Friday, September 30, 2011

Old Poems & New Furniture

As I wrote in my Poetry Friday post last week, I’ve been busy spending lots of time with my little granddaughter Julia Anna and cleaning out the basement—where I’ve been discovering lots of old poems that I had forgotten about.

This week my husband and I decided to redo our dining room. We had given away our dining room set to my daughter and husband quite some time ago—so we haven’t used the room at all for a long time. We’ve been hosting Thanksgiving and other dinner parties in my library/office—which is in my basement.

Here’s a picture of Janet Wong and my daughter Sara in my library/office (2007).
Click here to see some more pictures of the room.

It was definitely time to fix up our once lovely, light-filled dining room again. I went furniture shopping on Monday and bought a new dining room set at Boston Interiors. Now we have to finish painting the dining room pronto because the furniture is going to be delivered next Tuesday!

I am so excited that we’ll finally be hosting Thanksgiving in our dining room this November!


This morning I dug through some more "basement bins" and found the following old, moldering poems:


Wake up, sleepy bear,
It’s spring.
Stop your snoring—
Rise and sing.
Yawn your winter dreams
Take your bear cubs out to play.
Peek out from
Your darkened den.
All the world is green again!


I’m a cloud-maker.
Watch me blow
A pale white billow,
Make it grow—
A fragile ghost-cloud,
That vanishes as
I breathe in.


Crisp leaves crackle underfoot.
Air smells of cinnamon and earth.
The sky is ink—and wild geese
Arrow past a harvest moon
That shines bright as a brand new penny.


White bowls
Cupped toward the heavens,
Eavesdropping on space,
To tales told
Of a time before time—

Of a Big Bang
Spewing star stuff
Into the universe,

Of whirling clouds
Of burning gases,

Of inanimate life
Breathing light
Into a dark void.


Sara Lewis Holmes has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Read Write Believe.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Here & There: September 28, 2011

The Horn Book has a brand new website. Click here to check it out.

From the September/October 2011 Issue of The Horn Book

Editorial: What Books Can Do by Roger Sutton

It’s My Party: An Interview with Maurice Sendak about His New Book by Leonard Marcus

Back to School by Martha B. Parravano

Project Child’s Play by Elizabeth Thomas

Mildred Batchelder: The Power of Thinking Big by Barbara Bader

What makes a Good Book about Sharing by Susan Dove Lempke

Starred Books—September/October 2011

Also at the Horn Book Website:

Five Questions for Leo Landry

Notes from the Horn Book—September 2011

Horn Book Blogs

School Library Journal

SLJ's 2011 Leadership Summit a Huge Hit by Debra Lau Whelan

More than 200,000 Book Lovers Attend DC National Book Festival by Rocco Staino

Publishers Weekly

Children’s Books at the Brooklyn Book Festival compiled by John A. Sellers

Information about the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival

Introducing the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival (A Fuse #8 Production)

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival (James Kennedy)

Book Trailers

You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown

Swirl by Swirl—written by Joyce Sidman & illustrated by Beth Krommes

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cleaning House and Discovering Old Poems

I’ve kept myself busy lately. I’ve been spending as much time as possible with my adorable little granddaughter Julia Anna. I hate to be away from her for more than a couple of days. She seems to change by the hour. (She's grown two inches and gained three pounds since she came home from the hospital. She's also started to lose her hair.)

I’ve also been busy cleaning house. Actually, I’ve been cleaning my basement. When I took a year’s leave of absence from my teaching job in 1999 so I could return to school and take library media courses, I brought home bins of educational materials. When I retired from my school library position in 2004, it took me the entire summer to bring all my books and library resources home. I threw little away at first because I was still teaching a children’s literature course at Boston University. Now that I’m completely retired, I felt it was time to get rid of things I don’t need that have been cluttering up our basement. I’ve thrown away hundreds of old educational and library review journals, classroom activities and curriculum units that I had developed over the years, and various and sundry other things.

One great thing that has happened while I've been cleaning house is discovering old poems, parts of poems, and rough drafts of poems that I had forgotten about. I had stuffed them into bins that I stored on shelves in my basement a long time ago. I didn’t even recall writing most of these poems and poetic tidbits…on my typewriter.
I thought I’d post some of these "newly discovered" poetic items for Poetry Friday:


Oh, to be a bird and sing
And wake the apple blossom spring.

Oh, to be a bird and rest
My feathers in a treetop nest.

Oh, to be a bird and fly
And brush my wingtips blue with sky.

Oh, to be a bird and see
The whole world spinning under me.


There once was a snail who could climb
Up Jack’s beanstalk—if given the time.
     Upon reaching the tip—
     Well, he started to slip
Down the stalk on a river of slime.


Here I am—
The man in the Moon—
Shining my bright
Sky face.
Here I am—
The night wizard,
Alchemist of light—
Changing the sun’s fiery gold
To cool silver.


Lily pads pressed
on the water,
their shiny leaves
stitched together with
needles of sunlight,
stretch across the pond:
a small green sky
alight with
petalled stars.


From the eaves
icicles hang—
a crystal fringe
sequined with sunlight.
The sun’s yellow fingers
loosen their snowy stitches,
rub their glassy skin
bit by melting bit
they lose themselves
in the snow,
leaving their tracks
in a tidy row.

I haven't decided whether I should do more work on these poems--or just put them back in platic bins.


Anastasia Suen has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Picture Book of the Day.

Over at Blue Rose Girls, I have a post titled Banned Books Week: Jonah Goldberg Claims It's Just ALA Propaganda.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Pig Wants to Party: Terry Gross Interviews Maurice Sendak on Fresh Air

Yesterday—while I was driving in my car—I listened to a truly interesting and revelatory interview that Terry Gross had with award-winning children’s author Maurice Sendak. They talked about Sendak’s new book Bumble-ardy, his work, and his life.

From the NPR website:

Bumble-ardy, the latest from author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, is dark and deeply imaginative, much like his classic works Where the Wild Things Are and In The Night Kitchen.

Bumble-ardy is an orphaned pig, who has reached the age of 9 without ever having a birthday party. He tells his Aunt Adeline that he would like to have a party for his ninth birthday, so Aunt Adeline plans a quiet birthday dinner for two. But Bumble-ardy instead decides to throw a large costume party for himself after his aunt leaves for work — and mayhem ensues.

When his aunt returns she says, "Okay smarty, you've had your party but never again." Bumble-ardy replies, "I promise, I swear, I won't ever turn 10."

Sendak tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that those two lines — his favorite in the book — sum up his life and his work.

"Those two lines are essential. 'I'll never be 10' touches me deeply but I won't pretend that I know exactly what it means," says Sendak. "When I thought of it, I was so happy I thought of it. It came to me, which is what the creative act is all about. Things come to you without you necessarily knowing what they mean. ... It comes at a time when I am getting ripe, getting old — and I want to do work that resonates."

Sendak says that he worked on Bumble-ardy while taking care of his longtime partner, Eugene Glynn, who died of lung cancer in 2007.

"When I did Bumble-ardy, I was so intensely aware of death," he says. "Eugene, my friend and partner, was dying here in the house when I did Bumble-ardy. I did Bumble-ardy to save myself. I did not want to die with him. I wanted to live as any human being does. But there's no question that the book was affected by what was going on here in the house. ... Bumble-ardy was a combination of the deepest pain and the wondrous feeling of coming into my own. And it took a long time. It took a very long time."

Click here to listen to the interview.
Click here to look inside the book.

Anita Silvey on Maurice Sendak
Maurice Sendak the Artist: An Interview

Friday, September 16, 2011

Poetry to Take You through the Year, Part 2

The following three poetry collections take us through the year month by month:

A Child’s Calendar
Written by John Updike
Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Holiday House, 1999

The first edition of A Child’s Calendar—illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert—was published in 1965. This newer edition—illustrated by Hyman—received a Caldecott Honor Award. I’d say deservedly so. Hyman’s evocative paintings portray events, activities, and scenes that are representative of each month. Children are shown making valentines in February….flying kites in March…enjoying a family picnic in July…trick-or-treating and jumping in piles of leaves in October. Hyman’s illustrations extend Updike’s text. They take readers through the year hand-in-hand with his poems.

