Friday, December 31, 2010

Early Snow: An Original Memoir Poem

We had a BIG snowstorm earlier this week. I took the two photographs posted here last December. My backyard looks pretty much the same at the moment. The snow reminded me of a poem that I wrote about my childhood about fifteen years ago.

Here is another memoir poem from my unpublished collection titled A Home for the Seasons. In Early Snow, I wrote about my memory of a snowy day when I went sliding with two of my cousins in my maternal grandparents’ yard. My cousins, both girls, lived on the other side of my grandparents’ duplex. The older of my two cousins was just two weeks younger than I—and her sister was a year younger. We three cousins spent a lot of time together when we were kids—especially during the summer months.

By Elaine Magliaro

Just before Christmas
we have an unexpected storm.
Now snow covers the yard,
Dzidzi’s garden
with a downy quilt.
The apple tree, the plum and pear trees
have grown thin white wings,
look ready to fly away.
The stout lilac bush
floats above the ground
like a fallen cloud.
We get our sleds, the silver saucer,
and race up the incline to the snow-crusted hedge.
We whoosh down to the garden
through a light whipped cream world.
Everything has turned the color of winter.
Even the sky, marshmallow-white,
has forgotten how to be blue.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol’s Corner this week.
Happy New Year to All!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cybils 2010 Announcement

I’ve been busy since Christmas. I'm a member of the 2010 Cybils Poetry Nominating Panel so I was rereading poetry books and trying to decide which ones to nominate as finalists. I'm happy to report that this has been a great year for children’s poetry!

All of the 2010 Cybils finalists will be announced on January 1, 2011—so check out the Cybils website on New Year’s Day! You can find out all the children’s and young adult books that were nominated for the Cybils Awards by clicking on the links below.

Happy New Year—and Happy Reading in 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Remember: An Original Memoir Poem for Christmas

Last Friday, I posted an original memoir poem titled Christmas Eve, which is about childhood memories I have of spending time with my family on December 24th at the home of my maternal grandparents—Michael and Anna (Chalupka) Kozicki. Michael and Anna were Polish immigrants who came to America in the early part of the 20th century. They met in Boston, got married, and moved to the North Shore of Boston where they settled and raised four children—two girls and two boys.

Following, is the last memoir poem from my collection A Home for the Seasons. This poem also takes place on Christmas Eve—after dinner. The "us" in the poem is my sister, my four cousins, and I.

By Elaine Magliaro

Dzidzi tells us to put on our coats.
He steps off the front porch
and leads us down the stone walk
into the night.
Standing at the edge of his garden,
He looks up at the winter sky.
“There,” he says pointing to Orion’s belt.
“There are the Three Wise Men.
They followed a bright star to Bethlehem.
They journeyed far from home
just as Babci and I did many years ago
when we left Poland to come to America.”
He turns his eyes toward the house,
red lights glowing in the windows,
then gazes at his snow-covered garden.
“Remember this night,” he tells us.
“Remember this place.
Remember all the happy times we have shared here.
Every Christmas Eve look up at the Three Wise Men
and remember.”

You’ll find two more Christmas Eve memoir poems—Christmas Eve Polka and the Christmas Babkahere.

Note: I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting much lately. I got sick right after Thanksgiving and fell behind with all my Christmas shopping and preparations. I’ve been really busy the past few weeks playing catch-up with all the things that I have to do. Now, I have most of those things crossed off my list. I’m hoping things will settle down after the holidays so I can focus on my writing and blogging once again.

I must get back to work in the kitchen and bake two sour cream chocolate cakes—which I frost with homemade whoopie pie filling and then coat with a bittersweet chocolate glaze. This is one of my family’s favorite desserts.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

The Poetry Friday Roundup is over at A Year of Reading.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Eve: An Original Memoir Poem

I’ve already begun food preparations for our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. We still dine on traditional Polish foods on December 24th. Fish and pierogis, which look a lot like Chinese potstickers, are what we eat—no meat on Christmas Eve. One of the traditional dishes we don’t eat any longer is jellied carp. EW!!!

Yesterday, I prepared the stuffing for the potato and onion pierogis. Today, I’m going to get to work on the stuffing for the mushroom pierogis—which I make with mascarpone cheese and mushroom duxelles. This weekend my daughter, my two nieces, and I will be stuffing about 150 pierogis. (One of my nieces is going to make the potato and cheese pierogis at her house.) Then we’ll freeze all the pierogis and cook them up just before our Christmas Eve feast.

My older niece, who will be our holiday hostess, will bake haddock and scallops. We’ll also have pickled herring. We’ll serve the fish and pierogis with sour cream, horseradish, and my niece’s delicious homemade tartar sauce.

When I was young, my maternal grandparents hosted the family Christmas Eve dinner. It was always a magic night for me. I loved gathering together with my grandparents, aunts, my uncle, and my first cousins. We always had such fun together. We kids would stuff ourselves with pierogis. We’d dance around the house while my Uncle Benny played his accordion. We’d exchange presents—and share a lot of laughs.

Here’s a memoir poem I wrote about a typical Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house. The details are still clear in my mind after more than half a century.

By Elaine Magliaro

Just after sunset the whole family gathers
in my grandparents’ kitchen.
My father, Uncle Benny, and Dzidzi
bring up the spare table and chairs from the cellar.
Babci spreads white cloths printed with red ribbons
and bright green wreaths over the two tables.
Then she lays out platters of pierogis,
pillows of homemade dough
stuffed with fluffy mashed potatoes and onions
or sauerkraut, a bowl of jellied carp,
pickled herring smothered in onions,
and small dishes of horseradish
tinted pink with beet juice.
Before eating we stand around the table.
Dzidzi breaks the oplatek,
the thin white wafer blessed by the priest.
When everyone has taken a piece,
Dzidzi gives his blessing,
“May we all be happy, healthy,
and together in the year to come.”

Amy has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here & There: December 15, 2010

Her book Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! is one of the notable books!

The Quiet Book, one of my favorite picture books of 2010, is also on the The New Times Notable Children's Books list.

From Anita Silvey (Boston Globe, 12/5/20100): For Kids, 10 glittering stars of the year.

I was happy to see that Silvey included a poetry book on her list of stars. It was Joyce Sidman’s Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors.

Click here to read my review of Ubiquitous.


2010 Horn Book Fanfare

Two exceptional poetry books made the Fanfare list: Joyce Sidman's Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night and Marilyn Singers Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse.

Click here to read my review of Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night.


From Publishers Weekly: PW’s Best Children’s Books 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Original Fairy Tale Poem about Jack and the Beanstalk

I dug into my unpublished collection of fairy tale poems this morning to find something to post for Poetry Friday. I’ve had problems with the beginning of the third stanza of the following poem about Jack and the Beanstalk for years. I keep changing the first two lines of that stanza. I even rewrote them this morning. I'll probably rewrite them again some day.

Q: Do you know who robbed the sleeping giant?

A: Jack, a boy who’s self-reliant.
He climbed the beanstalk near his shack
And stole some gold coins in a sack.
He raced back home and spent the money
On chocolate cookies, milk, and honey.

In ten days he returned again.
This time he poached the giant’s hen…
A hen that laid bright eggs of gold
(All over-easy, I’ve been told).

Then in a month—and in a daze—
Jack climbed the stalk and cast his gaze
Upon the castle in the sky.
Nobody knows the reason why
The newly wealthy farm boy Jack
Became a kleptomaniac.
He stole the magic harp for fun.
He really had no need of one.
And lo, the giant never caught
The little thief! An afterthought:
A good boy tempted may not heed
The Golden Rule. Ah! Such is greed.

Jama has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Alphabet Soup this week.

Friday, December 3, 2010

2009 NCTE Notable Poetry Books for Children

Just two weeks ago at the NCTE Annual Convention in Orlando, the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Committee--of which I am a member--presented a session titled Poetry for Children and Teachers at Its Best: The 2009 Notable Poetry Titles. We read from and shared impressions of our favorite children's poetry books of last year, offered suggestions for incorporating poetry in the classroom, and talked about some of the best new titles of 2010. We even did some choral reading with the audience.
Members of the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Committee: Barbara Ward (Chair), Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Jonda McNair Mary Napoli, Terrell Young, and Elaine Magliaro
Here are our 20 Notable Poetry Books of 2009. I have provided links to review of the books.
Poetry Book Reviews by Wild Rose Reader
Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems in Two Voices
Written by Betsy Franco
Illustrated by Jessie Hartland

The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination
Selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston

City I Love
Written by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Marcellus Hall

Incredible Inventions
Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach

The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems
Written by Michael J. Rosen
Illustrated by Stan Fellows

Button Up! Wrinkled Rhymes
Written by Alice Schertle
Illustrated by Petra Mathers

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
Written by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

Reviews by Other Bloggers and Journal Reviewers

Orangutan Tongs
Written & illustrated by Jon Agee
Review from School Library Journal

Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings
Written & illustrated by Douglas Florian
Review by Kirkus

A Curious Collection of Cats
Written by Betsy Franco
Illustrated by Michael Wertz
Review by Elizabeth Bird of A Fuse #8 Production

African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways
Written by Avis Harley
Photographs by Deborah Noyes
Review by Tricia Stohr-Hunt of The Miss Rumphius Effect

Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems
Edited by Georgia Heard
Review by Esme Raji Codell of the PlanetEsme Plan

My People
Written by Langston Hughes
Illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr.
Review from Through the Looking Glass Book Reviews

A Foot in the Mouth
Selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Review by Kristi Elle Jemtegaard for Parents’ Choice

The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme
Ghostwritten by Bobbi Katz
Illustrated by Adam McCauley
Review by Kelly Fineman of Writing and Ruminating

Spot the Plot: A Riddle Book of Book Riddles
Written by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Lynn Munsiger
Review by Tricia Stohr-Hunt of The Miss Rumphius Effect

The Underwear Salesman and Other Jobs for Better or Verse
Written by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrations by Serge Bloch
Review by Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children

Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World
Written by Marilyn Nelson
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Review by Monica Edinger of Educating Alice

A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems
Written by Deborah Ruddell
Illustrated by Joan Rankin
Review by Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA -- School Library Journal, 04/08/2009

Steady Hands: Poems about Work
Written by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy
Review by Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children


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

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010 Holiday Book Recommendations for Children

Buy children books for the holidays!

2010 Holiday High Notes (The Horn Book)
2009 Holiday High Notes (The Horn Book)
2008 Holiday High Notes (The Horn Book)
2010 December Holiday Books (School Library Journal)
2010 Holiday Roundup (Kids Reads)
2009 Holiday Roundup (Kids Reads)
2008 Holiday Roundup (Kids Reads)
Kids’ Christmas Books, 2010: For the Naughty & Nice (The Children’s Book Review)
Christmas Picture Books (Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews)
Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights (KidsReads)

Winter Trees, Christmas Trees (WRR, December 2008)
Poetry Book Reviews: Under the Kisseltoe & Hanukkah Haiku (WRR, December 2008)
Poetry for Christmas (WRR, December 2007)
Picture Book Review: The Best Christmas Ever (WRR, December 2007)
Christmas Books in Verse (WRR, December 2007)
Picture Book Review: Christmas Magic (WRR, December 2007)
More Poetry for Christmas from Wild Rose Reader (WRR, December 2007)
Magic & Monsters: Picture Books for Hanukkah (WRR, November 2007)
Poetry for Hanukkah (WRR, November 2007)
Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Books (WRR, November 2007)
Winter Lights & Christmas Trees (BRG, December 2006)
Christmas Stories in Verse (BRG, December 2006)
A Hanukkah Story to Share: The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes (BRG, December 2006)


Best Books 2010: Picture Books (School Library Journal)
Best Books 2010: Nonfiction (School Library Journal)
Best Books 2010: Fiction (School Library Journal)
2010 Best Children's Books: The Complete List (Kirkus Reviews)
2010 Guide Book to Gift Books: An Annotated List of Books for Youth 2010 (Bulletin of the center for Children’s Books)
Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010 (New York Times)
Horn Book Fanfare: Best Books of 2009 (The Horn Book)
2010 Notable Children’s Books (Association for Library Service to Children)
2010 Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts (Children’s Literature Assembly of NCTE)