New Auction for Bridget and Barrett

I announced that a new silent auction for Bridget and Barrett was about to begin in this earlier post.

And tah-dah…it has begun!

Browse, bid, and win for a good cause!
November 27 – December 11, 2009

Bridget Zinn and Barrett Dowell face steep costs related to Bridget’s treatment for colon cancer. Their friends are holding an online fundraising auction – anyone can bid and win, and support a good cause! All proceeds will go to Bridget and Barrett to cover their expenses.

 There are  dozens of generous donations of items for auction.

  • Many authors – Bridget’s friends and acquaintances – have donated signed copies of their books;
  • There are also a number of manuscript critiques and proofreading services for authors.
  • Works of art, food and drink, baby gifts, jewelry, and more.
  • Did you miss out on the bidding of the 3 night stay in Pt Townsend?  It is being offered again.

Many of the items would make lovely gifts, just in time for your holiday shopping. Take a look – you may find just the thing you’re looking for!

I donated two items. 

A turquoise and amber necklace and earrings set.

And a set of four cards with images of the Oregon Coast:


To view other  items up for auction:

Go to

Enter the Auction ID: bridget

Password: rules

You will need to create an account on the site in order to bid on auction items. (Creating an account simply requires your name, email address, and a password, and it is required so that we can contact you if you win an item.)

 Here’s the small print:

  • You are bidding on an item or service donated by an individual or business, with the proceeds going to Bridget Zinn. This is not a tax-deductible donation.
  • If you are the highest bidder on an item, you will be contacted by email after the auction ends (Dec. 11 or 12). You must respond within 3 days, or the item will go to the next highest bidder.
  • Payment will be accepted by check or through PayPal. (Payment instructions will be included with the notification that you have won.) Once your payment has been received, the donor or the auction coordinator will contact you to arrange how you will get your item.
  • Email any questions about the auction to
  • If you would like to donate to Bridget without purchasing anything in the auction, please send an email to for instructions on where to send a check.

 Bridget’s Story:

Bridget is a 32-year-old writer and librarian who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in March. She and Barrett, who have been together since they were teenagers, were married in the hospital just minutes before she went into surgery to remove a large tumor on her colon. She is now undergoing expensive treatment to shrink – and we hope obliterate – additional tumors. The treatment seems to be working, but much of it is not covered by her health insurance. Bridget & Barrett’s friends and family are rallying to help them pay the bills so that they can focus on Bridget’s health. You can learn more about Bridget at her blog:

The goal is to reach $5000 but lets beat that the way that Bridget is beating cancer.

 Thank you Cailin for organizing this. What a terrific friend.

Who’s Reading What Wednesday

I give thanks today that I am home as part of our Thanksgiving break.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to share two more CYBILS Nonfiction Books with students.

I am thankful for all the new titles that have presented themselves in this category.  Yesterday was “art” day. 

 Book One was In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage by Alan Schroeder.  JaeMe Bereal is the illustrator.

What a quiet story about an important person of the Harlem Renaissance.  As a child, August sculpted things with the clay she found near her home.  Her preacher father was not to keen on it.  When I read about him smashing one of the creations, a child stated that his dad had done the same.  Augusta’s love of sculpting wins out and she eventually ends up going to art school in New York.  Bereal, a sculptor as well, captures the tone of the book with rich and realistic illustrations. 
Unfortunately, much of her work was lost or destroyed.  The book concludes with a detailed note about her life and work and two of her pieces, “Gamin” and “The Harp”.

Book Two was read to fifth graders and we worked on questioning strategies.  The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass and illustrated by E.B. Lewis is another quiet story of a lesser known artist.  Walter Anderson grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi.  He is most noted for his Horn Island watercolors and the book features that slice of life about him.  How he loved to go for weeks on end to paint on this remote island. 

The book is a fabulous read aloud.  The fifth graders were silent and I think a bit amazed that someone would leave for weeks at a time to paint. Some of their questions confirmed their thinking:
Why did he leave his family?
Why did he hide his paintings?
Is Walter normal?
Why does Walter want to travel alone?
Does Walter ever get lonely?

The watercolor illustrations of E. B. Lewis capture the mood.  Hess provided a larger view of Walter Anderson’s life at the end of the book with examples of his art.  The poetic nature of the text makes for one terrific read aloud.

Both of these books are quiet treasures on the nomination list this year.  They are both stories that demonstrated the spirit of never giving up what you love to do. 

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Reading.


Non-Fiction Monday: All About Darwin

February, 12, 2009, marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. 

The CYBILS Non-Fiction Picture Book category has three nominations dedicated to this amazing scientist.  All three are different in presentation.

 Both One Beetle Too Many by Kathryn Lasky and Darwin With Glimpses into His Private Journal and Letter by Alice B. McGinty  examine the whole life of Charles Darwin from early childhood through his famous voyage on the Beagle to the controversy of his theories.

In One Beetle Too Many, illustrator Matthew Trueman uses a variety of art media to complement Lasky’s rich text about a boy who did  not like school, did not please his father and was happiest when being out in the world. 

One Beetle Too Many is full of small details such as his mother being known for rasing beautiful, tame fancy pigeons and his father being a very large man who thought that Charles would be a disgrace …to all your family.”  While the book doesn’t have a table of contents , it is broken up into sections in which the reader can access based on interest areas.  Darwin saw himeself as “a complete millionaire in odd and curious facts.” 

Mary Azarian, illustrator for Darwin With Glimpses in to His Private Journals and Letters, uses woodcuts and watercolor to depict the life of Darwin.  There are insets of  his “journal” providing readers with primary sources.  And McGinty provided the source of each quote in the appendix.

It is clear from reading both books that Darwin was an extraordinary person, that his father did not approve of his career and that Darwin caused quite an uproar when he finally published The Origin of Species  from his secret journals.

Both books would be a great addition in either an elementary school or middle school.

In the National Geographic book, What Darwin Saw by  Rosalyn Schanzer, the book focus is on the actual voyage of the H.M.S Beagle and the discoveries made throughout out the lengthy trip.  Schanzer uses a graphic novel format at times to convey the information complete with speech bubbles in which Darwin and crew are commenting on the events of the time.  For the section, “Mystery of the Giant Bones”, Darwin comments in a speech bubble, “From the shells we may feel absolutely certain that the remains were embedded in a shallow sea.”

This book is divided into sections such as  “London, England, Mystery of the Big Bones, Riding with Gauchos”, etc.  After the entire journey the book shifts to exploring Darwin’s ideas about evolution depicted by a fabulous  tree of life illustration.  The sections that follow in the last half of the book include: “Clues and Hard Questions, Mountains of Evidence, and How Evolution Works”.

Schanzer uses abridged quotes from the Darwin’s Beagle Diary. Her text is set in black while Darwin’s quotes are in brown and everyone else in orange type.  She includes an index (yay, big fan of indexes), an author’s note, and a bibliography.

While What Darwin Saw is geared to K-5, I think it would fit in a middle school setting and would be a great read for those struggling readers who need good visual support.

Three books on Darwin.  You can learn a lot about the man, his voyage, his thoughts, and the controversy of his theories.  Will they end up on the shortlist? Stay tuned. Announcements will be made in January.

 Practically Paradise is hosting Nonfiction Monday today. Thank you, Diane.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: November Evening by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I love finding poems by authors.  Here is one from Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon ( my niece’s favorite):

“November Evening” 
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Come, for the dusk is our own; let us fare forth together,
With a quiet delight in our hearts for the ripe, still, autumn weather,
Through the rustling valley and wood and over the crisping meadow,
Under a high-sprung sky, winnowed of mist and shadow.

Sharp is the frosty air, and through the far hill-gaps showing
Lucent sunset lakes of crocus and green are glowing;
‘Tis the hour to walk at will in a wayward, unfettered roaming,
Caring for naught save the charm, elusive and swift, of the gloaming.

Read the rest here.   It so captures the feeling of November.  May everyone have an abundant Thanksgiving.

Poetry Friday is over at the Drift Record.  Thank you, Julie!  I have an original poem at Deowriter for Poetry Stretch.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday

There is good book news abounding on the Kidlit Front.  Just got work this morning that Bridget Zinn’s manuscript, Poison, sold at the book auction.  It is scheduled for a 2012 release and a sequel the following year.  Way to go Bridget!  BTW, a new auction to raise money for her and Barrett begins after Thanksgiving.  You can read about it here.

Meanwhile, Laini, Jim and sweet Clementine Pie are soaking up life in th Big Apple while they await tonight’s big event, the National Book Award dinner.  Their book, Lips Touch Three Times is one of the 5 nominees.  Such a delicious read! It would just cap off a really fabulous year for them and they so deserve it! So “mwah, mwah, mwah”  three kisses to them for luck!

I am up to my eyeballs in CYBILS Nonfiction Picture Book nominations.  Yesterday a fourth grade and a fifth grade class read several the nominations to provide feedback for me.  What was interesting was watching which books caused students to be totally engaged and which books not so much.   Of course Life-Size Zoo was a big hit and so was Where Else in the Wild.

I read the Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History! out loud to a third grade class. Happy to see the level of engagement with both boys and girls.  Third graders grasp the concept of fairness and wow, they could not believe that Annette Kellerman was arrested!  It was a very fun read aloud. 

My book club chose Oxygen by Carol Cassella.  It is a page turner about the medical field.  Cassella is a doctor in the field of anesthesia. Had to put the book down the other night as I would have stayed up all night long to read.

