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Back in 2009, I had this kinda nutty, out of the blue idea for Gottabook - what if I could share a never-before-published poem by a different children's poet every day during National Poetry Month? I had no real plan on how to get the poems, exactly, nor any inkling of whether people would be interested in me throwing this big event.
It turns out that everyone I asked said yes, with many poets writing brand new poems for the occasion. Thousands upon thousands of people visited the blog during April or subscribed to the poetry email list, and notes came from teachers around the world who shared these new poems every day with their students. There was coverage in School Library Journal and elsewhere. It was such a success that I turned it from a one-off idea into a series, continuing with new poems until 2013 and new poets every year but one.
From Jack Prelutsky, whose poem opened the whole thing, to Naomi Shihab Nye, whose poem closed out 2013's event, to everyone in between, the work that was sent in was incredible and a huge privilege to be able to share with you all. If you visit the blog, you can find all the poets for each year's 30 Poets/30 Days listed along the left hand side... with a click of a poet's name leading to their contribution.
You can also click on the logos below and arrive at a recap post for each year with links to all the poems. I truly can't say enough good things about the work you'll read, or about how amazing the people who write poetry for kids are. I do hope you'll check all the links out.
Once again I say thanks to the poets, the logo creators, and the folks who read daily. Without y'all 30 Poets/30 Days wouldn't have been a success and wouldn't have made it into my flashing back on 10 years worth of memories!
And if all the above isn't enough, I have good news: it's Poetry Friday, and you can find the roundup of this weeks' links at Buffy's Blog. I hope your Poetry Month finishes strong. Around these parts, every month is Poetry Month... so I look forward to seeing you back here in May, too.
I'm going to miss this family I've invented from random photographs and scraps of my own family's history. I plan to work on giving them a more proper storyline. Or perhaps I'll just collect them into an e-book. Time will tell. It always does, it seems.
A LOVE THAT DISTURBS by Medeia Sharif Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016 Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. Meanwhile, as a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader, Aamal, is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee. Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily. Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together. Find Medeia – YA and MG Author
At Music & Literature they print Thomas Bumstead's translation of Enrique Vila-Matas' talk when he received the premio Juan Rulfo at the book fair in Guadalajara on 28 November of last year, The Future (original) -- well worth a read.
(Many Vila-Matas titles are under review at the complete review -- with the recent Because She Never Asked a particular favorite (which I don't think has gotten its due, critically or otherwise).)
Jocelyn Proust will be exhibiting at Surtex for the first time this year and will be in Booth 229 with three other members of Four Corners Art Collective, (Emma McGowan, Beth Schneider and Kevin Brackley). They are a group of seven designers from around the globe. Two others in the collective, Pippa Shaw and Jules Anson will be showing their work at the Blueprint Show in May. Jocelyn's work
It’s time for our semi-annual comics for tweens roundup. Here’s a few comics that your tweens will adore!
A group of teenage girls used to be the Zodiac Starforce: they spent their freshman year fighting monsters. But that’s pretty much over two years later…or so they think it is until their leader, Emma, is attacked by a monster and infect her. Good for tweens and teens, Ganacheau’s bright coloring and magical girl style is fun to real.
AT LONG LAST, Amulet #7 has arrived! Your young patrons will be so excited! Emmy, Trellis, and Vigo visit Algos island, where they can enter lost memories, looking for knowledge they can use against the Elf King. This series continues to be great. Use it for displays to get your teens excited about comics!
Originally a webcomic, Help Us Great Warrior is a delightful tale of a deceptively tiny Great Warrior protecting her village from evil-doers. But she has a huge secret. How will her friends feel about her protecting them when they find out?
Sixth in the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, this juvenile nonfiction graphic book takes on the Battle of the Alamo. Your kids that already like NHHT will, of course, love it, but it’ll stand well on its own.
BONUS: COMING SOON
We’re getting a new Raina this year! Did you know we were getting a new Raina this year?? It’s out in September, and here’s the copy to read to your kids to get them excited about the fall:
Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a library consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.
This is one of two titles -- along with the latest Elena Ferrante -- that is a finalist for both the Best Translated Book Award and the Man Booker International Prize this year, so it's hard not to consider it one of the biggest titles-in-translation of 2015.
This morning over at Kirkus, I write about three new engaging picture books for the preschool set. That will be here soon. * * * Last week, I wrote here about Bethan Woollvin’s Little Red (Peachtree, April 2016), and I’m following up today with some spreads from the book. Enjoy! “And he made […]
Both Madison (Mads) and Billy have their futures ahead of them - futures heavily shaped by their mothers. And, perhaps, by each other. But when the story starts, when their stories first intersect, only one of them is present: Mads, when her morning swim leads her straight into the path of a body, a woman who has taken her own life: Billy's mother.
Though the premise outlined above may sound grim, Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti is buoyed by hope: hope for better days, hope for positive change. The story is led by two characters who struggle to take control over their own lives while they search for reasons or answers related to recent events. Written in third person, the book flips back and forth between Billy and Mads, allowing the reader to see both perspectives - which is especially interesting when they are in the same scene, so the dual narrative allows us to be privy to both characters' thoughts. The third person style also permits a cool omniscient element, with occasional phrases directing the reader's attention to something - almost like a finger pointing, "Look there," "Remember this moment later" - that are more like gentle nudges than pushy wink-wink moments.
Billy and Mads, both post-high school and both innate caretakers, have found jobs they love: Billy works at a no-kill animal shelter and literally rescues dogs, while Mads babysits a baby girl that she wishes she could protect from the world. But neither of them are happy at home. Billy now lives with his grandmother, a woman full of cruel remarks and judgements about her late daughter, while Mads is staying with her aunt, uncle, and cousin for the summer while she takes real estate classes at Bellevue Community College - all part of her mother's plan for Mads to become her working partner the second she passes the licensing exam.
But once Mads and Billy meet, once their lives collide, their futures change. Or is it that their options change, and their true futures reveal themselves? It is not easy to alleviate the burdens of the abandoned or create a map for the lost. It takes courage to face the ogres of depression and loss. With strength of spirit combined with gut instincts and personal truths, Mads and Billy find their way out of the deep and onto their next journey.
If you’ve seen the new show Stuck in the Middle, you’re probably a fan, because once you watch one episode you just can’t stop! At least this was the case for me. The show is about Harley Diaz and her six (yep six!) siblings and she’s the middle kid.
Rachael – the oldest, totally vain and into her looks and social media.
Ethan – Harley’s favorite sibling, budding musician, and partner in crime.
Georgie – basketball player who makes up for lack of “skill” with positive will (known to say “Negativity is loserville, my friend!”). Slightly annoying but kind of funny.
Twins Louie and Beast – crazy mini-ninjas.
Daphne – the youngest, usually wearing a tutu, tiara, and their mom’s high heels.
Her mom occasionally hides in the pantry to escape from the craziness of seven kids, and the kids often eat food from the garbage. But hey – this just happens sometimes with seven kids in one family!
Would You Rather. . .
Be the oldest of seven siblings OR the youngest?
Have your family forget your birthday OR totally embarrass you in front of your crush on your birthday?
Have your wi-fi cancelled OR your device/tablet broken?
Have a big family OR be an only child?
Be a rock star musician OR world famous scientist?
Only get 3 minutes in the bathroom in the morning OR have to share a toothbrush with your sibling?
Babysit three crazy 5-year olds OR change five poopy diapers?
Let us know what you’d rather in the Comments below!
American basketball star, Darsh Singh, a turbaned, bearded Sikh, featured this April in a Guardian Weekend piece on cyberbullying. He recalled how his online picture had been circulated with Islamophobic captions. Long before that he’d had to get used to people yelling things like "towelhead”. Since 9/11, Sikhs haven’t just been verbally insulted but have suffered ‘reprisal attacks’.
Consider the following scenario: Two women both lost a son in a war. One returns to work immediately and starts volunteering at an organization helping families of fallen soldiers. The other is unable to leave home, spends most of her days crying and sitting in front of her son’s belongings that were left untouched. Who is more resilient? The answer largely depends on how one defines resilience.
Like any children’s librarian, I like to assess each picture book that crosses by my eyeballs for readaloud potential. While every picture book (even the wordless ones) can be read aloud to a large group of children, only a select few thrive in that environment. It takes a certain magical combination of art and text to render a story readaloud-perfect. Books you can sing have a leg up. Ditto books with flaps or pull-tabs. But the nice thing about Bernstrom’s book One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree is that it doesn’t need to rely on those extra features to enrapture an audience. The book’s lilting rhymes, when practiced beforehand, have the potential to render an audience entranced. Add in the art of Brendan Wenzel, and how well it reads across a room, and you’ve got yourself the makings of what might possibly be the best readaloud picture book of the year.
A boy and his whirly-twirly toy are just the first things to disappear down the gullet of a hungry yellow snake. But rather than bemoan his fate, the boy gets to work in his new role as the snake’s inner id. Commenting on the sheer amount of room and space in the belly, the boy cajoles the snake into eating more and more and more. From birds and worms, to mossy sloths, to a single apple bearing a tiny fly, the creatures slide down the snake’s rapidly expanding throat. A final meal proves too much for the voracious viper and next thing you know boy, toy, and a host of other animals are upchucked back into the world from whence they came. A sly illustration at the end suggests that history may repeat itself soon.
It’s not as if Mr. Bernstrom is the first person to find the word “eucalyptus” so exceedingly delicious to both tongue and ear, but he certainly seems to have been the most prominent in recent memory. As I read the book the language of the reading triggered something in my brain. Something long forgot. And though his name evokes strong feelings in every possible direction, it was Rudyard Kipling I thought of as I read this tale. Specifically the tale of “How the Elephant Got His Trunk”. Though that story does not realize how superb the word “eucalyptus” is when repeated, Kipling got a great deal of mileage out of illustrating thoughts with words. Terms like “great grey greasy Limpopo river”, “Kolokolo Bird”, and “the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake” make those of us reading the stories aloud sound good. Bernstrom is writing for a younger audience so he doesn’t flex his muscles quite as far as Kipling did, but at the same time you recognize that he has the potential to do so. One hopes his future publishing plans may include longer stories just meant for sharing aloud. Lord knows we need more authors like that these days.
The story itself sounds familiar when you read it, but that may have to do more with familiar tropes than a tale we’ve actually seen done. The book also taps into a very popular method of extracting eaten creatures from predators’ bellies: burping. Vomiting works too, though the word sounds more disgusting, so usually in cases like this book the critters are released in a big old burp. In this case, we’re basically seeing a nature-based version of that Monty Python skit where the diner is persuaded to eat one final item (“It’s wafer-thin”). It’s odd to enjoy so much a book where a kid tricks the animal it is within to throw up, but there you go. The storytelling itself is top notch too, though I had a moment of confusion when the snake ate the beehive. Seems to me that that moment is where the boy’s plan potentially takes a turn south. Being stuck in a snake’s belly is one thing. Being stuck in a snake’s belly with flying, stinging insects? Thanks but no.
Illustrator Brendan Wenzel burst onto the children’s picture book illustration scene in 2014 but his rise in prominence since that time has been slow. The artist first caught everyone’s eye when he illustrated Angela DiTerlizzi’s Some Bugs but it was the cover art of Ellen Jackson’s Beastly Babies the following year that was the most eye-catching. That cover sold that book. An ardent conservationist, it makes a lot of sense to turn to Wenzel when you’ve a story chock full of sloths, snakes, and bees. With Bernstrom’s tale, Wenzel must render this tale in the style of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. Which is to say, he needs to balance horror with humor. Books where the protagonist gets eaten are common. Books where the protagonist gets eaten and then continues to comment on the action are rare. Wenzel’s snake falls into that category of villains that must be vicious enough to serve as a legitimate threat, but tame enough that a four-year-old won’t fear them on sight. To do this, Wenzel’s art takes on a distinctly jovial tone that treads towards the cartoonish without ever falling in completely. The colors are bright but not overwhelming, just as the action is consistent without horrifying the audience. Most of the creatures handle being eaten with gentle good grace (though the sloth looks more than a little put out about the whole thing).
The idea of being eaten whole is as old as “Little Red Riding Hood”. Heck, it’s even older than that. Look at the Greek myths of Cronus devouring his children whole. Look at any myth or legend that talks of children springing unharmed or fully formed from within nasty beasties. Together, Bernstrom and Wenzel take this ancient idea and turn it into a trickster tale. Usually it’s the eater doing the tricking, and not the eaten, but One Day in the Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Tree isn’t afraid to shake things up (or, for that matter, swallow them down). An oddly peppy little tale of surviving through another’s hubris, this is bound to become one of those readaloud picture books that teachers and librarians lean heavily on for decades to come. Look out, Bernstrom and Wenzel. You guys just went and created for yourselves a masterpiece.
Alicia Vikander to Star as Lara Croft in 'Tomb Raider'
Lara Croft has been found.
Alicia Vikander has signed on to star in Tomb Raider for MGM, Warner Bros. and GK Films, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The movie project, which has Roar Uthaug (The Wave) on board to direct, will tell the story of a young and untested Croft fighting to survive her first adventure.
MGM and Warner Bros. are co-producing the film, with MGM overseeing production. They acquired the rights from GK Films, who had previously purchased the film rights in 2011 from Square Enix Ltd. Graham King is serving as producer.
Angelina Jolie famously starred in the two previous Tomb Raider movies, 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and 2003's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, which established her as a bankable, franchise-carrying international star.
Vikander, who won an Oscar for her turn in The Danish Girl, is hoping for a similar path, and the Tomb Raider movie gives the actress her own franchise after proving her salt in acclaimed dramas.
Last year was a turning point for Vikander, who won an Oscar for her performance in The Danish Girl while also starring in Ex Machina, Burnt and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This year she will be seen in the drama The Light Between Oceans as well as the Matt Damon action pic Jason Bourne.
गर्मी का मौसम – पुण्य का काम- पक्षियों को दाना पानी गर्मी का मौसम शुरु हो चुका है और बहुत राज्यों में सूखा पडा होने की लगातार खबरे आ रही हैं . वही दूसरी ओर जहां सूखा नही है वहां भी पानी कम इस्तेमाल करने पर बल दिया जा रहा है. ऐसे में चारो […]
For those who don't know, Joyce was a man, and this poem was published in 1914, four years before he enlisted in WWI and was killed at the Battle of Ourcq. I recall reading it in 2nd or 3rd grade and enjoying the "leafy arms" and "intimately living with with rain" but being completely distracted by the flowing breast and the snowy bosom. But let not my childish frissons distract you from this poem's expression of the nobility of trees.
Laura says, "I adore [this] song and the whole love/tree analogy," and I do too.
"The Way I Feel," by Gordon Lightfoot, 1967
"The way I feel is like a robin Whose babes have flown to come no more Like a tall oak tree alone and cryin' When the birds have flown and the nest is bare"
"Your coat of green, it will protect her Her wings will grow, your love will too"
Lovely! Thank you, Laura--that's a song I've never heard before, but it will certainly stay with me. I still have one day of Poetry-Music Match-Ups unclaimed, if anyone would like to send me their ideas.. just email using the link on the right, and I'll be delighted to close out April 2016 on your notes!
April 29th is Arbor Day, a day dedicated annually to public tree-planting in the US, Australia, and other countries. In the United States it is celebrated on the last Friday in April. Trees are so important. They provide us with two things we cannot live without: food and oxygen. They also offer the added benefit of serving as a source for shelter, beauty, and a wealth of wood products.
II. Trees know the soft secrets of clouds the dark siftings of soil The hear the high keening of squalls the deep rumbling of rocks Trees whisper for the sky's damp blessings and the earth's misty kisses
IX. This is the way that autumn came to the trees: it stripped them down to the skin, left their ebony bodies naked. It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves, scattered them over the ground. Anyone could trample them out of shape undisturbed by a single moan of protest. From When Autumn Came by Faiz Ahmed Faiz in The True Subject: Selected Poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translated by Naomi Lazard
X. Thus having prepared their buds against a sure winter the wise trees stand sleeping in the cold.
Here is the final installment in my series of science poetry tied to science-themed picture books. My graduate student, Elizabeth Zelenak (in my "Poetry for Children" class) selected the focus on “earthworms” from the series of professional resource books, "Picture Perfect Science Lessons" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (and published by the National Science Teachers Association). Here are her three infographics centered around learning about earthworms. The focus picture book pair is:
Diary of a Wormby Doreen Cronin
Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer
The poem that works perfectly with this book is“Reliable, Pliable Worms” by Celia Warren from her book Don’t Poke a Worm till it Wriggles.Below is a graphic featuring this book pair and others, followed by the featured poem, and then the Take 5 activities to accompany the poem along with a "bonus" poem, “Soil Inventory” by Kate Coombs from The Poetry of Science. Enjoy!
Science of poetry graphics created by Elizabeth Zelenak