Green Poetry

Kermit’s green is a color that surrounds us here in North Florida so you would think it is hard to miss. But guess what – don’t we all experience how that which is familiar, can become less special?

But, Ho! Visitors from the parched West arrive. And they play in our nature’s backyard. And so we play, too. And it’s like feeling the world anew with the sensory overload of a healthy toddler.

“Green! It’s so green here,” they marvel, these green-seeking, water-wanting folks. And they are right, thank them. Through their eyes my hubby & I see our gorgeous green world, again. And in celebration, I’m sharing the color green from three poets writing for children.

 

THE GREAT BIG GREEN by Peggy Gifford, with illustrations from my friend Lisa Desimini, is the newest book.

 

“The thing is,

the thing is green.

And the green is,

the green is green.

And by green I mean

real

mean

I mean

dragon green

anaconda green

electric-eel green

green-iguanas-in-the-sun green.”

c. 2014 Peggy Gifford

c. Lisa Desimini and Peggy Gifford

c. Lisa Desimini and Peggy Gifford

 

 

I like the way Peggy dips into the hues and presents  tints of greens not always covered in books about colors for children. The surprise riddle that runs through this picture book is fun to test whether you & the kiddos can solve this one. I think you will!

Lisa provides a note about the scanning of her own skin, photos & other materials for the mixed media collages, including green marble from the Emerald Isle, Ireland.

The spectrum of inventive green art & word imagery of THE GREAT BIG GREEN make this a mighty fine addition to any colorful bookshelf for young readers.

 

WELCOME TO THE GREEN HOUSE by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Laura Regan is the first book about the tropical rainforest (as opposed to our U.S. Pacific NW rainforest) that our family spent time with when our college age daughter was a toddler. It’s a challenge to pick just a few lines to share but here goes:

 

“…where the slow, green-coated sloth

and the quick-fingered capuchin

make their slow-quick ways

from room to room

in the green house,

in the dark green,

light green,

bright green,

copper green,

blue green,

ever-new green house.”

c.1993 Jane Yolen

 

My signed copy is on the To Mail shelf, as it was won just this week, here.

But the claimant didn’t have a chance yet to come forward with a postal address so if that continues, I may become fortunate & move it back to my permanent poetry pile.

 

c. Jane Yolen and Laura Regan

c. Jane Yolen and Laura Regan

 

HAILSTONES & HALIBUT BONES by Mary O’Neill with illustrations by John Wallner (Leonard Weisgard created art for the very first edition) is the standard against which I think about books on color for children. We received this modern classic (with a storylife of its own as a multimodal way of sharing color with sightless or low-vision children) as a family gift from writer/editor Susan Cerulean when my hubby & I were new to parenting. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate how this sophisticated yet accessible book would work wonders. It’s a book to have read to you, with your eyes closed, as each color is represented in a Mary O’Neill poem through the feeling it can create.

HAILSTONES & HALIBUT BONES is a deft, deep & delicious collection of poems about colors. I know I haven’t seen every childrens’ book on all the colors, but I’m guessing that if I did, HH&B would sill rank with as my personal best.

 

Here is Mary O’Neill on, “What is Green?”

 

“Green is the grass

And the leaves of trees

Green is the smell

Of a country breeze.

Green is lettuce

And sometimes the sea

When green is a feeling

You pronounce it N.V.

Green is a coolness

You get in the shade

Of the tall old woods

Where the moss is made.”

c. 1961 Mary O’Neill

c. Mary O'Neill and John Wallner

c. Mary O’Neill and John Wallner

 

“Green Poetry” article citation: Bookseedstudio/Jan Godown Annino April 11, 2014

c. all rights reserved

 

gratitude for my latitude

With the wee drop in temperatures in North Florida,  I sense a tempo  leap.

And so matching that, I am almost completed with revising a chapter book.

On a new project, I touch the word count bar to see how far a new story character and I journeyed in one day. I read a mistake.

It can’t be 2,600 words. My legs were stiff when i pushed away from the keyboard for the last time yesterday. So they also say it is true.

If you wonder about working with the community that is National Novel Writing Month, which helps develop dreams of story creation, it’s not too late for 2012. And anyone can use the group’s model to make a better month for you, your personal NaNoWriMo.

From the Dublin, Ireland, Library

I met up with a NaNoWriMo crew at a kick-off party. The construction paper origami guide given to each hopeful creator observes me now on my desk.  When I want to stray,  origami bunny is a tangible reminder of the 1,000 words a day I want.

Thank you to our thoughtful  NaNoWriMo folks.

OTHER GUIDES

For this nation’s month of Thanksgiving, I fill  with gratitude to live so well in this FL latitude.

Hurricane Sandy raked over the New Jersey beach, Seaside Heights, where years back I regularly rolled down dunes and got sick stuffing my mouth with a bag of salt water taffy. Dear family members are still without power at the CT shore – it may be a week or longer, but they are safe & nestled with another family member. Family members living near  Narragansett, RI are also fine. Extra thanks given with the turkey, in November 2012.

Before I scoot away during the rest of these 30 days, I share titles of good books for younger readers, about American indian/Native American topics.

November is the month more than any other, when we celebrate this continent’s First Peoples.

Beyond  the high quality of these picture books they share an additional crucial element. I hope you can discern it through my mention of them here.  You may also want to visit the Oyate and American Indians in Children’s Literature resources, for insights that deepen our connection to this month. Thank you.

JINGLE DANCER by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee)

THE STAR PEOPLE b;y S.D. Nelson (Standing Rock Sioux)

SQUANTO’s JOURNEY, THE CIRCLE OF THANKS, THE FIRST STRAWBERRIES, THE EARTH UNDER SKY BEAR’S FEET by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki)

Florida Christmas tree 2

Last year the Florida Christmas tree posted on this blog shone with lights.

No branches. Strings of lights at the Cedar Key marina

glowing in the dark like a beacon.

c. Jan Godown Annino

c. Jan Godown Annino

Now for a tree like none you’ve ever seen,

I’ve reprised an image I took years ago, during a visit with

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper in South Florida.

This tree stood tall in the Seminole Tribe of Florida

headquarters, with a palm tree nodding nearby.

The tree is typical. Maybe yours is tall & green.

Red bows are standard. So are basic balls.

But the dolls!

How many trees have you seen, where dolls are the decoration.

Handmade dolls.

Dolls made with palm fibers. And dressed to represent

Seminole patchwork clothing. For the textile, fabric art

& history buff this tree is  worth a detour.

(Respect copyright. All rights reserved with these images.)

This is a little visit, here.

Or maybe it will inspire you to plan your trip.

c. Jan Godown Annino all rights reserved

c. Jan Godown Annino all rights reserved

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Feb. 13, 2010

Meet me & a ga-zillion other folks at the Florida coast, Feb. 13, 2010 just after lunch at 12:30 p.m.
Link hands along the shore.
Let our leaders know how protective we are, of Florida’s shores.

This is organized by a Seaside Florida restaurant owner.

Visit www.handsacrossthesand.com
or the Facebook page of the same name.

If we don’t show our strength & carry the day, we’ll all be searching for appropriate gear to wear for continual beach clean up. Here’s a future newspaper I conjured up from the coast town where I spent childhood time at the beach. Tar balls, anyone?

trees

In parts of the world, but not where I live in North Florida, plants are stretching tall in springtime.

We always appreciate trees when the leaves are new. But I think in the fall & winter, when the  full show of their

green is absent, this is a time to consider what our every day world would be like, if we lived in a land where the trees as we understood them to grow naturally, in woods, & in clumps at seepages of water, down hillsides and circling fileds, were only planted in rows.  Or if the trees weren’t there at all. Maybe you have lived without the cloaks of trees. But I have not. I grew up by a woods. My mother recited the line, “Woodman! spare that tree,” to me about the youth who was sheltered by a tree & could therefore not cut it, when he was older.

When I read children’s books about the tree woman of Kenya, Wangari Maathai, I felt that she must have loved being a little girl, & that in that time of her life, she must have loved trees.  The shade of them, the fruit of them, the branches of them.

There are several good children’s books about her. The one I currently have is from author/artist Claire A. Nivola.

Like all good books, it made me want to know more about what happened to Kenya’s trees. And about how Ms. Maathai brought them back.

So my bedside reading right now is Unbowed: a memoir by Wangari Maathai.