Monday, September 29, 2008

Autumn Book Bunch: Leaves, Leaves, Leaves!

Written by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by
Christopher Denise
Candlewick Press, 2002

Oliver Finds His Way is an exceptional picture book for students in preschool and kindergarten. Phyllis Root’s simple storyline about a little bear who finds himself lost near the edge of the woods, panics, and then thinks of a way to solve his problem, will resonate with young children. Christopher Denise’s illustrations, done in pastels and charcoal, provide a soft autumnal backdrop for Root’s spare text. They capture the flavor of the season and closeness of this loving “bear” family.

One fall day, while his parents are doing chores outside, Oliver chases an autumn leaf that is blown by the wind. He follows the big yellow leaf…

down the hill,
around a clumpy bush,
under a tree,
and all the way
to the end of the woods.

Soon enough, Oliver discovers that he is lost. He tries to find his way back home--but the tree he runs to is not the twisty one he had passed before and the bush he runs to is not the clumpy bush he had seen earlier. Oliver’s afraid. He begins to cry…and cry….and cry. But he soon realizes that he’s still lost. He rubs his nose and thinks until he gets an idea. Then he roars and roars and roars--louder and louder and louder--until he hears Mama and Papa roaring back. Oliver is then able to listen to their roars and find his way home.

Note: When I was an elementary librarian, I used the art in Oliver Finds His Way to introduce my youngest students to the concept of setting in picture books. The children could tell just from looking at the endpapers that the story was set out in the country in autumn. Click here to view an illustration from the book.

Written by Julia Rawlinson
Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Greenwillow, 2006

It’s autumn. Fletcher, a young fox, notices that the world around him is changing. Every morning things seem “just a little bit different.”

The rich green of the forest was turning to a dusty gold, and the soft, swishing
sound of summer was fading to a crinkly whisper.

Fletcher becomes worried when his favorite tree begins to look dry and brown. He thinks the tree is sick and expresses concern to his mother. His mother explains that it’s “only autumn” and not to worry. Fletcher runs outside, pats his tree, and tells it that it will feel better soon.

Of course, the leaves on the tree continue to turn brown and fall from the branches. Fletcher catches a falling leaf and reattaches it to his tree--but the wind shakes the leaf loose again.

The next day, a strong wind blows through the forest, and the tree’s leaves are set flying. Fletcher’s upset when he sees a squirrel taking leaves for its nest and a porcupine using the fallen leaves to keep itself warm. Try as he might, Fletcher cannot save his tree from the inevitable. Finally, he clutches the last leaf as it flutters from the tree and takes it home--where he tucks it into a little bed of its own.

The following morning, Fletcher is awed by the sight of his tree, which is now hung with thousands of icicles shimmering in the early morning light. He wonders, though, if the tree is okay and asks: “But are you all right?” Fletcher is relieved when a breeze shivers the branches and the tree makes “a sound like laughter…” The little fox then hugs his tree and returns to his den for a “nice, warm breakfast.”

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves has a longer, more lyrical text than Oliver Finds His Way. Beeke’s soft-edged pastel illustrations capture the tone and setting of this comforting story and deftly convey the change of seasons as autumn turns to winter.

Written & illustrated by Carin Berger
Greenwillow, 2008

Carin Berger, who did the “bold” and brilliant collage illustrations for Jack Prelutsky’s Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, hits a high note again with her art in The Little Yellow Leaf. Her illustrations in this book are inventive and striking. Berger even used composition and graph paper as the backdrop for some of her pictures. Her spare illustrations with changing perspectives and her lovely lyrical text partner well in this tale about finding strength in friendship.

The main character of this little allegory is a “Little Yellow Leaf.” It’s autumn. The LYL clings to a branch of “a great oak tree.” I’m not ready yet, thought the Little Yellow Leaf as a riot of fiery leaves chased and swirled round the tree.” No, the leaf isn’t ready to leave its home in the tree--even as the afternoon sun beckons--even…

as apples grew musky,
pumpkins heavy,
and flocks of geese
took wing.

