Baseball Opening Day: Celebrate With Baseball Themed Books.

While this virus keeps us indoors, we can still get excited about the upcoming  summer when hopefully, things will be much better.  Today is the official opening day of the 2020 baseball season. I thought I’d recognize that with a couple of my favorite baseball themed books and with a poem from my new book, WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY  (Creston April 2020).

GOODBYE, MR. SPALDING, by Jennifer Robin Barr is a thoughtful and heart-warming middle grade tale of friendship, family and baseball set in Philadelphia in the early 1930’s.

Twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola have lived next door to each other since they were babies. Their houses overlook Shibe Park which happens to be the home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. They and their families enjoy cheering on their favorite team from the rooftop bleachers of their 20th Street homes. The small admission fees charged to the folks that fill up the bleacher seats goes a long way toward making ends meet during difficult times. And, every so often an A’s player – like Jimmie Foxx – hits a right field home run right over the fence and onto their rooftop.

At the end of the 1934 season, the neighborhood gets news of a wall that is planned to be built to block their view and make the rooftop bleachers obsolete. This “spite wall” will take away a source of income for the families and erase a beloved tradition. Jimmy sets out to try and stop the wall. With Lola’s help, they try one scheme after another and only succeed in causing trouble for themselves and the community. Will Jimmy’s obsession with the wall ruin his chances of being bat boy for the A’s? Will it ruin his friendship with Lola? Will the Polinski brothers – AKA the neighborhood bullies succeed in ruining Jimmy?  Reader’s will eagerly turn pages to find out.

This delightful story is solidly grounded in the 1930’s with enough local and historical details to fix the depression-era time period. Hopeful, heart-felt and a celebration of teamwork and sportsmanship, it is sure to become a classroom favorite. It knocked me out of the park. Rule # 1934: Goodbye, Mr. Spalding is a home run!

THE EVERYTHING KIDS’ BASEBALL BOOK by Greg Jacobs has…everything.

“Everything you want in a kid’s book” (Associated Press) this informative and accessible guide to America’s favorite pastime covers everything from baseball’s history to today’s favorite players—with lots of home run fun in between.

WHO GOT GAME: BASEBALL By Derrick D. Barnes

Illustrated by John John Bajet

Who Got Game?: Baseball: Amazing but True Stories!

Celebrate the unheralded people and stories that helped shape the game of baseball!

Meet unsung pioneers, like John “Bud” Fowler, William Edward White, and brothers Moses Fleetwood Walker and Weld Walker, four African Americans who integrated white teams decades before Jackie Robinson.

Discover unforgettable moments, like the time a 17-year old girl named Jackie Mtchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Marvel at records. Did you know that Japanese superstar Sadaharu Oh has a whopping 113 more career homers than Hank Aaron?

Finally, here’s a poem from my book, WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY, where Jack and his grandpa attend a baseball game together in the summer of 1964.

TEAM

A day at the ballpark with Pops
and my two favorite teams feels like
a dream you never want to wake up from.

Four rows behind home plate,
the grass is so green it hurts my eyes.
So much noise, Pops and me
have to yell at each other to be heard.

Smell of hotdogs, warm and
dripping with mustard,
tastes better than any hotdog
I ever ate. Even the seats,
sticky with spilled soda and beer
feel solid under me. Only one thing
would make this one-of-a-kind day better.

A team of three.

Where are you, Dad? Do you remember
our Little League team
that never won a game our first year?
That didn’t stop us from playing hard, so hard
that the second season we were 6-6.

Team work.
Thinking about Jill and her family team
that may not win every game, but they will be together.
Things work out better when
you work together, like we learned
in Little League.

Yankees beat the Red Sox 9-3.

back cover

So, hunker down, make some hotdogs and read about America’s favorite past time.

The Official Blog Tour Schedule For WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY.

The official release of my new MG historical fiction novel in verse, WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston) is APRIL 7.Here are some early reviews:

Uniquely original and with an important underlying social message for children ages 8-12, “Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand Up to a Bully” is especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library General Fiction collections.   

