Progressive Poem 2019 Day 25

POETRY FRIDAY’s annual Progressive Poem is here at Bookseedstudio this very

Thursday, of April, Day Twenty-Tive. (With great thanks to the Live Your Poem! godmother.)

If you are new to the game, progressive in the title means that each day by day, progressively, one poet after another, adds a line. It’s like one of those neighborhood feasts where appetizers are at the Apple Family, walk over to salads from the Spinach folks, the Main course is with the Macaroni Family (we wish!), Fruit is on offer by the fun Fig couple & a Sweet is served by the Sherbet Sisters.

Today’s new line is

You’re simply the best

. . . .After holding myself back from reading any of the lovely lines leading up to today’s Day 25 until this morn, I discover that we are working with found lines! And not just any sources. I expect a festival of great blog reading between now & this Sunday to learn how each creative person grabbed their  line … from lyrics! Does

You’re simply the best

 

fit? With great joy for so much musicality – this line dance is ready for your groove:

Endless summer; I can see for miles…
Fun, fun, fun – and the whole world smiles.
No time for school- just time to play,
we swim the laughin’ sea each and every day.

You had only to rise, lean from your window,
the curtain opens on a portrait of today.
Kodachrome greens, dazzling blue,
it’s the chance of a lifetime,

make it last forever–ready? Set? Let’s Go!
Come, we’ll take a walk, the sun is shining down
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
Tomorrow’s here. It’s called today.

Gonna get me a piece o’ the sky.
I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea
and there’s a tiger in my veins Oh,
won’t you come with me waltzing the waves, diving the deep?

It’s not easy to know
less than one minute old
we’re closer now than light years to go
To the land where the honey runs

…we can be anyone we want to be…
There’s no stopping curiosity.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
Looking for a sign of life

You’re simply the best

. . . .

(which is how I feel about all you line-leaders & line-a-day readers!)

AND SO like a springtime jigsaw puzzle that awaits just a few pieces, I hand this baton to

April 26 Linda @Write Time

April 27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro

April 28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass

April 29 Irene, the Closer @Live Your Poem

Here are line sources, taken from Wednesday’s fun blog by Tabatha, with thanks:

L1 The Who, ‘I Can See for Miles’ / The Beach Boys, ‘Endless Summer’
L2 The Beach Boys, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ / Dean Martin, ‘When You’re Smiling’
L3 The Jamies, ‘Summertime, Summertime’
L4 The Doors ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’/ Led Zeppelin ‘Good Times, Bad Times’
L5 Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine “You had only to rise, lean from your window,”
L6 Joni Mitchell, “Chelsea Morning”
L7 Paul Simon, “Kodachrome,” “Dazzling Blue”
L8 Dan Fogelberg, “Run for the Roses”
L9 Spice Girls, “Wannabe”/ Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
L10 The Beatles, “Good Day Sunshine”
L11 The Carpenters, “Top of the World”
L12 Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Underneath the Lovely London Sky” from Mary Poppins Returns
L13 Carol King, “Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll)”
L14 Steve Miller, “Fly Like An Eagle”
L15 Don Felder, “Wild Life”
L16 Nowleen Leeroy, “Song of the Sea ” (lullaby)
L17 Sara Bareilles, “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS
L18 Stevie Wonder, “Isn’t She Lovely”
L19 R.E.M, “Find the River”
L20 Carole King, “Way Over Yonder”
L21 Mint Juleps, “Groovin” by The Young Rascals
L22 Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”
L23 Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson), “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie
L24 The Foo Fighters, “Learning to Fly”

L25 Tina Turner, “The Best”

BUT BEFORE you leave me today, I prepared a few things. Or come back later?

Last weekend when I realized that my Family’s Easter Weekend joy overlapped with many of my dear Friend’s Passover commemorations, I pulled out two favorite books for young readers about Anne Frank, always remembering that she was not passed over.

A History for Today, Anne Frank from the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

The Life of Anne Frank by Menno Metesellar and Rudd Van Der Rol

Of the many inspirations that the young author left for the World , here is just one

“I can shake off

everything

as I write

my sorrows disappear

my courage is reborn.” 

-Anne Frank

I am also reading

Birmingham, 1963  by Carole Boston Weatherford, actually a re-read for me, of this poignant poem in book form.

