Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Poetry: In the Wild

by David Elliott, illustrated by Holly Meade. Candlewick, 2010. We just got this lovely poetry collection in our school library. It started circulating immediately and I had to snag it in between kids in order to read it myself. Fabulous woodcut illustrations with colorful watercolor embelishments. The cover is compelling and each animal inspired poem draws you in deeper. Take a look at the zebra poem at Elliott's website. My favorite:

Big, yet moves
with grace.
Powerful, yet delicate
as lace.

As to color, plain -
an ordinary gray.
But once we start to look,
we cannot look away.

When peaceful, silent;
when angry, loud.

Who would have guessed
the Elephant
is so much like a cloud?

That speaks to me and I am sure kids feel it too:

When peaceful, silent;
when angry, loud.

Amen! This book is also reviewed at Bookends, the Booklist Online blog, where Cindy favored the same poem as me. If you live near Portsmouth, NH you are in for a treat as David Elliott will be at the River Run Bookstore for a reading and book signing on Nov. 6, 2010.

Look for this volume and celebrate some wildness this Halloween weekend with a child near you. also check out the companion book On the Farm, also by David Elliott and Holly Meade.

The Friday Poetry round up is hosted by Toby at The Writer's Armchair today.  Enjoy!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Poetry round up here & haiku

Every Friday blogs all around the Kidlitosphere post something poetry related; original work, poetry book reviews, a favorite poem, a bit of poetic news, a story or classroom experience... it's all good. Today it's my turn to host the round up with links to all that poetic juiciness.

Many of the bloggers that participate in the kidlitosphere (focusing on books for children and young adults) will be in Minniapolis this weekend at KidLitCon. I am sad I couldn't join them, but glad I was able to take part in the party by hosting the Friday Poetry. While they are traveling toward each other and gathering for KidLitCon drinks night IRL, we will be lifting our virtual drinks in spirit.

I'll start with a photo of the woods near school and a haiku that rises from the quiet of my last woodland walk.

golden light

slow progress
along the woodland path;
going green to gold


forest cathedral;
sap singing praises to light
an offering of leaves

-Andromeda Jazmon

If you have some poetry to share please leave your blog name (with an indication of what you're posting) and your URL in Mr. Linky below. I'll copy and paste the list into this post at the end of the day. Then come back later to browse around and enjoy the feast all weekend!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Pele King of Soccer

El rey del futbol; a bilingual picture book by Monica Brown, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez.  Translated by Fernando Gayesky. HarperColins, 2008. When Pele was a boy in Brazil he used to play soccer barefoot in the street with a grapefruit, bundle of rags, or whatever ball they could scrounge up. He had a team made up of his neighborhood friends that made a name for themselves. He grew up to play for Brazil and win the World Cup three times. He is the greatest soccer player ever and his name is known around the world by fans of all ages.

This inspiring biography is illustrated with dynamic, powerful images that seem to whiz across the open pages. Bright colors and swirls of movement accentuate the wonder of Pele's magic. For any kid playing soccer today this is a great story and a delightful treat for the eyes.

Interview with Monica Brown at la bloga,
 Curriculum guide and book trailers in Spanish & English at Brown's site.

The Monday Nonfiction round up is at Mother Reader's blog today. Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

What we found behind the mansion in the park...


the rose garden
after the season;
open paths

-Andromeda Jazmon

Hope you are enjoying these lovely fall days. Get out and wander a bit! Poetry Friday posts are rounded up at Liz in Ink. I am doing the round up next week so be sure to come back by on Friday!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Books that haven't yet been nominated for a Cybils

I've been over to the Cybils site to add my nomination titles for some of the best children's books published between Oct. 16, 2009 and Oct. 15, 2010. ANYONE can nominate their favorites. You don't have to be a librarian, teacher, writer, or parent. But there are only five more days when you can do it! Don't miss your chance to sound off.

One of the rules is that each person can only nominate one book in each category. So now that I've said my say, it's up to the rest of you to put in the books you've been treasuring this year. Here of some good books from the last year that haven't been mentioned yet:

Nonfiction picture books:


Bear in mind that these books might have just been nominated in the last ten minutes, so check the nomination lists by category here.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Nefarious Silliness for Hallowilloween

Another fun thing I did at ALA in DC this past summer was to attend the Poetry Blast. Poet, artist and illustrator Calef Brown was there reading from his newest book Hallowilloween. He memorizes his poems, which are long and rambling and absolutely hilarious. His delivery is spot on. He had us rolling in the aisles. You can hear him reading on YouTube.

