Monday, June 25, 2012

Poetry that Steals that My ♥

My friends know that I have a weak heart for Poetry. My knees soften when I hear words embedded in one another.  I love reading Poetry, I love listening to it. I love Poetry for children and Poetry for Adults. I love Poetry in Spanish and most definitely Poetry in English. So when I went to the library to pick up my "Reserves" and I see a beautiful line of poetry books with my name on it, I know I'm in for a treat. 

Here's A Little Poem: A Very First Book of PoetryI'll start with Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. So imagine having these friends over one evening: Myra Cohn Livingston, Nikki Grimes,  Rosemary Wells, Jack Prelutsky, Paul B. Janeczko, etc. And they all decided to spend the evening with you. If you are a poetry lover, you know what this means. It means hours and hours of pure magic and entertainment. It means reading about August Ice Cream Cone, about Brothers and Sisters, and chicks, and birthday cakes too. 
Product DetailsOn top of having some of the best poetry for children out there, Illustrator Polly Dunbar just tops it off with the illustrations giving it that perfect touch of a "first poetry book". If you start reading poetry aloud to your children and students with a collection like this, you're set. A new poetry lover will be born. Guaranteed. 

The next book in the pile is Take Two! A Celebration of Twins by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen. Now, one good look at the cover and you know you are set with great language, sounds of words, rhythm and play for the next hour. I'm a big fan of both authors so when I know I'll get to enjoy their creativity all in ONE book, it's imperative that my hands get on this book right away. 
What makes this book EXTRA fun is the collection of facts on twins spread all throughout the book. For example, did you know that there are about 125 million living multiples in the world? or that since 1970s, the number of twin births has more than doubled? Fascinating. 
Product DetailsForgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. First of all the table of contents is pure fun. The design is fantastic, playing with fonts and style. All the titles are the same: This is just to say. But each title is presented with different fonts. One of my favorite poems is told from Little Red Riding Hood's grandma perspective. It goes like this....

This is just to say

When you arrive
I will not be 
lying in my bed

you hungrily
to find me

Forgive me
tell my granddaughter
better one of us 
should live. 

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart  When you open this book, you'll read the following words in the front jacket:
"When you learn a poem by heart, it becomes a part of you. You know it in your mind, in your mouth, in your ears, in your whole body. And best of all, you know it forever." Isn't this such a clever way to start reading this book. It's so true. I've always admired authors when they can recite poems by hearts. I'm mesmerized by the rich language and the possibility of so many more poems being inside your brain. Forget Me-NOTS Poems to Learn by Heart selected by Mary Ann Hoberman is an incredible collection, a must-have. As many of you remember, Mary Ann Hoberman was named Children's Poet Laureate in 2008 and her works had made many contributions in the world of poetry. Carefully selected, each poem is a celebration of some sort. In these pages, you'll find many poetry friends and some of the best classics as well, like Love That Boy by Walter Dean Myers. 

Enjoy the journey friends...because with poetry in your hands, your journey is a roller coaster ride of emotions. So might as well put your hands up in the air....

Monday, June 11, 2012

48 Hour Book Challenge Update

Thanks to  Mother Reader book lovers from all over the place come together to celebrate a world of knowledge and adventures. It's such a wonderful escape from reality and a great dive in to the world of fantasies. So, here is another update from this amazing weekend.

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral was my Saturday morning pick and boy was I happy I picked it up. First of all let me tell you how fascinated I was with the format of this book. The love story of Gloria and Frank is told through notes, pictures, you tube videos, chat conversations, Instagrams-style photographs, and letters. It's like browsing through a private journal where you don't really understand everything that is going on but you're constantly trying to put together the clues, the phrases, the pictures. It's a gigantic puzzle of love, young love, mystery, frustration and loneliness.

After losing her mother, Gloria dived into the world of music, playing the piano day and night. Her father had big plans for her: to be a sold-out performer at Carnegie Hall and worldwide. He wants her to remain focus and dedicated which she does until she meets Frank.  Frank is from Argentina, a lonely soul that dreams of going back home, and who lives in between worlds all the time. Gloria and Frank found each other, two lost and lonely souls with no particular direction and ever since they were inseparable. Were they? Some questions will remain answered but the love spiral is a fascinating one.