Even when LYL sees that the other leaves have “gathered into heaps, crackly dry, where children played,” it isn’t willing to join them. And it still it isn’t ready to leave its home when a harvest moon blooms in an “amber” sky.

LYL holds fast to its branch through a long, cold night when snow falls. It holds fast as days pass. It looks and looks at the tree--but sees only the “shimmer of snow.” LYL is all alone. At least that’s what it thinks…until one day it spies a “scarlet flash” high up in the tree. It has a comrade! Both had been hesitant to cast off for the unknown. The Little Yellow Leaf and the Scarlet Leaf take courage in each other…set themselves free and soar.

Into the waiting wind they danced…
off and away and away and away.

I highly recommend these three titles, which will make fine autumn read-alouds.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Terse Tercet

Just another random posting in a presidential campaign year...

My reading life has been overtaken by politics and the state of our economy.

How about Tina Fey? She deserves an Emmy for her impersonation of You-Know-Who!

A Metaphorical Political Terse Tercet
by Elaine Magliaro

If you're sailin'
with Palin
better start bailin'

Friday, September 26, 2008

MAPLE: An Autumn Acrostic

I’m keeping myself frequently updated on the presidential campaign and news about the gazillion dollar bailout for Wall Street. I’ve also been spending a lot of time reading political blogs. I need a good shot of hope. Can anybody spare some?

Here’s a short acrostic for autumn. It’s all I could manage today. I had a retirement party yesterday. I hadn’t planned to stay so long--but it was good to see my old teaching colleagues.

By Elaine Magliaro

Mad magician of




Every color of the rainbow


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by Robert Frost entitled After Apple Picking.

Tricia has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Couldn't Help Myself--Again!

I'm getting another headache! I find it difficult reading children's books at a time like this.

Economics 101: Who’s Bailing Out Whom?

Modern Math a la Wall Street

1 + 1 = A Minus $700,000,000,000 (give or take a few hundred billion) for US Taxpayers

On the Arts & Entertainment Front: Wall Street’s Got Rhythm

Have you heard about the new CEO dance craze? It’s called the Fiorina Fandango! It follows a complicated and incoherent series of steps which are difficult to master. Here’s how it goes: You dance with a female partner who has two left, economically challenged feet. Said partner whirls you around the dance floor until you’re dizzy, slips her hand in your back pocket, and then waltzes away with your wallet!

And how about the Alan Greenspan Fed Chairman Cha-cha? There are no set “regulated” choreographed steps for this dance. Your male partner steps around the ballroom in all directions oblivious to the beat of the music and the fact that he is bumping into other people and knocking them off their feet. After your partner returns home, he writes a book about his prowess on the dance floor entitled We Three: Anna Pavlova, Alvin Ailey, and Me.

P.S. Don’t forget to ask Santa to leave YOU a golden parachute under your Christmas tree this year!

Posted on 9/13/2008
I Couldn’t Help Myself!

Look What I Did with a Leaf!

Today I have a review of a children’s nonfiction book about leaves that is great to use across the curriculum in science and art. This book is also an excellent book to share with children to encourage them to become more careful observers of nature.

Background: I was a second grade teacher for many years--and for many of those years I taught a science unit on trees, forests, and soil. Every September, I would take my students for a walk in the woods. We would look at the different kinds of trees and leaves, turn over rotting logs and find salamanders, observe decaying vegetation and detritus on the ground, study lichens growing on rocks and plants, look for fungi on the forest floor. We’d take another trip a few weeks later to an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary where we’d look at different trees, make soil salad, and talk about photosynthesis and the chain of life. I found such experiences outside of school helped my students to become more attuned to the wonder of nature and the science all around them.

Back at school, I would give my students a special folder with directions and special materials for assignments and activities that they would complete at home over the course of a week. My students would select a tree in their yards or near their houses to observe for a few days. They would do bark rubbings of their selected trees and make leaf prints. They would also do detailed pencil sketches and artistic interpretations of their trees and spend time on three different days sitting outside looking at their trees and writing down their observations. Teaching my students how to become more careful observers was one of my main reasons for taking my students on the field trips and assigning these activities for homework.

Look What I Did with a Leaf! was a nonfiction book I used in conjunction with our science unit. It encouraged my students' powers of observation and provided me with an idea for an exceptional project to do at school in collaboration with our art teacher.

Written & illustrated by Morteza E. Sohi
Walker and Company, 1993

Look What I Did with a Leaf! is a science/craft book for children with suggestions and advice for helping them to create their own “leaf animal” collages. In this book, Sohi includes a Field Guide with pictures, descriptions, and sizes of leaves from different kinds of trees and plants and a section entitled The Life Cycle of a Leaf. He talks about training one’s eye in searching out leaves in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. He writes specifically about how saw-edged leaves may work best for capturing the texture of a rooster’s body, lobed leaves are excellent to use for frog’s feet, and long, narrow leaves work well for fox’s legs. Sohi includes his own collages of a rooster, a frog, and a fox to show readers how he used these specific types of leaves to create these three different leaf animals. Other collages in the book include those of a butterfly, elephant, parrot, owl, cougar, cow, mouse, lion, peacock, fish, cat, and turtle. Sohi also provides art notes for children and directions for preparing their collected leaves and assembling their animals.

Classroom Connection: Using Look What I Did with a Leaf!, our art teacher and I did a wonderful cross curricular science/art project that tied into the unit i was teaching. My students created their own leaf animal collages with leaves they had collected and prepared. I found it was extremely important for children to prepare their leaves well in advance of the art project. The leaves must be cleaned by soaking in warm water, blotted dry, and then placed between pages of a newspaper and pressed. This preparation process takes about a week. I used to send printed directions home with my students about two weeks prior to their beginning work on the animal leaf collages in art class.

Note: Our art teacher had my students create their collages on sturdy white poster board. When all the collages were completed, she laminated them and then we hung them in the classroom.

The Nonfiction Monday Roundup is at Picture Book of the Day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Cybils 2008 & The British Poet Laureate

The Cybils 2008: The Children’s & Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards
The time has nearly arrived when people will be able to nominate their favorite children’s books for the 2008 Cybils Awards. We have a new category this year: Easy Readers. Read about it here.

I will be serving, once again, on the Cybils poetry-nominating panel. We have a great group of kidlit bloggers serving as panelists and judges.

The 2008 Cybils Poetry Panel

Organizer: Kelly Fineman Writing and Ruminating

Panelists (Round I judges)
Kelly Fineman Writing and Ruminating
Elaine Magliaro Wild Rose Reader
Bruce Black Wordswimmer
Laura Purdie Salas
Julie Danielson Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Judges (Round II)
John Mutford The Book Mine Set
Gregory K. Pincus Gottabook
Sylvia Vardell Poetry for Children
Jama Rattigan Alphabet Soup
Liz Garton Scanlon Liz in Ink

And on the Poetry Front across the Atlantic Ocean

Here’s a little tidbit about Andrew Motion, the British poet laureate, who is planning to resign next year: Britain's Poet Laureate Has Writer's Block.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall into Poetry

Autumn is my favorite season. I love it here in New England when the heat and humidity subside and cool, crisp days arrive. Soon the streets will be lined with broadleaf trees wearing crowns of red, orange, and gold. Everyplace I go will seem like another world.


Written & illustrated by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow, 2003

Autumnblings is the third in Douglas Florian’s series of seasonal poetry collections. The twenty-nine poems in this book touch on a variety of autumnal topics: apple picking, Indian summer, pumpkins, falling leaves, the first frost, the migration of geese, and Thanksgiving. Readers will find a plethora of short, light-hearted poems that speak about animals and the changes in nature that take place during this season.

As in Winter Eyes, Summersaults, Handsprings and Florian’s collections of animal poems, including Insectlopedia, Beast Feast, Mammalabilia, and In the Swim, there’s also plenty of clever wordplay in Autumnblings to delight old and young readers alike. The book contains poems with the following titles: HI-BEAR-NATION, AWE-TUMN, and SYMMETREE (Autumn is the only season/The leaves all leave./Call it tree-son.) In his poem BRRRRRRR!, Florian writes about Octobrrrrr’s cold, Novembrrrrr’s chill, and Decembrrrrr’s freeze. In TREE-TICE, Florian speaks of the number of leaves falling from trees--one leaf…then two…then three…and so on. It’s, according to the author, A tree-tice on/Arithmetics.

Autumnblings includes a few shape poems and several list poems with the following titles: What I Love about Autumn, What I Hate about Autumn, The Wind, Birds of Autumn, The Owls, The Colors of Autumn, What to Do with Autumn Leaves, Thanksgiving, and Autumnescent.

The collection concludes with NAUGHTUM, a poem that relates how The tress are bare./The birds have flown…./The leaves fall down/And then get burned,/As autumn slowly gets winturned.

Florian’s illustrations done in watercolor and colored pencils add just the right touch of color and humor to this collection that is a “must have” for elementary classroom library collections.

Written by Steven Schnur
Illustrated by Leslie Evans
Clarion, 1997

Like Douglas Florian, author Steven Schnur has also written a series of seasonal poetry books. Schnur’s books, though, contain only acrostic poems. In Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic, he writes about acorns, corn, frost, leaves, pumpkins, ripe apples, and Thanksgiving guests--as well as topics associated with winter or no particular season: snow, icicles, the universe, the sound of a passing train, an owl out hunting, a mouse and a horse. While not all poems are lyrical in nature, it is the pairing of Schnur’s acrostic poems with Leslie Evans’s bold illustrations executed in hand-colored linoleum cut blocks that combine to make this book an attractive picture/poetry package.

Here’s one poem from the collection:

From the window the
Rows of
Orange pumpkins
Seem clothed in
Thin white shawls.

Classroom Connection: Teachers and students could compile a list of “autumn” topics to write acrostic poems about, which they could illustrate.

Here is my review of a poetry book that was previously posted at Blue Rose Girls:


Written by John Frank
Illustrated by Mike Reed
Published by Simon & Schuster (2003)

In A CHILL IN THE AIR, Frank’s poetry and Reed’s art work together beautifully to transport us, in words and pictures, from the bright colors and berry picking of early fall into the ice-blue cold of winter. Some of Reed’s uncluttered illustrations, rendered in acrylic paints, of freezing rain, icicles, a fox huddled at the mouth of a cave as snow swirls outside almost give me goose bumps. The text for the book, set in Highlander and Gill Sans, is large and bold and placed on each page so that the poems are easy to read.

Frank’s poems are straightforward—and most of them rhyme. His poetry doesn’t contain much imagery or figurative language. Frank does make use of personification in a few poems. Here’s an example:


The winter wind’s a clever thief:
He’ll join with you in play,
Then slip his hand inside your coat
And steal the warmth away.

And here is a shape poem from the book entitled Icicles:


A CHILL IN THE AIR is definitely a book of seasonal poetry I would want to have on hand in my elementary classroom to share with children during the autumn and winter seasons.


Written by Jan Carr
Illustrated by Dorothy Donohue
Holiday House, 2001

Dappled Apples is a prefect book to read aloud to children in preschool and kindergarten in the fall. The brief, rhyming text has a bouncy rhythm and some good use of vocabulary. Here are some examples of how Carr selected her words well and got creative with her rhyming lines about autumn leaves, apples, pumpkins, and kids dressed up for Halloween:

Flutter, flitter
Gold as glitter

Rake a heap up
Run and leap up

Saggy branches

Stack a mile up
Pumpkin pileup

Evil fairy
Yikes! She’s scary!

Pup parading?

There’s also some good use of alliteration. Note it in the following lines--as well as in some of the lines printed above:

Tiptoe, teeter
Tug a tall one
As snitches snatch
Patched-up pirate
Fall’ll fool you

Donohue’s colorful cut-paper collages are a perfect complement to Carr’s energetic text. Dappled Apples is a lively celebration of fall.


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by Bruce Weigl entitled Home.

Laura has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Author Amok.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Couldn't Help Myself!

Jeery Query

Lipstick on pit bulls and pigs?
Oh my!
Polar bears aren’t endangered?
Oh fie!
Drilling in animal refuges?
Shooting at wildlife from up in the sky?
“Abstinence only” for sex ed?
Huh? Why?
Creationism in science class at the high?
Earmarks for her state Alaska?
Aye, aye!
She said NO to that bridge!!!
And that isn’t a lie???

When I need to vent?
I go versify!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pudding: An Original Poem

Here’s Pudding, a poem I wrote for a collection I was working on earlier this year. When the focus of the collection changed, I decided not to include it in my manuscript.

I still remember my mother cooking chocolate pudding, cooling it in the fridge, and then serving it to us with a big dollop of freshly whipped cream. Yum!

by Elaine Magliaro

In the bowl before me…
a puddle of sweet mud
topped with a dollop
of whipped cream.

I scoop up a spoonful
of pudding.
Silky smooth,
it slides
into my mouth,
slips over my tongue,
soothes my aching sweet tooth
in a pool of milk chocolate.


Yesterday, I posted a poem by Noble Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska entitled Photograph from September 11.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have another poem by Szymborska entitled Hunger at Camp Jaslo.

Jennie has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Biblio File.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memory of September 11, 2001

Here is a poem written by Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska that I would like to offer my blog readers on the seventh anniversary of September 11, 2001:

Photograph from September 11
by Wislawa Szymborska

They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Photograph from September 11 comes from Wislawa’s book Monologue of a Dog, which includes a foreword by Billy Collins.

Click here to read a review of Monologue of a Dog that appeared in the Boston Globe in 2006, the year the book was published. The book includes poems written in Szymborska's native language (Polish) and their English translations by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Ride Haiku Contest

The Chicago Sun-Times

The Ride Haiku Contest
By Mary Wisniewski on September 8, 2008 1:00 AM

Quoting from the online post:

“You remember the haiku from high school literature class, right? It's a form of Japanese poetry with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. It's short and sharp, and we need some about our commute. Planes, trains, buses, bikes, automobiles and walking are all good subjects.”

The paper will run the best ones in the Monday Ride column.

Click here to read some “ride haiku” examples.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

This Is Just to Say: A Few More Words about the Poetry Book & Poems of Apology

Sara Lewis Holmes gives us a “sneak preview” of the DC Kidlit Book Club discussion this month at her blog Read Write Believe. The book the club has selected for discussion is the Cybils award winning poetry title This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness, which was written by Joyce Sidman. (Sara served on the Poetry judging panel.) Sara says: “You can participate virtually in the comments anytime, or if you live near DC, we'd love to have you join us this Sunday.

You can read Sara’s post about the discussion and a take a “sneak peek” at some of the discussion questions here.

This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness

by Joyce Sidman

More about This Is Just to Say, Joyce Sidman, & Poems of Apology

  • If you would you like to know more about Sidman’s book, you can read my review of This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness here.
  • If you would like to know more about Joyce Sidman and her poetry books, read my interview with her here.
  • If you would like to read some poems of apology written by kidlit bloggers during National Poetry Month this year, read this Wild Rose Reader post.
  • Visit the This is Just to Say page at poet Joyce Sidman’s website where you will find a poem from the book and a link to a reader’s guide, which includes discussion questions, suggested writing exercises, and ideas for creating a class book.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Poetry Friday Is Here!