Thurgood Marshall, American Revolutionary, the bio by Juan Williams, which has insights about emotions & ideas in the justice’s child days, including passionate political dinner table discussions led by Willie Marshall, Father, who fed his family, in those times, working as a sleeping-car train porter.

Acts of Light, poems from Emily Dickinson, illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert

I just finished (& so did my husband, double pleasure when we read a book one just after the other) The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. This novel of India is a game-changer. In it we dwell in the world of extreme privation of children, beginning with abuse by a violent father and continuing to life on mean streets- but we can’t help feeling how events unfold in an underlying, uplifting way. I cried a little & I think sensitive middle and high school students will have a tear, too. Followed by vigorous good discussion guided by their teaching librarian or classroom teacher. The four child characters in this page-turner of a story show us their creativity, humanity & humor. Yes!

I fell in love with each of the two girls and two boys who created this experience, which the author bases on extensive knowledge – her own, told in a fascinating author’s note which made me fall in love with Padma’s Mother. As someone who has been transported by all Padma’s novels, I know her trademark practice, in bringing on board informed beta readers, is instructive & to be followed. This is a book for all and of special interest to the disability community and of special interest in the domestic violence community.

(For those with an interest in the indigenous community you will be enriched with this author’s Adamans Island novel, Island’s End.)

Brava! to Padma, my teacher from Highlights Foundation days, with Alma Fullerton & Kathryn Erskine. Padma has agreed to visit Bookseedstudio. Stay tuned.

ALSO in the tap tap tap of writing news –  a word about poem projects. The young readers project continues along well on a WWII history topic theme very close to my heart. And when I rest that story in verse for an afternoon or a day, I look into the paused verse novel from pre-Civil War days, about an impoverished, white, abolition family. Plus, in this surge of spring, maybe one day a week, I work on other poems on a theme – 54 of them, so far. (none of this poem-ness could occur without having found a nurturing, poetry community, especially Poetry Friday nor without the Highlights Foundation verse novel workshop. The newest poem project flows from my fascination with a unique peninsula that is lapped by both the Atlantic Ocean & the Gulf of Mexico.

And so this little ditty buzzed in, after a recent walk at our non-beachy & clean-water coast…

 with appreciations to Emily Dickinson

Thistle whistle

Bumble bee!

caught you on your shopping spree

 

you flounce along salty store I roam

whilst thistles tower in marsh loam

 

seems like just yesterday

you were last year’s memory

 

pink-purpled spring spikes signal

that social insect whistle – hear!

 

buzz buzz coming in for a landing

glad to snap you, m’Dear

Yours, Shutterbug

-c.2019allrihtsreserved, JanGodownAnnino,

 

c.2019allrightsreserved SpringBee
JanGodownAnnino

LASTLY This may not be the only place you’ve admired a lively National Poetry Month Post Card, but I am tickled to share this, courtesy of artist Robert Mensan and his poet fan,  Irene Latham, who has all the month’s line leaders listed at her site.

c.2019allrightsreserved “Live Your Poem” by Irene Lantham

 

WHAT IF…? THEN WE… Rebecca Kai Doltich + Fred Koehler picture book giveaway

Looking for Poetry Friday? This is but one blip bit of it. Visit poet pal Robyn at her lovely  Life on the Deckle Edge. She is this week’s host, until next Friday, when we will meet at Teacher Dance with poet pal Linda

This moment at Bookseedstudio, we enter a double-decker day called  Friday Finds. One find  is Try this one, it’s good”  a book to herald. The 2nd find is words from the wild . First up, the words.

Friday Finds 1 – words from the wild 

singed     kettle      minnow      incantation
tilt        pyjamas      paraffin

Most writers I’ve sipped a cuppa with collect words. Culled from hand-written menus, the subway wall, in listening to a busker at the plaza, maybe talk overheard in the Post Office line, or ___________________, where? You tell us.

My heart sparked as I read kettle at a travel website, reminding me of a Revere Ware copper-bottomed tea kettle. It  squatted on our kitchen stove in my child days. Haven’t listened to a tea kettle whistle in eons; I heat water for tea in a trendy, safe-glass, all-glass, sort-of tea kettle I do love. With no built-in music maker. I am partial to all the words above I hadn’t read or heard for too long. Minnow is now added to a notebook of the current writing project – minnow, I see possibilities for you. Another time here I expect to have words from the wild that I wouldn’t have thunk, because I never knew them until . . .found ’em in the wild.

