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Monday, September 4, 2017

MATYLDA BRIGHT AND TENDER- HOLLY McGHEE

Not sure why, but I've had a really hard time blogging this year. It just isn't happening. I'm trying to get back into the habit of blogging three or four times a week, and have decided to try to do chapter books on Monday, Tuesday Slice of Life, Wednesday or Thursday picture books, and Poetry on  Friday, so here goes (nothing?)....

This weekend, I read (or maybe I should say cried through) an intermediate grade novel, MATYLDA BRIGHT AND TENDER by Holly McGhee. Susquehanna, better known as Sussy, and Gus have been best friends since kindergarten. Now in fourth grade, they decide they need a pet to take care of. Sussy's dad agrees and the two end up with a leopard spotted gecko, Matylda, spelled with a y. Although the lizard lives at Sussy's house, she's clearly partial to Gus.

After a terrible accident, Sussy finds herself in charge of Matylda. Despite the fact that she's walking through a place of deep sadness and grief, she's determined to do a good job taking care of Matylda. But then her caretaking takes an unexpected twist…

A beautiful novel about friendship, loss, and grief. Put this one on the shelf next to two other oldies but goodies, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA and TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES

Friday, September 1, 2017

POETRY FRIDAY


Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Yep, that's what I was about a month ago! OK, maybe I should back up a little. For the past few months, I think since November's election, Donalyn Miller has been giving away a book every day on her Facebook page. She posts the book early in the day, people comment, and then at the end of the day, she chooses a winner from the commenters. She posts some terrific books (yesterday was Jason Reynold's new book, PATINA) and pretty much every day, I comment. Three or four weeks ago, I won Nikki Grimes fabulous new poetry book, ONE LAST WORD.

ONE LAST WORD is first a celebration of Harlem Renaissance poets- Jean Toomer, Clara Ann Thompson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Bennett, Countee Cullen, and Georgia Douglas Thompson.

The book goes way beyond that, however. Grimes has taken these poets' work and written new poems, in a poetry format called "the Golden Shovel." Grimes describes "the Golden Shovel" like this:
The idea of the Golden Shovel poem is to take a short poem in its entirety, or a line from that poem (called a striking line) and create a new poem, using the words from the original, Say you decide to use a single line, you would arrange that line, word by word, in the right margin:
in
the
right
margin

Then you would write a new poem, each line ending in one of these words…
I wake and shake off the morning as Mom tiptoes in
"Rise and shine," she whispers, always the
same old song, "Get up. Right
now!" I grown on cue, but she gives me no margin. 


Here's one of the poems from the book.

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers"
by Langston Hughes

I've known rivers
I've known rivers
ancient as the world and older than the
       flow of human blood in human veins
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
       went down to New Orleans, and I've seen it's muddy
       bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


"David's Old Soul"
by Nikki Grimes

As far back as I can remember, my
mother has called me "an old soul."
I never understood. But now that our family has 
dwindled to just Mom and us kids, I've grown
into a man. You do what you have to do.  "David, dig deep," 
is the whisper in my ear. So I stand strong like
a tree my baby brothers can lean on. I try to be the
 raft that helps carry them over this life's rough rivers. 

An added bonus, the poems are illustrated by some of my all time favorites- Jan Spivey Gilcrest, E.B. Lewis, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney and James Ransome, to name a few. Spectacular!

This is a book you don't want to miss! 

Poetry Friday today is hosted by Kathryn Apel.