. Jackson & for Pleasures from the Page https://pleasuresfromthepage.blogspot.com/2020/07/poetry-friday-ode-to-kool-aid.html

Leader Mary Lee shines light on prolific & moving poet/playright/storyteller/publisher/picturebookcreator/forceforchange, Zetta Elliott, in her highly regarded poetry collection, SAY HER NAME.
http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2020/07/poetry-friday-say-her-name.html

Donna at Mainely Write brings her sweet older Sister self to us & she gifted me with tears. xo to D.

https://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/2020/07/a-recap-of-some-squiggles.html

Please help me welcome to Bookseedstudio & perhaps to Poetry Friday, Susan Bruck. She is creator of the nourishing SOUL BLOSSOM LIVING, which features her wisdom & artistry in several mediums, including poetry. Her clever verse about floating in child days, follows her story of a recent, not-be-be-repeated flying encounter.  Not-to-be repeated, but you don’t want to miss reading it!

https://www.soulblossomliving.com/floating-and-flying-through-life/

#NikkiGrimes

A humid Florida hey there weary travelers, from this Bookseedstudio patch of Poetry Friday. We PF bffs are collected this week via Live Your Poem by honorary Floridian & groovy poet Irene Latham. To know more about friday poet pals, please visit No Water River & Kitditosphere, at this article’s end, where I’ve linked.

"Flower Face" by Jan Godown Annino.

“Flower Face for Nikki Grimes” from June. 2020 miniature zinnias/ Bookseedstudio.

I think of gardens when I think of NIKKI GRIMES, “poet, photographer, artist & avid gardener,” as she describes herself. In addition to the shelves of literary & publishing success honors that this poet has earned, I feel that everyday, Nikki Grimes deserves armloads and cascading gardens of all kinds of flowers,  baskets of fresh herbs and roaming vines of fresh veggies. In her decades and decades of work in crafting exquisite books, she has helped young readers, especially those whose skin color is similar to hers, feel someone understands their rocky road. But please know that she is a writer for all. Her words nurture all children & many adults, to bloom into their full potential. Start with WORDS WITH WINGS, a title that I connect with deeply. In 2015, I included it in a Bookseedstudio blog here.

 

An early self-bloomer, despite finding little fertilizer & too much rocky ground in earliest years, young Nikki created poems and art before the age of 10, living in bleak circumstances. She always desired to create beautiful things. She remembers making poems from age six!

C..2019allrightsreserved/JGA
heirloom rose plant adopted from Goodwood Gardens/Florida

Nikki Grimes is outspoken in her commentary on our world’s marginalization of books   created by writers of color and about the sidelining of books about families and children of color. Consider how infrequently these good resources are brought up in class, outside of a specific anniversary, celebratory day or month. Nikki Grimes has.

Listening to Nikki Grimes at the Reading Rockets’ interview linked in the paragraph above, says to me that from the first day of school, children should be reading stories where not all the children are white. And in fact, it is right that all children read bright stories where most of the kids in the room, at the park, are not white. Stories on making new friends, losing shyness in class, managing seats on the bus, events at the fair, camping adventures, discoveries at a museum, should cover all children. Consider also how often a book about a topic on people of color or other marginalized people who aren’t people of color (and this does include people who are American Indians/Native Americans) is a sad book, a book about a difficult topic. Most children still grow up unaware of the exceptional, trail-blazing healers, scientists, thinkers, discoverers & others, who are people of color. The general public only in recent years learned of the brilliant work of black women in the U.S. space race program, dedicated mathematicians, cruelly marginalized, while proving exceptional crucial brainpower to the United States mission. People in Florida, home of NASA, should be especially sensitive to knowing & teaching this story, told in HIDDEN FIGURES, the great picture book that was sold for a movie, created for all ages.

OK. I’ve stepped a bit off-topic. But that too, may be a key part of the Nikki Grimes story, as when you read more Nikki Grimes’ books or follow her life story you may tend to step off-path, too. This poet’s child days truth is told in the enormously potent ORDINARY HAZARDS. As a young girl she endured, she survived, through serial, multiple, unhappy home & school settings. There was violence. Out on Mean Streets, she did defend herself. This makes the exquisite beauty that Nikki Grimes delivers in the poems she crafts & also in her images in photographs and paintings, all the more compelling. Step into her visual art gallery.

Nikki Grimes at Pennsylvania Center for the Book

Poet Nikki Grimes at Pennsylvania Center for the Book

Author appearances with new books are altered in #healthierathome times. But meet the inspiring Nikki Grimes at her home’s Nikki Grimes You Tube Channel, Try a poetry prompt there or learn how lists are important to her creative process. You can also catch up with an April 2020  visit some of us checked into at the Highlights Foundation #HFGather. Subscribe to her newsletter, read her blog & other pages at her website & follow along on twitter. As you dwell among her works and learn more of her life, you may discern that two of Nikki Grimes’ themes are Faith & perseverance. For ideas on Faith look to her book, THE WATCHER, inspired by Psalm 121 or sit in the pew, COME SUNDAY. For life as a creator who keeps on keepin’ on, look to her generous sharing about bumps in path to finding a publisher for her exceptionally successful book, A POCKETFUL OF POEMS. She also shines a generous spotlight on other creators, as she does in this interview she conducted with POEMS IN THE ATTIC artist, Elizabeth Zunon. I beam thanks to Michelle Barnes, who met Nikki Grimes at a library event in Florida, for tipping me off to the N.G. Elizabeth Zunon Q/A.

Notes from Nikki is bright with her tenderly cultivated blooms, cultivated words, & with creative re-imaginings of her recycled paper projects & news of her deep connections with students around the globe. When you find one of her books out there in the world, let her know, for this newsletter!

Nikki Grimes Books Generally Available Now

April 2020 Highlights Foundation #HFGather visit

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I appreciate poet Irene Latham for gathering us this week via Live your Poem, in the Kidlitosphere, explained so well by poet & educator Renee LaTulippe at No Water River.

Peace to you, especially in troubled times.

Peace flowers abloom at the Bookseedstudio patio 6/2020.

Peace flowers arranged, inspired by Nikki Grimes calla lilly artwork at her gallery

Flowers arranged – 6/2020, inspired by Nikki Grimes’ paintings at her gallery: https://www.nikkigrimes.com/grimesgallery/grimesgallery.php

 

#KidLit4BlackLives #TheBrownBookshelf

A heart-lifting moment in recent conversations on race & how to counter racism in this beautiful USA, is the community children’s literature coming-together, of June 4th, 2020.

It collected under the banner #KidLit4BlackLives & I heard about it through #TheBrownBookshelf, my guide for 13 years, to fabulous books I might otherwise not have known about & some titles I was already seeking.

Jackie Woodson warmly welcomed us to the table, hosted by Kwame Alexander. But the best thing about it is that so many soon-to-be luminaries were invited onboard with now-famous, once-unknown, contemporary, award-winning children’s-book creators of color. I especially enjoyed meeting a 9-year-old future leader, zooming in from overseas. Correction: Leader. Period.

It’s exciting to see thousands of publishers, editors, educators, parents & creators of books for young people, listening/learning from an evening of vivid voices that are predominantly from people of color. We all pledged to learn more, learn harder, learn better, about what our community needs to do to improve.

Following the event, which he attended, graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang shared this thoughtful instagram conversation with a beloved esteemed educator who was 10 during the 1967-68 riots in the USA, which led to the Kerner Commission. (divot to the right, to flip to each page.) Educator Tony Green believes that the country needs a national commission that has broad ethnic representation (unlike the all-white, male Kerner Commission) to create implementable provisions that will move the USA forward in the wake of a shameful litany of black lives lost after an incident with police. That is one part of a larger racial issue, which involves food deserts, poverty, imprisonment and health care access. I would like to see this country’s Native American/American Indian population included in this national discussion.

I loved how Ms. Woodson, whose BROWN GIRL DREAMING, is a favorite of mine, asked everyone to speak out when a racist remark is heard, when it comes directly to you from your uncle who is a wizard at guitar-playing, or the friendly neighbor who grows sweet cherry tomatoes two streets over. “That’s not kind,” is a starter, before walking  away. “I don’t feel good being around thoughts like that.” Doesn’t have to be a long lecture. Shouldn’t be. Jerry Craft knew how to get a conversation going in many families, such as in Florida, where I live. He said to share how, “Save the Whales doesn’t mean that dolphins don’t deserve to live. Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that ALL Lives don’t matter.”

The evening was awash in appreciation for people regardless of their skin, the quality of their home, their unemployment status or the labels on their clothing. More kindness, more thinking before speaking, more interest in people of color all through the year, and not just at a significant anniversary of birth or death, or a standard celebration time, or month, is a step toward shedding racism.

Appreciations to author Joanne Fritz for this fb page grab.

To revisit these speakers, make time for the recorded event. Above, find & follow #TheBrownBookshelf link, which also includes a rich list of resources.

Appreciations to political cartoonist Nathan Archer, Florida chair of the National Cartoonists Association, for this #BlackLivesMatter 6/2020 image shared on his fb page.

Generator Season

Greetings from the precipice of the reason for generator season. Our 1st named tropical weather system is mapped in color on our local newspaper’s pages. Arthur. In case you had bet on Arnold or, Aurturio. We seek bids from installers of our chosen brand of generator. Photos of fuse box & outside electrical power components have been taken & sent. A gas line will be connected from our house to the (fortunately) existing pipe under the tree-lined suburban street we trod daily. All this fuss so our very own, yard-to-glass, Myer lemon hand-made yellow glow frozen cubes, via  old fashioned-style but super retro gift juicer from our thoughtful daughter, will last until October. That month is the H.S. end. O, Florida!

Hurricane For the term hurricane we give thanks to the beautiful Caribbean Island’s original peace-loving Taino people. Their way of saying it was more like  hura’ca’n, modified by armed Spanish conquerers so that armed English-spellers could come up with our hurricane. Here’s my page with Taino resources. No word on what the armed French called it, during their hurricane days here.

Some of you know I’m a collector of objetos di las floridas, so here is one I can’t take credit for, but it lifts my #healthyathome spirits  Would love to know if Maine uses a public service moose. Credit deserved!