Friday Finds 2 – TRY THIS ONE, IT’S GOOD. In which I share a good good book.

WHAT IF…? THEN WE . . .Creators: Rebecca Kai Dotlich, author, Fred Koehler, illustrator.
Boyds Mills Press fresh-published this picture book, subtitled Short, Very Short, Shorter than-Ever Possibilities.

Two polar bears who walk upright, like kids, enjoy adventures. Events are altered by the idea that everything could fall apart. WHAT IF…? is finishing up a BIG blog tour.** 

It rides the waves as sequel to this creative team’s ONE DAY, THE END, the short, very short tales that understandably won Golden Kite & Boston Globe Horn Book honor awards.

I love both these impish books for their pixie quality. And since they go together like spooled
typewriter ribbon & a manual Olivetti, I’m offering my personally bought copy of ONE DAY, to accompany a brand new, publisher-given WHAT IF…?, for your exploration.

This new partner book, WHAT IF…? will be sought for lap-readers,
school floor readers, bedtime readers, worrywart readers, park blanket readers, beach
hut readers, hill top readers, bus readers, high flown readers & their kin.

Why? Events bubble out of characters’ very own imaginations, which spins
the story wide to activate a young reader’s quick mind. As Rebecca says, she wrote
this book for those who “fish for dreams.”

Page after page pull my eyeballs to Fred’s big images of creativity – paintbrush, pencil, coloring tool, looking glass, origami, a map, musical notes & the like. Fred is generous in unfolding ambitious situations where the bear pals, (unnamed, better for the reader to provide them) might want to call upon these tools.

Quick pick: This tumbling-along story entices our youngest ones, offering a high-five that imagination is wonderful. The take-away is that it is good to be bold and experimental.

[Appropos of nothing but a smile, I want to share that one typeface name for text is Rather Loud (bold.)]

Fred’s website +
Fred’s TED-like talk on p.b. creation (in which you can learn to pronounce his last name, among other things)

I have written about Fred, (who we in Florida are lucky to claim as one of our own) in the launch of another picture book.

Rebecca’s blog + You can meet Rebecca – Highlights Foundation workshop

Highlights Foundation offers this great interview with Rebecca by my Poetry Friday pal,
Matt Forrest Esenwine, author of FLASHLIGHT NIGHT, Matt’s & Fred-Koehler’s irresistible picture book,)

**Don’t take my word for it!  Please visit other WHAT IF?…THEN WE... sites invited on the tour:

Monday, 2/11                       Simply 7 Interview    

Tuesday, 2/12                      Storymamas

Wednesday, 2/13                Librarian in Cute Shoes

Thursday, 2/14                    Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

Friday, 2/15                          Miss Marple’s Musings

Monday, 2/18                      Bridget and the Books     

Tuesday, 2/19                      Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme

Thursday, 2/21                    KidLit Frenzy

Friday, 2/22                         Unleashing Readers

                                             Book Seed Studio       (you are here!)

COMMENT here at Bookseedstudio to win a chance for the two pal books & you could also win the new one, it’s own self. Try, try, try.

Comment with a collected word or two from your lists, mention a connection with author Rebecca or artist Fred (or with Highlights/Boyds Mills Press/WordSong) or maybe, just let us know who will enjoy this team’s clever ONE DAY &/or also the new book, WHAT IF…? You know you want a chance to win. Make sure to leave your name/contact info so I can ask your United States postal address. (You may also comment & mention that you don’t want to win.)

Leave a response by NOON next Thursday so I can announce winners on Poetry Friday March 1 hosted by Teacher Dance.

So many appreciations for your visit today. (And if we haven’t met yet at a Highlights Foundation writing workshop, then someday, I sure hope we do.)

Remember to visit poet Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge, for her blog & her wrangling of this week’s Poetry Friday collection of Kidlitosphere blogs.

c.2019 Fred Koehler from inside the expanding universe of WHAT IF?…THEN WE… by Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Fred Koehler, from Boyds Mills Press

UPCOMING – I travel to Group Blog on Wed. March 6, 2019 with another new Boyds Mills Press book. See you there?

 

[I recommend that you b l o g  AT WORDPRESS.COM.]

All heart

Poetry Friday for Feb. 8 is hosted by the wonderful Laura Purdie Salas!

All heart

I like the idea that a shape loved all over our world,

the heart,

first came to people in Nature’s creations, such as fruit and leaves.

