Thursday, November 26, 2015

#SOL15: Noli Timere

What is Written (M.A. Reilly, 2010, Sant’Anna in Camprena, Pienza)

Noli timere. (Do not be afraid).


There is no emotional preparation for death.

There's nothing that will soften the pain or let loose the frenzied despair that seems now to form the marrow of my bones. Pain is elemental and what I most wish to distance my son from cannot be had. No amount of preparation, no amount of bartering, no desperate late night promises to God will ease our loss.

I know this even as I try not to.


Years ago I sat in the back seat of a limousine with Rob who wrapped his hand around mine. We were stopped at a light and I spent those minutes looking into the windows of cars, fascinated by the ordinary lives of others.  It was a wild animal desperation that seized me, urged me to covet the imagined lives of those passing by. I wanted to loose my body in those moments and become someone else, anyone else, anyone but myself.

Too frantic to sit in my own skin, I shifted as the car started and the truth is that it was only Rob's hand wrapped around mine that tethered me to the earth as we made our way to the cemetery to bury my mother on a too beautiful, too spring day in early May. I simply did not know how to be in the world with her no longer here and my husband's touch was an anchor I could not know I needed.

Touch matters.


Loss can not be preempted.

This is a hard truth I learned at 40 and an impossibly cruel one to learn at 17. My son  is two months shy of that mark and as I watch him I wonder if he is too young to bear the weight of such loss. I want to gather him to me and tell him to prepare, but I don't do this as those words are more for me than him.  I have left the here and now--the place where hope is still kindled and have traveled to a darker, distant time where no amount of preparation can soften what the heart cannot decipher.


I resist the mistaken urge to caution him about matters of death and loss and instead reach out and hold his hand.

We will hurt, I think.
And this pain will reveal the many ways we have been loved.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Primary Grade Text Set: 70+ Winter Guided Reading Books, Part 2

from Over and Under

Level B: Literature
  1. Mayer, Mercer. (2009). Snow Day.  Paradise CA: Paw Prints. (BR, 2/B)

Level D: Literature
  1. Meister, Carl. (2001). Tiny the Snow Dog (Puffin Easy-to-Read, Level 1). Illustrated by Rich Davis. New York: Penguin Young Readers.  (6/D)
  2. Crews, Nina. (1997). Snowball. New York: Greenwillow Books. (190L,6/D)
  3. Medearis, Angela Shelf. (2002). Best Friends in the Snow.  Illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max. New York: Cartwheel Books/Scholastic. (60L, 6/D)
Level E: Literature
  1. Medearis, Angela Shelf.  (1996). Here Comes the Snow! Illustrated by Maxie Chambliss. New York: Cartwheel Books/Scholastic. (8/E)
Level F: Literature
  1. Ernst, Lisa Campbell. (2008). Snow Surprise. (Green Light Readers: Level 2). New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (10/F)
  2. Hoban, Julia. (1993). Amy Loves the Snow. Illustrated by Lillian Hoban. New York: Scholastic. (10/F)
  3. Remkiewicz, Frank. (2011). Scholastic Reader Pre-Level 1: Gus Makes a Friend. New York: Scholastic. (10/F)
Add caption
Level G: Informational
  1. Wallace, Karen. (2000). A Bed for Winter (Level 1).  New York: DK. (240L, 12/G)
Level G: Literature
  1. Armstrong, Jennifer. (1996).  The Snowball (Step-Into-Reading, Level 1). New York: Random House Books for Young Readers. (100L, 12/G)
  2. Briggs, Raymond. (2015). The Snowman and the Snowdog (Step-Into-Reading, Level 1). New York: Random House Books for Young Readers. (110L, 12/G)
  3. Briggs, Raymond. (1999). The Snowman (Step-Into-Reading, Level 1). New York: Random House Books for Young Readers. (70L, 12/G)
  4. Capucilli, Alyssa Satin (2011). Biscuit's Snowy Day. Illustrated by Pat Schories. New York: Harper. (12/G)
  5. Farley, Robin. (2014). Mia: The Snow Day Ballet. Illustrated by Olga Ivanov. New York: Harper Festival. (12/G)
  6. Scieszka, Jon. (2008). Snow Trucking! (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown). Illustrated by David Gordon. New York: Simon Spotlight. (12/G)
Level HInformational
  1. Marzollo, Jean. (2000). I Am Snow. Illustrated by Judith Moffatt. New York: Scholastic. (14/H)
Level H: Literature
  1. Buehner, Caralyn.  (2002). Snowmen at Night. Illustrated by Mark Buehner. New York: Dial Books. (14/H)
  2. Fleming, Denise. (2001). Time to Sleep. New York: Square Fish. (310L, 14H)
  3. Lakin, Pat. (2002). Snow Day. Illustrated by Scott Nash. New York: Dial Books. (BR, 14/H)
  4. McNamara, Margaret. (2015). Snow Day. Illustrated by Mike Gordon. New York: Simon and Schuster. (240L, 14/H)
Level I: Literature
  1. Drummond, Ree. (2013). Charlie's Snow Day. Illustrated by Diane deGroat. New York: HarperCollins. (250L, 16/I) 
  2. Harper, Lee. (2010). Snow! Snow! Snow!  New York: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. (230L, 16/I)
  3. Keller, Holly.  (1991). Geraldine's Big Snow. New York: Scholastic. (16/I)
  4. Rocco, John. (2014). Blizzard. New York: Disney-Hyperion (2012 Caldecott Honor Book) (16/I)
  5. Scotton, Rob. (2013). Splat the Cat: Blow, Snow, Blow (I Can Read Level 1).  New York: HarperCollins (360L, GR Level 16/I)
  6. Seuling, Barbara. (1998). Winter Lullaby. Illustrated by Greg Newbold. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (610L, 16/I)
Level J: Informational
  1. Bauer,  Marion Dane. (2016). Snow (Ready-to-Read, Leveled 1). Illustrated by John Wallace.  New York: Simon Spotlight. (440L, 16/J)
  2. Gibbons, Gail. (2006). Valentine's Day Is. New York: Holiday House. (410L, 16/J)
Level J: Literature 

