#PB10for10: Important Stories from History

It’s August 10 so you know what that means–time for Mandy Robek’s and Cathy Mere’s incredible #PB10for10. A day to find lots of great new books from so many people! This year’s posts are being curated at the blog Reflect and Refine so make sure to visit several times today so that you don’t miss a post. Also follow the hashtag #PB10for10 on social media.

This year, my 10 picture books are books that helped me learn about some story or piece of history that I didn’t know about. Thanks to Dr. Laura Jiménez, I have realized how much history I have not learned and how important it is for us to learn the history we missed. So much of this history was not taught when I went to school and with these great picture books, we can learn important history ourselves and we have great books to share with our students so they don’t miss this history. I’ve learned so much from each of these books and they are all perfect for elementary classrooms. This is certainly not a comprehensive list but it’s a good place to start.

Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone

We Are Still Here: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell

Equal Shot: How the Law Title IX Changed America by Helaine Becker

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford

A Day for Rememberin’: The First Memorial Day by Leah Henderson

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito

The Teachers March: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America by Deborah Diesen

All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything by Annette Bay Pimentel

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story by Joseph Bruchac

Poetry Friday Roundup is Here!

Passing the Torch

I shake the flame out of my matchstick;
(one flame dies so another can grow)
cup my hand around the candle’s burning wick.

Nothing about this process is quick.
(light one, expect others to follow)
Again, I shake the flame out of my matchstick,

discard it with a flick,
(travel light, shed unnecessary cargo)
cup my trembling hand around the candle’s wick

and listen to the clock tick-tick-tick.
(there’s no stopping time, I know, I know)
I shake and the flame goes out of my matchstick.

This is no magician’s trick --
(it’s a hard pill to swallow)
the cup of hand around the candle’s burning wick

is merely the arithmetic
of love caught and held in a minute glow.
And so I shake the flame out of my matchstick; 
cup my hand around the candle’s burning wick.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021




It’s August, and retirement is getting real. My brain is not filled with thoughts of classroom organization, community building, lesson planning, or safety mandates. And that’s okay. Time to move on to new adventures.

This poem was the first villanelle I attempted in July as I prepared for the Poetry Sisters’ challenge. I used my clunker line from Linda Mitchell (I shake the flame out of my matchstick) but I never intended for it to be a poem about retirement. The best poems are the ones that surprise even the poet, right?

Christie, who has next week’s roundup, is gathering lines for a community “Poetry Is…” poem she’ll post next week. Be sure to check out her post and contribute a line!

Add your link to the roundup here!

Poetry Friday: Villanelle

image via Unsplash
Don’t Just Stand There, Open Your Umbrella

Before me in the east,
wrapped in a billowing headdress,
sun peeks.

Without turning, I can hear
grumbles of unrest,
while before me in the east,

with a well-practiced technique,
coyly half-dressed,
sun peeks

at the growling purple beast
storming in from the west.
Before me in the east

she begins to disappear
behind clouds that fume and crest.
Sun peeks

one last time. Then the storm releases
all the rage it had suppressed.
Before me in the east,
sun no longer peeks.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021


The Poetry Sisters’ challenge for this month was to write a villanelle on the theme of dichotomy. Have you ever noticed that villanelle begins with villain (almost)? This is a doozie of a form and the added challenge of a dichotomy…whew! I started one with the repeating lines

In early May, on a whim, I chose
zinnia seeds to plant in rows.

I managed to make it all the way through a villanelle with those lines, but it fell apart in revision. Luckily, I wrote several villanelles in July! I’m not sure there’s any clear dichotomy in this one (stormy/sunny?), and I definitely bent the rules a bit with my last line, but I had fun with enjambment!

Check out what the rest of the Poetry Sisters came up with:

Laura
Liz
Sara
Tanita
Tricia

Rebecca has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Sloth Reads.

Poetry Friday: RIP Uncle Bob

A jumble of memories

Uncle Bob was not my uncle. He was my dad’s cousin, but the closest thing to family we had. He also was not a cowboy, but if you saw his slow, bow-legged saunter, his cowboy hat, his blue jeans and western snap-fasten shirts, that’s what you might think. You wouldn’t know by looking that he was the canniest dry-land farmer in the Great Plains of Eastern Colorado. He was born and raised in the part of Colorado without mountain peaks and rich soil. His landscape was wide and flat and dry. Dirt roads with thistle in the ditches marked the edges of native grassland pasture and wheat fields. Uncle Bob had a deep understanding of the land he farmed, never succumbing to “the grass is greener” mentality of irrigation. He was a dry-land farmer whose harvest depended on the land and the weather. There were good years with enough moisture, and plenty of years with dust devils and tumbleweeds before the rain came…or didn’t come. In the summer, many a cumulonimbus cloud appeared on the horizon, only to take its rain elsewhere, but perhaps also its hail. A winter blizzard was a mixed blessing of wind that carried topsoil away and brought moisture that did or didn’t cover the fields to nourish the winter wheat. Uncle Bob secured his success by collaborating with the land and the climate, but he allied with another of the vast natural resources of Eastern Colorado for his final venture — harvesting the wind with graceful lines of enormous turbines.

In my mind, it is night. I stand in the dusty yard where I played as a child, rusty tractors along the fence, the Milky Way a bright smear across the impossibly dark sky. Uncle Bob is in it all — land, sky, and wind.


This prose poem was written in 2019 using cards from “Paint Chip Poetry.” I learned yesterday that Uncle Bob passed away last weekend. I was looking forward to seeing him next week when we’re back home. We’ll drive past the home place and I’ll savor my memories.

Kat has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at her blog, Kathryn Apel: Children’s Author & Poet.

Poetry Friday: Surprise!

Back in May, I learned that one of my poems on YDP (Your Daily Poem) made the cut for 100 chosen as “the best of YDP!”

The collection is titled POEMS TO LIFT YOU UP AND MAKE YOU SMILE. It’s not up on Amazon yet, but can be found at Parson’s Porch & Company. Here’s that poem, which I wrote back in 2012. It kind of describes my day yesterday!

photo via Unsplash
CHANT OF THE COMPUTER-WEARY

update
download
Internet
code

password
fire wire
USB
load

keyboard
network
charger cord
mouse

sunshine
fresh air
out of the
house

© Mary Lee Hahn

Molly has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Nix the Comfort Zone.

Slice of Life: Home

Thank you, TwoWritingTeachers for hosting this community!

Can you still call it home if you’ve lived elsewhere longer than all the years you spent growing up there? Can you still call it home if there are no living relatives there, just some boxes in your mom’s friend’s barn? I hope so, because I do.

It’s home because the sidewalk I scuffed along from the back screen door to the little building where my bike was stored is there. The little building that sat in the shade of the ash tree that turns a glorious yellow in the fall. The ash tree that shared the yard with a weeping birch with fronds that grew down to the grass making a cool and shady secret hiding place in the summer. (We cried when that tree had to be cut down. Perhaps the ash tree is gone now, too. I’m not sure I want to know because I remember how much it hurt to see that mom’s iris had been dug up. Will the maple in the front yard be gone?)

I’m going home at the end of the month, and it will be both home and not home in the same way that I am both the child who grew up there and not that child at all. There will be change and constancy, differences and similarities, familiar and unfamiliar. In the wind, I will hear echoes of my mother’s voice and my father’s laugh and on Main Street, I’ll be greeted by people who remember me but whose names I either never knew or can’t remember. And it will be okay. It will all be okay. I will be at home.

Poetry Friday: There’s a Village for Sale in Scotland

There’s a Village for Sale in Scotland

There’s a village for sale in Scotland.
Only $173,000 and that includes mossy ruins
and a beach on the loch.

In Scotland, thunderclouds won’t stall overhead
dumping inches of rain at a time, flooding the yard.

In Scotland, the yard waste is always picked up on time
and the neighbors don’t build smoky fires with wet wood.

In Scotland, Democracy is not failing,
racism is not systemic, and police are always helpful.

Though there’s a village for sale in Scotland
I’m not buying it.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021

Laura Shovan takes us to the Black Lagoon for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.

#PoemPairs

The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest
by Heather Lang
illustrated by Jana Christy
Boyds Mills & Kane/Calkins Creek, 2021
review copy provided by the publisher (thanks!)


FIRST THE PICTURE BOOK

The Leaf Detective is a picture book biography written in verse, lushly illustrated, and sprinkled throughout with quotes from Margaret Lowman and rainforest facts. Following the author’s note (she’s actually met and learned alongside Margaret Lowman in the Amazon rainforest in Peru), readers can learn more about the rainforest from a flip-the-book-vertically double-spread diagram of the levels of the rainforest, and explore further resources listed in the back matter. 


Lowman is a pioneer in the study of rainforests, and especially rainforest canopies. Not only did she invent new ways of studying the canopy by climbing into the tops of trees, but she broke through all kinds of challenges and barriers as a woman in the area of field biology in science. 

AND NOW THE POEMPAIR (replace he/his with she/her)

It Couldn’t Be Done
by Edgar Guest 

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
  But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
  Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
  On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
     At least no one ever has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
     And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
     Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
     That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
     There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
     The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
     Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
     That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

(this poem is in the public domain)

Inclusion and representation in science continue to be issues for women, and especially women of color. A video to share with students features Adania Flemming, a Black marine biologist/ichthyologist. Like Margaret Lowman, who has made education about women in science and about the rainforest important parts of all she does, Adania Flemming dreams of starting a research aquarium/museum in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago. 

NOTE: Thank you for your patience as we figure out WordPress. We will crosspost on A Year of Reading and A(nother) Year of Reading for a bit, but eventually, this will be where to find our current thinking. A Year of Reading will remain as a reference when we make the complete transition.