Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's 2010

I am joining librarian Kristen at Bookworming the 21st Century for a New Year's Eve reading party. I'll be in my pjs reading Angie Sage's Magyc, the first in the series, when the ball drops. The kids in my library love these books and I've been waiting my turn to read them. I checked the first two out to read over vacation and I am really enjoying them.

Before I put the kids to bed we'll be reading Katie and the Big Snow and Tell Me Something Happy before I Go to Sleep.

What are you reading tonight?

For my New Year's Resolutions, I have three:

1. Serve the Lord with Gladness (Psalm 100)
2.  Complete my MLS with a 4.0 GPA
3. Complete another 150 gym visits to get my refund from the health insurance company, for the second year in a row.

How about you? What are your goals for 2010?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Review: Pemba Sherpa

by Olga Cossi, illustrated by Gary Bernard. Odessey Books, 2009. (Review copy.) This gorgeously illustrated story tells of two Sherpa children, brother and sister, living in the shadow of the Himalayan mountains in Napal.  Pemba is a young boy who dreams of becoming a Sherpa guide to mountain climbers. His little sister Yang Ki want to be one as well, but at the start of the story Pemba is convinced that girls can't do the job.

Pemba goes off the collect fire wood for his school and Yang Ki tags along. He is angry and annoyed with her being a pest, as little sisters do. I really adore the stubborn, precious tension in Yang Ki's posture as she stands up to her brother. He soon finds out her slender shoulders are strong enough to do whatever it takes to keep them both alive. It only takes Pemba getting caught in a harrowing landslide and a dangerous rescue by his little sister Yank Ki for him to change his mind and  proudly profess,
"Girls were once thought to be too weak of fragile to work as porters and guides. But my little sister, with her enormous courage, changed that thinking.. Today, women are among the most famous Sherpas in the world. Yang Ki taught us that girls, even little girls, could be brave and strong, with a heart big enough to be Sherpa."

 Pemba Sherpa is dedicated to  "Pemba Doma Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest wia the North Face."

The vibrant watercolor painting depicting this stunning story are enchanting. I can almost feel the icy wind and smell the bracing snow sweeping the landscape. You will love sharing this story with the children in your life.

I can't help paring this story with Stones into Schools, Greg Mortenson's latest. Mortenson was a mountain climber attempting the highest peeks in the Himalayans when he got lost and was rescued by a Sherpa guide. He went on to fall in love with the people in the village where he recovered, and has spent the last 13 years raising money to build schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak in person last winter and enjoyed reading his first book Three Cups of Tea. I purchased a couple copies of Stones into School to give as gift books this season, and am looking forward to reading my son's copy this week. It's a fascinating story and a winning strategy for bringing peace into the world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Villanelle


Let joyful thanks forever now be given!
We banish all fear at the birth of love.
Friend Jesus comes to us from highest heaven.

What once was wretched, torn and shriven
finds comfort and healing here from above.
Let joyful thanks forever now be given!

This tender babe so soon hard striven
bold angels bend low, with joy, to speak of;
Friend Jesus comes to us from highest heaven.

And all for us to be forgiven
the grime, the rot, the grit we're free of;
Let joyful thanks forever now be given!

The dark of night far far is driven,
But soft the cooing of the dove.
Friend Jesus comes to us from highest heaven.

The stars a royal cloak fresh woven
to praise our dear - we do belove!
Let joyful thanks forever now be given
friend Jesus comes to us from highest heaven.

-Andromeda Jazmon

After working on the villanelle with the Poetry Seven last week, I have the form on my mind and couldn't let go of it. In order to celebrate finishing a very difficult semester in grad school I dove into working on another villanelle this week.

The form comes from nineteenth century France, and is described on Wikipedia in this way:

"The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem's two concluding lines. Using capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, the form could be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2."

In order to write a villanelle I used a table created by Trisha in Google docs., with the repeating lines and rhymes indicated to remind me of the pattern. I felt the song quality of the form went nicely with Christmas carol traditions, so for this poem I decided to focus on the birth of Christ. The repeating lines echo for me Psalm 136:1, "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting."

Once I had the theme I worked on the repeating lines of the couplet and looked for good end words that would carry the theme and offer useful rhymes. I use Rhymezone to make a list of end words that fit my message, and then go to work crafting and revising the rest of the lines.

I wanted the poem to follow the gospel message that Christ came to us from God as a gift of love and grace, to heal the world and bring us full and joyful lives. A villanelle can follow a rising and falling storyline that fits this conflict/resolution path well, so it was very satisfying.

The final step for me is to match a photo with the poem. The one above is the creche I put up for my boys every year. They enjoy moving the characters around to retell the story.

You can find much more poetry linked at the Friday Poetry roundup today at Random Noodling. Enjoy!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Thanksgiving Villanelle

sunset on the road.JPG

Thanksgiving for my friend is still my song   
though stumbling lost beyond the road once known;
the days we walk alone draw shadows long.
I woke & rose too late to find the wrong
surprised that in the night the wind had blown.
Thanksgiving for my friend is still my song.
Although we parted once, we still belong;
the stubborn shoot unbidden yet has grown.
The days we walk alone draw shadows long.
Above us stars we counted wildly throng,
their muscle darkness stretched from bone to bone.
Thanksgiving for my friend is still my song.
We've traveled far yet come back here along
the pathways where the singing bird has flown.
The days we walk alone draw shadows long.
The light of sinking sun our hopes prolong,
with colors sharp & quick but short the loan.
Thanksgiving for my friend is still my song, 
The days we walk alone draw shadows long.

-Andromeda Jazmon

I have been in such a rush lately, between finishing up term papers and big projects for grad school, developing new curriculum for the media center, and preparing for the holidays. I haven't had much time for writing poetry. When I heard my sisters the Poetry Seven were working on another project, however, I had to find time to jump in. We've all been working on villanelles, and today they are revealed on all our blogs. 

Here are the other six Poetry Seven blogs:

Tanita Davis
Sara Lewis Holmes
Kelly R. Fineman
Laura Purdie Salas
Liz Garton Scanlon
Tricia Stohr-Hunt

Friday Poetry is rounded up at Wild Rose Reader.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chatting with Santa


Last week at church,
chatting with Dave
and his wife Sue,
I discovered he plays Santa
for us at the Feast of St. Nicholas.

I never knew it was him.
He nodded over at my Buddy
and said "He's gotten so tall
this year. How is he doing in school?"
Sue laughed and said "Santa is watching!"

"It's true," Santa said,
"I keep my eye on him.
He has been my special project every year."
"We are a little afraid of Santa" I murmured,
not wanting the boys to hear us.

"I know" said Santa.
"Last year he was brave
and almost agreed to sit on my lap.
His younger brother
has no fear at all, does he?"

I laughed. "I had no idea it was you.
Are you really Santa?"
"Are you kidding?" Sue said.
"Santa comes to breakfast
hoping to see Buddy.

For years Santa has been
hoping to get a smile.
He's working on
getting a hug
from that sweet boy."

Dave laughed
with a twinkle in his eye
and I'm sure I saw
his belly jiggle
just a little.

-Andromeda Jazmon

This week I didn't finish my grad school homework until late yestedary, so I am doing my Friday Poetry on Saturday morning. The round up is at Julie Larios's blog The Drift Record. Enjoy and be thankful!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flu and Asthma poetry

Trisha, at Miss Rumphius Effect, has given us the charge in this week's Monday Poetry Stretch: try a new form called "rictameter, an unrhymed, 9-line poem with a syllable count of 2/4/6/8/10/8/6/4/2 in which the first and last lines are the same."


Swine Flu with Asthma 

Long night.
Coughing non-stop -
little guy has the flu.
No one rests, not mom, who thinks she
might be going to the ER tonight
again, with one sick little boy.
Rocking and listening
to him struggle -
long night.

-Andromeda Jazmon

Written for my own little guy who has asthma and beat the flu. He had to do a nebulizer medication treatment before we went out trick or treating on Halloween. I am also thinking of my friends with sick kids, and all of us struggling this season. God Bless us, every one.