  1. Barkly, Bob. (2002). Winter Ice Is Nice!  Illustrated by Carolyn Bracken. New York: Scholastic. (16/J)
  2. Beck, Ian. (2002). Teddy's Snowy Day. New York: Scholastic. (310L, 16/J)
  3. Biggs, Brian. (2012).  Everything Goes: Henry Goes Skating. Illustrated by Brian Biggs and Simon Abbott. New York: HarperCollins. (16/J)
  4. Carle, Eric. (2000). Dream Snow. New York: Philomel Books. (300L, 16/J)
  5. Ehlert, Lois. (1999). Snowballs. Boston: MA: HMH Books for Young Readers. (16/J)
  6. Figueredo, D.H. (1999). When this World Was New. Illustrated by Enrique O. Sanchez. New York: Lee & Low Books. (440L, 18/J)
  7. Keats, Ezra Jack. (1976). The Snowy Day.  New York: Puffin Books. (500L) (1963 Caldecott Medal winner) (500L, 16/J)
  8. Rylant, Cynthia. (2012). Poppleton in Winter. Illustrated by Mark Teague. New York: Scholastic. (16/J)
  9. Rylant, Cynthia. (2011). Annie and Snowball and the Wintry Freeze. Illustrated by Sucie Stevenson. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  10. Rylant, Cynthia. (2000). Henry And Mudge And The Snowman Plan. Illustrated by Sucie Stevenson. New York: Simon and Schuster. (350L, 16/J)
  11. Yee, Wong Herbert. (2010). Mouse and Mole, A Winter Wonderland. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (410L, 16/J)

