Sunday, September 30, 2007

Out & About: September 30, 2007

Take a Ride on the Reading Railroad: The September Carnival of Children’s Literature is on track at Charlotte’s Library.

The Poetry Friday Roundup for the last week in September is at AmoxCalli.

I’m a tad late in calling blog readers’ attention to Cloudscome’s post of September 21st at A Wrung Sponge. Poetry in Place is just too great an idea not to pass it on—especially to people who love connecting kids and poetry.

Check out MotherReader’s Best Books of 2007 (So Far): MEGALIST. The list has titles of the favorite children’s books of more than thirty bloggers and kidlit lovers.

Here’s a link to Bedtime Stories Lessen as Mums Earn More, an article by Graeme Paton that appeared in The Daily Telegraph (U. K.)

There’s an interesting interview with Gary Soto over at PaperTigers.

You may also want to view a gallery of picture book art by Yuyi Morales at PaperTigers.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

2007 Cybils Poetry Panelists and Judges

I am excited to be serving as a member of the poetry-nominating panel for the 2007 Cybils. Once again, I will be in great company with a another fine group of kidlit bloggers. I truly enjoyed my experience last year.


Category Organizer: Kelly Fineman (Writing and Ruminating)

Nominating Panel:
Kelly Fineman (Writing and Ruminating)
Laura Purdie Salas (Wordy Girls)
Elaine Magliaro (Wild Rose Reader)
Wendy Betts (Blog from the Windowsill)
Sylvia Vardell (Poetry for Children)

Judging Panel:
Gregory K. (Gotta Book)
Jone Rush MacCulloch (Check It Out)
Sara Lewis Holmes (Read Write Believe)
Cloudscome (A Wrung Sponge)
Franki Sibberson (A Year of Reading)

I want to thank our Cybils founders, Anne Boles Levy of Book Buds and Kelly Herold of Big A, little a, for establishing these 21st century children's and young adult literature awards. Great idea, ladies!!!

On the Road with Cowboy and Octopus

Here's the trailer for Cowboy and Octopus, the new book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. Join this unlikely pair as they travel to Venice, Stonehenge, Egypt, and other far-flung places. Below, you'll find a link to a YouTube video that takes us along with this odd couple as they travel the world together.

You can follow the duo's continuing travels at the Cowboy & Octopus blog. They have recently been spotted among the palm trees of Florida. I have been informed that you can track their trek and submit your own sightings of Cowboy and Octopus at the blog!

Happy Trails to You, Pardner!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Poetry Friday: Autumn Fires

I love autumn in New England. I love the crisp, cooler days, the colorful foliage, and the smell of apple-scented air. I used to enjoy taking my young daughter to a local orchard in October. We’d visit with the pigs and sheep, select a pumpkin or two to carve for Halloween, watch apples being pressed into cider, and eat delicious warm apple cider donuts. Yum!

When I was little, I enjoyed collecting shiny-shelled chestnuts…and the sound they made bonking on the ground as they fell from the chestnut tree across the street from my grandparents’ house. We kids used to rake up piles of fallen leaves, jump in them, and iron some of the most brightly colored ones between sheets of wax paper. Our parents--or my grandparents--would set piles of autumn leaves afire and we kids would watch as the smoke floated up into the air and drifted off like a wispy gray cloud. One thing I miss most about the season now is the smell of autumn leaves burning. It’s such an evocative scent.

Although summer returned to New England earlier this week for a last hurrah, I’m ready for fall…and the memory of autumn fires. So here is a classic by Robert Louis Stevenson for this Poetry Friday on the cusp of October.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
Here is a poem I wrote for A Home for the Seasons, a collection about childhood days I spent at the home of my maternal grandparents, Michael Kozicki and Anna Chalupka Kozicka. Michael and Anna came to America from Poland in the early 20th century. They met in Boston, got married, and lived in Peabody, Massachusetts for all of their married lives. (Dzidzi is what we called my grandfather.)

by Elaine Drabik Magliaro

Two tall maple trees grow

in front of my grandparents’ house.

In late October

they shed their golden crowns.

When the fallen leaves

curl up like little brown bear cubs,

we rake them into a pile

at the side of the street.

As dusk arrives

Dzidzi sets our harvest afire

with a single match.

We sit on wooden crates

at the sidewalk’s edge,

watch the brittle leaves

blossom into golden flames,

smell autumn’s pungent breath.

From the pyre summer rises,

a small gray ghost,

and drifts away

into the darkening sky.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at AmoxCalli this week.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

News from Wild Rose Reader!!!

Some of you may remember that my hard drive CRASHED in July! We couldn't even boot up my computer. My hard drive had to be sent across the country to a company that specializes in retrieving files for dodos like me who don't bother to get a backup system. I have been slapping myself upside the head frequently since that fateful day.

Well, I finally got my computer back. Fortunately, all my files were retrieved. (It did cost me a pretty penny though.) At one point before my computer was returned, my husband asked me if I thought it would be worth all the money we'd spend. I guess that's hard to determine. Sure, I had hard copies of most of my manuscripts, my course syllabus, my lectures, etc., but imagine having to type all those documents over again???

So...I guess I can get back to work on my poetry collections down here in my library. Maybe I can submit some of my manuscripts to publishers as I had planned to do during the summer before my computer disaster.

One more bit of news: I am going to have a poem included in an anthology that will be published next spring. That's all I'm going to say for now. I'll just have to wait impatiently until next March. I am really looking forward to seeing my second poem published in a children's poetry book. Who knows? Maybe I'll have my third poem published before I become an octogenarian!

Picture Book Review: Help!: A Story of Friendship

Judging from a few of the picture books that I have read recently, I have high hopes for the children’s books being published in the second half of 2007. On September 15th, I posted a review of Peter Brown’s The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder, which is a real hoot! And The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating, written by A. W. Flattery and illustrated by Scott Magoon, is a terrific original pourquoi tale with fabulous illustrations.

The book I’m reviewing today, Help!: A Story of Friendship, has everything a great picture book should have: an excellent storyline that flows along at a good pace, a problem that is solved in a clever manner, a message embedded in a text that is not didactic or “messagey,” and illustrations that truly enhance the text—as well as add some gentle touches of humor to this animal tale that is akin to a modern fable.

Written & illustrated by Holly Keller
Greenwillow, 2007

As the story opens, Hedgehog finds Mouse, the main character, covering himself with leaves in order to hide from Snake. When Hedgehog asks Mouse why he wants to hide from their friend, Mouse replies that Fox told him that snakes are very dangerous to mice. Hedgehog tells Mouse that Snake would never hurt him and insists that Mouse accompany him on a walk. But Mouse is wary…and worried. He can’t carry on a conversation with Hedgehog. He is still thinking about Snake. He glances around nervously. He looks everywhere but down and falls into a deep, narrow hole.

In the fall, Mouse hurts his foot and can’t climb out of the hole. Hedgehog tells Mouse he’ll get help. Just then Squirrel comes by and Hedgehog requests his assistance. But Squirrel says he can’t help because the hole is too dark…and there might be spiders. Then along comes Rabbit. But Rabbit can’t help because the hole is too deep and its walls too straight. He’s convinced he wouldn’t be able to hop out of it. And what about Hedgehog? Well…his prickles would hurt Mouse in a rescue attempt.

Hedgehog, Squirrel, and Rabbit stare down into the hole. Helpless Mouse begins to cry. Then wishywishywishy…along comes Snake slithering through the grass. Snake wants to know what’s going on. Hedgehog tells him the whole story. Snake doesn’t understand why Mouse would be afraid of him when he has always been his friend. Snake tells them that he is going to go down into the hole and rescue Mouse.

That’s when Hedgehog asks: “How will you do it without scaring Mouse?” Snake has a clever plan to help his furry little friend without frightening him. Squirrel gets a stick and Hedgehog ties it to Snake’s tail. Snake lowers the stick into the hole. Mouse grabs it and is pulled out of his earthen prison. When Mouse finds out who his rescuer is, he is embarrassed and apologetic for ever doubting Snake’s friendship.

Mouse hobbles home with the help of his four friends. His foot is bandaged and Mouse rests for a time. Several days later, Mouse takes a bouquet of flowers that he has picked to his friend Snake as a thank you gift. In the story’s final illustration, we see Mouse and Snake happily embracing.

The illustrations for Help! are collographs—or printed collages. On the back flap of the book jacket, Keller explains that she has been making collographs for years—but that this is the first time she ever used them to illustrate a book. I’d say it was a wise decision on her part.

