Category Archives: Joyce Ray

Joyce Ray: AWARD WINING BOOKS CHALLENGE

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/10/award-wining-books-challenge.html
October 10, 2012 at 08:54PM


 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Harper Collins Publishers, 1998
The first thing I noticed about The God of Small Things was lushness—the lushness of India’s setting and the lushness of a multitude of striking images created with unexpected metaphor. Arundhati Roy writes prose that begs the reader to pick it up, examine it to appreciate all its facets and read it again.
It was raining when Rahel came back to Ayemenen. Slanting silver ropes slammed into loose earth, plowing it up like gunfire.
It’s a book begs the reader to keep a notebook handy to record images:
It could be argued that it began long before Christianity arrived in a boat and seeped into Kerala like tea from a teabag.
That expression on Ammu’s face. Like a rogue piece in a puzzle. Like a question mark that drifted through the pages of a book and never settled at the end of a sentence.
The gray sky curdled, and the clouds resolved themselves into little lumps, like substandard mattress stuffing.
In addition to delicious prose, The God of Small Things delivers a haunting story. The history of a family is played out against the background of a changing India. Two twins, Rahel and Estha, provide the principle lens through which we view the story. However, each character’s point of view enriches it.
Throughout this novel, Roy tantalizes the reader with a sense of impending doom. One aspect of this doom is revealed early on, but each character’s part in it is held back until the end.  Roy entices the reader onward with well-placed hints about the future. She closes the story with the fateful love scene between two members of different castes.
The New York Times called this book “Faulknerian in its ambitious tackling of family and race and class, Dickensian in its sharp-eyed observation of society and character.”
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Joyce Ray: Honoring Saint Hildegard- Doctor of the Church

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/10/honoring-saint-hildegard-doctor-of.html
October 05, 2012 at 05:00AM

Yea for Friday– Poetry Friday!

New look! I played with Blogger and haven’t figured out how to revert!

Today I’m excited to share a poem born in the ruins of Disibodenberg––Saint Hildegard of Bingen’s first monastic home near Bad Sobernheim, Germany. On Sunday, October 7, Saint Hildegard will become a Doctor of the Church, the fourth woman to be awarded this honor. It means that this amazing 12th century woman’s writings have significantly influenced the doctrine of the Roman Catholic faith.

Hildegard’s contributions to music, art and medicine did not make her a saint, but the influence of her herbal remedies and musical compositions are felt today. Did I mention she was one strong woman in a male dominated world?

Experience the cathedral-like cloister ruins in this You Tube video. I hope you can feel the mystery of the stones in this sacred space as I did in 2002. How lucky I was to hitch a ride on my husband’s business trip to research Feathers and Trumpets, A Story of Hildegard of Bingen.

How lucky we all are to enjoy every Friday’s poetry selection! Hop over to Laura at Writing the World for Kids for the lineup.

CLOISTER RUINS

Seeds sprout in holy space until
beech and oak arch over toppled stones.
Larks trill in a hilltop canopy
where psalms once floated upward,
and leafy hands now murmur prayers.

The stones, weighted with
longing whispered in secret,
sink into the earth.
Centuries ago they tumbled, like thunder
rumbling through the Great Silence.

Ivy anchors their moss velvet faces.
Rose thorns ramble over crumbled gables.
Helpless to shelter, the stones stand sentry,
mute witnesses to divine desire.

Did you think wind, rain, the shifting of earth’s crust
conspired to collapse these hallowed structures?

Know this – the human heart
beats a hunger for its creator
more powerful than natural forces.
Echoes of supplication saturate each stone.
Ages of murmured ardor pull stronger then gravity.

These stones are deaf now.
Speak freely.

© Joyce Ray
All rights reserved. Previously published in Entelechy International

Joyce Ray:

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/09/award-winning-book-challenge-review.html
September 24, 2012 at 09:34PM

AWARD-WINNING BOOK CHALLENGE REVIEW

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Dressler Verlag, The Chicken House and Scholastic, 2003

Awards: Phantastik-Preis der Stadt Wetzlar for children’s fiction in Germany, 2004
Kalbacher Klapperschlange – German Children’s Choice Award

Silberner Griffel Award – Netherlands

As a reader, it’s a delicious idea to think of book characters coming to life. I’d love to meet Jane Eyre and Jo March

but, hmm, Madame Defarge– not so much.

Sinister characters can stay between the covers of books.

