Progressive Poem/National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month! I’ve admired the progressive poem tradition as a reader for many years. I’m pleased that I was at the right blog at the right time this year to get to sign up and participate.

Before I get to the progressive poem, I’m taking a National-Poetry-Month moment to say “Yay, poetry!” Many poets write a poem-a-day this month. (Go, poets!) I’ve done that in Februarys with my online poetry group for eight-and-a-half years (the half because one year I wrote every other day). That practice, along with writing poetry in general, has given me many gifts. Writing poetry helps me remember significant events, novel thoughts, and stunning sensory experiences. Writing poetry also helps me process events that are hard to get my mind (or heart) around. The practice of writing poetry improves my writing in general. And I haven’t even touched on the inspiration in reading poetry. Happy National Poetry Month—read ’em, write ’em, enjoy!

The Progressive Poem 2022 graphic: A photo of an open datebook, on a desk with pink carnations in a jar and the words, Progressive Poem 2022.

Irene Latham began this year’s progressive poem with a line from a book. Others followed, though some have worked with lines from poems and movie soundtracks. So far, the poem is a sort of cento (“sort of” because a cento usually uses lines from poems—I wrote a cento based on poems for children for National Poetry Month in 2015).

Here is the 2022 Progressive Poem as of April 13, with my newly added line at its end:


Where they were going there were no maps. (1 Irene)

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today.” (2 Donna)

Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! (3 Catherine)

“We have to go back. I forgot something.” (4 Mary Lee)

It’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful, we’ll whistle and dance and set off on our way. (5 Buffy)

“Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.” (6 Linda M.)

Wherever you go, take your hopes, pack your dreams, and never forget—it is on our journeys that discoveries are made. (7 Kim)

And then it was time for singing. (8 Rose)

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain, paint with all the colors of the wind, freewheeling through an endless diamond sky? (9 Carol)

Suddenly, they stopped and realized they weren’t the only ones singing. (10 Linda B.)

Listen, a chattering of monkeys! Let’s smell the dawn and taste the moonlight, we’ll watch it all spread out before us. (11 Janet)

The moon is slicing through the sky. We whisper to the tree, tap on the trunk, imagine it feeling our sound. (12 Jone)

Clouds of blue-winged swallows, rain from up the mountain, (13 Karin)


The sources of the lines are:

  1. The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories, by Emily Winfield Martin
  2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  3. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
  4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  5. inspired by “[in Just-]” by E. E. Cummings
  6. “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  7. Maybe by Kobi Yamada
  8. Sarah, Plain, and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  9. inspired by Disney songs “A Whole New World” from Aladdin and “Colors of the Wind” form Pocahontes
  10. The Other Way to Listen by Byrd Baylor
  11. adapted from Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
  12. adapted from The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
  13. adapted from On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer
Cover of the picture book On the Same Day in March. Shows scenes of penguins on snow; people, camels, and goats in the Savannah; and people rowing a long boat in an jungle river.

My son and I both have March birthdays, so On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World’s Weather, by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Frané Lessac, has been a treasure for many reasons. I love the way Marilyn Singer uses poetic language to give readers a tangible sense of how people all over the world have a wide variety of weather experiences on a single day.

The text I chose for my line in the progressive poem comes from the spread on Xian, China, which asks, “What will the wind carry today? / Clouds of blue-winged swallows, / dust that hurts their eyes, / rain from up the mountain, / kites shaped like butterflies?” When I wondered where to go from the monkeys, moon, and tree in the previous lines of the progressive poem, flocks of birds came to mind. The abundance and movement of those swallows fit right into the poem’s story. And I imagined the mountain rain, two lines later, slicing through the sky along with the moon in Jone’s line and bringing out the smells of dawn in Janet’s line. Where will Denise take us next?

You can read the poets’ posts about the 2022 Progressive Poem at these blogs:

1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise 
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe Blog
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

Posted in creativity, Karin's poetry, others' poetry, uncategorized | 12 Comments

Happy Twosday!

