Poetry Friday: Twenty Six Acts

random acts
honoring those lost


I am sure many have heard about the twenty-six act of kindness started by Ann Curry. It’s been on my mind and this week I decided what I would do to participate.

You see, there are a lot of poetry books, sent by publishers for the CYBILs. I usually share with other schools but not this year. This year, I will pass them out with the following note:

To honor the children and adults of Sandy Hook Elementary whose lives were taken too soon, please accept this random act of kindness. I love poetry and want to share it with others. This poetry book was nominated for the 2012 CYBILs Poetry Award (http://www.cybils.com/).

The principal, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, loved reading and to inspire her students she dressed as a book fairy in October. Please share this book with someone or a school.

You are number ___ in honor of ________________________________

Wishing you joy, love and peace this holiday season. Please keep the kindness going!

#26acts #26actsofkindness http://www.facebook.com/26acts

I started on Christmas when we stopped at a Starbucks. By the time I left, a mother was reading to her daughter. I am in Medford this Friday and will include my grand girls in the giving.

As Ann Curry says, “Are you in?”

Poetry Friday is being held at Carol’s Corner.


Happy Reading.

Merry Christmas

Words Travel on Angel’s Wings

For miracles and peace on earth,
Brilliant brittle stars dangle in the midnight sky.
Angels past, angels present, and future angels
Bring good news of great joy.

Brilliant brittle stars dangle in the midnight sky.
One straw filled wooden manger awaits
The good news of great joy.
Shepherds watch their flock in the silent night.

One straw filled wooden manger awaits.
Husband and wife travel for miles, no place to stay.
Shepherds watch their flock in the silent night.
A baby boy arrives in the world.

Husband and wife travel for miles, no place to stay.
Word travels on angel’s wings, a star illumines the way.
A baby boy arrives in the world.
Rosemary and thyme perfume the silent night.

Word travels on angel’s wings, a star illumines the way,
For angels past, angels present, and future angels.
Rosemary and thyme perfume the silent night
For miracles and peace on earth.

Happy Reading.

Poetry Friday: Draw by Amy Van DerWater

On Wednesday, I featured Amy VanDerWater. Today she shares this poem with me:


Cavemom said, Draw on our walls!
Caveboy got a bone
dipped it into mud and blood.
And then he felt alone.

The wall was blank. The wall was clear.
He stood in place. He stared in fear.
How would he fill this empty space?
Cavemom looked into his face.

Caveboy darling. Caveboy child.
Draw the bison, free and wild.
Draw your father.
Draw a deer.
Draw your life.
Draw right here.

He drew one tree. She drew another.
They drew all morning, boy and mother.

we will all be gone.
But art we make lives on and on.

© Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

I don’t know about you put I can see the drawings made by the cave of and cavemom. I love the last stanza.
Poetry Friday is hosted by Jama’s Alphabet Soup


Happy Reading.

Interview Wednesday: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Your Reading Life

MsMac: What books are on your night stand?
Amy: At the moment, my nightstand holds two very different books: THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO by Stephen Galloway and IF YOU WERE A CHOCOLATE MUSTACHE by J. Patrick Lewis.

MsMac:What was your favorite book as a child/teen? As an adult?
Amy: I loved so many books. As a little girl, I would get lost in RICHARD SCARRY’S BEST STORYBOOK EVER and A CHILD’S GARDEN OF POEMS, illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa. As I got older, I was a real Nancy Drew fan, enjoying 15 nightly minutes of reading in bed. My mother always checked out library books for my sister Heidi and me, and we kept them on a deacon’s bench in our front hall. Now I have the bench, and it reminds me of those days. As an adult, I have many favorites including WORDS TO LIVE BY by Eknath Easwaran and David Shenk’s THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US.

MsMac: Where’s your favorite reading spot?
Amy: I love reading in bed, in the bathtub, under the Christmas tree…anywhere, really!

MsMac: What do you think about the trend to e-books?
Amy : E-books are amazing, and although I don’t own an e-reader yet, I wouldn’t be opposed to reading on one. But just as I love drafting on paper and then moving to computer, my heart will always hold paper books dear.
MsMac: I have to agree with you, Amy. I have an IPad but I have yet to read a book with it.

Your Writing Life

MsMac: What does a day of work look like for you? What is your favorite time of day to write?
Amy: My daily work often finds me planning to teach or teaching workshops in schools. Writing is something I tuck into nooks of both day and night, often when the rest of the house is sleeping. Some days I am more disciplined than others, and those days make me happy.

MsMac: Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?
Amy: I love both! I adore the surprise of drafting, being visited by a mysterious sparkling idea. And I love revising, getting to know the idea better, helping it find its shape and voice. Drafting allows me to free my mind, to accept quirky trinkets from the universe. Revising requires me to read, reread, listen, tune, and rewrite. Both are exciting.