Inkheart
is an engaging story for middle-graders based on the very idea of interacting with book characters. Meggie, the courageous heroine, discovers a talent inherited from her dad that changes her life by reversing a loss. The road to her happy ending is long, winding and treacherous, however. Funke has created memorable characters in addition to Meggie– Elinor, whose library collection is her most precious possession, Dustfinger, who yearns for a former life, and Capricorn, the evil character you wouldn’t wish to meet.

Inkheart
is the first title of a trilogy. Inkspell and Inkdeath follow. I have not read these titles, but Inkheart is a page turner, a flashlight-under-the-covers kind of story.

Check the Award Winning Books Challenge website for more not-to-be-missed titles.

Award-Winning Book Challenge Status: 7/12

Joyce Ray:

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/09/welcome-to-poetry-friday-japanese-pine.html
September 21, 2012 at 09:03AM

Welcome to Poetry Friday

A Japanese Pine Grove, Silk Painting by Hiroshige

Art museum visits are gold mines of poem ideas for me. This week I visited the Farnsworth in Rockland, Maine. An Andrew Wyeth painting named “Two Sisters” spoke to me, so I sketched and wrote notes for a future poem.

There’s a wonderful Frank Benson exhibit going on now. I was surprised to learn Benson also made etchings. “Crows in Rain” inspired the beginnings of a haiku. I’ve now learned that haiku evolve, at least for me. They look simple, but I must write many versions before I think I’ve arrived.

The same thing happened with the haibun I share today. Haibun is a Japanese form that combines prose with haiku. My poem began with a walk in the pine grove behind our house. By the time I had finished working with two kind editors, my visit to Japan had crept in. My first published haibun appears in this month’s issue of the online magazine A Hundred Gourds. The issue includes many Japanese forms of poetry. Here’s the link.

Sample the other poems in Renee’s Poetry Friday candy dish at No Water River.

Joyce Ray:

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/09/poetry-friday-celebrating-saint.html
September 14, 2012 at 01:00AM

Poetry Friday
Celebrating Saint Hildegard’s Feast Day

After a summer hiatus, I hope to be a more regular contributor to Poetry Friday again. Certainly, the offerings each week introduce me to amazing poets and work I wouldn’t want to miss.Today’s poetry banquet is hosted by Diane at Random Noodling. Thanks, Diane. I can’t wait to sample all that’s dished up.

This week I got a sneak peek at the cover art for my first YA book, Feathers and Trumpets, A Story of Hildegard of Bingen to be published by Apprentice Shop Books. After blinking between disbelief and amazement, I called to my husband to share the moment. This is all new to me. I feel humbled that my words are inspiring art. Thank you to illustrator Lisa Greenleaf for the first draft of a gorgeous cover.

Saint Hildegard’s feast day is on Monday, September 17th. In honor of her day and her upcoming elevation to Doctor of the Church, I share this poem, the starting point for one of the book’s chapters.

Statue of Saint Hildegard at St. Hildegard’s Abbey, Eibingen, Germany

Feather in the Dogwood

“I am a feather on the breath of God.”
~Hildegard von Bingen

Adrift among dogwood petals,
glade shadow voices whisper gold
brilliance into the greenwood.

Wings quiver, undulate,
scribe radiant notes that
flow and ebb on blossom cream.

“O mirum admirandum.”

I whirl on sacred breath,
dance, reach, leap, until
crystalline tones
pierce my shaft
pin me
to the dogwood

whose life sap pulsates
my surrender
in a fractured crescendo.

© Joyce Ray

Joyce Ray:

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/06/poetry-friday-verse-novel-dont-miss.html

Poetry Friday – A Verse Novel

Don’t miss The Good Braider, an exciting new YA verse novel by Terry Farish. Viola is a Sudanese teen who escapes Juba with her mother and younger brother in 1999 and slowly makes her way to Portland, Maine.

Smart, brave and tenacious, Viola experiences first hand the reality of war in Sudan. She yearns to escape and be free. Habuba, her grandmother, tells her,

“Who follows the elephant will have no problems.
They know how to make a path through the forest.”

Farish braids Viola’s story a strand at a time, as expertly as the hands of any Sudanese woman braiding narrow lines of hair. Viola experiences loss, betrayal, and the uncertainties of a new friendship. As she struggles to adapt to her new culture, she misses the smell of rain and the banks of the Nile in Juba.

The Good Braider is an
important book. It chronicles experiences common to many of our new refugee neighbors both their desire to fit into a new culture and their pain at leaving behind the culture they love. It is also a sensitively told tale that captures your heart.

