Monday, April 28, 2014


by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

from The Poems of Emily Dickinson edited by R. W. Franklin, 1999,  Harvard University Press

Monday, April 21, 2014


by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends. 

from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, 1974, Harper & Row

Monday, April 14, 2014


by Charlotte Zolotow

Little orange cat,
you prowl
like a small tiger
(stalking what?)
in the field
of white daisies
and shining

from Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 2014, Candlewick

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Earth Day, Bees and Poetry Month (FAMILY magazine reviews)

Sharing books with your child(ren) can be an on-going joy.  Fill your home with all kinds of books – fairy tales, Aesop’s fables, poetry, biographies, history books, books on astronomy, on sports, on dance, art books and more.  Share your pleasure in books by visiting the library and bookstores -- especially used bookstores!  And don’t forget to let your child “catch” you reading. 

·      Remember that you can listen to audio books, and even e-readers can catch a child’s interest when other books might not.

·      Share the care of books with your child so s/he understands the importance of not drawing or writing in library books, and not throwing away unwanted books, but donating books instead.

·      Don’t hesitate to share with your child about famous authors and characters who are in books.  Showing them pictures of famous authors and talking about them and/or characters from books can encourage your child to become a writer. 

·      When your child sees you reading in bed, before breakfast, outdoors on a Sunday afternoon they can see books and reading materials as a normal part of your daily life. And develop the habit of reading as part of their life too.

·      Pay attention to what your child is interested in – as s/he gets older his/her interests will also grow and change.  What is s/he curious about? What is s/he asking questions about? Don’t be afraid to include books in other languages if your child shows interest in other languages or cultures. You might even find yourself developing skill in a language by sharing this developing interest with your child.

It is, in the end, all about being together and sharing something you both love.  Conversations about books, characters, and authors can make memories both you and your child will cherish

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails 
by Betsy Franco
illustrated by Steve Jenkins 
Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3   
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, Miami Lakes, Miami Beach Regional, North Shore Branch. Also may be purchased from Books & Books online:
Poet Franco and award winning artist Jenkins once again combine their talents to create a brisk and appealing picture book. It’s a dramatic mix of science, poetry and art in happy nonfiction companionship. 
The artist uses colorful handmade paper collage to illustrate shapes and patterns in our world. Lively, clever verses together with stunning images show surprising mathematical symmetry, scientific geometry, and nature’s artistry.
Some of the words (Kaleidoscope, tapestries) will need explanations for the young audience.  Also, rhymes set limits on what and how much information can be shared.  However, additional background on each creature is attached at the end.

The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela: A Tale from Africa 
by Cristina Kessler
illustrated by Leonard Jenkins  
Holiday House, $16.95 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Grades 1-3 
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, Miami Lakes.)
Lalibela, a town in the mountains of Ethiopia, is well known for its rich, golden honey.  Almaz, a young girl with spirit, visits the men who are the town’s traditional beekeepers, looking for advice. She tells them she wants to keep bees and learn to make Lalibela’s best honey.  The men give her a task to do.  But she is not able to complete it.
            Instead of welcoming her and offering to teach her what they know, the men laugh at her.  But the priest encourages her to find her own way to success.
            Golden illustrations balance with darker contrasting colors, giving readers a feel for the brilliance of an Ethiopian market village.  Using acrylic, pastels, spray paint, and colored pencils Jenkins has matched Almaz’s determination and Kessler’s purposeful language with its deep-hued African setting.
            An Author’s Note and a brief glossary of Tigringna and Amharic words are included at the end.

Flight of the Honey Bee 
by Raymond Huber
illustrated by Brian Lovelock
Candlewick Press, $16.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level:  Kindergarten – Grade 2 
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:
One of nature’s most important creatures can’t live alone. The honey bee depends on, and supports its hive and family of bees.  In this engaging picture book, readers are invited to follow one honeybee on her adventures.           
Like a hunter in search of prey, a scout honeybee’s mission is to find flowers.  She sips their nectar to carry back in one of her stomachs. Static electricity charges her body as she flies.  This makes it easy for flower pollen to attach while she’s sipping.  Both nectar and pollen are bees’ food.
How Scout travels using her senses – to locate her “prey,” keep her from becoming another creature’s dinner, and protect her during a downpour -- is important to her success.  Scout’s experiences continue even when she returns.  Bright illustrations in watercolor, acrylic ink and colored pencil provide close-up and distance views.  Combined with compelling language, the narrative launches even before the title page.
Large text carries the storyline; Small text supplies additional details.  Back matter includes information about keeping bees safe, an index and brief introductions to both author and illustrator.

Additional books for the season:

The Buzz on Bees:  Why Are They Disappearing?  
by Shelley Rotner and Anne Woodhull
photographs by Shelley Rotner
Holiday House, $17.95 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Grades 1-3 
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Miami Beach Regional. Also may be purchased from Books & Books online:

by Eileen Spinelli
illustrated by Vincent Nguyen  
Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

 The Bee’s Sneeze 
by Ellis Nadler  
Simon & Schuster 
 Interest Level:  Junior Kindergarten – Grade 1 
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, North Dade Regional, South Dade Regional.)

Monday, April 7, 2014


by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

from Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 2014, Candlewick