Library Love

Wait just a second!
Today’s Poetry Friday wordsmiths are gathered here. Thank you.

Library Love

A federal entity prompted American composer Ira Gershwin to write,
“Shining
star and
inspiration,
worthy of a
mighty nation. . .” *

Ira Gershwin,
1966, in Washington D.C.

A beloved librarian prompted Lee Bennet Hopkins
to write
Storyteller (for Augusta Baker).
Here are
a few lines from it by LBH

. . . And as her voice
reaches
the highest
rafter-

I believe in

once-upon-a-time,

I believe in

happily ever after.
c. 2015 Lee Bennett Hopkins
in Jumping Off Library Shelves


Book Speak!, Jumping Off
Library Shelves & I Am The Book
comprise my tiny & treasured
collection of poem books
for children
about the dreamland worlds of
books that some
of us are lucky to learn
to love,
the
library.

(Book Speak! is from Laura Purdie Salas, with
the other two from poet/editor Lee Bennett Hopkins. I know I have
missed other poetry collections about libraries/books, not
currently on my shelves,
so educate me, please.)

I pulled these titles
off the shelf Monday,
adrift in thoughts of
library grandeur, due to
a recent reverie
at a library that I only
inhabit
infrequently.

Yes, a weekly trip to our
public treasure trove of titles
is a lift. It is a visit made with
with gratitude not only
for the haul of titles borrowed, also,
it’s where
an astute weekly writing partner
hears me read my
latest, and I, hear hers.

But, hey, it’s Washington, D.C.,
where my heart
flutters to enter
library nirvana.

c.2017JanGodownAnnino

LOC

Literally,
Omnivirous
Collection

c.2017 JGA

The Jefferson Building of
the United States Library of Congress
is a cathedral
to research & to reading.
The art-tiled entry,
& artist-painted murals that represent
the fields of knowledge &
the practice of the arts, the
grand stairs & sculpture
of the entry hall of the main
building, are a
palace for the reading people. One stands
straighter, looks higher and dreams
more determinedly,
here.

At the Library of Congress
we visited, or peeked at, a lot.
The Florida maps on display.
The Gutenberg Bible. The
bookcased and domed
reading room. George and
Ira Gerswhin’s piano, just one classy
piece of the incomparable family
LOC legacy, which includes the annual
American songbook Gershwin Prize. *

c.2017JanGodownAnnino

(*This column’s opening rhyme by Ira Gershwin resides, in his own
handwriting, in the visitor’s guestbook kept for
the Ceremonial Office (here) of the Library of Congress.)

A temporary
LOC display of
special
importance to our family,
with one attorney & one
attorney-in-training, is
“Drawing Justice.”

This engaging exhibit of various
dramatic scenes, mainly in color,
from history-making, even
precedent-setting cases,
created on the job by
our nation’s little-known courtroom
chroniclers, many of them women.
Our volunteer guide that day was
Hope, who we thank for an
extra special tour.

One can not live in the
LOC (although one can enjoy breakfast
& lunch there) & eventually
we left. I was not
sad though, partly because
of another feature of
the LOC.

LOC

Love
Online
Collection

c. 2017 JGA

What/where is your poem about the Library of Congress?
……..
postscript
News flash – I join a party of Poetry Friday pals in celebrating our contributions to a new book, available now in print or Kindle. TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY is edited by Michelle H. Barnes. Look at our book!

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Current. Potent. For Children. And you, too.

Wait just a moment! Find the November tree shelter of Poetry Friday tapped by Teacher Dance.

. . .

Read.
Eat.
Sleep.
Repeat.

Our driveway is graced by
a generous black mailbox
in place of
the usual skinny thing. It stands snug against
hurricanes & squirrels, guarding
incoming packages that I always
hope are stories.
I’m pleased to share a bunch of new titles,
plucked from the mailbox & also
some picked up at our thoughtful,
new indy, Mid-Town Reader.

I will devote at least two posts, maybe three, to
cover other books our mailbox sheltered.
Today’s three are highly recommended not only
for their storytelling but also for what they add to
our understanding of potent issues.
From two, I created short found poetry & from one
I offer a quotation.
Appreciations for your visit.

NOW OR NEVER!, is non-fiction for ages 11 and up
by Ray Anthony Shepard that follows
two history-making black journalists-turned-soldiers.
The men work without pay or full respect in a war erupting from a
loathsome stance of people,
including religious leaders of the South & also in the North,
who declared it was legal for white people
to buy & sell black children,
women & men as if they were hogs.
And then, those buyers had the freedom to
do with the enslaved people,
whatever additional cruelness that they wished.

Fortunately, the United States officially won the war
fought by George Stephens & James Henry Gooding.
Our impression of what it was like for the black troops is upended with this
thorough, document-packed, page-turner.
I hope the book’s readership is huge, beyond schools, museums &
& book fairs, to home bookshelves, especially at this time
when we know the uncountable & unknowable
tradegies created by the slavery business
haven’t experienced closure.

“Couriers
ride
as if for dear
life
bearing ponderous
and ominous looking
envelopes . . . ”

from John Henry Gooding’s weekly dispatch,
Oct. 10, 1863, New Bedford Mercury, in
NOW or NEVER!
54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery

c. 2017 by Ray Anthony Shepard

Learn more about Ray Anthony Shepard,
whose grandfather was an enslaved child and whose great, great-grandparents
were enslaved.

Please know about a novel inspired when an observant young
writer visited Senegal, Africa. She was very moved by a child who sat
on a wall near a shore. And that moment made a difference for
debut author Leah Henderson’s ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL.
Another difference is that her parents created unique family travel
to places of black princesses, black cowboys, black
scholars and to historic sites of black achievement. The author
was able to grow up with experiences
feeling pride in people
who looked like her but were rarely reflected in books she read.

Now she offers the poignant & uplifting saga of loving
children adrift with the spirit guidance
of their beloved dead parents, which is is heard or seen only by the responsible
brother, Mor.
Just eleven years old, can Mor possibly be provider, protector & story-bearer to his
sisters, Mina (Amina) & Tima (Fatima.)? After page-turning troubles of
survival, Mina doesn’t wake from a sleep. What can Mor do?
The reader aches & cheers, on this journey with siblings who
sleep on mats & treasure their goat, Jeeg, & find joy with a small
stone, to transform into a doll, a bird, or a fish.
I feel this MG contemporary adventure
is important to many, including all families who read to each other, to
volunteers or teachers who read chapters in classes
including social studies, or at afterschool/weekend
programs, & to curious self-reading bookworm kids.
And it’s also a winner with adults who take a world view in
wanting to understand more about
children’s lives from all regions.

The author’s travels,
extensive research & consultation with pertinent
Sengalese insiders, experts & friends are an assurance that
ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL
is a trusted ticket to traditions and struggles most
readers, such as myself, can’t even begin to imagine
let alone present in nuanced fashion. I appreciate the
stortylling & the education.

Jeeg

Boabab.
Hollow of
tree.
Squeezed.
Mor,
Jeeg.

Hideout.

“m-a-a.”
“m-a-a.”

found in
ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL
by Leah Henderson

For more on this book & author Leah Henderson

The picture book biography,
MAMA AFRICA! by Kathryn Erskine with artwork from Charly Palmer,
follows the singing activist Makeba – Zenzile Miriam Makeba.
As a toddler she danced & sang. As a young adult, she watched a friend
die because a segregated ambulance wouldn’t treat or carry him after a car wreck.
Makeba lead and sang songs in tribe languages,
carrying powerful opposition messages, singing words
that white South Africans didn’t bother
to try to understand.

Because she eloquently & movingly asked the world to
acknowledge the existence of & help end,
apartheid, she was banished from her homeland.
An invited speaker at the U.N., Makeba asked the world to intervene
against South African’s brutal atrocities & unfair
imprisonment of black people. She appeared on stage
with Martin Luther King. Jr.
& with Harry Belafonte to advocate for justice.
She lost relatives murdered during suppression of blacks and
felt empowered to work
internationally in defense of children, women & men who suffered
the constant terrors. The incident many can cite is the killing of
peaceful children in Soweto township.
In 1990, Makeba returned to a hard-fought, changing
South Africa & saw Nelson Mandela walk out of prison.

The author, as a young white child, enjoyed black friendships
in defiance of apartheid South Africa, during temporary years there.
Heartfelt author photographs & notes offer long-held connections to
the theme. The text is lyrical. Illustrations from artist Charly Palmer
are an artsong of pulsing color, layered & bold.

Songs of call, response!

Khawuleza
alerting song – police approach
Lakutshona Ilanga
searching song – jails & prisons hold missing loved ones
Mayibuye iAfrika
returning song – Africa should be for native Africans
Mbaeke iAfrika
returning song – land should go to rightful owners
Ndoemnyama
forertelling song – apartheid will fail

Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika
asking song – “God Bless Africa”

found in
MAMA AFRICA!
How Miriam Mekeba Spread Hope with her Song
c. 2017 Kathryn Erskine

Learn more about KATHRYN ERSKINE, a popular novelist for young readers, who has won the National Book Award. I have read many of her novels, which mean a great deal to me, especially MOCKINGBIRD. She has a new novel, THE INCREDIBLE MAGIC OF BEING, one of my postal box finds I look forward to being with, soon.

Learn more about artist CHARLY PALMER

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 –

ON ANY DARK AND SPOOKY NIGHT

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
ACTIVIST SENTIMENTS P. Gabrielle Foreman
THE FUGITIVE’s GIBRALTAR Kathryn Grover

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.
Congratulations.

************

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
DUMPLING SOUP,
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

FORTUNATELY THE MILK by Neil Gaiman.
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

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

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

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

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