My kids surprise me. A fly on the wall would have heard this conversation last night: Younger Daughter (12): Mom, I don’t think I can read Men of Iron. It’s sooooo boring! Me: Really?? Aren’t you liking Ivanhoe? [Our current knights and castles read-aloud.] YD: Yes! Me: If you like Ivanhoe, trust me, you’ll like Men of Iron. And anyway, sometimes you have to push through. Do you think [Older Daughter] is enjoying reading The Inferno? Do you think she likes reading about a trip…Continue Reading “Overheard”

Ruth at There Is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town tagged me for the Mortimer Minute. Here are the rules: 1) Make up three questions you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview about children’s poetry and then answer them on your own blog; 2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children’s poetry, but we’re broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else’s questions if they’d like)…Continue Reading “Mortimer Minute”

Elric had studied with the monks. He knew the gospels back and forth. He had the Psalms by heart… He sang in Latin, but, for me, he put them into speech I understood. “God keeps me as a shepherd keeps his flock. I want for nought,” he said. “I bleat with hunger, and he pastures me in meadows green. I’m thirsty, and he leads me forth to water cool and deep and still. He hoists me to my feet when I am weak. Down goodly…Continue Reading “23rd Psalm, Godric-style”

I’m joining in on Poetry Friday this week with a poem found in our ancient copy of Bookhouse Story Time. The poem is a tribute to goldfinches, which abound in our yard this season, harvesting sunflower seeds. I love the notion of invisible waves in the sky, and goldfinches riding them. My pics are from earlier in the season, though, when their plumage was brighter. Now they are fading as the leaves brighten. The roundup is at Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference today. Enjoy!

This week, Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” was on my 6th grader’s reading list. She read it, then last night I read it aloud to both girls and basically we all registered our questions and observations; I was too tired to do any more than that. But this morning, I got up and started investigating in my old anthologies and online, and I found some great resources. This entry at “Shmoop” addressed most all of our concerns in a very direct way. And a google…Continue Reading “Lady of Shalott”

The death of Rick Warren’s son by suicide is sad enough. But reading the news stories, we see a secondary tragedy — the vicious discussions that are generated in virtually every comment thread I’ve seen. The worst was at NPR, where various readers expounded on gun control, the evangelical guilt culture, and how the Warrens (despite clear statements to the contrary) probably just prayed for their son instead of getting him professional help. So now there is a whole discussion going on about the quality…Continue Reading “Compassion for Strangers”

It’s a motley lot. A few still stand at attention like sentries at the ends of their driveways, but more lean askance as if they’d just received a blow to the head, and in fact they’ve received many, all winter, from jets of wet snow shooting off the curved, tapered blade of the plow. Some look wobbly, cocked at oddball angles or slumping forlornly on precariously listing posts. One box bows steeply forward, as if in disgrace, its door lolling sideways, unhinged… –“Mailboxes in Late…Continue Reading “Poetry Friday: Waiting”

If children live with criticism they learn to condemn If children live with hostility they learn to fight If children live with ridicule they learn to be shy If children live with shame they learn to feel guilty If children live with tolerance they learn to be patient If children live with encouragement they learn confidence If children live with praise they learn to appreciate If children live with fairness they learn justice If children live with security they learn to have faith If children…Continue Reading “Poetry Friday: Back to Basics”

But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head, And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer, And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed, While the others stood and watched in very fear. (“The Man from Snowy River,” by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson, 1890. Full text here.) We like this movie, especially the scenes where the young horseman trains a thoroughbred using gentler methods. But only more recently have we discovered the narrative poem on…Continue Reading “Poetry Friday: The Man from Snowy River”

I picked up this book of animal poems from the new books shelf at the library. Flipping through it as my two daughters buckled up in the back seat, I came upon a hamster poem. “Aww,” I exclaimed, holding up the book so they could see the picture. “Look at this!” Over my arm she softly flows — cinnamon coat and whiskery nose. With marble eyes she stops and peeks; lets me stroke her knapsack cheeks… “Awwww!!” came the stereophonic echo from the back seat,…Continue Reading “Poetry Friday: Animal Poems”