Friday, December 19, 2014

15 Children's Art Books 2014 and 2015

Benny Andrews' s Grandmother's Dinner, Oil and collage, 1992

Benson, Kathleen. (2015). Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews. Illustrated by  Benny Andrews. New York: Clarion Books.
Burleigh, Robert. (2014). Edward Hopper Paints His World. Illustrated by Wendell Minor. New York: Henry Holt and Co. 

Engle, Margarita. (2015). The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist. Illustrated by Aliona Bereghici. New York: Two Lions.
Friedman, Samantha. (2014). Matisse's Garden. Illustrated by Christina Amodeo. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 
Kulling, Monica. (2014). When Emily Carr Met Woo. Illustrated by Dean Griffiths. Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.
from About Two Squares: A Suprematist Tale of Two Squares in Six Constructions
Lissitzky, El. (2015). About Two Squares: A Suprematist Tale of Two Squares in Six Constructions. Illustrated by Odile Belkeddar. London: Tate Publishing.
MacLachlan, Patricia. (2014). The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri MatisseNew York: Roaring Brook Press.
Meltzer, Milton. (2015). Dorothea Lange. New York: Puffin.
Morles, Yuyi. (2014). Viva Frida. Photographs by Tim O'Meara. New York: Roaring Brook Press.
Powers, J.L. (2014). Colors of the Wind: The Story of Blind Artist and Champion Runner George Mendoza. Illustrated by George Mendoza. Purple House Press.
Rubin, Susan Goldman. (2014). Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Illustrated by  Bagram Ibatoulline. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
Ruurs, Margriet (2015). A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. Illustrated by Katherine Gibson. Toronto, ON: Pajama Press.
Warhol, Andy. (2014).  Andy Warhol So Many Stars Board Book. Mudpuppy.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. (2015). Gordon Parks: How thephotographer Captured Black and White America. Illustrated by Jamey Christoph. Grand Rapids: MI: Albert Whitman & Company
Winter, Jeanette. (2014). Mr. Cornell's Dream Boxes. New York: Beach Lane Books.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Clearing the Sill of the World: Poems about Writing

A Story (M.A. Reilly, 2010)


This tweet by Meenoo Rami got me thinking.

Richard Wilbur's "The Writer" came to mind.  The intimacy, immediacy, tenderness of the poem always halts me, causes me to reread.  A father's love for his daughter, the writer. Wilbur likens writing to that of a dazed starling-- "sleek, wild, dark" --who caught in the house battles to get out of the room again and again. He writes:
And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top, 
And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure, 
It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world. 
It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder. 
And as I reread I nod and think it is always a matter of life or death. I'll tell you here, I learn more from poets than anything else.  Yes I am often full of wonder when reading other types of texts, but nothing approaches the way the language remains decades later on my tongue--how the poem becomes my very skin.


Then there's those lines by Adrienne Rich that open An Atlas of the Difficult World:

An Offering (M.A. Reilly, 2011)

Yes, these are often the materials and in a redemptive voice the speaker reminds us that so too is "the slow lift of the moon's belly/over wreckage, dreck, and waste..."

It's that phrase, slow lift, that makes these lines resonate so.

Those liquid sounds.

When I made the image, "An Offering," I thought of "the slow lift of the moon."  When I lose myself making images, I almost always do so while reciting in my head lines from a poem.  I don;t know why this is.  Poems stay with me, well after I have read and reread them.


In William Carlos Williams "The Desert Music" the poet chronicles a visit to Juárez with his wife and Robert McAlmon. Williams writes about what it might mean to be a poet in America mid century by asking how a poem sounds and how to get said what must get said.

The humbleness at the close of the poem when Williams writes sometimes reminds me of the difficulty, uncertainty that frames our capacities to compose.  I often recall this closing when writing about education as I think we may have forgotten (or perhaps have not yet learned) that learning is filled with inconsistencies.



