Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Poetry: Micah Bournes on "normal hair"

I saw a friend post this video on Facebook this week and I had to pass it on. Micah Bournes performs his original poetry on the subject of "normal hair". I just love the joy and energy that blows through his presentation. He is a new-to-me poet and I am really enjoying his work!

Micah Bournes :: Normal Hair from Antioch Church on Vimeo.

Friday Poetry is hosted by Diane at Random Noodling.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Bitter Melon

by Cara Chow. Egmont, 2011. I really enjoyed this young adult novel about the relationship of a Chinese American high school girl and her old school mother. Francis is trying to live up to the expectations of her mother, who demands that she work her way into Berkley and become a successful doctor in order to support her old age. She accidentally signs up for the high school speech class and ends up on the debate team because she isn't assertive enough to explain to the teacher that her mother doesn't allow such things as after school clubs that might interfere with math homework. She is surprised to discover that she is actually pretty talented at debate and it's a lot of fun. A budding friendship develops with the daughter of her mother's best friend, who it turns out is helpful in following the path of deceit and deception hidden from her mother.

The problem that Francis discovers is that in order to really shine in the debating competitions she has to speak about her deep beliefs and aspirations, which are in conflict with her mother's goals. This requires a complex juggling of duplicitous finagling and double-think. As Francis gets more and more excited about discovering her unique intelligence and linguistic abilities she becomes more angry and rebelious toward her mother. She is still emeshed in the emotional, verbal and physical abuse her mother has used to control her all along, of course. Witnessing the breaking free of that slough is what makes this novel so compelling and engaging. I was rooting for Francis all the way to the end, and found myself thinking about her and wondering how she was doing long after I finished the book. It's a great story well told.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Poetry: Haiku after walking


three friends
a bench by the water
geese on the wind

.................. -Andromeda Jazmon

The Friday Poetry round up is hosted by the fabulous Jama. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Poetry; Birds not seen


biking with only an ipod
not wanting the weight of a good lens;
missing the Little Green Heron shot
-Andromeda Jazmon

I’ve been under doctor’s orders to exercise my knee after surgery this summer, so I have been forced to take some time to go biking in beautiful parks during the last outburst of Indian Summer’s stunning weather. Oh the photographic opportunities I have missed by trying to travel light! My belt pack carries an iPod with a very basic camera. In the photo above there is a Little Green Heron on the shoreline that doesn’t show up. How many other birds are hidden in the trees? Who knows what else we are missing?
I am about to head out to the library to study the new acquisitions to see if there are any great children’s books published in 2011 that have not yet been nominated for a Cybils award. Have you been watching the nominations come in? What is yet to be mentioned that you really loved?
Poetry Friday is hosted at FOMAGRAMS today – don’t miss any of the offerings!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Collecting Digital Citizenship Links

lounge chair under leaves

I've been working on compiling the best digital citizenship curriculum links to support educators. I have a wiki of library pathfinders (resource guides) here. I'm also using Pinterest as a more graphic based collection of links. I've also been following folks on but haven't tried curating my own stream yet. Have you?

Please let me know what you think of these alternate ways of presenting link collections, and offer your ideas for other good sites on digital citizenship.

Friday, October 07, 2011

From the trail

Dropping baggage,
Following the curve of
Light on fence rows.

- Andromeda Jazmon

I am in a period of lateral shift, reassessing the journey and reconsidering what's required along the way. Dropping some of the old assumptions and hoping for more light. Today's trail was just the balm I needed!

Enjoy more poetry at the Friday Poetry roundup today at Great Kid Books!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Review: White Water

by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, illustrated by Shadra Strickland. Candlewick, 2011. (review copy). Set in 1962 in the Jim Crow South just before the Civil Rights era, this picture book is based on a real life experience of author Michael Bandy. The lushly illustrated book tells of a boy named Michael who confronts the segregation laws in his community. On a bus ride to town he experiences riding in the back of the bus and then drinking from the "Colored" drinking fountain. When he observes a white boy and his mama riding in the front of the bus and drinking from the "Whites Only" fountain he develops a deep desire to taste the "white water" and find out if it is truely "pure and icy cool, like mountain water" in contrast to the disapointing "warm, rusty water" of the Colored fountain. His obsession grows through daydreams and nightmares. His grandmother tells him he may not taste it but he hatches a plan to circumvent her supervision. He plays sick and stays home from school so he can go down town alone and sneak a taste from the white water fountain.

Braving a scornful bus driver, he manages to take a sip of the white fountain. Then a scolding white woman causes him to fall in fear to the ground below the fountains. He is shocked to find out that in fact both fountains deliver water from the same pipe, and taste exactly alike. His courageous act of defying adult-enforced racist law and convention gives him a revolutionary insight. His epiphany into truth vs. lies reveals his own unlimited potential:

"The signs over the fountains had put a bad idea in my head. But they were a lie. If they weren't real, what else should I question? Maybe there wer lots of things - like that nasty old white water - that weren't true. That had nothing to do with nothing. Maybe everything I thought I couldn't do was just in my imagination, too. That's when I realized - I could do anything."

Strickland's realistic watercolor paintings bring the experience to life and pull us into the brutal reality of living under injustice. Michael has the strength and determination to challenge the institutional racism supported by all the adults in his world. It is his driving curiosity and passionate determination that make him a hero and inspiration. Here is a story of American history that every child needs to hear and see.

I am nominating this book for a Cybils award in the picture book division. Go on over to the Cybils site before October 15 and drop the titles of some of your favorite children's books published in the past year!