It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


I am getting ready for my poetry novel workshop in April by reading the work of Kelly Bingham and Helen Frost. One month from today I will be at the Highlights Foundation with them.



I have read other books by Helen Frost but am not as familiar with Bingham’s work.

I finished Don’t Feed The Boy by Irene Latham. It’s a story that gathers you up from the first page. Latham’s writing is fluid and poetic, hard to put down. A boy living at the zoo, how fun would that be? Remember there are always two sides of the coin.

What are you reading? Visit Teach Mentor Texts.
Happy Monday.


Bridget Zinn Poison Blog Tour

I feel fortunate to be a part of the Bridget Zinn author tour. d you know there are over 100 blogs getting the word out about Poison?

My first involves Poison. It is the first book I read on an ereader. I was able to download the ARC through Netgalley, a way for librarians to keep abreast of the latest soon to be released titles. I loved Kyra, the adorable pig, the action and twists of the book. Definitely could hear Bridget’s voice throughout.

BUT I also discovered that I am in love with real books. I need to have them in hand, be able to turn the pages, and smell the newness of the book. So I was very happy to have purchased Poison last Saturday at the book release party. You can read more about it HERE

20130323-163016.jpg So I am currently rereading the real thing.


Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Purchase your copy


Barnes & Noble


iTunes Bookstore

Powell’s Books

Add Poison to your Goodreads pile!

About Bridget Zinn
Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”

Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.

More blog posts can be found HERE

Run out now and get your book.

Poetry Friday: Get Ready, Ten Days Until National Poetry Month

Ten days until April 1, National Poetry Month. Here’s how I am participating:

1. Poetry Postcard Project: still time to sign up HERE.
2. Thirty Day of Student Poetry here at this blog.
3. Family Library Night on April 16 will have. Show of the poetry written by my students and a time to create a poetry pocket for April 18, “Poem in Your Pocket” day.
4 Participation in the progressive poem over at Irene Latham’s Live Your Poem.
5. Attending a poetry novel workshop in Pennsylvania.

This week I worked with third graders with the cinquain form to highlight information gathered on country research. You can read about it HERE.

More poetry is featured at Gotta Book. Thanks, Greg.

The Poison by Bridget Zinn Book Tour

This is what I am reading. Just released last week. While I read the ARC from Netgalley, there is something about the real book. Come back Saturday for more on the book.


E.M. Kokie
Nyrae Dawn
Julie “Manga Maniac Cafe”
Abby Niles
Pam “Bookalicious” van Hylckama
Jennifer McAndrews “Honestly YA”

Kate Treadway “Verb Vixen”
Martha Brockenbrough
Cameron Y. – What the Cat Read
Bobbie Gould
Molly “Wrapped Up in Books”
Eileen Li

Ashley Walsh “The Quiet Concert”
Jennifer Rummel “YA Book Nerd”
Tammy Hall
Laura Kaye
Melissa Simmons
Shelley Bunnell
Kate Bourne “The Book Monsters”
Taneesha “A Diary of a Book Addict”

Caroline Starr Rose
Lindsey Loucks
Amy Alessio
Elyana Noreme
Rachel Patrick “Beauty and the Bookshelf”
Sonya “Sony the Book Lover”
Elizabeth Seckman

Sara Bennett Wealer
Amy Plum
Betty G. Birney
Elizabeth Otto
Ellen Faith
Celeste Holloway

Janet Fox
Erica “The Book Cellarx”
Amy Stewart “Simple Love of Reading”
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Melody May
Rebekah Faubion

Jon Goldhirsch
MaryAnn Oprea @ Chapter by Chapter
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Brenna from Esther’s Ever After
Lauren Thoman “The Housework Can Wait”
Annabelle Hammond “Read Write and Read Some More

Lucia “The Loyal Book”
Jessica Miller “I Read to Relax”
Melissa de la Cruz
Sara Hayet “The Page Sage”
Tara Hudson
Rebecca Lamb

