Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dare to Dream…Change the World: A Poetry Contest for Kids


Back in 2011, I wrote a blog post about, Dare to Dream…Change the World, a poetry anthology that was to be published in the fall of 2012. The book was edited by Jill Corcoran and published by Kane Miller.
Here is Jill’s description of Dare to Dream from the book’s website:
Dare to Dream … Change the World pairs biographical and inspirational poems focusing on people who invented something, stood for something, said something, who defied the naysayers and not only changed their own lives, but the lives of people all over the world.
Janet Wong and I “paired” to write poems about the experience of an older woman who had contracted polio when she was young and Dr. Jonas Salk, respectively. I chose Salk as my subject because I remember how frightened parents were back in the 1950s that their children might contract the dread disease—one that had crippled so many. Highly infectious, poliomyelitis—also known as infantile paralysis—chiefly affected children.
Jonas Salk changed the world for me and millions of others when he developed a polio vaccine that was both safe and effective.
The Dare to Dream anthology also includes poems about other well-known "dreamers"--including Temple Grandin, Anne Frank, Ashley Bryan, Georgia O'Keefe, Christa McAuliffe, and Steven Spielberg.
Last Tuesday, Jill announced The Dare to Dream…Change the World Annual Writing Contest for Students. Here is an excerpt from her announcement:


The Dare to Dream ... Change the World 
Annual Writing Contest 
for students grades three to eight will launch January 25th!  

Grand prize winner receives $1500 worth
of Kane Miller and Usborne books
for a library of their choice
the top 30 poets will be published by Kane Miller Books 
in a free e-book!

You can find out more about the writing contest at Jill’s blog or at the Dare to Dream website.


Friday, January 25, 2013

SUN: An Original List Poem

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some pictures of the built-in bookcases that we had installed at our new home. I’ve already begun filling the shelves—even though we haven’t moved yet.

Julia likes to visit my “library,” look at all the pictures books, pull books off the shelves and “read” them. Sometimes, she insists on taking one of the books back over to her side of the house.  

(BTW, we're planning to have another built-in bookcase made for our upstairs hallway. One can never have too many bookcases!)

I often grab my “gram cam” to snap pictures of Julia reading books.

Julia reading Miss Mary Mack.

Julia reading Merry Christmas, Ollie!

One of Julia’s new favorites isn’t a picture book. It’s Grace Lin’s Dumpling Days. One night last week, she refused to go to bed without the book. On Wednesday afternoon, she sat on the floor of the family room quietly flipping through the pages and looking at the illustrations/sketches that Grace included in her novel. That night, her dad told me she chose Dumpling Days over her favorite stuffed animal when he put her to sleep.


Julia reading Dumpling Days yesterday:



My life has been so busy lately that I don’t find much time to write poetry. I did compose the following a list poem in my head this week. I consider it a companion poem to the one I wrote about night last fall.

rises in the eastern sky,
melts the stars 
and bids goodbye
to darkness, night, 
and lights the way
for arrival of a brand new day.


Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Opposite of Indifference.

Friday, January 11, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY: Thinking about Home

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about “home”—a place where one lives and shares years of memorable experiences with family and friends. At my new home, I’ll have a lot more outdoor space—more than three acres. I’ll have beautiful gardens and a pool. Still, I know I’ll be sad about leaving my home of nearly thirty-seven years. I’ll definitely miss living close to the water…and in the place where my daughter grew up. I’ll be sorry to leave decades of happy memories behind. Yet, I’m also looking forward to moving on and living next door to my granddaughter Julia, my daughter, and my son-in-law...and to "making" new memories there. 

The renovations on our new place are nearly complete. The custom-made bookshelves and china cabinet have been installed—so have the hardwood floors, the tiled floors in the bathrooms and entry way, the quartz countertops, the glass and slate backsplash, the new kitchen sink and faucet. Everything looks great. Now, we just need to buy a new refrigerator and do a little painting.  We also have the awful task of cleaning out our “old” house. 

We loved the built-in china cabinet so much that we may have a media/book/storage center built too. Since we’ll be downsizing from a seven-room house to a four-room in-law apartment, I want to make sure that we’ll have a place to put every little thing we need. I hate clutter!

China Cabinet

It may take me forever to transport my children’s books to my new abode! I have already started filling the shelves. The other day, I sat on the floor with Julia as she pulled books from the bottom shelves and began looking through them. Two of the words she says most often now are “book” and “read.” That warms her Grammy’s heart.

Here are two pictures of Julia "reading" books this week:
(a book written in verse)
Written by Stella Blackstone & illustrated by Clare Beaton

(a collection of animal poems)
Written by David Elliott & illustrated by Holly Meade

Here is a memoir poem that I wrote many years ago about the home of my maternal grandparents--a place where I had many of the happiest experiences of my childhood.


My grandparents’ house seems to hug their shady street.
A white duplex, its twin front doors
stand side by side
just three steps up from the sidewalk.
We always enter the house through the side door.
Stepping into the kitchen,
we find Babci sitting at the far end of the table
spooning filling onto circles of homemade dough
and making pierogis, crocheting afghans,
or snipping lacy designs from paper—
a traditional folk art she learned in Poland.
Sometimes we see her painting flowers on the cupboard doors
or hanging starched curtains she embroidered by hand.
The aroma of stuffed cabbage or babka baking in the oven
often greets us at the door.
Most days, Dzidzi spends outdoors tending to his garden
or painting the shutters green
or mending the picket fence
or building a backyard fireplace for summertime barbecues.
My grandparents always busy themselves
making their place a special place
for the family to gather throughout the year,
making it a home for all the seasons.

One of my all time favorite books in verse, Castles,Caves, and Honeycombs, is about the different kinds of homes where animals live. It was written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Lauren Stringer. The book's text is spare, its vocabulary is rich, the rhythm is flawless, and the illustrations are gorgeous. It makes a wonderful baby gift!

Here is how the book begins:

Many places make a home --
A heap of twigs.
A honeycomb.
A castle with a tower or two.
An aerie with a bird's eye view.

A silky web.

A sandy dune.

A room inside a warm cocoon.


Renee has the Poetry Friday Roundup at No Water River.