Monday, June 29, 2009
Summer Rain Poem
Today, I decided to post an old summer rain poem—one that I had written more than twenty years ago for a collection of seasonal poetry that I never published called Tasting the Sun.
Summer Rain Poem
by Elaine Magliaro
I like a quiet summer day
when clouds above are oyster gray
and rain falls softer than a sigh.
I stand out in the melting sky
cool water washing over me.
I’m a pearl all shimmery,
rough shell unhinged and opened wide
letting all the sea inside.
I’m hoping we’ll have some fair weather for the Fourth of July weekend!
Check out Tricia’s Poetry Stretch this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect: Monday Poetry Stretch - Acrostics.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Old Friends, Newlyweds, & A Poem
Since I was away for Poetry Friday, I’m posting a poem today in honor of Meg and Hugh, the newlyweds.
Colors Passing through Us
by Marge Piercy
Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.
Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.
Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.
You can read the rest of the poem here.
BTW, my husband and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary in July!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Grace Lin & Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Blog Tour
Here’s the schedule for Grace's blog tour. Sorry I’m a day late!
- Wednesday, June 24th: Bildungsroman
- Thursday, June 25th: Shelf Elf
- Friday, June 26th: Paper Tigers
- Saturday, June 27th: MotherReader
- Sunday, June 28th: Charlotte's Library
- Monday, June 29th: Write for a Reader
- Tuesday, June 30th: The Mommy Files
- Wednesday, July 1st: Thrifty Minnesota Mama
- Thursday, July 2nd: Creative Madness
- Friday, July 3rd: Abby the Librarian
Book Lists for Summer Reading 2009
- 2009 Parkway Summer Reading List for Elementary School Students (K-6)
- Recommended Reading: Children’s Books 2008 (New York Public Library)
- ALSC 2009 Notable Children’s Books
- From KidsReads.com: Great Books for Boys
- Summer Reading for Kids 2009 (Vermont NEA)
- From School Library Journal, 6/23/2009—Searching for the perfect Summer Reading List?: The Coretta Scott King Committee offers some terrific choices
- Summer Reading Spectacular (Banbury Cross Children’s Bookshop)
- Summer Reading: Books, Poetry, & Other Resources (Wild Rose Reader)
From Reading Rockets
From the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
- For Kindergarten and First Graders
- First and Second Grade
- Third and Fourth Grades
- Fourth and Fifth Graders
- Middle School
Articles from Reading Rockets
- Strategies for Summer Reading for Children with Dyslexia By: Dale S. Brown (2007)
- How to Make the Most of Summer By National Center for Summer Learning (2009)
Sunday, June 21, 2009
OUT & ABOUT: June 21, 2009
Cruising around the Kidlitosphere recently, I found the following posts and articles. I hope you find some interesting reading and book suggestions.
- From BookDads: 20th Edition Book Review Blog Carnival, which includes a section called Father’s Day Finds
- Pam Coughlan has reviews of three picture books about dads just in time for Father’s Day at Booklights.
- Pam also has a post about summer reading at Booklights. Check out Summer Reading, Having a Blast
- There’s a new “Monthly Special” list of recommended book at The Horn Book site: Folklore Around the World.
- What Makes a Good Science Book?, an article by Janet Hamilton (The Horn Book Magazine, May/June 2009)
- From Jen Robinson's Book Page: Thursday Afternoon Visits: June 18. Jen always has a great roundup of links for us.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Poetry Book Review: Incredible Inventions Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Poems selected by lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Incredible Inventions is another fine poetry anthology compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins. What one may find surprising are the subjects written about in this book. Many of the poems aren’t about the kinds of things most kids typically think of as inventions—airplanes, microscopes, automobiles, computers, telephones, elevators. No, in this book, kids will find poems about “inventions” like jigsaw puzzles (1766), blue jeans (1873), drinking straws (1888), Fig Newton cookies (1891), popsicles (1905), band-aids (1920), kitty litter (1947), and modern athletic shoes (1964). That’s part of the fun and attraction of this new anthology. There’s a good possibility that this book could be used to spark children’s curiosity, to encourage them to look at everyday objects around them as inventions—and maybe even to wonder about who might have invented them and why.