I'm doing the roundup this week. Leave your comment and the URL of your Poetry Friday post here. Thanks!
Early Morning Edition
  • At Wild Rose Reader, I have Let America Be America Again, a poem by Langston Hughes, and a short rant.
  • At Blue Rose Girls, I have M. S. Merwin’s To the Light of September.
  • Jama Rattigan has two poems about marriage for us this week. Did you know that Jama is celebrating her 30th wedding anniversary with a contest? Read all about it here.
  • Diane says that The Write Sisters post today looks at state poems, and NH's lack of one!
  • At Writing the World for Kids, Laura Salas is in with 15 Words or Less Poems and a column about keeping a poetry diary.
  • Lauara Salas is also looking for entrants in a poetry contest. You can win a DVD of Nightmare Before Christmas as well as a children's poetry book (your choice off a list she will provide). Information about that can be found here.
  • Christine M. joins us poetry posters with an original poem by her daughter over at Simple and the Ordinary.
  • Tricia of the Miss Rumphius Effect is in today with Richard Wilbur's poem Some Opposites.
  • Mary Lee of A Year of Reading says that this week, instead of listening to the buzz of politics, she’s been listening to the buzz of the cicadas.
  • Stacey of Two Writing Teachers is sharing a rough draft of a "Where I'm From As An Educator" Poem.
  • Janet of Writer2b is trotting in with some horse poetry today.
  • Jim D. of Haunts of a Children’s Writer says he’s thinking the same way as Mary Lee today and has another post about Cicada (and crickets).
  • This week, at Just One More Book, Andrea and Mark chat about the prehistoric, rhyming rumpus Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp.
  • Tadmack of Finding Wonderland is trying to grasp mysticism this week with a discovered shape poem from the 14th century.
  • Sara Lewis Holmes is thinking about themes of apology and forgiveness, both yesterday, with her book club preview of This is Just to Say, by Joyce Sidman, and today, with Jane Kenyon's poem, Happiness.
  • Jules of 7-Imp joins us Poetry Friday posters in with Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford.
Late Morning Edition
  • MsMac of Check it Out came a across a Wendell Berry poem that was used in a retreat program she attended for teachers that she’d like to share with us.
  • Linda Kulp of Write Time has a book review of Almost Forever, a novel in verse, at her blog.
  • Tiel Aisha Ansari has a short poem about her last blood donation: Red Cross Rubaiy.
  • Debbie Diesen of Jumping the Candlestick says she’s been using Poetry Friday as a prompt for herself to stretch with words. Her attempt for this week is entitled Vase of Daisies.
  • Barbara H. of Stray Thoughts is sharing a poem special to her, John Greenleaf Whittier's Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.
  • Laurel Snyder has a post on politics, poetry, blogging…and a poem by Milosz entitled Song on the End of the World at Bewilderblog.
  • Yat-Yee Chong has posted a short poem by Robert Frost entitled Nothing Gold Can Stay at her blog.
  • Em’s got her second ever Poetry Friday post up and it's in honor of school starting. You can read it at her blog Em’s Bookshelf.
  • Becky of Becky’s Book R eviews joins the Poetry Friday crowd with a review of Hip Hop Speaks to Children edited by Nikki Giovanni. She’s sharing the poem Books by Eloise Greenfield.
  • Kelly Fineman of Writing and Ruminating is in with A Coat by William Butler Yeats.
Afternoon Edition
  • John Mutford of the Book Mine Set gets into the poetry thing with a review of Beneath the Naked Sun, a book of poetry by Connie Fife.
  • MotherReader says, “Hey! I've got a poem from and thoughts about Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! You'll find her Poetry Friday post here.
  • Cuileann has a Czeslaw Milosz poem, Dedication, here at her blog, The Holly and the Ivy.
  • Unlike me, Kelly H. of Big A, little a, has decided not to post a political statement today. She felt the need to take a break and instead posted one of her favorite songs from the Russian cartoon Cheburashka. She says it’s known here as The Birthday Song.
Evening Edition
  • Liz Scanlon says she just saw Mamma Mia so her post is ABBA today. She couldn’t help it! Check her poetry post out at Liz in Ink.
  • Laura Shovan of Author Amok is blogging about the Dodge Poetry Festival with Galway Kinnell's poem The Sow Piglet's Escape.
  • Alotalot has a recommendation for a children’s poetry book by Mary O’Neill today.
  • Aline Pereira of PaperTigers joins in on the Poetry Friday fun with The Poet Pencil.
The Really Late Edition
  • Jennie is in with a review of the verse novel Ringside, 1925.
  • At Charlotte’s Library, Charlotte has some poems from Fir-Flower Tablets (1921), a book of Chinese poetry translated by Florence Ayscough and made into English poems by Amy Lowell.
  • Little Willow takes us on The Wild Ride at Slayground.
  • Anamaria is in with The Farmer's Bride.
  • Karen E. is a tad late this week--but still managed to make the roundup with her Poetry Friday post, which you’ll find here.
  • At Carol’s Corner you’ll find a review of Douglas Florian’s AUTUMNBLINGS, a loverly, new-to-her book of fall poetry.
  • Suzanne of Adventures in Daily Living says, and I quote her words: “I'm sharing a poem about cats at the shore, because I am at the shore, and we love cats.”
  • Suzanne is also submitting on behalf of her niece and her new blog.