Terry Farish is writing an article about the craft of verse novels and choices writers make as they compose and rewrite. She would like to interview writers who practice this form.
E-mail Terry if you’re willing to explore your
process with her.

Jama has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Alphabet Soup.

Joyce Ray:

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/05/won-ton-cat-tale-told-in-haiku-by-lee.html
May 04, 2012 at 03:24PM

Won Ton, A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

Welcome to Poetry Friday. Elaine has the roundup at Wild Rose Reader. Enjoy!

After reading wonderful reviews of Won Ton, A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (some on Poetry Friday), I had to add it to my Award-Winning Book Challenge list. The story follows a sleek, long-eared cat from the animal shelter to a new home in a series of senryu, a Japanese poetry form similar to haiku.

The spare poems are the perfect vehicle to convey the aloof personality of the cat, portrayed by the artist as Siamese or perhaps Burmese.

No rush. I’ve got plans.
Gnaw this paw. Nip that flea. And
wish: Please, Boy, pick me.

When the cat is finally chosen, named and fed, he adjusts to his new surroundings

Scrat-ching-post? Haven’t
heard of it. Besides, the couch
is so much closer.

Won Ton, so named after narrowly missing names with no class, speaks in all the poems. After bonding with his Boy, he reveals his true name.

Won Ton is delightful, a perfect marriage of text and illustrations. Kudos to Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin for creating a poetry book and an adoption story with an endearing character with a happy ending.

Henry Holt and Company, 2011

2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

Award-Winning Book Challenge
Status: 6/11

Joyce Ray:

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/04/terry-plunkett-maine-poetry-festival.html
April 27, 2012 at 07:00AM

Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival

Welcome to Poetry Friday. Sample a smorgasbord of poetry and poetic ideas rounded up at Tabatha’s blog. Thanks for hosting today, Tabatha.

Two weeks ago I walked into a roomful of revolutionaries. After years of encouragement from a family member, I attended the 10th Annual Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival sponsored by the University of Maine at Augusta. The festival honors Terry Plunkett, former U of M professor and poet loved by many.

This year’s theme was Poetry and Revolution. Maine poets gathered to celebrate courageous voices past and present. I came away with a new awareness of poets who have played important parts in both political and social revolution.

A panel discussed the role of poetry in revolution. Many of the panelists were involved in revolutions of their own choosing:

poet Henry Braun chooses not to pay war taxes to the U.S. government,

Gary Lawless translates emerging voices from China and connects with African poets,

Lee Sharkey participates in Split This Rock, a point of convergence for politically engaged poets.

They and panelist Annie Finch, Director of the Stonecoast MFA program, cited Claude McKay (“If We Must Die”), Mahmoud Darwish (“Identity Card”) and al-Shabi (“If the People One Day Aspire to Life”) whose poems either inspired revolution or resistance.

I learned that “Conscientious Objector” by Edna St. Vincent Millay was a response to conflicts in Cuba and the Balkans.

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
Hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Read the rest of this powerful poem here.

Festival attendees heard a sampler of revolutionary poets. Polish Wislawa Szymborska, Palestinian Rafeef Ziadah, and Nazim Hikmet, who is Turkey’s symbol of free speech, were new to me. Poems by familiar poets Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg and Bertolt Brecht were also read. It was a day well-spent. Consider this annual festival if you’re in the Augusta, Maine area in April.

Joyce Ray: BookSpeak!

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/04/bookspeak.html
April 11, 2012 at 06:38PM

BookSpeak! Poems About Books by Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Clarion Books, 2011

2012 Gilette Burgess Honor Book

Nerdy Book Award

Book Speak is a whimsical collection of poems that allow books to speak. Characters plead to be set free, the Index makes a case for its superiority, the Bookplate and Book cover have their say, and even the book’s Middle gets to whine.

Books go on vacation when they’re checked out from the library.

I’ve floated in airplanes. I’ve lain on the beach.
I’ve hidden in bunk beds—just out of your reach.

They have a party when the bookstore closes for the night.

The sweetest verse closes the poem structured like “The House That Jack Built”:

And she is the reader
who browses the shelf
and looks for new worlds
but finds herself.

Visit Laura Purdie Salas’s website to read sample poems and also some wonderful essays on poem-making.

Award-Winning Book Challenge Status: 5/11

Joyce Ray: Poetry Friday

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/03/poetry-friday.html

Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto
by Paul B. Janeczko

I haven’t posted on Poetry Friday for awhile, though I’ve been dipping into the offerings. Today I’m highlighting Paul Janeczko’s award winning book as part of Gathering Books Award-Winning Book Challenge. In a time when the very reality of the Holocaust is challenged by some, Requiem: Poems of the Terezín Ghetto is an important addition to Holocaust literature.