Level KInformational
  1. Bancroft, Henrietta & Richard G. Van Gelder. (1996). Animals in Winter. Illustrated by Helen K. Davie. New York: HarperCollins. (380L, 18/K)
  2. Branley, Franklyn M. (2000). Snow Is Falling (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1). Illustrated by Holly Keeler. New York: HarperCollins. (320L, 18/K)
  3. Fowler, Allan. (1992). How Do You Know It's Winter?  New York: Turtleback. (18/K)
  4. Moore, Eva. (2005). Magic School Bus Sleeps for the Winter. Illustrated by Carolyn Bracken. New York: Scholastic. (300L, 18/K)
  5. Zoehfeld, Kathleen Weidner. (2002).  Manatee Winter. Illustrated by Steven James Petruccio. Washington D.C.: Soundprint/Smithsonian. (18/K)
Level K: Literature
  1. Chardiet, Bernice. (1999). The Snowball War. New York: Scholastic. (18/K)
  2. Colandro, Lucille. (2003). There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! Illustrated by Jared Lee. New York: Scholastic. (18/K)
  3. Levinson, Nancy Smiler. (1995). Snowshoe Thompson. Illustrated by Joan Sandin. New York: HarperCollins;. (330L, 18/K)
  4. Rogan, John. (1998). Biggest Snowball Ever. New York: Scholastic.(18/K)
  5. Van Laan, Nancy. (2000). When Winter Comes. Illustrated by Susan Gaber. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. (630L, 18/K)
Level LInformational
from National Geographic Kids Winter Wonderland
  1. Esbaum, Jill (2010). National Geographic Kids Winter Wonderland. Washington, DC: National Geographic. (20-24/L)
  2. Neuman, Pearl. (1989). When Winter Comes. Illustrated by Richard Roe. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann Library. (20/L)
Level L: Literature
  1. Burton, Virginia Lee. (2010). Katy and the Big Snow. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (420L, 20/L)
  2. Giff, Patricia Reilly. (2013). Fiercely and Friends: The Sneaky Snow Fox. Illustrated by Diane Palmisciano. New York: Scholastic. (270L, 20/L)
  3. Kroll, Steven. The Biggest Snowman Ever. Illustrated by Jeni Bassett. New York: Cartwheel Books/Scholastic. (580L, 20/L)
  4. Morgan,  Allen. (1987). Sadie and the Snowman. Illustrated by Benda Clark. New York: Scholastic.(540L, 20/L)
  5. Neitzel, Shirley. (1994). Jacket I Wear in the Snow. Illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker. New York: Greenwillow Books. (20/L)
  6. Prelutsky, Jack. (2006). It's Snowing! It's Snowing!: Winter Poems. Illustrated by Yossi Abolafia. New York: HarperCollins. (20/L)
  7. Tresselt, Alvin. (1988). White Snow, Bright Snow. Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. New York: HarperCollins. (1948 Caldecott Medal winner) (840L, 20/L)
Level MInformational

from Pink Snow.
  1. Cole, Joanna. (2004). The Magic School Bus Lost in the Snow. New York: Scholastic. (260L, 24/M)
  2. Dussling, Jennifer. (1998). Pink Snow and Other Weird Weather (Penguin Young Readers, Level 3). New York: Penguin Young Readers. (300L, 24/M)
  3. Moore, Eva. (2005). The Magic School Bus Sleeps for the Winter (Scholastic Reader, Level 2). Illustrated by Carolyn Bracken. New York: Scholastic. (300L, 24/M)
from A New Coat for Anna
Level M: Literature
  1. Adler, David.  (2005). Cam Jansen and the Snowy Day Mystery. Illustrated by Susanna Natti. New York: Puffin Books. (550L, 24/M)
  2. Brett, Jan. (1999). The Mitten. New York:  G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. (800L, 24/M)
  3. Bunting, Eve. (1994). Night Tree. Illustrated by Ted Rand. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (620L, 24/M)
  4. Florian, Douglas. (1999). Winter Eyes. New York: Greenwillow. (24/M)
  5. Klein, Abby. (2015). Snow Day Dare (Ready,Freddy! 2nd Grade)Illustrated by John Mckinley. New York: Scholastic. (28/M)
  6. Tresselt, Alvin. (1989). The Mitten. Illustrated by Yaroslava. New York: HarperCollins. (840L, 24/M)
  7. Ziefert, Harriet. (1988). A New Coat for Anna. Illustrated by Anita Lobel. New York:  Dragonfly Books. (690L 24/M)
Level NInformational
  1. Messner, Kate. (2014). Over and Under. Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. (30/N)
Level N: Literature
  1. Klein, Abby. (2011). Ready, Freddy! #16: Ready, Set, Snow! Illustrated by John Mckinley. New York: Scholastic. (500L, 30/N)
  2. Miller, Pat. (2010). Squirrel's New Year's Resolution. Illustrated by Kathy Ember. New York: Scholastic. (450L, 30/N)
  3. O'Connor, Jane. (2008). The Snow Globe Family. Illustrated by  S. D. Schindler.  New York: Puffin Books. (660L, 30/N)
  4. Van Allsburg, Chris. (2015). The Polar Express: 30th Anniversary Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton. (1986 Caldecott Medal winner)  (30/N)
  5. Ziefert, Harriet. (2008). Snow Party. Illustrated by Mark Jones. Maplewood, NJ: Blue Apple Books.  (510L, 30/N)

Level O: Literature
    from SkySisters
  1. Alarcón, Francisco. (2005). Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno (The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series). Illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez. New York: Lee & Low Books. (34/O)
  2. Thaler, Mike. (2014). The Snow Day from the Black Lagoon. Illustrated by Jared Lee. New York: Scholastic. (700L, 34/O)
  3. Waboose, Jan Bourdeau. (2002). SkySisters. Illustrated by Brian Deines. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press. (34/O)
  4. Yolen, Jane. (1987). Owl Moon. Illustrated by John Schoenherr.  New York: Philomel Books. (630L, 34/O) (1988 Caldecott Medal winner)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Winter Books for Read Aloud: Updated

