Global Read Aloud & Padma Venkatraman

Introducing Global Read Aloud,

& a Q/A for Padma Venkatraman,

author of THE BRIDGE HOME

 

Here’s my fresh poem today inspired by the Global Read Aloud, which unfurls after summer recess.

 

“My street” by Jan Godown Annino

 

Quaked earth in Sicily shakes me –

family rides by vulcan shadow

drought hitting honey bees honey farmers in Bulgaria

exhorbitant price rises in Argentina

echoes of WW II children of Amsterdam

echoes of Trail of Tears children in America

child drowned in cruise waters on frantic float to freedom

child shot on panicked walk to freedom crossing lion safari lands

 

potent stories reach my small suburban foot-path

crossing distance

opening eyes heart embrace

to create One Street

© 2019JanGodownAnnino

. . . .

I appreciated so very recently learning about a big book event – Global Read Aloud.Padma Venkatraman, author of a lovely & potent new MG novel, THE BRIDGE HOME, set in coastal Chennai, India, enlightened me about this interactive book celebration.

Lyrical Picture Books, lively Early Readers, lovely MG &YA are selected for focused reading & reader interactionwith the creators & other young readersduring the GRA celebration of world stories.

 

All books selected invite participants to understand & welcome learning about lifestyles, regions, cultures, ideas & teachings that may be lesser-known. According to Kara Yorio in School Library Journal, students have reached out to each other via social media, traditional mail, Skype & other ways to discuss selected global books.

GRA 2019 has selected Padma’s THE BRIDGE HOME.

In her tale, inspired by incidents from real life, four children of coastal Chennai, India, find themselves cast out upon the streets. How will they survive? What will that look like, day and night? Can they become a family? Can a street child living with a disability be as resilient as those without that challenge? Who among the many adults encountered, can be truly trusted? How do children handle the sorrows that inevitably shadow street people living near, but also so far,from the beautiful beaches along the giant Bay of Bengal?

THE BRIDGE HOME is deservedly moving here there everywhere in reading groups, at teacher conferences & home study programs. I haven’t had a chance to look at all Mock Newbery 2020 blogs but I am happy to see this dream list.

Classrooms from South Africa  to North Carolina are talking about connecting across community streets to discuss THE BRIDGE HOME after summer recess. You can join the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GRAMiddleSchool/

But some won’t be waiting for September 30th – official start of Global Read Aloud – to meet Padma’s four young characters, thanks to the far reach of TV.  And  last month in The New York Times, Marjorie Ingall had this good word to say.  So much YAY! for a book I love.

Q/A with Padma Venkatraman, author of THE BRIDGE HOME

Q

Your story is so excellent in offering an MG visit into extreme poverty, while authentically sharing the characters’ lightness & love. How many years has this beauty has been in the making? Please share a peek into the revision process on this one, after contract.

PADMA This book was about 5 years in the making, maybe even 6 or 7!  It was easier than the others to revise in some ways (except that I was used to writing  YA so it started off a lot larger and I had to trim a lot while retaining the essence and especially the emotional punch.)

Climbing the Stairs began as diary entries, but that seemed too narrow; so I widened it to rewrite the whole thing in third person but that felt too impersonal; then I rewrote it all in first person and I knew I had the voice right.

Island’s End originally had 2 voices but then I realized I didn’t need multiple points of view and it was just Uido’s story.

A Time To Dance started as verse and stayed verse in the end but in between I was frightened and tried prose which sounded horrible for that novel, so then I trusted my instincts and went back to verse.

With THE BRIDGE HOME, I just knew the voice was right, right from the start. 

It’s a really unusual voice – 2nd person – direct address, so it has the feel of one long letter that Viji the protagonist is writing to her sister, but I wanted the reader to feel both like Viji was speaking to her sister but also, in some way, like there was the intimacy of the protagonist speaking to the reader directly. 

Q

I find poems from writers with India heritage in young peoples’ anthologies, notably those selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. Would you please share a a poetry collection for YA or MG by an Indian author, or authors, available in English?

PADMA I absolutely love Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry. Much of his work has been translated into English – YA readers would be easily able to read those translations.  I believe W. B. Yates’s translation of his Gitanjali won the Nobel Prize.  

[ Bookseedstudio: RT created the India national anthem & is known for literary & educational innovations & for winning the Nobel Prize.]

Q

Your back story reads like a novel, Padma. After child days in India with your accomplished single mother, who has a wonderful shout-out in your author’s note, which makes me fall for her, you worked as an oceanographer following university years in  the UK.

This ocean-going leadership position took you far out to sea, on fascinating waters of the world. Which is one reason why we are fortunate to have ISLAND’S END, set in the Andaman Islands.

Please share any moments when the ocean’s creatures or phenomena left you amazed, or perhaps when the ocean’s fury astounded you. This is a question, I guess, about theimpact of those years dwelling close to Nature for weeks, months, on end. And also please share your your view of how our fragile giant blue/green marble fares today.

PADMA Ever since I was a child, I have been attracted to nature.  I could always lose myself in a place of natural beauty and I think that feeling of losing one’s ego entirely is something that also happens when I write, which is  why I like both being in nature and writing.

As for moments that left me amazed, I remember dolphins following our small craft in the Andamans once, and how they threw rainbows into the air every time they leaped. 

It astounds me, though, that we refuse to look after Earth.  We only have this one planet and it is shocking to see how poorly we’ve treated it.  It’s so depressing to me to see that we Americans act as though Global Warming  is a question of belief. It’s not. It’s a scientific fact.

If I ask you do you believe in God, that’s a fair question. But to even ask if anyone believes in Global Warming is not okay because it is not a matter of choosing whether you want to believe in it or not – it’s a matter of opening our eyes to the fact that if we don’t change the way we live, we soon won’t have anywhere to live.  

Q

THE BRIDGE HOME leaves me tremulous for the four children – one older sister & her younger sister, and also, two boys who are friends by circumstance. I began to worry about them incessantly.

At other moments the unlikely informal family- by- accident makes me laugh. I still think about them.How did you deal with your heights of joy for them  & also your sadness at their poignant, tragic moments?

PADMA I love them too, so thank you. I remember hearing Lois Lowry say once that the worlds she created were real and I feel like the characters I create are real, too.  I do get very involved in my writing and I must admit my sadness at the way we treat children even today does affect my family.

Plus it was incredibly tough to return to the place in my childhood and adolescence when I witnessed violence and I had to do that, to write. I wish I could say it was cathartic but it is wasn’t because we still have so many real Rukkus, Vijis, Muthus and Aruls today in this world who are suffering from hunger and homelessness.

 I am not sure I really know how I deal with it – it’s just a fact I live with and think about and try to do something about through my writing and outside of my writing; but some days of course, other aspects of my now-comfortable life take over and I don’t think or do as much as I should.

Q

Your author’s notes are fascinating, especially about your mother. What are some of the things she tells you about your writing. And especially about, BRIDGE, as it must seem so personally potent to her, considering her volunteer work when you were young.

PADMA My mother ardently supports and admires my writing. She has, ever since I was a child. It was to her that I first dictated my poems – and she says I was really picky about line breaks, even when I was just 3 years old!

Apparently, I’d say – a poem came to me, I have a poem in my head, write it down for me – and that was because at that age I couldn’t write myself. She recorded in her journal that she was shocked I had the concept of a line or such an extensive vocabulary.  

 Q

This is a tiny prompt I will share with writers in my home June 19. It is modified from one given by poet Helen Frost at the poetry blog of editor/poet Michelle Barnes.

Please complete.

Select an object relating to your story idea or your character. But, an object that isn’t usually symbolic. Can’t be the surface of a small pond/mirror/window, nor a banner/flag or flower etc.. It could be a sock, a patio chair or chewing gum, to offer examples.

1/ What is the object    

Padma: Newspaper

2/ Ask this object a question   

Padma: How do you feel when people throw you away so easily

3/ What does the objects answer   

Padma:  I don’t like it. I wish they’d all recycle me. 

Q

We met when you spoke at a Highlights Foundation Novel-in-Verse workshop.

PADMA Highlights is an incredible place – at least a place that is special to me. The beautiful setting and just being surrounded by nature would itself be enough but here one is not distracted by mundane everyday needs and you’re served amazing and wholesome food, everyone is welcoming and I think (hope) the faculty really and truly supports the students. I rejoice when I hear that so many writers who were once students when I was faculty – like Traci Sorrell, Charles Waters, and many many others – are doing so incredibly well. I have heard some people say Highlights is expensive but I really don’t think that is true at all. It is an all inclusive package so it is an incredible price I think. But I am biased in favor of this wonderful program!  

