Irma’s Tinkerbelle

Directly across our house. From Hurricane (tropical storm) Irma Sept. 2017

In flights of twos and tens,
hummingbirds darted in light rain to a feeder
I watched in Alabama.
That was one of the beauty spots
calming us
when we evacuated North Florida,
away from high winds
and waterfalls of Irma’s rain.

Maybe because my pictures of them define blurry,
or there were so many
of the whirry, bitty birds,
I made a startling leap of
imagination. J.M. Barrie must have been a
hummingbird watcher
. And I decided that
hummingbirds must have been his inspiration for
Tinkerbelle in PETER PAN.

TINKERBELLE

Our city & county officials called for
a voluntary evacuation.
When a sturdy, outdoorsy,
trusted writer pal informed
me of that alert, we knew it
was right to go with the flow.
Although I had snared the last room reservation
at a chain hotel we like, it was nicer to give that up
to another family & accept
the offer of shelter of another writer pal, whose
spacious house at tree top level,
book-filled from beam to brim,
defines the word retreat.

The hovering Tinkerbells inspired me to
write a poem, Jaunty,
in longhand there (below), which
may fit an intriguing
prompt from Carole Boston Weatherford
at TODAY’S LITTLE DELIGHT/DITTY.

I also found out how one very special canine
works a laptop.
I read borrowed books from our pal,
Joan Broerman, author, writer’s workshop leader
who is a legendary leader in the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators.
In generous Joan fashion, she also gave me a book for the road
(BIG MAGIC, Elizabeth Gilbert.)
My hubby & I so very much appreciate Joan for providing calm
energy & generator advice & much more
in the storm.

Maggie & Me

Back home, in North Florida Irma slowed
to a wide, walloping tropical terror, downgraded
from a hurricane.
Irma veered away east of our North Florida hilly town,
leaving people to cope with downed trees & hours
without power. I hope that many, looking at the
destruction on islands and along rivers/lagoons/canal
communities,
understand how fortunate they are not to have to live
in a Florida flood plain. (This is land that should
be set aside from development, as along the
Hillsborough River near Tampa.)

Here is my Hurricane Irma poem.

Jaunty
by J.G. Annino

A bitty bird creature,
darting,
discovers
empty feeder.
Food gone.
Hovers, hovers, hovers.
Human helper, help instantly!
Jaunty keeps looking.
More nourishment needed!

One person
quickly,
quietly,
responds,
rendering
sustenance
to
ultra-vibrant
winsome wonder.
c.2017JanGAnnino

Jaunty

Thank you all, first responders. Thank you librarians, who are among the many groups organizing for hurricane relief.

Thank you for collecting images of Hurricane Irma’s impact,
Washington Post , including photographs from my
beloved streets of coastal Southwest Florida,
where I no longer work & live, & from coastal Northeast Florida, where
we sometimes play.

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Irma’s irritation

Poetry Friday is flashy over here.

(also, winners of books from my last post at Bookseedstudio haven’t been notified yet.
With work on my verse novel, I am delayed in that project. Appreciations for your patience.)

In the meantime . . .

Hurricane Irma scares every sensible person
with connections to our treasured
Caribbean Islands & Florida.
So I feel it’s fitting that
I share another scare, a fright that I hope
you will want to see because it has been delightfully
distracting to me, to put it together on short notice.

It is my new intro to
a wicked collection of Halloween poems that
were brilliantly created
by my longtime writing pal, Audrey Parente.
First pubbed as a private chapbook in 1992,
this chilly collection returns now in 2017,
in time for Halloween. I’ll report back with
the link about it when ready for prime time.
I’ve previously mentioned this chapbook
at Bookseedstudio. And here
I am reading from it.

Fortunately any poetry person likely owns
a stack of spooky poems or stories
to read, by candlelight or flash,
or FLASHLIGHT NIGHT power,
if the electric juice
fails due to
furies of weather.

c. all rights reserved
Jan reading
ON ANY DARK AND
SPOOKY NIGHT, written by
Audrey Parente.

If you or loved ones or
beloved places are anywhere underneath the path
H. Irma, H. Katia or H. Jose, my best wishes & prayers for
safe hurricane days include you, too. Now, The Intro….

Bleatings to all.
Only the fortunate few
will dare turn pages of
this clever collection.
And why is that?

The Headless Horseman.
Carrie.
Frankenstein.
Nurse Ratched.
Thing.
Perhaps you know
these chilling
characters of literary legend?

As you inch through
these pages, or rather,

when these potent pages
are through with you,
it will become clear that none
of the denizens listed
dare out-Boo! the
inventor of this edition.

In tattered times before this,
when animals talked
and the undead walked,
Audrey Parente,
damsel of dark words,
crushed creeping chinch bugs,
added to those bodies,
jaundiced juice
for her purple purpose
– invisible ink.

Her silently screaming
scrawlings and scribbles
slunk their way to visible
publication
in an ancient age –
nineteen hundred ninety-two.

Fortunately for the
discriminating Halloween howler,
these visions rise again.
Relax, sit back. Allow them
to haunt you, taunt you,
delight you, fright you,
educate you, saturate you.

You are in the hands of a
master mistress of the
verse arts, the singular
Audrey Parente*,
with her terrorizing truths in

ON ANY DARK AND SPOOKY NIGHT.

– J.G. Annino, 2017

* warning!: author assumes no responsibility for resulting strokes, faints, heart attacks, etc.

Finally that scary weather picture book: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. Take cover!

Sanctuary + pass along books

Sanctuary + book pass alongs

I am exiting from my self-created
verse novel writing retreat
to share three book titles for
these times.

These times
meaning, days following
the loss of three lives at Charlottesville
due to a domestic terrorism murder &
affiliated helicopter crash.

LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE
Heather D. Heyer
H. Jay Cullen Berke M.M. Bates
PEACEPEACEPEACEPEACEPEACEPEACEPEACE

c.2017 JanGodownAnnino Tallahassee memorial for Charlottesville – two friends, two lights

As one of my first actions in response to these deaths,
I sought out books that can help me better understand
various faiths & cultures.

I am one of those uninformed persons who has never
taken a world religions class, although as
a Christian, I feel it is my responsibility to know much
more about my Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Baha’i, Jewish
& other-faith, neighbors.

So I am fortunate to be learning from
WHAT DO OUR NEIGHBORS BELIEVE?
by Howard R. Greenstein, Kendra Hotz and John Kaltner.
I will pass this book along to a commenter here.

I also bought THE FAITH CLUB from Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver
and Priscilla Warner. This is also a book for adults, but it grew from
discussion, when the three authors actually
orgaized to write a children’s
picture book. I will
also pass it along to a commenter here.

Please help.
I’m looking for titles of recent (2016-2017 or upcoming)
K-1st grade excellent picture books
that unfold lively, engaging stories with joy,
while managing to represent
various cultures & beliefs.
Appreciations for your recommendations, which
I expect to find & place in the book bag I take to school,
as a longtime volunteer reader.

LITTLES
c.2017 AG Ford illustration
Kelly DiPUcchio text

I found a 2017 bundle of joy, compliments of
the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library,
that is
LITTLES, And How They Grow by Kelly DiPucchio
(Grace for President), with artwork from AG Ford
(What Color is My World.)

From LITTLES:

Littles are washed in warm sudsy baths
with duckies and daddies
that quack and who laugh

I can’t help but feeling, even knowing in my heart,
that if the Ohio young man responsible for
the compassionate Heather’s death,
had grown up in a compassionate
family whose members
regularly read him books
such as LITTLES, he wouldn’t have been on
the wrong section of the participants, that
weekend. Nor would he have written
that high school paper tribute to
the hateful set of beliefs that is Nazism.

My heart goes out to
the victims’ families,
to Charlottesville and
personally to the children’s authors
I know in that lovely area of Virginia,
along to educators and librarians,
as the community
works harder than ever,
to continue on what many know is its
true progressive path.

Deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall Overcome
Some day

I feel fortunate to know Poetry Friday, a Shining Light
& promoter of peace.

And I found this little light to shine
for the whole world
via LITTLES’ author
Kelly DiPucchio & I hope you like this little light 🙂

Also please know these urls:
http://www.wjkbooks.com/Products/0664230652/what-do-our-neighbors-believe.aspx

https://www.thefaithclub.com/ranya-idliby-questions.html

Summer fine

By today all winners of a copy of the dog-gone great  p.b., THE FLEATASTICS, are notified.
A link back to the Q/A with author/illustrator Lisa Desimini, if you are catching up.

Here is a link to Laura Shovan’s Poetry fb page that some of us are reading & contributing to this summer & actually since February & then forward through the year’s end.

And, now  some images of fine times. Wishing you more reading, more writing & more time in the great outdoors this summer. See you here in September!

unnamed-5

c.2017 My handsome Dad Annino & his great-grandson namesake. BRAVO!

IMG_0779 (1)

sloooow down, dears. please. c. 2017

19990047_10211860520380759_7462630826864973280_n

Our world-loving college gal – Joy at the UNISPHERE c. 2017 Anna Annino

Artist-Author LISA DESIMINI & THE FLEATASTICS + book for you!

LISA DESIMINI & THE FLEATASTICS

Today I am thrilled to interview my favorite picture book
artist who is also a dear pal.
Lisa Desimini is a frequent illustrator – interpreter of poems
for children, in beloved titles such as

DOODLE DANDIES, Poems that Take Shape
GOOD MOUSEKEEPING And Other Animal Poems
LOVE LETTERS
TOUCH THE POEM

The poets Lisa appears with, between covers, are
among my many favorites, including –
Naomi Shihab Nye, J. Patrick Lewis, Arnold Adoff.  
 
Lisa is also the author of her own delightful picture books.
They include DOT THE FIREDOG and also a story my
Book Bear puppet & I schlep along to reading time at
school each October, TRICK-OR-TREAT, SMELL MY FEET!

c. Peggy Gifford/ Lisa Desimini

FAMOUS Naomi Shihab Nye/Lisa Desimini


Until recently, Lisa’s newest lovely books are
THE GREAT BIG GREEN, which she illustrated for poet Peggy Gifford, and
FAMOUS, illustrated for poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

This spring Lisa’s newest, THE FLEATASTICS, which she
wrote and illustrated, jumped into the welcoming world.
These reviews scratch the surface:

 “Desimini’s frolicking microscopic world of fleas is a realm within a realm…
Amid the plot about perseverance, (she) sprinkles in the flea family’s running
commentaries.
The engaging, brightly colored scenes filled with comical asides
should be a great story time read for high-energy kids.”
– Booklist
 
“Desimini’s…universe of fleas delights with boundless imagination
and pockets of hilarious flea dialogue, vivaciously depicted.”
– Kirkus Reviews
 
 Let’s give a bouncy Poetry Friday welcome to LISA DESIMINI as she shares about
THE FLEATASTICS.

LISA: Hi Jan, I’m thrilled to be a part of your book blog!
Thanks for having me!

THE FLEATASTICS Artist-Author LISA DESIMINI, c. 2017 Lisa Desimini


Q. 
It’s a joy to be with you, Lisa.
You jumped from one coast to the other. When we visited years ago
in New Orleans, your base was the NYC area. These days the West Coast
is your muse. Is the children’s book vibe different in California and as
author and artist in children’s literature, what resources do you
connect with there?

LISA: SCBWI has a summer conference here and I’ve attended twice.
I saw friends from NY and met some new ones here on the west coast.
I received tons of valuable information and inspiration.
Even though I’ve done many books, I find there is always more to learn.

Q.
I remember your sharing (and I kept it under wraps) about this lively
idea that you couldn’t shake off – a flea circus!  It made me giggle.
And now that I have met tiny main character Sarafleana, I have a seat
on the front row of the tent. What were the high points of your creating
Sarafleana, her family, and her journey?

LISA: It was a long circuitous journey. I tried out several main characters with different motivations.
I had Farley Fillmore–he was too small to be a part of the circus.
I thought about a traveling sporting event with a tiny flea that was never allowed to play.
When I came up with the first line, “Sarafleana was a born jumper.”
I knew I was on the right track.
Another joy was coming up with flea-inspired ideas, names and terms like the grand fleanale.
The classic name Sarafeana was perfect, I just had to add the “l” to transform it to Sarafleana.


Q.
One of the delights of this book is finding the sly puns and terms, especially
on re-reading THE FLEATASTICS for hidden treasures.
Here is the chicken or egg question. Art and image first, or words and story?

LISA: Well, the first thing I came up with was a quick sketch of a Dachshund.
His tail was on page one, then there were 13 spreads of his body,
(just a line through the middle of the page) the final spread was his head.
I thought maybe there could be different scenarios going on behind the dog.
The seasons could change or the weather.