Authors of the poems in this anthology include a number of well-known children’s poets—Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Kristine O’Connell George, Joan Bransfield Graham, J. Patrick Lewis, Ann Whitford Paul, Alice Schertle, and Marilyn Singer. There are also selections by some newer voices.
There is a nice variety of poetry contained between the covers of this anthology. John Sullivan’s poem about basketball tells about the sport during the different seasons in a series of four haiku (sweltering night/one player left alone on the court/alone with stars). There are shape poems and free verse. Many of the poems rhyme and are light-hearted in nature—like Brushes Rule by Constance Andrea Keremes. This poem is composed of ten couplets. This is how Keremes begins her poem:
Time was when fingers did the trick.
Pat this, part that, do it quick.
But hair’s no simple thing today.
You have to gel, highlight, spray.
You need a brush to get things right.
(A comb will only tug and bite.)
In Signal’s Lament, Alice Schertle speaks in the voice of a bored traffic signal who longs to “signal” drivers to stop, go, and slow down, with a more artistic palette of colors than red, green and yellow. It imagines doing its job with colors like magenta, maroon, aquamarine, cerulean blue, and cadmium orange. The signal tells us…
I may look like a pole, but I have the soul
Of an artist, a star, a flamingo!
And speaking of pink, that’s a winner, I think.
Add a touch of vermilion and BINGO!
In another mask poem, Maria Fleming’s Velcro sings its own praises while denigrating the quality of other fasteners:
I sneer at snaps,
the lowly lace.
They lack my lock,
my fierce embrace.
Just try to name
a greater gripper.
(Don’t even think
of saying zipper.)
Kids are sure get a kick out of Marilyn Singer’s In Here. Kitty, Kitty. It’s a poem about Edward Lowe, the inventor of Kitty Litter. Here’s the last stanza of the poem:
He wasn’t Edison or Whitney.
Still feline owners didn’t titter.
Oh, to think he banished stink
with tons and tons of Kitty Litter.
Ann Whitford Paul entices readers to think “outside the box” in Inside the Box, her poem about Crayola crayons. She ends it with this thought about using one’s imagination and creativity:
But who says a seed
must be brown?
A field of corn green?
A flat tire black?
As you take crayons
from their box
break out of your own box.
Turn your paper
into a whole new world.
The back matter of the book contains two or more paragraphs of information about each of the inventions and inventors written about in the poems. It also includes a timeline.
Julia Sarcone-Roach’s illustrations serve as an unimposing backdrop for the poems in this anthology. They add just the right touches of color, humor, and whimsy.
Incredible Inventions would be a wonderful anthology to have on hand in an elementary/middle grade classroom. It could be a great stepping off point for a unit on inventors and inventions.
Click here to have a “sneak peek” inside Incredible Inventions.
NOTE: You can read my review of Joyce Sidman’s book Eureka!: Poems about Inventors here: POETRY SATURDAY: Joyce Sidman, Part II
My Reviews of Other Poetry Anthologies Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
- Book Review: Sky Magic Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
- More School Poems: Review of School Supplies
- Hamsters, Shells, and Spelling Bees: School Poems
- Words...Wonderful Words, Words, Words
- Valentine Hearts: Poetry & A Picture Book in Verse
- More Poetry for Christmas
- Poetry for Hanukkah
Lee Bennett Hopkins is the 15th winner of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Read about Lee and his work here. Read more about Lee at the following blog post written by Sylvia Vardell: More on LBH and the 2009 NCTE Poetry Award.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol’s Corner today.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The Small Graces June Auction Is On!!!
Wouldn't you love to own an original painting by children's author and illustrator Grace Lin? All the proceeds from the Small Graces auctions will benefit The Foundation for Children's Books, a small non-profit organization in Boston that is making a big difference in the lives of young readers by bringing children's book authors and illustrators into under-served schools in the Greater Boston area for visits and residencies..
Small Graces June auction URL:
NOTE: Bidding closes Jun-19-09 16:53:53 PDT
Click here to learn more about the Small Graces auctions.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Stars Are Shining!
Click on the links below to find out about last Saturday's launch party for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon--and to see more pictures of Grace, the Blue Rose Girls, and the people who attended the event at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- launch (Blue Rose Girls)
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: The Launch Party (Wild Rose Reader)
Book Review: Sky Magic Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Mariusz Starwaski
Dutton Children’s Books, 2009
Hopkins never disappoints poetry lovers like me with his anthologies—whether they are intended for the very youngest of children or for older kids. Sky Magic is definitely another fine compilation that elementary teachers will want to have on hand in the classroom—or available in their school libraries.
I had read a few of the poems in Sky Magic in other collections and/or anthologies before—David McCord’s Orion, Ashley Bryan’s Song, and Carl Sandburg’s Stars. Most of the fourteen selections, however, were new to me. These poems include works written by Hopkins, Avis Harley, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Georgia Heard, Tony Johnston, and Alice Schertle.
Each poem in Sky Magic is a little gem of words that looks at objects in the heavens with wonder and imagination. In Sun, by Lyn Littlefield Hoopes, the sun speaks to us saying: I come to you/a diamond/on the morning dew. In Set, Sun, Hopkins tells the sun it’s time to go and Take/the/breath/of/day/away. Alice Schertle sets us to wondering about the moon in Who Found the Moon?. She wants to know who picked it up when it tumbled from the sky; who rubbed it with his thumb; who felt its silver coolness on his palm.
One of the most soothing and lyrical poems in the book is Ann Whitford Paul’s Moon’s Poem. Here’s an excerpt from it:
From Moon’s Poem
by Ann Whitford Paul
round sounds of
through the leaves,
slow rhythms of
Sky Magic is indeed a lovely poetry anthology. I highly recommend it!
More about Sky Magic and Lee Bennett Hopkins
- You can read Legends, Avis Harley’s poem from Sky Magic, here at Poetry for Children.
- You can view two of Starwaski’s illustrations from Sky Magic here.
- Check out Tricia’s Interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by J. Patrick Lewis entitled To a Frustrated Poet.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Critique de Mr. Chompchomp.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
An Original Fairy Tale Poem
Q: Who was the nemesis of Baby Bear?
A: A girl with curly golden hair.
She ate his porridge, broke his chair,
And took his comforter. Beware!
She did the same thing twice before
To Baby Buck and Baby Boar.
Her parents thought her antics droll.
They let her keep the things she stole.
They let her stay up late at night.
They never taught her wrong from right.
Beware of Goldilocks, that brat—
Don’t let her near your habitat!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Book Review: What's Inside? by Giles Laroche
Written & illustrated by Giles Laroche
Houghton Mifflin, 2009
Giles Laroche is well known for the intricate cut paper illustrations that he has created for his previously published children’s books: Down to the Sea in Ships, Bridges Are to Cross, What Do Wheels Do All Day?, Sacred Places, The Color Box, and Ragged Shadows—among others.
What readers will find between the covers of What’s Inside? is some of Giles’ most detailed and exceptional paper relief artwork that he has done to date. What’s Inside? is the kind of book one can savor…over and over again. It’s a nonfiction picture book for children in upper elementary grades, children who are interested in different types of buildings/architecture, and adults.
The Format of the Book: On the right-hand page, there is a large framed picture of a structure and a short paragraph of information—below which is printed the words WHAT’s INSIDE? or WHO’S INSIDE?. Turn the page and you will see an illustration of “what” or “who” is inside the structure. There is information about the "inside" of the structure in text below the picture. In a sidebar to the left of the illustration, there is additional information that provides the name of the structure; the structure’s location, size, and the materials from which it was made; the date of the construction; the structure today; and a little known fact about the structure. This is how Laroche begins his book:
At the end of a long underground passageway an archaeologist opens this sealed door. Leading to a series of hidden chambers, the door has not been opened in nearly three thousand years. (The illustration shows Howard Carter unsealing the entrance to King Tut’s tomb while two onlookers watch expectantly.)
In 1922, the archaeologist Howard Carter discovered King Tutankamun’s tomb, placed in underground vaults to survive the ages, its sole entry hidden from robbers.
Laroche goes on to tell about the treasures found inside the tomb, the Egyptians’ belief in the afterlife, and King Tutankamun’s ascent to the throne when he was just nine years old. In the sidebar, we read that the tomb was buried 25 feet underground, had four rooms that were 8-10 feet high—and that sealed boxes found in the tomb contained raisins, dates, nuts, watermelon seeds, cakes, bread, cereals, onions, and meat.
NOTE: In some cases, Laroche used double-page spreads because of the size of particular structures. For example, inside the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun) or Blacksmith’s Gate in Spain, there lies the entire city of Toledo. He also created a two-page panoramic spread of Kuala Lampur to show how the Petronas Twin Towers “tower” above the other structures in the city.