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/cbw/dec_19.htm

“Although it’s set in the 1960s, the story reflects timeless issues that will resonate with modern readers. A fresh, inspiring exploration of a daunting issue.” (Historical verse fiction. 9-12) KIRKUS

In anticipation and celebration of this book birthday, I am having a tour of several blogs in March and April. At these spots you can learn more about how the book came to be, why it’s in verse, how I determined the 1960’s setting and more.  PLUS there will be TWO opportunities to win a signed copy of the book.

WoCCover01Here is the schedule of blog stops, beginning on March 9. I hope you will visit some of these blogs and learn more about the book  as well as the awesome authors who are hosting me.

Laura Sassi: March 9 post on 5 fun facts about the book.  http://www.laurasassitales.wordpress.com

 Josh Bellin: Q & A on March 12https://joshuadavidbellin.blogspot.com/p/my-blog.html

 Yvonne Ventresca  on March 18:  3 things readers should know about the book and 3 things I wish for the book.  

https://yvonneventresca.com/blog.html

Roseanne Kurstedt: March 24 post on 3 ways to stand up to a bully without using fists.  https://rlkurstedt.wordpress.com/

Robin Newman: March 30 A post with some books with WISHING in the title plus a few poems from the book.

http://www.robinnewmanbooks.wordpress.com

Holly Schindler:  APRIL 2:  post on how WISHES was plotted https://hollyschindler.wordpress.com/

Vivian Kirkfield: a book birthday post on April 7  a short review from Vivian, a poem from the book and a giveaway. (There will be cake!)

https://viviankirkfield.com/

Holly Schindler: Q&A for Smack Dab In The Middle on April 14  

http://smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com/

Kathy Temean: April 21: The book’s journey and a giveaway. http://www.kathytemean.wordpress.com     

 

ODE TO A TREE: A Poem in Celebration.

ONE TREE  

by Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Spring

Sprouting, twirling, leaves unfurling.

Nesting, winging, songbirds singing.

Racing, thumping, rabbits bumping.

Eating, dancing, folks romancing.

 Summer

Bursting, flowing, blossoms blowing.

Chirping, scratching, fledglings hatching.

Building, peeling, grey squirrels stealing.  

Climbing, swaying, children playing.

Autumn

Shedding, floating, oak leaves coating.  

Crawling, bunching, insects munching.

Searching, stocking, downies knocking.

Raking, dumping, leaf pile jumping.

Winter

 Whipping, flapping, branches snapping.

 Swooping, howling, horned owls prowling.

 Puffing, cracking, blue jays snacking.

Freezing, dripping, ice spears gripping.

 

Sleeping, waiting, tree creating.

oak leaves

Poet/Author Irene Latham Talks About Her New Book For Children..

CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship Carolrhoda/LernerPublishing. was inspired by a conversation with editor Carol Hinz about a book of poems for adults CITIZEN by Claudia Rankine, which she and I had both recently read. Carol shared her idea of a poetry book that tackles the same subject — systemic racism — except for kids! She thought it might work best as a conversation, and she asked if there was a black children’s poet with whom I would like to have this conversation. I immediately thought of Charles Waters– whom I had never met, and in fact did not meet until we presented together about the book at AASL November 2017!

Lucky for me, when I invited him to collaborate, Charles said YES. And off we went, writing poems madly about some intensely personal and sometimes difficult stuff. Within about 3 weeks we had a draft ready to share with Carol. The book includes paired poems about every day things like shoes and family dinner, and also poems about more difficult topics like the “N” word and police brutality. Illustrations are by the amazingly talented interracial team of Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.



KIRKUS
 calls the book in their starred review, “A brave and touching portrayal worthy of sharing in classrooms across America.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY states in their starred review, “The poems delicately demonstrate the complexity of identity and the power of communication to build friendships.”

BOOKLIST adds, “Young readers searching for means to have difficult, emotional, and engaged discussions about race will find an enlightening resource in Irene and Charles’ explorations.”

THE HORN BOOK MAGAZINE proclaims, “This volume would make an excellent read-aloud or a launch pad for collaborative classroom writing.”

Here are other articles about the book from Shelf Awareness, bloggers Margaret SimonLinda Mitchell and two from Jessica Smith, here and here

We couldn’t be more pleased and grateful for the warm reception the book has received. We hope it gives readers a starting place to have their own conversations about race, mistakes and friendship. 

Irene Latham
Poet & Novelist
For more information about the book, the authors, and a downloadable Curriculum Guide, please visit charleswaterspoetry.com and irenelatham.com.

Irene Latham: 5 Ways to Celebrate Poetry Month!

Today’s post is a reblog of one done by Award winning Children’s Book Author and poet IRENE LATHAM.

5 Fresh Delicious Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! This is the time to celebrate words and love and poems and LIFE! Yes indeed the dogwoods are blooming and the bluebirds are nesting, and there has never been a more fresh delicious moment than this one. Thank you for sharing it with me!

1. Play with your fruits & veggies!

Last month I delivered to the world my latest book FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers’ Market. It features gorgeous, imaginative illustrations by Mique Moriuchi, and was made possible by the amazing folks at WordSong/Boyds Mills Press. I’m so grateful to be a part of this team! Watermelon-sized thanks to readers/teachers/bloggers/friends everywhere who have already shared about this book.

Jama’s Alphabet Soup – poems and art about blueberries! lettuce! bell peppers!

Today’s Little Ditty – poems and art about corn!

TeacherDance – poetry lessons about all the offerings at the farmers’ market!

The Poem Farm – read a poem that cut from the collection — and find out why!

Trade reviews:

“Food selection and preparation is rarely such a fun adventure.”
– Booklist

“The bright, pleasant illustrations, which feature cut-paper animals, work well to enhance the atmosphere and convey the actions of the verse.”
– School Library Journal

“Whimsical poems will inspire readers to play with their fruits and vegetables.”
– Kirkus

“Half a dozen recipes cap off a lighthearted celebration of food at peak freshness.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

Get FRESH DELICIOUS Today!

2. Sign up to receive an artsy-poetry postcard!

For the past 5 years I have sent out postcards during National Poetry Month, and I would love to send one to YOU! Signing up is easy: just click the graphic, add your address, and soon a little bit of poetic goodness will arrive in your mailbox.

3. Follow along as the Poetry Friday blogging community creates the 4th annual Kidlitopshere Progressive Poem!

This is a traveling poem in which a different blogger adds a line each day during the month of April. There are always surprising twists and turns as the poem moves from blog to blog — we never know what’s going to happen! It’s great fun, and we’d love for you to share in it with us! Read the first line from Laura Purdie Salas here.

4. Share my 2016 ARTSPEAK! Journey!

This year I am continuing my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project called ARTSPEAK! Each day I respond to a piece of art from the National Gallery of Art’s digital collection — this year’s theme is Plant. Grow. Eat. You can find last year’s offering as well as this year’s (growing!) collection at my blog Live Your Poem. First poem: “Triolet for Planting Day,” after _The Artist’s Garden at Eragny_ by Camille Pissarro.

5. Live Your Poem!

Take a walk. Write a poem. Talk to a 3 year old or a 93 year old. Go to a museum. Take a nap. Hike. Garden. Read. Whatever it is that you love best, do it! Be open to the beauty and wonder in the world. Be a beginner. Be YOU.

Other suggestions (taken from poems) for how to live your poem can be found here.

Other April Happenings:

There’s so much loveliness going on in the world this month, I can’t possibly cover it all here. So I will just leave you with a few links:

Jama Rattigan’s post with a list of how kidlit bloggers are celebrating National Poetry Month – so much good stuff! I do hope you’ll join in the fun!

Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival – I will be presenting a session called “Reading is Delicious: Fun, Fresh Food Programming for Kids”

Texas Library Association Conference – I am honored to be part of the Poetry Roundup coordinated by Sylvia Vardell, along with these other wonderful poets: Janet Wong, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Steve Swinburne, David L Harrison,K A Holt, and Kwame Alexander

Alabama Library Association Convention – April 12-15 (I’ll be there with other authors on the 13th!)
Birmingham Arts Journal Reading and Release Party – April 28 — Y’all Come!

Alabama Book Festival – April 23 in Montgomery, AL

And…

Did you hear? DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: And Other Poems from the Water Hole (illus. by Anna Wadham) was named a Lee Bennett Hopkins SCBWI Poetry Award Honor Book! I’m honored, grateful and humbled. The other Honor Book was FEEDING THE FLYING FANELLI’S by Kate Hosford & Cosei Kawa and the winner was FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater & Robin Gourley.

Thank you, readers! The best part of being an author is connecting with YOU. Happy National Poetry Month! May you be inspired and inspiring!
Love,
Irene

 

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Poetry Sites For Kids.

April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  With so much focus on Reading Literacy and Math, or STEM in the curriculum, poetry often gets pushed aside.  But its lyrical language and rhyme can make children better readers and writers.  And…it’s so much fun to listen to – especially with the numerous forms it can take, such as Haiku, Limericks, etc. One of my all-time favorite poems – Jabberwocky – by Lewis Carroll has so many made-up words, yet sounds like music to the ear.  Here’s the first verse:

“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.” 

Such whimsical nonsense that rolls off the tongue like silk!  There is so much to love about poetry.  Take a moment to introduce your kids to the fun of such poems as:

A tutor who tooted a flute

Tried to teach two younger tooters to toot.

Said the two to the tutor,

“is it harder to toot,

Or to tutor two tooters to toot?”

Here are a few poetry sites for kids of all ages.  Some even publish kids poems.

http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poems/funny/forkids/

http://www.fizzyfunnyfuzzy.com/

http://www.kathimitchell.com/poemtypes.html

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/poems-forkids

http://www.poetry4kids.com/

Celebrate NATIONAL POETRY MONTH  and “TOOT” a few poems of your own. What’s your favorite poem?

 

Poetry Challenge: by Lori Degman

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I asked a fellow writer and poet, Lori Degman to share some different kinds of poetry forms.  Lori’s picture books, 1 Zany Zoo, (Simon &     1 Zany Zoo CoverSchuster 2010)     and Cockadoodle,Oops! (Creston Books 2014)          cokadoodle oops

were written in rhyming verse, and are an absolute delight to read aloud.  Here’s Lori:

Thank you, Darlene, for asking me to do a guest post on your wonderful blog!

As a writer of rhyme – most of the time (but not always), and because April is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d share four unusual forms of poetry I’ve discovered through the years. I challenge you to give them a try – I bet you’ll have fun if you do!

1. Cinquain – a five-line poem that follows this pattern:
Line 1: One word (subject or noun)
Line 2: Two words (adjectives that describe line 1)
Line 3: Three words (action verbs that relate to line 1)
Line 4: Four words (feelings or a complete sentence that relates to line 1)
Line 5: One word (synonym of line 1 or a word that sums it up)

Here’s my Cinquain:

Springtime
Fresh, green
Raining, blossoming, growing
Goodbye to old winter
Rebirth

2. Clerihew – a light verse, usually consisting on two couplets of uneven length and irregular
meter, with the rhyme scheme AABB. The first line usually contains the name of a well known
person. The Clerihew was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bently (1875 – 1956), an English
writer, at the age of 16.

Here’s my Clerihew:

Dr. Seuss
Is out on the loose.
He’s hunting for words
that are silly and absurd.

3. Sausage Poem – a string of words which are “linked” with the same letters/sounds at the
endings and beginnings of words. An extra challenge is to go full circle and have the last
letter/sound of the sentence match the first letter/sound. It’s harder than I thought it would be!

Here’s my Sausage Poem: (Darlene highlighted the letter sounds in orange to show the technique)

Spring goes slowly yet time elapses.
Summer rain nurturing growing greens.
Fall leaves swirl like caustic kids.
Winter rains snow over rustic cabins.

4. Skeltonic Verse – The Skeltonic Verse was named after English poet, John Skelton
(1460-1529). The rules are simple:

Line 1: Keep the line lengths between three and six words
Line 2: Every end word rhymes with the previous, until you start a new set of rhymes
Line 3: Keep the same rhyme until it starts to lose its energy or impact
Line 4: The poem should be full of energy and fun

Here’s my Skeltonic Verse (I wrote this right before going out to do my “duty”):

The weekend’s here
I shout and cheer
Until I hear
A voice so clear
From in the yard
the words were hard
So I was jarred
My plans were marred
Outside on the stoop
With a bag and scoop
His words made me droop
“Let’s pick up poop”                                     mompic_small

Bio –
Lori Degman is a teacher of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students by day and a writer of picture books by night, weekends and school holidays. Her debut picture book, 1 Zany Zoo was the winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. Her second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! was released by Creston Books in May, 2014! She is represented by Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary.

Darlene here:  I don’t know about you, but I am going to have to try a Skeltonic poem of my own.  Which form speaks to you?