During the Holocaust, the walled city of Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia became a ghetto for Jews transported from Prague and other cities. It was a way station to the gas chambers. This collection of poems gives voices to those who survived the death camp and those who did not. Appropriate for high school, the poems are sensitive, moving and also graphic.

For sixteen years of Fridays, Tomasz Kassewitz met his friend in the park to play chess. One Friday, Willi appeared with his usual peppermints.

“I can no longer play with you,”
said a false voice.
The sun is blue
would have made as much sense.
“It is forbidden, my friend,
to fraternize with a Jew.”

Hear Janeczko read the entire poem.

The Nazis transported intellectuals, artists and musicians to Terezin. Anna Teller says they knew the concerts they were allowed to play in the camp could be their last performance

but we played nonetheless
played as only the brokenhearted can play
a final performance
for it was always a final performance
for some in the orchestra.

Josefine Rabsky names the friends she lost on transport after transport. Then it was her turn. Transport 9177.

Wilfried Becker played violin waltzes for Eva and Otto during their last two hours alone. Eva had traded bread for time behind the curtain of someone else’s alcove.

Requiem is illustrated with sketches by Terezin’s inmates found after the war. It is a haunting book.

Visit Paul Janeczko’s website.

An account of the history of Terezín is here.

Notable Book for a Global Society, 2011

Winner of 2011 Cybils Award for Poetry

Association of Jewish Libraries, Notable Books for Teens, 2012

Award-Winning Book Challenge Status: 4/11

Joyce Ray: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/03/breadcrumbs-by-anne-ursu_19.html

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Walden Pond Press, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2011

Publishers Weekly Book of the Year
School Library Journal Book of the Year

The title Breadcrumbs conjures up an image of Hansel and Gretel trudging off into the forest sprinkling a trail of breadcrumbs behind them. The reader expects a fairytale world, but Hazel, the main character, is in a snowy world full of the reality divorced parents and a teacher with no appreciation for Hazel’s imagination. Only her best friend Jack, whose mother shows signs of mental illness, understands her. And then he stops talking to her. And then he disappears.

It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems.

This blend of realistic fiction and fantasy for middle grade readers started off slowly for me. I had just geared up for Hazel’s third person point of view when a distinct narrator voice intruded in Chapter 5. The narrator’s voice, sometimes flat, returns throughout to show events happening in the fantasy world.

Mal is a goblin. He has green-brown skin, a froglike mouth, and sharp little teeth. Mal is a troll. He is seven feet tall and warty, has terrible breath, and a penchant for hanging out under bridges. Mal is an imp. He has small bat wings a high-pitched screech of a laugh, and pointy little ears. Mal is a demon. And that means he is up to no good.

Ursu’s prose is also poetic at times so perhaps she used this technique to differentiate between characters’ and narrator voices. However, the shift was jarring for me perhaps because it went on for whole chapters. Maybe I relate better to a benevolent narrator like the one in The Tale of Despereaux.

Something else that jarred me were the multiple references to the giants of children’s literature that popped up—Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, The Golden Compass. There’s talk of tessering and Dementors. I think I am missing a deep connection here (author Gary Schmidt says the stories “point the way toward understanding and acceptance of loss and sorrow and change, and shout to us of hope and friendship and love.”), but it felt rather heavy-handed. I didn’t need so many signposts to direct me to fantasyland. Hazel and Jack’s knowledge of Narnia and the Snow Queen were sufficient.

In Part Two, the story turns. Hazel does what she must do to save Jack from the Snow Queen. She ventures into the world of fantasy and step by ill-fated step, the reader follows into a land where Hazel learns to trusts wolves and avoid the woodsman.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind….
But sometimes you have a friend to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

Hazel carries a talisman with her, something dear to Jack, and it helps her save her friend. Whether she saves him from the Snow Queen or from his own depression caused by his mother’s mental illness doesn’t matter. What matters is that Hazel, whose own life was in turmoil, stood by a friend in need just like her friend Adelaide’s uncle advised:

So if someone’s changed overnight—by witch curse or poison apple or were–turtle—you have to show them what’s good. You show them love. That works a surprising amount of the time.

Despite my reservations about voice and multiple fantasy references, I did enjoy reading Breadcrumbs and recommend it as an important book about friendship. For those fantasy lovers who never open realistic fiction, Breadcrumbs is a bridge.

