What to do with scary thoughts + tote love

(((((Way over here in Kidlitosphere are your Poetry Friday pals.)))))

Do you love totes?

A tote is expressive,
& earns its keep,
a canvas workhorse (on duty, below.)
This one arrived
empty last week when I ordered it
from the great folks at
Every Town who do heavy lifting,
to make our country
safe for kids.
Despite everything gone awry with safety,
and the political trouble spots
of our dear Nation,
I believe there are always more of the
good folks sharing joy than folks
creating the bad.

Totes love books.
Out of shelf space, I stash
incoming books in them.
I won’t try that with a T-shirt, will I?
Books are blessedly arriving often this fall.
Today, unpacking this special tote working as a bookcase,
I tip you off to –


A must-have Halloween pleaser, I
know you will want to order it
to prove how brave
YOU are.
The poems are the creation of my
longtime newsroom pal.
I wrote the intro.
At only $6, I suspect some
of you will want your own
to boo! someone close to you.

A few tantalizing lines . . .

Night’s Walk
by Audrey Parente

Soft steps rustle leaves
in shadows among folds
of night’s dark bed-gown.

Scented air gusts meet
flirtatious clouds, a courtship
of giddy, twirling clowns

But then . . .

c. 1992, 2017 Audrey Parente
all rights reserved


A LINE IN THE SAND Barbara Ann White

All three of these titles
unveil aspects of the layered story of
people stolen from Africa,
brought by inhumane treatment to our shores &
the subsequent horrific
tragedy & occasional blessed heroics
& rare simple decency,
of what happened next to entire families.
Could it have been insanity that led most
religious leaders, North and South, to
go along/get along with the horrors lived by
enslaved children, women, men & free blacks?
Their ostrich ways meant that War was the only
path for this Nation, to end the
selfish barbarism of human-ownership of humans.
A way I co-exist with the
troubling state of our Nation is to double-down
on lapses, gaps & holes in my education such as
these books begin to correct. The other way is to
write & —
that, happy to report, is going apace.

Last time I mentioned filling in the blanks of my
ABCs it was with Faith topic books.
The passalongs to two Bookseedstudio commenters are
WHAT DO OUR NEIGHBORS BELIEVE, flying off to Carmela Martino.
THE FAITH CLUB is for Robyn Hood Black.
I expect to walk up to the post office soon. If they aren’t
received within 2 weeks, please let me know.


What a Wonderful World as Louis Armstrong
sang, is how I feel when celebrations about a culture
not my own arrive.
This week’s visit is via
winner of a Little Brown & Company award.
I have read it in a library but this is the first
that this delight is my very own copy. For some time,
it has cooked up love magic, spreading goodness through kitchens
across the lands.
Jama Kim Rattigan’s Korean-American story may even
give me the push some cold day to create
what patient Marisa does –
make her own O-no (delicious, in Hawaiian)
mandoo (dumplings in Korean.)
I am practicing a few words,
guided by Jama’s glossary.
At a time when we all are more focused on Korea
(positive thoughts wafting that way)
it is heartening to think of the multitude
of beautiful Korean-American families in the USA,
which DUMPLING SOUP reminds me of,
although with a very loved Korean-American family
here in town, I shouldn’t need a reminder.
The colorful illustrations are from Lillian Hsu-Flanders.
If you can find it on the secondary market as I did, consider
yourself lucky. If you can or you can’t, you will still
learn a lot from Jama’s generous online story
about the path to publication.

I am happy to backpack in spirit
with a new young Mom travel guide writer
in Florida,
Terri Mashour.
Terri is a forest Mom, meaning that
she brought her little girl along on miles of
woods trails that the wee one was all giggles, to explore.
This professional forester’s contribution to
Florida travel books is
BACKCOUNTRY TRAILS OF FLORIDA. She is co-founder of Fun4FirstCoastKids.com
Congratulations Terri! Hope to see you on the path.

* * *
And speaking of Florida travel,
a shunpiker guide yours truly
researched and wrote (through three editions)
is Still. In. Print.


I am thrilled to recommend

This tall tale, which grows crazier, deeper &
splashier with the page-turning,
will be flying to a young Annino family I love.
They will chuckle over both the story & also, the illustrations, from
Skottie Young. (Although I snared an
autographed copy of Neil Gaiman’s CRAZY HAIR for our daughter
years back, this one is going out autograph-nekked.)
I did not know that N.G. shared my worries about
Hurricane (Tropical Storm) Irma. His thought about what he does
with worries, are spot-on for writers. His plan
works when scares other than hurricanes flow by, too.
(advice is at very end of his Oct. 6 journal.)

Next tote time, I hope to see you around as I unpack a different book tote. Thank you so much for visiting today.

“>The Everytown Tote


19 responses to “What to do with scary thoughts + tote love”

  1. Wow! Your tote is FULL this week! (Love the term “shunpiker”! I’m one, and never knew my term! Congrats on the long life of your book!)


  2. What a beautiful and rich post, your totes are bursting with exciting adventures Jan! I’m familiar with Jama’s book “Dumpling Soup,” and will have to work on obtaining a copy. Fortunate for me I do have a copy of “Fortunately The Milk,” it’s a favorite of mine. My fingers have already clicked on the link for “ON ANY DARK AND SPOOKY NIGHT,” Sooo I’ll have to make some bookshelf space or maybe tote bag–though I also use baskets. Thanks for all here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Baskets, baskets, baskets, yes, Michelle! They are the nature-inside, non lump-looking containers.
      Once our dear kitten (now a big olde Cat) began getting into my baskets & messing with papers,
      books, whatever,
      I switched to baskets with tops,
      longer or impossible to locate when you want ’em.
      I hope Ginger isn’t reading this, but so far, he doesn’t disturb the totes.

      Thanks for picking ON ANY DARK AND SPOOKY NIGHT by Audrey Parente, for a treat!


  3. I do have Jama’s Dumpling Soup, a wonderful & sweet story, & I’ve read Gaiman’s book, but a while ago. He’s always interesting! I’ve ordered your friend’s book, looks great & I love spooky poems. What a full & interesting post, Jan. Thanks for all your news!


  4. Thanks so much for including DS in your tote picks this week, Jan. You’ve featured an interesting cross section of titles. I’m especially interested in Neil Gaiman’s and Audrey Parente’s books. I agree with Linda — you are a kind, soothing presence in the kidlitosphere. Hope you try the dumpling soup recipe for New Year’s :).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jama!
      Thank you for writing DUMPLING SOUPl And for the hug.
      Happy trails to you this weekend

      p.s. ingredient note – if I attempted dumplings later when North Florida beings to feel like soup weather,
      I would be looking for a source of organic prepared won tons, if a name bubbles your way . . .


  5. Jan, every time I read your words I feel soothed. I love your positive outlook and your gentle approach. It’s truly appreciated. What a bonanza of words and poems! Love it. I especially like the On any Dark and Scary Night….as well as Dumpling Soup. Recipe? I hope so. I”m so glad to read this blog this week. Thank you for all your many kindnesses.

    Liked by 1 person

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