Joy Month

Joy Month

(If you seek Poetry Friday links – & if you’ve landed here, I’m hopeful you’ll want too, please visit with Laura.)

This may be an only post in my busy, 2nd-favorite month of the year.
I am thankful for so much, including your visits &
comments here through the year.


Before a light flight
by J.G. Annino

A silk garland
small patches
yellow, orange, black, white
a fluttering
of poured sunshine.


Every year near here butterflies arrive to gorge on fuel.
Then they lift up to the sky for fall migration over the
gaping wide Gulf of Mexico.

To witness this feeding, as my husband & I did again recently,
always feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience.



Because this seasonal sight is so close to Thanksgiving,
it always helps me imagine the even more abundant sights of Nature,
that once were here & everywhere in this
Hemisphere as experienced by Native Americans/American Indians
hundreds of years ago.

In the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving,
depictions of the Native families who farmed, fished, hunted
and lived in villages or on the move,
people who made art and clothing,
medicine and toys,
can be shared in well-meaning
but uninformed Thanksgiving ways.

Because I waited for years for someone in the
Seminole Tribe of Florida to write a book for children
about the astounding matriarch leader, Betty Mae Tiger Jumper,
before doing so myself, I am asked about resources
for families, schools, community youth groups & libraries.
If you have a similar interest here are starting places:

American Indians in Children’s Literature


National Museum of the American Indian

I also find these books to be helpful.
Any title by Joseph Bruchac

FATTY LEGS by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fentonwith artwork from Liz Amini-holmes True story of an 8-year-old child.

A NATIVE AMERICAN THOUGHT OF IT by Rocky Landon with illustrations by David MacDonald

DO ALL INDIANS LIVE IN TIPIS? Questions & Answers from the National Museum of the American Indian
ENCOUNTER by Jane Yolen, illustrations by David Shannon



Happy Native American Heritage Month/November
Happy Thanksgiving/November
Happy National Novel Writing Month/November

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.


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)


Thanksgiving 2008 & American Buffalo in Florida

Native Tribal People &

their heritage

receive the short

stick from our tasty national

holiday in the U.S. , Thanksgiving.

A few days before the 2008

Thanksgiving I took a detour with my

sister & we found this roadside

surprise  in Alachua County,

Florida.(c.) 2008 Jan Godown Annino

It was late in the afternoon, with a cool breeze

tickling the palm fronds.

As I watched this creature clip the field

for dinner,

near U.S. Highway 27,

I thought of archival reports from

the Old West, of

the thundering herds of bison that

could stampede for days,

which sustained the First Peoples

of North America.

This ranch buffalo of 2008 represents legit Florida

heritage, although the Florida bison were scant

compared to the way their cousins once blanketed the mid-West

& The West.

(Buffalo are featured in the book


the “Crossing Creeks and Prairie” chapter,

by my own self,  Jan Godown.  The chapter guides

you to the lucky chance for your own encounter to see

(c.) Jan G. Annino 2008

(c.) Jan G. Annino 2008

buffalo in a natural setting at

Paynes Prairie State Preserve)

For a fine picture book about the adoption & care of a buffalo calf by a father and son and the restoration of the Pablo-Allard herd, please see Joseph Bruchac’s BUFFALO SONG. The author consulted oral history recorded in part in the 1920s & 1930s in Montana. A 1926 Salish tribal story is woven into this lyrical book.  I like the information on it at and at the blog by Debbie Reese American Indians in Children’s Literature

To begin to understand the interesting work of Carol and Joseph Bruhac, please see

For another picture book about the woman who helped save American Buffalo, please see the story of Mary Ann Goodnight,  BUFFALO MUSIC, by

Tracey E. Fern. I like the review of it by children’s book maven Esme Raji Codell, posted  at her blogspot blog, Planet Esme.

(Look for the Oct. 14.200 blog, it’s after her review of a fine picture book bio on one of my picture book heroines, Wanda Gag, who lived for some time in the region where I grew up.)

To fully immerse in the topic, Steven Rinella’s new book, AMERICAN BUFFALO, recently reviewed on NPR (I’m pretty sure it was an interview with the very fine Terri Gross) follows the herds in history & also one particular buffalo that the author brings down on foot in Alaska, after winning a spot in a hunt lottery,  butchers by himself & then packs out for eating later. Not for everyone who reads nature nonfiction,  but if you fish ( I have) or hunt (haven’t, wouldn’t, unless for survival) or if you enjoy the buffalo steak in the cafeteria of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.   this book may be for you.