Friday, August 15, 2014


Apparently, we are going to have a baby year at my school. Our secretary and one of the second grade teachers are having babies in November. I've heard that another teacher is also pregnant, although I haven't seen her yet to confirm.

A baby year means there will be baby showers. And baby showers for me mean baby books. Let other people buy the onesies and towels and mama slings. I'm buying books. Usually I buy several- one beautiful picture book and then a couple of board books for the baby to chew on.Often these books are lullaby-ish.

 A new-to-me favorite lullaby-ish/animal, beautiful picture book is NAAMAH AND THE ARK AT NIGHT by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. NAAMAH is the Noah's ark story, but it's told from the perspective of Naamah, Noah's wife. Each night, while her family sleeps, Naamah soothes the animals by singing to them. The text, written using a Middle Eastern poetic form called a ghazal is poetic and lyrical. Listen:
"Over the ark, song flows at night.
Two by two, eyes close at night.

Two by two, wings furl at night.
Two by two, tails curl at night."
The text is accompanied by Holly Meade's watercolor collage illustrations, sure to be favorites of the toddler and preschool set.

I had never heard of a ghazal, and went looking for more information. says this:
The ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning.
Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians.
If you want to try writing a ghazal, there's a step by step description on wiki-how. (Unfortunately, there are also a lot of ads- sorry!)

And if you just want to read more poems, the Poetry Friday Roundup can be found at My Juicy Little Universe.


Tabatha said...

You sound like a great gift-giver! The bit of Naamah and the Ark at Night that you share here is wonderful.

Linda B said...

One baby was born just a couple of weeks ago, which means this teacher won't join us for a while, & another is expecting the end of September-yes, showers, & for me, too, books. I'll look for this one recommended by you, Carol. It looks beautiful. I also have a friend who collects Noah's Arks & it will be a fun gift for her too. Hope your day is a good one! We're back officially next Wed., but I'm in today to work and meet with a few others.

Tara said...

This looks like a beautiful book, Carol - perfect for baby shower gifts that will long be treasured.

Bridget Magee said...

The pregnant staff at your school are lucky that will receive the perfect baby shower gift from you - a book! Books always fit and are always just the right color for either boys or girls. Thanks for highlighting Bartoletti's book, Carol! = )

Ramona said...

Last year was a baby year at our school. We had four babies! Like you, I always give books for baby showers. We had a book baby shower for one of the young moms in our church group. It was amazing. Not one book title was repeated. I loved seeing all the different choices. I often give Prelutsky's Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young or The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury. They are both great books that a child will never outgrow.

Mary Lee said...

We have a young staff and lots of babies just born and in the oven. Us oldsters just keep plodding along, trying to hold the fabric together through thick and thin (HA!).

Love that this is told from the perspective of Noah's wife. 'Bout time she got her say!!

Karen Edmisten said...

That book looks absolutely lovely.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

We had a wedding AND baby year this year, and for some foolish reason I and my team (we do grade level gifts) did not think of giving books. This is a lovely new book to know and I appreciated the info about ghazals.