Saturday Morning Edition

  • Julie Larios says: “I have two pig poems (Walter de la Mare and Noel Coward) and a few comments about what I think they're doing right, over at The Drift Record this week.”
  • Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children posted about Janet Wong's "republishing" her wonderful book, A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED.


Just One More Poetry Post

  • Michele of Scholar’s blog wrote in her comment: “I don't have a Poetry Friday so much as a Shakespeare Saturday and although there's very little Shakespeare in it, I'm hoping it's still eligible...” I would have to apply in the affirmative. The words of Shakespeare are always welcome here at Wild Rose Reader.

Let America Be America Again

Ouch! My head hurts. I feel like screaming. Thank you, Edvard Munch, for capturing the way I feel right now on canvas many years ago. I’ve felt like screaming for some time--especially since listening to Sarah Palin speak at the Republican National Convention.


I'm a liberal soccer mom and I don't need no stinkin' lipstick!!!

I try not to let my own political leanings find their way onto my blog--but I just couldn’t help it this week. I’m so tired of the politics of division, of the media whose pundits blather on about meaningless things instead of important issues like the national debt, health care insurance for all Americans, well-paying jobs, home foreclosures, the War in Iraq, torture memos, and on and on and on…!

So here, without further blather of my own, I give you a poem I selected for this Poetry Friday.

Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

You can read the rest of the poem here.

P. S. Like Obama, I, too, am the child of a father who was not born in this country.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by W. S. Merwin entitled To the Light of September.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is here this week. Leave your comment and link at this post.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Election Books and Activities for Kids

Political & Election Books for Kids

Children’s Book Council: 2008 Election Books for Young People

Harris County Public Library (Texas): Election-Related Books for Young People 2004

Barnes & Noble: Political Books for Children (Page 1 and Page 2)

Publishers Weekly: Children’s Publishers Stuff the Ballot Box (1/10/2008)

Booklist Online: Read-alikes (Pint-Size Presidents)

Booklist Online: Read-alikes (Hail to the Chief)

Lesson Plans, Teacher’s Guides, & Activities

Scholastic: You’re the Candidate (Lesson Plan for Grades 6-8)

Duck for President Teacher’s Guide

A Discussion Guide for VOTE!, written & illustrated by Eileen Christelow

The Library of Congress: Elections…the American Way

PBS Teacher Source: Lesson Plans

PBS Kids: The Democracy Project