ISLAND’S END by Padma Venkatraman

(Heidi, at My Juicy Little Universe, squeezes flavors on Poetry Friday this week.)

Island’s End, a novel from
Padma Venkatraman

This spring through a workshop,
I learned about a novel from poet &
award-winning novelist Padma Venkatraman.
Although this post isn’t about her novel-in-verse,
A TIME TO DANCE, which I expect to
bring to a post later,
I hope you will like beginning to know her works.
And if you already found her, I’m glad we share
appreciation for Padma (also known as T V Padma)

ISLAND’S END by Padma Venkatraman

This contemporary-set novel welcomed me to
meet a hunter-gatherer tribe, lead by the elder,
Lah-ame.
I became pulled into their ways. The characters
& the setting feel so real, I would welcome a
story about their earlier years, leading up to the
time that we meet the communal villagers.

ISLAND's END by Padma Venkatram, Penguin Young Readers Group

ISLAND’s END by Padma Venkatram, Penguin Young Readers Group

Ideal Readers of this book, look for stories involving:

Nature
Back country camping
Self-sufficient subsistence societies
Coastal-set stories
Girl leaders
Little brothers/families
First Peoples
Love

The story line
Lah-ame, the tribal family’s longtime & wise male
leader, and the main character, Uido, the chosen new leader,
a young woman, are faced with an intrusion of outsiders
coveting wood of fabulous trees, set in contemporary times.

Favorite line
“Maya covers her face with her hands, as though tears
are something to be ashamed of. I put my arms around
her, but she does not sob.”
(about a visiting outsider, Maya, who doesn’t want to harm
the people or resources of the isolated island)

Favorite scene
If I say, I’ll be sharing a key plot element, but
the rituals & traditions of the tribe call out
to my inner-anthropologist self.

Book bonus 1
Pitcher plants! Seasonal pitcher plant bogs grace
the wild part of our North Florida world; I can’t
remember when I’ve found these unusual plants
to be an important feature of a
beautiful novel the way they are here.

Book bonus 2
Inspired by a writing prompt shared at
Reflections on the Teche by Poetry Friday’s
Margaret Simon,
I selected words that feel charged, played with them
& offer this found poem,
inspired by ISLAND’S END:

Water slurps
by Jan Annino

Healer
Drumbeat
Dreams

Healer prays
Apprentice prays

Drongo bird*
Crocodile
Monitor lizard

Turtle fat
Bear skin
Beeswax glue

Healer prays
Apprentice prays

Cliff
Beach
Reef

Healer prays
Apprentice prays

~ Jan Annino

*Drongo bird

Book bonus # 3
The author’s oceanography career before publishing novels
sailed her to many places, including islands off India.
In learning that some island groups inexplicably avoided
harm from the disastrous 2004 tsunami, she found a
story route into how that could be.

For more on Padma Venkatraman, author of
CLIMBING THE STAIRS
ISLAND’S END
A TIME TO DANCE

The Nerdy Book Club

Padma Venkatraman’s website

Meet Padma at these places:
James River Writers Conference 2016

Highlights Foundation, 2017

Pete’s Dragon, August 2016 movie

Pete’s Dragon, yes!

 

 

The whys:

I left the movie wanting to
climb a tree.

A key part of the plot is that
a child reads & rereads & rereads….
a specific picture book that is very important to him.

Music & lyrics sound as if they are
from a mighty fine acoustical concert.

Legends & myths are some of my
favorite literary tropes.

Respect for imagination, forests & loyalty that is deserving, are to be appreciated.

The child actor, Oakes Fegley, is exceptional.

51TLfMvP4wL._SY400_BO1,204,203,200_

So, too are the special effects to make
the facial expressions of Elliot (the dragon)
seem real.

All the key actors are quite spiffy in
their roles. It’s cool to see
Robert Redford comfortable in his
good-lookin’ older guy skin as a
neighborhood storyteller.

Wood whittling. Not a lot, so get there
on time.

I award a nest of green pixie dust
to the creative maker, David Lowery. Bravo!

This was a movie I was too busy to see.
But when I read this  USA TODAY feature, I was motivated to get myself into the theater.

 

Salty summer with Langston Hughes & Ashley Bryan

Poetry Friday’s weekend picnic is collected by Tabatha!!!

Today, my little corner of the blogosphere
washes ashore with
a picture book poetry collection and artwork
that may make you sail fast,
to the nearest beach.

On a recent humid, landlocked night at the library,
I hooked into the splashy, floaty cover of SAIL AWAY.

This bounty is a group of poems by Langston Hughes,
with art
from puppet maker, painter, creative wizard,
Ashley Bryan.

SAIL AWAY  cover artwork  c. Ashley Bryan,  poems c. Langston Hughes

SAIL AWAY
cover artwork
c. Ashley Bryan,
poems c. Langston Hughes


Many readers know that Mr. Bryan is a long-time,
year-round dweller of an island off the coast of Maine.
His artwork collage compositions for this collection
are rolling, liquid beauties.
(A surprise on the endpapers reflects his love of his Mother, is all I will say about his process for this book.)

Not many of us – me included – are familiar
with the years that the late, great, Mr. Hughes
labored as a seaman.
This book tells us that his appreciation of the
salt life stems from jobs he landed on ships and boats
in Europe and Africa.

Long Trip
by Langston Hughes

“…We dip and dive,
Rise and roll,
Hide and are hidden
On the sea….”

lines from “Long Trip”
c.Langston Hughes

My first editor in the news bureau where I worked
upon college graduation was also a licensed
U.S. Coast Guard Captain.
Capt. Mike, who was as gentle a wordsmith
& boatsmith as you could find, would
understand those lines.

The seas become inscrutably flat at
times, which is how our family likes it
when we pop up a big umbrella at the shore.
But who knows what flat water covers?

Sea Calm
by Langston Hughes

“How still
How strangely still
The water is today.
It is not good
For water
To be so still that way.”
c.Langston Hughes

I hope you can ship off to your favorite pond, lake,
creek, river, bay, ocean, or backyard kiddie pool,
with Capt. Hughes & Capt. Bryan.
I’d like to give a basket of tumbled-in-surf, St. George
Island, Florida, shells to the brilliant publishing team that
hauled this catch ashore for the world to sing.

For more on Ashley Bryan, I found an important
interview from The Horn Book, with details about
SAIL AWAY.
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/talks-with-roger/ashley-bryan-talks-with-roger/#_

Of the many online resources about Langston Hughes, I think this
one from Howard University Library is especially wonderful.
http://www.howard.edu/library/reference/guides/hughes/

And I hope you swim back here, likely sometime
in August, after this blog returns from break.

Oyster Boat c. JanGodownAnnino

Oyster Boat c. JanGodownAnnino

A visit with Irene Latham

Happy summer! The very helpful Diane is herding haiku folks &
other poetry people into the weekly partee known as Poetry Friday.

A visit with Irene Latham

I have twice bumped into Alabama-based author
Irene Latham.
We exchanged grins at a cozy SCBWI Southern
Breeze workshop. Then months later, we appreciated
the airy space of The Bookshelf, a friendly emporium
in a Georgia village.

Irene Latham P.B. Shelf (with approving elephant) The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA  c. 2016 JanGodownAnnino

Irene Latham P.B. Shelf (with approving elephant) The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA
c. 2016 JanGodownAnnino

All my moments with this often-traveling, award-winning poet,
novelist & picture book author give me the feeling that
I want to be a calmer & kinder person & a much more
creative writer. No wonder I’m craving an Irene Latham fix. 

I left a trail of peanuts, in hopes of enticing this
elephant-loving woman into the Bookseedstudio studio.
The snacks worked. We are today’s exclusive site for,
A visit with Irene Latham.

Q.  
Peanuts or popcorn?

I can’t pick… enjoy them both! Especially if there’s
chocolate involved…

Q.  
 Book wrangling. Keep them in a tall, narrow bookcase? A
short, fold-up bookstair? Alphabetized by author?  How do
you tame your home/office library?

I have books in every room of the house — but I try really
hard to keep only the books to which I have strong attachments.
(Books are meant to be read, not collecting dust on a shelf!) I don’t
do alphabetical, though it sure would make things easier to find! I
tend to group according to emotional impact. I do have several
bookshelves devoted to only children’s literature.

Q.  
Background sounds. What is your writing zone playlist?
Is silence when you write, golden?

Silence is my sound of choice. Or birdsong.

Q.  
We are visiting Birmingham, your town. 
What are 3 places you’d take us to?

Vulcan at night,
Johnny’s in Homewood for the best
upscale meat-n-three you will ever eat,
and Reed Books.
And then there’s the Civil Rights Museum, Railroad Park,
Birmingham Museum of Art, the Botanical Gardens,
our fabulous zoo… 

Q.  
Please finish the sentence. A map is…

. . . unnecessary.
Let the journey guide you, not the map! (I actually love maps
and am learning some of the best things ever are found when
you put the map away.)

Q.  
If your name weren’t Irene, it would be…

. . . Hannah. (I am named after my great-grandmother,
Hannah Irene.)

Q.  
If writing weren’t your work, it would be… ?

My husband and I love to travel and love to EAT, so
maybe together we’d host a TV travel show? 
 
Q.  
What should children’s writers ask
themselves when they start a new project? 

Am I having fun? Am I delighted?
Does this story fill me with wonder and joy?

Irene Latham with young friends, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

Irene Latham with young friends, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

Appreciations
to Irene for these fun thoughts. You can glean a fine dollop of
poem-making tips & shake paws with the elephant-loving
Irene Latham at these fresh & delicious 2016 events: 

Alabama Writers Conclave (Birmingham, AL) – July 15-17
Mississippi Book Festival (Jackson, MS) – August 20 
Poetry Camp (Bellingham, WA) – October 1
SCBWI Writing & Illustrating for Kids (Birmingham, AL) – October 8
Louisiana Book Festival (Baton Rouge, LA) – October 29
NCTE (Atlanta, GA) – November 17-20

ALSO
you will not want to miss, coming to a bookshelf near you
(sooner or later) this hard-working poet’s way with words in:
IT’S NOT BLACK AND WHITE
(poetry picture book, co-authored with Charles Waters)
FRANK AND MISS FANCY
(historical fiction picture book)
POP, BAM, BOOM!
(poetry picture book)
THE OCTOPUS POSTCARDS
(nonfiction picture book)

FOR
more juicy details visit www.irenelatham.com

AND
if you have’t already, read these Irene Latham books
find them fast:
FRESH DELICIOUS
DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST
WHEN SHE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA<
/>

LEAVING GEE’S BEND
DON’T FEED THE BOY


THE COLOR OF LOST ROOMS
THE SKY BETWEEN US
WHAT CAME BEFORE <
/>

Here is a little Irene Lantham poem-in-progress,
about Irene,
but certainly not BY Irene.

Brave Irene

Deep down in
another writer’s desk
dwelled fusty words,
not the best.

Irene swatted the dull things
away. She clapped her paws:
“Walloping crisp verbs,
come in and play.”

A calvacade of tight terms
appeared:
crack
creak

gulp
flick
shine
peel

hammer
squabble
gobble
burble

leap
convene
squint
grimace

Multitudinous words danced
in the now-lively place.
Appreciations extended!
Violets in a vase.

“Tut, tut,” Irene said,
“Good words always lived here.
You just had to banish
that writerly fear.”

-jga

Highlights of Working at Writer’s Wonderland – 2

Favorites from the Workshop – The Work at The Novel-in-Verse Workshop
by Jan Annino

(Seekers of the POETRY FRIDAY round-up, of which this article is a part, are collected by Jone at CHECK IT OUT. https://maclibrary.wordpress.com/)

To cope from withdrawal symptoms
following a Highlights Foundation Workshop
last month, I’m writing about my favorites
from the experience.
In the last post I listed High Five
Favorites from The Tour of The Office.

Favorites from the Workshop – The Work

Work!
A lot of it.
In an ardent
doodle, doodle, idea, idea, scribble, scribble,
sense.

Breakthrough moments
bubbled up,
so I chucked swaths of lines,
retooled others in light of
directions newly imagined.
Terrific progress.

Mornings I awoke to birdsong.
First light filtered in from a wood,
across a red clover field where
a red tractor sat.
A breeze tickled delicate white curtains
against honey blond, paneled, cabin walls.

Each of the perfect-weather mornings,
I grabbed my journal/notebook that wears
an embossed mantra,
“A moment of gratitude makes a difference in attitude.”
It arrived home juicy with impressions,
characters, thoughts, titles, snatches of
dialogue & questions.

I tugged myself away from the cabin’s
spell & went outside early.
Plump robins worked to make a nest
in a beam of my front porch.
Writers also saw Baltimore orioles.
I stopped in my path for the flight
of an indigo bunting.
Bluebirds visited me uncountable times.
And more delight –
chipmunks wove in an out of slate walls near the 5,200 square
foot airy conference center fittingly known as The Barn.

copyright 2016 Joanne R. Fritz, all rights  reserved

copyright 2016
Joanne R. Fritz, all rights
reserved


More Work
Each morning top-drawer authors,
Kathryn Erskine and Alma Fullerton,
guided us with pithy & lively lectures & writing prompts.
They are each of them such
physical presenters, it felt at times as if we
watched theater.
We listened to a potent talk &
enjoyed many conversations with
visiting author Padma Venkatraman,
(A Time to Dance, Island’s End, Climbing the Stairs.)

Afternoons offered time for one-on-one
meetings with the mentors.
Plus, individual writing marathons inside.
Or out, with assistance from previously noted
chipmunks and avians.
Writers found the creek at the bottom of the hill.
It reflected a clearness that guided
thoughts & work.

copyright,  Kathryn Erskine,  all right reserved

copyright,
Kathryn Erskine,
all right reserved


<

By 4 we collected in the living room of The Barn
in a daily group critique
for the brave. Everyone felt brave,
drawn out by the nurturing faculty.
We appreciated the Floyd Cooper art on the walls &
the big sofas holding red pillows emblazoned with the
distinctive H for Highlights, logo.