Although every time is alligator time in Florida, May and June coincide with bull gator bellows and mating season, so reptile alertness, always needed in Florida, is wise evermoreso if you decide to practice your physically distant/social distant novel covid-19 avoidance protocols in the beautiful, water-abundant outdoors. They like same trails you do!

Two recent very local news notes speak of alligators, I imagine much as a news source in polar bear country would alert you to Ursus maritimus’ ways. The story on blue crabs reminds against E.R room forseen events if you tie your bait cord to your wrist. Yes, I have seen this, at the old Caloosahatchee River dock near Tice at the border of Fort Myers. The other speaks of how to conduct safe outdoor tuba-time, lest you call up a live gator.

photoC.JanGodownAnnnino,allrightsreserved

JanGodownAnninoC.allrightsreserved

Do you have a unique local design face mask? I would like to see some featuring art or photo images of our beautiful swimmer, blue crabs, or shells of pink/purple striped scallops, or my favorite coast plant – sea oats. I’m not a sewer so I haven’t created masks for medical staff, but a word from Ancient City Poets via North Florida Poetry Hub called for upbeat personal poems for Mayo Clinic staff. My poems were paired with art by the coordinator & the report is that staff is loving them.  So, Xo for our good first responders.    And, keep smiling behind your face masks.

Aleppo, 3,000 B.C. citadel, and Cat Man

part of Poetry Friday/KidLitoSphere, sparkling this Friday, with poet Liz Steinglass.

+::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::+

a poem in celebration of Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary, Syria by JG Annino Peace Color rocks me transforms prey into pal predator into pillow we settle in- wary aloy allies peace be with us and also with you c.2020JanGodownAnnino

a poem in celebration of Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary, Syria
Peace
Color rocks me
transforms prey
into pal
predator into pillow
we settle in-
wary aloy allies
peace be with us
and also with you
c.2020JanGodownAnnino / sculpture by Anna Annino, 2000

Stone is a core pillar of Earth that baffles me.

How it’s made, the differences between igneous and metamorphic, why some stone is marble and other stone is, for example, crumbly shale. And why Florida, where I live, isn’t stoney. But Syria, for example, defines Stone.

As I turned pages in a new and supremely worthy true-story picture book set in perhaps the oldest continually settled city on Earth, my eyes lasered to artist Yuko Shimizu’s paintings of walls, buildings and ancient paths. Stone of Aleppo, a place where famous people we know of from both the Bible and the Qur’an (Koran) walked millennia ago.

We are talking a community whose trade paths  echo so much of so many languages and intrigues and faiths, the entire Old Aleppo is a World Heritage Site.

On my second and third glances through THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO, as a mother, aunt, and children’s writer,  I honed in on the helpful kids. And yes, on the cats the kids were helping, having grown up with, at one count, 13 named felines, in the Franklin Township woods in New Jersey. There were more who lurked further back in the woods. We fed so many because, word got out, if you dumped a cat near our place across the country lane from the Knispel Dairy, we would take it in. Mom, you would have liked Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel and his unselfish service to people and pets of Aleppo.

Mr. Alijaleel, who asks to be called Alaa, his first name, is a paramedic and ambulance driver. He walked stone paths, pulled open doors in stone walls, knew stone buildings in Syria all his life. And then came war. And then, for the first responder, who stayed to help the wounded, came cats.

Fortunately, a Syrian immigrant in my neighbor state of Alabama, Karim Shamsi-Basha, who had once studied in Aleppo for a year, met one of my favorite children’s poets and storytellers, Irene Latham. Mr. Shamsi-Basha spoke with Alaa. They all teamed up with artist Yuko Shimizu. Alaa opens the book with a letter: “This is a story about cats and war and people. But mostly it is about love.”

This book breaks down boundaries.

It’s going to introduce the artistry of calligraphy in Arabic writing to many schoolchildren. Told in English, the book creators use opportunities to also tell the story in the native language of the good people of Aleppo. Read it and learn ma’amoul and barazek – names of two kinds of cookies.

On back and front endpapers, ethereal double spread skyscapes, closing and opening the book feature an uncountable number of flying peace symbols. Over and over. White doves in the air. No cats. Think about that. A brave choice for a story about cats. This story and illustrations leave me feeling as if, without any credentials whatsoever, I’m invited to sit in on a key United Nations aid committee meeting on healing the Syrian people, physically and emotionally.

Please find this book of good will, book of hope, book of love, book of peace  (Jane Addams Peace. Association, please take note.)

twitter: @theAleppoCatman 

Tabatha Yeatts’ Opposite of Indifference  Poetry Month 4.28.20 entry, “Healing Heart” is about this book.

Betsy Bird has her say. And it’s beautiful.

We saw United Nations’ (UNESCO above) Aleppo pages & here, too, Syrian children’s issues at UNICEF.

Please also know paramedic Alaa’s fellow Syrian, a brave medical student.

Aleppo may be from an old way of saying the Arabic idea to”give out milk,” halaba. We don’t know. We do how in one huge example, the milk of human kindness flows from THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO.

Alessandra Abidin in Italy helped found Aleppo’s Ernesto’s Cat Sanctuary with Alaa. Ernesto was the name of one of her beloved cats. People all over the world join every day to support the work, which now includes not only cats, but also, children orphaned by war and yes, their chickens, goats, and dogs. A veterinarian is on staff, as are a technician and other helpers. The orphan animals help the hearts of shell-shocked children heal. The orphanage Alla’s group created gives kids a home.

All because one man, at the end of a long work day in an Aleppo ambulance, fed starving cats.

c.2020 Yuko Shimizu THE CAT MAN OF       ALEPPO

 

 

 

#ShelterinPoetry #SharonLovejoy & #NationalPoetryMonth

readings:  lyrical words, memories, in “A Lap Full of Monarchs” Sharon Lovejoy – A BOOK OF TOADS; THE WILD BRAID, Stanley Kunitz ;  teachings of Betty Komarek, Birdsong Nature Center, where I resided one summer, care-taking. 

this blog is a proud part of poetry friday

Back in March I yanked an invasive thorned vine off ou

big black mailbox only to discover my mistake –

I also wrenched a thorn-tangled

sweet jasmine vine that sheltered an underleaf jewel,

nature-glued.

 

 

 What to do? Leave a treasure somewhere

out there? Under grandmother oak? Nestled among

ferns?

Because I’ve met Sharon Lovejoy and Betty Komarek,

because I’m a reader of Sharon Lovejoy and Stanley Kunitz

I knew, I knew.

With worried hands, I carried jewel on vine fragment

to screened front porch. 

 

 

 

Aqua box

transparent nursery

paper mache wiggle

hang out to dry

probe cut-fruit sustenance

walk through open door

        “Watch”c.2020JGAnnino

all photographs copyright 2020 JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved

 

 

 

But!

Usually-welcome little brown lizard

creeps up (off-camera) thru foliage outside

yon door. Spotted not by me,

but by my eagle-eyed husband,

attorney advocate for kids,

who misses little about a predator.

Butterfly hadn’t graduated from walking to

more than a bunny hop, yet.

I stopped taking video & stills, tip-toed past

ground-floor butterfly &

placed barriers between it & the liz.

 

 

After about 6 ticking minutes, monarch did fly

out & up & away, on Easter Sunday, 2020.  As Betty Komarek would say, “Blessed Be.”

 

p

#ShelterInPoetry – Home front: Covid-19 times

Home front:  Covid-19 times.
Collected by Heidi Mordhorst #PoetryFriday for today’s #ShelterinPoetry
IMG_3534
When I collect the plastic bag at the end of the drive, wearing a
plastic bag on my hand, and after I shake the daily news out of
said bag, I head straight for the important stuff. The funnies.
Sadly, few see funnies every day, these days. Have some here:

copyright 2020 Shakespeare on the Sound

copyright 2020 Shakespeare on the Sound http://www.shakespeareonthesound.org T.Y. to Michelle H. Barnes, for alerting me to this at your fb. page, shared by Stephen Burdman.)

::::
Do you find joy from other artists such as poets, singer-songwriters.
I’m going now, back outside. Not way out in the world, but where I treasure
our luxury –  small, green, and growing yard. I follow shade in day. Find bright
Venus in the west at night. Soon it will be too Florida-hot to work outside.
0-1
Wings
Jan Godown Annino
Circus colors
clown faces
overeaters anonymous
you mesmerize me
a tent trick in my yard
leaf disappears into
chubby caterpillar
overnight, oval jewel
shelters crawly bug
morphing
to
paper flapper
a prayer that
no windshield
meets
your orange wings
as we hope
no Covid-19
wall crushes our
wings
C.2020JanGodownAnnino,allrightsreserved
IMG_3631 2.jpeg
O for more bright spots for all, especially children, in contrast to angst.
My prayers and heartfelt wishes are for all who suffer,
no matter how hugely or minisculey in our world’s
Coronavirus 19 epidemic.
I think of the elderly, the disabled, the already-physically frail.
#ThankHospitalHeroes
I applaud the Upstanders.
Teachers, caregivers, medical teams, #ThankHospitalHeroes, law enforcement,
emergency staff, essential service workers such as those who
haul off bins of excess we’ve wastefully created, appreciations
for food providers, and all their families –
whatever part of the network all helpers work in.
I think of life and death precipices for poor children,
some of whom are still being sexually trafficked during these
times. Crime hasn’t halted. It’s one of the issues industrious law
students with the FSU Public Interest Law Center work on daily.
And my hubby leads some of these brilliant students via
Zoom sessions in the LR. All the more reason for me to tip-toe outside.

It’s important to catch a smile when you can.

0

local buck-eye, gift plant of a dear neighbor

When you have a moment, what are your go-to smiles?

Good luck, wishes for healthy days and nights.

To sooth your Poetry Friday questions, it’s off to No Water River for you!

SPRING AFTER SPRING by Stephanie Roth Sisson on #Rachel Carson

See Poetry Friday here!

Yesterday was March 17, 2020. As a Bailey on one side of my family, I like at least a wee nod to the holiday. And so my wonderful husband surprised me with a splendid Ireland-set film for the traditional St. Patrick’s Day’s post-Irish stew, kick-back.

