I'm so thrilled to finally hold this book in my hands! I've loved Maya Angelou's work for what seems like forever, but is more like forty years. Well, to some that would be forever. In this stellar biography, we get to focus on how the little girl transformed into the amazing woman we all remember. … Continue reading RISE! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF
I never thought I'd be smitten by a counting book. And I'm still not smitten by a counting book, because FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN is so much more than that. It's an ode to nature, a prayer, a salute, a love letter, a bedtime lullaby—all in the guise of a counting book. First the love letter … Continue reading Four Otters Toboggan – Perfect Picture Book Friday
What comes to mind when you read this title? If you're a child, well, it's obvious, right? Ew! But if you're a poet like Michael Odom, it's secret code, a play on words, for ekphrastic. Odom explains that ekphrastic is "a very big, very cool word that will impress a teacher and probably … Continue reading Ick! Fran’s Tick!
Litquake San Francisco, an annual literary festival comprising 850+ authors and hundreds of events in the span of 10 days, can be exhausting and daunting, but it can also be exhilarating and inspirational. I'm a co-producer of Kidquake, an event that draws 1,000 elementary school kids, their teachers, and chaperones to four assemblies and 10 … Continue reading Kidquake – Dream Big!
It appears that novels in verse are now the rage (at least for me), and it's a good rage (as opposed to the other rage I've been feeling lately.) I just finished the dazzling debut YA novel: by Elizabeth Acevedo, longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. In another life, Ms. … Continue reading The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Looking for a new read aloud? One that's absurd—sure to make kids laugh? Look no further. But what's truly special about this book is its design and illustrations. The cover gives the reader a hint. The giant's stomach is a die-cut hole, filled with goodies. And as we open the book and read the first … Continue reading There Was An Old Giant Who Swallowed A Clock – Perfect Picture Book Friday
This week's addition to Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Fridays comes to us from the heart of bug country, the Great Plains. What do you think of when you think of Kansas? Well, that's what I used to think until I spent the week with Carol Murray at Highlights Summer Camp last July. When not … Continue reading Cricket in the Thicket – Perfect Picture Book Friday
In honor of National Poetry Month and Perfect Picture Book Friday, I'm shining the spotlight on a brilliant Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award Winner from 1997: "They took to the road in Waycross, Georgia Skipped over the tracks in East St. Louis Took the bus from Holly Springs Hitched a ride from Gee's Bend … Continue reading Harlem: A Poem by Walter Dean Myers
Summer slips away, leaving room for Fall. The first order of the day is to talk for a moment about a friend's book of poems, Selene by Michael Odom. I see this book as a reflection of an obsession. A woman. A sorceress. A corpse. An eternal ambivalence, love and hate. The cover uncovers, revealing the … Continue reading Return from the Abyss
Well, it seems I've been inspired by one of my favorite poets, Robert Okaji. Spring Night (after Wang Wei via Robert Okaji) Dogwood petals sigh in spirals, blessing my recline. Spring darkness rests on hollow muted hills while moonlight strikes the owls awake, their hoots slipstreaming through ravines. Unlike Robert, I named the … Continue reading Spring Night (After Wang Wei via Robert Okaji)