See more rictameter poems on Trisha's blog . The Friday Poetry Roundup is hosted by Greggory K. at Gottabook. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

insomniac haiku

yellow mum

jeweled with morning dew
next to the gas pumps

-Andromeda Jazmon

gas station mums

Friday, October 02, 2009

Poetry Friday: Autumn Roundel

I have been so busy at work, home, and grad school that I have missed Friday Poetry for several weeks. (I have been blogging at my library school student blog instead of here.) But when Miss Rumphius did her Monday Poetry Stretch on the poetic form Roundel, I had to jump in. Fall is just the perfect season for a circular form like this. A roundel is composed of 11 lines in three stanzas with a rhyme scheme of abab, bab, abab. The fourth line is repeated as the 11th line. Here is my attempt, written while gazing out the library window at the school fields.


Autumn Out My Window

September slowly turns toward fall,
the fields are dusted with golden haze.
Urgent crickets in the bent grass call,
and one more turn quickens our days.

Heavy seed tops brush the wind in a craze
green velvet soccer fields cradle the ball
while fog lifts, aglow, where Asters laze.

Scarlet & amber creep in to enthrall,
brilliant October lights our ways.
Honey gold chases the trees that stall,
and one more turn quickens our days.
-Andromeda Jazmon

Friday Poetry is hosted by Kelly H. at Crossover today. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

end of summer

green & lake

crickets in the grass
beside the still, quiet lake -
a fish jumps

Andromeda Jazmon

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Day at the Lake in Haiku & Photos

great blue heron

only his reflection
wavers in the evening light;
great blue heron

-Andromeda Jazmon

clouds & lake

clouds over the lake
leave pools of blue sky
beside beach stones

-Andromeda Jazmon

water flower

runners by the lake
breath in the stillness; rushing
past nameless flowers

-Andromeda Jazmon

Friday Poetry is hosted by Kelly at Crossover. Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Raising A Digital Child

A Digital Citizenship Handbook for Parents by Mike Ribble. HomePage Books, 2009. I am reading this book to prepare for the coming school year, where we will be focusing on Digital Citizenship for the entire year. Each month we are going to focus on another aspect of this complex subject in teacher, student and parent education. Ribble's book is an excellent introduction to the basic concepts.

Ribble defines digital citizenship and breaks it down into the following aspects: Digital Access, D. Commerce, D. Communication, D. Literacy, D. Etiquette, D. Law, D. Rights and Responsibilities, D. Health and Wellness, and D. Security. Each facet is explored in ways that parents and teachers can easily understand and apply to their own environment. He writes in an easy style that invites thoughtful participation.

Ribble's message is so important because he is able to show us exactly how and why adults need to be proactive in taking leadership in teaching children the appropriate, responsible use of the amazing interactive technologies at our fingertips. If you have ever wondered about what is going on with music downloads or how to talk to your kids about the way they use cell phones (texting at the dinner table and all night long, anybody?), this is the book for you and your family or classroom.

Ribble includes helpful tools for starting conversations about right and wrong use of technology (technology compass activity), looking at a learning map for the cycle of technology use, finding out what your kids know in quick quizzes, lists of digital usage facts, clear explanation of blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc., and appendixes with definitions and a guide to popular technologies, and a family contract for digital citizenship.

This book is a quick read in spite of all the meaty subjects is covers. I recommend it for anyone raising or teaching kids and young adults.

As Ribble says, "Children need to practice digital citizenship skills while the parent acts as a guide. Without guided practice, inappropriate use of technology can occur without children even being aware of it... Parents need to be positive role models for digital citizenship so that children can follow their example. Kids need to see numerous examples of appropriate technology use to gain a through understanding of digital citizenship."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Poem for Back to School

school bus

It's that time of year when everyone is getting ready for a new school year. The excitement is running high around our home; new backpacks, new pencils, new school clothes. I love this time of year! Miss Rumphius asked us to write school poems for the Monday Poetry Stretch. Be sure to click that link and check out all the great poems she's collected! I wrote this one thinking about my son entering first grade.

Dear Teacher,

You wrote me a letter
asking for my hopes and dreams
for my son in first grade.
I'll answer you with a poem.

My dream is that
he discovers the trick
of building friendships
that last through squabbles
and are richer than
what you have
or who gets picked first.

My hope is that
he comes to the point
of rushing to the story book
each night, snatching
it out of my hand
to go on silently himself
because I read too slowly.

My dream is that
he conquers fear
and sings cheerfully
in the winter musical
even if he wiggles
a bit on stage.

My hope is that
his writing journal surprises me
with dreams I didn't imagine
that he traveled towards;
and that his handwriting
is legible
to more than just me
and you.

My dream is that
and Valentine's day
are bridged with laughter
and true expressions
of delight and wonder.

My hope is that
homework is just rigorous enough
to cement the lessons in math
by some creative
toothpick construction
of how to conserve energy -
but not too exhausting
so as to drain our joy.

My dream is that he
bounces into the classroom
on June mornings
just like he does
on September's
opening day.

-Andromeda Jazmon

The round up this week is hosted by Kate Coombs at Book Aunt. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Day's Ramble

Haiku and photos from our day at the park:

aug. 21 013

hazy heat
trapped between creekside trees
and their reflection

-Andromeda Jazmon

aug. 21 007

stepping rock to rock
across cool rushing water;
leaping the gaps

-Andromeda Jazmon

My oldest friend from childhood was in town this week. We spent some time hiking in a local state park. While the little boys threw rocks and gathered sticks we caught up on our lives and relaxed into rambling conversations. There is nothing like an old friendship for grounding you in where you are right at this minute.

aug. 21 016

gate's hinge pin
rusted, slanted, cobwebbed,
holds the arc

-Andromeda Jazmon

I hope you are relishing these last days of summer and finding renewal in your ramblings. The Friday Poetry roundup is hosted by Kyle at The Boy Reader Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Poetry Friday is here today!!

july 22 014

planting pinks
purple salvia, cat mint -
resting in lilies

-Andromeda Jazmon

I've been working in the garden a lot this past month. Usually by July I've given up on it and retreated to the cool of air conditioning, but this year it's been so cool and rainy I am still in planting mode. I keep trimming things back and adding new plants. It's a relief sometimes I sit back and rest my gaze on the old familiar perennials that come back year after year... like the day lilies that were here when I bought the house. There is no orange and gold like theirs in the late afternoon sun... Hope you have a peaceful corner such as this.

I am hosting Friday Poetry today, the weekly roundup of all things poetic in the blogosphere. Anyone can join in by linking to your post about poetry. I have unfortunately come down with Lyme disease and will probably be spending a good deal of the day visiting doctors, so I won't be able to update through out the day. Please leave your link in the Mr. Linky here and come back to click on everyone else's contribution. Be sure to put your name or blog name as well as the poet or poem title in Mr. Linky, along with the URL of your post, so everyone gets a clue about what you are sharing.

Here's what we have so far:

1. Semicolon (The King of Love My Shepherd Is)
3. The Write Sisters (4 Tanka by Ono no Komachi)
4. Mother Reader (Sand Art video)
5. Kelly Fineman (Instructions by Neil Gaiman)
7. Julie Larios [Touriste]
8. Tabatha (The Vampire Nosferatu)
9. Tricia (August by Elise Partridge)
11. Laura Salas (2 original poems)
12. Laura Salas ( Trapped in a Tree)
13. Janet (Wendy Cope, " Being Boring")
14. Mary Lee (best wishes for back- to- school)
15. Shelf Elf (The Chairs that No On Sits In)
16. Diane Mayr (looks at the Poetry Home Repair Manual)
17. Kurious Kitty (Vermont Afternoons with Robert Frost)
18. Tanita - on bears and fat
20. Linda (original poem)
21. Poem by April Halprin Wayland--( This Empty Space)
22. Laura Shovan (Alexie's " How to Write the Great American Indian Novel"
23. Just One More Book! Podcast (Hairy Maclary's Caterwaul Caper)
24. Jules -- A friend's poetry
25. The Stenhouse Blog (The Circle of Summer)
26. jama rattigan (White Rabbit by Grace Slick)
27. Father Goose
28. Sally at Paper Tigers
29. Beth at Stone Arch Books (Infant Joy - William Blake)
30. Sylvia (Capstone rainforest poetry)
31. Susan (Hush by Mingfo Ho)
32. Wild Rose Reader (Bridge Banter: An Original Fairy Tale Poem)
33. Political Verses (Glenn Beck Revisited)
34. Tiel Aisha Ansari
35. readertotz (A Star)
36. Lorie Ann Grover (Hair Today)
37. Little Willow - The Web of Eros by Edith Sitwell
38. Ms Mac (poetry book study)
39. Martha Calderaro (original kids' poem: " High Tide")
40. Karen Edmisten
41. Liz in Ink (with excerpts from All the World)

To add your post click the Mr. Linky icon above this list and put your name & URL in the form in the new window that opens.

Thank you all for your well wishes. I wasn't able to get to the specialist today, because they are so busy they couldn't fit me in. I am looking at a long weekend of painful headaches unless I take the Rx pain-killer that makes me woozy. What a choice, eh? Prayers are appreciated!!

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Wreath for Emmett Till

By Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Philippe Lardy. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2005. (Library copy.) Ms Nelson had created an amazing tribute to Emmett Till, a 14 year old boy who was lynched in 1955. His murderers were identified but acquitted. His heartbroken mother held an open casket funeral, drawing the attention of the whole world to his brutal torture and murder, and sparking the Civil Rights movements of the '50 and '60.

A heroic crown of sonnets is a collection of 15 sonnets, 14 of which connect in a circle with the last line of each sonnet transformed into the first line of the next. The 15th sonnet is made up of the first lines of the other 14. Mind boggling. Last year I participated in a crown sonnet project with six other poets. We each wrote a sonnet starting with the last line of another poet's previously written sonnet. The seventh sonnet begins with the last line of #6 and ends with the very first line of the first sonnet as it's last line. A perfect circle. Working with the other poets on editing and revising was so stimulating and rewarding. I learned so much from them as we challenged and encouraged each other to complete the work.

Nelson says of her heroic crown: "the strict form became a kind of insulation." I can see how that works to both express and comfort the wrenching grief of this one sharp example of the evil of racism in our history.

A Wreath for Emmett Till weaves classical literary illusions with traditional flower associations (rosemary for rememberence, willow twigs for sadness...) as it tells the story and mourns the loss of a young man with untold potential. The author's note in the back of the book briefly explains the literary connections and references, making the depth of the work clear. I have great admiration for Ms. Nelson as a poet. She has taken a tragedy too huge for words and wrestled it into a work of beauty and power.

Teacher's Guide at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Interview with Marilyn Nelson at NPR
Interview on (PDF)

This week's Friday Poetry round up is hosted by
Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
Next week it will be right here at A Wrung Sponge. Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Twitter friends meme

I saw this meme on A Year of Reading. Franki says she learns a lot from her Tweeple and I agree. I get new ideas and links to great resources every day. In the last couple weeks or so almost all my computer time has been swallowed up in trying to finish grad school assignments for my YA Lit course. This week I will finish the book list of YA novels I've read for the class (listed on GoodReads and linked in my sidebar) and have some time for blogging again. I'm feeling quite out of touch so it is really nice to see all my Twitter friends lined up. I have actually cut down on the number of folks I follow to keep it manageable.

I am afraid the brevity of book chat on Twitter and GoodReads has spoiled me for long blog posts. I am in a summer mindset and just can't muster the burning desire to write reviews longer than a couple sentences. Maybe a curse of Twitter?

I am starting a Twitter account for my school library, doing book chats and links for parents and teachers. Even though I haven't been Tweeting daily there I am getting followers just by being a librarian. I think it will be a fun way to share our library with the community.

If you have suggestions of other bookish or edtech folks to follow leave me a comment please!

Get your twitter mosaic here.

So, here are the rules:
1. Go to to create your mosaic (you can choose friends or followers).
2. Copy the code and paste it into a blog entry.
3. Reflect and comment on your mosaic.
4. Tag some “tweeples.”
5. Link back to this post or the post where you were first tagged.

I am not tagging anyone specifically because I think a lot of y'all are on vacation. If you are reading this and think it looks like fun, jump in!