Sunday, June 29, 2014

Children's Books about The Blues & Jazz

Arisman, Marshall. 2008. The Cat Who Invented Bebop. Mankato, MN:  Creative Editions.
Burleigh, Robert. 2001. Lookin’ for Bird in the Big City. Illustrated by Marek Los. San Diego, CA: Silver Whistle/Harcourt, Inc.
Celenza, Anna Harwell. 2011. Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Illustrated by Don Tate. Waterford, MA: Cahrlesbridge.

Cline-Ransome, Lesa. 2014. Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage As the First Black-and-white Jazz Band in History. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. New York: Holiday House.
de Saulnier, Gia Volterra. 2013. Journey to Jazzland. Illustrated by Emily Zieroth. Hammond, IN: Flying Turtle Publishing.
Dillon, Leo and Diane Dillon. 2007. Jazz on a Saturday Night. New York: Scholastic/Blue Sky.
Dillon, Leo and Diane Dillon. 2002. Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles—Think of That! New York: Scholastic/Blue Sky.
Dumont, Jean Francois. 2005. A Blue So Blue. Translated by Michel Bourque. New York: Sterling Publishing Co.
Ehrhardt, Karen. 2006. This Jazz Man. Illustrations by R. G. Roth. New York: Harcourt. 
Fitzgerald, Ella. 2003. A Tisket, A Tasket. Illustrated by Ora Eitan. New York: Philomel.
Golio, Gary. 2012. Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane's Musical Journey. Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez. New York: Clarion Books.
Gollub, Matthew. 2000. Jazz Fly 2: The Jungle Pachanga. Illustrated by Karen Hanke. Santa Rosa, CA: Tortuga Press.
Gollub, Matthew. 2000. The Jazz Fly. Illustrated by Karen Hanke.Santa Rosa, CA: Tortuga Press.
Hannah, Jonny. 2005. Hot Jazz Special. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Holiday, Billie. 2004. God Bless The Child. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. New York: HarperCollins.
Hughes, Langston. 1995. The Book of Rhythms. Illustrated by Matt Wawiorka. New York: Oxford Press.

Ignalls, Ann & Maryann Macdonald. 2010. The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz legend. Illustrated by Giselle Potter. Orlando, FL: HMH Books.
Igus, Toyomi. 2005. i see the rhythmIllustrated by Michele Wood. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Isadora, Rachel. 1989. Ben’s Trumpet. New York: Scholastic.
Isadora, Rachel. 2002. Bring on that Beat. New York: Putnam.
Karlins, Mark. 1998. Music Over Manhattan. Illustrated by Jack E. Davis. New York: Doubleday.
Kuper, Peter. 2006. Theo And The Blue Note. New York: Viking-Penguin Book.
Lester, Julius. 2001. The Blues Singer: Ten Who Rocked the World. Illustrated by Lisa Cohen. New York: Jump at the Sun.
nuncalosabre.Black Cat Bone - Gary Kelley y J. Patrick Lewis
from Black Cat Bone. Illustrated by Gary Kelley.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2006. Black Cat Bone. Illustrated by Gary Kelley. Mankato, MN: Creative Editions. 
London, Jonathan. 1996. Hip Cat. Illustrated by Woodleigh Hubbard. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Marsalis, Winton. 2012. Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Illustrated by Paul Rogers. , Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Marsalis, Winton.  2005. Jazz A B Z. Illustrated by Paul Rogers. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
Mathis, Sharon Bell. 2006. Ray Charles. Illustrated by George Ford. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Miller, William.  2001. Rent Party JazzIllustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. New York: Lee & Low Books.

Myers, Walter Dean. 2007. Jazz. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday House.
Myers, Walter Dean. 2006. Blues Journey. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday House. 
Myers, Walter Dean. 2001. The Blues of Flat BrownIllustrated by Nina Laden. New York: Holiday House.
Nelson, Marilyn. 2009. Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All Girl Swing Band in the World. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Dial.
Novesky, Amy. 2013. Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her. Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Orlando, FL: HMH Books.
Orgill, Roxanne. 2010. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald.  Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
Orgill, Roxanne. 1997. If I Only Had A Horn: Young Louis Armstrong. Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin.

