Nonfiction Monday: Jimi

Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow by Gary Golio was on my top twenty list for the CYBILS Nonfiction Picture Books category.  This category is for the younger readers so I was surprised have it on my list. I grew up on the music and knew how drugs and alcohol took over and ended the life of a brilliant artist.

Golio’s book, however, is all about perseverance in doing what you love and Hendrix loved his guitar and music.  From his childhood beginnings of using a broom to pretend he was playing, his love of drawing and painting, and wonderings  “could a person use music like chalk and colored pencils? Could someone paint pictures with sound?”, we learn about a different Jimi Hendrix.  The young boy Hendrix filled with promise and willingness to practice to perfection.  His first guitar was a five dollar purchase from the landlady’s son.

Golio’s writing infuses the poetic with fact and Javaka Steptoe’s collage illustrations match the tone and the words.  At the end of the book, Golio includes additional biographical information about Jimi Hendrix including how he died.

Some favorite quotes from the book:

“The blues, they is a lonely sound. Like the whistle of a train.  For tender feeling, and pourin’ down rain.”

“Notes spun from the strings, flickering in the air like fireflies.”

“With a flick of a switch, Jimmy’s life was electrified.”

“Don’t et nobody turn you off from your own thoughts and dreams.”

Good news if you loved this book, Golio is coming out with Bob Met Woody, a book about Bob Dylan this May.

Nonfiction Monday is at The Miss Rumphius Effect.  Thanks, Tricia.

Happy Reading.



Poetry Friday: Turn Over Your Hand

Have you every had your palm read or looked for hidden messages? I found this poem by William Stafford in An Oregon Message

Turn Over Your Hand

Those lines on your palm, they can be read
for a hidden part of your life that only
those links can say–nobody’s voice
can find so tiny a message as comes
across your hand. Forbidden to complain,
you have tried to be like somebody else,
and only this fine record you examine
sometimes like this can remember where
you were going before that long
silent evasion that your life became.

Poetry Friday is being rounded up at  A Teaching Life by Tara.

Happy Friday.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: A Couple of My CYBILS NFPB Favorites

Think about reading 112 nonfiction picture books for the CYBILS. (And believe me, that is hardly anything compared to other categories). But then to narrow down into the spectacular seven nominees.  It’s a challenging task for each committee member.  This year our committee did a fabulous job discussing book titles in our own top twenty list.  Some were easy because the titles were on each of our lists.  Others required re-reading, thinking about the criteria, and discussing some more. 

These were top in my top twenty list that I’d like to share today.  I love both topics, dance and archaeology.

The first is Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan.  Greenberg and Jordan have created their own dance in this book about  Appalachian Spring.  The ballet debuted in 1944 with music by Aaron Copeland choreographed by Martha Graham.

In Ballet for Martha, readers get to find out about the back story of how this ballet came into being.  It details Copeland’s composing of the music and the Graham’s choreography.  We learn of the great collaboration between Graham, Copeland and Isamu Noguchi who designed the sets.  The story is told in poetic prose with lots of documentation of the curtain call notes and resource pages.  Brian Floca’s art is flowing in the watercolors.  Readers are treated to wide-angle views as well as up close views. It would be an excellent book for dancers of any age and a book that demonstrates what can happen when people collaborate.

Another book on my top twenty and one that also is about collaboration is Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age by Cheryl Bardoe. What I loved most about this book was the opening chapter hook: two boys, out hunting in Siberia, find a totally preserved animal in the snow bank. I read it to a third grade class last week and the students were riveted and had lots of questions.

The preserved animal was in fact a baby mammoth. Scientists named her Lubya.  It was a significant find for scientists as they were able to use it for extensive study.  Due to time constraints (a thirty minute class) I book walked the rest of the book.  Beyond the first chapter, readers get to read and see through pictures the scientific process at work.  Teeth and jaws are compared in photos.  Bardoe utilizes a style that incorporates a game host situation by setting up scenarios for the readers to get them thinking.  For the younger readers, it’s a perfect way to keep them interested in the text.