We watched a treat of Irish wild fields, wild woods, streams and even, the Ethiopian desert, through the adventures of garden upsetter Mary Reynolds, of Ireland.  DARE TO BE WILD  made me think of world- traveling artist and writer Stephanie Roth Sisson.

Stephanie’s book about a United States woman who treasured the wild places, who worked for pesticide-reduced appreciation of Mother Earth’s natural bounty, is titled SPRING AFTER SPRING. If you like organic veggies and fruit, a blooming meadow, hidden lake, a mountain forest glen or a wide wild salt shore, Rachel Carson is the U.S. woman you need to know more about. She was a solid, steady, yet revolutionary scientist who many may not know endured vilification for her spot-on testimony before the U.S. Congress, saying that the facts indicated that in most instances, we need to hold off on a drenching of damaging chemicals when it comes to growing crops and sharing the land.

Stephanie’s charming picture book biography of Rachel Carson invites children to explore in delightful detail the rural girlhood that became catalyst for little Rachel to grow into a keen recorder of bugs, birds, bees and trees. And, a young observer of smoke and soot spewed by Pennsylvania factories. The drawings and artwork are precious and frame-worthy.

SPRING AFTER SPRING 

How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement,

written and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson, Roaring Brook Press

Q  You write, “I have long loved Rachel Carson’s writing, especially,
her books about the wonders of nature where she writes so poetically
about science.” How did that long connection to Rachel Carson inform
your proposal to write about her?
Stephanie:
I keep files with potential candidates for possible biographies. There were a few things that came together at that time to make it clear that Rachel Carson should be the subject for my next book. But, although I had read her more poetic books which completely transport the reader to this universe of interconnected lives in the natural world,  I had not yet read Silent Spring. 
 
My husband and I had just moved to Mauritius from our uber environmentally conscious bubble on the coast of California. The house we first rented in Mauritius was at the edge of a sugarcane field. So we could see everything that went on in that field from the house. I had never seen so much pesticide use and it shocked and worried me. Even inside the house there were these little thimble sized cups of gecko poison (which we immediately removed) to kill the very geckos that if you left them alone, would eat the bugs that were also being “treated” for.  We saw pest control making regular rounds in our little neighborhood. So at that point Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring became immediately relevant to my life.
 
Then there was my dear friend, Sharon Lovejoy. She was a cheerleader for choosing Rachel Carson for my next book. Her books, well, you should get them and read them, they are a genuine and heartfelt connection to nature.  And of course the politics around the E.P.A. starting in the first months of 2017 and continuing on now were also an influence.
How does an author already familiar with a subject discover
new details? And bring a fresh perspective to the story?
Stephanie:
What I try to do in the picture book biographies that I write is to not only tell the story of a person’s life, but also to explain about a field that they contributed to. For example, Star Stuff, Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos is also an astronomy lesson, and Spring After Spring, How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement is a lesson in ecology. 
There is so much information that it isn’t hard to get lost in it. There are so many things to convey, but I try to remember the child who will be “meeting’ this person for the first time and who probably knows nothing about Rachel Carson, the time she grew up in, the things that influenced her and what was important to her and why what she did was important. Also, I put in things that I think that another child could relate to, like Rachel had a dog named “Candy” who was her constant companion growing up. When she was older she always had at least one cat, and so I showed her always with her pets at home- always with that relationship to her fellow creatures.  Then there was the shell that her mother had that you see throughout the book which represents Rachel’s connection to the ocean and that you can see throughout the book.
this and all images, copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
What are your processes, tips, organization plan, in
winnowing an extraordinary amount of information on record about
someone who travels from being an unknown child of farm origins,
to testifying before tough inquisitors in Washington, D.C.,
changing U.S. history?
                  copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
Stephanie:
I love researching, as I mentioned before. I do so much that my editor has to say, “stop!” And then I sit there with my piles and look for threads that I can pull through a narrative both in words and images that I can use to illustrate a concept. 
Then I try to get a theme down to one sentence, which is SO hard to do because as I research I find so many interesting things out and want to share them all. Every page in the book should harken back to that one theme, sometimes there are sub themes in the images or hinted at elsewhere.  
 
I like showing my subjects as children and what they were like. There is a clear thread going from Rachel’s childhood and the experiences she had as she grew up, becoming aware of threats to the environment and seeing their consequences.
 
Another parallel to now is that she had to contend with a lot of disinformation and personal attacks to discredit her. So, her coming forward to testify was an amazing act of bravery. The science she had behind her as she spoke and her thorough and clear presentation, including in her book Silent Spring, appearance on the CBS Reports television show and her testimony showed people that she was credible and should be listened to. 
What sorts of materials relating to Rachel Carson did you find in research?
Stephanie:
A constraint I had was not being able to visit the places she grew up in or was associated with because I was living in Mauritius at the time. So I had to rely of print media, film and the internet. Our U.S. home base was still California at the time, so when I could fly home I would fill my suitcases with books I found about Rachel.
Particular materials that I felt gave the most insight into Rachel were her own speeches she delivered that gave a few sentences here and there describing her childhood. There is also a collection of letters between Rachel Carson and her very close friend, Dorothy Freeman where I think you can get a really good sense of what she might have been like. And also another great resource was The Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson, edited by Linda Lear. 
I read everything I could find on Rachel Carson and then I researched topics related to Rachel Carson. I kept thinking about the title Silent Spring and the iconic first chapter where Rachel paints this picture for us, with a landscape without birdsong. I used the idea of having a lot of creature voices in the beginning and then showing less as we go on could help kids get what was going on. I had also stumbled on an interview with Bernie Krauss, who wrote The Great Animal Orchestra. The book talks about how the sounds in nature represent the health of an ecosystem and that each living thing has its place in the “orchestra.”  You’ll notice that in Spring After Spring that in the first few pages hours are passing and that first we hear birds in the dawn chorus, then insects after their bodies warm up and they are able to produce sound, etc. Then in the next few pages it’s the seasons and then years. I used the idea of the health of an ecosystem being represented by sounds to not just talk about birds, but also the entire web of life as it relates to the over-use of pesticides.
copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson
                    copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson, all rights reserved
. Do you mind sharing how your mother, who you dedicate the book to,
helped create your love of nature?
Stephanie:
My mom is amazing. She had always had this connection with children and the kid in her that I benefited from immensely. She always had a garden growing, flowers all around the house …But it was this one moment that I remembered that made this her book. I was living on an organic farm and environmental education center called “Ocean Song” in Occindental, California when I was maybe 19 or 20. I had packed up all of my possessions and left to live in this place and my parents and sister had come out to visit me (aka check up on me and make sure I hadn’t joined a cult or something). We were all walking through his beautiful forest with towering redwoods, lush mosses and ferns, when my mom launches into this, “I’m very botanical” speech. All of this while she is petting the mosses and is clearly “in” the moment of being swept away with all of this aliveness around her. I love that memory. 
Q . With thanks for your time and these incredible great stories today, Stephanie, any extra, random or other surprise thoughts?
On a side note, there was a subtlety that I wanted to mention in this biography. When you look out into the world at what people have written about Silent Spring and DDT many articles vilify Rachel Carson saying that she contributed to deaths from malaria because of her cautions about pesticide use. These articles mischaracterize her stance. I wanted to make clear that she never said to not use pesticides ever, she was concerned with the inappropriate use and the overuse of pesticides and herbicides. If you want to see something shocking you can find videos online of people almost bathing in DDT. It was everywhere on everything because no one thought there were any dangers associated with it. 
Also, a lot of people don’t notice this, but the front endpapers are little vignettes of Rachel and her mother, but the back endpapers are of Rachel and her adopted son, Roger, her nephew. So while she was doing all of this writing she was also a single mom. 
                 copyright Stephanie Roth Sisson
I thank Stephanie for writing and illustrating Silent Spring and for her generous
interview including sharing these enjoyable book-process images
from her home studio.
SPRING AFTER SPRING is a multi-textured book, with extra pleasure for
little readers in voicing animal sounds and yet, equally appealing to older
nature-loving students, who will dwell with nuggets of the fascinating end notes.
Adults who are besotted with the best picture book bios will savor it, too.
Here is what KIRKUS said about Stephanie’s achievement.
Each time I read this book I am struck by how Stephanie folded a
gargantuan amount of information, conclusions and nuances, into a
smooth-flowing entertaining story. I’m especially delighted with how the book
is sprinkled with animal soundclouds, or word bubbles, which children will love
enacting out-loud, as they page through the story.
Here is my found poem, from SPRING AFTER SPRING by Stephanie Roth Sisson.
With Rachel’s chorus
Cheerily! Cheerily
fee-bee!
coo-coo!
Turalee! Turalee!
whichity!
grunt!
Jaree! Jerilay!
click!
squeak!
inspired by Spring After Spring
Besides both of us living in the Sunshine State, a connection I have with Stephanie
is our deep respect and affection for prolific national nature educator Sharon Lovejoy,
whose beautiful books of artwork and stories of bees in hollyhocks and birds on
fence posts evoke Beatrix Potter.  In a SPRING AFTER SPRING afternote, Stephanie
especially thanks her good friend, Sharon, who brought me to Stephanie’s title.
Visit Stephanie Roth Sisson at Stephanitely!
To satisfy your Poetry Friday curiosity, it’s off to No Water River, for you!
Bookseedstudio is c. Jan Godown Annino, all rights reserved

 

Poems. Three ways.

Poetry Friday’s party is with poet Linda at TEACHER DANCE

 

♥♥♥♥

Hello and please know I’m giddy to share three recent magics.

ONE

The newest volume from anthologist Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ series, TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY, shares the first and so far, only, Abcedarian poem form I have ever completed, titled, “Jaunty.” An Abcedarian is a poem with lines featuring a first letter in each line that follows the natural order of the English alphabet. If you like puzzles, this is it!

Also nested in TLD pages please find works from a forest of Poetry Friday bloom-givers, including children’s poets Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, and Matt Forrest Esenwine, as well as new picture book author Randi Soneshine.   

