Category Archives: Picture Book Review
A couple of years ago, I connected with a writer who had a dream. Her mother had written wonderful poetry…Haiku…and she wanted to see it published as a book.
Amy Losak never gave up. That book she hoped for is now a reality! And I’m thrilled to share a bit about the book and the wonderful woman who wrote those amazing words.
H IS FOR HAIKU
Written by Sydell Rosenberg
Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi
Published by Penny Candy (April 2018)
Themes: Haiku, poetry, everyday happenings
Synopsis: From Amazon:
“In H Is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z, the late poet Sydell Rosenberg, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America and a New York City public school teacher, and illustrator Sawsan Chalabi offer an A-Z compendium of haiku that brings out the fun and poetry in everyday moments.”
But this short synopsis doesn’t begin to reveal the amazing personality that was Sydell Rosenberg. I was lucky enough to chat with Amy, and she shared a bit more about her wonderful mom.
Syd was a charter member of a vibrant organization that this year celebrates its 50th anniversary: the Haiku Society of America. Mom was among a group of gifted women who, decades ago, contributed to – and I think helped shape — English-language haiku and related forms, such as senryu. She studied, practiced, and wrote these forms for decades, and her work was widely anthologized. Mom “knew her haiku,” but she kept learning over the years, too.
Syd’s haiku – some poems were first published in journals and other outlets decades ago — have a universal, timeless appeal. Haiku are brief; they impel readers to slow down and linger over something they may ordinarily overlook. As I say in my introduction, haiku help make so-called “small moments” in our daily lives big. Haiku is a way to enter with awareness and appreciation into the world around us. I hope both children and the adults in their lives will relate to these evocative “word-pictures,” which capture both nature and human nature in “nuggets.”
ME: Oh my gosh…yes…word pictures. When I saw the illustrations accompanying Syd’s Haiku, I was struck by the thought that these are so perfect for today’s electronic-savvy kids…they are used to sound-bytes and split second pictures flashing by them. Haiku is the perfect vehicle to introduce them to a love of words and poetry.
Syd also was a teacher in New York, as well as a writer (prose such as short stories, and a pulp novel published in the 1950s; word and literary puzzles, more) and poet. She died in 1996, and decades later, I fulfilled her goal of professionally publishing some of her poems as a children’s book. Over time, her dream become mine — ours.
ME: So, right away there was a connection for me because I also taught in the NYC school system and then, when Amy and I spoke, I discovered anothere coincidence… her mom and I both graduated from Brooklyn College…Syd was a couple of years before me. In honor of our connection, I’m going to send a copy of H is for Haiku to one of my blog followers…please leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.
Among other venues, Syd’s simple but striking poems have been used by Arts For All (arts-for-all.org), a NYC nonprofit arts education group, in two city elementary schools to help teach the basics of collage, drawing and painting; music; and theater. The teaching artists incorporated these visual poems into their lesson plans and used them as teaching tools. The students, mostly second-graders, also wrote their own haiku.
ME: EXACTLY! That’s what I thought as soon as I saw this book! I think every elementary school should have this book on the shelf and use it as a teaching tool.
And here are a few more thoughts from Amy:
- Syd’s commitment to the craft of this lovely poetic form, haiku (“haiku” is both singular and plural) — which captures what I call “nature in nuggets,” as well as amusing facets of human nature (that is, senryu – also both singular and plural) –- spanned several decades. Some of her work for adults was published years ago, in journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.; and in influential books, including the Haiku Anthology and Haiku Handbook. One of her senryu also was featured in an unusual 1994 public art project, Haiku on 42nd Street, in which the marquees of abandoned movie theaters in the Times Square area were transformed into “frames” for the display of micropoetry.
- A school teacher (i.e., English, literacy, and also adult ESL), I think Syd wrote a number of her compact yet evocative poems with children in mind.
- As for myself, I tend to view haiku as poetic mindfulness. By its very brevity, the form encourages us to slow down, linger, and pay attention with all our senses to “small,” “everyday” moments.
- I think that just about any observation or impression can spark a haiku.
- Haiku is also a kind of “eco-literacy”: a way, through “word-pictures,” to cultivate an appreciation for our surroundings.
- I have heard and read haiku described as “one-breath poetry.”
WOW! Thank you so much, Amy. I know everyone is applauding both your mother who wrote these amazing haiku and you who persevered and followed your dream of seeing her work published.
And, dear friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.
Have a wonderful week. I’ll be flying to see family in Chicago on Thursday…but I’ve already scheduled the Friday and Saturday posts when the fabulous Chris Mihaly and her awesome book, HEY, HEY, HAY! will be in the PPBF and WWFC spotlight.
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, dear NO FROGS IN SCHOOL Happy Birthday to you!
NO FROGS IN SCHOOL
Written by Alexandria LaFaye
Illustrated by Egalitine Ceulemans
Published by Sterling Children’s Books (August 7, 2018)
Themes: Pets, humor, working together
Synopsis: From Amazon:
“Bartholomew Botts loves pets—but his teacher, Mr. Patanoose, says No Frogs in School! So what will happen when Bartholomew’s beloved creatures meet up with Mr. Patanoose’s rules? Lots of FUN!
Hoppy pets, hairy pets, scaly pets: Bartholomew Botts loves them all. And he doesn’t want to go to school without one. Unfortunately, when Bartholomew brings his brand-new frog to class, his teacher, Mr. Patanoose, declares: No frogs in school! How will Bartholomew keep his animal friends close at hand . . . and follow Mr. Patanoose’s rules, too? Illustrated with energetic and humorous artwork, this back-to-school story will be a favorite with every animal-loving kid!”
As a former kindergarten teacher, I love school stories…and this one is hilarious! The art work is so engaging and the text is filled with humor and will have every teacher and parent nodding their heads and kids will be rolling on the floor as Mr. Patanoose tries to restore order to his classroom.
The author, Alexandria LaFaye, is one of my Storm teammates…so I am doubly excited to help her celebrate her book’s launch. And because it is a book birthday, we need to have presents, right?
Alexandria’s publisher sent me a copy of NO FROGS IN SCHOOL and one lucky person is going to receive that as my book birthday gift. Just leave a comment on this blog post to be entered.
Plus there is chance to win another book birthday gift that is for K-2 teachers. Imagine a teacher starting the school year with THIRTY new books! WOW! Alexandria is hosting this giveaway on her Facebook page. She says:
Please help me spread the word about this book giveaway to help K-2 teachers building-expand their inclusive classroom libraries. Thanks.
It’s time for a great giveaway of 31 books for a K-2 classroom, including a signed copy of NO FROGS IN SCHOOL by A. LaFaye Kirkus says, “each page lends itself to an energetic seek-and-find storytime that promises new discoveries upon multiple reads.” See the rules in the comments below or visit Sylanocity and check out the pinned post athttps://bit.ly/2vs8fuq. I’ll be reviewing books from the giveaway each day in August. The contest runs Aug 1-30th. #kidlit #bookgiveaway#NoFrogs #TeachersRule #Diversity #Equity Sterling Publishing
- Buy a copy of their book
- Ask your local library to purchase a copy for their collection
- Tell your friends about the book
- Post a review on Amazon or other review sites
I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. And stop by on Friday and Saturday when a dear writer friend of mine, Emilie Boon, will be in the house.
Some of you in the kid lit community may have heard the sad news of the passing of Clara Bowman-Jahn. Clara was one of the first people who welcomed me into this picture book writing world. She was a bright light of kindness and was always looking for ways to help others.
Since today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, I am reblogging a portion of a post I did back in 2014 when her second picture book launched.
Edmund Pickle Chin – A Donkey Rescue Story
Written by Clara Bowman-Jahn and Susan April Elwood
Illustrated by Lynne Bendoly
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing (April 2014)
Ages: 4 and up
Themes:Animal rescue, animal abuse
Synopsis: From eTreasures
“Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story is based on a true story. Edmund, the main character, is an abused donkey who is the first of many animals to call Evermay Farm, a small rescue in central Georgia, home. Susan, Edmund’s care giver in the story, not only gives the shy donkey the time and patience he needs but gives him a new name every day of the week. The title takes on one of those nicknames she so lovingly calls him. As Susan starts to take in new critters, Edmund finds himself changing. As his name grows, so does his trust and acceptance. Edmund soon learns that he is not only needed but wanted. This confused, frightened donkey’s life changes as he becomes a hero, a babysitter, and a companion to the other residents at Evermay Farm.”
Why I like this book:
- Beautiful illustrations
- Wonderful introduction for young children to the need to care for and be kind to animals
- Helps children understand that everyone feels strange in a new place…but we get more comfortable as time passes
- Based on a true story
- When you can make a non-fiction book appealing to children, you have a winner!
How a parent can use this book:
- Talk about how people need to be responsible pet owners – what do animals need?
- How do different animals help us? How should work animals be treated?
- Visit a local animal shelter
- Older children can take part in a fundraiser for a local animal shelter
PAPER PLATE DONKEY
If you visit my blog often, you’ll know that I love to use paper plates as the base material in crafts for young children.
You will need: 1 paper plate, construction paper, scissors, glue, markers or crayons.
- Color the plate gray or brown (depending on the crayon colors available or if desired, your child can paint it).
- Cut out the eyes, nose, hair, teeth and ears from construction paper and glue in place.
- Use the paper plate as a mask or puppet to role play parts of the story.
For more donkey crafts go here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/donkeys.html
Clara Bowman-Jahn is one of the talented authors of Edmund Pickle Chin.
Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short stories have been published in three anthologies, Campaigner Challenges 2011, The ‘I’ Word and Charms Vol. 2. She is also the author of Annie’s Special Day, a children’s picture book. Her second picture book is a true story, Edmund Pickle Chin, a Donkey Rescue Story.
When Clara is not writing, she volunteers by teaching ESOL to adult students. She also likes Pilates, blogging, reading books and taking long walks with her husband. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic, Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, and two cats. She is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson.
Susan April Elwood is the other talented author of Edmund Pickle Chin.
Susan April Elwood has worked with children for over twenty years in Northern Virginia as a preschool teacher, kindergarten assistant, and a library assistant. With her passion for animals it made perfect sense to combine the two and write an animal story for children, teaming up with author Clara Bowman-Jahn.
Susan and her husband Tom moved from Northern Virginia in 2007 to central Georgia where they founded Evermay Farm, a non-profit rescue for farm animals. This is the setting for the book titled, Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story. The story is based on Edmund, a donkey, the first of many animals to call Evermay Farm home. Susan and her husband Tom have two treasured sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law and a precious grandson. In her free time, Susan enjoys photographing animals and antiquing.
To read more awesome picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.
Thank you, dear friends, for spending your precious time here. I hope you will stop by tomorrow as I continue remembering Clara on Will Write for Cookies with a post she did for me several years ago on GOALS.