Flora & Ulysses

 

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Gladiola. Caramel. Spiral.

Of the words and terms that evoke a relaxed feeling

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

For example, the names of my husband and daughter,

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

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

But one of my charmed words may be yours:

                            P   O   E  T  R  Y

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

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

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

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

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

quotes with good effect:

 

“You, sent out beyond your recall,

go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like flame

and make big shadows I can move in.”

 

This is from Ranier Maria Rilke.

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

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

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

KATE!, a view from across The Pond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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March music

March is a month with a perfect (English-language) name. And it carries a perfect theme- Women’s History Month. Either way, March dwells in the world of movin’ on,  heading out.

PLUS, for a good cause you can bid on She Sang Promise, my picture book about Betty Mae Jumper, at the link below.

TWO BOOKS

I think of two important books for young readers,  one about a real girl who is still a girl,  far across the ocean, and one about the girlhood of a real Canadian woman. Two titles about lives where a person’s struggle to gain the right of individual choice, paid off.

As the first story I share opens, NUJOOD ALI  is living a restricted life in Yemen, the land of the Queen of Sheba, as her book relates. This helps set  the exotic scene of men who wear curved daggers in public, while girls and women are expected to remain heavily veiled and to follow all wishes that their father desires. Nujood’s father arranges her marriage. She is beaten and held a prisoner by her husband and in-laws. She is raped by her husband, who has promised not to have intercourse until at least her first period. She is a child, after all. Her  true story is told in matter-of-fact and page-turning fashion, with the help of international journalist Delphine Minoui, in I AM NUJOOD, AGE 10 AND DIVORCED.

For the experience of MARGARET POKIAK-FENTON, travel far north of the United States into the realm of Arctic Canada. Margaret’s childhood shimmers with the love of her family and her community. She is a skillful Inuit child, able to direct her own dog sled across the vast Northwest Territory ice. And like Nujood, she is ten. Her parents make a mistake. They yield to Margaret’s insistence that she be allowed to go with the exotic nuns, who pluck Inuit children from remote villages to educate them far away in harsh boarding schools for native children. Margaret will be gone an entire school year. The humiliations and emotional abuse she experiences, both from the staff and other students, along with her  strong spirit that carries her through, are a journey similar to Nujood’s. Her book is FATTY LEGS. It is illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes. And it is expertly told by Christy Jordan-Fenton.

Each of these titles is a noted Amelia Bloomer book, listed by Feminist Task Force of the

Social Responsibilities Round Table , of the American Library Association.

FOUR RESOURCES of DEPTH

KIDLIT Celebrates Women’s History Month. This link connects to a lively post-a-day blog, hosted by two librarians. It only occurs in March. It’s a treasure to bookmark, to pass along & to return to online. I learned about it last year when it debuted. So happy to welcome the KIDLIT team back.

National Women’s History Museum

National Women’s History Project This is the link where my book is part of a fund-raising auction.

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Our only Amelia Jenks Bloomer

We are anticipating the February Read-In, created by the Black Caucus of the NCTE , but before that introspective time at the library is upon us, it’s time to announce two important events of January. First, Literacy with a capital L was feted  well for a week in official ways here in Florida.

Bears of the kind that can be compelled to look at books enlivened Celebrate Literacy Week. They attended school where I volunteer. At the appointed hour we experienced the fun of  DEAR – Drop Everything and Read . My Book Bear puppet snuggled in his always-attached purple sleeping bag, to read CATWINGS from Urusula K. LeGuin.  I settled in a plastic chair to begin Tracy Barret’s channeling of teen angst in Classical (minotaur) times, THE KING OF ITHAKA. Celebrate Literacy Week  ended for me with a surprise visit from  The Cat In The Hat & a governor of the way past & Mrs. Governor at Children’s Day at the Mueum of Florida History.  As one little girl said, whilst occupied in making an alligator book mark at my table for Children’s Day:  “I am a STAR reader! ” She is. They all were. Are. Please let us enjoy more weeks like this.

Also in January I’ve been delighted to compose linking information about 10 particular books for our reading pleasure. The links are a work in progress, so check back.

Each title is newly deemed by the Social Responsibilities Round Table’s Feminist Task Force, of the American Library Association, to be worthy of association with the hallowed name of that wonderful editor, writer, public speaker & wife beloved by her husband, Dexter Bloomer, the one and only feminist Amelia Jenks Bloomer  (1818-1894) Dexter so adored Amelia that after her death, he collected her writings in a book.  He was a journalist who urged Amelia, a teacher and caregiver to children, to publish in the first place.  Her good name is lent to an annual list of 60 or so books, dynamic stories, both fiction and non, published each year, for readers from babies through age 18, that are written and illustrated in a way that is thought to “spur the imagination while confronting traditional female stereotypes.” AJB is, of course, remembered for the Turkish pantaloons that another feminist brought back from world travels. Amelia aquired some, wore them rather than 10 pounds of petticoats & stiff corsets, etc. & wrote about them in her newspaper, The Lily. One fine biography where some of this AJB material is from, is given us by Nebraska author Mary Lickteig, to whom I say a rousing, Thank You.

For 2011 (published in 2010) the Top 10 titles of the Amelia Bloomer Project List, announced Jan. 11, 2011  at the ALA’s Midwinter Meeting are:

CLICK: When We Knew We Were Feminists by Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan

FEARLESS FEMALE JOURNALISTS by Joy Crysdale

FEARLESS: The True Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith by Barbara Rosenstock & illustrated by Scott Dawson

I AM NUJOOD, by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoul

PEMBA SHERPA by Olga Cossi with illustrations from Gary Bernard

SHE SANG PROMISE: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader by Jan Godown Annino with illustrations from Lisa Desimini & afterword from Moses Jumper, Jr.

SOAR, ELINOR! by Tami Lewis  Brown with illustrations from Francois Roca

THE COWGIRL WAY: Hat’s off to America’s Women of the West by Holly George-Warren

THE FIREFLY LETTERS: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle.

WOMEN AVIATORS: From Amelia Earhart to Sally Ride, Making History in Space by Bernard Marck

http://www.amazon.com/Women-Aviators-Amelia-Earhart-History/product-reviews/208030108X/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

 

 

(2 notes: I am publishing this now before February arrives & I expect to have more links up soon. The month got away from me with an unexpected out of town trip & …. life, sweet life.   Thank you to Jennifer L. Holm for writing the wonderful  Our Only May Amelia, from whence I stole the title idea for this post.)