What are you reading?

Happy Reading.


Non-Fiction Monday: Two Great Books About Math

The nominations for the CYBILS NFPB award have been stunning this year.  This week I had the opportunity to share two math oriented books with my students.


Tyrannosaurus Math by Michelle Markel  is a raucous, romping tale of a dinosaur who happens to love, love, love math! So much so that upon being born, he talks about a  “math sentence” and thus, his name Tyrannosaurus Math is bestowed or T-Math for short.  Readers will follow T-Math in daily adventures that has him counting by fives, deciding if a meteor is a sphere or cube and finally rescuing his “not-so-in-love-with-math” sister.  The author has included a glossary of math terms along with a pronunciation key for the dinosaurs. The kids had a great time with this book, especially when I pulled two boys and three girls up to stand by me as we made the brother and sister number sentence.


On the other hand, the second book had a calming effect with the students.  Zero is the Leaves on the Tree by Betsy Franco is a deliciously quiet book examining the concept of zero.  She asks about zero:

“Can you see it? Can you hear it?  Can you feel it?”  I loved the illustrations and the different ideas about zero such as zero on the leaves of the trees, zero the sound of snowflakes falling, the kites in the sir when the wind stops blowing, and the bikes in the bike rack after school lets out.  There is a sly little something going on in the book that my students picked up on. You will  just have to read the book to discover it for yourself.

Again, our committee work is cut out for us as we narrow over 70 books in the NFPB category down to 5-7 on the shortlist.  Will either of these make it?  Stay tuned.

 Tina Nichols Coury is hosting Nonfiction Monday.  There are some great posts already.

Title: Tyrannosaurus Math
Author: Michelle Markel
Date Published: 2009
Pages: 32
Reading Level: K-3
Publisher: Tricycle Press
ISBN: 978-1-582-46282-0
Source of Book: Copy from the publisher for CYBILS consideration.

Title: Zero is the Leaves on the Trees
Author: Betsy Franco
Date Published: 2009
Pages: Unpaged
Reading Level: K-3
Publisher: Tricycle Press
ISBN: 978-1-582-46249-3
Source of Book: Copy from the publisher for CYBILS consideration.

 Happy Reading.

Ms Mac

New Online Auction About to Begin for Bridget Zinn


Bridget and Barrett at the  “5th Friday” October Kidlit Drink Night

So the holidays are coming.  Is there any better way to get gifts and help someone out?  Another on-lin silent auction for Bridget and Barrett will be held starting the end of November.  Bridget’s friend Cailin is organizing this one. You should contact her at if you are interested in donating an auction item.  I am donating a handcrafted necklace and earrings combo and a set of my Oregon Coast cards.  Will blog later in the week about them.

In a recent email, Cailin offered this information:

Artists, authors, business owners… please consider donating an item or service to sell in an auction to benefit Bridget Zinn and Barrett Dowell. Bridget is a 32-year-old writer and librarian who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in March. She and Barrett, who have been together since they were teenagers, were married in the hospital just minutes before she went into surgery to remove a large tumor on her colon. She is now undergoing expensive treatment to shrink – and we hope obliterate – additional tumors. The treatment seems to be working, but much of it is not covered by her health insurance. Bridget & Barrett’s friends and family are rallying to help them pay the bills so that they can focus on Bridget’s health. You can learn more about Bridget at her blog,    Between Friday, November 27 and Friday, December 11, we (a group of Bridget’s friends) will hold an online silent auction on the website, with all proceeds going to Bridget and Barrett to help with their expenses.
Here’s what it means to donate an item or service to the auction:
– You are donating the item to this auction, all proceeds of which will be given to Bridget Zinn. This is not a tax-deductible donation.
– You must provide an item title, description of up to 400 words, and starting bid for the online auction. You may also choose to provide a subtitle, fair market value, reserve price (amount that must be reached in bidding for the item to be sold), up to two photos/images, and website address for further information about you or about the item. All of this should be emailed to no later than November 25.)
– You may choose how you want to get the item to the winning bidder: (1) Keep the item until the auction ends, and mail it to the winning bidder (or contact the winner to arrange pick-up/delivery if feasible). We will contact you with the winner’s contact information when payment has been received, and ask that you put the item in the mail to the winning bidder within 3 business days. (2) Give your donated item to one of the auction organizers, who will get it to the winning bidder. This is a good option if you will not be available in the middle of December when the auction ends. If you are giving your item to an auction organizer, please indicate that (and who) when you send in your item description.

Poetry Friday: Where Else in the Wild?

Where Else in the Wild? More Camouflaged Creatures Concealed and Revealed  by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy push the envelope in the nonfiction world.  It is a hybrid book of sorts combing fabulous camouflaged creature photos by Dwight Kuhn with poetry, and nonfiction facts.  It’s a CYBILS nominee for the NF/Info PK.

There is a variety of poetry forms including concrete poems about scorpion fish, ambush bugs, and inchworms.   Some rhyme, others do not. 

Here’s a haiku for the Orchid Mantis:

elegance in white
poised upon an orchid blossom
praying as I prey

Each photo page folds out to show where the creature is hiding.  Along with the photo is information about the animal.  Did you know:

That the orchid mantis ranges in color between pink to yellow to white to blend in with the orchids?
That it doesn’t need to hid in the flower but can stand next to it?
That it can rotate its head a full 90 degrees without moving the rest of the body.

 In another, a question and answer poem, the leaf insect is explored:

 “What looks like a leaf but has wings, legs, and eyes?
An insect that hides  with a clever disguise…

…A remarkable bug! How else is it shrewd?
To resemble a leaf, it appears to be chewed.”

Did you know that leaf insects are part of the group known as “stick insects”?
That the sides have small “chew marks” to make it look more real?
That leaf insects are native only to parts of Asia and Australia?

The photos are stunning, the poems fun, and the facts informative.  Put them all together and readers of all ages will be coming back again and again.

Greg at Gottabook is hosting his first ever Poetry Friday. Thank, Greg!  I have an orignal poem for the Poetry Stretch at Deowriter

Happy Reading.


Not Too Early to be Thinking about Gifts

Have you begun to think about  gifts for the upcoming holiday season?  I like finding  unique, handcrafted ones for friends and family. 

In May, several of the Portland Kidlit community hosted an on-line silent auction for our friend Bridget Zinn (battling stage 4 colon cancer).  One of the auction items was this fabulous silver bracelet created by Laura Ludwig Hamor:

Bridget modeling the “write” bracelet.

Not only did Laura send one bracelet, she sent three! One went to Bridget and the other two were big hits in the auctions.

Well, Laura had told me that she was working on getting a blog of her silver work together and her store at  I recently received an email from with an update.

So here is a fabulous wonderful place to visit if you are looking for a special gift for that creative person in your life.  Her new silver website is over at etsy. You can find it by going to

another laurabracelt                       create
Two more examples of her work.

At her blog, Laura Ludwig Hamor , she says this about her work, “I love the process of creating silver pieces, and most of all I love the result. As a clay artist with a love of jewelry it is the best of both worlds.”

She has a blog contest going for her birthday, November 12. Anyone who promotes will be entered into a drawing for one of her fabulous creations. 

If you have bought a bracelet from her in the past, go to her blog and let her know. You will be entered in the contest and if you should by chance mention that you read it here, I will get another chance!

Otherwise, I am putting her website on my Christmas and birthday lists.  Generous people such as Laura deserve support. Thank you, Laura for allowing me to show some of your fabulous bracelets here.

And you can follow Laura on facebook at SILVERFRECKLES!  I am looking forward to reading her blog about her creative process as it unfolds.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: Life-Size Zoo


Life-Size Zoo by Teruyuki Komiya  is just that! Life sized photos of more than 20 animals from a variety of Japan’s zoos.  It’s considered an animal encyclopedia featuring an information box on each page.  An explanation or zoo guide is explained adjacent the title page.  It is another of the many fabulous CYBILS nominations for NFPB category this year.  Almost every nomination is top notch.

From the tiny meerkat to the capybara (which reminds me of the one from the book Hooway for Wodney Wat) to the aardvark to the Asian elephant and more, readers will get to look at the photos up close and personal.  Plus the facts are amazing!  Consider:

Anteaters eat up to 30,000 ant a day.
Tapirs may look like a pig but the are more closely related to the horse and rhinoceros.
Giraffes can gallop up to 35 miles per hour.
Zebras use their whiskers to find food.
All the photos in the book show the actual size of the animal.  Along with the photo there is a side-bar which explains the part of the animal’s body featured, information about the animal, approximate age of the animal when known, the scientific name, and more information about the animal. 

Many of the pages expand in order to accomodate the large animals such as the head of the giraffe with its incredibly long tongue, the fierce tiger, mouth open and looking ready for a meal.

Life-size Zoo is a book of broad appeal for all ages. It is going to be a great addition to any library.

Title: Life-Size Zoo
Author: Teruyuki Komiya
Date Published: 2009
Pages: 43
Reading Level: All
Publisher: Seven Footer Kids
ISBN: 9781934734209
Source of Book: Gotten orignially from public library and then a copy from the publisher arrived for CYBILS consideration.

I really had fun sharing this ith my5 year old granddaughter this weekend. At her level, looking at the photos was the perfect activity but there is just so much to read and re-read.

Abby the Librarian is hosting Nonfiction Monday. Go checkout some of the other great nonfiction books.

Have a great week.

Happy reading.