The best antidote to the anxieties and disasters of life is laughter,
and this children seem to understand as soon as they are born.

Iona and Peter Opie: I Saw Esau

It is close to the end of November.
And despite the fact that our beloved Obamas will leave
The White House in January, I am joyful in the fact that locally,
Tallahassee progressive people whose careers our family are
fortunate to know up close, are now newly-minted elected leaders.
It’s not easy serving a community 24/7 but I know they are
enthusiastic about their tasks & will be a boost to community
Local, local, local is the way to build up community.
Isn’t this how President Obama & Michelle Obama
first stepped out?
Since all of these local leaders worked vigorously with our
area’s children before finding elective office, it’s exciting for
our area’s young adults who knew them in their child years, to
be hopeful that you can Grow the Good.

I was asked by a poetry pal, Michelle, creator of the nourishing blog,
Today’s Little Ditty,

to post my written response, remembering a place of solace.
I am thankful to my parents for much, but especially for the ways
they helped me appreciate the gifts of nature, such as the shore.

C.2016JanGodownAnnino Florida gulf shore

Florida gulf shore

Walking the edge
by J.G. Annino

of land
at the lapping Gulf
on a melon curve of sand,
sandpipers escape curls of water.

I stop to receive a wave,
be a slow sea snail.
A ripple washes salted wrack ashore,
taps my ankle bone
lays a green ribbon down.

On a sieve of Sarasota sand
Dad unpacked
to fish from shore
Mom unpacked
to read in a curve of sand.

I toyed with the playground,
ate from the hot dog pavilion,
tossed bread to gulls,
sought digging children,
did not listen to the water song.

This day I breathe the sea rhyme,
see it swipe a shelf of sand,
feel it dissolve trouble from the day,
whoosh, whoosh,
whoosh, whoosh.


November evokes warm good feelings and smiles. It’s my anniversary month with my hubby who made my heart melt because he was game enough to put on a silly wig and dress up with me for Halloween with friends who also did the favor of dressing up & reciting original scary tales or poems or reading favorite traditional spoofy pieces. It carried me into November the way I like it to be – a full month of giving thanks, not just on the significant Nov 27.

For several years, where I’m a volunteer picture book reader in a school I love, I’ve shared poems that are written about thanks and thanks-giving,  from authors of First Peoples/Native American/American Indian heritage.

Some of the resources I turn to are:

THE CIRCLE OF THANKS: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving told by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) with pictures by Murv Jacobs


THE EARTH UNDER SKY BEAR’S FEET: Native American Poems of the Land, collected and told by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), and illustrated by Thomas Locker

ENDURING WISDOM, Sayings from Native Americans, selected by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, with paintings by Snythia Saint James.

Each is beautifully illustrated and look like jewels, sitting open on the top of a child-height bookcase.

Additionally Joseph Bruchac features original poems at his site. Further, I find materials that expand on the topic, from these four resources, previously mentioned on this Bookseedstudio site.

Many poems for children speak to a keen awareness of animals, trees and plants, land, or the Earth itself, rivers, lakes and sky, particularly during what Joseph Bruchac calls, “the living night.”

Because we are anticipating the homecoming of our daughter for Thanksgiving, which she hasn’t been able to celebrate with us for many years, I especially relate to these lines, from THE CIRCLE OF THANKS:

“As I play my drum

I look around me

and I see my people.

And my people are dancing

in a circle about me

and my people, they are beautiful.”

(Micmac, Northeast Coast)

copyright Joseph Bruchac

I am thankful for poets, for teachers, for the children’s literature community, for Poetry Friday creators, and for every breath I take. And of course, for my Family.



American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving

If you are not of American Indian/Native American heritage, have you still ever wondered what some of your  impressions & ideas might be about the holiday, if you were a member of a Tribe? Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian, which I always like to visit first whenever I am fortunate enough to be in D.C., here are some thoughts. I hope your Thanksgiving is the best, ever.


From George W. to Joseph B.

When not yet 16, George Washington copied 41 rules of civil behavior, (scroll down if  a list of site topics precede this), at least one of which, I violated Halloween Weekend. After a day that began early I nodded  off at night  during a top-drawer, well-staged & otherwise eye-popping theater performance. I woke quickly so it wasn’t a continuing violation. I offer the ideals our future first President took fountain pen to inkwell for, in hopes they are a timely diversion in this month of  dining & socializing & imbibing for Thanksgiving.    And I am thankful for being directed to them, by The Village Square.  (item #2) Continuing in a spirit of thankfulness I offer a bridge to structured versions of two of my favored anonymous ways of showing thankfulness, and also offer this kind group  , which codify some of the serendipity path- of- life ways to love neighbor, community & World.

ALSO – If you look for children’s books that aren’t of the November turkey- dinner fare variety,  please consider CIRCLE OF THANKS and SQUANTO’s JOURNEY, both from Joseph Bruchac.

Enjoy, be thankful.

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 Oyate.org 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.