Thursday, February 27, 2020

Let's Dance!

Let's Dance!
by Valerie Bolling
illustrated by Maine Diaz
Boyds Mills Press, March 2020
review copy provided by the publisher

With a cast of characters as diverse as the world of dance itself, and a rhyming text that just begs to get you up and moving, this book is going to be a favorite to read aloud or read alone. It's got my favorites -- fabulous endpapers (featuring rainbow colored dancing shoes and instruments), and back matter that gives more information about the dances: Flamenco from Spain, Kathak from India, Irish Stepdancing, the Long-Sleeve dance from China, the Kuku from West Africa, the Cha-Cha from Cuba, and the more familiar breakdancing, line dancing, disco and ballet.

Fingers snap

Turn, twirl
Twist, swirl


Marilyn Singer's Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing would make a fabulous companion book. If you wanted to do a whole study of dance, you could use A Mighty Girl's list of picture books featuring dance.

Welcome to A Year of Reading, Valerie! Happy Book Birthday on March 3!

Valerie Bolling has been an educator for over 25 years and a writer since age 4. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, Teachers College and currently works as an Instructional Coach with middle and high school teachers.

In addition to writing picture books, Valerie writes a Monthly Memo for teachers that she publishes on Twitter, and she has been published in The National Writing Project’s Quarterly and NESCBWI News. Recently, she had a poem accepted for publication by Cricket Media.

Valerie is a member of NCTE, SCBWI, the NESCBWI Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Authors Guild, the WNDB Mentorship Program, #12X12PB, 2020 Diverse Debuts, 20/20 Vision Picture Books, and a picture book critique group.

Valerie and her husband live in Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, going to the theater, and dancing.

Karen has the Poetry Friday roundup at her "Blog With the Shockingly Clever Title."

Friday, February 21, 2020

Poetry Friday: Election Security

via Unsplash

"Who will stop the people who want to cheat?" 

-- Tabatha Yeatts

I joined Tabatha in writing Election Security poems this week. I managed a nonet, but I have two others still struggling to leave draft form. One features a squirrel burying acorns, and another that will double as a response to Buffy's DMC challenge, if I can just figure out the last stanza!

Your Vote Only Counts If It’s Counted (A Nonet)

not digital,
not ephemeral.
In your hand. Palpable.
A vote that will be counted.
An actual piece of paper
holding officials responsible.

© 2020 Mary Lee Hahn

Cheriee has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Library Matters.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Poetry Friday -- When They See You

Via Unsplash

Valentine Letter From Shadiya

I Love you so much
I ned you so much Miss Hahn
I nau you is so tieard
because I see yor pekchar in the book
I want show you your pekchar in 2018
You is so nice Miss Hahn
I see yor pekchar in the book
my firend has the book
you is so difrend in 2018 and 2020
I see you
and I see you is so tieard
if you ned hilpp
I can hilpp you.

Shadiya was new to the U.S. this fall. She is from Kurdistan, and speaks a rare dialect of Kurdish that has left her linguistically isolated in ways that none of our other EL students experience. There are no bilingual aides available to help her navigate our world. Every bit of English and our 5th grade curriculum that she has conquered has been won with grit and determination.

She must have always had this big heart we see in her letter to me, and it gives me comfort that the harsh reality of her isolation has not made her bitter and withdrawn. Rather, it has sweetened her already good nature like the boiling down of maple sap to make syrup. She begins and ends every day by giving me a hug. She keeps me centered and helps me remember why I do what I do.

Thank you, Shadiya. Yes, I am "so tieard" this year. But where would I be without you?

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope someone touches your heart like mine has been touched! Check out the Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.

Monday, February 10, 2020

My Eclectic Reading Life

Kent State
by Deborah Wiles
Scholastic, April 21, 2020
review copy provided by the publisher

This is an amazing book that belongs in every high school library, every high school US History course, every HS American Lit course, every high school student's hands.

It's greatest power is that it is told from multiple points of view represented by different fonts (not quite verse novel, not quite script). There can never be one single accounting of a moment in history and that was never more true than this one. This was an important, galvanizing moment for young people of that time to work together and make changes. We can only hope this book will help this generation to do the same. This history of youth activism is one we definitely want to be repeated.

by Judd Winick
Random House Books for Young Readers, February 4, 2020

A very satisfying ending to the HiLo story line. All the pieces do indeed fit, and as usual, the story is filled with big truths. (Don't despair! A new book comes out in 2021!)

For popular "next in the series" books like this, I get first dibs! When I take this into the classroom, we'll draw sticks for the order of the readers. Each reader gets the book for 24 hours and then must pass it on.

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
by Robert Dugoni
Audible Audiobook

This is my current listen. It's our book club book, and I started it without reading any reviews or synopses. I'm loving it. This book has lots to say about the power of family and friends, about discrimination, and about the lingering effects of bullying.