 

                       Forest Heart

Drift gift from above

paper heart glows like sun

gilds the path

©JanGodownAnnino

Forest Heart c. JanGodownAnnino
allrightsreserved

 

A few days after this New Year 2019, in wetlands woods of a nearby Florida park,

a leaf fell through air just ahead of us.

The wind sent other paper-thin treasures aflutter from towering trees to join leaf litter

on the old forest’s floor. But this emissary glowed in the gray and brown setting.

When we reached the spot where it lay, my urge was to pick it up.

I looked, looked, looked.

I left the heart,  in hopes it could charm someone else on the path.

 

                         Breakfast Heart

Rise to greet the twenty-four

clay mug cradles gingered tea

knitted love cushions potter’s heart

©JanGodownAnnino

Heart Mug/ Anna Annino
Knitted Heart/ Laurel LaPorte-Grimes c.allrightsreserved

 

When my husband and I tip up our mugs, a wee heart peeks out from the base.

Each handle is half of a heart too, an additional spark of love when we examined

our gifts, created by our daughter far away at college.

To begin work, I set down this mug of love, resting it on a knitted heart

created by Laurel, our longtime dear pal of Florida, gone to Connecticut.

(miss you, Anna & Laurel!)

 

(Are you sticking to the west world  syllable guide of 5-7-5 for haiku? As you can see from above, not me!)

 

Heart map

Poet Georgia Heard creates a way into authentic writing with HEART MAPS.

February feels like a copacetic month for entry into the wisdom &

magic of heart mapping.

I’m a beginner (have just one, which I must share with the intendeds, before here.)

Georgia Heard’s  blog, with wonderful links, on heart mapping

 

Heart Letters

 

A great modern classic- I hope you’ve read it – is LOVE LETTERS by Arnold Adoff with

illustrations from Lisa Desimini, my friend.  I have previously written a valentine to this

picture book, here.

And I always love to share the love these two creators lavish on children

with these fun love poems for school-age readers & their teachers & families.

Not. To. Miss.

 

Heart loss

Below, links to three of a seashore full of tributes about love of the work of poet Mary

Oliver who passed on in January. I’ve taken to some of her poems,

but in reading just a bit about her after her death

(in Florida, where she had spent her last years)

I understand I want to catch up in study of her life story and poetry path.

I love this,

from her essay “Wordsworth’s Mountain.”

“But dawn—dawn is a gift. Much is revealed about a person by his or her passion, or indifference, to this opening of the door of day. No one who loves dawn, and is abroad to see it, could be a stranger to me.” – Mary Oliver

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/01/17/passing-mary-oliver-at-dawn/

https://maclibrary.wordpress.com/2019/01/17/poetry-friday-rip-mary-oliver/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/books/mary-oliver-grief.html 

Appreciations for links to your Mary Oliver post in comments, or that of recommended

ones you saw out & about.

 

And of course, other thoughts, including of this ♥ season, are so welcome.

Head’s Up!

I expect to be here Friday Feb. 22 with a give-away of

the brand-newest from creative team

Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Florida’s own Fred Koehler. Hope you don’t miss this!

[ Friday Feb. 8 edit – The comment box is missing below. I have placed several questions out there

with WordPress forums & etc. Please follow on over to twitter with your comment, if you are comfortable

with that. Many thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Irma’s Tinkerbelle

(PoemFriends are peacefully greeted (Sept. 21 – International Peace Day) over at The Poem Farm with Poetry Friday host, Amy.)

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.

In poetry this week – Beach bear, 1800s

In poetry this week/ Beach bear of 1800s
by Jan Godown Annino

(!st – Poetry Friday is served by Jama’s Alphabet Soup</a>.)

I’m sharing a bear on the beach poem I wrote, published
in 2006. It was inspired by an account of a traveler
in 1800s Florida.

You may not know what is happening in Florida
now.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 a nearly 20-year ban on killing
this state’s remaining wild bears is to be lifted.
Up to 320 random bears, mostly minding their own
business in woods of North Florida &
Central Florida, far away from tourists, can be
shot. And shot. And shot. And killed.

I repeat, wild black bears in our lovely & wild forests
which remain mainly in Central and North Florida, will
lose the safety of deep woods for the duration of the hunt.
This includes females who have cubs.
Where will they run to? Where will they hide?

milkweed-book-covers-165

Here is my poem.

