I’m a little late to the game in discovering that today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day, so I don’t have an exciting blog post prepared. And even though kids and classrooms should be reading multicultural children’s books every day, I thought it was an occasion worth celebrating and that the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website, with book lists, giveaways, and kits for teachers and parents, was a resource worth sharing.
Thanks to Patricia Tilton for sharing this and reviewing a great multicultural children’s book today on her blog, Children’s Books Heal!
I’ve been exploring different forms of poetry for a book I’m working on, and I’m having such a great time. Some people, I think, see form as something they have to squash their ideas into. For me, though, form is more like a ladder to throw down to your poem. Sometimes your idea may fall off, but often it will climb up to an entirely different place than where it started.
Which is why I’d like to share the Burmese Climbing Rhyme, or Than Bauk, a form that’s been especially challenging and fun for me (and that fits nicely into my simile since it rhymes in steps like a ladder.) It consists of four syllable, also adapted to four word, lines with an inward-shifting rhyme scheme. The format looks like this:
x x x a
x x a x
x a x b
x x b x
x b x c
x x c x
x c x x
You can read more about Than Bauk here.
This morning, I decided to try my hand at one in tribute of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Enjoy, and if you feel inspired to try writing your own, please share in the comments – I’d love to read them!
To Dr. King,
words were things that
could sing our souls.
His words rolled stones,
touched goals as high
as dreams fly. Speak.
Don’t die silent.
Happy Halloween! Six years in, and I’ve finally learned about Susanna Leonard Hill‘s fun Halloweensie Writing Contest. The challenge is to write a 100 word children’s story about Halloween using the words Spider, Ghost, and Moon.
Check out her blog to read all of the great entries… and submit yours!
Halloween in Korea
No zombies, witches, or ghosts prowl the apartment building. Just one tiger and her dad.
“Trick-or-treat,” says Teagan. Her dad speaks a slew of Korean.
“Jamkkanman,” they answer, then disappear. They return with ginseng candy, a pear, or stickers for Teagan’s pillowcase.
One ajumma holds a fresh steamed bun in her spidery hand. Teagan nibbles the warm red bean center.
Teagan knocks on Mr. Moon’s door. Her dad bows. When Mr. Moon disappears inside, he returns with a girl. Teagan smiles and takes off her ears.
Now, two tigers prowl the apartment building on Halloween night.
Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it is filled with family and friends, warmth and delicious food, health, love, laughter, and whatever sort of weather you enjoy at this time of year.
Here’s to the sun shining longer each day for 6 months and a 2015 filled with creative inspiration and cheesy puns!
Hark! the “Harold” Angels Sing
As promised, here is my own poem to celebrate my wonderful mother and Limerick Day simultaneously. Enjoy!
There lack syllables in a haiku
to express how I feel about you.
My love’s parameters
but these limericks will just have to do.
Giving birth is no walk in the park,
but you brought me to light from the dark.
Please know that I’m glad
for each contraction you had,
and I thank you for every stretch mark.
I hear motherhood’s no picnic either,
nursing nightmares, stomach bugs, fever,
always on call
for a mishap or fall.
In wetting pants, I was quite the achiever.
For each grilled cheese, I owe you a kiss.
(Cut diagonally, made with cheddar, not Swiss.)
No, “Thank you for lunch,”
just a little nose scrunch,
and, “Are you sure there aren’t onions in this?”
Superstition says, “Unlucky thirteen.”
You say, “Eleven through eighteen, you mean?”
Years that I’d declare war
over curfew or chore:
a live nuclear hormone machine.
I hope the motherhood moments lamented
are outnumbered by jellybean flavors invented,
jigsaw puzzles completed,
card games competed,
and Christmas carols harmoniously presented.
After your day in the classroom was through,
you’d come home for teaching round two.
You taught me always to try
and that it’s alright to cry.
Of our shared days, there’s not one that I rue.*
*That last line’s a joke about an incident in which my lovely mother convinced me to rub an herb called rue all over my skin to repel mosquitoes, backfiring in an allergic reaction that gave me an itchy, purple, boiling rash for about 4 months. I suppose I do “rue” that day, but even that story is an example of my mom trying to do what was best for me. I’m so grateful to have gotten such a good one!
Yes, this is my mother and I in front of the world’s largest basket just outside of my hometown.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
While I do have a Valentine to celebrate with tomorrow, I won’t get to spend time with him until after writing a grant all morning, going to my day job, and attending my writing class (the first of a 10 week series through the Great Smokies Writing Program, which I am incredibly excited about). In fact, sometimes it feels like I am in a relationship with my writing.
We spend LOTS of time together.
We snuggle on the couch in our pajamas.
We go on regular coffee dates.
We get into lovers quarrels. It’s usually over who pays the bill (my writing almost never does…).
When we get into a rut, we try to keep things fresh by going to exciting new places. We just went on a weekend getaway to another galaxy.
It seems as though we are starting to resemble each other.
Sometimes it feels like this relationship is a lot of work. But then my writing will remind me that I am getting as much out of it as I put into it. I truly am finding that the more effort I put towards it, the more that I love it.
So this Valentine’s Day, or whenever you are having trouble knowing if it’s worth the trouble, take your writing somewhere new and exciting. Give your writing a little romantic gesture to let it know you care. In return, your writing will help you remember why you fell in love with it in the first place.
I had a lot of fun with this writing prompt. Make up your own holiday, rich with customs and traditions. Then tell the story of how the holiday came to be, or the story of one person or family’s celebration of it.
If you’re stumped for ideas, you might find some inspiration here: http://www.kidzworld.com/article/4456-weird-and-wacky-holidays. I’m a little disappointed I missed Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day!
Also, it’s apparently not too hard to get your holiday formalized by the United Nations. Bonus points if your day can get us off of work.