Snowball in March

Spring springs in Florida,
lemons bud fancy.
Snow falls in New York.
Makes me feel antsy.
I stepped it in, sloshed it,
finally mashed it.
Snowball in March?
Love to laugh at it.


c.2018 Snow ball in March, NYC, Pier 15

c.2018 NYC
Cobbled streets,
lonely snow

Back at work here after visiting our college gal during a break from
revising my history-set verse novel, completed
in December, in d r a f t.
Walking cobbled streets past 1800s buildings & piles of snow in
Lower Manhattan inspired notebook jottings for the novel. And made me think of THE NEW COLOSSUS poet Emma Lazarus.

She (along with many I crave to know more about, such as Galway Kinnell) happens to be featured in a new March 28 to May 2 poem series airing many places in time for a keen
POETRY MONTH APRIL – surely warmer, then-
public T.V.
show launched from those creatives at WGBH, Boston

c. 2018 North Florida
Lemonade, pre-squeeze

Here with our citrus perfume blooms,
it’s time for me to marvel at the silly thoughts in picture books & poems, of Alan Katz, Ame Dyckman, Dennis Lee, Douglas Florian, Lisa Loeb, Jon Scieszka,
Kenn Nesbitt, Rebecca Kai Doltish, Shel Silverstein & the like.

SNOWBALL by Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snowball
as perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
and let it sleep with me…

(enjoy the rest of SNOWBALL by Shel Silverstein & classroom fun with FIRSTGRADEWOW.)

I’m pulling out silly verses
(accepting recommendations)
to prepare for a presentation on poetry,
staged in a big park’s tent,
right next to a noisy popular playground,
at a great book festival,
Word of South.
A perk for me is that Poetry Friday pal, pied piper Irene Latham
will appear at Word of South at a different time,
so I can catch her mojo LIVE.

March clothing!

March 2018
Dressed for Winter Walking



The Spiritual Thursday choir collects around Karen Eastlund, via Irene Latham’s blog. And Renee at No Water River organizes the The Poetry Friday Party at her blog, with a wonderful shout out.

c. JanGodownAnninoall rights reserved

In January in this space, not knowing that March would conduct
the gift of Music Month
to Spiritual Thursday,
I shared from poet Edward Hoagland:

“But songs need silences to be musical.
Prayer needs silence to be heard.
The world needs silhouetting silence.”

Today I sing a song of nature notes, for the bird symphonies
I wake to & also walk to, day into the night.
If you know someone in Alabama perhaps they catch the sounds of a surprising yellow cardinal!

Adding to sounds from Nature, a few thoughts about people-created music.
When my Father wanted soothing sound he called upon Mahalia Jackson. (Even tho’
this sweet man was an agnostic.)
The legacy of Mahalia Jackson is here.

My Mother favored most any classical French composer on record albums or also, heard on public radio, especially DeBussy, shared by NPR here.

I was never in band nor was I close to anyone in a band, but I perk up with
the music of parading high school musicians.
Anyone for a national public radio march music program we could hear from coast to coast? Having learned a lot about writing in community newspapers as a kid tagging along with my news writer Mom & then in my own career, are you surprised that my favorite is
Washington Post.
A California high school band steps out with it here.

Drums & brass horns wouldn’t have helped last month, living
on a small part of this giant blue/breen marble where the name
Parkland has become a word not at all about bucolic parks. Of the many
comforts provided the teacher, student & family survivors, I like to think
of the soothing snuffling, comforting pants & friendly behaved barks of

the Lutheran Church comfort dogs.

I lean upon a reliable choral comfort when I am not
listening to Nature. This balm is from a musician, lyricist, composer, pianist & vocalist
(all in one incomparable person)
Velma Frye.
I am soothed by her performance of An Irish Blessing, which you can easily
“>listen to on You Tube.

I cherish my collection of Velma Frye CDs,
which you can find along with Velma Frye, here.
Although I am on hiatus from singing with a special women’s song circle this talented
educator collected,
I look forward to my return another day.

I also cherish Spiritual Thursday, Poetry Friday &
music that heals.

And one more bird note,
I am imagining the chirping sound track as I read
Jason Reynolds’ AS BRAVE AS YOU, in which birds
inhabit certain unexpected spaces. His birds can be heard
by many more if a film version of this unique middle grade book is made some day. Hope so.

Poetry Friday/Spiritual Thursday: LUNA

all right reserved

I’ve been invited by Mainely Write in the
Poetry Friday group,
collected this week under the glow of the
Spiritual Thursday banner,
to think about the moon.
I love thinking about her.
Luna is a she, yes?
And to me, Luna represents joy & generosity.

Q & A with Ms. Luna

Favorite Earthling?
Mr. E.E. (Buzz) Aldrin

Favorite moon
Phobos (of Mars)

Favorite of your surface shapes

Favorite phase

Favorite poem
“The Crescent Moon” – Amy Lowell

Favorite book
Moon conversation C. copyright JGAnnino
. . .

What a super week for supermoon watchers this one is.
Here’s just one site spotlighting some of the glory.

At night, we bundle up & step out the back door. Or the front door.
We are blessed with a Luna trajectory that is nothing short of heavenly, directly over
us, rising in back & setting in front with clear views, despite living in an urban woods.
The night moon framed in a heart of live oak leaves is the view from our own
front steps. Those are branches & leaves of the grandmother oak that we
fell in love with, wanting to buy our little cottage in North Florida.
We spent a nice bit of time out front moon gazing this past Sunday evening & the
nights since. Are you getting up in the chilly pre-dawn to see her?
We have meant to, but . . .

As for Ms. Luna’s answers in the Q & A above, I can explain.

When I was a little girl, Buzz Aldrin sent me an
envelope of great goodies from NASA. My Mother wrote him that I
was tickled to learn that we had a relative in common, via
marriage. The good cheer our classroom felt from his
generous letter brings a smile to me. When I think of
the Moon I think: generous, I feel generous &
I also think: happy, I feel happy. To me, Col. “Buzz” Aldrin is
THE Man in the Moon.


Phobos is the moon that gets a lot of buzz
for orbiting the red planet Mars while wearing an
odd projectile, much commented upon,
in the space world.

Earthlings gaze at the moon and see
things. Some of the many shapes we
find in crater designs left by asteroids
striking the surface, include hands.

All four phases attract my moongaze. I am especially intrigued
when part of Luna is hidden.
Amy Lowell writes in “Crescent Moon,”
Little rocking, sailing moon/ Do you hear me shout Ahoy!/
The “Crescent Moon” poem

The picture book that changed my life is NIGHTGOWN
OF THE SULLEN MOON by Nancy Willard. Reading it over
and over at our daughter’s request, but to my delight, provided a challenge
to write in a way that spins a fantastic story for young readers
while at the same time, crafting a
luminous page-turner for all-age readers.
I love Lindsey Canesco’s tribute to this treasure book.

MY HOPE is that the moon is a muse for many artists.
I hope Col. Aldrin, who safely landed (July 20) & walked on the moon
(July 21) in 1969 continues living his exhuberant
life for many many many more moons.
(Shiver: His mother’s name before switching to Aldrin at
marriage was Moon!) I wish for your family to see fun designs in the
moon’s cratered marks. I hope many moon poems tickle your
fancy. I wish that you will read Nancy Willard’s magnificent
moon story & be moved by it.

Finally, I wish you a marvelous start to a new cycle of our moon.

Appreciations to Donna
for shining the light on Spiritual Thursday.
And this Everywhere with Special Care gal is also hosting today’s Poetry Friday.
Join in.
The luminous Spiritual Thursday logo is created by Margaret Simon.
See it here.

Every Human Has Rights – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At this peace holiday time, a warm Poetry Friday greeting
for January 12, 2018. We are collected right here at Bookseedstudio.

On January 19, please
join at A Journey Through the Pages.

Special salutes have rung out this week
& continue during the holiday weekend seeking the world
of peace & freedom dreamed of
by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

I’m sharing a child photograph of this Nobel Peace prize
recipient who was raised in a family of
many ministers & other religious leaders,
who preached love of all
races, all peoples.
A center that tells his story is here.

all rights reserved

A student intern created an annotated photo story here.

The poetry book I’m sharing in honor of Dr. King’s legacy is
A Photographic Declaration for Kids.
It is a young reader’s edition of the historic United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The book is sometimes blunt, it can be light, &
it is eventually hopeful in presenting the 30 human rights.
I think all readers age 11 & older can appreciate this one.
I feel it is a book Dr. King would have loved to read
to students.
Children’s poetry lines are paired with photographs
Here is one poem that made me think of the recent Holidays.

Poem for Right # 26
You Have The Right to Go To School for Free

“Reading, writing, and arithmetic
I’m just hoping it will all stick
It’s my right to learn and obtain an education
When I’m done, I’ll go on vacation.”

C. 2009, all rights reserved, National Geographic Society
For more information on EVERY HUMAN HAS RIGHTS.

I have not yet read Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney’s MARTIN RISING,
but a crackerjack children’s literature librarian I know in Virginia, Marcie Atkins, recommended this to me in a social media group, as I was writing this post.From Scholastic. On the list, for sure.

Whether your post relates to peace, Dr. King,
or another wonderful topic, you can share
your URL link in comments below.
I’ll do my best to wrap everything up here,
into this end of this post. You can also send the link details to me at jgaoffice (at)
gmail (dot) com. Please put your actual name in the email subject line if you send it that way. Appreciations.

The first beautiful Poetry Friday blog of the year
featured a book I feel Dr. King also would
have loved to read to children, CAN I TOUCH YOUR
HAIR? Find that from last week, at Reading to the Core.

Some important book links about Dr. King are shared at Live Your Poem.

Peaceful wishes at this time of celebrating
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. &

The January 12, 2018 Poetry Friday Posse includes (but is not limited to…)

Myra GB at Gathering Books, who beams in with luminosity that can float you outside, to read in the light of the moon. Even. With. The. Cold. You will want to visit the picture book she shares -THE MOON’S LOVE IN POETRY, translated from Portuguese into English. The creators are father-son team, Jose Jorge Letria and Andre Letria.


Our own Teaching Authors campus ponders peace within, via April Halprin Wayland’s post. And – a giveaway!


Do alligators like the cold? Our poet knows. . . Go ahead and Nix The Comfort Zone.


Be on the leading edge of poetry with Linda Mitchell at A WORD EDGEWISE. She shares  lines in a forthcoming release by a magical poet.


Shuffle in the warm sands of downunder with Sally Murphy, who shares original salty verses as winter comfort for the chilled northabove. (Is that the opposite of downunder?)


Welcome back! Keri, at Keri Recommends. We missed you. She returns to share a lot, including her 2018 One Little Word. Perfect timing!

Artist & poet Michelle Kogan gives peace at chance with words from the incomparable
Maya Angelou.


Poet & novelist Laura Shovan visits the fascinating gingko. And she
is into new fancies, as always. Perhaps, inventing a new kind of scarf?


Robyn Hood Black, poet with a made-for-movies name, ponders
Burns, the Scottish bard. And for a very good reason!


Dears, if you yearn for a little Emily B. Go appreciate TabathaYeatts for our fix.


Tune to Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme with Matt Forrest Esenwine (FLASHLIGHT NIGHT guy) who brings a bulletin! (If you are reading this at an indecent late Thurs. hour, he’s live in the first minutes of Friday morn.)

Ice Music, anyone? Kay McGriff at Edublogs is listening & captivated.
I feel you will be, too.
Laura Purdie Salas presents her original poem “When Death Moved In,”
which sadly did not require research. Sigh. Extra love to you, Laura.
Teacher Dance with Linda Baie shimmies with tentative dance moves
of children from two different races, discovering friendship. How?
In poems! Original ones. That they write!
Jane The Rain City Librarian Jane The Rain City Librariantakes a cozy path into Middle Earth, which feels like the place I want to be.
Haiti Ruth
We wrap our arms around the community that has
sent out so much vibrant visual art & music & culinary delicacies to the world. January 12 will always be a time to remember the strong people of the enduring country of Haiti.

Carol Varsalona of Beyond Literacy shares a poetry surprise from the U.S. Mails, a poem delivery treat some Poetry Friday folks take to in fabulous fashion as her post shows. Next time, maybe you will sign up.


At Carol’s Corner take an important flight into Germany
with Rose, a 19-year-old young adult pilot (fiction, inspired
by the truths of young women surviving in beastly situations under
German Nazi terror & torture.)
Rose, a character created by the author of CODE NAME VERITY,
is empowered by poetry of Edna Saint Vincent Millay.
I followed so many links once I got started. Appreciations, Carol.

MaryLee Hahn book wrangler at Reading Year
leads us to LOVE, the book,
with a new poem illustrated for everyone, but especially for
young readers and those who read to them. Want.

