Friday, December 27, 2019

Poetry Friday: Thanks

THANKS by W.S. Merwin
This poem starts out easy, but it gets complicated real quick. Kind of like life. In her commentary, Tracy K. Smith says of the poem,"It insists upon a fierce form of moral reckoning."

Nonetheless, I'm giving thanks for YOU, as well as for every bit of this complicated messy achingly beautiful world. Listen to the podcast and read the whole poem here.

Thanks, also, for Michelle Kogan's POWER filled Poetry Friday Roundup. The last roundup of the year. I almost missed this one...what day is it today? Lookie there! It's Friday!!

The January - June 2020 roundup list is in our sidebar for the grabbing (or message me and I'll send you the code) and on the Kidlitosphere website.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Poetry Friday -- The Power of Short Writing

I found this great article that reminded me about the power of short writing. SHORT writing seemed like just the thing for this past SHORT week and its potentially SHORT attention spans. It was also a good way to keep working on one of my main goals as a teacher of writing -- I want my students to be fluent as writers. I want them to be able to get an idea and run with it, to take risks, to get words on the page...and then go back and make those words communicate more clearly and effectively.

We started the week by writing 50 word summaries of the read aloud we finished last week, Indian No More by Charlene Willing Mcmanis.

I think JC did a great job with her summary! She is an EL who has only been in the US (from Hong Kong) for five months.

I love GP's themes, especially, "No matter what road you get, you still have to drive." I'm thinking he's heard that one at home!

This one is my favorite. HM clearly has some challenges with his writing conventions, but his thinking is SO intact. He found some sketches of butterfly chrysalises in his writer's notebook, from back in the fall when we watched caterpillars grow and change. He drew them on his paper, but I wouldn't let him get away with randomness. I told him he had to connect them to the story. And he did. He so did. The butterfly stage represents the family's happiness on the reservation. The pupa stage represents their sadness and struggles. But after the pupa stage comes another butterfly, so they WILL be happy again. And "they will always stay Indian."

After our 50 word summaries, we went on to Get Curious -- Encyclopedia Edition. I gave each child (or pair) one volume of our classroom set of encyclopedias. The assignment was to 1. Browse, 2. Get Curious, 3. Take Notes, 4. Write a haiku. Here's one by ZA about Kimchi.

Kimchi’s important
It is traditionally
Used in Korea


Next, we did Get Curious -- NewsELA Edition. JW read articles about the impeachment process (mouths of babes, my friends...mouths of babes), and JF read about the tourists who were killed by a volcano in New Zealand.

Donald Trump is bad.
Donald Trump should be Impeached.
Donald Trump is bad.


14 die on New Zealand’s White Island During Volcanic Eruption

December 9th
The blast left 30 people hurt
Words were things like help


Here's to SHORT WRITING on almost the SHORTEST DAY of the year! Buffy is hosting the "Almost Solstice" edition of the Poetry Friday Roundup today.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Teaching is hard.

Teaching is hard. No, wait. Let me rephrase that. Raising up twenty-seven 10- and 11-year-olds to be kind, responsible citizens is hard. Doing that makes adding and subtracting fractions with common denominators look like a piece of cake.

We make mistakes. (At least I do.) But hopefully, we also reflect, and talk to our unpaid counselors (brother, husband, friends), and come back the next day ready to do a better job.

This is year 36 for my tradition of making cookies for my class to decorate. And this year, I made the mistake of holding cooking decorating over their heads as if it is a reward for good behavior.

And it's not.

And it never has been.

Cookie decorating is a gift I give to my students. It's a gift of my talents and my heart. It has always been and always should be given with joy and love.

Like a parent, I must compartmentalize my disapproval of and frustration with a child's behavior, and my love for the child as a growing, learning young human. As an adult, I must model for my students how to criticize constructively while loving unconditionally.

I'll stop there, because I need to go iron my Pajama Day pajamas and get to work.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Poetry Friday -- The Grace of the World

Vermont, 2015

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.

(read the rest here, and take a few moments to listen to him reading the poem)

Impeachment, global warming, violence, mass extinctions, greedy corporations. But also Greta Thunberg...and art that has lasted 44,000 years...and the peace of wild things. These all give me some kind of hope for some kind of future. Plus, for the short term, we've got a Poetry Friday Roundup Schedule for January-June 2020!

For the even shorter term, head over to Liz Steinglass' blog right now for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Imagine That!

Here are two books that will inspire children to use their imaginations.

What's Your Favorite Food?
by Eric Carle and Friends
Henry Holt and Co., 2019
library copy

Each illustrator chose a favorite food, wrote a little about it, and illustrated it in his/her own unique way. Not only is it fun to see which of OUR favorite foods are THEIR favorite foods, we get to see (in the illustrator bios in the back) each of the illustrators as a child! Yes, their bio photos are of themselves as children. Lookie there! Kids that look like YOU who grew up to become famous illustrators! Imagine that!

It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
by Kyo Maclear
illustrated by Julie Morstad
HarperCollins, 2019
library copy

Gyo Fujikawa's life as an artist intersected with historical events that shaped who she was and what she believed about her art. In this picture book biography, we see her drawing from a very young age, then, after high school, attending art school in the mid-1920's on scholarship. She worked for Disney in the early 1940's, saw her family sent to internment camps during the war, witnessed the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement. In the early 1060s, she submitted her groundbreaking book illustrated with multiracial characters and didn't back down when the publisher said children of different races should not be in the same book. It is thanks to her (and other bookmakers such as Ezra Jack Keats) that all kinds of kids can see characters who look like them in more picture books than ever. Imagine that!

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Poetry Friday -- Advice

Unsplash photo by Joel Muniz

Be kind to yourself. 
Empty your bucket and then... 
be kind to yourself.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

"Never be afraid 
of showing someone you love 
a draft of yourself."

(from the author's note in EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN by Chris Cleave)

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose bucket is or has been empty. These #haikuforkindness are a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves. There can be no #haikuforjustice if we don't put the oxygen mask on ourselves first.

Tanita has the Poetry Friday roundup at [fiction, instead of lies].

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Giving Thanks for Poetry Friday!

Thanku: Poems of Gratitude inspired my Thanku/Haiku-a-Day this month. I managed to get November 1-15 onto Twitter, and I'm back on Twitter with November 26-30. Here are the ones that were written, but never made it to Twitter!

Deer in the headlights.
Same spot: hawk swoops low with prey.
Blessings from the wild.

Step, step...mind elsewhere... step...PANIC!
Floor, meet hands and knees.

Antiques Roadshow was a splurge
and I'll pay for it.

Final Prep Thanku
two days of sub plans
hours and hours and hours of work
then just walk away

Travel Day Thanku
For the traffic jam
NOT on our side of the road --
relieved gratitude.

Award Selection Day Thanku
A day of hard work:
laughter, talk, perspectives shared.
Not just the books won.

Presentation Day Thanku
Bad sleep, up early,
back-to-back schedule ready.
Right now--calm. Quiet.

Almost the End of Conference Thanku
complete exhaustion
sleep wraps you in its blanket
cradles you gently

Driving Home Thanku
Ridge top silhouette--
bare November trees, silo.
Evening sky--one star.

Words Spoken Upon Releasing Into the Garden the Spider I Captured on My Office Wall
Dear Tiny Spider,
Life has infinite value.
For yours, I give thanks.

Bridget Magee at Wee Words For Wee Ones has the Poetry Friday Roundup all the way from Switzerland this week! I'm EXTRA glad to be back after my longest absence ever.

The call for roundup hosts for Poetry Fridays January 2020-June 2020 is also ready for dates to be claimed!

Poetry Friday -- Call for Hosts

It's that time again. Six months have passed since last we queued up to host the Poetry Friday roundups.

If you'd like to host a roundup between January and June 2020, leave your choice(s) of date(s) in the comments. I'll update regularly to make it easier to see which dates have been claimed.

What is the Poetry Friday roundup? A gathering of links to posts featuring original or shared poems, or reviews of poetry books. A carnival of poetry posts. Here is an explanation that Rene LaTulippe shared on her blog, No Water River, and here is an article Susan Thomsen wrote for the Poetry Foundation.

Who can do the Poetry Friday roundup? Anyone who is willing to gather the links in some way, shape, or form (Mr. Linky, "old school" in the comments-->annotated in the post, or ???) on the Friday of your choice. If you are new to the Poetry Friday community, jump right in, but perhaps choose a date later on so that we can spend some time getting to know each other.

How do you do a Poetry Friday roundup? If you're not sure, stick around for a couple of weeks and watch...and learn! One thing we're finding out is that folks who schedule their posts, or who live in a different time zone than you, appreciate it when the roundup post goes live sometime on Thursday.

How do I get the code for the PF Roundup Schedule for the sidebar of my blog? You can grab the list from the sidebar here at A Year of Reading, or I'd be happy to send it to you if you leave me your email address. You can always find the schedule on the Kidlitosphere Central webpage.

Why would I do a Poetry Friday Roundup? Community, community, community. It's like hosting a poetry party on your blog!

And now for the where and when:

3    Carol at Carol's Corner
10  Sally at Sally Murphy
17  Catherine at Reading to the Core
24  Kat at Kathryn Apel
31  Jone at Deowriter

7    Laura at Writing the World for Kids
14  Linda B. at TeacherDance
21  Cheriee at Library Matters
28  Karen at Karen Edmisten*

6    Rebecca at Sloth Reads
13  Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
20  Michelle at Michelle Kogan
27  Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

3    Heidi at my juicy little universe
10  Amy at The Poem Farm
17  Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
24  Christie at Wondering and Wandering

1   Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass
8   Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
15 Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup
22 Linda at A Word Edgewise
29 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

5   Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
12 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
26 Karen at Karen's Got a Blog!

Disrupting the Myth of Thanksgiving

Our current read aloud, INDIAN NO MORE, has given us lots to think about and discuss. INDIAN NO MORE is historical fiction. It tells about how, in 1954, the US government stripped the tribal status from the Umpqua people, proclaiming them to no longer be Indians. Our conversations are centering around the stereotypes we have about Native people, empathy for what it would be like to have an important part of your identity taken from you, and appropriate responses in a democracy to laws that are unfair. 

Looking at Thanksgiving from the perspective of Native people has disrupted the commonly told story of the Pilgrims and Indians. Along with our read aloud, we have watched several videos in which Native girls address stereotypes about Natives and about Thanksgiving, and one of our teachers brought all the conversations to life (literally) when she came and talked to us about her perspective on Thanksgiving and American History as a registered member of the Sioux tribe. 

One of the things I love most about teaching fifth grade is that 10-11 year-olds are developmentally ready to consider multiple points of view. It is my greatest desire that my students will leave my class questioning "truths" that they are taught from a single point of view, and that they will constantly ask, "Whose voice is not being heard? Which perspective is not being included?"

With that, I will wish you an informed Happy Thanksgiving -- not one that honors the story of the colonization of our country, but rather one that traces further back to the greater human history of giving thanks for food and family.

by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorrell
Tu Books, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

2020 NCTE Charlotte Huck and Orbis Pictus Award Winners!

2020 Huck Award Winner

Click Here to view the Huck Honor and Recommended books. My review of Room on Our Rock is here.

2020 Orbis Pictus Award Winner

Click Here to view the Orbis Pictus Honor and Recommended books.

Thursday, October 31, 2019


Unsplash photo by Benjamin Lizardo


It's hot.
It's dry.
A spark:
a fire.

A flame
a burn
a blaze:
a pyre.

It threatens,
gets hotter.

The only thing
it fears

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

I'm in under the wire for Rebecca Herzog's challenge on Today's Little Ditty to write a poem about what a monster fears.

As the rain pours (and belts and BUCKETS) down here in Ohio, my heart has been heavy watching the news of Southern California going up in flames.

Tabatha has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Poetry Friday -- Typewriter Rodeo

A couple of weeks ago, Liz Garton Scanlon alerted me that the Austin-based on-demand poetry writing group known as Typewriter Rodeo would be in Dublin, sponsored by the Dublin Arts Council.

We found out the hard way that you couldn't just turn into the Dublin Arts Center to attend this event. We had to park all the way down the road and around the corner at Scioto High School and we couldn't even make a left turn out of the DAC to head directly to Scioto. We had to turn right, go through Old Dublin (good excuse to oggle the new library), go around the monster roundabout, and then, once we got to Scioto, take a shuttle bus back to the DAC...which seemed a little ridiculous since there were about 5 other people at the event.

Fewer people gave us more time to get our poem written (I gave Sean the topic of "roundabout" in honor of all it took to get there), chat with the poets, and admire their manual clackity-clack typewriters.

I also bought a copy of their book, which I am anxious to dig into, once the must-reads are all read (with my two new crystal-clear eyeballs and my coolio reading glasses).

Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2018

Karen Edmisten has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title. I'm sure there will be lots of must-reads there, too.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Poetry Friday -- The Day After Cataract Surgery

Unsplash photo by Janelle Hayes

yes, I see the hawk
there, on the power line
feathers fluttering

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Not just the hawk, but the FEATHERS! My new right lens is nothing less than a miracle. Next Wednesday, my left eye joins the party. I am truly seeing the world anew. It's flat-out amazing.

Jama has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Welcome, Liesl Shurtliff!

Liesl Shurtliff is a favorite author here at A Year of Reading. Franki has reviewed Rump, Jack, and Grump. Liesl has a new series, Time Castaways, and the second book has its book birthday on Tuesday!

by Liesl Shurtliff
Katherine Tegen Books, September 17, 2019

by Liesl Shurtliff
Katherine Tegen Books, October 15, 2019

Liesl has graciously shared her thoughts on The Importance of Reading Wisely. We couldn't agree more!

The Importance of Reading Widely
By Liesl Shurtliff

“You are what you read.” It’s a sentiment many people have tossed around over the years, right along with “You are what you eat.” And if both of these things are true then I challenge anyone to define who I am. I read too widely, and I eat absolutely everything. I’m a person with many tastes and interests. I think we all should be.

I see many initiatives to get people to read more, and I like them, but what I’d liked to see a little more of is encouragement for people to read more widely, move outside their comfort zones, pick up a book you wouldn’t normally choose. Here are my suggestions:

Read both fiction and non-fiction

Statistics show that women tend to read more fiction, and men gravitate toward non-fiction. This is fascinating to me, and I could delve into all kind of psychoanalytic theories about why this is and what it means, but that would be (mostly) beside the point of the post. Suffice it to say, I think we should tip the scales in both cases. Men should read more fiction. Women should read more non-fiction. Both are good for you.

I personally used to think non-fiction was code for BORING. I’ve since learned that non-fiction can be some of the most engrossing books out there. It’s one thing to get lost in a good story. It’s another to get lost in a good story that is completely REAL. Malcolm Gladwell, Erik Larson, and Elizabeth Gilbert have been a few of my favorites.

Read outside your usual genre.

Whenever someone asks what genre is my favorite I say “Good writing.” Perhaps the definition of what makes a good book is subjective, but I’ve found my own tastes have become more refined the more widely I read. Yes, I read a lot of fantasy as that is what I write, but I’ve read plenty of poorly written fantasy, and I’ve found that it helps my own writing to read a wide variety of genres and styles. I feel like I’m in a rut when I read too much of one genre. It can start to feel stale and boring, sort of like eating only one kind of food. No matter how good those tacos are, eventually I’m going to want some salad. Mix up your reading diet with a mixture of genres.

Read books and authors outside your own race, culture, religion, country, experience and world view.

Reading has been touted as an activity that develops empathy, but for whom are we developing empathy? People like us? People whose experience and world view is not so different from our own? That will not develop empathy, only self-assurance. Challenge yourself and your world view. Pick up a book that makes you a little uncomfortable. Or a lot. And please, read books written by authors who are intimately acquainted with the experience being written about (aka #OwnVoices.) It matters.

Read children’s books!

Okay, I am slightly biased here, seeing as I’m a children’s book author, but please believe me when I say there is some incredibly good literature being produced in the children’s book world. Don’t stick your nose up at it. Pick up a picture book, a middle-grade or young adult novel, or a graphic novel, and remember what it was like to be a kid. Or pick up a book you remember reading and loving as a kid and see what you think of it now. I’ve done this and usually find I love it just as much, even though I’m reading it with a completely different perspective. It’s a nostalgic experience.

Reading is good. Reading a lot is better. Reading widely is best, just like eating a varied diet. Take stock of your reading choices. See if you can mix things up every now and then.   Get recommendations for friends or co-workers. If there’s one thing I know it’s that people love to talk about what they’re reading. And if they don’t read, well then, we should all be ready to share our own reading recommendations and feed the famished. Best to have a variety on hand.

Liesl Shurtliff is the New York Times bestselling author of the (Fairly) True Tales series and the Time Castaways trilogy. The second book is available October 15th! Her books have been named to over two dozen state award lists and have won many awards including a Children’s Book Award from the International Literacy Association. Liesl lives in Chicago with her husband and four children. @lieslshurtliff

Thanks for visiting, Liesl! We can't wait to read your new series!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Poetry Friday -- My Nose Takes a Walk in Fall

My Nose Takes a Walk in Fall

dust of acorns, crushed
summer-gone spicy gardens
skunk musk, just a waft

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

I got the best gift in the mail yesterday! Along with two books that will inspire my writing, there was a box of "matchsticks" to Spark Creativity. I pulled one out: "Take a walk, tuning in carefully to everything you smell," and found this poem! So much fun! I can't wait to try more of them. Thank you, Brenda!!

Catherine, at Reading to the Core, has the Poetry Friday roundup this week and a post full of gratitude.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Poetry Friday

Loss is a Non-Negotiable Miracle

The cold front came through last night
scrubbing the sky of humidity
polishing Orion, the Pleiades, and Cassiopeia
to a glittering shine.
Loss is a non-negotiable miracle.

My hair, both parents,
a purse left in a shopping cart,
occasionally my temper,
frequently the punchline of a joke.
Loss is indeed non-negotiable
but the part about miracles is sometimes murky.

We read the news of the day
and non-negotiable seems more like
brutally inevitable
or else crushingly destructive
with a side of mercilessly inescapable
and miracles are nowhere to be found.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019 (flash draft)

My new set of Metaphor Dice (Erudite Expansion) have been waiting on my desk for a month, patiently watching me clear hurdle after hurdle, with no time or brain space left over for them. I cleared a huge hurdle last night -- my first night of parent conferences. Eleven down, fifteen to go, but the prep for all is complete.

It's been unseasonably record-breakingly HOT this past week, but the weather from Colorado and Montana finally arrived. The relief is palpably miraculous. On the other hand, the daily news seems like it can't get any worse, and then it does. As I look back on my draft, I'm not sure I like how it slides from such joy into such deep despair. Perhaps I need to flip the first and last stanzas, so that the flow is from broad, generalized angst, to specific, local joy. What do you think?

Cheriee is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Library Matters. I'll do my best to visit posts, but now that the parent conference hurdle is cleared, the 150 picture books that have been accumulating in my living room need to be read this weekend!

Happy Friday! Happy Poetry!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Poetry Friday

via Unsplash

In praise of joe
by Marge Piercy

I love you hot
I love you iced and in a pinch
I will even consume you tepid.

Dark brown as wet bark of an apple tree,
dark as the waters flowing out of a spooky swamp
rich with tannin and smelling of thick life—

but you have your own scent that even
rising as steam kicks my brain into gear.
I drink you rancid out of vending machines,

I drink you at coffee bars for $6 a hit,
I drink you dribbling down my chin from a thermos
in cars, in stadiums, on the moonwashed beach.

Mornings you go off in my mouth like an electric
siren, radiating to my fingertips and toes.
You rattle my spine and buzz in my brain.

Whether latte, cappuccino, black or Greek
you keep me cooking, you keep me on line.
Without you, I would never get out of bed

but spend my life pressing the snooze
button. I would creep through wan days
in the form of a large shiny slug.

You waken in me the gift of speech when I
am dumb as a rock buried in damp earth.
It is you who make me human every dawn.
All my books are written with your ink.

I'm a tea drinker, but except for that small detail and the fact that I've not written multiple books (yet), this poem rings fairly true. There's a steaming cuppa sitting beside me as I write.

Here's to all the things that gut us out of bed and waken in us the gift of speech, including Poetry Friday! Carol, at Beyond LiteracyLink, has the roundup this week.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond

As I continue to build my nonfiction area of the classroom library,  I am thrilled when I find a picture book that I know will be perfect for middle grade students. Since I always seem to have students who like birds and birdwatching I have a Birds basket in the nonfiction section of the library. Many years it is a favorite go-to basket. I love finding new books to add to this basket.   I was thrilled to get a copy of Bird Count from Peachtree Publishers.

Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond and illustrated by Stephanie Fizzier Coleman will be released next week and I couldn't be more excited to share this book with my students. This book is a fictional narrative about a girl who participates in the Audubon Bird Count each year.  (I first learned about this bird count in Loree Griffin Burns' Citizen Scientists book.) I love being able to pair some nonfiction books with a fiction book that shares information about an annual citizen science project.

The story takes us through the full day of the Christmas Bird Count with Ava, her mother and their team leader.  We learn a bit about the bird count on each page through the dialogue and the illustrations.  We learn a bit about birds, the rules of the count, and more. And on each page, we see Ava's tally of the birds they've seen so far. 

The book has some great features.  At the end of the story, readers can learn more about the birds that Ava sees during the day of the bird count.  The author's note gives us a bit more information about The Christmas Bird Count and the connection the author has to this event.

Below is a book trailer about the book.

This book seems great for all ages!  

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Poetry Friday -- Live Writing


Boom boom boom.
Buzz buzz buzz.
The drums on the playground
are filled with wasps.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

blue sky, puffy clouds
buildings keep people apart
the bridge will connect

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2019

Good thing I'm writing live with my students or I wouldn't be writing at all! Life has been more than a little busy.

I love to start our writing workshop with some short-form poetry -- 15 Words or Less and Haiku. Each student gets a blank Google Slideshow through Google Classroom. For their poetic inspiration,  I share a set of photos taken around the school (plus a few, like the one above, of the Columbus skyline, that I have taken). This way, we can also talk about choosing media that has been labeled for reuse. 

Here's another random haiku, just for fun:

Linda B. has the Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance this week. She's got a SUPER EXCITING cover reveal of a book I. Must. Own.

Friday, September 06, 2019

This Happened

Oh, the joys of a book award committee.

The stacks on the left are August books that still need to be read/reviewed, and the tower of 4 boxes and a package came yesterday.

No Poetry Friday for me this week! Probably not next week either -- I'll be teaching fly fishing at Ohio's Casting for Recovery retreat.

Happy reading to me! Happy Poetry to you!

(Updated to add today's shipments: 4 more boxes and 2 more packages! Eek!)

Monday, September 02, 2019

Grandparents' Day is September 8

Grandparents' Day is September 8 this year. Here are some picture books, many of which are #ownvoicees, that explore the relationship of children and their grandparents.

Our Favorite Day 
by Joowon Oh
Candlewick Press, 2019
review copy provided by the publisher

An #ownvoices book with gorgeous paper collage illustrations. Thursdays are Papa's favorite day because he gets to spend time with his granddaughter.

Ojiichan's Gift 
by Chieri Uegaki
illustrated by Genevieve Simms
KidsCan Press, 2019
review copy provided by the publisher

Every summer when she visits Japan, Mayumi and her grandfather care for the rock garden he built for her when she was born. What will become of the rock garden and their time together when Ojiichan has to go into the nursing home? Another #ownvoices story of the connection between a grandfather and granddaughter.

My Grandma and Me
by Mina Javaherbin
illustrated by Lindsey Yankey
Candlewick Press, 2019
review copy provided by the publisher

This is an autobiographical story of growing up in Iran and all the things a little girl does with her grandmother who lives with her family.

Grandpa's Top Threes
by Wendy Meddour
illustrated by Daniel Egnéus
Candlewick Press, September 3, 2019
review copy provided by the publisher

When Grandpa stops talking to him, Henry persists and finds a way to keep their bond -- by asking Grandpa for his Top Threes. At the end of the book, perceptive readers will learn why Grandpa had turned inward and have an even greater appreciation for Henry.

Stolen Words
by Melanie Florence
illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
Second Story Press, 2017
review copy from the library

Like Henry, in GRANDPA'S TOP THREES, the granddaughter in this #ownvoices story helps her grandfather heal by giving him back the Cree language (in a book from her school) that was stolen from him when he was taken from his family to live in a residential school.

Grandpa Cacao
by Elizabeth Zunon
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2019

Based on her childhood in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, this book is the author's love letter to a grandfather she never knew (and a fabulous connection to our 5th grade social studies if you trace the story of chocolate back even further to the Maya and Inca people in Latin America).

Around the Table That Grandad Built
by Melanie Heuiser Hill
illustrated by Jaime Kim
Candlewick Press, September 10, 2019
review copy provided by the publisher

A fun, cumulative story the celebrates the gifts that remain when our loved ones are gone.

I Miss My Grandpa
by Jin Xiaojing
Little, Brown and Company, September 3, 2019
review copy provided by the publisher

The little girl's grandfather died before she was born, but she still misses him. Her grandmother helps her to see her grandfather's facial features and character traits in her living relatives, and the girl realizes that her and her family. The text is translated into Mandarin Chinese on the final endpapers.

The Immortal Jellyfish
by Sang Miao
Flying Eye Books, 2019
review copy provided by the publisher

A boy's grandfather begins a conversation about immortality, but then dies before he and the boy can explore the idea further. In a dream, the boy's grandfather takes him on a grand adventure in which they explore reincarnation.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Poetry Friday -- Play

©Amy LV, 2011

Today many (all?) of the classrooms at my school are participating in a Global School Play Day. It's very simple, but most every simple thing turns out to be incredibly powerful. Here are the rules:
  • No Screens: Students are encouraged to bring toys, but electronic toys or any devices with screens should be avoided.
  • No Structure: Adults should not attempt to organize or structure student play in any way.
  • Stay Out of the Way: Adults should let students manage their own play and should not interfere except in situations where someone could get hurt or fired.
Because we're doing this so early in the year, I will be explicit about this being a time when the class, who named themselves Ohahna (the Hawaiian word for family is ohana), can become even more of a family by making sure every member of our family is included and welcomed. We will learn so much about each other, about ourselves, and about our community. I can't wait!

Kathryn Apel has the Poetry Friday roundup this week. Looking ahead, please note that Cheriee and Carol V. have switched roundup weeks (September 27 and October 4).  Our sidebar is updated, as is the schedule at KidLitosphere Central.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Spencer's New Pet

Spencer's New Pet
by Jessie Sima
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, August 27, 2019
review copy compliments of the publisher

You will love this book.

Start with the dust jacket (front, back, and brilliantly written blurb on the front flap), then check out the covers. They are the best kind, with a simple drawing that connects across the spine.

Notice the old-time cinematic look with the countdown to the title page. The story is told in three parts, and the tension and drama build until...SURPRISE!

After you recover from the surprise, you will want to go back and reread the whole book, looking for clues and foreshadowing all the way through. Now look back at the covers. Who IS Spencer?

Have fun watching readers' faces when you share this book. I wish I could see yours. You'll love it!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Poetry Friday -- Inspiration

Because #DearOneLBH was such an inspiration to so many:

From the blog Incidental Comics by Grant Snider.

Amy LV has this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at The Poem Farm.