“Ballet slippers and saxophones:” #Lee Bennett Hopkins

Kwame Alexander
When I was 2 my mom read me poems by #NikkiGiovanni & #LeeBennettHopkins. So cool that #TheCrossover has won the LBHopkins Poetry award!”

By Jan Godown Annino

If there is a King of Children’s Poetry in the U. S.
he is Lee Bennett Hopkins (the Queen would be
Jane Yolen.)

Lee Bennett Hopkins, Center Stage, Florida Artists' Hall of Fame  c. 2017 Stephanie Salkin, all rights reserved

Lee Bennett Hopkins, Center Stage, Florida Artists’ Hall of Fame
c. 2017 Stephanie Salkin, all rights reserved

LBH is a world-wide record holder in poetry.
And as young poets can attest, for 25 years
he has become the leader in establishing poetry awards
that lift up the art of poem-making and poem-reading,
to the highest levels.

This poet – and novelist- is also a long time leader in championing diversity of characters and themes in children’s books.

I can not say LBH chose Florida for retirement,
because so many projects are popping
for him. During a small dinner in his honor
with his lifetime partner Charles Egita, at
Paramount Grill, LBH talked of
juggling 60 poets’ work. That is because
in addition to writing his own heartfelt poems,
LBH a supreme anthologist of poetry for children.

So among tempting aromas, I selected
tofu scramble in his honor last week,
the night before
he took the stage with rock stars
Don Felder (The Eagles) ,
Billy Dean and Jim Stafford,
to be inducted
into the Florida Artists’ Hall of Fame.

Move over Ray Charles,
Tennessee Williams,
Zora Neale Hurston
and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who proceeded
LBH as honorees in the Artists’ Hall of Fame.

Much has already been written and
will be written
about this honor.

Enjoy Robyn Hood Black piece on LBH,
and futurewise, look for a Michelle Henderich Barnes’
report on the Florida
Convening Culture Conference that was
wrapped around the awards event. (Stick with the link to MB
above, for a cuter than candy pix of LBH!)

But let me just say that I felt as if
I was a
mermaid swimming sweetly on Sanibel sands,
among sandcastles made of syllables
and sounds ripe for poem-making,
as a result of being with LBH & his posse.

So now,
I’m back to writing, reading,
critiquing & visiting schools.
(It’s Dr. Seuss week!)

I close with big appreciations to
Secretary of State Ken Detzner and
his posse including Sandy Shaughnessy,
for bestowing the honor, which was
championed by many, including
poets Stephanie Salkin & Jude Mandell

A VIDEO TO NOTE
I do expect to return here with more on
LBH and the award. But first,
visit with this great video record
of the ceremony, which I enjoyed
straight-through as I couldn’t be in the
Gainesville audience,
scooting home for scheduled events.
Hint: when you have time, stick with this
Florida Channel memory for the poetic line,
we need ballet slippers and saxophones.”
Did you hear the crowd’s applause?

. . .
WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED
I am still focused on the continued
hate speech in this country.
For my Poetry Friday piece this week, I will again
highlight the resistance anthem, WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED.
But I am happy to provide links on Friday to some
poetry blogs keyed to an exciting March poetry
commemoration,
which I very much look forward to reading.

………..

We are all . . .

The always-informative, often soothing Poetry Friday collection is, collected here this week.

. . .

" We are one Earth"               c. 2017Jan Godown Annino

” We are one Earth” c. 2017Jan Godown Annino


We are one Earth.
We are one People.

We are all immigrants, citizens.
We are all Christian, Hindu, Buddhist.
We are all Jewish, Muslim.
We are all Black, Hispanic, white.
We are all First Nation, Asian.

A long-time spiritual of decades ago that sang out
across this land soothing many, is known as
I Shall Not Be Moved.
It transformed in the U.S. Civil Rights era to
We Shall Not Be Moved.

And it just came into my world,
a most welcome zephyr.

A group of us were invited to stand and sing
this as a protest song of solidarity, in a version
with some words changed for modern times.
We attended this service in response
to vile speech,
sent to a local Jewish temple
and hurtful to us all.

Singing there, a zing zanged
through me.
I felt more uplifted than
I had in months.

We Shall Not Be Moved keeps company with me.
Here it is, with my 2017 tweaks. 

2017 Edition, We Shall Not Be Moved

Will shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Jews and Christians, we shall not be moved.
Jews and Christians, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Hindus and Muslims, we shall not be moved.
Hindus and Muslims, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Immigrants, citizens, we shall not be moved.
Immigrants, citizens, we shall not be moved

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Black and white, we shall not be moved.
Black and white, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Hispanic, Asian, First Nation, we shall not be moved.
Hispanic, Asian, Firsr Nation, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

Gay, straight, trans, we shall not be moved.
Gay, straight, trans, we shall not be moved.

Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

O YES! Like a tree, growing by the waterside,
We shall not be moved.

©2017 Jan Godown Annino

This is shared with a huge heart of appreciation
to my husband’s former students, the ones who
kindly invited us to the service.
They are long-time consumer activist-attorneys,
David and Barbara Abrams. The Florida Supreme Court
recently honored David Abrams for his generous
public spirit. And he is quick to note that
his law partner, and partner in life, Barbara Abrams,
is why he is able to give so much time to the community.

For more on the original I Shall Not Be Moved.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Shall_Not_Be_Moved

To catch the tune, listen here.

A book, a month of books

I am fortunate to be part of today’s crew at
POETRY FRIDAY.

This week I completed THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
by Colson Whitehead, whose many honors for
bringing the main character, Cora, and her mother,
Mabel, to us, include
the 2016 National Book Award.

“The world may be mean, but people
don’t have to be, not if they refuse.”


– Mabel The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

I cried through much of it, especially at the end.
The author combines history and his own magical realism.
With those tools, he giftedly presents powerful suggestions
about the physical and emotional torture of the
enslavement business that are visceral and I flinched.
It is a swift thing to convict in our minds the U.S. businessmen and women who perpetuated imprisonment and brutality upon children, women and men.
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD also delivers us to others
whose complicity must also be remembered and discussed.
The author’s ultimate gift is a fiercely independent young
woman whose spirit will not be squelched. At an imagined
museum in South Carolina, a temporarily-free Cora plays
parts in three different time-period dioramas of black history.
It gave me chills to see her assignment. I made an air-first
as Cora figures out how to get back at gawking white visitors.

Teachers should read this novel; it will be good to see how
it informs both history and literature classes,
for more mature students.
It may also be widely available on television.

This is a 2016 NPR interview with Colson Whitehead

. . .
Although any day of the year is an important time
to learn about more
titles on the black experience, here are some links,
in celebration of
February, Black History Month.

The Brown Bookshelf

Debut author Leah Henderson

I enjoyed meeting author Leah Henderson at a workshop
and think you will want to follow this talented
thinker as her writing career expands.

Poetry for Children
This site, above, created by children’s literature/poetry specialist Sylvia Vardell,
who I hope to meed some day as many of you have, features a link
to SoundCloud posts of poems on various aspects of the black experience. the-underground-railroad<

Thankful

So, we do appreciate the people who have our backs.

In history, the people, including children, who stood up against Hitler & the Nazis are appreciated in books such as Scholastic’s HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST. Sometimes it was just a cup of tea and food smuggled to a sickly child. What makes their book for young readers especially potent is that their
stories of bravery are all about acts of resistance undertaken by teenagers in Europe during World War II.

 img_5486

Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun’s book remembers greater-than-a- cuppa-tea actions. The bravery of severe resistance, the acting of deceptive roles in the face of likely arrest, torture & death.

Leading the memorialization of the good people who had the backs of Jews & others’ Hitler targeted is the group, Yad Vashem education center & memorial keeps the flame of memory burning.
The link above is to one of many pages there.
It is especially noteworthy in these times, because the page I selected, honors Muslim Rescuers of Jewish people.

Today is Poetry Friday and also Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The poem of Martin Niemoller is one that many of us studied in school.

“First They Came For The Jews”

by Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

You may also want to learn about the brave IRENA SENDER. Whose feats
are documented in at least two books for students.
http://www.irenasendler.org/facts-about-irena/

Please visit a publisher with important titles, consistently, for young readers & educators, on the Holocaust.

Re-DISCOVERED: Tom Lehrer

This week I didn’t read one of the books that I did actually
share in the Kindergarten class where I volunteer.
Instead I sang it.
WAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, a song from Neil Sedaka, is
a perker-upper in crayon colors illustrated by Daniel Miyares.
It comes with a bonus for me here in Florida; the main character is
an alligator who has to get to school.
The kids didn’t care that I’m not a professional singer. They joined
in, too & we croaked together though a lively time.

In a writer’s illogical way, the success with that for story time,
led me to look online at clips of Shari Lewis
and Lamb Chops singing,
then onto clips of comic Soupy Sales’ crazy old kid’s TV show,
and then I found the brilliant math professor-satirist
Tom Lehrer,
liberal lyricist of the 1960s.

