Poetry Friday: Ask Me by William Stafford


Poetry Friday is being held at Reading to the Core.

Throughout Oregon this month, there have been reading of William Stafford’s poems. It’s his birthday month.  One of my favorite pomes is “Ask Me.”  I share it today remembering how lucky I was to know this man.

Ask Me by William Stafford

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry.



Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week


Time to celebrate the goodness of the week. Go to Ruth Ayres Writes for more celebrations.


This quote: “Focus on the good.” Focus is my OLW for 2016.


Creating art this afternoon. Playing with watercolor so and photos.


Practicing self care. It’s okay to spend the afternoon reading. Which I did yesterday. Finished The Hired Girl by Amy Schlitz.


Meeting with my writing group. I missed December because I was ill. Such great discussions.


Getting back on track with blogging and writing. It’s been difficult to be consistent. Am focusing on writing routines.

Poetry Friday: Ones that Got Away


Tara at A Teaching Life is hosting Poetry Friday. Thank you, Tara.


Well, Round Two judges are at work determining which of the stellar seven  finalists will win the CYBILS Award for Poetry.  There were many deserving nominations this year.  The inclusion of verse novels has added a new dimension to the category.

Here are three other nominations that were among my top picks but alas we could only select seven.

AUDACITY by Melanie Crowder:  This is loosely based on the life of Clara Lemlich Shavelson, leader of the 1909 shirtwaist strike. Travel back to New York City in the early 1900’s. The city has many sweatshops where young girls like Clara find work. Clara is a Russian Jew whose family has fled discrimination in Russia.

Clara discovers that opportunities are limited for women. She is determined to change working conditions and become educated.  A powerful historical story based on interviews of family and research. The poetry is lyrical and moving.

i’ll admit historical fiction is among my favorite genres so AUDACITY made my shortlist.

RANDOM BODY PARTS: GROSS ANATOMY RIDDLES IN VERSE by Leslie Bulion is a fun collection of poems About our body. I’m thinking it would fit with our third grade body system perfectly.

The illustrations by Mike Lowery have magnified photos of the organs and are presented in a collage format.

There’s a diagram of the human body with info about the different poetry forms.

This is a book filled with plenty of kid appeal.

AMAZING PLACES by Lee Bennett Hopkins. When Hopkins puts together an anthology of poems, you know it will have outstanding poets such as Nikki Grimes, Janet Wong, and Joseph Bruchac. From Denali National Park to Oneida Nations Museum throughout the United States are highlighted. The illustrations are gorgeous. I can see readers of any age pouring over these poems.

I wish all the shortlisted books could be finalists but alas only seven can go forward. The nominations this year were deep. Until the CYBILS are announce on February 14, enjoy these three books.

Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry.




Poetry Friday: Poetry Rocks


Poetry Friday is hosting by Keri Recommends.

I have been in a GLAD  training all week.  It’s been a great week but my brain hurts.  In the morning, we’ve watched demonstration lessons in a first grade classroom.  In the afternoon, we’ve been working on GLAD units of study.  No surprise, mine is on poetry.

Part of the Guided Oral Reading is creating chants.  So this is mine.  In the next few weeks, I will be co-teaching the poetry unit with a second grade teacher.



We just know what we’ve been
We just know what we’ve been told

Poetry is good for the soul
Poetry is good for the soul

Alliteration, repetition too,
Alliteration, repetition too,

Always creates a mood
Always creates a mood

Sound off!  Poetry!
Sound off!  Similes!
1-2-3-4…Poetry Rocks

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved
Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week

Thanks to Ruth Ayers for providing a place to share our celebrationseach week.


It’s been awhile since I’ve written a celebrations post. But a brand new year gives me a fresh start.

The doctors and nurses at Willamette Falls Hospital who tended to me for two days earlier this week. I had neck surgery earlier this month and developed blood clots as a result.  I am celebrating the excellent care I received.

Friends who brought us dinner after the hospital visit.

The birds that come to our suet block each day. The male Downey Woodpecker finally showed up.

Going for a New Year’s Day walk on the Mt. Talbert Nature Trail.


Spending time with youngest daughter and our two grandgirls over New Year’s.

What are you celebrating?

Poetry Friday: Poetry Finalist for CYBILS


Mary Lee of A Year of Reading is hosting Poetry Reading.

Today’s the day!  The finalists for the CYBILS  have been announced HERE.

Let’s take a moment to salute the Magnificent Seven Poetry Finalists.

We welcomed the addition of verse novels this year to poetry so we

had a total of forty-eight entries. Of the the forty-eight, twenty

six were collections, nine were anthologies, and thirteen were verse


My awesome team of Margaret Simon, Tricia Hunt-Stohr, Nancy Bo Flood,

Irene Latham, Sylvia Vardell, and Carol Wilcox discussed and advocated

for these Magnificent Seven.  Not an easy task.Three are verse novels and

three are collections and one is an anthology.

Before I share the list, I have a shout out of thanks for help that Carol

provided when I ended up in the hospital earlier this week with blood clots

from surgery.