As a lifelong fan of number patterns, I have been looking forward to this day for quite a while. Yes, I even took a screen shot on my phone at 2:22. If I could have done something about that battery percentage, I would have. At least it’s (2 + 2/2)2 x (2 + 2/2) x 2.

Phone screen that reads: "2:22 Tuesday, February 22."

Poetry is such a fine way to have a souvenir of a moment in time. Here’s what I wrote two-day:

Twosday

Day twenty-two
of month two
of the year twenty twenty-two
falls on a Tuesday—
that’s today.

To tribute the fleeting beatitude
of this totally tubular today
stay tuned . . .

To celebrate, go beyond true:
put on a tutu over your tunic
tuck petunias into your hair
get out your tuning fork
and tune up your tuba
then toot a tune
with attitude,
hop on a tule elk
tooting all the way
to Tomales Bay
then continue by tuna
and be sure to take
an innertube
for your tureen
to partake in tubers with turmeric
while you ride with that tuna
toward Tunisia
tooting your tuba
in gratitude
for the tune of twos
till it’s time to say
toodle-oo to this
Twosday.

© Karin Fisher-Golton 2/22/22

Edited to add: I’m savoring the Twosday event a little longer by participating in Poetry Friday this week. Head over to The Miss Rumphius Effect blog for all the links and to learn about an intriguing poetry activity, well-executed : https://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2022/02/poetry-friday-is-here.html

Posted in Karin's poetry | 12 Comments

One Whole Me: MCBD Book Review

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) 2022!! For this year’s MCBD, I was delighted to receive a copy of One Whole Me: A Book about Being Bicultural written by Dia Mixon and illustrated by Natalia Jiménez Osorio. A big, warm thank you to Dia Mixon for the beautiful book and for being an author sponsor of MCBD!

In well-crafted rhyme, One Whole Me describes what it is like to be bicultural with the repeating refrain “two different [languages, families, histories, etc.], make one whole me.” What a perfect book to celebrate this day!

cover of One Whole Me

Mixon’s lyric language describes a specific character’s bicultural identity with fun, engaging, and sometimes educational examples from the United States and Columbia. She also presents a general situation that can apply to anyone with a multicultural background. From my own life experience, I know that it can be too easy to not feel fully part of any of the cultures in one’s rich background. Messages from others create that situation. Mixon alludes to these difficulties in the opening of the book, but she does not dwell on them. Instead she focuses on the positive, always landing on the powerful words, “one whole me.” The words “one” and “whole” can be healing to those who have already received negative messages. But this book and this day offer hope that strong, positive messages about the beauty of who we are, exactly as we are, will be well-established in children’s minds and hearts before negative messages begin to reach them.

excerpt from One Whole Me

Mixon includes a few Spanish words in each spread, most of which are understandable in context or because of their similarity to an English equivalent. A glossary in the back of the book provides more definitions and information. The Spanish words make the rhyming, rhythmic language all the more fun to read aloud. The experience of another language getting mixed to English will be familiar to many families whether that language is Spanish or another one.

Osorio’s warm, colorful illustrations portray the everyday joy that emanates throughout this book—and create a sense of the abundance of rich elements that make up the narrator’s one whole life.

Be sure to check out the MCBD 2022 Giant Linky to see the book reviews of more books that reflect the rich diversity of who each of us is and of those who we share this world with. And read below for more information on MCBD 2022. #ReadYourWorld

===

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.

MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

SUPER PLATINUM: Make A Way Media

PLATINUM: Language Lizard

GOLD: Barefoot Books, KidLitTV, Candlewick, Capstone, Abrams Books

SILVER: Pack-n-Go Girls, Charlotte Riggle, Kimberly Gordon Biddle  

BRONZE: Carole P. Roman, Patrice McLaurin, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin.com, Redfin Canada, Redfin Mortgage, Redfin/Title Forward, Create & Educate, Star Bright Books, Vivian Kirkfield, Dr. Eleanor Wint, Kind World Publishing, Snowflake Stories, Lisa Wee, SONGJU MA, Melissa Stoller, J.C. Kato and J.C.², Crystel Patterson, Audrey Press, Pragmaticmom, TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales 

MCBD 2022 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Charlene Mosley (official MCBD2022 Poster Creator)
Illustrator Isabelle Roxas (Class Kit Poster Creator)

Alva Sachs, Brianna Carter, Ebony Zay Zay, Rita Bhandari, Gwen Jackson, Lois Petren/The 5 Enchanted Mermaids, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Josh Funk, Afsaneh Moradian, Eugenia Chu, Maritza Martínez Mejía, Diana Huang, Kathleen Burkinshaw, CultureGroove, Sandra Elaine Scott, Dorena Williamson, Veronica Appleton, Alejandra Domenzain, Lauren Muskovitz and Sandfish Publishing, Tonya Duncan Ellis, Kimberly Lee, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Nancy Tupper Ling, Winsome Hudson-Bingham, Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, Sivan Hong, Michael Genhart, Debbie Dadey, Elizabeth Cureton, Stephanie Wildman, Maryann Jacob, Sherri Maret, Rochelle Melander, Dia Mixon, Kiyanda and Benjamin Young, Shereen Rahming, Linda Thornburg and Katherine Archer,  Rebecca Flansburg and BA Norrgard , Maxine Schur  Natalie McDonald-Perkins

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2022 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit

FREE Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Raising Awareness on Systemic Racism in America Classroom Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

Join us on Friday, Jan 28, 2022, at 9 pm EST for the 9th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party! Be sure and follow MCBD and Make A Way Media on Twitter!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Posted in book review | 3 Comments

Boy from Buchenwald: Holocaust Remembrance Day Book Review

One of the books I’ve read in the past year that has stuck with me most is Boy from Buchenwald: The True Story of a Holocaust Survivor by Robbie Waisman with Susan McClelland. This first-person account from an eighty-nine-year-old (at the time of its writing) presented so compellingly for a young audience is truly a gift for the world. As Mr. Waisman recounts, this was a story he rarely spoke of until 1984 when he learned of an incident of Holocasut denial.

Today is the United-Nations-designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day—with a stated purpose of “rejecting any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, . . . by consensus condemning ‘without reserve’ all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, whenever they occur”—so a fitting day to share about this book.

Boy from Buchenwald cover

While Boy from Buchenwald includes many flashbacks to Mr. Waisman’s experiences during the Holocaust, the main narrative focuses on what happened to him after the Holocaust. How does a boy of fourteen who has been through layers of extreme trauma and does not know where his family members are move forward in his life? This is a less-explored topic than survival of the Holocaust itself. In the introduction to the book, Mr. Waisman writes of his experience of the Holocaust: “So many times I was slated for death, and each time I narrowly missed the fate of so many others.”

Then called Romek, Mr. Waisman was one of a thousand boys who were discovered when Buchenwald Concentration Camp was liberated—the largest group of orphaned Jewish children found after the Holocaust. Among the others was Nobel-Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel. Caring adults, who were not sure it was possible to prepare these children for adulthood, made thoughtful efforts. We see a variety of ways that plays out. In Romek’s case, we get a personal view of a challenging journey that is ultimately the story of survival beyond the physical. The book is written in such a straightforward, emotionally true way that today’s teens can relate to the coming-of-age elements, while also learning about a history that is and will always be vitally relevant.

The only criticism I had of this excellent book is that the publisher called it a middle grade novel (for ages 8-12). Both the age of the protagonist and the questions he is asking himself are a better fit for a young adult audience (ages 13 and up). I was pleased that earlier this week the Association of Jewish Libraries recognized Boy from Buchenwald as a Sydney Taylor Award Notable Book in the young adult category. I am hopeful this well-deserved recognition will help bring the book to the attention of teen readers.

Posted in book review | Leave a comment

The Generous Fish: MCBD Book Review

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021! Celebrating books that allow children to read their world—to see themselves in books and to see the rich human diversity of this planet we share—is a good way to start any year, and especially the one following 2020. I am honored that this year I celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a member of its Board of Advisors. You can read my thoughts on joining them late last year here.

I am grateful to Wisdom Tales Press for gifting me with a review copy of The Generous Fish, written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Frances Tyrrell. Jacqueline Jules is the author of over forty books for children, including multiple award winners and some that were already on our family’s shelves.

The Generous Fish has the feel of a classic Jewish folktale, inviting readers to ponder its ideas and enjoy it again and again. However, the story was created by Ms. Jules, who was inspired by two Jewish folktales, as she describes in an Author’s Note. In her story, young Reuven befriends a fish with whom he shares his bread. When he discovers that the fish’s scales are made of real gold, he begins to sell them. Both the fish and the boy are generous, and Reuven sells more and more scales to help villagers who always have good reasons for wanting more. But the fish cannot grow back his scales quickly enough and is eventually harmed. When Reuven and the villagers see the impact on the fish, they decide to stop taking scales and help it recover.

Like any good folktale, there are timeless lessons in this story. Though Reuven and the villagers have good intentions, they miss that their actions are having a negative impact. I like that this complexity encourages children to look deeper and consider consequences. In her Author’s Note, Ms. Jules relates this lesson to the environment, which we humans have taken from to the point of harm.

The story is populated with characters and names typical of an old Ashkenasi Jewish town. It is refreshing to see them by the sea. Frances Tyrrell’s illustrations are gorgeous with detailed traditional dress, and colorful nautical borders and insets. The book has the feel of both honoring traditions and providing something fresh and relevant. What a lovely combination for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021!

See below to learn more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day, its generous sponsors, and free resources available for educators and librarians. Their website includes links to hundreds of reviews of multicultural children’s books. #ReadYourWorld.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Prgamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, CapstoneHoopoe Books,  KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.

Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack-N-Go Girls

Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press, My Well Read Child 

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist: Nat Iwata

Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & IntrepidsAuthor Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club,  Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay FletcherTales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Posted in book review, Multicultural Children's Book Day | 9 Comments

That Little Girl

A woman about my age who grew up in my hometown got chosen to be the Democratic nominee for vice president of the United States of America this week.

Kamala Harris wasn’t my top choice for vice presidential candidate (though now I think she was a brilliant choice). So I didn’t expect to be so powerfully impacted when she was chosen, but I was. Especially when I saw this photo:

KamalaHarrisPigtails_S

Kamala Harris

I’ve learned that when I feel like I did, it’s a good idea to write a poem. Here’s what I wrote:

That Little Girl Is Me

her mixed
is not the same as my mixed
but I know
not being what
is considered mainstream
and I know
a family history
that’s a story of immigration
and I know
growing up
in Berkeley, California
in the 1960s and 70s
 
I see
that pigtailed girl
and she looks like girls
in my world
in my America
I remember
being a little girl
with pigtails—
a hairstyle for girls
who enjoy their flowing locks
but sometimes
want to tie them back
when they’re
ready to run

© Karin Fisher-Golton, 2020

You may recognize that the poem’s title was inspired by Harris’s words “that little girl was me” from the first round of Democratic primary presidential debates in June 2019. She was calling Biden out for opposing busing to desegregate schools, a policy that brought Harris to a school I didn’t attend, but is not far from where I grew up—a school I still drive by and park next to often, and a place with a playground where my son played and learned to ride a bike. Although those words were against Biden, now they make me all the more positive about him and their partnership. It takes strength to partner with someone who has called you out publicly, and, in 2020, that is most true when a man has been called out by a woman. I respect Biden’s willingness to wholeheartedly make that choice.

I know that many people are deeply moved by Kamala Harris’s candidacy. And I’m guessing I’m not the only person who wrote a poem or might write a poem with some allusion to “that little girl was me” this week. If you know of any such poems or are inspired to write one, please let me know in the comments.

poetry friday

For more poems this Poetry Friday, visit https://nixthecomfortzone.com/2020/08/13/poetry-friday-is-here-2/—not only for poetry links, but also a post with two excellent poems where you can learn about a poetry form called a monotetra. I hope to try one soon. Thank you, Molly Hogan of Nix the Comfort Zone blog!

Posted in Karin's poetry | 28 Comments

Gratitude during the Pandemic

(This post is identical to one I posted earlier today on my book’s blog, OurAmazingDays.com.)

I hope this post finds you and those close to you well. Whatever you are facing, may you also find what gives you peace and joy during these strange times.

Being the author of My Amazing Day keeps gratitude top of mind for me, and I’ve noticed that it is helping me and my family stay in good spirits during the pandemic. We are benefiting from the gratitude traditions we’ve put in place. And we are experiencing firsthand the gratitude science I studied when prepping to write the book.

I made a brief video to share about how all that works in hopes it might benefit others. I hope you will enjoy it and learn something that inspires you.

Be well!

Karin

 

 

 

Posted in gratitude, My Amazing Day | Leave a comment

Lily and the Great Quake: MCBD Book Review

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day! I am grateful for a world of books reflecting children’s diverse experiences and histories. I hope you will join me in reading many of them throughout the year and celebrating them today.

This year Capstone Publishing, a Silver Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, gifted me with a review copy of Vedda Bybee’s Lily and the Great Quake: A San Francisco Earthquake Survival Story, one of many books in their Girls Survive series under the Stone Arch imprint.

Readers of Lily and the Great Quake experience the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and its immediate aftermath alongside Lily, the 12-year-old protagonist living in Chinatown on the day of the quake. As Lily walks through debris-strewn streets to evacuate across the bay to Oakland, she leaves the familiarity of Chinatown and faces not only a harrowing journey through the City, but its racism toward families of Chinese descent—all while working to overcome her own shyness.

I appreciate the nuance with which the racism was portrayed in this relatively short chapter book (just over a hundred pages in a generous-sized font). Readers get a look at the ways racism both is and is not unique to time and place. Even though both Lily and her parents were born in the United States, the city is so segregated that upon walking several blocks she encounters people who rarely saw Chinese Americans. These people have a range of reactions to Lily and her companions. Among those with her is a young woman neighbor whose feet are bound, a tradition from China that Lily’s parents have opted against for their daughters. Lily is both glad for her parents’ decision and protective of her friend. The friend is one of several multi-dimensional supporting characters.

The back of the book says that its reading level is 3–5 and interest level is 3–7. With fire, entrapment, risk of robbery and explosives, social issues, and pushing personal growth, there’s plenty to keep the plot moving and to contemplate for readers in that wide age range. I learned that authors of books in the series use a word list. Bybee used it well. Details about such things as the debris in the streets, smells and dust in the air, and what evacuees brought with them bring the historical event to life while dealing with larger issues as well.

The story text is supported by Alessio Trunfio’s grayscale illustrations, a glossary, discussion questions, and an excellent author’s note expanding on related history and connecting the book to Bybee’s own experiences as a Chinese-American person who grew up in San Francisco.

See below to learn more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day, its generous sponsors, and free resources available for educators and librarians. Their website includes links to hundreds of reviews of multicultural children’s books. #ReadYourWorld.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

 

Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,

Platinum

Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,

Gold

Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,

Silver

Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,

Bronze

Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books,  TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales

 

Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson  & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series  Green Kids Club, Inc.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Posted in book review, Multicultural Children's Book Day | 4 Comments

It Rained Warm Bread: Holocaust Remembrance Day Book Review

Today is the United-Nations-designated Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. As part of my remembrance, I want to spread the word about the impactful It Rained Warm Bread, a novel in verse for middle grade children by Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet and Hope Anita Smith with illustrations by Lea Lyon, published in 2019.

I take note of Holocaust books for children. For the sake of humanity and in memory of the members of my family who were murdered in the Holocaust—as well as the memories of the daunting number of people who were also murdered in that and other genocides—I think it is crucial that we remember those events. And part of passing on those memories means passing information about them to children through books. Such books strike me as particularly difficult to write.

In researching my own family history I read a factual account of the events that happened in a town where two branches of my family lived, now called Berezhany, Ukraine. At the dawn of World War II, some of my family members were among the approximately 10,000 Jews living there. I believe they would have called the town by its Polish name Brzeżany or its Yiddish name, Brezhan. When I was about 47, I read a detailed account* of the horrific events that took place in the days before a sign was posted at the entrance to the city with the word “Judenfrei”—“free of Jews.” I don’t think I was ready to read that until I was 47. Before that, most likely I would have numbed out in some way. As I think about books about the Holocaust for children, I wonder: how do we convey horrors to children in ways that they can absorb them and get a sense of the emotional and factual scope of what happened without becoming so overwhelmed that they numb out?

Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet, Hope Anita Smith, and Lea Lyon did just that in creating It Rained Warm Bread: Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet conveyed her father’s story, Hope Anita Smith turned that story into poems, and Lea Lyon enriched the verse with her illustrations. The verse and sepia-toned illustrations provide visual and mental space for a story that goes beyond its words. The language of poetry—repetition, metaphor, rhythm, and more—help convey the thoughts and emotions of a boy experiencing what seems unimaginable to him and to us, as he loses family members and faces both the great cruelty and great kindness that humanity can embody. Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet uses an author’s note with family photos at the end to give the story historical context and allow us to see it as part of a life that becomes imaginable again and familiar. You can see excerpts that show their artful work here, at its MacMillan/Henry Holt and Co. web page.

Thank you to Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet, Hope Anita Smith, and Lea Lyon and to Christy Ottaviano Books of Henry Holt and Company for this welcome addition to children’s literature.

Never forget.

 

* I am fortunate that an excellent book was written about this town in my family history, specifically Together and Apart in Brzezany: Poles, Jew, and Ukrainians, 1919-1945 by Shimon Redlich.

 

Posted in book review | 4 Comments

God’s Dream: MCBD Book Review

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day!—the day when we celebrate and highlight books that reflect our diverse world. Check the end of this review for more about Multicultural Children’s Book Day including free resources for educators.

This year I was thrilled to be selected to review God’s Dream, written by one of my heroes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, along with his writing partner Douglas Carlton Abrams, and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, who sent me a beautiful hardcover copy of the book. Thank you so much, LeUyen!

The picture book is as gorgeous as is fitting for a book with such a title. The illustrations—in graphite, watercolor, ink, and digital color—use a warm, colorful palette to show expressive children of diverse races and religions. Young children will nestle into this cozy world and be engaged by the dynamic details in the illustrations.

The language is poetic. It depicts a deity who wishes for people to share, care, and forgive. For some families these might be new ideas that need a little explanation, but, because they are described simply through relatable situations and partnered well with the illustrations, the book will resonate for most children and adults. This is a book that families can enjoy again and again, discovering different details and insights on different days.

My admiration for Archbishop Tutu stems from his impactful manifestation of his beliefs about the importance of forgiveness through his work leading South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (Here he describes that work in his own words: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/truth_and_reconciliation.) I love that in God’s Dream he and Mr. Abrams address forgiveness in a way young children can understand: “Dear Child of God, it does happen that we get angry and hurt one another. Soon we start to feel sad and so very alone. . . . But when we say we’re sorry and forgive one another, we wipe away our tears and God’s tears, too.”

I recommend this book to all families, whether your belief in the Great Spirit aligns with Archbishop Tutu’s or not. I hope you will read it many times—sometimes just letting the beauty of the words and illustrations wash over you, and sometimes discussing such things as:

What does it mean to be a Child of God?

Why do you think God wants people to be caring?

Why do you think God wants people to forgive?

What else do you think God dreams about?

What else do you dream about for yourself?

What else do you dream about for others?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV, Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Claudia Schwam, Lori DeMonia, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media!

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

We will be giving away Book Bundles every 5 minutes!

Twitter Party Details:

When: Friday, January 25th

Time: 9 pm to 10 pm EST

Where: On Twitter! Follow McChildsBookDay to participate

Hashtag: #ReadYourWorld

Sponsored By: Make A Way Media

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: https://wp.me/P5tVud-1H

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians, and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Posted in book review, Multicultural Children's Book Day | 1 Comment