 

Highlights Foundation Workshop – Padma Venkatraman, Jan Godown Annino

Q

Anything else you’d care to add about where we might connect with you.

PADMA I would love to have any and every school that wishes, to participate in the Global Read Aloud, for which THE BRIDGE HOME is the middle grade selection.

I am so honored and humbled this is the case and I cannot wait to connect to students and teachers and librarians and readers around the world.

I also am so honored that the book is a ProjectLIT selection as I think that is an effort I so greatly admire, too.

Can’t think of anything else at the moment, Jan! Off to catch my flight to Trinidad – so excited to be chief guest at their Beach Pen festival again! A great week ahead with many school visits library events and even an event at a women’s prison, which I am sure will be so incredibly important and meaningful to me.  

Bookseedstudio: Appreciations, Padma for this deep sharing.

. . . .

More connections

Padma Venkataraman’s website, including, when underway, Padma’s updates on  connecting with GRA students & other events:

Teach the Bridge Home (GRA#19 GRABridge #ProjectLIT)

https://padmavenkatraman.com

Scholastic calls the Global Read Aloud originator a cool teacher:

Global Read Aloud website:

https://theglobalreadaloud.com/blog/

Padma Venkatraman is a special guest at this 2019 Highlights Foundation workshop.

 

Here at Bookseedstudio I also wrote about Padma’s novel, ISLAND’S END.

I love this wonderful piece on PV, at groovy Nerdy Book Club:

Thank you for reading this far!  The comment box is below. Many appreciations to today’s Poetry Friday host the multi-talented artist & poem-maker Michelle Kogan.

. . . .

 

Poetry: found poem, Today’s Little Ditty, Twist

Do yourself a favor & sample the stuff of Poetry Friday.

Short months
by J.G. Annino

3 short months
13 tidy weeks
92 enticing days

summer corn
summer beach
summer song

stretch
a new way –
cat/cow

mix up a
cool treat –
lemon mousse

write a
new line –
the end
copyright2018©JGAnnino
allrightsreserved

Will these short months unfold as I anticipate
in the poem above?
I can never foresee gifts of each day,
the inscrutable continuing mystery,
adventures of each season.

At this moment I feel sure about
summer corn & already I am lifted up
from summer songs
I sing.

Will I feel confident in writing the end
for this manuscript, a rewriting of Pru’s story,
a verse novel? Expectation speculation.
But as I type this on a Monday, Teresa Hanafin of
The Boston Globe who shares my fondness
for the reminders she finds in
The Farmer’s Almanac, reminds me
Tuesday is the 170th day of the year.
This lights a fire!
To nourish my summer spirit
I looked & found, Entertaining Words II,
a found poem.

Entertaining Words II*
by JG Annino

I hope you will understand
it was either them or me

’til truth leaks out like honey
like schwarmfst skwirlp twoolm preefts brawig thrunch

how far would the wind convey
flavor of the waves, I’ll say

I’m captain of paper ships
but I need words to describe

after each rain a rainbow
all things take on great import

c. allrightsreseved by a variety of
regulars at the site Today’s Little Ditty,
as seen in The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, 2016.

“Entertaining Words II”* is
a found poem collected from ten poem lines in
The Best of TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY, 2016editor, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.

* key to lines credits in “Entertainig Words II”
from The Best of TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY, 2016
Elizabeth Steinglass (I hope you will understand)
Tabatha A. Yeatts (It was either them or me)
George Heidenrich (’til truth leaks out like honey)
David McMullin (like schwarmfst skwirlp twoolm preefts brawig thrunch)
Audrey Day-Williams (how far would the wind convey)
Julie Larios (flavor of the waves, I’ll say)
Jessica M. Bigi (I’m captain of paper ships)
Dorianne Bennett (but I need words to describe)
Jane Yolen (after each rain a rainbow)
Rebekah Hoeft (all things take on great import)

With the two ending lines,
I went flip & flop,
see & saw,
on their order. Thoughts?

Any season, I would love to read about a poem you find in a volume of TODAY’s LITTLE DITTY, which are carefully created & curated joys that feature Poetry Friday pals & also, many well-published poets who generously suggest poem prompts.

TWIST

I have dipped into a coupla yoga
classes on & off, without seeing
the pose cat/cow until this very week.
My stretches are on hiatus until I meet with
a physical therapist to unkink a hip hitch, but
that doesn’t diminish the mind stretch I find
in an artful book,
TWIST, by poet Janet S. Wong and artist Julie Paschkis.
This study of yoga poses, with a calm folkloric feel
to the art, arrived at our big black mailbox
with a clutch of ordered summer reads.

I wish you soothing summer joys between now & the
season that follows in about 10 tidy weeks.

found poem resources
https://michellehbarnes.blogspot.com/
http://elizabethsteinglass.com
http://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com
http://davidmcmullinbooks.com
http://inmydreams2016.wordpress.com
http://julielarios.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/jessica.bigi.37
http://www.dorireads.com/
http://janeyolen.com/
http://rebekahhoeft.blogspot.com/

TWIST resources
Janet S. Wong
http://www.janetwong.com
Julie Pacshkis
Welcome
……………….

Like others, likeminded, with work to complete this summer,
I also work as a citizen
against this heartless administration that makes a choice derided by everyone from
Laura Bush to Pope Francis,
a choice unnecessary under law,to separate infants & toddlers & older children from a parent at the U.S.- Mexico border.


#VOTE #VOTEORTHEYWIN #ALforC
with permission from # Authors& Illustrators For Children AIforChildren.org

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!

Verse novels love persona poems

Creative Margaret hosts the Poetry drumming this week at
https://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com/

LOVE for persona poems

posted by J.G. Annino

I’ve been enjoying a stack of novels in
verse & they send me looking into what these engaging
creatures are all about.

A visit to poet/instructor/sweet Poetry Friday pal/Tuscany expert
Renee LaTulippe’s No Water Water poetry site,
led me to that site section of Post Index & the entry, Verse Novels.
Many nourishing details there! www.nowaterriver.com/

Then I toggled over to Michelle H. Barnes’
Today’s Little Ditty. In this month, May 2016,
Michelle, my poetry workshop pal/Poetry Friday guru & all-around
wonderful Florida colleague, features an interview with poet Laura Shovan about personal poems. Laura’s debut MG novel, which I featured here in my last post, is a novel in verse.
Laura asked for poems written in response to her writing prompt
and they appear daily on Today’s Little Ditty this month.
michellehbarnes.blogspot.com/

Did you know persona poems love verse novels and
of course, vice versa?

A persona poem lands

The shore at our part of the Gulf of Mexico is sand marsh. And that marsh and that shore make all the difference, in spring & fall.

For some birds, the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is the first
landfall, after a punishing migratory haul across water.

And so it was that recently we ventured on an
old path at the St. Marks refuge. Old, but never before trod by us.
The grassy way was busy with plant & insect inhabitants,
but not with visiting uprights.

c.JanGodownAnnino

c.JanGodownAnnino


We admired everything, including water lilies opened to the sun
in still pools, the last pom pom bursts of purple thistle spikes
and assorted small yellow and orange beauties.

We found adult butterflies and juvenile grasshoppers.
When we met one critter I couldn’t identify & I wondered –
who are you?

Think
by J.G. Annino

Dear bird watcher,

Ah!
You saw a flash, pale yellow
I heard you – “What a pretty fellow>”
Do not think me here for show
I face treacherous miles to go

While you watch me on this thistle
Think – he had to stop and wet his whistle
Think – what other creatures has he seen
Think – what is his perch when humans dream

Flash!
I lift my wings – I’ve seen seeds
After drink and rest it’s food I need
While wings beat steady steady again
Go write a poem, be my friend

I must fly,
Bob, traveling bobolink

c. Jan Godown Annino 2016

c. JanGodownAnnino

c. JanGodownAnnino


Some after story
Bob O’Lincoln is the call some birders
attributed to this bird. Over long time that name
evolved to the lyrical way we say it today.
A tagged bobolink once traveled 12,000 miles in migration.
In a day a bobolink can fly up to 1,000 miles. Without a
suitcase! Bobolinks like rice fields, to glean the grains, such as
in Louisiana & South Carolina on their way to Canada or The North U.S.
Sources: Cornell Ornithology Lab online
Wikipedia
MyDictionary.com

A thank you chirp for bobolink identification of this photo –
which I took May 7, 2016 on our walk at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge –
trilled out to my birding/writing pal, dear/near neighbor, Ann Morrow.
And two chirps of thanks to Michelle H. Barnes of the always illuminating Today’s Little Ditty, & to Laura Shovan for the persona poem prompt.