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A library media specialist who writes mostly about books by and about people of color. I also frequently post original haiku and photography.
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1. The Poetry Seven Attempt Sestinas

This month my poetry sisters and I are working on writing Sestinas. It's a very difficult form to get the knack for, partly because the end words are extremely restricted. Each of the six-line stanzas use the same words in a spiral repetition. The best sestinas, IMO, tell a story. My favorite one is this by Elizabeth Bishop. Kelly has a wonderful explanation with tips on how to write one here.

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2. A Small Child's Book of Verses

I found this lovely old gem on my shelf today. Here are a few pages in honor of Valentine's Day: Is t that delightful?  Now be sure to visit Merely Day by Day today for the Friday Poetry Roundup!

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3. Trying my hand at a villanelle

At the start of the year my online group of poetry sisters decided to challenge ourselves with writing and posting poems all year with a different form for each month. January was triolets, and February has been all about Villanelles. I have to confess I have really struggled with this one! I had a story I wanted to tell about my young son and his first taste of hot peppers, but try as I

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4. Triolets

Happy New Year!  2015 is off to a great start already. Here is my brand new Poetry Journal for 2015. I need this journal because... It's time for the Poetry Seven to swing into action once again! This year we have set ourselves up to meet a huge challenge. We are going to work on a different poetry form every month, and post original poems on the last Friday of each month. I am excited

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5. Angel Island; Gateway to Gold Mountain

by Russel Freedman. Chinese poems translated by Evans Chan. Clarion Books, 2014. (Library copy). This nonfiction text for young people covers the west coast immigration center Angel Island in San Fransisco Bay. Between 1910 and 1940 more than half a million people from 80 countries passed through this station. After being examined medically and interrogated, they often waited weeks or months in

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6. Three by Zetta Elliott

The Magic Mirror by Zetta Elliott. Illustrations by Paul Melecky. Rosetta Press, 2014. Review copy. Kamara suffers from the mean words of a boy at school until her Gramma comforts her and shows her the ancient mirror kept in a back bedroom of her old house. Kamara willingly cleans Gramma's mirror and discovers a magical storytelling window into her own family history. Generations of brave,

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7. Josephine; The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

by Patricia Hruby Powell, pictures by Christian Robinson. Chronicle books, 2014. Review copy. This adorable 8" x 10" full color hardback book is a treasure trove of inspiration and information on the glorious life of Josephine Baker. Baker was born in a hard scrabble life in East St. Louis in 1906. Growing up with poverty, discrimination, race riots, and a family that loved ragtime music and

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8. Game World

by Christopher John Farley. Black Sheep, 2014. Middle grade fantasy with an inclusive cast of characters. Sixth grade gamers are sucked into their favorite video game and have the chance to become heroes battling giant spiders, evil hummingbirds, and plant people. Heavily drawn from Jamaican culture and video game story lines. Farley's children and their friends read the drafts and gave

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9. Upsidedown in the Middle of Nowhere

by Julie T. Lamana. Chronicle Books, 2014. Every time I think about Katrina now, I think about this book. Armani lives in the Ninth Wards of New Orleans with her family. She's looking forward to celebrating her 10th birthday with a big party, cake and presents, when Katrina hits. Her party is canceled and her family is rocked by the storm that brings tragedy and intense challenge for all of

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10. 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

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11. 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

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12. 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

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13. 48 Hour Book Challenge: And We're Off!

This is my starting line for Mother Reader's 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!!

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14. 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

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15. 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

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16. 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

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17. 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

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18. Autumn is Good for Melancholy Haiku

  our cherry tree turns yellow; last time you were here tight buds newly green -Andromeda Jazmon Haven't done Friday Poetry in a while but with the changing seasons I am inspired again. I always enjoy a good melancholy haiku. Today's Friday Poetry round up is hosted by Amy at The Poem Farm. Enjoy!

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19. National Poetry Month 2013

  Happy April Happy Spring Happy Poetry Month!! In years past I have used this space to post daily haiku and photos all through April. This year I am not going to use the blog to do it. I feel the need to change things up and be more mobile. I want to use my iPod touch to take photos and post haiku on Twitter. I am finding several hashtags in use today, the first day of National Poetry

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20. Haiku on Instagram for National Poetry Month 2013

Here is a collection of my Instagram photos, updated daily. I am afraid you will have to click on the photo to go to Instagram to read the haiku. Unless I find a photo editor that works on my iPod and figure out how to put the haiku directly onto the image, that is. Anyone help with that? If you are using Instagram and know how to do it can you share? <!-- SnapWidget -->

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21. Nonfiction Monday Round Up is Here Today!

Every Monday the Kidlit blogosphere hosts a round up of posts about children's and young adult nonficiton books. Today I am hosting with links from all over. If you have a post up leave a comment and put your unique URL in Mr. Linky below. Then come back later in the day or tomorrow to visit all the blogs. My contribution is a recommendation of the book Hand in Hand; Ten Black men Who

17 Comments on Nonfiction Monday Round Up is Here Today!, last added: 4/9/2013
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22. Winners in the Hilary McKay Blog Tour!

Last month I took part in the Hilary McKay blog tour with an interview focused on her Lulu books. It was such a fun interview - we got to have a fascinating conversation about how she worked with illustrator Patricia Lamont to portray her character Lulu. The publisher, Albert Whitman & Co sponsored the tour and promised to give away copies of the Lulu books to two lucky commentors on my

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23. April Rain Haiga

I am continuing to post haiga on my Instagram account every day in April, as an exercise for National Poetry Month. The whole collection is gathered here on this post. You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram also. I am experimenting with using Phonto and the Flickr photo editor Aviary to add text so the haiku is directly on the photo. So far I like what I am getting. I wish my iPod

11 Comments on April Rain Haiga, last added: 4/14/2013
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24. Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013

Today is that rollicking good time day when you are encouraged to carry a poem and share it with friends, family, strangers - pass it around like a smile! It started in NYC several years ago and now is celebrated all over. Go to poets.org for ideas of how to celebrate and poems you can print to carry or share. At my library I am postings and passing out some of my favorites by Langston

8 Comments on Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013, last added: 4/26/2013
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25. Review and Giveaway: Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer

by Mary Holland. Sylvan Dell, 2013. (Review copy). This charming book is packed with gorgeous close-up photographs of a fox kit in his first summer. Holland is a nature photographer and environmental educator doing a fine job of introducing children and adults to the secret lives of foxes . You may think there are no foxes living near you, but if you are in the Northern Hemisphere you might be

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