Keller fittingly used natural colors in her art for Help!: brown, green, yellow, orange, gray…and touches of pink. She also used black to give texture to the animals’ skin and fur and to the grass, leaves, and soil. The collographs stand out on white background. This helps focus a reader’s attention on the story characters and the natural habitat in which they live. Keller uses white to its utmost effectiveness as the backdrop of the hole into which Mouse has fallen.

Help!: A Story of Friendship is one of the best picture books I have read so far this year. It is a good tale about ignoring gossip and trusting one’s true friends. It would be an excellent book to read aloud and discuss in preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary classrooms.

You might include the reading of Help! along with the following books that were also written and illustrated by Holly Keller in a mini unit about friendship:

Greenwillow, 2002
(This book is the recipient of a Charlotte Zolotow Award.)

Greenwillow, 2005

Click here to read Making Sense of Childhood: An Interview with Holly Keller (Cooperative Children's Book Center).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Out & About: September 24, 2007

I’m on vacation! We’re enjoying perfect weather on Westport Island in Maine. I didn’t think I’d be posting anything from here—but we have a high speed Internet connection at the beautiful home on the coast where we’re staying. I don’t think I’ll want to go home on Wednesday!!!

The September Issue of The Edge of the Forest is now available. Features include Kelly Herold’s Baba Yaga Heads West and her Interview with Blogging Writer Robin Brande, Adrienne’s Furness’s The Earth So Precious: Contemplating the Work of Patrick McDonnell, Camille Powell’s Interview with Phil Bildner, and Liz Burns’s Featured Review: the Work of Barry Lyga.

The fabulous Jules and Eisha have posted two great blogger interviews with HipWriterMama and Liz Garton Scanlon at 7-Imp.

Sara Lewis Holmes has the Poetry Friday Roundup for September 21st at Read Write Believe.

Would you like to share your thoughts about the best children’s books of 2007? Then go here to register for the Cybils Forum.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Words...Wonderful Words, Words, Words

Part I

Today I have The Grammar Lesson by Steve Kowit, a poem I found at Poetry 180. Having been a teacher for many years, the poem really appealed to me. I think you will understand why. Children certainly don’t get excited when being instructed about grammar and word usage in school. I think it would be fun to share this poem with students in a language arts classroom. I would suggest photocopying the poem on a transparency and showing it to students on an overhead projector. Here’s how the poem begins:

The Grammar Lesson
by Steve Kowit

A noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does.
An adjective is what describes the noun.
In "The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

of and with are prepositions. The's
an article, a can's a noun,
a noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does.

A can can roll - or not. What isn't was
or might be, might meaning not yet known.
"Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

I think the poem is quite clever. You can read the rest of it here.

Part II

Kowit’s poem brought to mind some children’s books I suggest that students in the children’s literature course that I teach might consider using in the language arts curriculum.

The following books by Brian P. Cleary are three in his Words Are CATegorical series, which is published by Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group. The books are written in rhyming verse and would be fun to read aloud.

Illustrated by Jenya Prosmitsky

Illustrated by Jenya Prosmitsky

UNDER, OVER, BY THE CLOVER: What Is a Preposition?
Illustrated by Brian Gable

Here’s an excerpt from Under, Over, By the Clover:

Show us where,

Like in
your bed,

beside the chair—

by the clover,

or next to

They tell us
time and also place,

Like past 9:30
in your face.

The prepositions stand out because they’re printed in colored text. The illustrations in all the books are humorous cartoon-style art, which add just the right amount of humor to books about language.

Check out Brian P. Cleary’s website. It has quizzes and games for kids, activities for teachers, a POW (Poem of the Week), a WOW (Word of the Week), and lots of other things for kids who are really “into” words. It also has some sound effects.

Cleary is also the author of…

Illustrated by J. P. Sandy
Millbrook Press, 2006

This book is for middle readers and older kids…and for adults like me who enjoy PUNS! Here’s one of my favorite verses from the book’s first section, Music {Going for Baroque}.

They tune into the older films
and love to watch the dancing.
“There’s too much sax and violins now,
and not enough romancing.”

Here’s a cute one from the second section: Animals {Laugh Until You’re Horse}.

My dad predicts the weather,
and he toad my sister once,
“It looks a lot like reindeer,
so be sure to wear your pumps.”

At the bottom of most of the book’s pages, Cleary includes definitions of some of the “punny” words included in the poems.

Part III

Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Karen Barbour
Simon & Schuster, 2004

This is a slim anthology of poems that teachers could also use in the language arts classroom. Poets whose works were selected for this book include Eve Merriam, Emily Dickinson, Pat Mora, David McCord, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Nikki Grimes, and Karla Kuskin. The anthology opens with Dickinson’s poem 1212:

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

Next, comes Eve Merriam’s Metaphor in which Morning is/a new sheet of paper/for you to write on. There’s also Dotlich’s Let’s Talk, which is a poem about how people use words to talk “about new robins /who appear/before winter/is through and to tell each other how they’ve been and how they feel…and to talk about good times that they’ve shared. In Finding a Poem, Kuskin advises a reader how to become a poet. Here are some of her suggestions from the poem: Unlock the weather/in your heart/Unleash a thousand whispers/let them shout.

The anthology fittingly ends with Richard Armour’s The Period, which closes like this…

“Get out of my way!”
Cries the sentence. “Beware!”
But the period seems not to hear or to care.
Like a stone in the road,
It won’t budge, it won’t bend.
If it spoke, it would say to the sentence,
“The end.”

Karen Barbour’s colorful gouache illustrations are stunning and add a bright and thoughtful dimension to the poems in this anthology.

Sara Lewis Holmes has the Poetry Friday Roundup at ReadWriteBelieve.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

See the 2007 Robert's Snowflakes!!!

I’m so excited. The snowflakes that many talented children’s book illustrators have created for Robert’s Snow 2007 are now available for viewing online at the Robert’s Snow website. Click here to reach the online auction page.

When the Robert’s Snow 2007 Auctions Will Be Held

  • Auction 1: November 19-23
  • Auction 2: November 26-30
  • Auction 3: December 3-7

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Robert's Snow 2007: Snowflake Exhibit

The first exhibit of snowflakes created for Robert’s Snow 2007 will be held from October 3rd through October 22nd at The Child at Heart Gallery in Newburyport, Massachusetts. The gallery is located at 48 Inn Street, which is a few steps from the center of town.

On October 6th, there will be a Robert’s Snow Open House at The Child at Heart Gallery from 12:00 to 1:30 and from 3:00 to 7:00. Twelve of the “snowflake artists” will be visiting the gallery that day: Anna Alter, Jeannie Brett, Diane deGroat, Mary Newell DePalma, Jane Dyer, Alissa Imre Geis, Laura Jacques, Daniel J. Mahoney, Denise Ortakales, Lizzy Rockwell, Matt Tavares, and Wade Zahares.

Note: Profits from books of visiting artists on October 6th will be donated to the Jimmy Fund.

Newburyport is a picturesque waterfront community. It’s a great place to shop and dine. Why not come to Newburyport on October 6th…and spend the day? Maybe I’ll see you there!
Robert's Snow 2005 Exhibit & Artist Open House

Robert's Snow 2005 Kick Off Party

Buy yourself a copy of Robert's Snowflakes: Artists' Snowflakes for Cancer's Cure. 100% of the royalties go to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Don't forget Robert's Snow--the book that started it all!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Book List Bonanza: September 2007

Building a Home Library Bibliographies. The bibliographies are divided into the following age categories: birth to age 3, 4 through 7, 8-11, and 12-14.

From NSTA (National Science Teachers Association)
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 (2007): The books on this list were published in 2006.

From NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies)
Notable Trade Books for Young People (2006 List)

From Bank Street College Children’s Library
Diversity List for Children (Updated 03/01/07)

Recommended Reading: Children’s Books 2006

From The Horn Book
A Fine List of Nonfiction Books about Plants, Animals, and the Natural World

From the International Reading Association
Teachers’ Choices for 2007 (Bookmark). The annotated list of Teachers’ Choices for 2007 will appear in the November issue of The Reading Teacher.