Since my boys and I have just finished listening to Dahl's Great Glass Elevator on audio book, my favorite Halloween poem for today is this one: (Listen toward the end of the video to hear it read aloud.)

The Oompachupa Loompachabra

The Oompachupa Loompacabra
roams the western plains.
On moonless nights
it captures goats
and gobbles up their brains.
"It lures its prey
with chocolate bars,"
a local man explains.
"Horns and hooves
and candy wrappers -
little else remains."

The illustrations are completely nefarious and silly and delightful. The color scheme alone is enough to make my love this book, let alone the facial expressions. This is a great book for Halloween fun with children 5 to 10 years old.

I was amazed at the scope and magnitude of Brown's other work. Check it out at his website!

The Friday Poetry round up is over at Carol's Corner. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Review: Zora and Me

by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon. Candlewick, 2010. (review copy) I picked this up at ALA this summer and have greatly enjoyed it. Actually, I didn't make it to the Candlewick table in time to snag one but a friend knew I would like to see it so she grabbed one and saved it for me. I was so pleased!

Zora Neale Hurston, a highly talented anthropologist, folklorist and novelist, was born in Alabama in 1891 and grew up in Florida. She is known for documenting the folklore of Caribbean and southern Blacks, and her candid, moving portrayals of Black life in America. She was an important part of the Harlem Renaissance. Her best known novels include Their Eyes Were Watching God and Mules and Men. You can hear excerpts read aloud at the Official Zora Neale Hurston website.

This middle grade novel has received the endorsement of the Zora Neale Hurston Trust. Written from the point of view of Nora's best friend, it shows what she may have been like as a child growing up in the first incorporated Black town of Eatonville, Florida.

Zora the girl is a born story-teller; a wild eyed, mischief-seeking, romance-loving pot-stirrer of a girl. She is a scamp and  a bundle of energy, bursting with curiosity and passion for life. She is also afraid of ghosts, old voodoo root women and man-eating alligators. When she and her best friend hear of a murder on the train tracks she starts to believe her own stories of a magical half man-half gator roaming the edges of town.

An undercurrent in the story is the dissatisfaction children find in the ways of grownups in a world limited by racism. Little Zora insists upon her right to inquire and seek knowledge to satisfy her curiosity, even in the face of her father's wrath for stepping out of her place. There are many levels to this book and I would love to hear a discussion between students who have read and thought about all the complexities alluded to here.

Check out the book's website at for background, historical photos, information, crafts, recipes, interview with the authors, and other features. Here's the book discussed on Goodreads. An interesting post at Scrub a Dub Tub compared the story to Beyond Freedom by Mattie Smith. I would love to hear from anyone else who's read it. What did you think?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Autumn Psalm

Oct 10 009

I've been reading Terza Rima, a poetic form borrowed from the 13 c. Italian poets and made famous by Dante's The Divine Comedy and Shelley's Ode to the West Wind. Some of my poetry blogging pals and I have all been working on writing this form for the past six months, and I am lagging behind in my homework. I decided to spend more time reading it in order to wrap my mind around the pattern and flow.

Here is a delightful example written by Jacqueline Osherow, in which poets speak from books in the library stacks about the nature of God, the glory of changing seasons, and the use of language. It starts out:

Autumn Psalm

by Jacqueline Osherow 

A full year passed (the seasons keep me honest)
since I last noticed this same commotion.   
Who knew God was an abstract expressionist?

I’m asking myself—the very question   
I asked last year, staring out at this array   
of racing colors, then set in motion

by the chance invasion of a Steller’s jay.
Is this what people mean by speed of light?
My usually levelheaded mulberry tree

hurling arrows everywhere in sight—
its bow: the out-of-control Virginia creeper   
my friends say I should do something about,

read the rest here at the Poetry Foundation.

Don't miss Glatstein asking Wang Wei how to conjure magic in so few words as they converse across the aisle of the university library stacks...

Friday Poetry is being rounded up Jennie at Biblio File. Enjoy!