Beach Meal, 1820s
by Jan Godown Annino

first published by Milkweed Editions, 2006

The beach is lit by the light of the moon
when she-bear pads along the shore

She stops
lifts wet snout to salted air
moves on

She repeats this testing until
sniffs satisfy

She pads to a sandy place on strong feet
stops,
digs

Sand and shell bits plume
skyward

to snow back down on thick fur
still,
she digs

She stops
shoves her mouth into a mound

She tears and slurps
soft gift from the sea
round white balls

A secret treasure chest
buried by a sea mother

She-bear shoulders through palmetto
to home,
nourished

frosted with smear of yolk
with glitter of sand
©2006-2015 Jan Godown Annino
revised 2015

I hope your news outlets will carry information about
protests of the hunt.

For years, this state that still holds pockets of paradise
despite being loved to death by a populous that has made it 3rd in
the nation, has struggled with balancing panther, sea turtles + bears
against growth, new housing + winter visitors.

Almost magically, we have areas where wild panther
roam.
And we have clear waters with several species of sea turtles. They
are protected by lights out or lights dim at night, so the pregnant
females can be encouraged to pull themselves along sand, to lay eggs. Once,
our state residents + visitors took them for soup and shell.

And, once, bears were protected in Florida.
Until now.

I don’t know what accounts for the political change.
Visitors + residents still rank our nature parks + national forests +
protected estuaries + beaches as top reasons they return.

I do know that uninformed residents feed wild bears, either deliberately
or inadvertently via trash. This makes me think of
uninformed visitors + residents who try to get close to alligators
for a photo op.

There are so many ways to restrict garbage collection sites, to
impose rules, as in Canada, about family trash bins. So many
other strong education measures to take that is more than advice.
So many enforcement measures about feeding bears.

Instead, bear-feeding people have flaunted the situation. And
that provoked encounters that sent people to the hospital.
And now we have a bear hunt.

If you are interested, here is the address of the Florida
Chamber of Commerce. It may be worthwhile to let them know
that the business of hunting bear isn’t as important as
the business of attracting wildlife-appreciating visitors

Florida Chamber of Commerce PO Box 11309 Tallahassee FL 32302
info@flchamber.com
twitter @FLChamber

If you have a connection with a visitors/tourism bureau in a
part of the state, you may also want to contact them.

I don’t know what accounts for the political change.
Visitors + residents still rank our nature parks + national forests +
protected estuaries + beaches as top reasons they return.

image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

We don’t hunt manatee. Anymore.
Why bear?

Answering questions

Kathy Halsey, a retired librarian who is writing for children, wants to know:

Q: What is your writing process?

Q: What are you currently working on?

Q: And so forth.

 

all rights reserved

all rights reserved

A:

First, thank you for your career, Kathy, matching books to readers.

And thank you for your 2nd career, as a writer.

Back to the first. You likely answered ga-zillions of queries from anxious writers, seeking, for example an obscure local cookbook/history about Michigan maple sugaring via inter-library loan, from upper/lost/outer beautiful Michigan. Writers are also thankful for that. (Note to local taxpayers, support your library when it wants to continue the inter-library loan service, please.)

More  A:

WRITING PROCESS I

Here is what should be, but is not always, on hand:

Cat, to do the typing

A deadline

Good health, rested body, peaceful mind

Fair trade (no child slave labor) organic dark chocolate, early a.m. only

Guayaki yerba mate (my hubby introduced it when he returned from Argentina), also a.m. only

An idea that I think about day & night & in my dreams & during conversations about movies & while I’m eating & walking & on & on. This is crucial.

The information I find to go with that idea.

 

Look at that.  Very little, to get me going.

I write in a rainbow of genres. For children, poetry, picture story book, concept book (like ABCs) illustrated non-fiction, fiction in chapter book & middle grade. For adults, magazine pieces, chapter contributions to non-fiction books, my own travel guides, poetry, & mystery stories.

So let’s narrow the mass down to a bit about how I wrote the newest book, SHE SANG PROMISE.

And this will also help me answer the pressing question of a school librarian from Winnetka IL, about the process for writing this specific book.

My newest book is an illustrated story from the life of a Native American leader who became a national figure with her achievements, including a presidential appointment. But she primarily made headlines in her home state, Florida.

And for kids, it was important to research one of her career oddities – she wrestled alligators. In the late 1940s, before reality teevee. For very little money.