And now without further ado…

HOUSE ARREST by K. A. Holt; Chronicle, 2015

Nominated by Mike Jung

When Timothy is caught shoplifting, he’s under “house arrest” for a whole year, required to keep a journal, see a therapist, and check in with a probation officer. But in this compelling and honest novel in verse, we come to see he is dealing with some very difficult circumstances that center around an overworked mom, an absent father, and an infant brother who suffers from a severe, chronic and life-threatening condition: subglottic stenosis. Although based on the author’s own experiences with her own son, this is not a didactic treatment of childhood illness, rather it’s about how difficult times force us to dig deep to find the inner resources that can help us rise to the challenges we face in life. Timothy is difficult, obnoxious, totally absorbing and often hilarious. Even the adult characters are multi-dimensional with side stories of their own. Told from Timothy’s point of view, the poetry manages to convey so much information, emotion, and growing self-awareness, while giving the reader plenty of space to think, too.

Sylvia Vardell

edited by J. Patrick Lewis
National Geographic Children’s Books

Nominated by bevpdx

This outstanding companion to Lewis’s 2012 collection of animal poetry, THE BOOK OF NATURE POETRY includes more than 200 poems from writers both classic (Blake, Dickinson, Thoreau, Whitman) and contemporary (Hoberman, Nye, Mora, Yolen). Paired with superb and often breathtaking nature photography, readers will return to this book often to appreciate both the poems and the photographs. Organized into the categories The Wonder of Nature, In the Sky, In the Sea, On the Move, Across the Land, In Shad, In Distress, In Season, In Splendor, and Last Thoughts, the collection celebrates biodiversity and the amazing landscapes that support life on our planet. Back matter includes an essay on Mother Nature, a bibliography of children’s books on wordplay in poetry organized by poetic form, and indices of the poems by title, poet, first line, and subject.

This is a massive volume that includes something for readers of all ages, and one that will have them anxious to step outside and explore the world around them.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, The Miss Rumphius Effect

written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Henry Holt
Nominated by Linda Baie

FLUTTER AND HUM: ALETEO Y ZUMBIDO by Julie Paschkis, is a collection of fifteen free verse animal poems- including snake, turtle, crow, heron, parrot, dog, cat, cow, fly, whale, deer, moth, owl, fish– in both English and Spanish.  The poems are accompanied by Paschkis’ vibrant folk art, with words from the poem/palabras de los poemas embedded in the illustrations.

The author’s note is particularly interesting. In this note, Paschkis explains that she is not a native Spanish speaker, and  became interested in the language when she was illustrating a book about Pablo Neruda, approximately ten years ago. This sparked her interest in learning Spanish, which ultimately led to the publication of FLUTTER AND HUM/ALETEO Y ZUMBIDO. Paschkis says, “Somehow my unfamiliarity with Spanish freed me to write poetry. I felt like a visitor wandering through a forest of Spanish words, marveling at the beauty of sound, meaning, and syntax.”

This is a book sure to delight both English and Spanish readers.

by Carol Wilcox, Carol W’s Corner

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Nominated by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Based on a true events, this historical verse novel celebrates friendship in an unlikely place: the munitions factory in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Two girls separated from their families tell their stories in alternating chapters that chronicle the daily horrors, and also the small, tender triumphs that sustain them in beautiful unflinching verse that never once loses sight of hope for survival, escape, and a future filled with family and love. The book includes a historical note and actual photographs of the birthday card (now on display at Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre) that was created in secrecy and defiance, and was signed by the whole group of friends. This powerful, meaningful story for ages 12 and up will “unfold… a corner of your heart.

by Irene Latham, Live Your Poem

The Popcorn Astronauts: And Other Biteable Rhymes by Barbara Ruddell

Delicious. Ridiculous. Funny.  Engaging.  Popcorn Astronauts offers a variety of “edible” poems that are as strange and crazy as the book’s title.  For example, try a shake ordered to poetic specifications:  “A frosty cup of moonlight, please … As mushy as a mittenful of slightly melted snow ….”  If that is a little on the chilly side, then try “Dracula’s Late-Night Bite,”especially after he “flosses his fangs and he slides out the door for dessert.”  Great poems to cause both laughter and interest in young readers and examples for writing one’s own delicious verse.

Margaret K. McElderry Books

Nominated by Bridget Wilson

by Nancy Bo Flood, http://www.ReaderKidz.com   www.thepiratetree.com

FULL CICADA MOON by Marilyn Hilton

Mimi’s appearance is what her new classmates see.  They do not see Mimi. She looks different than anyone in a nearly all-white New England town.  She acts different. Mimi wants to be in Shop Class, not Home Ec.  The school says “no.”  Mimi wants to be an astronaut.  Classmates make fun of her. But Mimi refuses to let go of her dreams, her goals, and who she is, no matter how much she is teased and bullied.  And then someone dares to speak up.

This historical middle-grade novel is told in verse, a lyrical and emotional journey from Mimi’s perspective over the course of one year of surviving in an unwelcoming new school and town.

Nominated by MotherReader

by Nancy Bo Flood, http://www.ReaderKidz.com   www.thepiratetree.com

Winter Bees (And Other Poems of the Cold) by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

Did you know that bees stay active in the winter?  They boil, teem, and hum to keep themselves and their queen warm and safe.  Winter Bees is full of fascinating facts about plants and animals in winter.  The poems offer vibrant, moving energy around words and images.  Rick Allen’s illustrations take you into the midst of the snow and wind with vivid expression.  From free-verse, rhyming, to original poetic forms, Joyce Sidman warms our hearts through the cold tundra.  Dancing with the chickadee “From dawn to dusk in darkling air/ we glean and gulp and pluck and snare”, discovering snow fleas “A mob of us, a mass of us, a throng of us,” and wondering with the trees “Roots are deep and time is slow./ All we grasp we must let go,” Winter Bees is a treasure to hold.  

by Margaret Simon

Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry