Friday, December 6, 2013

One Good Thing About Winter

The weather outside is—how many synonyms can I find for brisk that don’t imply awful? I’m trying to remain positive. One thing that helps at this time of year is finding so many recommendations for wonderful books to read.

Last Saturday, I took part in Small Business Saturday by helping out at Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee. The only difficult task in the whole process was limiting my book recommendations to five. I couldn’t do it, so I suggested a few extras and let the booksellers narrow down the list. Eleven authors participated, and all our suggestions are listed here.

Here at Teaching Authors, we’re posting about the best new books of 2013, so I’ll highlight just three of my recommendations: one poetry collection, one book for adults, and one nonfiction picture book.

April Pulley Sayre’s wonderful Touch a Butterfly: Wildlife Gardening With Kids would make an excellent gift for parents, teachers, or any other adults who want to share outdoor experiences with children. On her web site, April says, “Turn your garden into a hummingbird hotspot, a haven for butterflies, and a thriving ecosystem. This family-friendly guide is my most personal book yet, sharing the wildlife gardening knowledge that Jeff and I have gained over the years. By reading it we hope you will begin to see your yard from an animal’s perspective; discover plants that attract colorful birds and bugs; embrace sensory experiences that native plants and creatures bring; and understand how your yard fits into the surrounding landscape.”

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle spotlights a critical issue we all need to know more about. From Booklist: “. . . this attractive volume explores the world of honeybees and the mysterious malady that threatens them. After an opening in which a beekeeper discovers that most of the bees in his 400 hives are gone due to colony collapse disorder (CCD), the book describes how healthy honeybees pollinate flowering plants, gather nectar, and raise their young. The next section, which explains bee development, is particularly vivid and informative. Finally, Markle discusses the many possible causes of CCD, such as mites, fungi, pesticides, and the stressful conditions (overwork and poor diets) sometimes endured by bees in commercial hives. She also comments on the work of researchers exploring likely sources of the problem. Throughout the book, excellent color photos illustrate the text.”

Joyce Sidman’s terrific YA poetry collection What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, has received at least four starred reviews and has been featured on many other Best-of-the-Year lists. I’m tickled to see this book getting so much attention. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me wish that I might someday write something half as lovely and evocative. Here is the poem that cracked me up.

Silly Love Song

If you are the blazing riff,
then I am the piccolo.

If you are the Maserati,
then I am the oil change.

If you are the midnight neon flash,
I am the silver hint of dawn.

If you are the raptor’s wings,
I am the elephant’s eyelashes.

You are the knife, I am the spoon.
You are the sun, I am the moon.

You are this, I am that.
Just kiss me.
—Joyce Sidman

For those of you who enjoy reading about other people’s favorites as much as I do, here are a few more links: 

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is at Life on the Deckle Edge.

JoAnn Early Macken


Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Aww "just kiss me."
True, that.
No more words. :)

Margaret Simon said...

The Joyce Sidman book is hitting the kidlitosphere like gangbusters. Must put it on my list. Love her love poem.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

You picked the same poem from Joyce Sidman's book that my daughter picked out to read to me just the other day. A gem indeed.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for sharing the great poem, JA, along with your picks and links to those of others. I'll be sharing even more links in my Friday post.