Friday, April 22, 2022

13 Years Ago Today; Plus, Info on April Pulley Sayre's Celebration of Life

In addition to Earth Day and Poetry Friday, today happens to also be our TeachingAuthors' Blogiversary! So this is a special, unscheduled post to commemorate all three aspects of the day, and it contains a mix of joy and sadness. At the end of the post, I share an excerpt from a beautiful Earth Day book written and illustrated by April Pulley Sayre, and I provide information on how to live stream the celebration of April's life taking place tomorrow, April 23.

Hard to believe that we started this blog THIRTEEN years ago today! Four of us still blogging together here were part of that original team: April, Esther, Mary Ann and me. We've been blessed to connect with many wonderful fellow TeachingAuthors on this journey. I was especially touched a year ago when a number of current and former TeachingAuthors gathered in a surprise virtual meeting in honor of our 12th anniversary. Esther wrote about that fun event in this post.   

The TAs also surprised me that day with a basket of lovely flowers. I shared the following photo of it in my blog post from a year ago today:

I love houseplants but don't have much room for them, so I gave away several of those in the basket. I kept two, though. One, the peace lily, is hardly noticeable in the above photo--it's tucked at the back of the basket. But it grew quickly and I transplanted it to a larger pot. The lily recently bloomed for the second time, and the violet--one of my favorites--blooms regularly:

Like our TeachingAuthors team, these plants are gifts that keep on giving! I am so grateful to be part of this team.

And today, on Earth Day, I can't help thinking about my dear friend, April Pulley Sayre, and how grateful I am to have known her for over twenty years. Last November, I wrote of how devastating it was to lose her at such a young age. As I said in that post, her work lives on. 

Many of April's books celebrate nature and the gifts of our planet. Today, I want to share an excerpt from the end of her beautiful picture book Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet (Greenwillow Books), which came out last year:   

These words are especially poignant now that April's gone. 

If you like, you can watch a video of the book's amazing photo illustrations and listen as April reads the book herself here

Tomorrow, April 23, there will be a celebration of April's life held in South Bend, Indiana. Unfortunately, I'm unable to attend in person, but I plan to participate in the live stream. Here's the info April's husband, Jeff Sayre, posted on Facebook: 

     "With difficulty and great expense, I have managed to hire and coordinate with an event production crew to shoot and live stream the event. If you cannot attend in person, here is the link to use on Saturday morning. The stream will go live this Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 8:30 a.m. EDT (we are on east coast time). The event officially starts at 9:00 a.m. It will last two hours with a 20-minute intermission.
     This is not a Zoom broadcast. This is not a Facebook Live broadcast. It is better. However, it is not without the inherent vagaries of intermittent connectivity issues. So there is no guarantee that the event stream will be perfect and go without a hitch. For that reason, the event is also being recorded to be shared at a later date. This is the actual link. Yes, it uses a TinyURL.
      April Pulley Sayre Celebration live stream: ."

I know many in the kidlit community will be attending the event, and my thoughts will be with them, and especially with April's husband, Jeff.

Don't forget to check out this week's Poetry Friday round up hosted by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche.  



April Halprin Wayland said...

I can never thank you enough, Carmela, for creating and captaining our terrific TeachingAuthors ship all those years ago. You were clear about your goals, and even the design of our logo. I'm in awe of how you were able to see far into the future.
Thank you for offering me a seat on this wild and wonderful ride. I've learned so much and changed enormously as a result of this blog. Namaste 💕

Linda Mitchell said...

What a beautiful post...beautiful memories and beautiful people. Thank you for sharing April's poem today.

laurasalas said...

Thank you for sharing April's beautiful book and the info about her celebration of life. I can't go in person, but I'm looking forward to watching a video of it. Earth Day is truly the perfect day to post about April, isn't it?

Margaret Simon said...

Thanks for sharing April's lovely poem to the earth. Prayers for peace as you celebrate your friend.

Patricia Franz said...

The flowers (especially the peace lily) are witness to the beautiful community you've built! Happy Anniversary! And thank you for including April's poem.

Bobbi Miller said...

What a wonderful tribute to April and her devotion to all things in nature. And thank you for all you have done with the TeachingAuthors community. I am so honored to be a part of it! Bobbi

Janice Scully said...

The video of April's photos and her reading of her Thank You poem are both stunning. How wonderful it must have been to know her and work with her. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Rose Cappelli said...

Such a beautiful post and tribute to April. Thank you for sharing your memories.

Buffy Silverman said...

How wonderful to hear April reading this book on Earth Day! Thanks for posting it, and for 13 years of delightful blog posts.

Linda B said...

I didn't know that we could see April reading that beautiful book, Carmela. Thank you! She added so much important & beautiful-to-see information that my students loved to see and read. Happy Blogiversary to you all, though poignant as well.

Teresa Robeson said...

I, too, can't make April's Celebration in person, but we (IN-SCBWI) will have a conference in celebration of April on the one year anniversary of her death (Nov 5, 2022) which her former editors will participate in, and Jeff will give an intro to.

Karin Fisher-Golton said...

Thank you for this post and the link to the beautiful reading and visuals of April's book. I didn't know her, but hers was one of those author names that stuck with me because her books always resonated with me.

Pam said...

Happy blogiversary everyone. This post touched me and I thank you. As I listened to April's words I was really taken over by the simplistic, yet powerful language. My mother, who was at the stove, stopped stirring her pot of lima beans she's been craving all week and just stood still, listening. And when the reading was over, she actually exhaled, "Ohh that was so beautiful." She stood a few seconds longer, I guess pondering April's words, and then went back to her lima beans. Love that moment. Thank you for sharing that and for sharing with us over the years. You all are so appreciated!!

Carmela Martino said...

My thanks to every one of you for your wonderful comments on both our blogiversary and April Pulley Sayre. Teresa, how wonderful that SCBWI IN will be paying April tribute, too. I'll have to watch for info, in case I'm able to attend.
Pam, your description of your mom hearing April's reading brought tears to my eyes. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing that here!