The nights were usually free for reading,
writing, or discussion. I felt fortunate that an
insightful librarian, also working on historical fiction
like me, asked to share evening work time in The Barn.
Another night we were gifted with visits from City
Folk, an accomplished agent & an esteemed editor.
Such insights, we gleaned. Such access, we appreciated.

Favorite Words of Wisdom
Katherine Erskine, whose books include Mockingbird, Quaking,
The Badger Knight, plus the forthcoming, Mama Africa:

All of your stories will make wonderful books.

Imagine an elaborate line-up of dominoes that you will be setting off, in touching
the first one. Each domino must connect. Each scene must connect with the next.

Keep in mind who is the antagonist. Who is the battle against.

Alma Fullerton, whose books include In The Garage, Libertad, Burn
& the forthcoming, 50 Lashes:

Don’t sacrifice story for poetic form.

My first draft is basically barfing on the paper.

The evil person can be even nastier if we don’t see him/him from
his point of view, but when we view that antagonist from the outside.

Bonus Staff
The kind & funny chef staff (hello there, Marcia,
Amanda, Megan, Derrick & a spot-on walk-on, Kent!) matched
the quality of the story-crafting faculty. And their treats are
missed (hello there, toasted kale appetizer, mushroom loaf,
stuffed peppers, cream of squash soup, rhubarb crunch,
grilled asparagus, local cheeses, et. al!)

In Summary
Pages were required with the application;
this varies workshop to workshop. We 12 brought
library or teaching or children’s bookselling or publishing
tales with us. Students traveled from as far as Idaho, and as
next-door as N.J. and PA.
We grew close to each other, in sharing about our novel-in-verse
(one biography-in-verse) projects.
I’m anticipating news in the months ahead about terrific progress.
I’ve already brought fresh work to an at-home writing partner
at the library last night.

To Be Continued
How cool it is to be collected in an online group by our
spiffy librarian techie, my sharp critique partner
that night, to continue the journey begun at Highlights.
Appreciations to all.
With extra thanks to Kathryn Erskine & Joanne Fritz for
sharing the photos for this article. My 125 images
I took in the 5 days didn’t make it home, but
that’s another Story.

Highlights of Working at Writer’s Wonderland – 1

Highlights of Working at a Writer’s Wonderland – The Tour
by Jan Annino

I write this blog article as a coping mechanism
to soothe withdrawal, from leaving
a Writer’s Wonderland.

Last month I attended my first Highlights Foundation
Workshop for Children’s and Illustrators. A two-word
writing results summary is – terrific progress.
I hope the days there aren’t my last visit to the Highlights
nirvana for writers, editors, and illustrators.

Here today, from the recent Highlights Foundation
Workshop for writers of novels-in-verse, are my High Fives
about The Tour. Tomorrow’s blog article is about The Workshop.

The Tour
My High Five Favorites at the Office – The Tour

images-2
Highlights logo is cheerily emblazoned on scattered carpets.

images-1
A giant skull sits in the editor-in-chief’s office (ask about it on
tour.)
images-2
Magazine editors work in an historic downtown former mayor’s home,
a building accented with high ceilings, big, built-in
bookcases, and tall windows.
images-3

Editor name plates are old Scrabble tile holders that display the
wood letters spelling first names. (Hello Joelle, Channing & everyone!)
images-4
All on the magazine staff answer mail from children; every piece of
child mail is answered.

Finally, my heart also melted when I saw that books created by
book friends (Lee Bennett Hopkins, Lisa Desimini, Irene Latham)
are so handy for reference.

Okay, so I gave you one more – that makes six. The Highlights
folks like to overdeliver and I feel we all carried that spirit
away with us.

I hope you can visit this blog again; tomorrow I expect to post High Five Favorites from the Workshop – The Work.

(printablenumbers.org a resource for educators, is much appreciated
for today’s numbers.)

ELF

c. Jan Godown Annino

c. Jan Godown Annino

With the arrival of our gal from Boston,
we here in the little yellow cottage are feeling
much Christmas cheer.

Inspired by J. Patrick Lewis, who created a poetry
form called Careerhyme, I offer, “ELF.”

ELF: A sprite, an industrious assister;
A rare visitor; A child charmer,
Who delivers wishes come true;
A needed part of Holiday frivolity.
I wish one, or a bunch, for you.
– c. Jan Godown Annino

Appreciations not only to JPL, but also to his
colleague David L. Harrison, for his generous blog,
which shares writing prompts + much more.

Do you love Christmas books as much as I do?
This year, the first book I’m reading is the volume of
Father Christmas letters of J.R. R. Tolkein to his children.
Then I will nest in the rest.

I hope your nest is your best!

cedar-key-christmas-tree-inside-0011