Thursday, July 22, 2021


image via Unsplash

You will no longer be receiving email notifications for this blog because Blogger email subscriptions were handled by FeedBurner, which is going away at the end of July.

Never fear, we've got a plan! Since we are both in "reinventing our identities" mode, we decided to start A(nother) Year of Reading over at WordPress. 

Our new site/blog is live, and we welcome you to subscribe there and come along with us on this new phase of the journey. Just be forewarned, we've been Google/Blogger users for DECADES, so things will be a little clunky at the new site while we get accustomed to WordPress. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Poetry Friday: Surprise!

Back in May, I learned that one of my poems on YDP (Your Daily Poem) made the cut for 100 chosen as "the best of YDP!"

The collection is titled POEMS TO LIFT YOU UP AND MAKE YOU SMILE. It's not up on Amazon yet, but can be found at Parson's Porch & Company. Here's that poem, which I wrote back in 2021. It kind of describes my day yesterday!

photo via Unsplash
fire wire
charger cord
fresh air
out of the
© Mary Lee Hahn

Molly has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Nix the Comfort Zone.

You can also find this post at A(nother) Year of Reading

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Slice of Life: Home

You can read my post here. Just so you know, pretty soon all of our new content will be over at A(nother) Year of Reading. But no worries. All of the archives will remain here.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Poetry Friday -- There's a Village for Sale in Scotland

NOTE: Thank you for your patience as we figure out the transition to WordPress. We will crosspost on A Year of Reading and A(nother) Year of Reading for a bit, but eventually, all current thinking will be at A(nother) Year of Reading. A Year of Reading will remain as a reference when we make the complete transition. In case you missed it, here's why.

There’s a Village for Sale in Scotland

There’s a village for sale in Scotland.
Only $173,000 and that includes mossy ruins
and a beach on the loch.

In Scotland, thunderclouds won’t stall overhead
dumping inches of rain at a time, flooding the yard.

In Scotland, the yard waste is always picked up on time
and the neighbors don’t build smoky fires with wet wood.

In Scotland, Democracy is not failing,
racism is not systemic, and police are always helpful.

Though there’s a village for sale in Scotland
I’m not buying it.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Laura Shovan takes us to the Black Lagoon for this week's Poetry Friday Roundup.

Thursday, July 01, 2021



by Heather Lang
illustrated by Jana Christy
Boyds Mills & Kane/Calkins Creek, 2021
review copy provided by the publisher (thanks!)

The Leaf Detective is a picture book biography written in verse, lushly illustrated, and sprinkled throughout with quotes from Margaret Lowman and rainforest facts. Following the author's note (she's actually met and learned alongside Margaret Lowman in the Amazon rainforest in Peru), readers can learn more about the rainforest from a flip-the-book-vertically double-spread diagram of the levels of the rainforest, and explore further resources listed in the back matter. 

Lowman is a pioneer in the study of rainforests, and especially rainforest canopies. Not only did she invent new ways of studying the canopy by climbing into the tops of trees, but she broke through all kinds of challenges and barriers as a woman in the area of field biology in science. 

AND NOW THE POEMPAIR (replace he/his with she/her)

It Couldn't Be Done
by Edgar Guest 

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
  But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
  Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
  On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
  At least no one ever has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
  And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
  Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
  There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
  The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
  Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
  That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

(this poem is in the public domain)

Inclusion and representation in science continue to be issues for women, and especially women of color. A video to share with students features Adania Flemming, a Black marine biologist/ichthyologist. Like Margaret Lowman, who has made education about women in science and about the rainforest important parts of all she does, Adania Flemming dreams of starting a research aquarium/museum in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago. 

NOTE: Thank you for your patience as we figure out the transition to WordPress. We will crosspost on A Year of Reading and A(nother) Year of Reading for a bit, but eventually, all current thinking will be at A(nother) Year of Reading. A Year of Reading will remain as a reference when we make the complete transition.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021


image via Unsplash

You will no longer be receiving email notifications for this blog because Blogger email subscriptions were handled by FeedBurner, which is going away TOMORROW.

Never fear, we've got a plan! Since we are both in "reinventing our identities" mode, we decided to start A(nother) Year of Reading over at WordPress. 

Our new site/blog is live, and we welcome you to subscribe there and come along with us on this new phase of the journey. Just be forewarned, we've been Google/Blogger users for DECADES, so things will be a little clunky at the new site while we get accustomed to WordPress. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Slice of Life: #TeachersWrite

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for saving me a spot
in this amazing community of writers. It's been awhile...

Thank you also to Kate Messner for the annual #TeachersWrite...event? ...challenge? ...encouragement.

The topic for this first week is Reflect. 
"...think about a time when you were growing up and you felt peaceful and whole."
It's wiltingly hot today in Ohio. Hot like nothing I experienced growing up in arid Eastern Colorado. As a teen, I sat in the glaring heat on a lifeguard stand above a blue-as-the-sky swimming pool. For 45 minutes at a time, I scanned swimmers, counted heads, and shouted the occasional, "DON'T RUN!" I was in a zone. It was some kind of chlorine- and Coppertone-scented Zen. It was my identity. I knew exactly who I was and how to do the work (if you can call it that).

In today's muggy haze, I entered a different kind of Zen in the garden. It was a dirt- and green-scented Zen as I dug the invasive spiderwort out of the spot between the Japanese iris (long done blooming) and the day lilies (just putting up buds). Luckily, I was mostly in the shade, and also luckily, the mosquitoes weren't attacking. Gardening is one part of my grownup identity, and I'm as glad for the air conditioning and the shower as I was back then for a quick dip in the pool during rest period.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Zentangle Poetry

 Three tries, three very different poems.

life was art
no order
perplexing harmonies

I was left feeling dizzy

the thing was
I had imagined something
and bumpy

the poetry is timeless
who questions this?
no one

How much is "enough time?"

We hope for enough time, knowing there is never enough time.
Except, maybe, in poems -- in writing them and reading them, 
far inside them where we lose account of minutes. 
Except, maybe, in photographs, 
where time sleeps but doesn't close its eyes.

Back in 2012, I subscribed for a year to the Poetry Foundation's poetry journal. I never read more than a poem or two here or there, but I also couldn't find it in me to send them to recycling. Now I've found the perfect use for them. I'm using Poetry to make poetry and art!

Thank you, Poetry Sisters, for this week's challenge. It was fun! 

And thanks to all who signed up to host Poetry Friday July-December. The schedule is filled!

Linda has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at A Word Edgewise. It's her annual "clunker" exchange!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Juneteenth

Now That Juneteenth is a National Holiday

We pause
in honor of Liberty, Hope,
and Resiliency.

We pause
with clear-eyed acknowledgement of slavery's role
in building the economic foundation of our country

We pause
to consider a better way forward
for our not always glorious national history

We must not
co-opt this celebration with white commercialism

We must not
let this celebration undermine the right to protest

We must not
allow this celebration to eliminate the ongoing work of justice

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021 (draft)

As I read through different versions of the news of President Biden's declaration of Juneteenth as a national holiday, I jotted words and phrases that became this poem. This is Juneteenth through the lens of a white American who was ignorant about Juneteenth until embarrassingly recently because of gaps in my formal and informal education. I am excited to share the joy of Juneteenth, but I understand that in many ways, the deep significance of Juneteenth is not mine to claim. 

For words that weren't mine to write about liberty, hope, resiliency, and our not always glorious national history, read (or better yet, listen to) "When Fannie Lou Hamer Said" by Mahogany L. Brown.

And here are some children's authors, illustrators, and creators telling what Juneteenth means to them.

Buffy has a delight-full nature poem and this week's Poetry Friday at her blog Buffy Silverman.

And there are just six five more slots left on the Poetry Friday roundup schedule. Claim one here!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021



Birds: Explore their Extraordinary World
by Miranda Krestovnikoff 
illustrated by Angela Harding
Bloomsbury, 2020
review copy provided by the publisher (thanks!)

This is a gorgeous oversized nonfiction picture book. Illustrated with fine art linocuts, the information is grouped by types of birds, by notable characteristics (feathers, beaks and eyes), then by nests, migration, songs, and extremes (cold and urban living). Within each category there are big subcategories, and then each subcategory has short example sections. For example, in the category SEABIRDS are the two subcategories Seabirds of warmer waters and Seabirds of colder waters. In Seabirds of colder waters the reader learns about Gulls, Great black-backed gulls, Kittiwakes, and Gannets. This is a great book for browsing. You'll definitely be drawn in by the illustrations and then you'll find yourself perusing the bite-sized text chunks. The only thing that would make it better would be an index.

Is it cheating to pair an entire book of poems? Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, edited by Billy Collins and illustrated by David Allen Sibley is the most obvious pairing. Lots of fun poems plus gorgeous illustrations. 

If it's cheating to pair a whole book, I'll choose the poem Bird-Understander by Craig Arnold. This poem about someone who notices a bird trapped in the terminal of the airport; someone who notices the wrong in the world and who is desperate to help, to right the wrong. Birding requires close observation. There's much to learn about the natural history of birds if you bother to look closely, but just like in life, the closer you look, the more you are likely to see all kinds of problems that need work.

One of the problems connected to birding is racism. If you want to dig in more deeply, here is the story of Christian Cooper and a link to the (free) comic he wrote about what happened to him in Central Park when he was birding last spring.

A video to share with students features Corina Newsome, who broke stereotypes associated with becoming an environmentalist. She is a woman of color who grew up in an urban environment but became a zookeeper who has worked with turkey vultures as an Ambassador Animal Keeper at the Nashville Zoo.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 
Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!  

Summer is a great time to catch up on reading new books. I always use this time to think about which new books might be must-haves for the classroom. This week I'm sharing some new middle grade novels that might make good read alouds, great choices for book clubs and great additions to classroom libraries. These are some of my favorite new middle grade must-reads!

Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Quintessence by Jess Redman
When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
The Sea in Winter by Christine Day
What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado
Efrén Divided by Ernessto Cisneros
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

This week's books were linked at Cover to Cover Children's Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous independent children's bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!

Happy Reading!

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for weekly Text Sets!
(@TextSets will be on vacation for the rest of June. Be back after the July 4 holiday!)

Friday, June 11, 2021

Poetry Friday -- an unexpected #PoemPair

Learning Arabic

is more than just driving on the left in England.
It's driving on the left
with no cognates on the map,
an alphabet consisting of small bits of flowering vine,
and luckily a lay-by
where you abandon the car and the map
taking a path instead
walking like a botanist, field guide in hand,
poring over every blossom, every curving leaf,
breathless when you begin to find meaning
in this brand new ancient world.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Yes, I'm learning Arabic with the DuoLingo app. Why? Because it's beautiful, it's hard, and my friend speaks it. 

I didn't think this would be a #PoemPairs post, but then I listened to today's episode of Poetry Unbound featuring "A special bilingual poem in Anishinaabemowin and English by Margaret Noodin, a linguist who writes primarily in Anishinaabemowin" and then the followup conversation between her and "Pádraig Ó Tuama, about the story behind that poem as well as the Anishinaabemowin language, translation, and the importance of language preservation." I was especially fascinated by the connections the two made between language and place, and between the Ojibwe and Irish languages.

So now, when I'm asked why I'm learning Arabic, I will add to my answer this new thinking from Margaret Noodin and Pádraig Ó Tuama: that language includes a connection to the land and to the soul of a place and its native speakers, and by learning this language, I will help to celebrate language diversity.

Carol has this week's Poet Friday roundup at Carol's Corner.

Poetry Friday -- Call for Roundup 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 July and December 2021, 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. 

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:

2    Laura at Laura Shovan
9    Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
16  Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
23  Kat at Kathryn Apel
30  Becky at Sloth Reads

6   Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
27 Elisabeth at Unexpected Intersections

3   Heidi at my juicy little universe
17 Denise at Dare to Care
24 Laura at Laura Purdie Salas

1   Catherine at Reading to the Core
8   Irene at Live Your Poem
29 Linda at TeacherDance


3   Michelle at Michelle Kogan
10 Cathy at Merely Day by Day
24 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
31 Carol at Carol's Corner

Wednesday, June 09, 2021



by Raakhee Mirchandani
illustrated by Holly Hatam
Little, Brown and Company, 2021
review copy provided by the publisher (thanks!)


From the author's note:
"This story is a window into my family and our tradition, one that started over five hundred years ago in Punjab and that we are proud to maintain and make our own here in America."
This is also a story about love -- the love of a father and daughter that centers around hair and culture, ancient traditions and insider jokes ("hair cheers" and "hip cheers"). For readers looking in through the window of this story, there is information (coconut oil smoothed in for untangling) and vocabulary (papa's joora/bun, patka/bun covering, and turban). Woven throughout the story is joy, shared at the end with friends in the park.


Pádraig Ó Tuama unpacked the poem "Coconut Oil" by Roshni Goyate on Poetry Unbound last week, and while it's not for children, the poem and his commentary are a perfect pairing for adult readers, especially those with "mainstream" (read white person) hair who will share Hair Twins with children and who need to continue to learn and understand how hair can be the source of racism and microaggressions.

For those who want to dig in deeper into the colonialism of beauty, check out this Code Switch podcast, or this PBS Newshour piece on "How hair discrimination impacts Black Americans in their personal lives and the workplace."


Thursday, June 03, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Ways to Reappear

image via Unsplash

Ways to Reappear

In the dawn
Down a path
Through tall pines
Come to
With a grin
In a flash
Down to earth
In a spotlight
In a shadow
Without a plan
Without speaking
On your porch
On your threshold
In the garden
In the pool
In a library
In the corner
In the background
Come out
On a limb
At a moment's notice
In envelopes
In secret
Without words
Without a doubt
Seeking identity
Through dense fog
Down this path
In the dawn

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021 
after Ways to Disappear by Camille Rankine

"Ways to Disappear" was the Poem a Day from on Wednesday, June 2. Camille Rankine writes about her poem: “There are so many ways a person can become not a person in someone else’s eyes. They can be erased through violence of gaze or word or action, by the individual, by the media, by the state, so that their humanity dissolves into nothing in the other’s view, and they vanish. In plain sight, and not there at all.”

Big truth in these times, in this country.

I began to think of possible ways for a person to reappear. If we can erase a person, surely we can also work against that erasure, really see those around us, and make sure they know they've been seen.

The poem is also about losing one identity and reappearing with a new identity. 

Process notes: I found the photo on Unsplash after I wrote the poem. It was a little eerie how well the image matched my words. 

I borrowed the first word in every line from Rankine's poem. Lots of times I used the first two words. To give the poem a more optimistic feel, I changed "gone" to "come." The lines are specific and personal but at the same time broad and general. As in Rankine's poem, the lines sometimes seem connected, but mostly can stand alone. The word "seeking" stood out to me as a turning point, and from there I diverged from Rankine's poem, reversing the pattern of the first three lines, and ending where the poem started.

Margaret has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Reflections on the Teche. Watch for the signup for July-December roundups next week! Yikes! 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Text Sets: Professional Books for Summer Learning

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 
Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!  

 This week, I'll be sharing some professional books I am excited to dig into this summer. It's been such a great year for professional books and I am looking forward to time in the summer to really spend time with some of the newest professional books I've discovered. Summer is such a great time to relax, refresh and renew our teaching energy.  Professional books always help me with that and summer is my favorite time to dig into these. 

I read En Comuninidad this year and was able to hear the authors speak.  This is an area that I haven't learned enough about and these brilliant authors invited me into this learning.  My next read in Translanguaging will be Rooted in Strength which is brand new.  Such an important topic for all of us to learn about. Thanks to these authors for putting these incredible books out in the world.  

I was able to hear Dr. Detra Price-Dennis and Dr. Yolanda Sealy-Ruiz talk about their new book, Advancing Racial Literacies in Teacher Education last month. It is definitely an area that I need to learn more about. And I've learned so much from Dr. Detra Price-Dennis about Black Girls' Literacies that I am looking to the upcoming book on the topic by Dr. Price-Dennis and Dr. Muhammad. (Black Girls' Literacies is due out in early to mid June). 

I loved Steph Harvey and Annie Ward's book From Striving to Thriving and am glad to see these two have written another book on a similar topic (with two other coauthors). Intervention Reinvention comes out in June and I know I'll learn so much about supporting all readers. And I just received my copy of Trusting Readers this morning.  I worry we have come so far away from trusting our learners and the focus on independent reading and trust got me excited about this book right away. I think we all need this one in order to talk against deficit language narratives in literacy teaching. 

I preordered Start Here Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community long ago and can't wait to dig in. I have learned so much from Liz Kleinrock on social media that I am so glad to see a book by this author!  

And one I am very excited that we are now able to preorder Reading and Teaching with Diverse Nonfiction Children's Books (The preorder link just went live this week--woohooo!)  I have been hearing about it on social media for months and it is a topic I need. These editors are incredible experts and the list of authors (listed on the preorder page) is just WOW! This book is a summer must-read for sure! 

Happy Reading!

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for next week's Text Set!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Gratitudes

Dear Poetry Friday Peeps,

I feel like there has been a wrinkle in time, and I am right back where I was last week. 

A week ago, I had completed a rigorous day-by-day to-do list that culminated in packing for a weekend away at a Casting for Recovery alumni reunion. On Thursday evening, I ignored Franki's "How are you feeling?" text and crashed. I will finish my Poetry Friday post in the morning, I told myself. 

But you all had other plans for Friday, didn't you? 😁 😉

There are no words to describe what the gift of your words means to me. I've said "Gobsmacked" on more than one occasion. I'm also humbled, dazzled, blushing, teary, and filled with gratitude. To Franki for hatching this plan, to Irene and Christie for helping to make it happen, and to all of you -- thank you, thank you, thank you!

The hardest thing about this gift is that I've only been able to begin to take peeks at all of the posts. I tried to get started while at the retreat, but the weather was too nice, the bluegills were biting, and the trails needed hiking. Then, when I got home Sunday, I hit the ground running. There was another week-long rigorous day-by-day to-do list: the last of the grading, report cards, RTI plans, field day, final preparations of student gifts, bringing home the last big items from the classroom, and then, last night, after the In Real Life meet-up of my Wright Elementary and Depp Elementary Team Hahn students at a park halfway between the two schools, like last Thursday night, I crashed. I will finish my Poetry Friday post in the morning, I told myself. 

And now here I am. Friday. The last day of the 37th week of my 37th year of teaching. How am I feeling? Tired. Fulfilled. Devoid of regrets. Amazed. I did this thing. 

Finally, FINALLY, I will be able to read through last week's roundup and savor your words. You will help me to look back and reflect on a the magnitude of my impact. I think that's probably the biggest gift you have given me. In case I ever doubted myself (actually, for all the many many times I failed and doubted and despaired), you have shown me -- unequivocally -- that I've made a difference in the world. 

What a gift. 

Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Text Set: Series Books Featuring Strong Girl Characters for Transitional Readers

  Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 
Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!  

I love finding great new books for early chapter book readers. The stage of reading that typically happens in grades 2-4 is such fun and it often the stage where readers discover a series they fall in love with. I love discovering new series and new series book characters that may hook reader at this age. This week's text set focuses on series books featuring strong girl characters. Maybe you'll find a new series or two to add to your home, classroom or school library!

I was so happy to get to know Ryan Hart last year in Ways to Make Sunshine. The second book in this series Ways to Grow Love was just released a few weeks ago.  I could not be happier to see Renée Watson writing for this age. The character is one you'll fall in love with right away. These books are just under 200 pages so perfect for early middle grade readers. 

I have been waiting for Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-To-Be Best Friend since I saw it mentioned by Debbie Reese. From the new Heart Drum imprint, this new character made me smile from the first page.  Jo Jo is in first grade and this book is just 80 pages long with illustrations throughout. Jo Jo is an Ojibwe girl. Author, Dawn Quigley is a member of the Ojibwe nation. I can't wait to read more books about Jo Jo --she is a great new character who had me laughing out loud a few times! 

I heard Erin Entrada Klly ead from this book at a webinar a few months ago so I have been anxiously awaiting Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey that will be part of a series.  Marisol is a great character who is a bit scared of all things. There are plenty of illustrations throughout that add to the story. I love that young readers will be introduced to Erin Entrada Kelly at a younger age and then maybe grow into her other books.  This is one that would make a great read aloud! 

I love anything by Grace Lin and I was so glad to see the new covers on The Year of the Dog and this whole series a few years ago. Pacy is a great character and this series is a bit more difficult than the others on the list.  I had lots of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who have loved this series.  Again, I love that Grace Lin has a series that might introduce readers to her middle grade books --then they go on to read all of her others.  

I love anything Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. One of my favorite duos in children's lit. I have loved Princess in Black since the first book was released and I am so happy that it is still going strong. This is the perfect series for new-to-chapter-book readers.  Great stories, just enough humor, amazing illustrations and stories that young readers can hold onto over time.  

This week's books were linked at Cover to Cover Children's Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous independent children's bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for next week's Text Set!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

#PoetryFriday #PoemsforMaryLee #MarvelousMaryLee

Join us in celebrating Mary Lee's Retirement! 
It's a Poetry Friday Takeover in Honor of #MarvelousMaryLee
Join in the fun with #PoemsForMaryLee!!
We love you Mary Lee!

I retired from Dublin City Schools last May and for the 33 years I was a teacher there, Mary Lee was too!  I can’t remember the exact moment we met but I know that it had to be some literacy committee or district book club that brought us together for the first time.  Over the years we never taught in the same building but we taught and grew and wrote and learned together throughout our careers. How lucky am I?  Mary Lee has been a gift to all of us who have learned alongside her as teachers, colleagues and friends.  Such an incredible career she’s had! Today, let’s celebrate #MarvelousMaryLee with #PoemsForMaryLee as she goes into her last week of teaching before retirement!


Mary Lee is retiring
And today we want to celebrate her
Retirement with a Poetry Friday Takeover!
(You know I love you if I attempt writing poetry for you.)

Let the fun begin!

Everyone join in sharing
Everything we love about Mary Lee!


I have been lucky for

So so long learning from and with Mary Lee!


Really, who gets to have a whole career with someone
Equally passionate about children, literacy and learning
Teaching together, but not in the same school, all these years

Is such a gift

Reaching so many students and supporting so many colleagues

Is what you’ve always done

Now it’s time to

Go on to enjoy your new adventures!


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Text Set: Reading and Writing Different Books on One Topic

  Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!  

This week, we'll at books with similar topics or ideas written by different authors. As writers, studying pairs or sets of books across a topic or idea can really help writers see craft moves the author makes and how the authors approach ideas differently.  As readers, studying books on similar topics helps readers think about the difference between topic and theme. It is helps readers talk about the author's choices and how that impacts the bigger meaning of a narrative.

Our children are living through an important time in history. These three books, Outside Inside, And the People Stayed Home and Keeping the City Going each capture some of what life has been like during this pandemic. Each book approaches the topic a bit differently and the bigger messages are different.  Each of these books can be studied for craft, big idea, and more. Reading them all within a few days of each other will invite critical conversations.

Both The Camping Trip and Fatima's Great Outdoors are about a camping trip. Both have these of family.  But there are lots of differences and writing moves. The Camping Trip is a great mentor for writers who are looking for a mentor for writing graphic novels. Both books give readers lots to consider and to talk about.

Writing about a person you love can be done in so many ways. Me & Mama and I Dream of Popo capture the relationship and love between a child and someone in their life.  The writing, the craft and the focus is different but the feeling is similar.  Both capture every day experiences woven into a different format.

Home is In Between and Amira's Picture Day are two stories of children living between two cultures--the celebrations and challenges told in two very different ways. I love how both of these stories capture the experiences in such different ways.

Picture book biographies about the same person provide great mentors for readers and writers. Malala's Magic Pencil and Free as a Bird are two books about Malala. When readers read several books about the same individual, they can discuss why some biographies include different information than others. As writers, they can study the details writers choose help create a message about the person being written about--they often highlight one important characteristic.

This week's books were linked at Cover to Cover Children's Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous independent children's bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio!

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for next week's Text Set!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Arrival


I await a
the first
to emerge
from its
underground burrow
at the oak’s
brown skirt.

at first
then red-eyed
and loud
there’s never
just one
they move
in a crowd.

I await a
the first
of the brood.
A seventeen-year

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

For more information about Brood X, check out Cicada Safari. Irene has the Poetry Friday roundup at Live Your Poem.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Text Set: Teacher as Reader-Taking Care of Our Own Reading Lives

  Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates! 

Summer is around the corner. So, this week's "text set" is about taking care of our own lives as readers. I am a true believer that to be a teacher of reading, you must be a reader yourself. And I am the first to admit that I don't give enough time to my own reading life.  I spend so much time reading children's books (which I LOVE) and books to share with children, that I don't always make time for my own reading. This week's list is to make sure that we can think ahead to summer--so that we can start building our reading lists with books that aren't for the children in our classrooms, but for us. Because taking care of ourselves and our personal reading lives is important.

I loved this book so much and I need everyone I know to read it because there is soooo much to talk about.  Klara and the Sun is fascinating and I think no matter what your taste as a reader, you'll enjoy it.  I read Kazuo Ishiguro's book Never Let Me Go and it's one that has stayed with me for over a decade. I think Klara will be the same. I started this with the audio and it is fabulous --then I moved to the book. I highly recommend either or both. I read this book several weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since. If you read it, you must let me know so we can chat!

The Vanishing Half is by far one of my favorite adult fiction novels of all time.  Brit Bennett was a new author to me when I read this and I am so glad that I discovered her writing. I love books with complex characters that I love and this one has that.  I love so many characters in this book and it was pretty incredible how well developed so many of the characters are. Really one of the best books of the decade, I think. 

I read Such a Fun Age last summer and loved it. It is definitely a book that gives us lots to think about and another with characters I loved.  This is a quicker read than the last two but it is also powerful and important. 

Juliet Takes a Breath is a young adult novel everyone should read!  This author. These characters.  The writing. All of it.  There is a new graphic novel version of the book too--I haven't read it yet but I hear it is also fabulous!

I am not always a fan of graphic novels. I read lots of middle grade graphic novels but not very many graphic novels for myself. But Dancing at the Pity Party is one I am so glad that I read. This is young adult but definitely a great read as an adult.  Family. Grief. Traditions. Growing up. It is brilliantly done.

This week's books were linked at Brain Lair Books. If you are looking for a fabulous independent bookstore to support, this is an amazing one. 

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for next week's Text Set!