Nonfiction Monday: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

I am a fan of  American history, pottery (I once took classes), and poetry which is why I enjoyed Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill.  Told in simple, sparse verse, readers come to know Dave, a slave and important America artist of the 1800’s. The book opens

“To us
it is just dirt,
the ground we walk on.
Scoop up a handful.
The gritty grains slip
between you fingers.

On wet days,
heavy with rainwater,
it is cool and squishy,
mud pie heaven.

But to Dave
it was clay,
the plain and basic stuff
upon which he learned to
form a life nearly
two hundred years ago.”

Readers find out how he designed pots, created the glazing slip, and then wrote a small phrase as short and elegant as a haiku on the pot.   It was his way of letting us all know he existed.   Much of what we know about Dave is through his inscriptions.

The watercolor/collage illustrations by Bryan Collier enhance the text. Collier traveled to Edgefield, SC to research pottery making. While there is no references showing what Dave the potter looked like, Collier, used a model which reflect the spirit of the potter.

The book has further information about Dave at the end, a bibliography, and notes from both the author and illustrator.

Title: Dave the Potter; Artist, Poet, Slave
Author: Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrator:  Bryan Collier
Date Published: 2010
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: all ages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 978-0-316-10731-0
Source of book: From the library
Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Playing by the Book.

Happy Monday. Happy Reading.



Welcome to Poetry Friday

Are you out shopping? Are you staying home?  No matter,  Poetry Friday is here.  I’ll admit I am going to sneak out for a little Santa shopping.  Please enjoy the poems gathered here.

My poem speaks so clearly about November. It’s from the book A Year Full of  Poems; a collection by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark:


No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–
No road–no street–no “t’other side this way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–
No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ’em–
No knowing ’em!
No traveling at all–no locomotion–
No inkling of the way–no notion–
“No go” by land or ocean–
No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds–

Thomas Hood

I am looking forward to checking back in and seeing what others have posted.

Happy Friday.  Happy Reading.


Bridget Zinn Auction: Season of Love and Hope

The auction to help Bridget Zinn YA librarian and author (book to be out in 2012) extraordinaire is up and running. 

There’s been a generous outpouring from people with auction offerings like:This 13″ x 19″ canvas art print is a reproduction of the mixed-media painting Jim DiBartolo did for Laini’s novel LIPS TOUCH. The publisher ultimately chose a different approach for the final cover, but both Laini and Jim  really like what’s conveyed in this piece as well.
A signed copy of the novel will be included.

             A signed copy of It’s Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder.

Highest bidder wins an autographed copy of THIS TREE COUNTS! and 10 trees will be planted in your name. Not only that, 10 trees will be planted in Bridget’s name, too, through American
Help Bridget Kick Cancer and plant 20 trees!

            The auction  will conclude at 7:00pm Pacific / 9:00pm Central on Saturday, December 4th.

  • To bid on items, visit the auction site at and follow the instructions for bidding.
  • The action ID is: bridgetkicks 
  • The password is: cancer
  • Winners will be notified by Sunday, December 5th, and will be sent instructions for payment at that time.
  • As soon as payment is received, donors will ship or otherwise provide the item won to the winning bidder. 
    If anyone has questions or needs assistance, they can email

Bid often and have fun.


Nonfiction Monday: Growing Patterns


Something I love about teaching in the library is that I don’t have to teach math.  Yet I am fascinated by math especially, number sequences such as prime numbers and Fibonacci numbers.  That’s why I was thrilled to get Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell.  Campbell also does the photographs along with Richard P. Campbell.

Sarah’s blog is HERE: For my review, I was inspired to write a Fibonacci poem:

of flower petals
explaining Fibonacci rules

Pineapples, pinecones, and the nautilus shell are used as well to explain this natural mystery.  Campbell includes additional information about Fibonacci numbers at the end of the book as well as a glossary. 

In a world where captivating mathematics books for children are scarce, this book will be a great addition to the collections.

Title: Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature
Author: Sarah C. Campbell
Photographs: Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell
Date Published: 2010
Pages: 32
Reading Level: all ages
Publisher: Boyds Mill Press
ISBN: 978-1-59078-752-8
BSource ofook: From the publisher

Nonficition Monday is hosted at Practically Paradise.

Happy Monday.


Poetry Friday: November Funk

It’s November.  Funky November.  Its darkness and gloom seem to hold me captive.  I am trying to break loose of its grip.  Writing seems at a standstill.  My aunt said last night, you have to find something to make you laugh out loud and it can’t be school.

While I was figuring out my escape and what to share for “Poetry Friday”, I stumbled across an old favorite Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way by Georgia Heard.  Her beginning quote from Basho, provided me light today:

“The moon and sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on.
A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years,
every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”


I am going to spend some daily time with Writing Toward Home.  Re-reading the contents, I am reminded of some rich places on the journey.  Places which invite me to read such as these chapters:

 “An Angel on My Shoulder”
“Writing is Like Making a Tortilla”
“Finding a True Reader”
“Digging Up the Earth”
“Whispering in the Air”

So I have given myself some homework for November and the days left:

Read Writing From Home
Find things to laugh out loud about.

Poetry Friday is at Random Noodling. Thanks, Diane And apologies as I cannot get links to work today.

Happy Friday.


Nonfiction Monday: Benno and the Night of Broken Glass

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass by Meg Wiviott is a gentle introduction to the beginning of the Holocaust; Kristallnacht.  Benno the cat is the neighborhood cat and a friend to all.  Hans the Hausmeister leaves Benno fresh milk every night, he finds a sunny spot to nap at Mitzi Stein’s dress shop and he walks to school with Inge and Sophie.  He spends Friday nights with the Adler family as they light the Sabbath candles and Sundays after church he visits the Schmidt’s for lunch.

