Sunday, June 08, 2014

48 Hours Later...

I have finished the 48 Hour Book Challenge 2014! I read from Friday, June 6, 7am to Sunday, June 8, 7am. I read 8.5 hours on Friday, 8.25 hours on Sat., and 2.25 hours on Sunday morning, for a total of 19.25 hours. That is the most I have read in one weekend in over 11 years!! My eyes are tired but I am happy. I am looking forward to spending today and tomorrow reading all the blogs of other participants (starting line list of bloggers@ Mother Reader's).

The theme this year was diversity, so I chose my titles accordingly. I was moved and delighted by all of them. Here's the list of titles for me:

Sarah by Marek Halter

Gameworld by C. J. Farley

Upside Down In The Middle Of Nowhere  by Julie T. Lamana

Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah

I am still in the middle of a couple of them, and more reviews will follow on the blog in the coming days. This has been a great experience and I hope everyone else who spent time reading enjoyed it as well! Hop over to Mother Reader's on Monday to see how everyone did. I understand there will be prizes awarded....

Summer of the Short Bus

by Bethany Crandell. Running Press Teens, 2014. Review copy.  Cricket Montgomery, a teen used to a privileged life, is sent to work at a summer camp for special needs middle schoolers. She can't be more dismayed and disgusted, until she meets the hottie who becomes her summer love. This is a fun, fast read that reveals healing and a hopeful, empathetic turn around for our princess. The language is a little salty for my ears,
but perhaps that is a plus in a YA title.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Great Greene Heist

by Varian Johnson. Arthur A Levine / Scholastic. 2014, Review copy. This is a fun read about a crew of Middle School kids trying to win a Student Council election. The have a history of pranking and conning the adults at school, but are determined to reform their ways and play by their own version of an honor code called "Rules of Conduct". It's a fast and clever story full of fun and games. A diverse set of characters with a wide range of talents and quick wit. Recommended for Middle School or Upper Elementary.

Sarah by Marek Halter

Translated into English, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2004. Originally published in France by Robert Laffont, Paris 2003. This is a fascinating re telling of the life of Biblical Sarah, wife of Abraham. She was born to a wealthy merchant in the Sumerian city of Ur, fell in love with Abram as a young girl, and followed him all over the Middle East in a series of adventures. I gained a great deal of insight into what their cultures must have been like and marveled over the intersection of beliefs, hopes and passions that shaped their lives. This is a great read for lovers of historical fiction and family saga. Adult or YA crossover. 

I started it last week and finished the last third as part of the Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge this weekend. This is a weekend set aside for consent rated reading binging. Haven't done this in years, but my kids are finally old enough I think I can try it!

Friday, June 06, 2014

48 Hour Book Challenge: And We're Off!

Mother Reader's Starting Line Post

This is my starting line for Mother Reader's  Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge 2014!  I am going to spend as much time reading as possible in the next 2 days. I've already blocked off my calendar and prepped my kids. I can't wait to dig in!

Here's my TBR book pile:

 And here's my spot:

What are you doing this weekend? It's not too late to Drop. Everything. And. Read!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

48 Hour Book Challenge 2014

It's been a while since I've blogged here, but I have been reading, honest! I am coming back to blog about the 9th Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge organized by Mother Reader. It's happening this weekend, June 6 - 8. Basically you read as much as you can for the whole weekend. I am going to be focusing on early Friday morning through Sunday morning, and plan to skip as much housework as possible! :) You can skip whatever you want as long as you read, read, read!! I am building my stack of books and getting ready to dig in. Anyone who signs up here, follows the rules, and reads more than 12 hours total is eligible for PRIZES. The theme this year is focusing on diversity, because WeNeedDiverseBooks happened. What's on your weekend agenda? If you would rather be reading, why don't you join us?

Friday, November 01, 2013

Giving Thanks; Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving

Edited and with reflections by Katherine Paterson, Illustrations by Pamela Dalton.Chronicle Books, 2013. (review copy) I was delighted to receive this lovely, timely book in the mail the other day. It is absolutely gorgeously illustrated with paper cut done by Dalton in a sixteenth century German and Swiss technique called "Scherenschnitte" or "scissor cuts," which was brought to the States by Pennsylvania German settlers. See some of her work and read more about it at her site The team of Paterson and Dalton also produced Brother Sun, Sister Moon in 2011.

Giving Thanks is a collection of short prayers, poems and praise songs taken from a variety of cultures and traditions. Opening to a random page one can find wisdom and beauty shared from Islamic prayers, Chinese proverbs, Native American poems, Vietnamese prayers, King James Bible verses, and traditional American blessings. It is a balanced and graceful smorgesbord that will charm a child's heart and lift the spirits of weary adults gathering the family together at the end of a long day or preparing to face the day's challenges. Hildegard of Bingen and Matsuo Basho share a page to remind us of the simple joys found in a single, precious day:

Katherine Patterson introduces each section of the book with a reflection of her life and growing up years. Her stories are just the right touch to bring us closer to finding meaning and unity in this diverse, wide ranging panorama of the celebration of thanks in the human heart. If you are looking for a refreshing splash of thankfulness and joy this season presented with beauty and exquisite skill - this is the book for you and your family!

Publisher's Weekly review

Friday Poetry is hosted by Linda at Teacher Dance on this All Saint's Day. Enjoy!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Poetry Sisters Write Pantoums

We've been at it again. My poetry sisters have been up to hijinks once again. I've been privileged to be schooled in several poetic forms by these fabulous and talented women before, when we challenged each other to write a crown sonnet , villanelles, and rondeau redoubles. Liz got us going this time by challenging us to write pantoums sparked by the line "I've got better things to do than survive," from Ani DiFranco's song "Swandive." Several years ago Miss Rumphius's Monday Poetry Stretch taught us the form and I tried it out here. I really struggled with this one, editing and fussing over it right up to today's publication time. I am not done tweaking I am afraid, but we agreed to go public so here I am,  jumping into free fall. Please go read the others at Laura's Friday Poetry roundup post, and share some love with the kidlitosphere's weekly poetry celebration.

doll bin.JPG

Moth Sisters

"I've got better things to do than survive"
she flung over her shoulder on the way out.
The crash of her door a shattering cry
supplanting my lamp with a far distant star.

Gusting over her shoulder on the way out,
her tresses diffused a cool honey shine,
supplanting my lamp with a far distant star
(silk spun for protection hides hooks on the end).

Her tresses diffusing her cool honey shine,
a cocoon once jostled begins to emerge.
Silk spun for protection hides hooks on the end.
And me alone with my dolls in a muddle;

a cocoon once jostled begins to emerge,
from crumpled wings expanded she flutters away.
And me alone with my dolls in a muddle.
She believes she's outgrown what once kept her whole,

from crumpled wings expanded she flutters away.
The crash of her door a shattering cry
She believes she's outgrown what once kept her whole -
"I've got better things to do than simply survive!"

Andromeda Jazmon


Friday, October 04, 2013

Rock Climbing Haibun

Last weekend we went hiking in a state park where there is a large outcropping of rock towering above a creek that winds through the valley. We ate lunch on the top of the ridge with a view that scanned the clouds floating on the horizon, the forest hills, and the tumbling whitewater far below.

could be trout
far out of casting distance;
rushing stream

We climbed down the trail twisting between trees that sometimes clung to the very rock wall on our left. We passed climbers strapped into high tech gear and trail crews scrubbing graffiti. Everyone was in a cheerful mood. I got an ache in my neck from straining to take in the sheer awesome bulk of the rock that rose above us. Trees grew below, beside, in the midst of, and above rock in every shape an size. Roots exposed or sunk into the crevices, each one found a way to flourish and catch the sun.

roots in the air
from trees clinging to cliffs;
rocks in the treetops 

Down at the bottom of one of those formations, under a trickle of spring water sliding over mossy rock, we found a tiny pool of muddy water.
moss from spring 

 I bent down to get a closer look and discovered a tiny frog sitting under a leaf in the puddle. He held still for me to take several photos and didn't seem startled to see me hovering over him. Perhaps he is accustomed to ignoring massive shadows looming over his head. He was secure in his fortress; stone wall at his back. 

frog in rock pool

little frog at home
under the rock wall;
all else is sky

This type of haiku story-writing is called Haibun. It's an old form of prose poem/travel log or journal with haiku poems interspersed between short narrative descriptions, made famous by the 17th c. Japanese poet Basho in his writing The Narrow Road to Deep North. Read more about the form here.

Today's Friday Poetry roundup is hosted at Dori Reads. Enjoy!