MsMac: What does your writing space look like?
Amy: I write everywhere: at the kitchen table, on my bed, lying on the living room floor, outside in the grass, snuggled up in our fat purple chair, on my steering wheel, at my roll top desk…

MsMac: What are your current projects?
Amy: Right now I need to finish up READING TIME (WordSong), a collection of poems about reading. I am also working on my first picture book and brewing a few other poetry collections.

MsMac: What advice do you have for poets of any age?
Amy: Listen to that small inner voice, the one tossing you mysterious sparkling ideas. Build in some daily quiet so you can hear it.

MsMac: What might readers find you doing when you’re not writing?
Amy: Oh, you might find me just visiting with my great husband and children, or baking, or reading, or working on this enormous granny square afghan, or laughing at the antics of our many pets.

About The Poem Farm

MsMac: How did The Poem Farm Get started?
Amy: I began The Poem Farm as a one-month blog in April 2010. My intent was to write and post a new poem each day for the whole month, but when April ended, I was not finished! I decided to continue posting daily poems and notes to students for a whole year and now still post regularly. Keeping this blog has widened and deepened my little world in more ways than I ever could have dreamt.

MsMac: You have a couple of poetry books that are going to be released. What can you tell me about them?
Amy: FOREST HAS A SONG (Clarion) will be published this March, and it is a whimsical collection of poems about a forest through the seasons. My husband Mark, a science teacher, taught me to pay lose attention to nature on our many hikes together. With this book, I hope to pass on his reverence for the wooded world.

READING TIME (WordSong) is a celebration of reading, inspired by watching our children – Hope, Georgia, and Henry – fall headlong into books of all sorts.

MsMac: What do you hope readers take away?
Amy: I love reading poems that make me whisper, “Yes! I feel that way too, but I didn’t know I felt that way until now.” And I hope that in some small way, my poems will give readers this “not alone” feeling. I always hope that people will be able to find themselves in my poems.

Just for Fun

MsMac: Chocolate: Dark or milk?
Amy: Any!

MsMac: Coffee or tea?
Amy: Tea

MsMac: Dance: funky chicken or the tango?
Amy: Tango

Favorite Quote:

Here is one I love, from Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness.”

“Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.”

Poetry Friday: Nasty Bugs and Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems

Today I have two poetry books to share.  Both books are about the same topic: bugs except boy howdy, they are completely different. 

NASTY BUGS, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Will Terry is a collection of  sixteen poems about bugs. Bugs that you might not be especially fond of such as chiggers, lice, and ticks.  Or how about cockroaches, bedbugs, or fleas?  Even though the topics are making me  itch as I type, engaged second graders laughed and giggled, eewed and itched. They can all relate to this pesky pest.   Take a look at lice for example:

Ridiculous Pediculus
O tiny vampire louse
You crawl from head
                                  to head
                                       to head
from house
                     to house
                                    to house.

Older than Columbus,
you reached the New World first.

Terry’s exaggerated, bright and fun illustration of humongous lice complemented the poem.At the end of NASTY BUGS, there is an appendix with information on the bugs featured in the book including the scientific name.

BUG OFF! CREEPY CRAWLY POEMS by Jane Yolen and photographs by Jason Stemple,  is a collection of thirteen creepy crawly insects.  Stemple’s photography is incredible as is his website.  As I photographer, I am curious about how he gets his shots and how many photos he takes for the perfect shot.   Yolen’s introduction writes of her growing appreciation of insects and encourages readers to write their own poems.  She reminds  readers to choose exactly the right word.   Here are a couple of my favorite lines from the book:

A tu-tu clad dancer ~ “Butterfly to a Flower”

You are a spinner of fibs
Let us make a poem together ~ “Spider to the Poet”

With angel wings of dark-stained glass ~ “Dragonfly Lights”

Each page has an inset with information about the insect.

Library Connections:  I used these two books with students by reading poems from each.  We compared the poems that were on the same insect (there are four insects: ants, ticks, flies and bees/wasps.  Students had terrific comments about the illustrations, photos, and the tone of the poems.

Common Core tie-in: Reading Literature, Key Ideas and Details: Compare and contrast, determining meanings of words and determining the theme of the text.

Title: Nasty Bugs
Editor: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrator: Will Terry
Published: 2012
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 3-5
Publisher: Dial for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3716-87
Source:  Sent by publisher for CYBILS consideration.

Title: Bug Off! Creepy Crawly Poems
Author: Jane Yolen
Photographer: Jason Stemple
Published: 2012
Pages: 31
Reading Level: 3-5
Publisher: Wordsong
ISBN: 978-1-59078-862-2
Source:  Sent by publisher for CYBILS consideration.

Poetry Friday is being held at Read, Write, Howl!

Happy Reading.