From The Children's Book Council
Hot Off the Press: A Sneak Peek at Publishers' Newest and Hottest Titles

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Picture Book Review: The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder

It seems ages since I last posted a review of a children’s picture book. Today, I thought I’d write a review of the The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder, a book sure to set readers chuckling. A few weeks ago I stopped by the Banbury Cross Children’s Book Shop. Upon entering the shop, I saw a big display for The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder. Pat Purdy, owner of the shop, told me she liked the sequel even better than Chowder—and I can see why. The acrylic and pencil illustrations are so well done and so funny that I think even children who can’t read would enjoy just looking at the illustrations. I did!
Written and illustrated by Peter Brown
Little, Brown

This second tale about Chowder has the lovable canine going off to the Fabu Pooch Boot Camp where he just doesn’t fit in. One day Ms. Fabu, the lady in charge of the boot camp, informs the dogs in residence that they are all going to be competing in the camp’s dog show, the First Annual Fabu Pooch Pageant. Chowder figures it’s a lost cause. He can’t compare to the other perfect pooches. But when Ms. Fabu informs the campers that the winner will receive a one-year supply of tasty Snarf Snacks, his favorite doggy treats, Chowder is determined to do his best to beat out his elegant competitors. How can he make himself a pageant winner? Well…Chowder’s attempts to beautify himself—you guessed it—just don’t work. Then he remembers that Ms. Fabu had always encouraged the dogs to follow their dreams. And Chowder’s biggest dream is to be an acrobat. When he comes upon a trampoline behind the barn, Chowder is instantly enamored. I guess you could say that it’s love at first bounce! While the other dogs are primping and working on their posture, Chowder becomes one with the trampoline and perfects his acrobatic technique.

Then the day of the pageant arrives:

“All the other campers were in top form.
Lola’s smile was sparkling.
Beverly’s hair was breathtaking.
Snapper’s posture was superb.”

When it’s Chowder’s turn to strut his stuff, the stage curtains open on a trampoline…but there’s no Chowder in sight. The audience begins to grow restless. Then they hear a bark from on high. Chowder is perched on the roof of the barn. He dives from that great height dead center onto the trampoline. He bounces high into the air, spins in a corkscrew, does a flying cartwheel, and three backward flips. Our canine protagonist finishes with a flourish: "The Chowderian Bounce." The audience goes wild. They love his acrobatics! Chowder’s a real crowd pleaser—but not the winner of the pageant! No, that honor goes to the beautiful Beverly…along with a year’s supply of Snarf Snacks. Don’t be disheartened, Chowder fans. The drooling bull dog gets a consolation prize—the Best Bouncer in Show Award. He also gets a lifetime supply of his favorite doggy treats when he becomes the “official spokesdoggy of the Snarf Snacks Company.”

Peter Brown’s droll acrylic and pencil illustrations add to the fun of this lighthearted doggy tale. His illustrations of pampered pooches sunbathing by a pool, pageant queen Beverly sitting under a hair dryer after getting a perm, and Lola flossing her teeth are a riot! You’ll laugh out loud at pictures of Chowder swimming in a pool with water wings, doing doggy acrobatics on the trampoline, and posing in curlers while saliva drips from his limp pink tongue.

Sometimes you just need a good laugh…or two…or three. The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder provides them in abundance. The book has humor to tickle the funny bones of children and adults alike.

Click here to visit Chowder and His Friends.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Poem for Robert

I wrote the poem below for Grace Lin’s husband Robert Mercer in the spring of 2004 when Grace informed me that Robert’s cancer had returned and of their plans for the first Robert’s Snow auctions later that year.

(For Robert Mercer)
by Elaine Magliaro

Fashion yourself:

a bit of lace,


spun in space

of silken ice,








I want to send a million thanks to all the artists who created snowflakes for Robert's Snow 2007. Thanks also to those artists who made Robert's Snow 2004 and 2005 such great successes. We couldn't have raised money for cancer research without your help.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Waxing Poetic about Root Canals

Did you know that Franki of A Year of Reading is having a poetry contest? Yup! I'm entering a couple of poems today. Tonight is the deadline. Have you ever had a root canal? Then you may want to wax poetic on the subject like me. Check out Franki's post Poetry Friday, Root Canals, and...a Contest for more information.

Here are my best efforts.

Root Canal Acrostic

Root it
Out...out with
The abscess!

Cancel the nerves!
Away with the pulp!
Nevermore do I want to feel this pain
Let me chew in peace!

Root Canal Cinquain

Oh no! Forsooth!
I've a pain in my tooth.
My dental doc must remove the
Pulp. GULP!

Robert's Snow: Bloggers Helping Out

I want to send my heartfelt thanks to Jules and Eisha of Seven Impossible Things for organizing bloggers in support of Robert's Snow 2007 and the three auctions that will raise money for cancer research and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Thanks a million, also, to all the bloggers who will be helping out in the effort to promote Robert's Snow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In the News

Here are five articles I thought some of you might find of interest:

From Education Week
Experts Eye Solutions to “4th Grade Slump” by Christina Samuels

From Teacher Magazine
Creating Readers: Part I

From Ventura County Star
Librarians Exhibit Controversial Books by Jean Cowden Moore

Book on Male Penguins Tops Complaint List. American Library Association’s number of “challenged books jumps to 546.

From USA Today
“Common Readings” Connect Students, Faculty by G. Jeffrey MacDonald

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Picture Book Carnival & Cybils 2007

Sorry I haven't been posting much here lately at Wild Rose Reader. In addition to traveling to Montreal for a funeral I have been busy with preparations for the fall meeting of the Massachusetts PAS North Shore Council. (I'll have more about that in the coming weeks.)

I have only time enough today to post about the two following items:

For Picture Book Carnival Part III, Literacy Teacher is looking for books that will help improve children's writing. Submissions for grades K-8 are welcome. The dealine for submitting blog articles is October 5th.

Anne of Book Buds and Kelly H.of Big A, little a are gearing up for Cybils 2007. They'll begin looking for panelists this coming Friday.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

More School Poems: Review of School Supplies

I'm leaving for Montreal this morning so I won't be around to post for Poetry Friday. Since I've been receiving lots of visits to my Going Back to School...with Poetry post, I thought I'd write a review of the following book.
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Renee Fowler
Simon & Schuster, 1996

School Supplies is one of my favorite books of school poems. Lee Bennett Hopkins, the compiler, included poems and excerpts of poems by Carl Sandburg and by such well-known and respected children’s poets as Barbara Juster Esbensen, Myra Cohn Livingston, Jane Yolen, J. Patrick Lewis, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and Georgia Heard in this themed anthology.

Most of the book’s sixteen poems speak of the “school supplies” that are typically found in a classroom: pencils, a writer’s notebook, a ballpoint pen, paper clips, a compass, a globe, popsicle sticks and glue, a book, and crayons. There is variety in the poetry. Some poems are rhythmic and rhyming; some poems do not rhyme and are written in free verse.

A few of the poems have good examples of personification. In Lawrence Schimel’s Ballpoint Pen, the pen dances ballet/on the ball of her feet/and the tip of her toes/pirouettes/through stories/poems/books. Georgia Heard’s Compass is compared to a skater gracefully/tracing/half a figure eight/on paper ice—its silver skirt measuring out inches. Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s Paper Clips have tiny teeth of tin and jaws no bigger than an inch.

In Crayons, Jane Yolen writes of a box that contains a wash of blue sky/spikes of green spring/a circle of yellow sun. It also holds my pink/and your chocolate/and her burnt sienna/and his ivory skin. In New Notebook, Judith Thurman writes that the notebook’s lines run even and fine/like telephone wires across a shadowy landscape.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s poem Classroom Globe begins like this:

Spinning, spinning,
and round,
a swirl of blue,
a whirl of brown;
mountain ranges,
foreign countries,

Myra Cohn Livington’s A Book is a mask poem in which a book tells readers:

Closed there’s nothing I can say.
Open, we can dream and stray
to other lands far and away.

Renee Flower’s wildly colored expressionistic art provides humor and zest—and also adds personality to many of the school supplies, including the ballpoint pen, the compass, a pencil sharpener…and even to a peanut butter sandwich!

School Supplies supplies a teacher with a neat little package of school-themed poetry. Even though the anthology is light-hearted in nature, it contains poems with more poetic elements—personification, metaphor, imagery—than most books of school poems.