The twelve poems, written in stanzas of rhyming quatrains, are crisp, concise, and filled with imagery, personification, and figurative language:

In January, the sun is “a spark/Hung thin between/The dark and dark.

In March, “Shy budlets peep/From twigs on trees…

In April, “The sky’s a herd/Of prancing sheep…”

In June, “The live-long light/is like a dream,/And freckles come/Like flies to cream”

In September, "The breezes taste of apple peel."

In October, “Frost bites the lawn./The stars are slits/In a black cat’s eyes/Before she spits.”

In November, “The stripped and shapely/Maple grieves/The loss of her/Departed leaves.”

Updike made small changes to some of the poems for the 1999 edition. For example in January, milk bottles no longer “burst/Outside the door.” Instead—“parkas pile up/Near the door.” And in June, children play hide-and-seek after supper in lieu of kick-the can.

A Child's Calendar is a topnotch poetry collection written and illustrated by two talented and highly respected individuals who were stars in their respective professions.

Note: I used to tell my students to listen for clues as I read poems from this book to see if they could name which month Updike was describing. My pupils enjoyed the challenge.

Another Note: Ariel S. Winter has an excellent post about A Child’s Calendar, the two different editions of the book, and changes made to the newer edition at his blog We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie. Click here to read it.
Once Around the Sun
Written by Bobbi Katz
Illustrated LeUyen Pham
Harcourt, 2006

Each of the twelve poems in this collection begins the same way: January is when…February is when…December is when…. One might think this approach would lead to poetic monotony. Not so…not in the talented hands of Bobbi Katz. The author breathes personality and life into the different months with her imagery and creative use of language:

“January is/when your sled hurries/to the park after school/and flurries you/down/the/hill…”

“May is/when the sky unties/a secret song bag/early every morning,/and the birds fly out…”

“September is/when yellow pencils/wearing brand-new eraser hats/bravely wait on perfect points…”

"October is/when night guzzles up/the orange sherbet sunset/and sends the day/to bed/before supper..."

“December is/when greedy night/grows fat,/gnawing/away the day/until all that’s left/of afternoon/is a small bare bone…”

Katz provides an excellent example of what an imaginative and adept writer can do with a simple concept. She selected a unifying model for all of her poems about the months--but showed how creative a poet can be even when limiting herself to one type of poem.

Pham’s bold illustrations burst with color and exuberance. Close-ups and changing perspectives add energy and life. They are a wonderful complement to Katz's inventive text.

Click here to read Katz’s poem about the month of June.

Click here to look inside the book.

A Year Goes Round: Poems for the Months
Written & illustrated by Karen B. Winnick
Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 2011

Winnick didn’t limit herself to writing just one poem about each of the twelve months. Except for January, there are two poems for each month—and three for December. The seasonal poems include a wide variety of subjects--making snow angels, a winter beach, reading indoors, baseball tryouts, April rain, frolicking in waves at the shore, playing dodge ball, fall leaves, Halloween disguises, feeding a goose in autumn, the first snow.

Some poems are energetic. Many are reflective and thoughtful—like Welcome Back and Summer’s End:


I missed you when
the pond froze thick with ice.

You disappeared but then--
you must have checked the clock.

Now you're here with spring,
back sunning on your rock.


Good-bye to bare feet,
to August’s late heat,

to swims in the sea,
sleepovers for three,

to campfire nights,
long days of light.

In the wink of an eye,
all of summer—gone by.

The authors of these three poetry collections used different approaches in writing about the months. Sharing poems from the books with children can help show them how different poets view the months and write about them in their own unique voices.

Click here to read my post from last Friday: Poetry to Take You through the Year, Part 1.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is over at Poem Farm this week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bedtime Stories--from a Dad in Afghanistan

A few months ago, I listened to an interesting and heartwarming interview with a woman named Karri Bielwicz on the NPR program All Things Considered. Before Karri’s husband Ken’s deployment to Afghanistan, he read five children’s books into a camera. Karri played the videos of Ken reading the books to their young daughter at bedtime while he was away from home. Isn't that a wonderful idea?

Here’s more information about the interview from the NPR website:

Karri Bielwicz was five months pregnant when she found out her husband, Ken, was going to be sent to Afghanistan for a year.

She scoured the Web and various military sources for ideas on how to keep their marriage going and how to keep him a constant presence in the life of their daughter, Abigail.

"A lot of the literature suggested that he read books, just to hear his voice," she tells NPR. "We made the decision to have Ken read to a camera five storybooks for Abigail."

So every night, mother and daughter open up the computer, hit play, and Daddy gets to read Abigail a story. From the goofy, interactive book Dancing Duck to the sentimental Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, Abbey gets to see her father and hear his voice every night.

Bielwicz admits that during the first couple weeks of her husband's deployment, it was especially hard to watch him on that screen.

"I pretty much cried every time that he read to her, especially when she would point to him and say 'da da da da,'" she says.

But she feels the stories are doing Abigail a world of good as she adjusts to life without her father in the house.

"She definitely recognizes his voice and even tries to hug the computer once in a while. ... I think it will be helpful for her when he does come back," she says.

Her husband is due to come home in February.

"That way he's not quite the stranger. She'll know his voice, she'll know what he looks like," Karri Bielwicz says. "So I think she'll be affectionate towards him and we can start our life as a family again — together."


Listen to the story here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Poetry to Take You through the Year, Part 1

When I was an elementary school teacher, I was always looking for poems about the seasons, weather, holidays and special days that I could share with my students over the course of the school year. Today, I’m taking a look at some fine poetry books that take us through a calendar year…poetically.

Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by David Diaz
Margaret K. McElderry, 2010

This is a beautifully designed and illustrated anthology of forty-eight poems, which are equally divided among the four seasons. Sharing the Seasons has a wonderful variety of works on seasonal subjects, nature, and the weather—which includes polliwogs, flowers, the sounds of spring, the hatching of a snake, a Fourth of July parade, swimming, building a sand castle, a summer storm, insects, apples, a scarecrow, pumpkins, Halloween, Thanksgiving, snow, icicles, animals in the winter home they built, a deserted boardwalk. This compilation includes a wealth of “never-before-published” poems. In fact, twenty-nine of them were specially commissioned for this book! That’s what gives this book of poetry about the seasons such freshness. Open the cover of this anthology and you’ll “see” the seasons as you’ve never seen them before.

In one of the book’s first poems, Rebecca Kai Dotlich provides readers with directions in her Map to Spring, which begins like this:

Go straight to Seed,
Turn right on Bud,
Around a bend to Breeze until
You cross over Puddle…

In Beverly McLoughland’s Don’t You Dare, a Robin warns poets not to write another spring poem with a “redbreast in it”—and ends by giving the writer an idea for another poem subject:

Take your pad and pencil
To the reedy bog.
When you feel a poem coming—
Think: Frog.

Elizabeth Upton’s Summer Sun speaks for itself about the things it does:

warm blue-lipped lake children
freckle, burn and brown their skin
linger in the evening so they play

In Indigo Sky, Candace Pearson writes about how crickets “write a summer night” with their song that “slices through clouds,/seesaws off the rising moon,/bounces back from the stars.”

Terry Webb Harshman’s The Scarecrow Prince describes a scarecrow that appears shabby and forlorn…until the shines upon him. Then he’s transformed:

But when the sun
   shines down on him
his golden hair
   and friendly grin,
it seems to me
   a prince reborn—

Royal Keeper of
   The Corn.

The threat of snow prompts autumn to go out of business in Beverly McLoughland’s Closing Sale.

From Closing Sale:

Bumblebee’s out browsing
Nectar’s almost gone,
It’s Autumn’s final bargain days
With winter coming on.

Joan Bransfield Graham’s Boardwalk in Winter is a boarded-up, bare, deserted place that’s "swept by cold/and salty air/the ocean’s/roar/is all that’s loud,/an echo of/last summer’s/crowd."