One day I looked at that simple sketch and saw the dog’s body as a stage.
That’s when I came up with the idea of a flea circus performing.
I developed the story before I did any serious sketching.
It took many rounds of sketches before I came up with the look of the fleas.
I wanted them to look cute and silly not scary and mean.

Q.
You aced that!
Switching to another species, I know about the serendipitous arrival of the kitty,
Crash, into your life. (How is Crash these days?) But you LOVE dogs, too.
Right here on the shelf, I’ve pulled out DOT THE FIRE DOG, the sweet visit
with a dedicated dalmation that you wrote and illustrated. What is it
about dogs that makes them ideal characters for picture books?

LISA:I think dogs are loyal, silly and present.
They are our pals.
I’ve only had and been around good-natured dogs that want to be a part of everything.
And they can be so wise.
I am now a kitty lover since we got our, Crash.

Beloved Crash devotedly assists in all aspects of office work.
c. Lisa Desimini


If things go well with THE FLEATASTICS I would love to do a sequel with cats.
Cats have their own silly quirky habits.
I think grooming their entire body, hairballs and catnip might be a part of that story.

Q.
As an upright who has lived with spunky kitty Ginger
for 16 years, that sequel sounds so mewvelous.

For visual artists and for writers who glom onto art-process
details, please share a peek into your studio.
At home or off site?
Corner of a room or an entire four walls?
Natural light or electric?  
Digital-creation or hand-drawn?
And, just how do you corral all the supplies that a dedicated
collage artist such as yourself, wrangles?

LISA: Good question! I counted… my studio is about eighty-eight steps from our house.
It was the garage turned into an apartment by a previous owner.
So it has a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen, but I removed the stove and put two sets of flat files in there. They contain all my collage papers and many paintings from kids books and book jackets.
I have a futon bed for guests or in case I work late.
I have acrylics, oils and my computer.

c. Lisa Desimini

For THE FLEATASTICS, I made paper collages, I sealed them with a clear gel and painted shadows and highlights and added texture.
Then I scanned them into the computer and added backgrounds and other details.
I made the fleas in the computer because they were too tiny.
I keep a folder of scanned papers, objects, fabric, photos and painting textures in my computer so I can do my collages digitally, if I have to.

Q.
Appreciations for a groovy peek into your process and the inspiring studio.

We are not giving away any story spoilers today about performers
in THE FLEATASTICS circus, to savor the surprises in reading it.
But before we leave the famous act, is there any encore information
you’d like to share?

LISA: This book was very different for me, it was challenging but
SO much fun!


I loved working with thought/dream bubbles, the background
flea dialogue, and subplots.
I want to explore that format even more so I’m working on a
graphic novel idea about a magician.

 
Q.
A Lisa Desimini graphic novel – that sounds magical.
Thank you again for this visit about fun but also educational,
THE FLEATASTICS.
(I didn’t know anything about flea hatching!)
Please tell high-jumping Sarafleana, Brava!
And we wish THE FLEATASTICS family many tents of happy
performances ’round the world.
Also a scratch of the heads, to sweet
Sparky and sleepy Snoozer.

LISA:
Thanks, Jan! I loved your Q’s!

Q:
Applause back at you, Lisa!

This is a joyful book that unfolds in
an easy- to- follow surprise story line, yet with many fascinating asides.
I love seeing each little flea’s “look” and how the visitors
to the dog park have personalities, such as the one dog always
thinking of the yellow ball.
Also, I love seeing the woman wonder about a cat park.
Every time I read it, I find discoveries. You will too.

THE FLEATASTICS Show Continues

Now, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, cats and dogs,
fleas and fleamasters,
Lisa’s Desimini’s flea circus offers an encore right here on
Bookseedstudio’s stage with our giveaways, via generous
publisher Boyds Mills Press.
Please comment below and your name will identify you.
If I don’t know you let me say, Hello!
Be sure to share your real name & contact info (website link, email)
if that info can’t be easily found online. If you don’t want to be considered
for the give-away – and we do have multiple copies – you can still comment & say so.
After Monday July 24, more comments are welcome, but they won’t be entered,
so be sure to comment before Tuesday July 25.
Thank you.

Hop over to these links, too.

Mr. Schu Reads
Watch a book trailer for THE FLEATASTICS

I previously reported on THE GREAT BIG GREEN

Home from Canada

I am recently home from Canada & sifting through
provincial magazines & newspapers I picked up along the way.
I am fussing with cameras that don’t want to upload pictures of
deep woods & river otters &
am admiring Emily Carr art cards I brought home.

