Thursday, January 26, 2017

Planting the seeds: HERE WE GO (Giveaway!)


Pasco County Schools

Last week I talked a lot about "here we are"—bracing for and embracing change. Judging by your comments and several other Poetry Friday posts, I am not the only one who has been grappling with uncertainty, looking for answers, or turning to poetry to soothe and settle mind and heart.

Today I'm sharing something that might help...

Available for purchase at Amazon and QEP.

A "hot off the press" Children's Book Council selection for 2017, this may not be the first time you've heard about HERE WE GO, released by Pomelo Books earlier this month. It wouldn't be difficult to write my whole post by borrowing bits and pieces from others: I thought Mary Lee Hahn was spot on when she called it "the right book at the right time," Irene Latham was her usual perceptive self when she said it "invites questions and doesn't demand answers," and Margaret Simon did a great job writing about the "grit" and determination it takes to put yourself out there—something required of every activist. But since this is my internet podium, allow me tell you what this book means to me (aside from the fact that I'm pleased as all get out to be a part of it!) . . .

HERE WE GO is a harbinger of hope.


Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong impress the heck out of me.
They're always right on the pulse of where we are as a poetry
and teaching community, and ready to urge us one step further.

From its introduction:
Why is this a "Poetry Friday Power Book"? Because we believe in the power of poetry to express our deepest feelings, and our most powerful experiences, and to inspire us to use our words to create change in the world.

Like its predecessor, YOU JUST WAIT (reviewed here last September), HERE WE GO is a mash-up between an anthology, a verse novella, and a poetry workbook. It also comes with an abundance of useful back matter. But what I love most is the interactive "PowerPack" format that guides readers through the process of reading, thinking, writing, and responding. It's a winning formula for writers of any age and ability to spur creativity, make connections, and get their own words and ideas flowing.

Aimed at slightly younger readers than YOU JUST WAIT, Janet hopes that HERE WE GO "will find its way into the hands of 3rd graders who have been confused or fearful since the election and that it will give them comfort and security to read about kids like themselves." (Read more at Live Your Poem.)

Perfect for home or classroom, I like to think of HERE WE GO as the little engine that could. Without being preachy, it helps young readers recognize that they have a voice and gives them the confidence to make a difference, to make to the world a better place.

The story centers on four young friends—Ameera, David, Jack, and Jenna. They come from diverse backgrounds and each face unique challenges at home, but together they discover that kindness, gardening, and activism go hand-in-hand as they strive to make an impact in their community. Young readers will see that no matter their family situation or the socio-political climate, they are not alone. We all have struggles, yet it's our differences that make us stronger when we work together.


Pasco County Schools


I love with what Janet and Sylvia did with PowerPack 8.
It opens with a PowerPlay activity that asks the reader to circle every third word in a passage and then, using some of those words, come up with a three-line poem—a tercet.

—from Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book
by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong ©2017 Pomelo Books


Next is my poem, "Look for the Helpers," which originally appeared in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS.

—from Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book
by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong ©2017 Pomelo Books


After that, we have two original poems by Janet Wong—
a response poem...

—from Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book
by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong ©2017 Pomelo Books
  
Don't you love that ending?

and a mentor poem—

—from Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book
by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong ©2017 Pomelo Books

"There's only room for kindness here"—YES!


followed by a Power2You writing prompt.
Now it's your turn to write a poem using rhyming or non-rhyming tercets.

—from Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book
by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong ©2017 Pomelo Books


If you accept this Power2You challenge . . .

Write a short poem about HOPE or HELPING using tercets (one or two stanzas is plenty) and I will share it here. Leave your poem in the comments below or email it to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com. Since you've already read my poem about helping, I'll start us off with a tercet about hope.

dawn chill
lack of will
still the moon smiles

© Michelle Heidenrich Barnes


each morning
the sun behind clouds
I choose hope

© Jone Rush MacCulloch


the snow
falls in silence but
the wind listens

© Brenda Davis Harsham


It’s hard to see hope in the headlines,
but then at the playground
I find children smiling.

© Linda Baie


rocks propped
each surface jigsawed together
a tower of hope

© Bridget Magee


in my mind
I can see past the clouds
to the sun

© Elizabeth Steinglass


We're growing spinach, lettuce, beans,
we're planting hope with every seed,
our garden swells with pride and leaves.

© Buffy Silverman


one kind word
wields more action
and ignites more change!

© Michelle Kogan


Gray paints the sky.
Silence quietly enters.
Hope pushes through the solitude.

© Carol Varsalona 


when I'm ready to quit
my daughter's smile
renews my hope.

 © Maria Marshall


I look to nature
A wild heron sees me
What are you doing here?

© Margaret G. Simon


The job is boring.
Time goes slow.
Tomorrow is Saturday!

© Cindy Breedlove


Winter wind sings
a song that gently chimes
through falling snow

© Kay McGriff


there are no alternative facts;
the sky IS blue
and a smile changes the world

© Sally Murphy


I remind myself
every single day:
to teach is to hope.

© Mary Lee Hahn


Urgent call: Attention, attention!
Volunteer your kindness, love, and care
for a global hatred decontamination.

© vezenimost


the volunteer stretches
stretches beyond to reach out to another
another less strong

© Donna JT Smith


Rain has cleared
sunshine here
world full of rainbow

© Joy Acey


When my legs grow too tired to stand,
I can still pull myself up
with my arms.

© David McMullin


Helpers here, helpers there
Multiply like bunnies
Erase the fear

© Jan Godown Annino





Janet and Sylvia are two of the most generous people I know, and not surprisingly, they have provided me with several copies of HERE WE GO to give away to readers of this blog post. 

This is the perfect book to share with a a young person in your life—a child, grandchild, niece or nephew, your students, a scouting troop, an after-school group...? Or maybe you'd like a copy just for yourself. That's okay too! As we did last time, you may request 1, 2, or 3 copies, but you must leave a comment on this post no later than Tuesday, January 31st, in order to be entered. You do NOT have to write a tercet poem in order to be entered—that's just for fun—though I am curious about how you plan to use the books. (For those who have trouble leaving comments, email me at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com and I will post your comment for you.) Winners will be chosen randomly until all the copies are gone, and announced next Friday, February 3rd.


One last thought . . .

Sometimes it's hard to see beyond the daily news and our own busy lives, but just to put things in perspective, today (January 27) is Holocaust Remembrance Day. My mother-in-law was an Auschwitz survivor and a remarkable woman in so many ways. I'd love to share some of her inspiring personal stories with you, but that's a post for another day. In the meantime, let's be grateful for having learned from mistakes of the past and unite in our determination not to let them happen again.

Plant seeds of love, not hate.

Pasco County Schools


Carol Varsalona is all about planting seeds of love and gratitude. Join her for today's Poetry Friday roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink.







56 comments:

  1. the snow
    falls in silence but
    the wind listens

    Thanks for a new challenge, Michelle!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful. Thank you. What a wonderful book and what a wonderful post. I'll go away and see what I can come up with.

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  3. Also your helper poem is one of my all-time favorites.

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  4. No need to enter my name, Michelle. I have this wonderful book. How great to have a giveaway for it.
    It’s hard to see hope in the headlines,
    but then at the playground
    I find children smiling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ain't that the truth, Linda! A child's smile is better than almost anything... except maybe the smell of a newborn. :)

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  5. Once again, your post/challenge inspires me, Michelle! Influenced by the common desert practice of rock balancing, my tercet is:
    rocks propped
    each surface jigsawed together
    a tower of hope
    Thank goodness for Janet and Sylvia - their books are so important to the future (our kids, students, etc). =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to try rock balancing sometime. Have you done it, Bridget? In Florida we just make sand castles. :)

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  6. in my mind
    I can see past the clouds
    to the sun

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful, Liz. It IS a comfort to know the sun is there, even when hidden.

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  7. Love your "Look for the Helpers" poem, Michelle--so glad it's finding another audience. Okay, you've inspired me to write a few lines:

    We're growing spinach, lettuce, beans,
    we're planting hope with every seed,
    our garden swells with pride and leaves.

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    Replies
    1. This is the tercet I wanted to write, Buffy! Thanks for bringing it to the party. :)

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  8. I'm so excited to share this book with kids in my library programs...and also just to use it to inspire and fire up my own poetry!! :-)

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  9. It's so nice to see TLD. The book looks wonderful. And, I know if it's for readers at grade three....I can use it with my ELL students. What I love about my students that don't speak English when I meet them is that poetry is universal. They often know poetry in their own language and/or have some memorized. So, introducing poetry is not hard at all. Working at reading poetry is pure joy with these kids. I can't wait to share Here We Go with students in my school.
    And, I've had such a hard time...well more moments than hard time in general staying positive. I am gaining so much energy for focusing on the positive this Poetry Friday. Thanks for being part of it. I pray that today you have many sweet memories of your mother in law to bless you and that you find a way to share some of her story soon.

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    Replies
    1. You leave the most thoughtful comments, Linda. Thank you. Wonderful to hear about your poetry-loving students, too! I agree— some days are more difficult than others. I guess we just need to keep taking them one at a time.

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  10. I find solace in your post, it's a breath of fresh air in the midsts of all that's around us, thank you!!! I'm happy "Look for the Helpers," has a home in this rich poetry collection, we need many more huggers and helpers. I would give my copy to my daughter who's part of a poetry club at her school, although she's in high school I still feel they would all appreciate "Here We Go."But if there're teachers out there with younger students please pass it on to them.
    one kind word
    wields more action
    and ignite more change!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this book would appeal to students of any age, Michelle. Miranda is in 9th grade and thinks it's great. And it's perfect for a poetry club!

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  11. Please amend my poem above, I left out an "s" thanks.

    one kind word
    wields more action
    and ignites more change!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Michelle, I respond to your challenge by trying to paint the sky a different color:

    Gray paints the sky.
    Silence quietly enters.
    Hope pushes through the solitude.

    I am excited by Janet and Sylvia's new book and would like to promote it here on Long Island. They are definitely generous with their campaign to promote poetry goodness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it worked, Carol! The sky was lovely tonight.

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  13. What a fun giveaway and challenge.

    when I'm ready to quit
    my daughter's smile
    renews my hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel the same about my children, Maria. What would we do without them?

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  14. Wow. This looks like an amazing book. I will try my hand at writing a poem this month. Thanks. I need a kick in the pants! If I win a copy of the book, I will spend some time with it with my granddaughter and then will donate it to her charter school. They have such a tiny library budget!

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    Replies
    1. I think we all could use a kick in the pants now and again, Rosi. I could use a pants-kicker more or less full-time!

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  15. I love this activity and can't wait to try it with my kiddos. Don't put me in the drawing. I have my own set to give away. I feel so privileged to be a part of this book. By sharing together, writing together, and being together, we will build hope.
    Sometimes when I write, I don't really know what I'm saying, but I have to trust that the poem knows. That's the case here.

    I look to nature
    A wild heron sees me
    What are you doing here?

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    Replies
    1. Happens to me all the time, Margaret! But I do think this tercet speaks beautifully for itself.

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  16. Yes, I have been hearing about hear we go, and yes, I want to hear more--even more I want to read it and share it with others. I would love to be entered to win a copy (just 1). After reading it myself and trying it out, I will be glad to put it in the Little Free Library in my yard. Here's a tercet inspired by my windchimes.

    Winter wind sings
    a song that gently chimes
    through falling snow

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    Replies
    1. Very nice, Kay! What a pleasant scene I'm imagining with the windchimes and falling snow.

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  17. What a wonderful concept for a book! Sylvia and Janet have outdone themselves once again. And loved your poem as well!

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  18. Thank you, everyone, for all the kind words--and inspiring tercets! Michelle: this was another of your stellar posts--we're so grateful for all the time you put into them!!!

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  19. there are no alternative facts;
    the sky IS blue
    and a smile changes the world

    ReplyDelete
  20. I remind myself
    every single day:
    to teach is to hope.


    I get frustrated that I can't take more political action, but being constantly ON all day long with a diverse class of 5th graders just doesn't allow for that. When I get home and tell hubby about my day, he reminds me, "You do something positive for our country, the world, and the future Every Single Day." Those words help my heart to realize that teaching is a political act at the ground level.

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    Replies
    1. Your hubby is so right, Mary Lee. You just keep doing what you're doing. And THANK YOU for doing it!

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  21. Congratulations, Michelle on your poem being included in this new book. And thank you and everyone for all these hope-full poems! xo

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  22. Each of the Poetry Friday Anthologies are a treasure in its specific way. Even living in Bosnia and Herzegovina nowadays, I already found a way to share this treasure with the young people at the organization for children where I started volunteering. Would truly like to get a copy of "Here We Go! :) Thank you for your wonderful post and a giveaway challenge, Michelle.

    Urgent call: Attention, attention!
    Volunteer your kindness, love, and care
    for a global hatred decontamination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How wonderful to know how far this book is reaching! I'm all for a global hatred decontamination, too.

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  23. Hope or helping...let's see. I need to write a poem today for my poem a day challenge... so Here We Go!
    I saw helping, volunteering, hope together and also thought of the word "volunteer" as a plant taking root in another spot where it wasn't originally planted. Also used my OLW "reach" for good measure I just noticed.

    the volunteer stretches
    stretches beyond to reach out to another
    another less strong

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    Replies
    1. Love hearing the process of how you came to this, Donna. I also love how you've connected each line with word repetition. It reminds me of a line of people holding hands.

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  24. Rain has cleared
    sunshine here
    world full of rainbow

    I hope to win this poetry challenge.

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  25. There is always hope. And I do adore your helpers poem.

    When my legs grow too tired to stand,
    I can still pull myself up
    with my arms.

    ReplyDelete
  26. This post makes me feel so good. The tercets bring so many smiles.
    My thoughts to you & your husband about the special meaning of Holocaust Remembrance to your Family.
    This power pack looks potent.

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  27. Helpers here, helpers there
    Multiply like bunnies
    Erase the fear

    A quick like a bunny one.
    Michelle, I think about Mr. Rogers with the title of your poem + that's a good thing. All these poems set me almost singing.

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    Replies
    1. Mr. Rogers' helper quote was my original inspiration for the poem! Glad to know you're a fan like I am. :) Keep hopping, helping, and singing!

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  28. I'm late to this party, but I wanted to add my thanks for all these wonderful tercets and kind words and to you, Michelle, for this lovely post. Your phrase, "A harbinger of hope" is the best praise of all!

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Sylvia. Aren't those tercets terrific? And so many of them, too! This community positively glows with hope.

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