I loved the originality of both these topics.  Again, there were some many good choices and I am sorry that some didn’t make the shortlist. Ballet for Martha did win as a Sibert Honor Book and Mammoths and Mastodons were an Orbis Pictus Honor Book.

Nonfiction Monday is at NC Teacher Stuff today.  Thanks, Jeff.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Saying a Name

As part of my month-long celebration of William Stafford, I re-read a chapter on writing poetry in Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer’s Vocation by Stafford.

What I found were a selection of poems at the end of the chapter in which Stafford said the following about them; “These poems. I found, already illustrated points I hadn’t yet thought of when I wrote them.

Saying a Name

Someone the far side of Neahkhanie Mountain
pronounces the name. Clouds come over
for the autumn visit again.
Every summer we try to look away,
to leave the mountain alone. Things
we don’t say begin to belong-live
as the days move, lie on the sand. The blue
sky touches far, forgotten waves.

Then someone looks up. It always happens,
as it should, for the world, and the gray comes back,
saving the deep floating tops of the trees,
and the rocks lower down, and saving the reckless
people who glance too high for so late
a time, and forget, and pronounce a name.

–William Stafford, Writing the Australia Crawl

Point of reference:  Neahkhanie Mountain is located on the Oregon coast near Manzanita. Legend has it that there is buried treasure on the mountain.

Poetry Friday is at Laura Salas: Writing the World for Kids.  Thanks, Laura.

Happy Friday.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: In Celebration of William Stafford

Throughout much of Portland this month, there will be reading celebrations to honor and remember William Stafford who was born in January 17, 1914.  He was a gifted person and left us with so many written treasures.  This month I will feature different poems written by him.  I am constantly stumbling upon ones that wake me up. 

The following if from his book, An Oregon Message.

Say You Are Lonely

More still than a star, one thought shies
by: what if the sky loved you?
But nobody knew? But that magnet in space
pulled hard? But you acted like nothing at all
was reaching or calling for you? More still
than a star going by, that thought stays.
A day at a time pieces of it glow.
Nobody notices: quiet days.

Will you notice the quiet days?

Poetry Friday is hosted by Irene at Live. Love. Explore.  Feast your eyes on poetry and spend a quiet day reading them.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: Round One of CYBILS NFPB Completed

On Saturday the long-awaited CYBILS Finalists were announced.  As the organizer of the Nonfiction Picture Books, the last few days leading up to the announcement were intense with discussing our shortlists and coming to consensus about our shortlist.

Round One panelists were awesome:

Carol of Carol’s Corner
Doret of  The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Karen of Literate Lives
Abby of Abby the Librarian
Mandy of ACPL Mock Sibert
Shirley of Simply Science

Their willingness to discuss and re-read, re-consider and question was phenomenal.  Ranking, conversations, ranking again, and discussions is what made our list truly outstanding this year.  The list seems strong, balanced and books that have great kid appeal.

Here’s our Nonfiction Picture Books shortlist for 2010:

by Steve Jenkins
Nominated by: Mary Ann Scheuer

Dinosaur Mountain: Digging into the Jurassic Age
by Deborah Kogan Ray
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Nominated by: Raymond Tumarkin

Henry Aaron’s Dream
by Matt Tavares
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Margo Tanenbaum

Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum
by Meghan McCarthy
Simon & Schuster
Nominated by: Jess Pugh

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
by Andrea Pinkney
Little, Brown
Nominated by: Allison Moore

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald
by Roxane Orgill
Candlewick Press
Nominated by: Derek Jones

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy)
by Barbara Kerley
Nominated by: Jennifer Donovan

To me, every book or list has a great back story.  These seven books are from a list of 112 titles which were nominated. Nominees in this category increased by 39 titles from last year.  The books were pretty evenly divided between books about animals, people, historical events, and science.

Each title was ranked with criteria including originality, kid appeal, presentation of the material, quality of illustrations and writing.

Now Round Two begins as the round two judges begin rigorous discussions about our spectacular sevenover the next 6 weeks. The winner will be announced on February 14. More about the CYBILS can be found HERE.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted over at Charlotte’s Library.  Enjoy another year of nonfiction books.

Happy Monday. Happy Reading.