Johanna Wright
Tara @ Shhh… Not While I’m Reading
Michelle “Much Loved Books”
Kristina Snyder
Zoe Dawson
Peter Salomon

Gwenyth Love “Rants n Scribbles”
Sarah Evans
Robin Bielman
Mundie Moms (Katie)
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Tamson Weston

Lucy “The Reading Date”
Carrie Ardoin “Sweet Southern Home”
Tracy James Jones
Nikki Wang “Fiction Freak”

Amy Thau “Tripping Over Books”
Ashley G. “Wholly-books”
jone “Maclibrary”
Jaime @ Twisting the Lens
Crystal “Winterhaven Books”
Allison Kirk
Jess “Book Rook Reviews”

Lucy Softich “Adventures in Bookland”
Stephanie “Poetry to Prose”
Caren Crane “Romance Bandits”
Lori Degman
Beth Saxton

Michael Gettel-Gilmartin “Middle Grade Mafioso”
Ruth Tenzer Feldman “Blue Thread”
Lynne Kelly
Hafsah “Icey Books”
Samanthe Beck

Becca “I’m Lost in Books”
Brook Gideon “Dead Gideons”
Natalie J. Damschroder, for Everybody Needs a Little Romance
Beth Revis
Damaris “Good Choice Reading”

Amy G. (Kissed by Ink)
Stephanie Ruble
Angie Manfredi “Fat Girl Reading”
Rachel Coyne
Chris Miller

Natalie J. Damschroder
Sara Shafer
Audra “The Society”
Laura Hernandez “Reviews at mse”
Stephanie “Love Life Read”


Visit Teach Mentor Text for more reads

Poetry Friday: J. Patrick Lewis and Hosting


Welcome to Poetry Friday!
Today I have a follow-up poem From J. Patrick Lewis whom I interviewed on Wednesday. (NOTE: I am still learning the ins and outs of Pages on the Mac. I wondered about the line breaks of the poem. Indeed I was correct to wonder and just received the corrected poem)

Here’s what he says about his choice:

I have an inordinate fondness for nonsense verse,
but I’m equally attracted to biographical poems.
April 4th will mark the 45th anniversary of Martin
Luther King, Jr’s. death, so here is a biographical poem.

Ballad of Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

Ten thousands join ten thousands
Without goading police.
The singers sing, their anthems ring,
The speakers speak their peace.

Around the world astonishment—
The ceremonies heard
Or seen on every continent,
And still to come: the Word.

Spectators waving handkerchiefs,
Small children, hearts to seize,
Will tell it taller years from now,
Grandchildren at their knees.

Blue sunshine worships morning,
No cloud would dare to rain
For in his jacket mercy
And in his pocket pain.

Equality his brother
And sisterhood his pride
Meet common sense, nonviolence,
The means he’s deified.

The afternoon is dying down,
The Reverend takes the stage.
George Washington spreads out the book,
Abe Lincoln turns the page.

He reads his notes religiously,
An old familiar theme.
“But please, Martin,” Mahalia shouts,
“Tell ‘em about the dream!”

And first he puts away his speech
Then sweeps away the crowd:
The memory of his remarks
Peals like a thundercloud.

“The content of our character
Personifies a sage.”
One day in 1963.
Belongs to every age

Please leave your links and I will add throughout out the day.

Charles Ghigna says We’re featuring a new chapter of FIRST KISS, the novel-in-verse in progress at the FATHER GOOSE Blog

Matt Forrest talks about March Madness Poetry 2013.

Robyn Hood Black has an interview with Julie Hedlund about her brand-new rhyming storybook app, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. Take a (poetic) peek behind the scenes of digital creation.

You can submit a favorite poetry quote at PMAFS.
At PFAS there is a Juanita Havill poem.

Linda at Teacher Dance a poem written for David Harrison’ one poem a month challenge.

Catherine Johnson has a spring poem.