Each poem in TLD represents the mastering of a writing challenge issued by venerable poetry purveyors, including Carole Boston Weatherford, Naomi Shihab Nye and J. Patrick Lewis and the incomparable Jane Yolen.  If you aren’t already playing the Today’s Little Ditty monthly game, with challenges such as Golden Shovel and Ode poems, follow along at editor Barnes’ site. 

 TWO

Let’s debate, for a second, if seeing your poem on clear sparkling glass constitutes publishing? Our town is in the midst of celebrating the newest Council on Culture and Art’s fun thing, Poem on Panes. Thank you for putting local poets poems on windowpanes, dear COCA.

My poem is “House of Rhymes.” Thanks! sponsor, Adams Street Advocates:

#COCA #POEMSONPANES #VISITTALLAHASSEE

“House of Rhymes”

by J.G. Annino

In a jewel-box mansion not covered in vines

Dwelled Louella K., creator of rhymes

 

She rhymed her squat ice box, she rhymed her tall lamp

She rhymed the piano, she rhymed her fern plant

 

She rhymed down the sidewalk, she rhymed into church

She still rhymes today, in her other world perch

©JanGodownAnnino2019

Yes, it’s true. In our town in the late 1920s to the 1960s, lived a most unusual person. Among unique characteristics she is remembered for, she wrote little ditties about the appliances and furnishings of her very decorated home. She tied her verses to each honored piece, with little silken ribbons. Today the house is a downtown community museum, which I have highlighted in a couple of my Florida travel guides.

THREE

I am more-often absent in contests or challenges, too wrapped up in two books-still-in-progress.  But, Hi ho!, Hi ho!  nearly at the top of the brick poster wall, find my answer to the new Buffy Silverman challenge. I added two photos to my poem, titled “Ice-giving tree,” over at the same, prolific, Michelle Barnes’ February padlet, here.  

“””””””””””””””

To order go here: TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY

cover art c. Miranda Barnes, 2019

Bookseedstudio is part of Poetry Friday go-go juice, a super spot, if your reading or writing would like a boost.

happy birthday, Rosa Parks

this post is part of the Poetry Friday collection*

Dr. Carla D. Hayden photograph by JG Annino at FAMU, Tallahassee

introducing a new book, ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words

I salute the Library of Congress staff and its director Dr. Carla D. Hayden, for unending reasons, including our national library’s collection of historical civil rights materials. This Bookseedstudio focus is on Rosa Parks, whose Feb. 4, 1913 birthday, as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement is remembered publicly in many areas, from the nation’s Capitol  south to Alabama and westward to California.

It’s also marked at home with awe by those of us who curl up with a riveting new read, generously leavened with photos I recognize immediately, from this exemplar’s historic timeline. Rosa on the bus. Rosa with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And, Rosa on Dec. 1, 1955.

That day she paid her public bus fare, but wasn’t allowed to sit in an empty bus seat of her choosing, in Alabama. She was judged guilty, fined $10 and given 14 days hard city labor.

Source: aclualabama.org

 

Guilty, of being black where blacks, by local law, were denied access to tax-supported facilities.

A Landmark New Book

Because the Library of Congress received, archived and has made available, a massive collection of this incredible history-maker’s notes, kept by hand on single sheets and notebooks, and also her letters, essays, arrest details, bus boycott assignments, and other documents, a valuable, new Rosa Parks exhibit and book, beckons. It is Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words.

As noted by the book’s author Susan Reyburn, Rosa’s flowing cursive, which sprang from her expressive mind, bears witness in pencil and pen, across the backs of envelopes, paper pharmacy bags, small pocket calendars, assorted stationary, lined notebooks and other papers.

This pathfinder recorded events going back to age six, when she milked cows and picked cotton, created her first quilt, and stayed up all night fully clothed, ready to escape if needed, as white men, who often worked as law officers during the day, felt free to ravage black neighborhoods, burning buildings and flogging or killing black people found outside at night.

“Grandfather stayed up to wait for them to come to our house… 

We could not undress or go to bed at night. 

The doors and windows were boarded and nailed tight from inside.”

                                                                           Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

I trace my fingers over her handwriting and marvel at how fortunate this nation is to be the beneficiary of her bravery, her ideas and her positive civil disobedience actions. Can we have her calm proud gaze on one of our currencies?

Reading along in her moment-by-moment notes, I shout obscenities at her near-rapist, the night when teenage Rosa Louise McCauley babysits for a white couple.  A six-foot, 200-pound white bully, known to the white family, uses a con to get onto the back porch. He threatens Rosa for hours, as he guzzles liquor he has brought inside the house. He suggests sex for money. Read the heart-wrenching seesaw of keep away around a large upholstered chair. She won’t attempt escape, because of her duty to the white child asleep upstairs. The return of the couple ends the attack.

“I was not for sale. The U.S. Mint wouldn’t buy me, if he could offer it.”

             Rosa Louise McCauley Parks

 

From physically dangerous moments, to everyday insults, the story in Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words,  is as inspiring as any world civil rights leader’s memoir. Reading this led me to a poem:

Check Out The Book 
JG Annino
Oh, sure, gal. 
We got that book you want.
Yeah, I say for sure, right here.
Right here.
WHAT?
No. Now you know you can’t check it out, Rosa!
This is THE downtown li’bary.
You know your kind gotta check out over at your kind’s branch.
You don’t ever, why you can’t never, ever, all your life,
check out books here.
Next?
I say, STAND ASIDE, girl!
Why dear Miss Katrina, so good to see you.
And just how may it be my pleasure, to help?
c. 2020 JG Annino

 

Beyond Checking-out Books

Unarmed, without a bodyguard, Rosa Parks slipped into rural backwater communities of her state, as the top sexual assault investigator for the NAACP. She also collected other eye-witness experiences, such as of the school superintendent who refused to allow black children on a public schoolbus. And consider that all this is before she tests the limits of segregation of the tax-supported bus system.

On Dec. 14, 2019 in Tallahassee, I was fortunate to have placed in my hands by The Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the freshly released book, ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words. 

Dr. Hayden delivered powerful words at the Florida A & M University commencement. And I also am grateful to my longtime friend and mentor, Librarian-educator Lenita Joe, retired, who was a kind bridge to my attendance at a post-graduation, local friends’ conversation with Dr. Hayden, who was born in Our Town. I expect to report on that in a later post.

Some 90 years after young Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was denied a book at her main library branch, her hand-written words, notes, documents, photographs, detailing little-known aspects of her personal civil rights history, dwell in the new nonfiction book ROSA PARKS, In Her Own Words, a book on paper, on-line and in glorious exhibit, showcased in an exhibit created by this nation’s most important public library open to all – THE. LIBRARY. OF. CONGRESS.

C. The Library of Congress

Find the book in many locations, including here.

Several pages of the Library of Congress exhibit are designed for families and schools.

If you write or podcast about this book or visit the exhibit in person or online, leave a link. I expect to further share the book and my poem at Tallahassee’s My Favorite Books’ open mic. night.
Jan Godown Annino/ February 2020
AND some past related articles

Bookseedstudio has several times visited the Library of Congress with joy, including here and here.

And again, happy happy birthday, dear Rosa Louise McCauley Parks! We love you. We thank you.

C. all rights reserved, The Library of Congress

  • here is more detail on the Poetry Friday collection that occurs in Kidlitosphere – you may want to join in.

one little word

Happy 2020 & all that jazz.


Bookseedstudio is present as often as possible for #PoetryFriday& #SpiritualThursday,

For Poetry Friday’s line up, please visit #KidlitosphereCentral,  for the 2020 calendar.


Vegetable papers

I crack open an unsalted, roasted peanut case to gently pull red-amber skin from each little nut.  And I peel large garlic clusters, which look like little trolls. First, pick at the troll-top head, to begin a thin-striped, white-paper, wide outer curl. With a paring knife, pull at the plastic-looking inner paper, releasing what for me (& not most others!) is a joyful aroma. Finally, I turn to these less frequently, but I relish separating Vidalia onions from their sunrise-colored skins.

THE paper

The news on paper I collect at the end of our drive is a morning ritual. Walking outside, stretching up to the dark sky, bending down for the precious free-press, unfettered critic and reporting cylinder of my life’s training and profession, walking back through the screened porch, are as essential to my morning as much as are stretches, song (“rise up this morning, smile at the rising sun“) & delicious warm Egyptian licorice tea.

With her weekly local newspaper column, Rev. Candace, who I have met only once, reaches me with calm advice. On Dec. 28 she reminded me that 2020 is the street # for my ocular MD’s office. Whether by clever developer manipulation or serendipity, this sprawling newer building sits at its ideal street number. How many of us desire the clarity of 20/20 vision?

“Vision and clarity is the prayer of many for our nation, for our state, for our community, for our families, and for ourselves,” Rev. Candace wrote, wishing every reader a year of clear vision, of clarity, in 2020.

This sent me back to the paper pages of two of my December 2019 reads, Mint Snowball and also, Voices in the Air, new to me, each created by Naomi Shihab Nye. Her words prompt a cascade of “ah, ha” &  “O, My” feelings.

Her verses wrinkle my face with crinkled eyes and a deep grin at her wry humor, or her lines release my sudden intake of breath at her pairings of words about about the poignant, the painful. Reading her poem collections make me appreciate the next youngster on the park bench dribbling mustard down his front. Closing a volume from Naomi Shihab Nye  helps me rise, to clear out the unnecessary, the forced, the unwanted. To invite in the invigorating moment that is as near as crackling garlic paper and feathery onion skin.

from “Time’s Low Note” by Naomi Shihab Nye in VOICES IN THE AIR

A peony has been trying/ to get through to you

 

One more reference – I love to find the plenty that my friend Lisa Desimini, illustrated. in NSN’s FAMOUS.

As if Rev. C & Poet NSH & Lisa Desimini aren’t handy wands enough, to shabazz! my one little word into existence as 2020 guide, when I flitted online for mentions of Voices in the Air, I found this “ah, ha” – Live your Poem/ Irene Latham

Plenty is my 2020 one little word. There is plenty plenty plenty in this world. Plenty moments with a peanut skin. Plenty joy on a park bench. Plenty helpers, especially massing among the vibrant young. Plenty connections. Plenty. This idea of plenty armors my spirit against plenty of worries that I won’t let consume me, which would render me frazzled.