But today I want to tip you off to Canadian poet Jordan Abel,
whose heritage includes a father from the
First Nation Nisga’a (Tsimshiam),
of the British Columbia mainland.

Jordan Abel is an award-winning literary artist who is likely
to become well known far beyond his land. While we were in
British Columbia he received a $10,000 award for his poetry
& it was delightful to be greeted by positive poetry news
on vacation.

INJUN, his new book, which I haven’t yet read, is a work of
synthesis, & erasure. If you have ever clomped into the mass of
U.S.-produced old Western genre pulps – and some more
recent ones – you owe it to yourself to learn about this book.

If not, you will be interested anyway, if you are keen to feel
the effect all those racists rants have had on one First Nations
child. This child is now a talented poet & is not taking it
any more.

Jordan Abel hangs pulp westerns up by their own stirrups, with
deftness & irony, according to passages I have read
online. I am eager to spend time with his books, including
THE PLACE of SCRAPS. I found out about Jordan Abel from
Marsha Lederman, of The Globe and Mail.
. . . .

I am grateful to my father, Albert Godown, for keeping
accessible important books & articles about Native Americans
in our 1960s living room & for speaking with great respect
of Native peoples, although his only scant connection, and to
a Plains Tribe, was through marriage. So I have long been
attuned to learning from the descendants of those who
arrived on this continent 10,000 or more years ago.

I lost my father when I was in my 20s, but I always come
round, eventually, to happiness, on this
Father’s Day Weekend,
because I could enjoy his steady storytelling that
lasted to the end, his 72nd year.
He drove me from New Jersey into Canada when I was just a kid,
to view my first New Brunswick moose in the wild, & to grow bug-eyed
at the tidal pull of the great Bay of Fundy. On his birthday, in
Canada, I dedicated my recent trip from North Florida to the other
Canadian shore, to him.

Happy Father’s Day.

. . . .

Somewhere on Vancouver Island near Victoria, the province’s capitol city.

Emily Carr

Emily Carr, Canadian genius “Among the Firs”/ Emily Carr House
https://www.emilycarr.com


British Columbia<

If you would like to dip into wonderful POETRY FRIDAY it is collected with a great
post about the new Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress, by the generous Carol’s Corner.

HERE WE GO

Whee! Here We Go!

Just the sort of thing I would sing after –
a holiday weekend traffic jam is unstuck, OR
we set out on a loooong beach walk that doesn’t end until land ends, OR
my verse novel clocks in at halfway home.
I can now say I’ve experienced these three.

So this post celebrates a gift that Bookseedstudio
received aways back, awarded for my correctly
guessing the number of dactyls jammed into in a jelly jar
or somesuch feat over at Today’s Little Ditty,
which is also known by me as
Today’s Little Delight.

My prize is to finally pop the cork on my
pretty copy of the
anthology HERE WE GO, created by poetry mavens
Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

My particular sample of the book is graced with
autographs from poem makers Robyn Hood Black and
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. Alongside them, between
World art covers from Franzi Draws, are
Naomi Shihab Nye, Joseph Bruchac,
David Harrison and Renee LaTulippe, among a buncha
poet luminaries whose work I
like to fetch off the shelf for fuel.
Because of this book
I am also now a fan of artist Franzi. Go look
her up.

“HELLO” copyright, Franzi Paetzold, all rights reserved

HERE WE GO, lifts up ideas on every
page of the slim volume,
which is also a workbook. But I especially
want to share just a coupla lines from two poems.

Girl Grit

What if
I saved lions
some endangered species
using every strong, skillful word
I know?

© Margaret Simon

Look for the Helpers

Look for the helpers
the healers
the givers

The arms-open
hands-holding
everyday heroes.

© Michele Heidenrich Barnes

Potent.

The main character I’m moving through
life in my 1800s-set story,
is in the business of
saving, similar to the character
in “Girl Grit.”

And she is also looking for the
arms-open
hands-holding
everyday heroes
of “Look for the Helpers.”

The full poems are in the book. If your students or you are about saving
and helping, remember to crack open your
copy if you have one, or find a sample for your
table. Lucky you, if you nailed a coupla autographs!

 

HERE WE GO Final front cover 121116 JPEG