Read Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen in Seven Stories here. Ursu has cleverly woven these elements into Breadcrumbs.

Visit Anne Ursu’s website.


Award-Winning Book Challenge Status
: 3/11

Joyce Ray: Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/03/breadcrumbs-by-anne-ursu.html

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Walden Pond Press, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2011

Publishers Weekly Book of the Year
School Library Journal Book of the Year

The title Breadcrumbs conjures up an image of Hansel and Gretel trudging off into the forest sprinkling a trail of breadcrumbs behind them. The reader expects a fairytale world, but Hazel, the main character, is in a snowy world full of the reality divorced parents and a teacher with no appreciation for Hazel’s imagination. Only her best friend Jack, whose mother shows signs of mental illness, understands her. And then he stops talking to her. And then he disappears.

It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems.

This blend of realistic fiction and fantasy for middle grade readers started off slowly for me. I had just geared up for Hazel’s third person point of view when a distinct narrator voice intruded in Chapter 5. The narrator’s voice, sometimes flat, returns throughout to show events happening in the fantasy world.

Mal is a goblin. He has green-brown skin, a froglike mouth, and sharp little teeth. Mal is a troll. He is seven feet tall and warty, has terrible breath, and a penchant for hanging out under bridges. Mal is an imp. He has small bat wings a high-pitched screech of a laugh, and pointy little ears. Mal is a demon. And that means he is up to no good.

Ursu’s prose is also poetic at times so perhaps she used this technique to differentiate between characters’ and narrator voices. However, the shift was jarring for me perhaps because it went on for whole chapters. Maybe I relate better to a benevolent narrator like the one in The Tale of Despereaux.

Something else that jarred me were the multiple references to the giants of children’s literature that popped up—Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, The Golden Compass. There’s talk of tessering and Dementors. I think I am missing a deep connection here (author Gary Schmidt says the stories “point the way toward understanding and acceptance of loss and sorrow and change, and shout to us of hope and friendship and love.”), but it felt rather heavy-handed. I didn’t need so many signposts to direct me to fantasyland. Hazel and Jack’s knowledge of Narnia and the Snow Queen were sufficient.

In Part Two, the story turns. Hazel does what she must do to save Jack from the Snow Queen. She ventures into the world of fantasy and step by ill-fated step, the reader follows into a land where Hazel learns to trusts wolves and avoid the woodsman.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind….

But sometimes you have a friend to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

Hazel carries a talisman with her, something dear to Jack, and it helps her save her friend. Whether she saves him from the Snow Queen or from his own depression caused by his mother’s mental illness doesn’t matter. What matters is that Hazel, whose own life was in turmoil, stood by a friend in need just like her friend Adelaide’s uncle advised:

So if someone’s changed overnight—by witch curse or poison apple or were–turtle—you have to show them what’s good. You show them love. That works a surprising amount of the time.

Despite my reservations about voice and multiple fantasy references, I did enjoy reading Breadcrumbs and recommend it as an important book about friendship. For those fantasy lovers who never open realistic fiction, Breadcrumbs is a bridge.

Read Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen in Seven Stories here. Ursu has cleverly woven these elements into Breadcrumbs.

Visit Anne Ursu’s website.

Award-Winning Book Challenge Status: 3/11

Joyce Ray: Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/03/leaving-gees-bend-by-irene-latham.html
March 04, 2012 at 06:22PM

Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010

Alabama Library Association’s 2011 Children’s Book Award
Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2011

There is only one road out of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Ten year-old Ludelphia Bennett travels it for the first time, leaving the safety of her sharecropper home for the white man’s world to find a doctor for her dying mother. Only her needle and the pieces of cloth that will tell her own story go with her.

I love this story based on an historical event in Gee’s Bend. Author Irene Latham has pieced together snippets of the real event and the region’s now recognized unique style of quilting. Here’s a short preview of the documentary The Quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend.

Ludelphia’s character is unforgettable. Despite her fear of the unknown, she braves the river, escapes from the white woman who calls her a witch and returns to warn her neighbors that trouble is on the way. Along the way, she collects pieces of fabric that represent the new parts of her story so she can stitch hem into a quilt for her mother.

Leaving Gee’s Bend is a page-turning middle-grade book. Once Ludelphia leaves Gee’s Bend, we must go with her in her quest. Throughout the story, author Irene Latham has captured the dialect of a black child from Alabama in the 1930s with great sensitivity. The lyrical language pulls the reader forward.

Then I knotted the thread with my fingers and moved the needle in and out of them calico pieces from Mama’s apron. They was looking good in my quilt, just like I thought they would.

I’d need a plain piece of cloth next. Some solid color to set off the calico. Because my mama didn’t like no busy quilt. She liked there to be order enough to it so it didn’t hurt your eyes when you looked at it.

Latham writes scenes where we agonize over Ludelphia’s mishaps and others in which we cheer as Ludelphia learns life lessons, some through quilting.

I knew what she was saying was true. But tears came into my eyes again anyhow. Wasn’t nothing I needed that wasn’t right here in Gee’s Bend. And wasn’t a thing that could happen that I wasn’t strong enough to get through.

This would be the perfect book to accompany a quilting project. The Gee’s Bend quilts have been compared to art by Paul Klee and Matisse.

Visit author Irene Latham’s website

Award-Winning Book Challenge Status: 2 of 11

Joyce Ray:

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/02/today-im-sharing-resource-that-is.html
February 10, 2012 at 10:12AM

Today I’m sharing a resource that is an inspiration and has helped me prepare workshops for my church. Finding What You Didn’t Lose, Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making by John Fox is full of meaningful exercises for individuals that can also be used with groups. Some of the chapter headings are “Leaving the Roots on Your Writing,” “Gold in the Attic” and “The Brain is Just the Weight of God.”

My February workshop is titled “Psalms–Words for the Journey,” and Fox’s exercises will fit perfectly.

Here’s part of a John Fox poem about what poetry is:

From “Poetry”

Poetry is a choice to feel it all,
not all at once but gradually to sink down
within ourselves, to give what fear
we hold behind our knees
to gravity and grace,
to discover what makes
our whole world turn;

Read the whole poem here.
Check out Fox’s website at The Institute for Poetic Medicine and read more of his poems.

Have fun reading more Poetry Friday offerings with Laura Salas at Writing the World for Kids.

Joyce Ray: JANICE JOPLIN, RISE UP SINGING by Ann Angel

From: Musings
http://joyceray.blogspot.com/2012/02/janice-joplin-rise-up-singing-by-ann_08.html

Janice Joplin, Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel
Amulet Books a division of Abrams, 2010

American rock legend Janis Joplin was my peer. But the day after she sang on the Ed Sullivan show, I became a mother. While she made headlines, I did laundry and planned supper. So I missed Janis. Ann Angel’s YALSA award-winning biography Janice Joplin, Rise Up Singing has filled me in.

Angel paints a portrait of young person who loved to laugh and sing and make art but was always on the fringes of her 1960s’ Texas peer group. Her taste in music – blues songs, her choice of clothing and her strong opinions on subjects like integration resulted in peer rejection and even taunts. Janis retreated into her art and her music, singing for the few artistic boys who were her friends.

It was on a night like this that Janis opened her eyes, saw the guys listening to her and admiring the music that came out of her like a prayer, and announced, I can sing.” And they agreed.

Janis became a star with her performance at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival.

She held the microphone close to her lips, like she was kissing it, as she sent her wild-woman sounds into the world. It was as if she was calling everyone to hear her sad story, to feel her agony, her longing and pain. With eyes closed, she wrung the blues out of “Down on Me.” She cried into the mic, “Everybody in this whole damn world is down on me….” When the song ended, all eyes were locked on her.

The beatnik culture offered Janis the opportunity for creativity she craved. It also opened the door to her eventual dependence on drugs and alcohol. Trying several times to kick her speed habit, Janis attempted to re-enter the hometown world she had never belonged to. But music won and by 1969 Janis was caught up in the hippie culture and also it’s experimentation with LSD.

Without judgment, Angel manages to tell the story of this young woman who embraced her talent and who succumbed to peer pressures and addictions that ultimately cost her life. Angel’s ability to present Joplin’s many facets, including her strong work ethic and love for her family, results in a very human portrait that will fully engage YA readers.

The book’s psychedelic design does more than hint at Joplin’s character. The title page and table of contents mirror the electric current that surrounded the first queen of rock. Bold chapter headings and page borders echo the flamboyance of the life she led and the star she became. Photos of Joplin, the bands she worked with and promotional posters add dimension to this intriguing biography of a music sensation.

Janis Joplin, Rise Up Singing won the 2011 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Discover other YALSA winners here.

Visit author Ann Angel’s website.

Check out other award winning books on the Gathering Books website.

AWB Challenge Status: 1 of 12

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