As of 2015 in his 80s, Mr. Lehrer lived quietly, as he apparently
fervently wishes, according to sources I won’t cite.
I wish him his desired anonymity in this crazy world,
great good healthy days & alligator-sized
appreciation for the joy that listening to his songs
brought me on Inauguration Day. I suspect
they will now be a comfort through the weekend & beyond.

Here are some Tom Leher lines about the lip-service paid to unity:

But during National Brotherhood Week
National Brotherhood Week
It’s National Everyone-Smile-At-
One-Another-hood Week
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you
It’s only for a week, so have no fear
Be grateful that it doesn’t last all year!

c. Tom Lehrer, all rights reserved

I know your kindness and good will lasts
all year & as the first month winds down
in this strange new year, I appreciate more than ever
this nourishing nest of Poetry Friday readers & writers.

In case you want to visit with Tom Lehrer.

Hello, 2017!

Catching up, with pleasure

Whew!
When I was a wee one, my Father would sometimes say,
“That’s been a year this week,” after oodles of stuff
had whizzed through our life in short space.

I feel that way now.
I’m jumping back here to post about a lovely new book.
To be specific, it’s a lovey book: LUCY’S LOVEY.

unknown

This delight is a debut picture book from Betsy Devany, a creative spirit who, when she is not writing,
spends every work day with a flock of toys. Art from Redwall illustrator
Christopher Denise brings the adventures of little Lucy & her missing lovey, to life.

Betsy’s inventive story is page-turning prose as a mystery unfolds.
Since much about poetry is on mind, I collected a found poem
from LUCY’S LOVEY.

Only Some of Lucy’s Babies

Fancy
Tiny
Minky

Humongous
Flat
Burper

Squeaky
Sparkly
Bubba

Since you will want to know more, here is a way to meet Betsy online.

I go back to reading in the school where I volunteer soon
and LUCY’S LOVEY is already packed for the visit

New Year’s Poetry Post Card Exchange

I have received lovely cards & original poems.
I want to post images after I complete my small stack
& send them off. (By January 23rd, the Chinese N.Y.)
More appreciations to the exchange originator.
And to the poem makers who sent them to me.

Law Advocate Students Rule!
I was in San Francisco on New Year’s Day. But I live in Florida.
That was quite a hop for us, and so it was wonderful to travel there to acknowledge students of FSU Law School. The lawyers-in-training work with my dear husband, Paolo Annino. In only one example of student power, their consistent
advocacy for children who were blatantly placed incorrectly in nursing homes in Florida,
due to wrongheaded political policy, has resulted in the Father Robert Drinan award. This was awarded in S.F. and I felt so honored to see my husband accept it on their behalf.

Accepting the Father Robert Drinan Law Award, Prof. Paolo G. Annino

Accepting the Father Robert Drinan Law Award, Prof. Paolo G. Annino

(And yes, the law students sprung the kiddos from nursing homes.)

If you know of folks considering an advocacy career, at any age,
law is a supremely kick-butt, effective area.
I believe there is no better training ground for feet-first
experience than the FSU College of Law Public Interest Law Center.

Girlfriends Rule!
In addition to our moveable Christmas drive from Tallahassee to Daytona Beach
to be with our 95-year-old & 85-year-old Elders (my hubby’s dear parents),
to returning home to fly to San Francisco (sunny days, before the rains!)
I landed, repacked & hit the roads to squeeze in a visit by myself with dear gal
pals Terry & Weida, in two different Florida cities. We did the selfie thing &
the catching up thing. What a bonus good ending, to a feel good string of holiday days.

c.2017JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved

c.2017JanGodownAnnino, all rights reserved

c.2017JanGodownAnnino,  all rights reserved

c.2017JanGodownAnnino,
all rights reserved

Poetry Friday Regales!

Poetry Friday is a visit from your Hygge (cozy) place with a community of poetry readers & poetry writers.
This week, until next Friday, it is candle-lit at Keri Recommends. Thank you, Keri!

Sicily in Florida

Some days of December I am posting
at the lovely invitation of peaceful
Mary Lee Hahn (who is doing this every day!)
#haikuforhealing.
I hope these short meditations are as soothing
to you as they are to me.

Homemade

Spinach sausage sweets
Nella’s Sicilian kitchen
Love lucious loaves
c.2016 JanGodownAnnino

c. 2016 Nella Annino

c. 2016 Nella Annino

c.2016 Nella Annino

c.2016 Nella Annino

c. 2016 Nella Annino

c. 2016 Nella Annino

c.2016 Nella Annino

c.2016 Nella Annino