During the holidays my husband & luxuriated in three hours – 3! – viewing real-time visions, sea potato clumps of delight, which exist through efforts such as #SaveOurSprings, #SaveTheManatees, in my beloved fracking-endangered, oil-drilling threatened, Florida. Plenty. 2020. They fit.

Young one & Mother, #BlueSpringsStatePark#SaveTheManatee

c. 2019allrightsreservedJGAnnino

#BlueSpringsStatePark#SaveTheManatees

For more moments with this week’s Spiritual Thursday contributors, please visit my friend Margaret Simon. For same, with Poetry Friday contributors, please visit Poetry Friday friend, Carol Wilcox. You’ll be glad you did.

c. 2019 JanGodownAnnino/JGAnnino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick A Pumpkin: meet children’s picture book poet Patricia Toht

[Poetry Friday is collected by Carol who savors summer this week. Go, see at her “Linky” page.]

. . . .

Let us write a holiday story, in rhyme. Topic: the much-anticipated October trip to ye olde P.P.

pumpkin/bumpkin/lumpkin        patch/catch/thatch     pick/kick/lick

Er, this isn’t rolling so trippingly off the tongue. Lucky you, Bookseedstudio readers. I asked poet, picture book author & pumpkin patch queen Patricia Toht to join us for Poetry Friday:

“Pick a pumpkin

from the patch

tall and lean

or short and fat”

c. Patricia Toht c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

“Vivid orange

ghostly white

or speckled green

might be just right.”

c. Patricia Toht, all right reserved.

c. Patricia Toht
c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

Her prancing pumpkin verses romp in a new picture book stuffed with the fall fun of finding a unique vegetable FRUIT. And the sly illustrations (from artist Jarvis, in a second holiday party with Patty after PICK A PINE TREE, both from Walker Books ) are drool-worthy. So, I just had to grill this author:

Q/Bookseedstudio – Will you tell of Halloween costumes you’ve enjoyed wearing – at any age? With your & your hubby’s background did you ever create costumes? What were they like?

PATRICIA TOHT My folks never allowed store-bought costumes, so ours were either sewn by mom or pulled together from the dress-up bin. When I was in middle school, my best friends and I dressed up as three blind mice and a black cat. Random, but we loved it!

My husband has made some amazing costumes for our kids. One year, our son Will went as a garbage can. Straps held the can at shoulder height, “garbage” scraps were hot glued around the edges, and my son wore a pizza box on his head. If he stopped and scrunched down, no one knew it was a costume and not an actual garbage can!

Q/Our family knocks on the Toht Family door at Halloween. What’s in the candy bowl? Is the carved pumpkin scary or goofy or ….? Decorations at the front step?

PATRICIA TOHT Our Halloween candy always includes the family favorites – Nestle Crunch bars, Mounds bars, Malted Milk Balls, and Twizzlers. The pumpkins are usually goofy ones because…well, we’re a pretty goofy family!

We have this amazing motion-detector skull and bones above our front door. When trick-or-treaters approach, it makes a spooky sound and the bones lift to either side so we can hand out candy through the middle. I love it! I hope it never breaks!

Q Other than yours, which I think will become a modern classic of pumpkin festivities, can you mention a title or two that your family enjoyed at Halloween when the kids were young?

PATRICIA TOHT Aw, thanks for saying that, Jan! A few of our family favorites include THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd, BORIS AND BELLA by Carolyn Crimi and Gris Grimly, and ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler. Great books for reading aloud!

Bookseedstudio says: Wonderful selections! Among my favorite Halloween titles I now have yours.  I have often shared these beloveds: Lisa Desimini’s TRICK OR TREAT! SMELL MY FEET, Kathi Appelt’s & Melissa Stewart’s BAT JAMBOREE & a surprise animal for Halloween pages in TRICK-OR TREAT OLD ARMADILLO, from Larry Dane Brimner with art by Dominic Catalano.

Thank you for this lively peek inside your family Halloween traditions, Patty. That garbage can get-up sounds super!

Below, I send everyone away with my best pumpkin pudding (chocolate-pumpkin pudding. . . 🙂 from hot, humid Florida, in lieu of pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies & pumpkin pie. But first . . .

More on author Patricia Toht

How did Patty get into children’s books? Invoices, orders, returns. She created, owned and operated her very own kid lit bookstore. This Never Never Land, in the Chicago region, brought a full calendar of back-to-school, holiday, summer vacation & other story times. Not to mention boxed crates of children’s non-fiction, chapter books, classics, novels, poetry collections, picture storybooks and yes – rhyming picture books.

At one playful point – Jumpin’ Jacks!- Patty added to her sales floor, shiny, fluffy, bouncy, moving products from a closing toy store. After keeping her Never Never Land venture hopping for s e v e n years, change came. The intrusion of big box competitors prompted a shuttering of the Land.  Sniff, sniff.

But, no worries. The play side of the store brought a toy designer into her life, Mr. Toht, the Toht Family’s four wonderful children followed along with a decade of fun living near a real British palace in the UK, while Patty’s husband created and produced in kids’ TV, before returning to the USA. Patty’s hubby has designed such darlings as Lamaze baby toys and kid give-aways for fast-food emporiums. Guess whose kids posed as testers?

Beyond this, I know from Patty’s guidance and support to me with my works, via our mutual online space, Group Blog, this author is like us within Poetry Friday; she is a reading, writing & editing pal who cares deeply about creating the best books for children. And she creates just that.

Here is what Kirkus says about PICK A PUMPKIN, brand-new this season:

“The nearly flawless rhythm of the text is a pleasure to read and will likely become a favorite…Enchanting.”

Author Patricia Toht   

JARVIS, artist 

PICK A PUMPKIN at Alphabet Soup!

Group Blog

What is Poetry Friday?   

I am a recipe renegade, so add ingredients into blender in amounts you think are good. Taste after the big swirl. Adjust flavors. CHILL!

 

…enroute to chocolate-pumpkin pudding bliss . . .

 

( I am posting early due to some important family events at Poetry Friday time. I appreciate your comments & may be delayed a bit in adding them.)

Update:  7 Oct 2019  Groovy photo – Patty’s PICK A PUMPKIN featured on the Halloween table at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cleveland. I was occupied with kidney surgery routine check ups & first-time thyroid tests last week- dear friends, all is well!! My joy was amplified when after that squee! news, ambling around the Cleveland Clinic campus, I was wowed by surprise – a stand-up book party with my talented pal prominent. (See who in the book world keeps Patricia Toht company?  🙂

Blue skies over Bulgaria

all images & words copyrighted, all rights reserved ©JanGodownAnnino 

[Poetry Friday is collected at dear Laura’s WRITING THE WORLD FOR CHILDREN. Go, visit!} 

Not as depicted in fairy tales 

JGAnnino

I step down along

narrow paved lane

truly a steep slope,

foothill of the Teteven Balkans

 

 a beauty blue, summer blue,

postcard blue sky is my roof

it deserves a salute, but eyes rivet

down at the footing 

less I twist ankle, break bone

5,600 miles away from home

 

and so moving shadow over the land

alerts me

 I stop, arch neck up

behold!

 air-floated leviathan

of grace and strength

 

lone

feathered giant

creature soaring in a million

child stories

 thrill of a glorious day, I whisper

-keep winging on your elegant way-

 

wild wild wild stork

flies free without baby bundle

©JanGodownAnnino

c.2019PetarTodorov, Ribarista, Bulgaria

The slope-day memories are part of our short summer family adventure, not a birding trip, so the surprise made the thrill more intense. I thank my fabulous son-in-law for this memory of a magnificent bird in flight I couldn’t tear my eyes from until as glided out of site in the Balkan mountains.

It is sweet to realize that less than one month ago, we returned home from afar. We traveled  5,600 miles away, journeying in three outstanding areas of Eastern Europe’s Bulgaria. Among stepping stones of Neolithic, Byzantine, Ottoman, Thracian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman people. (I may have missed a culture or two, in there…) Our biological clocks adjusted to the 10 hours of flight differences by refueling. Always-fresh, always-local veggies, bowls of pure Bulgarian yogurt, often homemade, considered by many to be the original yogurt of the world, fresh air, exciting archeological and ancient sites and most of all, wonderful people to meet, brought lovingly to our family by marriage. Here are a few images. I could spellbind you with a day-long travelogue!

A few snaps from Beautiful Bulgaria

Something of Plovdiv, named the EU’s Cultural Capitol of 2019 – ruins of stadium entrance, open air-three-story theater, Jewish temple menorah under reconstruction. The Cyrillic alphabet is a compelling cipher to me. My first-ever Arabic mosque minaret in an Arab region.

c.2019 Plovdiv at night, stadium entrance tunnel

 

 

c.2019 Plovdiv three-story open-air theater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Plovdiv ancient Jewish menorah floor tile under reconstruction

c.2019 Reading cryllic.

c.2019 Plovdiv Mosque minaret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something of Sophia – We felt as if we stepped into a scene from The Nutcracker Suite. Often the alphabet is translated. We sought out houses of worship and were pleased to be allowed past security, to experience the lovely Sophia Jewish Temple. We always looked for the national flower – roses – here, outside the 700 AD Christian Orthodox Church.  The underground village of Serdica is yielding its stories, while museum treasures include truly-golden pages of a 4th-5th century book and    young hairstyle I love, from a lass of ancient times. We never tired of the lovely red-tile roof views, this from our balcony at Sophia Place Hotel – glad to recommend it!  Fresh foods, including fresh-squeezed on-the-spot orange juice are the norm.

c.2019 Sophia “Nutcracker Suite”

 

c.2019 Learn “staff only” in Cryllic.

 

c.2019 Sophia Jewish Temple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Young roses, old church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Underground Serdica.

 

c.2019 Sophia. Gold pages,
4-5th Century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Sweet Pigtails!

 

c.2019 Sophia. Mosaic of red-tile roofs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Sophia. Fresh O.J. available frequently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something of Rila – Ancient roadway, a monastery with architecture that is a work of art and a feeling as if I am walking into The Name of the Rose (Umberto Ecco) a favorite novel – all at the Rila Monastery at Rila Mountain.

c.2019 Rila. Ancient roadway.

c.2019 Rila. A stunning UNESCO World Heritage monastery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c.2019 Rila. Step into my chamber…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few fun scenes of family time. With more than 1,000 images between all of us, new family included, this is but a taste…

c.2019 A circle of bread, the newly marrieds, who gets the bigger piece?

c.2019 An entire afternoon of sweet & folkloric circle dances!

c.2019 Ribarista Folk Dancers with our lovely young couple.

 

 

 

All images and words ©JanGodownAnnino, 2019, all rights reserved. 

 

Nudge

Nudge

Nudge poem by Tingyu Liu, c. 2017. photograph c.2019 JanGodownAnnino all rights reserved

The poem above, titled “a moment, ” is by Tingyu Liu. It  begins

 

“a moment

 this morning I caught

your breath beneath my ribs

and relearned how to breathe…”

 

Here is a link to the rest of the sidewalk poem, several poems along the list.

I snapped the image on a fast walk in the Boston area back in May;  poem makers are encouraged to send in their works in some communities! Yours? How about that for a nudge? Your poem on a sidewalk!

I have to ask.

Would your poem be concrete?

If your village or city offers a similar program, I’d like to know. It sounds like a form of poem-publishing (is etching on a sidewalk, publishing?) that would be wonderful to experience. I would advocate it especially for young poets.

 

I’m published!

Next time here at Bookseedstudio, I expect to have original poetry to share again. Today I do my offer original words in prose, as published under my byline in Florida’s Capitol city newspaper.

My hubby & I observe a ritual of retrieving the paper

from the end of our drive every morning.

Do you? What is it named? (The paper – but if you name your drive, say so, too!)

One in our state (Florida) was once called the Playground Daily News. 

Ours is the Tallahassee Democrat.  We love this newspaper for many reasons.

 

A big glimmer about the paper for us is that bringing it in,

to read with morning tea or coffee,

sends me schlepping outside in the morning dark to

commune with the setting moon and even to visit planets and stars.  Are you outside at those hours,

collecting a newspaper, too?

Before my book-writing days, I met deadlines at this newspaper. And it remains dear dear dear, to me.

 

Sept, 7, 2019 Tallahassee Democrat “Window on an empire” Jan Godown Annino

Sept. 7, 2019 Tallahassee Democrat Ottoman exhibit article

Goodness & Light to  Poetry Friday & Spiritual Thursday writers & readers.

 

 

 

Hurricane Dorian 2019

Hurry, it’s coming

JG Annino

 

At the grocery just

up the canopy road 

I backed away from

cart-jam

 

came home to prune

yard of potential missiles

knowing back at the store, families

wiped out beverage shelves

 

snatched up bubble waters,

the bottled fruit teas,

but at home, I brewed our London-tin tea bags

squeezed into that tangerines, from last week’s fruit bag

 

took my drink out to visit with

cherry red umbrellas

sprouted from my queen of late summer blooms

she faithfully delays her show

 

sweltering oceans

towering thunderheads

trip Hurricane Lilly’s

pop-up alarm

 

re-tinting

Dorian

gray

days

c.2019JanGodownAnnino

“Dorian Hurricane Lilly” c.2019JanGodownAnnino

Category 4 torrents bring beach-combing days, potential bright spots in fraught hurricane aftertimes. This is from Carl Sandburg’s “Sand Scribblings” collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins’ sweet THE SEA IS CALLING ME, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, c.1986.

from “Sand Scribblings”/ Carl Sandburg

Boxes on the beach are empty.

Shake ’em and the nails loosen.

They have been somewhere.

c.Carl Sandburg

from The Sea is Calling me, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, c. 1986.

Carl Sandburg in “THE SEA IS CALLING ME, collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kessell, 1986.

update of Aug. 23, 2019 “About Lee Bennett Hopkins” tribute, SIDE BY SIDE will be mailed out with pleasure to Linda M. & Amy LV.

 

 

 

 

August 2019

image c.1986 Walter Gaffney-Kessell, The Sea is Calling Me

On an August Day 

by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Ocean waves rush in

just in time

to give the shore-brids’

hot burning legs

a cool, cool bath.

c. 1986 Lee Bennett Hopkins

from THE SEA IS CALLING ME

poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins with illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessel

Bookseedstudio mentioned this book previously, here. And so my heart found these lines, thinking of our dear LBH:

On an August Day

It was time to 

sing

the last

line

c. 2019JanGodownAnnino

 

About Lee Bennett Hopkins

23 August 2019 #DearOneLBH

“I don’t know why you say good-bye I say hello” *

from RAGGED SHADOWS c. 1983 Lee Bennett Hopkins c. 1983 Giles Laroche

You will find no better thoughts about literary lion

LEE BENNETT HOPKINS than from my dear colleagues who include:

 POEM FARM – Amy

1 NO WATER RIVER – Renee

2 NO WATER RIVER – Renee    

 LIFE ON THE DECKLE EDGE – Robyn

TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY – Michelle

LIVE YOUR POEM – Irene

POETRY FOR CHILDREN – Sylvia

As I take in these tributes, I visit again with Lee & also, Charles Egita, Lee’s beloved partner of so many decades & spouse since 2014. So today in saying good-bye to Lee, I also say hello.

(*c. Paul McCartney, all rights reserved.)

Thank you for hosting this celebration of his life, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater – a Dear One beloved by Lee, her long-time mentor. All, please return if you have time, to read comments & find more links.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES, a Book of Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Renee Flower & dedicated
“for Rebecca Davis who supplies me with enthusiasm.”
published 1996, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

I have indulged sorrow by re-reading every of the 15 books of Lee’s, that I gathered here at home from shelves & desks & bedside & placed on a soft green chair.  The clutch is only a mere patch of the 120 or so books #DearOneLBH is credited with, including his three novels.

 

 

I run my fingers  over his autographs. I play with the light-bright poems he selected. I sigh with the poignant ones in his poem autobiography of difficult New Jersey days, which leaves me inspired with his child pledge -to grow up to be a writer. 

I don’t need a tissue during my putting this together, until I open up a book I have gifted multiple times (some to teachers, with his autograph.) It is SIDE BY SIDE, Poems to Read Together, illustrated by children’s illustrator literary lion Hilary Knight. As is often my habit, I begin at the back. And I find what I had forgot. A barefoot boy of about seven or eight who can only represent Lee, as illustrated by Knight, greets me. Lee sits beneath a bare limbed tree. A brown bird peers down at him and a dragonfly  perches on his pencil which is clamped by his teeth.

This gives me the giggles.  “Hi, little Lee,” I say. Above his image, Lee says:

“Among my fondest

memories are the times my

grandmother recited, from

memory, some wonderful

poems her mother had read

to her. Many of these same

verses are here in Side by

Side. It shows that good

poetry lasts forever! Thanks

grandma.”

 

Lee shares a Truth; He will last for us forever through his poems & anthologies & if you know him, through experiences  I feel you will want to find this volume, if you don’t have it so you can pretend, as I did, that Lee is reading with you, side by side. I have an extra to give; will select in random, from comments. 

When I came late to Charles Egita’s kind social media news of his loss of his beloved, Lee’s passing on 8 August, (I learned 18 August) I was glad my husband was handy that Sunday because in my shock came waterworks. He held me a long time until I was ready to not be held. Preparing for today, in paging back-to-front through SIDE BY SIDE (the way I often read poem books) when I came forward to page 21, my lip trembled; another cry.  Paolo was at work. I dried my tears and began notes for this post. Never before had I read Jane Yolen’s poem from this page in this new light of loss Her page is anchored by Knight’s Grandpa bear  (to me, the big bear is Lee) in a rocking chair. Here is is from page 21, SIDE BY SIDE:

“Grandpa Bear’s Lullaby

by Jane Yolen

 

The night is long

But fur is deep.

You will be warm

in winter sleep.

 

The food is gone

But dreams are sweet

And they will be

Your winter meat.

 

The cave is dark

But dreams are bright

And they will serve

As Winter light.

 

Sleep my little cubs, sleep.

c.Jane Yolen,all right reserved

 

If you know of Lee & Jane, you know that they were decades-long dear colleagues & close close friends. Only the genius who is Jane could have been unknowingly prescient in her poem selected by Lee.

Lee Bennett Hopkins, Orlando, SCBWI, 2015

c.1988HilaryKnight
SIDE BY SIDE
detail, page 80
allrightsreserved

What is on Little Lee’s notebook?

It reads “Munching Peaches  S c r a n t o n Pa ’48”

{c. 1988 Lee Bennett Hopkins & c. 1988 Hilary Knight SIDE BY SIDE.]

Please remember to visit Amy’s POEM FARM for her gathering of a wide array of published book industry & personal tributes to #DearOneLBH. This attention will make its mark if more poetry anthologies are read, more youngest writers are encouraged to set down their poem words. Finally, I am appreciative of Linda Bernfield & her SCBWI Orlando 2015 crew, for creating the event where Lee & I are laughing (above.) And here at Bookseedstudio, I’ve mentioned #DearOneLBH over the years, such as here & also, this. 

Summer shorts

SUMMER SHORTS

Today’s Poetry Friday hoopla is parked at A WORD EDGEWISE, the creation of Poetry Friday public school teaching librarian-poet, Linda Mitchell.

~~~~

Logbook*/ Recently I learned from artist/author John Hendrix to create a logbook.

Heart map/ In winter I learned from artist/author Georgia Heard to create heart maps.

Novel/ Recently I sent to an esteemed big city book editor, my first verse novel, completing a promise I made in 2015 to a man now my dear friend, to memorialize his year-long Holocaust escape as a 6-year-old Jewish boy,  often hiding in plain view from Nazi soldiers. It is 44 poems on 50 pages, for Middle Grade. From this work:

“funny black hat Un nouveau beret!/ messy charcoal stick Entre un artiste!/ really really really stomp on grapes? Oui! Fouler les raisins!” c.JanGodownAnnino

Poem swap/ Recently I created a poem “The Glory Season” inspired by reading Thomas Lux (thanks to writing partner M.R. Street/TurtleCovePress) to send out as part of author/poet/educator Tabatha Yeatt’s  organized joy called Summer Poetry Swap. My first time on this picnic!

Young Authors  In recent weeks (enough with the recently already!) I was honored to be an invited teaching author at a local school’s Young Authors Conference. It is guided by debut author of DHALIA in BLOOM Susan Koehler, who is on the right.

Debut author Susan Koehler (far right.) Yellow pants on the left is me.

Appreciations for your time reading here, your comments & for the everlasting joy, nourishment & love that is Poetry Friday.     Happy Summer!

c. 2019JanGodownAnnino

Global Read Aloud & Padma Venkatraman

Introducing Global Read Aloud,

& a Q/A for Padma Venkatraman,

author of THE BRIDGE HOME

 

Here’s my fresh poem today inspired by the Global Read Aloud, which unfurls after summer recess.

 

“My street” by Jan Godown Annino

 

Quaked earth in Sicily shakes me –

family rides by vulcan shadow

drought hitting honey bees honey farmers in Bulgaria

exhorbitant price rises in Argentina

echoes of WW II children of Amsterdam

echoes of Trail of Tears children in America

child drowned in cruise waters on frantic float to freedom

child shot on panicked walk to freedom crossing lion safari lands

 

potent stories reach my small suburban foot-path

crossing distance

opening eyes heart embrace

to create One Street

© 2019JanGodownAnnino

. . . .

I appreciated so very recently learning about a big book event – Global Read Aloud.Padma Venkatraman, author of a lovely & potent new MG novel, THE BRIDGE HOME, set in coastal Chennai, India, enlightened me about this interactive book celebration.

Lyrical Picture Books, lively Early Readers, lovely MG &YA are selected for focused reading & reader interactionwith the creators & other young readersduring the GRA celebration of world stories.

 

All books selected invite participants to understand & welcome learning about lifestyles, regions, cultures, ideas & teachings that may be lesser-known. According to Kara Yorio in School Library Journal, students have reached out to each other via social media, traditional mail, Skype & other ways to discuss selected global books.

GRA 2019 has selected Padma’s THE BRIDGE HOME.

In her tale, inspired by incidents from real life, four children of coastal Chennai, India, find themselves cast out upon the streets. How will they survive? What will that look like, day and night? Can they become a family? Can a street child living with a disability be as resilient as those without that challenge? Who among the many adults encountered, can be truly trusted? How do children handle the sorrows that inevitably shadow street people living near, but also so far,from the beautiful beaches along the giant Bay of Bengal?

THE BRIDGE HOME is deservedly moving here there everywhere in reading groups, at teacher conferences & home study programs. I haven’t had a chance to look at all Mock Newbery 2020 blogs but I am happy to see this dream list.

Classrooms from South Africa  to North Carolina are talking about connecting across community streets to discuss THE BRIDGE HOME after summer recess. You can join the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GRAMiddleSchool/

But some won’t be waiting for September 30th – official start of Global Read Aloud – to meet Padma’s four young characters, thanks to the far reach of TV.  And  last month in The New York Times, Marjorie Ingall had this good word to say.  So much YAY! for a book I love.

Q/A with Padma Venkatraman, author of THE BRIDGE HOME

Q

Your story is so excellent in offering an MG visit into extreme poverty, while authentically sharing the characters’ lightness & love. How many years has this beauty has been in the making? Please share a peek into the revision process on this one, after contract.

PADMA This book was about 5 years in the making, maybe even 6 or 7!  It was easier than the others to revise in some ways (except that I was used to writing  YA so it started off a lot larger and I had to trim a lot while retaining the essence and especially the emotional punch.)

Climbing the Stairs began as diary entries, but that seemed too narrow; so I widened it to rewrite the whole thing in third person but that felt too impersonal; then I rewrote it all in first person and I knew I had the voice right.

Island’s End originally had 2 voices but then I realized I didn’t need multiple points of view and it was just Uido’s story.

A Time To Dance started as verse and stayed verse in the end but in between I was frightened and tried prose which sounded horrible for that novel, so then I trusted my instincts and went back to verse.

With THE BRIDGE HOME, I just knew the voice was right, right from the start. 

It’s a really unusual voice – 2nd person – direct address, so it has the feel of one long letter that Viji the protagonist is writing to her sister, but I wanted the reader to feel both like Viji was speaking to her sister but also, in some way, like there was the intimacy of the protagonist speaking to the reader directly. 

Q

I find poems from writers with India heritage in young peoples’ anthologies, notably those selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. Would you please share a a poetry collection for YA or MG by an Indian author, or authors, available in English?

PADMA I absolutely love Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry. Much of his work has been translated into English – YA readers would be easily able to read those translations.  I believe W. B. Yates’s translation of his Gitanjali won the Nobel Prize.  

[ Bookseedstudio: RT created the India national anthem & is known for literary & educational innovations & for winning the Nobel Prize.]

Q

Your back story reads like a novel, Padma. After child days in India with your accomplished single mother, who has a wonderful shout-out in your author’s note, which makes me fall for her, you worked as an oceanographer following university years in  the UK.

This ocean-going leadership position took you far out to sea, on fascinating waters of the world. Which is one reason why we are fortunate to have ISLAND’S END, set in the Andaman Islands.

Please share any moments when the ocean’s creatures or phenomena left you amazed, or perhaps when the ocean’s fury astounded you. This is a question, I guess, about theimpact of those years dwelling close to Nature for weeks, months, on end. And also please share your your view of how our fragile giant blue/green marble fares today.

PADMA Ever since I was a child, I have been attracted to nature.  I could always lose myself in a place of natural beauty and I think that feeling of losing one’s ego entirely is something that also happens when I write, which is  why I like both being in nature and writing.

As for moments that left me amazed, I remember dolphins following our small craft in the Andamans once, and how they threw rainbows into the air every time they leaped. 

It astounds me, though, that we refuse to look after Earth.  We only have this one planet and it is shocking to see how poorly we’ve treated it.  It’s so depressing to me to see that we Americans act as though Global Warming  is a question of belief. It’s not. It’s a scientific fact.

If I ask you do you believe in God, that’s a fair question. But to even ask if anyone believes in Global Warming is not okay because it is not a matter of choosing whether you want to believe in it or not – it’s a matter of opening our eyes to the fact that if we don’t change the way we live, we soon won’t have anywhere to live.  

Q

THE BRIDGE HOME leaves me tremulous for the four children – one older sister & her younger sister, and also, two boys who are friends by circumstance. I began to worry about them incessantly.

At other moments the unlikely informal family- by- accident makes me laugh. I still think about them.How did you deal with your heights of joy for them  & also your sadness at their poignant, tragic moments?

PADMA I love them too, so thank you. I remember hearing Lois Lowry say once that the worlds she created were real and I feel like the characters I create are real, too.  I do get very involved in my writing and I must admit my sadness at the way we treat children even today does affect my family.

Plus it was incredibly tough to return to the place in my childhood and adolescence when I witnessed violence and I had to do that, to write. I wish I could say it was cathartic but it is wasn’t because we still have so many real Rukkus, Vijis, Muthus and Aruls today in this world who are suffering from hunger and homelessness.

 I am not sure I really know how I deal with it – it’s just a fact I live with and think about and try to do something about through my writing and outside of my writing; but some days of course, other aspects of my now-comfortable life take over and I don’t think or do as much as I should.

Q

Your author’s notes are fascinating, especially about your mother. What are some of the things she tells you about your writing. And especially about, BRIDGE, as it must seem so personally potent to her, considering her volunteer work when you were young.

PADMA My mother ardently supports and admires my writing. She has, ever since I was a child. It was to her that I first dictated my poems – and she says I was really picky about line breaks, even when I was just 3 years old!

Apparently, I’d say – a poem came to me, I have a poem in my head, write it down for me – and that was because at that age I couldn’t write myself. She recorded in her journal that she was shocked I had the concept of a line or such an extensive vocabulary.  

 Q

This is a tiny prompt I will share with writers in my home June 19. It is modified from one given by poet Helen Frost at the poetry blog of editor/poet Michelle Barnes.

Please complete.

Select an object relating to your story idea or your character. But, an object that isn’t usually symbolic. Can’t be the surface of a small pond/mirror/window, nor a banner/flag or flower etc.. It could be a sock, a patio chair or chewing gum, to offer examples.

1/ What is the object    

Padma: Newspaper

2/ Ask this object a question   

Padma: How do you feel when people throw you away so easily

3/ What does the objects answer   

Padma:  I don’t like it. I wish they’d all recycle me. 

Q

We met when you spoke at a Highlights Foundation Novel-in-Verse workshop.

PADMA Highlights is an incredible place – at least a place that is special to me. The beautiful setting and just being surrounded by nature would itself be enough but here one is not distracted by mundane everyday needs and you’re served amazing and wholesome food, everyone is welcoming and I think (hope) the faculty really and truly supports the students. I rejoice when I hear that so many writers who were once students when I was faculty – like Traci Sorrell, Charles Waters, and many many others – are doing so incredibly well. I have heard some people say Highlights is expensive but I really don’t think that is true at all. It is an all inclusive package so it is an incredible price I think. But I am biased in favor of this wonderful program!  

 

Highlights Foundation Workshop – Padma Venkatraman, Jan Godown Annino

Q

Anything else you’d care to add about where we might connect with you.

PADMA I would love to have any and every school that wishes, to participate in the Global Read Aloud, for which THE BRIDGE HOME is the middle grade selection.

I am so honored and humbled this is the case and I cannot wait to connect to students and teachers and librarians and readers around the world.

