Friday, December 10, 2021

2 Picture Books That Will Change You. Forever.

Howdy, Campers, and Happy Poetry Friday! (my poem, the PF link, and a link to my upcoming Poetry for Children class are all below)

This round, we, in the towering TeachingAuthors' treehouse, are recommending a book (or two or three) we love. 

the renown TeachingAuthors' Towers

Zeena starts us off by introducing her fellow NCTE presenters and their books; Bobbi follows, recommending three wonderful books on the nuts and bolts of writing and the business of writing while inspiring us with well-chosen quotes; Mary Ann sings the praises of the most wonderful time of the year--book recommendations

And now it's my turn.

Man, oh, man. Just as Charlotte wove "some pig" in her web,

...this sure has been some year.  Err...some years.

I'm recommending two picture books that may not have even had a chance at publication a few years ago. Two books that changed me--and may change you--forever.

1.The first picture book, by Carole Boston WeatherfordUnspeakable: the Tulsa Race Masacre , pulled back the curtain on a history I knew nothing about. (Watch a YouTube reading of it here). 

(My book club paired that picture book with the beautifully presented, thoroughly researched Black Birds in the Sky by Brandy Colbert for ages 14 and up, which got six starred reviews.)

2. The second picture book, by Lee Wind and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, Red and Green and Blue and White, has gotten four starred reviews and was featured in the New York Times as one of the best books of 2021.

It's a beautifully told story inspired by a true incident. We all know the phrase Show, don't Tell. Well, this picture book sure shows "how a community came together in response to an act of bigotry."

And there you have my book recommendations!

Here's a poem that has nothing and everything to do with this strange year we've traveled through:

by April Halprin Wayland

POTUS leans BACK under the OAK.

“Man-oh-man, this is the best.”

And it was: his CANOE,

the smell of BACON wrapped KABOBs

and corn on the COB.

No need to think about BANK rates

or snakes out to get him.

None of that.

Just ripples on the river

and their EBB and flow against the shore.

Nothing more.


How this poem came to be:

I was trying to come up with a poem for a live poetry reading. The topic for each poet was: VISIONS OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.

That day I read an opinion piece by columnist Robin Abcarian. The first two words in the title of her article were: "President Backbone."

I decided to write an In One Word poem [see how to write an In One Word poem] based on the word backbone.

Total Number of words made out of Backbone = 85. 

Of the 85, these words appealed to me the most--hence this was my playground:

 beacon  beckon  kabob   bacon  canoe   ocean  cone  cake  cane  once  bone  bake  bane  babe bank   beak  bean back  oak  nab ace  boa  can  cob  con  one  ebb  eon  ban  cab  bob1) on  ok  no  be


So...maybe not everything has been horrid.

Maybe some things were even terrific. 
Maybe we just have to lean back against an oak
and not think about bank rates or snakes.
Just ripples on the river. Nothing more.

PS: One terrific thing in my life is teaching. I love teaching...and, much to my amazement, I love teaching via Zoom! So I'll be teaching my three-hour Writing Poetry for Children class (for rock bottom beginning poets) again through UCLA Extension via Zoom on January 15th at 12 noon PST. Come join us--I'd love to meet you!--enrollment is limited (to 30!)

Thank you, Cathy, of Merely Day by Day for hosting!

Poem (c) 2021 by April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

Posted with love by April Halprin Wayland and the Procrastinate Fairy.


Elisabeth said...

In-One-Word poems are new to me - thanks for sharing your poem and highlighting this poetic form.

Linda B said...

Oh, April, I had forgotten about your 'in one word' poem idea. You've written something I do imagine, what the powerful actually do when no one id looking - ha! I do think everyone probably needs a break, and with kabobs! Thanks for the books. I have the Tulsa Race Massacre, a beautiful writing, and one to celebrate for its telling! The other is new to me. I bookmarked it!

Jone said...

I wish that I lived closer to take your class. I am going to try the 'in one word' poem idea.

Cathy said...

April, your post is like finding a treasure box. You have so many nuggets tucked in here. I like the idea that we only have to sit by the river and take in the ripples of the water. That would be a year I could get behind. These last couple have been doozies. I'm going to have to leave your post open in my tabs for a few days as I want to check out the recommended books, this poetry form, and a few previous posts.

Linda Mitchell said...

I agree with Cathy -- this post is a treasure box! I love all the wonderful shiny gems inside starting with the beautiful books! Books really do change lives, don't they? I think they save lives too. Hooray for a poetry course online. Have a blast!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thank you, April, for:
your the two BRILLIANT books you highlighted;
your introduction to the One-Word Poem;
and for being YOU!
Your Fan Esther