In Marilyn Singer’s Cat, a feline speaks contentedly about its preference for staying indoors in the December:

I prefer
warm fur,
a perfect fire
to lie beside,
a cozy lap
where I can nap…

Sharing the Seasons is an exceptional anthology that I would definitely have considered a “must have” for my classroom library when I was teaching.

David Diaz’s stylistic mixed-media illustrations are gorgeous. Diaz used color skillfully to evoke and to impart a flavor of the seasons. His illustrations are both brilliant and subtle. They serve as a perfect complement to the fine poetry.

Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, History, Fascinating Facts, and More
Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
Greenwillow, 2005

Days to Celebrate is another excellent anthology from the master of children’s poetry—Lee Bennett Hopkins. This book is a “soup-to-nuts” compilation of poems about various and sundry subjects—famous Americans, holidays, weather, nature, the seasons—that would be an excellent resource in an elementary classroom. The poems in the book are organized by month. The February section includes poems about the groundhog, love, and Marian Anderson; the July section includes poems about a Fourth of July parade and the Statue of Liberty; and the November section includes a poem about Thanksgiving and an Iroquois prayer.

Each of the sections opens with a calendar of that month with interesting facts noted on it. For example, the January calendar informs us that Paul Revere’s birth date was January 1, 1735, and that the state of Georgia was admitted to the Union on January 2, 1788.

One will find the works of some of the “poetry greats” of the past (Browning, Frost, Dickinson, Tennyson, Eliot, Lear, Stevenson)—as well as the works of well-known contemporary children’s poets (J. Patrick Lewis, Janet Wong, Bobbi Katz, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, X.J. Kennedy) in this anthology.

Previously reviewed at Wild Rose Reader and Blue Rose Girls
Swing around the SunWritten by Barbara Juster Esbensen
Illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee, Janice Lee Porter, Mary GrandPre, and Stephen Gammell
Published by Carolrhoda Books/Lerner, 2003

Barbara Juster Esbensen, the recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1994, is one of my favorite poets. Esbensen, who passed away in 1996, was a master of imagery and a true wordsmith who used language in elegant and inventive ways. I was ecstatic when one of her out of print poetry books, originally published in 1965, was reissued in 2003. The new edition of Swing around the Sun is a lovely book with full color illustrations created by four different artists.

Swing around the Sun is a collection of poems about the four seasons. Each of the book’s four artists illustrates the poems for a particular season: Spring poems are illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee, summer poems by Janice Lee Porter, fall poems by Mary GrandPre, and winter poems by Stephen Gammell. This collection is one of just two books of rhyming poetry Esbensen penned. (Her other book of rhymed poetry is a delightful collection entitled Dance with Me, which is now out of print.)

In Swing around the Sun, Esbensen captured the different elements of the four seasons in her fine poetry: the fading of winter as birds, rain showers, and warmer days return in spring; the lightning storms, fireworks, and yellow of summer; Halloween, golden leaves, and the “pointed flavor in the air” foretelling a dramatic change in the weather at the end of autumn; snow, ice, and the steely cold of winter. One feels the passing of a year when reading through this collection. The book’s four artists, for their part, have captured the essence of Esbensen’s poetry in their illustrations.

From Yellow:

Yellow pollen
Dusts the breeze,
And yellow
Lights the summer trees.

A yellow buzzing
Prints the air;
In dappled yellow
Dreams the pear.

And from the finch’s
Yellow throat
One golden, flowing
Yellow note!

The Wind Woman

The Wind’s white fingers
Are thin and sharp,
And she plays all night
On any icy harp.

On her icy harp
Of stiff, black trees,
She plays her songs
And the rivers freeze.

today and today: haiku by Issa
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Scholastic, 2007

In his note to readers on the verso of the title page, Karas explains that he selected and arranged eighteen of Issa’s haiku “to tell the story of a year in the life of an imaginary family.” I think this story telling approach works well. As we read through the book from beginning to end, we experience the passage of the four seasons with three generations of a loving family. We see members of the family enjoying the weather and appreciating the beauty of nature with each other and privately.


I’ll describe one illustration from each of the seasons to give you a sense of the art in the book. I will also include three of Issa’s haiku that Karas selected for today and today.

A Spring Illustration: An old man, the grandfather, sits under a blossoming cherry tree peeling an orange. The haiku that appears on the page with this picture reads…

Just being alive!
—miraculous to be in
cherry blossom shadows!

A Summer Illustration: The father, son, and grandfather lean on a fence and gaze over green fields at dawn.

An Autumn Illustration: Two children, a girl and a boy, are shown offering chrysanthemums to their grandfather as he sits near the bare cherry tree in their yard, which is blanketed with golden leaves. The haiku that accompanies this picture reads…

How well we have slept
to feel so fresh this morning,
dear chrysanthemums

A Winter Illustration: The parents and children visit a grave as snowflakes fall over a cemetery.

The final haiku in the book brings us full circle and back to spring again:

As simple as that—
spring has finally arrived
with a pale blue sky

In the accompanying illustration, the granddaughter sits in the chair under the blossoming cherry tree—as her grandfather had done the previous spring.

For his art in today and today, Karas combined a number of different materials: rice paper, wood plank, pencil, and paint. There’s a simplicity to the illustrations. They are not busy; they do not overwhelm the haiku. There’s also a softness to the colors and the shapes. Like the haiku poems included in the book, each of Karas’s illustrations captures the essence of a single moment in time.

Karas portrays a kind of innocence and sweetness in today and today. This is a little gem of a poetry book that is perfect for younger children—and is one that may help them to develop an appreciation for haiku.

Click here to look inside this book.

Our Seasons
Written by Grace Lin and Ranida T. McKneally
Illustrated by Grace Lin
Charlesbridge, 2006

Our Seasons is both a poetry and an informational book. In it, we follow a multicultural group of children named Ki-Ki, Owen, Lily, and Kevin through the year. This book has an attractive layout. Each two-page spread has information about the seasons and weather written by McKneally and a haiku written by Lin. McKneally provides her information in a question and answer format. Her prose is clear and concise. The questions include the following: Why do leaves change color? Why do I see my breath? Why do bees like flowers? Why do fireflies glow?

Lin’s haikus are child-friendly and would serve as good models for a classroom haiku writing activity. Here are two of her poems:

Ki-Ki sees her breath
She pretends she’s a dragon
Blowing out hot steam.

Lily hears thunder.
“You don’t have to yell!” she calls.
Still the sky grumbles.

The illustrations in Our Seasons are done in typical Lin style—with a palette of bright colors, with lots of different patterns, and with swirls in the sky. The exuberant pictures of children raking leaves, climbing trees, building a snowman, and catching fireflies on a summer night help to unify the poetry and prose. This book is a neat little package that would make a wonderful resource for a kindergarten or primary grade classroom.

Click here to look inside this book.

One Big Rain: Poems for a Rainy Day
Compiled by Rita Gray
Illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke
Charlesbridge, 2010

One Big Rain is one delightful little anthology of poems about rain that takes readers through the year. It was a NCTE Notable Poetry Books of 2010.

Click here to read my review of the book.

Click here to look inside this book.

The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems
Written by Michael J. Rosen
Illustrated by Stan Fellows
Candlewick, 2009

The Cuckoo’s Haiku is truly one of the finest books of seasonal haiku for children that I have ever read. It’s a wonderful amalgam of lovely haiku about birds, exquisite realistic watercolor paintings showing the different birds in their natural settings, and factual information about the avian creatures in the back matter of the book.

Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to look inside this book.

Red Sings from Tree Tops: A Year in Colors
Written by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin, 2009

In Red Sings from Tree Tops, Joyce Sidman gives readers insight into colors through her novel approach to writing about them. Sidman takes a seasonal look at BLUE and YELLOW and RED and GREEN and other colors—and shows us what they embody during different times of the year.

Zagarenski received a Caldecott Honor Award for her stunning mixed media illustrations that draw readers into the seasonal lives of colors. Her illustrations and Sidman’s evocative poetry are perfect pair.

Click here to read my review of this book.