Margaret Simon who steers so steady at Reflections on the Teche
looks into the depths of the bayou and brings us peace.
Poetry Friday: Bayou Sings
Tara Smith is on duty at A Teaching Life
winnowing wisdom from Mr. Langston Hughes,
poet & philosopher from the past, brought fast forward
for these hands-up-to-the-face-in-dismay times. Potent.
Heidi Mordhurst in the wonderful world of My Juicy Little Universe
gifts us with a needed celebration of precious young writers.Go treat yourself to keen observations of nature, including emerging poets’ lovely lines
inspired by our own (Amy at The Poem Farm!)
Donna Smith is keeping uniquely iced at Mainely Write.
She has the best winter frost picture ever & imaginative poetry riffing from it.
Amy Ludwig Vanderwater of The Poem Farm flies a dove to us
in original artwork & poem. She also finds a dove from a famous artist. But mostly,
go be enchanted with a trick taught Ms. Amy by a wee writing student!
Especially in these times, we are grateful that Dani Burstfield is Doing The Work That Matters. Today she returns from a chilly forest hike with
wish-you-were-there images & poetry.
Poetry Friday: Haiku
Helping us live our poems, we find piper Irene Latham opening up picture books
where poems flow by with some words Spanish, some words English.
Karen Edmisten brings us to a poet we can’t listen & learn from,
often enough, Mr. Langston Hughes. With great appreciations, Karen!


Take a whirl with Julie Paschkis’ folkloric art & animal poems, in the gallery today, at Books4LearningThe book title alone is endearing.


Little Willow with Bildungsroman, known for bringing the right books  to grateful hands, visits with a poem by the artist & poet Rupi Kaur.  Thank you, Little Willow.


Violet shows us how to be inspired in one, two, three, four, five, six original poems. Cuteness alert in the photo dept! Plus, she dispenses a handful of new-to-me words, folded quite nicely & rightly into an original poem.


Do you crave more student poems? I do. Jone, who is maclibrary,  obliges with flair, with four. And she announces a book winner 🙂 Could be you?


Inventive Brenda, spinning magic at Friendly Fairy Tales, remembers summer while dealing with the stuff of this very season. And don’t cha know, she gifts us a groovy word she made.


Christine who is Wondering and Wandering mindfully, joins us with an original haiku at the New Year, inspired by the exchange created our own Jone, an annual event that  gives homage to the idea of Nengajo, a Japanese custom of sending New Years postcards.

You will want to be Reading to the Core with Catherine,
where she brings us into the realm of a wonderful Ambassador,
Jacqueline Woodson!


Maybe you have tried the French lai, but it’s new to me. Rather, it was new to me

until Kats Whiskers heart poured out into it. Go visit.


***  from your correpondent – Links are flying into this territory in flocks, so latest links, could be in comments, beneath. Appreciations for your creative sharing at your posts & sweet words here. My plan is to tuck in any more arrivals – you folks are busy poet peddlers! –  Sat. morn at some indeterminate o’clock  & to toggle around myself to every P.F. poster before next Friday.  Remember that next Friday we  be conducted by Kay, who brought us the incredible ice music post today.

She is at  A Journey Through the Pages.

Thank you, everyone!




FLASHLIGHT NIGHT: shining picture book

Hello flashlight fans! Poetry Friday is beamed out from READING YEAR/A Year of Reading.

* * *

by Matt Forrest Esenwine with artwork from Fred Koehler

As a fan of the world’s most gargantuan flashlights – lighthouses –
I carry a torch for creative stories
where flashlights are woven into the action.
So it is not surprising that I am all aglow to
open a new picture book with you – FLASHLIGHT NIGHT.

The text by Matt Forrest Esenwine is a poem story alive with the promise
of high adventure unfolding in the sedate backyard.

Shines a path where waters rush
reveals a hole in the underbrush

The illustrations by Fred Koehler are a nocturne gallery, with the nightshade from
scene to scene heightening the child’s delight in overlooked but important clues,
to go back and look at up close, as soon as the book is first read. This is a read again & again trek into the make-believe unknown, undertaken by three children, a girl and two boys.

To celebrate publication, the two creators agreed to tell me something about their childhoods.

“Hi, thank you for doing a post, Jan! I really appreciate that.”

(The book deserves a lot of spotlight, Matt.- jga)

“Growing up in rural New Hampshire, I developed an appreciation for nature from a young age. We lived on 10 acres of mostly wooded property, and although I was not allowed to go deep into the woods, the woods were all around me and therefore afforded me a great opportunity to use my imagination.

I never had a treehouse as a child, but I did have something I called my “hideout”, which was an area just off of our lawn that consisted of lots of large, flat stones, thick juniper bushes, and a couple of large, easily-climbed trees. Some days I would pretend I was a bad guy hiding from the law, while other days I was the good guy trying to track down the baddies.

My hideout was also my “secret” place to have lunch. Mom would give me my food and I would head out to one of the flat rocks there and eat underneath the tree. And even though this little area was right along the edge of the lawn and only 15 feet or so away from the road, I felt like I was in my own little world!

I suppose it is no wonder, then, that the natural world and my sense of family have played such crucial roles in my writing, both for adults as well as for children. I am fortunate that dad has not sold the place yet – at 82, he still lives on that same old dirt road surrounded by woods – but I know that a not-so-little piece of me will be lost the day he does.”

(This paints an evocative picture, Matt. Thank you! – jga)

I first encountered Matt’s work via the Poetry Friday/Today’s Little Ditty crowd, where I am happily surprised to find that we have just appeared in an anthology together.
Now I anticipate Matt’s poems in many forthcoming books.
Please visit him here.

C. Copyright illustration,
C. text,

“When I was a kid, our house backed up to an acre or two of Florida scrub. Through the woods I had neighbors whose dad worked construction and brought home all the scraps of job site lumber. In those trees, we would build the most elaborate fort systems, with tight ropes lines between the trees, trap doors, and even underground bunkers. We had more fun than any other kids on the planet, and probably could fend off pirates better than the Swiss Family Robinson.”

(I see the foundations of an artist’s mind in those constructions, Fred.
Thank you! – jag)

For more about this exceptional artist, whose work I first encountered in the hilarious, minimalist-word Rebecca Kai Dotlich story, ONE DAY, THE END
& now anticipate next year in Fred’s Pacific garbage patch-set debut novel,
please visit his site & online gallery.
Also, travel along as KidLitTV reveals, via a talk with Rocco Staino, how Fred helped develop this book’s evocative nightscape.

I ordered FLASHLIGHT NIIGHT from my local indy, Midtown Reader.

My hideout (Robyn & Laura, appreciations for sharing yours) memories include
the fairy woods on one side of us in the 1st house & the creek ravine woods
behind the 2nd house.

C. illustration,
C. text
Matt Forrest Esenwine

Billy, meet Tameka

This past week breezed right in.
Sunday we took a brisk walk that turned out to
be a lovely 10 miles in the sand near the Apalachicola
fishing village, where a book event caught our attention.
And the week also brought us March 22, the birthday
of Billy Collins, so beloved a poem-maker,
he has served as U.S. Poet Laureate twice.

I have a few lines to share from a poem maker new to
me, who I discovered at a workshop this summer,
but first I’d like to pay tribute to Collins.
He is suitably feted by the Poetry Friday community this month.

(And if you are looking for more Poetry Friday greatness,
it is here this week.)

These words below are from Billy Collins’
“To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl”

For some reason, I keep remembering that Lady Jane Grey

was Queen of England when she was only fifteen,

but then she was beheaded, so never mind her as a role model.

 Frankly, who cares if Annie Oakley was a crack shot at 15

or if Maria Callas debuted as Tosca at 17?

We think you are special by just being you

playing with your food and staring into space.

c.Billy Collins all rights reserved


See this for an interesting Billy Collins page.
Now here are two verses from the poem maker I don’t
think you know. She brings this one to us in
the voice of a child.
The girl just loves her skipping around moments,
close to home.
It is from “Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day”
by Tameka Fryer Brown:

Blue sky, no clouds,
Corner store.
One more
Block to walk before
I’m home. It’s a special day
today, around our way.

Blue sky, no clouds.
No one stares,
or cares
That loud music blares.
Hustle… bustle… salsa sway,
Wild day, around our way.
c. 2017 Tameka Fryer Brown

Tameka Fryer Brown
art by
Charlotte Riley-Webb

Neighbors pour out into the street to share
food, music and dancing and the child whirls through
all the yards and visits the front porches,
in a sweet community coming together of people of
varied cultures.

I am not alone in following the work of Tameka
Fryer Brown.
Here is what Kirkus said about this poem,
published in picture book form with sensational
art by Charlotte Wiley-Webb. “…In this lively and
accessible poem, a multicultural community brings food, music
and laughter to the streets to celebrate their neighborhood….”

I think I’ll mosey over Tameka Fryer Brown’s way. She is one to watch.


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.


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.

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