As some of you know, I'm from Argentina and I was happily surprised to see so many on-point references to my country, its music, wine selection, and Latin American authors. I grew up listening to music by Julio Iglesias because my parents would play his CDs on Sunday afternoons. It gave me goosebumps to see these references as it brought me back home. Another reference in this novel is about Pablo Neruda's Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Could there be more romantic and heartbreaking poems like these ones? I doubted. Growing up Pablo Neruda was my favorite all-time companion.

I'm a process kind of person, one that takes most joy of doing things. I care about the final product but I ENJOY the process of putting things together. I can only imagine how creative the process  was for authors Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral to put this book together. I hope we get to see more books in this format. Let the imagination go wild!

Friday, June 8, 2012

48 Hour Book Challenge: See you at Harry's by Jo Knowles

See You at Harry's

Picture this: My blogger friends and I are supposed to meet for dinner at 4:30pm and then go to our favorite bookstore Cover to Cover for the Dark Days Tour with 4 YA authors. It's 3:45 and I'm on the last couple of chapters in See you at Harry's. For the past hour or so, I've been wiping the tears, unable to put the book down. If you predicted that I was late for dinner, you're right. But if there was a group of friends who would understand, it would be them.

This book stays with you. So be prepared. Fern, twelve-year old, feels like her family is always busy, too busy to notice her at least. Fern's siblings all seem to be in their own world; Sarah, the oldest sibling is trying to decide what to do next, in the meantime she's helping out at the family restaurant. Holden is excited about his "new friend" and trying to figure out his own place, and then there is little Charlie, the little three year old that keeps the family entertained and always laughing. But Fern's family is always on the go, her dad is constantly looking for ways to improve the family business: their restaurant. Fern's mom is always meditating. The only person in Fern's life who is a constant, who keeps calm and focused is Ran, her best friend.

However, all their lives are suddenly shaken and completely torn apart when an unexpected event lead them to deal with the unexpected. Through pain, tears, isolation, guilt and finally peace, this family finds a way to find each other again, in a completely different way.
The topics addressed in this book are not simple, the complex layers of issues that the family faces make this book a great  novel  for students 12 and up where students, learners and readers will be able to discuss more in-depth the topic of sexuality, depression, and death.

Jo Knowles weaves in all these topics with elegance, with ease so the audience can take it all in. Yet, Jo  knows how to also make it memorable so that you don't forget these characters that easily. A wonderful piece of work for sure.

48 Hour Book Challenge: Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Under the Mesquite

My confession: I LOVE novels written in free verse. A lot of my English language learners tend to rotate around free verse books. Some of them find free verse"less intimidating" and I can understand that from their point of view. Free verse novels still give them a solid story line, with increasing plots, and complicating characters but it reads much faster. That's why I always keep my eyes open for free verse novels and the summer is such a great opportunity for me to get caught up with newest publication.

I was very excited to find Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. This family story about hope, family bonds, and pain. Lupita, is the oldest daughter in a family of eight siblings. Being the oldest one means having responsibilities, chores and many times just leading the rest of the sibling.  However, when the family finds out that mom has Cancer, the family finds themselves lost. Until Lupita decides she needs to stand up and support the family in the best ways she can. She struggles finding a balance as she tries to keep the faith, help her siblings, support mom and dad, and do well at school. Lupita needs a focus point so badly to help her keep going...but what will it be?

A painful story for sure but the author did find the inspiration to write this book after having gone through similar experiences. Guadalupe Garcia McCall was born in Mexico and moved to Texas as a child. This have helped her keeping close contact with other relatives back home.  The author has included a wonderful "Spanish Words and Cultural Reference" pages in the back of the book to help understand the words used throughout the book.

7th Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge

48 Hour Book Challenge

Let the wonderful tradition begin! For the past 7 years, Mother Reader has brought us, book lovers, book fanatics a great opportunity to pause our lives and dive into the world of wild, forest, a dark city, and adventures. Please go to Mother Reader's blog and join the fun. How can anyone resist an invitation to read? Enjoy the journey.