There's Langston Hughes's "Theme for English B" who in 1951 allows us to see how difference (in)forms agency, (in)forms self and other.


In "Coda," Richard Kenny, opens the poem:

I tried lacing loss into these lines,thinking to bind it safely there.

I think about what we try to bind life (safely at that) with poetry.  How we hope the poem might somehow contain us, release us, transform us.  This is the stuff of poetry.

He closes the poem by telling us:

OnceI tried to write invisibly,but all lifetime is a candle.


A few more poems to consider...

Jorge Luis Borges: The Art of Poetry
Billy Collins: Workshop
Mark Halliday: Graded Paper
Robert Hass: Happiness
Marianne Moore: Baseball and Writing
Pablo Neruda: Poetry
David Wojahn: How a Poem Happens

Monday, December 15, 2014

Communal Storytelling/Story Making with Pie Corbett

The Little Red Hen Story Map

In this series of three video we see Pie Corbett showing us how he engages children and adults in communal storytelling and story making. In the first video he demonstrates how he retells the Little Red Hen and we see the children chiming in.

I. Pie Corbett telling the Little Red Hen Story

II.  Talk for Writing - Communual Storytelling
In this second video, Pie Corbett, demonstrates to adults how to tell a communal story, again returning to the Little Red Hen.

III. Making a Story Map/Innovating a Story with Year 3 

In this video, we see Pie Corbett create a story map for The Three Little Pigs.  Next he engages the students in changing the text by innovating.

IV.  Magpying 
In this video, Pie explains why keeping a writing journal is important.

You can read/view more about Pie's work here:
Pie Corbett's Web Page
More videos (on teaching grammar and syntax)
Talk for Writing
Pie Corbett videos on Pinterest

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Learning to Lie

Today at Two Writing Teachers Blog, Tara Smith issued the Slice of Life (SOL) challenge.  Here's my slice of life story.


The day I took my mom's rose-gold bracelet remains with me as if those events happened a breath away, not decades earlier.  I was 10 and determined to follow my older brothers as they and their friends walked down the block to the gully. The gully was a deep ravine that ran between two houses on the block.  It was a place kids in the neighborhood played during the day and teenagers used at night.  The gully served as a run off from the water sewer for the street above ours.  At the north end of the gully was a large pipe a ten-year-old could walk into.  It was the dare of the neighborhood. Walk into the pipe alone and then walk through it until you came to the block above, stand beneath the sewer grate, yell you were there, and then pick up the baseball that had been left there. Meanwhile, some of the kids would run up to the street and be waiting there, looking down to see if you had made it and had gotten the baseball. To finish the dare, you had to return with the ball in hand.

This meant walking in the dark through an enclosed space. Who knew what lived inside that pipe. It also was often slick with a trickle of water. It was a dare I had yet to do, even though my brothers had done it.

Earlier that day I had been looking through the top draw of my mom's bureau and found the blue jewelry box once again. I didn't know the significance of that box at that time but would later come to recognize Tiffany & Co. that was stamped on its lid.  But that day I was ignorant and needy and wanted that bracelet on my wrist. I wanted to show it off to Debbie Green who lived next door. I wanted to pretend it was mine.

The bracelet was pink with a series of small clusters of roses linked together and a slim latch.  I loved it.  And I took it, pushing my ten-year-old hand through and seeing the bracelet settle on my wrist, a bit too loosely. I pushed it up my arm only to see it resettle and made my way down the stairs and outside.  I went to Debbie's to show her the bracelet, but she wasn't home.  I decided to wait outside, admiring how the bracelet looked.  It was just a little later when I saw my brothers, my best friend, Tommy Lane, and the other neighborhood boys walking down the street towards the gully.

Now I had a rep as a bit of a tomboy. Truth was a lot of things I did scared me, but not being able to hang with my brothers scared me more. I lived on a block with mostly boys. And so I followed my brothers to the gully and as I made my way down I tripped on a tree root and fell, slicing my knee open on some broken glass. None of us were suppose to play in the gully.  That was a rule.  So it wasn't such a surprise that my brothers told me to be quiet and one wrapped his t-shirt around my knee.

Just some blood, they'd tell me.
Stop being a baby.
Just say you fell outside when we get home. 

As we made our way to the pipe, Tommy asked me if I was going to finally take the dare.

You gonna do it? 

I must have looked unsure standing their with my older brother's white t-shirt wrapped around my bloody knee.

You don't have to, you know.

Tommy was one of my best friends and I knew that he had done it, at least two years earlier. Both my brothers had done it. All of their friends had climbed through that tunnel. Only Oliver and me were left. And on that Saturday in May, Oliver who was afraid of everything, was spending the weekend with his father.

Yeah, I'm gonna do it.
Doesn't count if you don't come back with the ball, Mickey warned.  He was a mean kid who grew up to be a mean man.

When you get past the curve it will get light again, Tommy told me.  Go about 20 more feet and you'll see the sewer grate above you.  The ball should be there. Get it and come right back.

There's something to be said about the dark, about the unknown. As I entered the pipe, I was feeling brave with the light, telling myself I could do this. As I made my way up the pipe and the sound of the boys laughing and talking receded  I thought about the beavers I had seen earlier that year when Jo Ellen, Tommy's older sister and I went bird watching with the Rivets.  I remembered the beavers. I remembered the surprise I felt when I saw how large they were and how they lived in dams in water and I wondered if there were any beavers living in this pipe. It got so dark that even the bright white of my brother's t-shirt could not be seen. I thought I heard a noise, a skittering sound, and that fear sent me running towards my brothers and Tommy, my arms pumping as I ran back towards where they had been.

It wouldn't be until later.

It wouldn't be until after I suffered the humiliation of being called a baby and listening as Mickey taunted me and as Tommy told him off that I would notice that the shiny pink bracelet I loved was no longer on my wrist. It was gone.

That night I told my mom nothing and hoped she wouldn't notice the bracelet was gone. I found some peroxide and oversized bandages and cleaned my cut. It was deep and in hindsight most likely needed a few stitches. Even today, the slim whitened scar remains.

The next day, instead of going to church, Tommy and I went back to the gully to see if we could find the bracelet. I had told no one I had lost it except him. He had some matches with him and once we got inside the pipe he lit them so we could see.

I bet it fell off when I turned and ran back.

We walked on and looked and looked but did not find the bracelet. We used the entire book of matches. It was gone.

Maybe you lost it when you fell.
Yeah, maybe.

As we climbed up the gully, I found part of the bracelet by a rock. It was dirty. Tommy found the rest of it a few feet away. He put it in  my hand. The bracelet was in two pieces.

Must have broken when you fell.

What're you gonna do?
Not sure.

It as only a short walk back home.  I left Tommy at his house and made my way down the street. When I got in my mom was making Sunday breakfast as she did each week.

Church over already?

I climbed the stairs and opened the draw, taking out the blue box. I brushed off the remaining specks of dirt and looked at the pieces.  I knew it was a gift that my Da had given her. I knew it was special even if I didn't know Tiffany & Co.  She often wore it at Christmas. I lifted the two pieces and could smell her perfume. To this day, Channel No. 5 reminds me of the day I learned to lie.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