I found some of the most interesting information in the “Little Known Facts” sections. In these, I learned that the Parthenon was originally painted in shades of blue, ocher, and gold; that the Alcazar Castle in Spain served as the model for the castle at Disneyland; and that the design for the Petronas Towers was based on an Islamic geometric pattern symbolizing unity, harmony, stability, and rationality.
In the back matter of the book, there is a Glossary of Architectural Terms. A tiny square illustration accompanies each term—which, I think, is a wonderful added feature. In this section, the author included brief descriptions of 26 terms, including acropolis, cupola, moat, pagoda, pediment, pentelic marble, sanctuary.
Giles Laroche’s newest book is a visual stunner. I suggest you get yourself a copy and find out what’s inside!
Elaine: What inspired you to write and illustrate this book?
Giles: My interest in and curiosity of places and structures is what inspired my work for this book. In turn I wanted to inspire and share those same interests with young readers, future builders, and travelers.
Elaine: What kind of research did you undertake and what types of resources did you use when gathering information for this book project?
Giles: I used a wide variety of sources for my research, mostly books of which I have thousands. I frequent three local libraries and have access to a vast library of books on architecture. My own journals, photos, sketches from my travels come into use and I do some research on the Internet as well. Feed back from architects I know and from people who have traveled to some of these places is very helpful too. In many cases I contacted the actual place to get additional information.
Elaine: How did you decide on the subjects you wrote about in the book?
Giles: I wanted to include culturally significant structures as well as those less well known all of which had an "inside” readers would be curious about. They are sometimes predictable, such as the barn or circus tent, or a surprise; the jaguar throne, or city of Toledo. I also kept in mind a variety of geographical locations and cultures. They are presented chronologically. I chose places I have been too, have yet to see, or perhaps will never see.
Elaine: How long did the book project take from inception to completion?
Elaine: Are there any new projects you have in mind or are working on at the present time?
Giles: I am currently at work on a new book that is also about places and buildings. More later.
I would like to thank Giles Laroche for taking time to answer my questions and for allowing me to post images from his new book.
The Nonfiction Monday Roundup is at Charlotte’s Library this week.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon: The Launch Party
After we Blue Rose Girls left the bookstore, we headed off to The Upstairs on the Square to celebrate the launch of Grace’s new book—and her birthday (although a bit belatedly.) It was great being with my blogging buddies to share in Grace’s success and to dine on delicious food!
The Blue Rose Girls
Friday, June 5, 2009
The Frogs and Toads All Sang: A Book of Poems by Arnold Lobel
Written & Illustrated by Arnold Lobel
Color by Adrianne Lobel
Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books certainly stand as the standard bearers for early readers. They are wonderfully written tales of friendship full of humor and warmth. The books are great for independent reading for young children. They are also outstanding books to read aloud.
I stopped by the Banbury Cross Children’s Book Shop a few days ago and was excited to find out that a book of frog and toad poems that was written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel many years ago had recently been published. The book, The Frogs and Toads All Sang, includes an introduction by Lobel’s daughter Adrianne. In the introduction, Adrianne explains how this book came into being. I won’t go into detail here—but I will tell you that its text and drawings were handmade into a book by Arnold Lobel and given as a gift to Crosby and George Bonsall. The book was bought in an estate auction by a man named Justin Schiller. The man contacted Adrianne in September 2008 to inform her of all the handmade books he had purchased that were created by her late father.
Adrianne writes about The Frogs and Toads All Sang: “I think that the poems and pictures are important in the grand arc of Arnold Lobel’s work. This was the first time he wrote about frogs and toads. Also, the exuberant vitality of the sketches is not representative of the kind of work he was doing for publication at the time.”
Adrianne says that she used her father’s preferred technique to color the sketches for this book. She also notes the following: “I hope in some small measure I have done well by him.”
In my opinion, Adrianne has done her father proud. The colored illustrations are a delight and certainly enhance this book of ten poems better than black and white sketches.
Updated to Add: Here’s a video from HarperCollins in which Adrianne Lobel talks about The Frogs and Toads All Sang, her father, and her process for coloring her father’s drawings. It includes images of some of the wonderful illustrations included in the book.
The Frogs and Toads All Sang may be a slim volume—but a super book of poems to share with very young children. It would also be a fine addition to a library collection in an early childhood classroom. How great to have The Frogs and Toads All Sang on hand in school or at home to share when reading the Frog and Toad stories.
About the Poems: Lobel proves himself an adept writer of light verse. His rhyming poems are rhythmic and scan well. There’s a sense of whimsy in these fanciful poems that tell about such things as a frog who bakes apple pies and sugar buns—and then eats them all herself; a toad who eats and eats all day long until it hurts; and a frog who decides to jump to the moon one June evening…and hits his destination in late July.
Here’s a poem from the book to give you a flavor of the verses that Lobel wrote many years ago:
Made for Toads
A sunny day
Is made for toads
To play and leap
Down dusty roads.
A rainy day is made for frogs
To swim in swamps
And under logs.
In weather gray
Or weather bright,
For some, the day
Will be just right.
Other poems in this collection include the following:
The Frogs and Toads All Sang is a poem about frogs and toads having a “dress up” party with paper lamps, lemonade, and an orchestra…and lots of dancing.
Polliwog School is a poem about tadpoles swimming to class where all they do is wiggle and squirm and giggle.
Bright Green Frog is a poem about a musical amphibian that fiddled waltzes on his violin, but what he really wanted was to play a clarinet.
There Was a Frog is a poem about a frog who has a car that he drives fast and far—but he never looks at traffic lights and never learned how to stop his vehicle.
Night is a poem in which two toads agree that they need clocks so that when they wake and there’s no light they’ll know that it’s nighttime.
A Toad Was Feeling is a poem about a toad who’s “sad and grumpy” because his skin “was rough and bumpy.” So he buys himself a soft, furry coat to wrap himself in.
I have little doubt that young admirers of the Frog and Toad series will enjoy this collection of poems and illustrations by Lobel. It is infused with the same sense of gentle humor that made Lobel's stories about two unforgettable amphibian friends such perennially popular books.
Updated to Add: Chance Find Leads to New Lobel Picture Books by Sue Corbett—Publishers Weekly, 5/28/2009
A Remembrance of Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad Are Friends of Mine (From The Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Book—Gone But Not Forgotten: Arnold Lobel)
- Leaping Into Books About Frogs (And Other Amphibians) (From the Miss Rumphius Effect)
- Leaping Lizards! It's the Year of the Frog (From Wild Rose Reader)
At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem about teaching written by Mary Ruefle entitled The Hand.
Sara Lewis Holmes has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Read Write Believe.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Poetry Stretch: Food Poems
Lemon, lime, and tangerine
Cherry, orange, wintergreen
Grape, vanilla, licorice
Any flavor that I wish
Sitting in my candy dish
Every color tastes delish!
of pale potato moons…
thin slices of spuds
deep fried in fat
till crisp and golden
then sprinkled with salt—
a crunchy munchy snack
that talks back.
powdered puff of sweetness
toasted brown on a stick
until it oozes white lava
We pick through
quarts of blueberries
until we’re left with
a big bowl
of plump purple pearls
perfect for baking in a pie
that will ooze indigo juices
when sliced and served…
steaming the scent
of a Maine summer
through our kitchen
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
OUT & ABOUT: June 3, 2009
- 2009 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature Announced
- Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards: Video of 2008 Ceremony
- From Publishers Weekly—BookExpo America 2009: Fall Children’s Highlights (By Diane Roback, with reporting by Joy Bean and John A. Sellers)
- Children’s Bookshelf (Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2009)
- From Kelly Fiineman at Writing and Ruminating—Brush Up Your Shakespeare in June - Introduction
- From Jen Robinson’s Book Page—Children's Literacy Round-Up: June 1
- From MotherReader—The Fourth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge
Summer Reading for Children & Adults
- From knoxnews.com—A need to read: What parents can do to encourage summer reading
- From the Motherlode blog at The New York Times (June 1, 2009)—A Summer Reading List for Parents (By Lisa Belkin)
- From NPR—Summer Books 2009
- From A Wrung Sponge—Summer Reading links
- From Wild Rose Reader—Summer Reading: Books, Poetry, & Other Resources
One More Thing
- Over at Politcal Verses— The Vietcong Tunnels: A Poem by J. Patrick Lewis