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.


11 responses to “A Place at the Table”

  1. Hi Jan, Hailstones and Halibut Bones has been a favorite of mine since Peter gave me a copy before we were married. 🙂 Thanks for the review of A Place at the Table. Like others, I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for reviewing A Place at the Table, Jan. I’m so glad you enjoyed it — and grateful to you for sharing that enjoyment here. Halloween is an important scene in the book, the source of Sara and Elizabeth’s first real argument (and how they begin to learn talking through a misunderstanding with a friend.)

    Color poems are wonderful. I love the idea here that black sky and starlight are partners.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much, Dearest Jan, for the peek into this book. Congrats to Laura and Saadia, and I’m grateful to know this work is in the world! Thanks as always for your own ever-thoughtful musings and sharings. I appreciated your opening especially, because it affirms a color-related freelance assignment I’ve been working on. Merci! XO

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I met Saadia at NCTE last year. Laura introduced me. They gave me an advanced copy of their book but I have not had time to read it so it is on TBR list. Unfortunately, I saw the link to the Instagram chat too late but I am listening to the archived transcript. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jan, what a delightful review of Laura’s & Saadia’s new book. I have it and will be reading it soon. I love the lines from the loving color of black. So great. And, I’m sorry to say I don’t know of any daily prompts coming up. I’m up to my ears in designing virtual learning, reading and activity experiences for students. It’s great that I can use my creativity this way. Hugs to you and Florida!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree, Jan, it is a beautiful book. My only regret is that I no longer can share with students, but I have shared with former colleagues. Love all your words today, especially “which in the end, isn’t a wall at all.” We must carry on!


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