Read Aloud Books
from Chirri & Chirra, The Snowy Day

1. Biography

  1. Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. (2009). Snowflake Bentley. Illustrated by Mary Azarian. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (1999 Caldecott Medal winner)

2. Picture Books - Narrative

Winter Moon Song
  1. Baker, Keith. (2011). No Two Alike. New York: Beach Lane Books.
  2. Banks, Kate. (2017). Pup and Bear. Illustrated by Naoko Stoop. New York: Schwartz & Wade.
  3. Bao, Dongni. (2017). Who Wants Candied Hawberries. Illustrated by Di Wu. Translated by Adam Lanphier. Candied Plums.
  4. Bauer, Marion Dane. (2017).Winter Dance. Illustrated by Richard  Jones. New York: HMH Books.
  5. Berger, Carin. (2012). A Perfect Day. New York: Greenwillow Books.
  6. Brett, Jan. (2017). El mitón. New York: Puffin Books.
  7. Brett, Jan. (2016). Los renos rebeldes de Navidad. New York: Puffin Books.
  8. Brett, Jan. (2007). The Three Snow Bears. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. (680L)
  9. Brooks, Martha. (2014). Winter Moon Song. Illustrated by Leticia Ruifernández. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Press. 
  10. Bruchac, James & Joseph Bruchac. (2012). Rabbit's Snow Dance. Illustrated by Jeff Newman. New York: Dial Books. (640L)
  11. Camcam, Princess. (2014). Fox's Garden. New York: Enchanted Lion Books. (Wordless)
  12. Clark, Joan. (2006). Snow. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Press. 
  13. Cordell, Matthew. (2017). Wolf in Snow. New York: Feiwel & Friends.
  14. Davies, Benji. (2017). The Storm Whale in Winter. New York: Henry Holt.
  15. Doi, Kaya. (2017). Chirri & Chirra, The Snowy Day. Brooklyn, NY: Enchanted Lion Books. 
  16. Donovan, Jane Monroe. (2004). Winter's Gift. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.
  17. Fleming, Denise. (2012). The First Day of Winter. New York: Henry Holt. 
  18. Garoche, Camille. (2015). The Snow Rabbit. New York: Enchanted Lion Books. (Wordless)
  19. Gay, Marie-Louise. (2000). Stella, Queen of the Snow. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Press. 
  20. Girel, Stépanie . (2011). A Bird In Winter: A Children's Book Inspired by Peter Breugel. Illustrated by Hélène Kerillis. New York: Prestel.
  21. Gravett, Emily. (2015). Bear & Hare Snow! New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 
  22. Hader, Berta & Elmer. (1993). The Big Snow. New York: Aladdin. (1949 Caldecott Medal winner) (710L)
  23. Harbridge, Paul. (2017). When The Moon Comes. Illustrated by Matt James. Toronto, ON: Tundra Books.
  24. Jenkins, Emily. (2015). Toys Meet Snow: Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-loving Rubber Ball. Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. New York: Schwartz Wade Books.
  25. Johnston, Tony. (2014). Winter is Coming. Illustrated by Jim Lamarche. New York: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. (330L)
  26. Joyce, William. (2015). Jack Frost. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. (870L)
  27. Judge, Lita. (2017). A Song for Snow. New York: Dial Books.
  28. Judge, Lita. (2011). Red Sled. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 
  29. Keats, Ezra Jack. (1976). The Snowy Day.  New York: Puffin Books. (500L) (1963 Caldecott Medal winner) (500L, 16/J)
  30. Keats, Ezra Jack. (1991). Un Dia de Nieve. New York: Puffin Books. 
  31. Knapman, Timothy. (2017). The Winter Fox. Illustrated by Rebecca Harry.  New York: Nosy Crow.
  32. Laminack, Lester L. (2010). Snow Day! Illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers. (350L)
  33. Lindgren, Astrid. (1997). The Tomten. New York: Puffin Books.
  34. Lindgren, Astrid. (1997). The Tomten and the Fox. New York: Puffin Books. (310L)
  35. Lumbard, Alexis York (2015). Pine and the Winter Sparrow. Illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. Bloomington, IN: Wisdom Tales.
  36. Matthews, Caitlin. (2015). Fireside Stories: Tales for a Winter's Eve. Illustrated by Helen Cann. Cambridge, MA: Barefoot Books.
  37. McCarty, Pater. (2015). First Snow. New York: Balzer + Bray. 
  38. Pak, Kenard. (2017). Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter. New York: Henry Holt.
  39. