Friday, March 29, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by A Year Of Reading.

For Poetry Friday -- "Keepers: treasure-hunt poems" written by John Frank with  photographs by Ken Robbins.

Empty a child's pockets and what will you find? Treasures! 

Frank celebrates the mystery and wonder of found objects in this collection of poems.  From beaches to woodland paths, flea markets to grandma's attic come a variety of treasures from natural or man-made sources.  Simple the verses clearly convey a sense of the object and give readers a moment to consider its worth.  An object's value is seen as less about monetary worth and more about the beauty, sentiment, or attached memories which is a sensibility that his readers will share.

Robbins' photography is a beautiful expression of the verses while adding a rich layer of elegance to these simple treasures.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writers Wednesday

Today the post is simply this --

A letter from John Steinbeck to beginning writers

Think about it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Anastasia Suen's BookTalking.

For Nonfiction Monday --  "A boy named Beckoning: the true story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American hero" adapted and illustrated by Gina Capaldi.

Dr. Carlos Montezuma was a Yavapai Indian born in the Arizona territory, kidnapped by an enemy tribe, and sold as a young child to Carlo Gentile.  Gentile, an Italian photographer, took the boy to Chicago changed his given name (Wassaja) to Carlos Montezuma and raised him as a son.  Carlos, in addition to being the first Native American to become a medical doctor at an American University, became an activist for his people.  One of his most famous speeches "Let my people go..." was read in the United States Senate in 1916.  Carlos died in 1923 and the following year Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act making all Native Americans United States citizens.

Capaldi's thoroughly researched book provides readers with a depth of understanding for both the man and his time.  She utilizes Carlos' letters and personal accounts to infuse the text with the voice and emotions her subject.  Author's notes and a comprehensive list of resources offer abundant resources for further reading.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by GottaBook.

For Poetry Friday -- "Animal Snackers" by Betsy Lewin

This updated edition of her 1980 book offers readers new illustrations and reconceived verses as she delves into the eating habits of various creatures.

Four-line poems highlight the snacking preferences of twelve animals ranging from the platypus to ostrich in language that is both humorous and informative: 

The platypus looks odd enough,
with fur and ducklike bill.
He thinks that bugs are yummy stuff,
which makes him odder still.

Each verse faces a full page illustration that brings the animal diner into sharp focus. This light-hearted look at food choices is a pleasure and would be a fun introduction to an animal unit.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writers Wednesday

Are you wondering about self publishing your work?

Check out this post by Susan Berger at Pen and Ink -- Interview with Self PublishedAuthor Sariah Wilson.

Wilson explains her reasons behind deciding to self-publish and let's readers in on editing, finding a cover artist, etc.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Perogies & Gyoza.

For Nonfiction Monday --  "The case of the vanishing golden frogs: a scientific mystery" by Sandra Markle.
What happens when a scientist becomes a detective?  In this case, biologist Karen Lips identifies a mystery -- Panamanian golden frogs are disappearing in the wild. She then researches the possible causes, formulates a plan of action, and works to solve the mystery.  In this case  -- spoiler alert! -- the culprit is a fungus for which there is currently no cure.  Markle goes on to describe how scientists are taking steps to keep the remaining population alive in special zoos and  research centers while they work to return the golden frogs -- the national symbol of Panama -- to their home.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Check It Out.

For Poetry Friday -- "Poems in black & white" by Kate Miller.

Miller has created a book around a theme that invites the reader to explore word and image.  The economy of language, set against the elegant simplicity of monotype illustrations, is deceptive and begs for a second and third reading to fully appreciate the depth of thought so artfully conveyed.

The night sky, the glow of moon on snow, a dandelion's "head is filled with/ winged seeds-her fluffy/ cloud-white dreams held/ back like eager children," are each given a special moment.  Cat, cow, crow and fly are a few of  the animals also treated to their moment in the spotlight.  "Dog-eyed" with its accompanying look into a Border Collie's bright eyes, cleverly treats both the black and white vision and coat "... just as grand as / Irish Setter red."
Miller's work is sharp and perceptive -- well worth a look.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Writers Wednesday

And now for all my friends who write Middle Grade Fiction -- this lively and thought provoking article at The Horn Book titled:

No Joke! Humor and Culture in Middle-Grade Books which was posted on May 1, 2012  by .

Krishnaswami makes the following observation -- "In 2004, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith spoke at the Reading the World conference about the dearth of funny books with cultural resonance. Why, they asked, are multicultural books so very serious?"

The essay in answer to this question provides writers with plenty of food for thought and offers some valuable insights into addressing cultural differences.  In a time when many agents and publishing houses are eagerly seeking multicultural fictional characters, this is information well worth considering.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Sally'sBookshelf.

For Nonfiction Monday --  "Cars on Mars: roving the red planet" by Alexandra Siy.

"Go 303,000,000 miles, then stop at the fourth rock from the sun".  

So begins the journey of Spirit and Opportunity as Siy leads her audience through the exploration of our neighboring planet, Mars.  Informative, with clear language and illustrated with stunning photographs, this book enables readers to understand the purpose and work of these two historic Mars rovers.

Additional reading is provided with a section about resources titled "Much more about Mars and the rovers," a glossary for the many unfamiliar scientific terms, and  bibliography round out the book.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted by My Juicy Little Universe.

For Poetry Friday -- "Words, wit, and wonder : writing your own poem" written by Nancy Loewen with illustrated by Christopher Lyles.

Loewen provides young poets with a beginner's look at poetry's basic tools in a discussion of forms and concepts such as rhythm, rhyme, simile and metaphor.  Writing activities and tips together with a bibliography, glossary and list of related resources rounds out the book.

Simple illustrations brighten pages without pulling focus from the content.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Writers Wednesday

I read an excellent post this week and I'm delighted to share it with all of you.

As writers, we hear a lot of advice on setting goals and this post certainly addresses that issue. But I was particularly impressed by the writer's discussion about identifying the possible obstacles that fill the road to those goals and how we must develop a strategy for confronting those obstacles.

The post by Frances Sackett is titled: "Frances: Writing a novel one bite at a time." You'll find it at the Crowe's Nest, the blog of  Sarah Crowe, an agent with Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Sackett is a novelist with a book,  The Misadventures of the Magician's Dog, coming out this fall from Holiday House.  She shares her personal journey, but it is a story all too familiar to any writer and I recognized myself in  many of her struggles with scheduling writing time, facing self-doubt, and trying to persevere.  Sackett  offers some  excellent advice and five clearly stated steps to taking charge of your writing life.

Well worth the read.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Supratentorial.

For Nonfiction Monday --  "The Civil War: profiles, one event six people" by Aaron Rosenberg.
Rosenberg collects short biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Clara Barton, George McClellan, Robert E. Lee, and Matthew Brady, six people  who influenced and were influenced by the Civil War.  Then Rosenberg takes the reader one step farther by relating how each of these six individuals were interconnected which takes this book into territory not found in more familiar biographies.

Rosenberg establishes the premise for his work in the introduction -- a portion of which is quoted here: "Robert E. Lee is famous as the Confederate general.  But did you know that he was originally supposed to command the Union Army?  Who was Frederick Douglass, and why did Lincoln listen to him so closely?  How did Clara Barton influence men and women on both sides of the war.  Why is George McClellan important if he was actually dismissed from his military position?  Who was Mathew Brady and why did Lincoln sometimes say he owed his entire presidency to him?"

Rosenberg answers these questions and many others in a 150+ pages that include archival photographs, a map, a detailed list of books, articles and websites for further reading or research, and an index.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Poetry Friday is hosted by The Drift Record/Julie Larios.


Janeczko collects the poems and thoughts of 39 contemporary poets that includes Jack Prelutsky, Cynthia Rylant, Gary Soto, Joanne, Ryder, and PaulFleischman.  The book contains both verse and the inspiration and thought processes behind each poet's work. 

 J. Patrick Lewis was inspired by his childhood readings of classics such as Wind in the Willows and Alice in Wonderland.  The magic of animals talking led him to write from the animal's point of view as he did in his included poem "Mosquito."
"In these strange and serious times, I want to try a little silliness--wordplay or nonsense verse--where, for instance, a mosquito can explain what mosquitoes do best." J. P. L.

This book (written at a seventh grade level) will appeal to poetry fans who would enjoy a glimpse behind the creative curtain.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer