Friday, July 21, 2017

Poetry Friday -- Timing is Everything

Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes State Park

timing is everything

how we measure the seconds between
     toast and charcoal
     insult and injury
     impact and airbag
hands up, palms forward--stop!

how we measure the seconds between
     boom and sparkle
     joke and punchline
     notice and wonder
hands out, palms cupped--more!

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

I took the title of my poem from today's poem at The Writer's Almanac. Gerald Locklin uses the timing of one event for his poem, but I got to thinking about the range of emotions possible within brief moments. What are some moments you'd like to have stopped or to held onto?

Katie has the Poetry Friday roundup today at The Logonauts.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Amina's Voice, The Gauntlet, and Salaam Reads

I have heard so much about the new book, Amina's Voice by Hena Khan. I read it this week and am so glad I did. This book is getting lots of buzz and lots of starred reviews and it deserves all of these things.  The middle grade book is about Amina,  a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who has an amazing voice. But she is not comfortable using it in front of an audience. As she tries to make sense of challenges and changes that come with growing up, her local mosque is vandalized. This book is a must-read/must-have..

Amina's Voice is a Simon and Schuster publication. I just learned of Simon and Schuster's newish imprint--Salaam Reads--one that we should all know:
"Founded in 2016, Salaam Reads is an imprint that aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works. The imprint, which takes its name from the Arabic word for “peace,” plans to publish books for young readers of all ages, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult."

I didn't realize it until I spent some time on the website, but I just purchased another book from this imprint-- The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi who was on an author panel at Nerdcamp. This sounds like a great fantasy adventure for middle grade readers and I am anxious to read it as well as some of the other upcoming releases I read about on the Salaam Reads site.

I was lucky to hear Zareen Jaffery on a panel at ILA this week.  She was part of a panel called "Disrupting a Destructive Cycle: How Literacy Drives Social Change".  Her words were powerful and I would highly suggest following her (@ZareenJaffery) and her work.

If you have read Amina's Voice, The Educator Collaborative (@TheEdCollab) is hosting a Summer Book Club on Tuesday, July 18 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. about the book. The author, Hena Khan will be joining the chat so it is sure to be a worthwhile hour with great conversation and learning.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Poetry Friday -- Mac and Cheese

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Faruk AteĊŸ

Dear Mac and Cheese,

I’ve got to hand it to you,
you perfected the whole dissemblance thing.
I mean, it was flat-out brilliant
disguising yourself in that box for all these years,
allowing generations of beginning (or lazy) cooks
to transform dust and rocks
into a creamy bowl of comfort.
Box-made, your color is, though, disturbingly unnatural.
Not quite the orange of the namesake fruit
nor of a winter sky at sunset.
Neither oriole nor monarch.
Not autumn or amber.
Perhaps closest to road gang prison uniform,
a subtle hint to alert the most observant cooks that
the box is actually a trap.
Half a lifetime of cooking wasted, spent colorblind and imprisoned,
I’m free now, and so are you.
I’ve grated a big mound of cheddar and American,
mixed in noodles, poured on cream, baked until crunchy on top.
We’ve escaped, and nothing can stop us from moving on
to smoked gouda, bacon, fresh peas, and a crisp panko topping.
Your palette is now my palate.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

Sincerely, Mac and Cheese

I know I cannot erase the facts:
they will grow up motherless;
he will be achingly lonely.

Stir into me the courage of a wooden spoon,
bake me with a searing love,
deliver me to be eaten one spoonful at a time,

the same way a vast grief must be consumed.
This is all you can do.
This is all I can do.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

My mentor text for these two poems was David Hernandez's book, Dear, Sincerely. His poem, "Sincerely, the Sky" was featured recently on The Writer's Almanac. I loved it so much that in a rare move, I clicked through to his book on Amazon. After a peek inside the book, I knew I wanted to own it.

There are 10 Dear or Sincerely poems in the book. I took the conversational tone of my first poem from Hernandez's "Dear Death." My sincerely poem is most like his "Sincerely, Paper Gown."

Poetry Friday Peeps are celebrating National Mac and Cheese Day, which is today, July 14! Be sure to visit the roundup at Tabatha's The Opposite of Indifference for more yummy and cheesy Poetry Friday posts!

(In breaking news -- and a total buzzkill for the national holiday -- macaroni and cheese from a box is dangerous for your health.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wise Words from #nerdcampmi 2017

I was blown away by the powerful Nerdtalks at this year's Nerdcamp. Below are some of the words that have lived with me since I heard these brilliant speakers share their thinking. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stenhouse Blogstitute

Stenhouse kicked of their annual Blogstitute today!  We (Franki and co-author of Still Learning to Read, Karen Szymusiak) wrote the first post, "Sticky Note Strategies for Transitional Readers".  You can find the post here and then follow the Blogstitute for more great posts by Stenhouse authors!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Poetry Friday -- Love Song to Reading

Hooray for a book of poems that celebrates reading...

The WONDER of reading words
"...that fly like birds
from pages
in your book
to branches
in your brain
where they sing
like soothing
summer rain."
The JOY of learning to read.
"I longed so to read.
This was my hope.
This was my need." 
All the KINDS of reading we do:
Cereal Box
Sports Page
Road Signs
Field Guides
Google Searches
Birthday Cards
Sunday Comics
The ways reading COMPLETES us:
"Every single thing you read
becomes a part of you." 
"A book gives you a double life." 
The ways reading CHANGES us:
"An open book will make you kind." 
"Charlotte taught me what to do." 
"I'm a reader.
I explore." 

Thank you, Amy, for a book that readers of all ages and stages will want to hug and share and read over and over again until it falls apart.

Read! Read! Read!
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke
Wordsong, September 2017

Carol has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Beyond LiteracyLink.

For next week's Poetry Friday Roundup, Tabatha has invited us to write/share poems in honor of National Mac and Cheese Day, which falls on Friday, July 14 this year. Start cooking up an oozy, gooey Poetry Friday post!! (It's optional, but it was so much fun when we celebrated Billy Collins at the beginning of his birth month back in March.)