Click here to look inside this book.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is over at Secrets & Sharing Soda this week.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here & There: September 8, 2011


Something to Shout About: New research shows that more librarians means higher reading scores

California Bound: Westward Expansion

Changing the World One Bright Red Book Bag at a Time: Raising A Reader is on a mission—to make sure that every child starts school ready to succeed

Say What?: Allen Say’s ‘Drawing from Memory’ charts the story of his improbable journey

Teaching 9/11: Educators help the New York Times mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks

Submit a video for Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out


Top 10 Sports Books for Youth: 2011

Websites for Students K-10

Fall Youth Preview: 2011

20 Best bets for Student Researchers, 2011

Books and Authors: Talking with Meghan McCarthy (Meghan is one of my sister Blue Rose Girls)

Classroom Connections: Little Red Riding Hood on the Red Carpet

Classroom Connections: Just like You—Helping Young People Understand Disabilities through Books


Beyond Happily Ever After: A Fairy Tale Dozen

Bulletin Stars (September 2011)


Celebrating a Flock of Children’s Book Anniversaries

Regionals 2011: Children's Galleys to Grab


Book Shelf: Back to School


Blue Hill Fair: Revisiting The Fair From 'Charlotte's Web' Sixty Years Later (PHOTOS)

The 11 Most Surprising Banned Books (PHOTOS, POLL)

'Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day': Lisa Cholodenko To Direct Children's Book Adaptation

Golden Book Video


Walden Media Acquires ‘Flat Stanley’ Books

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011 Cybils Call for Judges

Attention! If you're interested in serving as a judge for the 2011 Cybils, check out this post at the Cybils website:

The deadline to apply to be a Cybils 2011 judge is September 15, 2011. You'll find all the information you need at the link above. There's even a handy new online application form to fill out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation in Maine...2011

I've been away from blogging for more than a week. My husband and I left home on August 27th and headed up to Westport Island in Maine for a week--just ahead of Hurricane Irene. We were joined by my daughter, her husband, and my three-week-old granddaughter Julia Anna. Two good friends also spent the weekend with us. Despite the rain and wind, we were having a grand time--eating, playing cards and Scrabble, making a jigsaw puzzle...and holding the baby.

Even though the island hadn't seemed to be hard hit by the storm, our electricity went out at 5:30 PM on Sunday. Fortunately, we had a gas grill and were able to fix a tasty dinner. Unfortunately, no electricity meant we had to do without water. That was a problem!

Monday was a glorious day on the island--sunny, dry, and in the seventies. We decided not to return home and to stay in the house we had rented in hopes that the electricity would come back on by the end of the day. No luck with that.

Still, the weather looked like it would be fantastic for the rest of the week. "What should we do?" we asked ourselves. We decided to rent a room at the Hampton Inn in Bath so we could all take showers and bathe the baby. Then we returned to the house to spend the night. We lit candles and started a fire in the fireplace. We heated up the chili that I had already prepared--and had it for our dinner that night with homemade guacamole, jack cheese, and sour cream.

My husband and I headed off to the Hampton Inn Tuesday morning to take showers. We had planned to rent the room for another night after deciding not to leave Maine...and to tough it out. As luck would have it, we didn't have to rent the room Tuesday night. Our daughter called and informed us that our electricity was turned back on at 11:00 AM. HOORAY!

My husband, daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and I drove to Georgetown that afternoon for lunch. We had some lobsters and fried clams at the Five Islands Lobster Company.  We sat on a picnic bench overlooking the ocean and "five islands." It was a beautiful setting--and the food was delicious.

On Wednesday, my husband's cousin Kate joined us. We ate lunch outside on the deck.
I so enjoyed having my new granddaughter with us on Westport Island. It was fun feeding her...rocking her...singing to her...watching her sleep.
I was so sad that my daughter, her husband, and little Julia Anna had to leave late Thursday afternoon. It had been such fun having them around.

I had hoped to post a poem on Poetry Friday last week--but we lost power again at 9:00 AM that morning. It was back on by 12:30 PM. My husband and I sat out on the deck Friday afternoon sipping wine and eating cheese and roasted glazed figs.

Despite the lack of electricity and water for part of our stay in Maine--we managed to have a grand vacation. I hated to leave!