Parker, Robert A. 2008. Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books.
Pinkney, Andrea Davis. 2002. Ella Fitzgerald, Vocal Virtuosa. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.
Pinkney, Andrea Davis. 1998. Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and his Orchestra. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. New York: Scholastic.
Pinkney, Brian. 1997. Max Found Two Sticks. New York: Aladdin.
Powell, Patricia Hruby. 2014. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. San Francisco, CA Chronicle Books.
Raschka, Chris. 2002.  John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. New York: Scholastic.
Raschka, Chris. 1997. Mysterious Thelonious. New York: Scholastic.
Raschka, Chris. 1992. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop. New York: Scholastic.
Roberts, Brenda C. 2004. Jazzy Miz MozettaIllustrated by Frank Morison. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Schroeder, Alan. 1999. Satchmo’s Blues. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. New York: Dragonfly Books.
Taylor, Debbie A. 2004. Sweet Music in Harlem. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. New York: Lee & Low.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2014. Sugar Hill: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood.  Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Park Ridge, IL: Albert Whitman & Company .
Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2009. Before John Was A Jazz Giant. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. New York: Henry Holt & CO.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2000. The Sound That Jazz Makes. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. New York: Walker and Co.
Weinstein, Muriel Harris. 2008. When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Wheeler, Lisa. 2007. Jazz Baby. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Orlando, FL: HMH Books.
Winter, Jonah. 2012. Jazz Age Josephine. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Winter, Jonah. 2006. Dizzy. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.

Here's Why. Poetry.

What's Your Story? (M.A. Reilly, 2014)

Little Red-Cap

                     - Carol Ann Duffy (1999)

At childhood’s end, the houses petered out
into playing fields, the factory, allotments
kept, like mistresses, by kneeling married men,
the silent railway line, the hermit’s caravan,
till you came at last to the edge of the woods.
It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf.

He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud
in his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw,
red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears
he had! What big eyes he had! What teeth!
In the interval, I made quite sure he spotted me,
sweet sixteen, never been, babe, waif, and bought me a drink,

my first. You might ask why. Here’s why. Poetry.
The wolf, I knew, would lead me deep into the woods,
away from home, to a dark tangled thorny place
lit by the eyes of owls. I crawled in his wake,
my stockings ripped to shreds, scraps of red from my blazer
snagged on twig and branch, murder clues. I lost both shoes

but got there, wolf’s lair, better beware. Lesson one that night,
breath of the wolf in my ear, was the love poem.
I clung till dawn to his thrashing fur, for
what little girl doesn’t dearly love a wolf?
Then I slid from between his heavy matted paws
and went in search of a living bird – white dove –

which flew, straight, from my hands to his hope mouth.
One bite, dead. How nice, breakfast in bed, he said,
licking his chops. As soon as he slept, I crept to the back
of the lair, where a whole wall was crimson, gold, aglow with books.
Words, words were truly alive on the tongue, in the head,
warm, beating, frantic, winged; music and blood.

But then I was young – and it took ten years
in the woods to tell that a mushroom
stoppers the mouth of a buried corpse, that birds
are the uttered thought of trees, that a greying wolf
howls the same old song at the moon, year in, year out,
season after season, same rhyme, same reason. I took an axe

to a willow to see how it wept. I took an axe to a salmon
to see how it leapt. I took an axe to the wolf
as he slept, one chop, scrotum to throat, and saw
the glistening, virgin white of my grandmother’s bones.
I filled his old belly with stones. I stitched him up.
Out of the forest I come with my flowers, singing, all alone.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Speed of Belief

The Speed of Belief

                 -  Tracy K. Smith

What does the storm set free? Spirits stripped of flesh on their slow walk.
The poor in cities learn: when there is no place to lie down, walk.
At night, the streets are minefields. Only sirens drown out the cries.
If you’re being followed, hang on to yourself and run — no — walk.
I wandered through evenings of lit windows, laughter inside walls.

The sole steps amid streetlamps, errant stars. Nothing else below walked.
When we believed in the underworld, we buried fortunes for our dead.
Low country of dogs and servants, where ghosts in gold-stitched robes walk.
Old loves turn up in dreams, still livid at every slight. Show them out.

This bed is full. Our limbs tangle in sleep, but our shadows walk.
Perhaps one day it will be enough to live a few seasons and return to ash.
No children to carry our names. No grief. Life will be a brief, hollow walk.
My father won’t lie still, though his legs are buried in trousers and socks.
But where does all he knew — and all he must now know — walk?

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Friday, June 27, 2014

A Swinger of Birches

A Swinger of Birches (M.A. Reilly. Collage. 2013)


When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Building World Knowledge in Grade 2

2nd graders' initial wonderings as they listened to The Watcher.

It is particularly important for young children to be able to give names to experiences beyond where they live. High quality read alouds can potentially open windows to new worlds.  

Two examples of building world knowledge with primary grade students through high quality picture books come to mind as I think about the work done in Newark, this last year.  The student examples below come from Suzanne Capuano and Carolyn Garcia's 2nd grade classroom. Along with their colleagues Kathryn Callan, Daniela Healing, and Dolores Babalaco we have been trying out an e-book I wrote for 2nd grade that focuses on reading aloud.  (This link will take you to an early version of the e-book. It has now grown to nine units and I am revising based on what I have learned form these teachers and their students. The book is downloadable from iTunes. It's free.)
from The Watcher.

Students enjoyed listening and rereading, Jeanette Winter's picture book biography about Jane Goodall, The Watcher. Here are 3 students' initial written responses to the book.

(1) Written by Kiyara, Grade 2. May 2014 
Jane Goodall patiently waited for the cautious, hidden chimpanzees. Jane is very patient with the chimps. But, for some reason she was very patient wit that type of wild animal. Especially the life that they are living. How can she even watch them so closely when she is huddle with them in the rain? 
I guess by waiting for the chimpanzees to show themselves they gave her time to think. By staying in the background, never hid from the chimps, she pretended she didn’t care, and she quietly watched the chimps.

(2). Written by Saladin, Grade 2. May 2014            
Some things Jane learned by watching the chimps were you have to be patient. Also, chimps wake up at dawn to get food. Also, chimps are just like us.  Chimps make their own tools. Chimps eat termites. Jane loved that chimps have tantrums just like us. Chimps kiss like us. Jane learned that chimps accepted the rain. Lastly, Jane learned that chimps are the animals that are most likely just like us.

(3) Written by Isamar, Grade 2. May 2014             
When you think of chimpanzees, you might think of them being growly, harmful, but then Jane Goodall came along and opened the window of chimps to us. They’re not ALWAYS this way. 
             Observing Chimps – Did you know?
Before Jane learned about chimps, they didn't come by her for weeks They had to observe her before they could trust her. Just like humans!
             Bananas for Meat
When Jane Goodall moved in she explored these beautiful creatures.  Until one day she observed that they ate termites! WOW! Nobody knew about this before Jane.
Jane has accomplished many things about chimps, but she’s not done yet. She’s found out that the chimpanzees interact by kissing, hugging, and laughing like humans.
             Thank you Jane for teaching me about goodness and nature. You are amazing.

from Gandhi: A March to the Sea
I also thought it was significant that when these same 2nd graders wrote poetry at the end of the year, one boy wrote that he thought a statue of Gandhi should be placed in Branch Brook Park (in Newark) to remind everyone to settle differences through non-violent methods and "to learn how to walk with dignity." The children devoured the picture book, Gandhi: A March to the Sea. What is important to not is how the child infused this knew knowledge about Gandhi into his everyday living. This boy understands the importance of dignity (Gandhi's march to the sea) and non-violent protest and can apply each to his life in Newark. 

This is the big stuff.

The unit, these texts come from focuses on inspiring people. These are the texts included in the unit.

  1. Bruchac, Joseph. (2009). Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder. Illustrated by Thomas Locker. Golden, CO: Fulcrum. (Lexile N/A)
  2. Lawlor, Laurie. (2012). Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World. Illustrated by Laura Beingessner. New York: Holiday House. (890L) 
  3. McGinty, Alice B. (2013). Gandhi: A March to the Sea. Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. Las Vegas, NV: Amazon Children’s Publishing. (Lexile N/A)
  4. Nivola, Claire. (2012). Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (1170)
  5. Roth, Susan & Cindy Trumbore. (2011). The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families. Collages by Susan Roth. New York: Lee and Low Books. (1180L)
  6. Tonatiuh, Duncan. (2014). Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation.  New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers. (Lexile N/A)
  7. Winter, Jeanette. (2011). The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps. New York: Schwartz & Wade/Random House. (820L)
  8. Winter, Jonah. (2009). Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx: La juez que crecio en el Bronx. Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez. New York: Atheneum. (840L)

On Turning Ten

Out Walking In Rain (M.A. Reilly. London. 2013)

On Turning Ten

                       - Billy Collins

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light–
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.