Classroom Connection: School Supplies could be used to spark a creative writing exercise about objects in a classroom/school. A teacher and his/her students could make a list of objects to write poems about: pencils, books, folders, scissors, rulers, a desk, a chair, computer, paint brushes, a pencil sharpener, water bubbler, school bus, classroom clock, number lines, alphabet cards, markers, chalk, erasers, etc. It might be fun to have the students speak in the voices of the objects in mask poems. Students could illustrate their published poems and compile them in their own anthology of "School Supplies."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Poem for Grace

Some of you may already know that Robert Mercer, Grace Lin's husband, passed away on August 27, 2007. Although I met Grace and Robert just a few years ago, we became quick friends...and they became individuals dear to my heart.

Whenever I suffer the loss of a relative or friend...whenever life gets me down, I find solace in poetry. I wanted to write something special for Grace in memory of Robert. Thanks to Tricia of the Miss Rumphius Effect I learned about the cento, which is a poem composed from lines of other writers' poems. The cento seemed a perfect form for my poem for Grace.

A Poem for Grace
(In Memory of Robert)
by Elaine

Have you ever found something beautiful, and maybe just in time?
Lift up your lovely eyes and look.
I’m going to somewhere gentle.
I have a secret power, and
I can fly to where the sky begins…
Into the white fire of a great mystery,
Feel stars and sun and bells singing,
Swing through the shadows like warm gray whispers…
Spinning and dancing.
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free…
And I consider eternity another possibility.

You were such a star to me.
Wherever you are
I watch you twinkling
While you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas.
And wherever I go, it feels as though I never left at all.
But wherever I go,
I will build a palace
Fit for you and me.

Have you ever found something beautiful, and maybe just in time?
From How Turtles Come to Spend the Winter in the Aquarium, Then Are Flown South and Released Back into the Sea by Mary Oliver
Lift up your lovely eyes and look.
From Wind Pictures by Mary O’Neill
I’m going to somewhere gentle.
From Going Somewhere by Felice Holman
I have a secret power, and
From Sunflower Seed by Lilian Moore
I can fly to where the sky begins…
From Finders-Keepers by Cicely Barnes
Into the white fire of a great mystery,
From The Ponds by Mary Oliver
Feel stars and sun and bells singing,
From A Little Girl’s Poem by Gwendolyn Brooks
Swing through the shadows like warm gray whispers…
From Mouse Music by Dahlov Ipcar
Spinning and dancing.
From Dear Snow by Takayo Noda
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free…
From The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
And I consider eternity another possibility.
From When Death Comes by Mary Oliver
You were such a star to me.
From For My Daughter by David Ignatow
Wherever you are
From Squeeze by Heidi Mordhorst
I watch you twinkling
From Dear Stars by Takayo Noda
While you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas.
From The Rider by Naomi Shihab Nye
And wherever I go, it feels as though I never left at all.
From The Secret Place by Dennis Lee
But wherever I go, (
From In This Picture by Myra Cohn Livingston
I will build a palace
Fit for you and me.
From My Valentine by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, September 2, 2007

OUT & ABOUT: September 2, 2007

Head on over to Mentor Texts and More. The Second Picture Book Carnival is here!

Jules has 7 Picture Book Kicks for us this week at Seven Impossible Things.

At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee has plans to update the blog’s list of books about books and reading in her post Books About Books and Reading-Revisited. Maybe you’ve got a title or two that you’d like to add to this great list.

Tricia has some great suggestions for children’s books about animal adaptations and animal migration for us at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Check out the following posts: Those Amazing Animals! and Thematic Book List-Animal Migration.
In her post Poetry Stretch Results-List Poems, Tricia provides links to the list poems that bloggers wrote after taking up her poetry challenge.

In Memory

The Blue Rose Girls have a post In Memory of Robert Salvatore Mercer. Robert was Grace Lin's husband. He passed away on August 27, 2007. Robert was a talented and very special young man. We will miss him.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Behind the Snowflakes

I would like to call your attention to Gail Maki Wilson’s post Behind the Snowflakes at her blog Through the Studio Door. Gail has information about Robert’s Snow for Cancer’s Cure in her post. She also provides links to images of many of the wonderful snowflakes that have been created for the Robert’s Snow 2007 auctions by children’s picture book illustrators—including Anna Alter, Kelly Murphy, Don Tate, Connie McLennan, Dan Santat, Lisa Woodruff, and Sarah Dillard.

Thanks, Gail, for helping to spread the word about the upcoming auctions that will raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and for cancer research.