But gradually things change. People are not so friendly.  “Men in brown uniforms” built bonfires to burn books.  Some people cheer.  Benno notices the girls no longer play or walk to school together.  The tension builds until  “a night like no other.” (Kristallnacht).  The Adler’s apartment is destroyed while the Schmidt’s remain untouched.  Hans still leaves milk for Benno but life for him has forever changed.

Wiviott’s choice to tell the this story  from the point of view of a cat is a unique way to introduce young children to one of history’s darkest times.  Josee Bisaillon’s cut paper and mixed media illustrations enhance the text.  Wiviott has included a bibliography and afterword with further information about Kristallnacht.

It is often difficult to find books on this topic that is suitable for elementary libraries.  Benno and the Night of Broken Glass will help to fill the void.

Title: Benno and the Night of Broken Glass
Author: Meg Wiviott
Illustrator: Josee Bisaillon
Date Published: 2010
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K-5
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-8225-9929-6
Source of Book: From the library.

 This is a CYBILS NFPB nominee.  Nonfiction Monday is hosted by In Need of Chocolate.

Happy Monday.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Haiku Gift

Last month a member of my critique group gifted me with a book, Haiku Harvest.  She had found it at a garage sale.  Its slim style reminded me o f another book in my collection, the first in the series,  Japanese Haiku, translated by Peter Beilenson.  In this edition, Harry Behn, a filmmaker and children’s author also helped with the translation.

Sharing a few from this cornucopia of haiku in the harvest season:

wild gees have eaten
  all of my barley…
they are flying on!

whose dress could this be
  thin on the leaf-gold
 autumn screen?
only the wind

brown leak from a tree
  unknown clings
  to a strange
green-spotted mushroom

Behn was asked to complete this edition.  In the first in the series Beilenson asked readers for “indulgence in the unorthodox typography” in order to accommodate the Japanese design on the  page.  Behn continues in this style.  Of course, today’s haiku evolved its style immensely.

Poetry Friday is at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub.  I have an original haiku at Deowriter.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: The Humblebee Hunter

The Humblebee Hunter; Inspired by the Life and Experiments of Charles Darwin and his Children,  is a book about Darwin with a twist. 

In Deborah Hopkinson’s book, she explores a very different aspect of Darwin’s life; as a father and husband.  It is clear that even at home the man loved walking, exploring, and observing.

The story begins with Etty, his daughter in the kitchen learning to bake.  Through her point of view, readers see that she would much rather be alongside her father as he walks his “Thinking Path”.

And she seizes every opportunity as does his other children to ask the scientific questions of “what, why, and how?” 

Etty runs out to her father, asking “what’s the question?”  When he queries how many flowers a “humblebee: might visit in a minute, Etty clapps her hand in delight and the experiment begins.

Jen Corace’s stylized and detail illustrations enhances the simplicity and flow of the text. It would be an excellent book to use with children on questioning strategies.

There is an author’s note at the end.

Title: The Humblebee Hunter
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: Jeb Corace
Date Published: 2010
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K-5
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
ISBN: 978-142311356-0
Source of Book: From the library.

Nonfiction Monday is at Shelf Employed.  Happy Monday.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: In Flanders Fields

In honor of Veteran’s Day next week, here is one of my favorite poems and the one which inspired those red poppies given out on Veteran’s Day.  Did you know the poem was oreginally called “We Shall Not Sleep”?

 Moina Michael, a teacher, read Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem in a Ladies Home Journal magazine.  She found reading the poem deeply spiritual, as though she was actually being called in person by the voices silenced by death. 

Following the reading, she was determined to make poppies to wear in memory of “all who died in Flanders Fields.” The Auxiliary to the American Legion Convention later agreed that disabled American war veterans could make the poppies sold in the United States, which generated income for veterans who had no other income.  


 In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
Flanders fields.

 by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D 

He who wrote this poem after seeing the poppies growing in Flanders Fields, Belgium, during World War I.  Even though, he threw away the poem; another soldier found it and sent off to the newspaper in London.

 Information about the poem can be found at Arlington National Cemetary .  For more information about Moina Michael, the woman behind the poppies go HERE.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by JoAnn Early Macken at Teaching Authors.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: Country Road ABC


One of the CYBILS NFPB nominees is Country Road ABC by Arthur Geisert.  Readers move through the alphabet through copperplate etchings that were hand colored with acrylic and watercolor.  I bet the process was lengthy but the results are exquisite.

Starting with the title page, readers are introduced a storm passing by the nearby city and then the illustrated journey through America’s farmland begins.

“A” is for ammonia fertilizer, “B” is for barn cats.  What Geisert does well is a black and white rendering of the object along with a whole scene about the object.  The simplicity of the layout allows for readers to ponder about life in the farmland.  I can see this book being used with a farm unit. There’s just so much to talk about on each two page spread.

If you wonder where this takes place, Geisert has cleverly put the location on “X” marks the spot: Latitude: 42-18’46” N
Longitude: 090-49’52” W.  

Clue:  Find out where Geisert resides.

Title: Country Road ABC
Author: Arthur Geisert
Illustrator: Arthur Geisert
Date Published: 2010
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: All Ages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
ISBN: 978-0-547-19469-1
Source of Book: From the library.

Non fiction Monday is hosted by Capstone Connect.

Happy Reading.