I needed:

Interviews

Local/regional/Tribe histories

A good oral history library

An understanding of events during the time span 1920s-1980s

My subject’s memoir & other publications

Old photographs/information about period clothing

Site visits to subject’s house/reservation/museums

My subject’s permission to tell her story to children (required by the publisher, but something I desire, anyhow)

Copy of her storytelling video

Details of her adult achievements

Observation of alligators & of people wrestling them

The story of her world took place significantly outdoors, so I needed notes about the flora & fauna & geography & weather of her child days.

I needed to begin lining up expert readers, to review my manuscript.

And I probably needed a few other things, which I am forgetting, here.

 

WRITING PROCESS II

When I amassed shelves & binders & paper files of materials, including my subject’s newspaper articles & columns, because she edited her tribe’s paper, I began to write.

It was clunky.

So I did what any writer does. I turned to the editor for this project.

And bless her. She sent me lovely illustrated biographies. And then she gave me titles of others, to go look up.

 

In the second group, I found one that lit a fire under me & is still a favorite, when I read it in school.

It was created by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & Mary Azarian.

I get prickles on my arm when I remember first holding the powder blue cover, fringed with snowflakes. This wood-cut-assisted beauty is one of the best picture books I know about a real, but lesser-known, individual of our planet (that is the sort of person I am drawn to write about. ) The book  is SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY, a Caldecott winner.

And that book about a boy in Vermont obsessed with snowflakes, was a portal into feeling that I could pick my way along the path of  the story of a girl who grew up in subtropical Florida, keeping all manner of wild & domestic creatures as pets in her own informal hot-climate, outdoors zoo. Very different children, geography & life paths.

But the SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY team’s excellent storytelling in words & pictures inspired me.

 

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Artwork by Mary Azarian

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Artwork by Mary Azarian

Yet, I was still not writing something to send my editor.

How to begin it ? How to begin it?

When I disliked a ga-zillion first pages, I turned to something that has always amused me since my child days when I created a little cartoon character, Beanie. And that is, doodling. And so I doodled loopy loop shapes. And then on another page, after a few shapes took shape, I dropped the pad. I was unhappy. I looked up & saw on my wall, a map of Florida. The state where my subject was from. And I picked up the pad & began to draw an outline of the state of Florida. I began in the far northwest in the Panhandle. When my thick fat dark pencil reached the southeast part of the state, words appearing from who knows where  – the stars? the swamp?  engaged my neurons: “Think of a gigantic place at the end of land…”

And that was it. I was off and running.

Because I had amassed information on aspects of the world of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, my subject, pieces of her life that would be kid magnets, I just kept on & on with the writing. Then, because I had written too much, my editor & the editor above her, helped me squeeze out duplications, of which there were umpteen-many.

O! there were many. But they got gone.

The story is told in chronological order, assisted with luscious artwork from Lisa Desimini, a letter to children from the subject’s son, and notes of further information for older children, parents, librarians & teachers.

Kirkus said: “Short poetic stanzas join jewel-toned illustrations to sing the satisfying story of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.”

It is an American Library Association Top Ten Amelia Bloomer book (a list of titles about exemplary girls and women), it is selected by the National Council on the Social Studies &  it won the Florida Book Awards gold medal. The full title is SHE SANG PROMISE: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader.  It is part of the Accelerated Reader program & its listed on several library/history archives as a reference on Native American topics.

By Jan Godown Annino and Lisa Desimini

By Jan Godown Annino and Lisa Desimini

 

Q: What is your current project?

CURRENT PROJECT

A:  A few in the cooker. This year so far I sent several poems for children to a university publisher’s contest & also submitted to an independent publisher, a 3,400-word mystery short story for adults. Another illustrated biography that I enjoyed researching is finished, not contracted, being read. I recently had fun writing a picture book based on my revision of a children’s folksong that has cool present-day ties, & I finished poems of whimsey, on a theme, for kiddos. A third new picture book manuscript is also almost ready to send out. If any of those see a green light I will  switch off from my zippy novel-in-progress for middle grade, & revise the previous project (s). Much as I love the current story & main character set in the 1960s in Florida, I hope for the temporary interruption via the working with-an-editor phase, of one of the “finished” pieces.

Thanks so very much for these Qs Kathy. And good luck with your contributions to the mighty fine new blog, GROG.