I also am so honored that the book is a ProjectLIT selection as I think that is an effort I so greatly admire, too.

Can’t think of anything else at the moment, Jan! Off to catch my flight to Trinidad – so excited to be chief guest at their Beach Pen festival again! A great week ahead with many school visits library events and even an event at a women’s prison, which I am sure will be so incredibly important and meaningful to me.  

Bookseedstudio: Appreciations, Padma for this deep sharing.

. . . .

More connections

Padma Venkataraman’s website, including, when underway, Padma’s updates on  connecting with GRA students & other events:

Teach the Bridge Home (GRA#19 GRABridge #ProjectLIT)

https://padmavenkatraman.com

Scholastic calls the Global Read Aloud originator a cool teacher:

Global Read Aloud website:

https://theglobalreadaloud.com/blog/

Padma Venkatraman is a special guest at this 2019 Highlights Foundation workshop.

 

Here at Bookseedstudio I also wrote about Padma’s novel, ISLAND’S END.

I love this wonderful piece on PV, at groovy Nerdy Book Club:

Thank you for reading this far!  The comment box is below. Many appreciations to today’s Poetry Friday host the multi-talented artist & poem-maker Michelle Kogan.

. . . .

 

Naomi Shihab Nye

I have a circle story.

It begins with author/artist

Lisa Desimini who exquisitely illustrated

my children’s book about Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.

I try to buy every book Lisa

is part of creating,

even when a spooky topic that may inspire

nightmares

is between her jewel covers.

http://charlaineharris.com/lisa-desimini-prints-sale/

When Lisa’s book

FAMOUS came along in 2015

I bought it immediately & loved how she

interpreted Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem.

FAMOUS Naomi Shihab Nye/Lisa Desimini

(Scroll to the 5th book at this site…)

https://readingpartners.org/blog/inspire-children-national-poetry-month/

Find Lisa/Naomi’s book distributed from Independent Publishers Group

https://www.ipgbook.com/famous-products-9781609404499.php?page_id=32&pid=WNP

Some of you know

that “Famous”

is one of Naomi’s most beloved pieces.

 

I think of “Famous” as Beatitudes for the Poet.

 

Last year I settled into my seat

at a singing workshop here in little

Tallahassee

organized by my

friend Velma Frye, a musician, poet and singer.

Imagine my surprise when

Velma’s friend, the event’s

guest musician songwriter artist Becky Reardon

just in from the west coast

sang

Lisa’s book FAMOUS/

Naomi Shihab Nye’s famous poem “Famous.”

I nearly levitated

at this surprise as I didn’t

know Becky had set it to music.

I tell you my eyes leaked.

Naomi’s “Famous” poem has

bloomed into an

evocative writing

prompt for creators all ages

celebrating the beauty

of everyday needed

things and actions.

 

Here are three of my responses to the poem, “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

I want to be famous like…”/ NSN

 

an ant is famous to the ant hill

 

a bib is famous to the young parent feeding a young one

 

the pine cone is famous to the crackling fire

 

If you love “Famous” or want to know more about it, you may want to get yourself a copy of

the CD where Becky Reardon sings it, INSIDE THE OUTSIDE.

On You Tube I found it at #41  searching Becky Reardon’s Top Tunes.

I also pulled to a moody ‘Famous” rendition in film,

from Poetry Foundation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFuH4o2yxXw

 

And you may want to visit with Naomi Shihab Nye mentoring

us at Poets.org:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64WACNcLH3g

 

Many many appreciations to Mary Lee Hahn/ A Year of Reading

for gathering us together to celebrate Naomi Shihab Nye,

this country’s new

U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate. Lots of workshops & travel ahead for Naomi!

So wonderful for all ages of students of the World.

(because of a confluence of kerfluffles, my post is launched a bit ahead of our community party…)

#

 

A little green

We are part of POETRY FRIDAY so if you are hunting the host, travel to the bayou with Margaret hosting Reflections on the Teche.

 

But also welcome to Bookseedstudio’s bloom time plant time.

Here we are inching toward being torreya guardians, nurturing a rare babe of an ancient species of North Florida that is so special it has its own website. We felt lucky to cart a fringed creature off in our haul from Birdsong’s Olde Timey Plant Sale.

We also planted a tough-leaf kumquat, gift of my dear father-in-law, who dug it up for transplant. And he is a hardy species himself, at age 95+ (we won’t exactly say….) Among groundlings we planted from seed, color pop zinnia and yellow-flower cucumbers push the dirt down in the ground around and lift their eyes to the sky. The established blueberries, Meyer lemons, aloe, jasmine, gardenias, penta, and likely some chlorophyllic creatures I’ve forgotten to mention, each of them tickle our fancy.

 

A little green in the scheme

On a postage-stamp plot or even in a clay pot

a little green

in the scheme of things

planted

nurtured

means more green growing 

in this world of

plastic and concrete

 

means green growing things

set up shop within eyesight

tiny oxygen factories

serve a light lunch to

munchers

who can’t ever expect to prospect for

a meal

with a cents-off coupon

in concrete glass plastic

grocery

stores

©2019allrightsreservedJanGodownAnnino

Mother’s Day love with knowledge that everyone came from Mother, everyone knows a dear Mother, everyone can mother our precious Planet….

 


©2019allrightsreservedJanGodownAnnino

Progressive Poem 2019 Day 25

POETRY FRIDAY’s annual Progressive Poem is here at Bookseedstudio this very

Thursday, of April, Day Twenty-Tive. (With great thanks to the Live Your Poem! godmother.)

If you are new to the game, progressive in the title means that each day by day, progressively, one poet after another, adds a line. It’s like one of those neighborhood feasts where appetizers are at the Apple Family, walk over to salads from the Spinach folks, the Main course is with the Macaroni Family (we wish!), Fruit is on offer by the fun Fig couple & a Sweet is served by the Sherbet Sisters.

Today’s new line is

You’re simply the best

. . . .After holding myself back from reading any of the lovely lines leading up to today’s Day 25 until this morn, I discover that we are working with found lines! And not just any sources. I expect a festival of great blog reading between now & this Sunday to learn how each creative person grabbed their  line … from lyrics! Does

You’re simply the best

 

fit? With great joy for so much musicality – this line dance is ready for your groove:

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!
Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today.

Gonna get me a piece o’ the sky.
I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
and there’s a tiger in my veins Oh,
won’t you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?

It’s not easy to know
less than one minute old
we’re closer now than light years to go
To the land where the honey runs

…we can be anyone we want to be…
There’s no stopping curiosity.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
Looking for a sign of life

You’re simply the best

. . . .

(which is how I feel about all you line-leaders & line-a-day readers!)

AND SO like a springtime jigsaw puzzle that awaits just a few pieces, I hand this baton to

April 26 Linda @Write Time

April 27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

April 28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

April 29 Irene, the Closer @Live Your Poem

Here are line sources, taken from Wednesday’s fun blog by Tabatha, with thanks:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/ Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carol King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea ” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M, “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by The Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson), “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, “Learning to Fly”

L25 Tina Turner, “The Best”

BUT BEFORE you leave me today, I prepared a few things. Or come back later?

Last weekend when I realized that my Family’s Easter Weekend joy overlapped with many of my dear Friend’s Passover commemorations, I pulled out two favorite books for young readers about Anne Frank, always remembering that she was not passed over.

A History for Today, Anne Frank from the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

The Life of Anne Frank by Menno Metesellar and Rudd Van Der Rol

Of the many inspirations that the young author left for the World , here is just one

“I can shake off

everything

as I write

my sorrows disappear

my courage is reborn.” 

-Anne Frank

I am also reading

Birmingham, 1963  by Carole Boston Weatherford, actually a re-read for me, of this poignant poem in book form.

Thurgood Marshall, American Revolutionary, the bio by Juan Williams, which has insights about emotions & ideas in the justice’s child days, including passionate political dinner table discussions led by Willie Marshall, Father, who fed his family, in those times, working as a sleeping-car train porter.

Acts of Light, poems from Emily Dickinson, illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert

I just finished (& so did my husband, double pleasure when we read a book one just after the other) The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. This novel of India is a game-changer. In it we dwell in the world of extreme privation of children, beginning with abuse by a violent father and continuing to life on mean streets- but we can’t help feeling how events unfold in an underlying, uplifting way. I cried a little & I think sensitive middle and high school students will have a tear, too. Followed by vigorous good discussion guided by their teaching librarian or classroom teacher. The four child characters in this page-turner of a story show us their creativity, humanity & humor. Yes!

I fell in love with each of the two girls and two boys who created this experience, which the author bases on extensive knowledge – her own, told in a fascinating author’s note which made me fall in love with Padma’s Mother. As someone who has been transported by all Padma’s novels, I know her trademark practice, in bringing on board informed beta readers, is instructive & to be followed. This is a book for all and of special interest to the disability community and of special interest in the domestic violence community.

(For those with an interest in the indigenous community you will be enriched with this author’s Adamans Island novel, Island’s End.)

Brava! to Padma, my teacher from Highlights Foundation days, with Alma Fullerton & Kathryn Erskine. Padma has agreed to visit Bookseedstudio. Stay tuned.

ALSO in the tap tap tap of writing news –  a word about poem projects. The young readers project continues along well on a WWII history topic theme very close to my heart. And when I rest that story in verse for an afternoon or a day, I look into the paused verse novel from pre-Civil War days, about an impoverished, white, abolition family. Plus, in this surge of spring, maybe one day a week, I work on other poems on a theme – 54 of them, so far. (none of this poem-ness could occur without having found a nurturing, poetry community, especially Poetry Friday nor without the Highlights Foundation verse novel workshop. The newest poem project flows from my fascination with a unique peninsula that is lapped by both the Atlantic Ocean & the Gulf of Mexico.

And so this little ditty buzzed in, after a recent walk at our non-beachy & clean-water coast…

 with appreciations to Emily Dickinson

Thistle whistle

Bumble bee!

caught you on your shopping spree

 

you flounce along salty store I roam

whilst thistles tower in marsh loam

 

seems like just yesterday

you were last year’s memory

 

pink-purpled spring spikes signal

that social insect whistle – hear!

 

buzz buzz coming in for a landing

glad to snap you, m’Dear

Yours, Shutterbug

-c.2019allrihtsreserved, JanGodownAnnino,

 

c.2019allrightsreserved SpringBee
JanGodownAnnino

LASTLY This may not be the only place you’ve admired a lively National Poetry Month Post Card, but I am tickled to share this, courtesy of artist Robert Mensan and his poet fan,  Irene Latham, who has all the month’s line leaders listed at her site.

c.2019allrightsreserved “Live Your Poem” by Irene Lantham