Gotta get to a budget meeting. More soon.

At GatheringBooks with John Ciardi’s “I Met a Man.”

Renee shares the writing and revision process of a March Madness poem, specifically her first-round poem “Elegy for a Daffodil ” at No Water River.

Tabatha Yeatts has a bit of Walden today.

Today at The Poem Farm has a poem about buttons. And about magic.

Reading the Core has a big sister poem from Kristine O’Connell George.

Mary Lee Hahn shares an original poem about spring.

Laura Purdie Salas has a March Madness Poetry poem, “Blow It Up, Pufferfish!” Check out the wild tournament and vote for your favorites!

Andi is celebrating my seventh blogoversary and doing more Clivia haibun/haiku(with photos of the flower show) at A Wrung Sponge.

Reflections on the Teche has an original poem and a student activity of borrowing a line to “jump start” a poem.

Betsy at Teaching Young Writers has original poem.
Heidi has I’m in today with a summary of my writing process for MMPT, subtitled “The Journey of the Hippo” —

Julie has some thoughts about and links to the March Madness “poetry-under-pressure” playoffs. You’ll find them at The Drift Record. She hopes everyone will join in the fun by voting for their favorites – the Round One voting deadline is staggered throughout the day today, so don’t hesitate!

Tamera is at Smack Dab in the Middle Blog for spring break theme talking about how a day at the lake sparked my memories and kick started poetry that turned into my book.

Steve has two of my shared writing poems from the classroom. He often writes, thinks out loud, and has the kids chime in with ideas and words. They get to see how the writing happens and do some thinking without the burden of a blank page before they go to work on their own.

Katya has March Madness poetry, too. The two kid-lit poems she wrote, and the poem that was really trying to come out as she was writing them.

Steve has an original poem in tribute to Valerie Worth — “Rocking Chair.”

Irene has an overheard conversation and some resulting thoughts on blogging and love and yes, poetry. Includes a poem by Hafiz.Also: just 3 more spots open in 2013 Progressive Poem. Sign up HERE.

Diane is ready for Sunday with an old poem, “The Lepracaun or Fairy Shoemaker” at Random Noodling.

Kurious Kitty is gearing up for National Poetry Month and includes a short favorite poem by Robert Herrick. At KK’s Kwotes there is a sweet quote from Mary Oliver.

Jama is featuring Jorge Argueta’s new cooking poem book, Tamalitos:

Donna has More of the March Madness 2013 Poetry Tournament. I’m there with “The Seasonings of Spring”…and then there’s this short little original ditty that I scheduled to post today…only I was going to remember to finish it, or flesh it out…or flush it! But none of these were done!

Buffy has a Dung Beetles’s Ditty, my poem for the first round of March Madness Poetry!

Karen has some Billy Collins.

Liz has more on March Madness Poetry Tournament also. My first-round word was hubris. I wrote two poems–one I entered in the tournament, the other is on my blog.

Laura Shovan has more March Madness Poetry too It took my four poems with the word “perpendicular” before I settled on my round one entry, a poem about an inchworm who teaches geometry.

At On Point, Lorie has an original haiku, A Charm of Hummingbirds and at readertotz we have Jack Prelutsky from A Pizza the Size of the Sun.

Tara has Migraines and poetry!

Little Willow has The Waking at my blog, Bildungsroman:
It includes a link to Kurt Elling performing the piece, and then some discussion of Norbert Leo Butz.

Mother Reader is sharing “The Book of Fairy Poetry.”

Janet Squires has Poems in black & white” by Kate Miller.

Bridget has “A Different Breed of Bunny Riddle.”

Today at TeachingAuthors, April has interviewed one of the most poetic prose writers of picture books she knows, Michelle Markel. Enter their Book Giveaway to win an autographed copy of her newest book (which got FOUR starred reviews!), Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909.

Pentimento has a Edna St. Vincent Millay about loss and memory.

Poetry for Children has a poem about Guadalupe Garcia McCall, the IRA Lee Bennett Hopkins “Promising Poet.”

Ruth has a frivolous entry today, a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, with a video of a hilarious performance of it.

Cathy has The Quilt.

Jeanine wrote an overview of some panels on poetry at AWP focusing on definitions of verse novels.
More as the links come in. If I missed you, please email me.

Happy Friday.


Interview Wednesday: J. Patrick Lewis

Today I am pleased to share my recent interview with J. Patrick Lewis, currently the Children’s Poetry Laureate.

Your Reading Life

MsMac:What books are on your night stand?
JPL: P.G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters, Charles Causley’s Collected Poems, James Fenton’s Out of Danger, Ian MacEwan’s latest novel, Sweet Tooth, The Seashell Anthology of Great Poetry, Lewis Turco’s The New Book of Forms, which makes a nearly quotidian circuit from nightstand to study, and a glass of Chardonnay.

MsMac:What was your favorite book as a child? Was poetry something you enjoyed as a child?

JPL: I was weaned on the venerable Childcraft Series (Aesop’s Fables, the Brothers Grimm, myths and other folktales), though I doubt that too many folks remember those books. As a youngster, I’d wager I read half of the 200 orange Bobbs-Merrill biographies. Poetry never entered my galaxy until I was 39 years old. (Long story.)

MsMac: Where’s your favorite reading spot?
JPL: A chair, any chair—Hepplewhite, Chesterfield, chaise longue, barber’s chair, bean bag, bar stool. A chair.

Your Writing Life

MsMac: What does a day of work look like for you? What is your favorite time of day to write?
JPL:Mirabile dictu, I awake each day at 3:30 AM (warped metabolism!). So I’m in my office no later than 4:30. With breaks for coffee, emails, grazing, a nap, a pedicure, extreme skateboarding, and schmoozing with my wife, I am writing, rewriting, reading, researching until c. 4 PM. I’m not particularly proud to admit that I affirm more than most William James’s adage: “Habit is the great flywheel of society.” As Donald Hall put it (counterintuitively but correctly in my view), one should save the last third of one’s life for work.

All of the above apply on days that I am not visiting schools, traveling to conferences, or TLCaring for the 35 trees I’ve planted in my backyard.

MsMac: love Donald Hall’s statement. Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?
JPL: I spend so much time revising one continuously changing draft that it always seems like writing the first draft to me. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference.

MsMac: What does your writing space look like?

JPL: Nondescript. A crooked little room in a crooked house with a window looking out on a blue jay cannonballing the birdbath, a sparrow flirting (in vain) with a goldfinch, and Mr. and Mrs. Wren squabbling as usual . . . or a snow plow whizzing by.

MsMac: What are your current projects?
JPL: Make the Earth Your Companion, a lyrical book-length nature poem I am revising for Creative Editions; an ambitious ms., the tentatively-titled Voices from the March, 1963, a book of poems I am writing with my friend George Ella Lyon; my sixth book with the marvelous illustrator, Gary Kelley—James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters; and always, when time allows, the desultory adult poem or light verse.

MsMac: What might readers find you doing when you’re not writing?
JPL: Skyping with my grandchildren in Portland, Oregon and York, England, or with my dear Russian friends of forty years in Moscow. Also, I’m about to fence the entire block with an enormous macramé I have made out of my rejection letters. The letters are twisted in such a way that you can’t see any of my naughty marginalia.

About Your Books and Being the Children’s Poet Laureate

MsMac: As the Children’s Poet Laureate, how has the awareness of children’s poetry been raised? What do you wish for children’s poetry?
JPL: Baseball is not America’s pastime, as I’ve said so often. America’s pastime is not reading poetry. I like to think of myself as a Pied Piper for poetry—before, now, and after the laureateship. Perhaps all children’s poets who visit schools feel the same way. I don’t want children to love poetry. My objective is more modest: I want them to hate poetry less than most Americans do. If, at the end of a school day with 400-500 children, I have turned 4 or 5 heads in such a way that I have convinced them to keep poetry in their quivers for a lifetime, then I call that success.

MsMac: i agree with the desire to keep poetry in their “quivers”. You had seven books published in 2012. What does it take to get that many published in one year?
JPL: Paying various editors large sums of money. Seriously, the answer is a combination of hard work and dumb luck. Children’s poetry has become the demented stepchild of publishing, best kept chained in a broom closet. These days many publishers have embargoed it altogether. So seven books in one year is a mistake and a rarity, at least for me, and I’m sure it will never happen again. To state the obvious, the quantity of books one writes counts for nothing next to the quality.

MsMac:Two books, Last Laughs and Twins were a collaboration with Jane Yolen. What can you share about the collaborative process?
JPL: Collaboration is probably not the right word since it suggests two poetsworking together cheek by jowl, revising one poem, back and forth, until it’s as close to perfection as they can make it. I would say that what I have done with a half dozen children’s poets, including Jane and our three books, is simply “co-authorship.” We settle on a subject that appeals to both of us, then write and rewrite 8 or 9 poems each until we’ve produced what we think is a publishable ms. Sometimes, of course, we’re wrong. For the three books Jane and I have published successfully, three others have died aborning.

MsMac: What do you hope readers/viewers take away?
JPL: My books.

But seriously, I hope to provide them with a soupcon of entertainment in a dwindling-down day. Certainly no “message” and nothing of an “educational” nature appear in my books.

Just for Fun

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Either one, with almonds.
Coffee or tea? Decaf

Dance: funky chicken or the tango? If I were to attempt either one, it would be a personal offense to my sacroiliac.

Favorite Quote:

JPL: My favorite quote, like my favorite book or author, changes every 15 seconds. This 15 seconds?

“Technique is important. I think that if most people who called themselves poets were tightrope-walkers they’d be dead.”
~Irish poet Michael Longley

Thank you, Patrick. If you haven’t read his poetry books, run quick to get them.
Happy reading. Come back Friday to read one of his poems.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


Daylight Savings Time started in the Northwest yesterday. I probably should have listened to the experts about what to do to adjust such as getting to bed early. But I could not! I had to finish Hold Fast by Blue Balliett. I recommend this book, probably Balliett’s best. I am now going to attempt listening to books in the car and do a Balliett book study. I read Chasing Vermeer years ago but didn’t follow up on the rest.


Vancouver, WA, the city where I work is having a city all-read event with the following book. Several teacher librarians will be reading and discussing.


Find out what others are reading at Teach Mentor Texts.

Happy Monday.
Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Poetry Postcards Getting Ready

As you can see the students are working on their poetry postcards in preparation of National Poetry Month.



Do you want a postcard send to your home or school? Visit HERE to sign up.

Poetry Friday is being held at My Juicy Little Universe

Happy reading. Happy Poetry.


It’s Monday: What Are You Reading?


I am still reading last week’s books: Don’t Feed the Boy by Irene Latham and 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do by Kim Stafford.

BUT I got side tracked by a post by sharpread. I ordered the book, Hold Fast by Blue Balliett from the library. Then when at the Scholastic Warehouse, there was the book so I had to get it. I am almost finished.


It’s a delicious read. What are you reading? find out what others are reading at Teach Mentor Texts.

Happy Monday.
Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Fifth Grade Haiku

I am getting reading for National Poetry Month with haiku and Fibonacci poems. Here are some from Mrs. Nagely’s fifth grade class:

Butterfly wing dust
Migration moves along fast
Slippery green grass

Leaves crackle to my heavy step.
Sun rays blind me so.
While I walk the streets.

Thunderstorm haiku

Rain falls into gutters as
Lightning hits the ground blinding
Light flashes in the storm

More poetry can be found at The Drift Record. Thank you for hosting Julie.
Happy Friday.
Happy poetry.