20+ Books about Rosa Parks for K-12

from Rosa, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Picture Books
  1. Adler, David. A. (1995). A Picture Book of Rosa Parks. Illustrated by Robert Casilla. New York: Holiday House.
  2. Giovanni, Nikki. (2007). Rosa. Illustrated by Bryan Collier. New York: Square Fish.
  3. Kittinger, Jo S. (2010). Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights. Illustrated by Steven Walker. Honesdale, PA: Calkins Creek.
  4. McDonough, Yona Zeldis.  (2010). Who Was Rosa Parks? Illustrated by Nancy Harrison and Stephen Marchesi. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.
  5. Miller, William. (2001). The Bus Ride. Illustrated by John Ward. New York: Lee & Low Books.
  6. Parks, Rosa & Jim Haskins. (1999). I am Rosa Parks. Illustrated by Wil Clay. New York: Penguin.
  7. Pingry, Partick A. (2007). The Story of Rosa Parks. Illustrated by Steven Walker. Candy Cane Press. (Board Book)
  8. Pinkney, Andrea Davis. (2008). Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney.  New York: Greenwillow Books.  
  9. Reynold, Aaron. (2013). Back of the Bus. Illustrated by  Floyd Cooper. New York: Puffin.
  10. Ringgold, Faith. (2003).  If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks. New York: Aladdin.
  11. Ringgold, Faith.  (1993). Dinner at Aunt Connie's House. New York: Hyperion.
Books for Middle Readers: Grades 5-8

    from Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  1. Aretha, David. (2014).  The Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Photographs (Story of the Civil Rights Movement in Photographs). Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.
  2. Miller,  Connie Colwell. (2006). Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Illustrated by Dan Kalal. Graphic History.
  3. Nelson, Kadir. (2013). Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. New York: Harper Collins.
  4. Parks, Rosa & Jim Haskins. (1999). Rosa Parks: My Story. New York: Puffin.
  5. Parks, Rosa & Gregory Reed. (1994). Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope, and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
  6. Pinkney, Andrea Davis. (2013). "Rosa Parks" (pp. 71-80) in Let it Shine: Stories of Black Freedom Fighters. Illustrated by Stephen Alcorn. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers.
  7. Reed, Gregory and Rosa Parks. (1997). Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today's Youth. New York: Lee & Low Books.

    Books for Older Readers: High School and Adults

    1. Brinkley, Douglas. (2005). Rosa Parks: A Life. New York: Penguin.
    2. Dove, Rita. (2000). On the Bus with Rosa Parks. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. (Poetry) You can listen to the poem Rosa read by Rita Dove, here
    3. Kohl, Herb & Cynthia Stokes Brown. (2007). She Would Not Be Moved: How We Tell the Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. New York: The New Press.
    4. Theoharis, Jeanne. (2013). The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. New York: Beacon Press.

    Littlefoot, 19, [This is the bird hour]

    #19 (M.A. Reilly, Collage. December 2014)

    Littlefoot, 19, [This is the bird hour]

    Charles Wright

    This is the bird hour, peony blossoms falling bigger than wren hearts
    On the cutting border’s railroad ties,
    Sparrows and other feathery things
    Homing from one hedge to the next,
                                                        late May, gnat-floating evening.
    Is love stronger than unlove?
                                             Only the unloved know.
    And the mockingbird, whose heart is cloned and colorless.
    And who’s this tiny chirper,
                             lost in the loose leaves of the weeping cherry tree?
    His song is not more than three feet off the ground, and singular,
    And going nowhere.
    Listen. It sounds a lot like you, hermane.
                                                               It sounds like me.

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    From the Morning: A Dozen Images

    A Touch of Purple (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)

    ...So look see the days
    The endless coloured ways
    And go play the game that you learnt
    From the morning. 

    And now we rise
    We are everywhere 
    And now we rise from the ground... 

                      - Nick Drake (From the Morning)

    A few images I made during early morning in New Jersey this morning and last Wednesday.

    Swamp (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)
    At the Shoreline (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014) 
    Blue (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)

    Trees at Shoreline (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)

    Crow in Swamp (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)

    Pole (M.A. Reilly. Leonia, NJ. December 3, 2014)

    One Tree (M.A. Reilly. Leonia, NJ. December 3, 2014)

    Limbs (M.A. Reilly. Oakland, NJ. December 3 2014)
    Four Birds (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)

    Trees (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)
    Stark (M.A. Reilly. Ringwood, NJ. December 6, 2014)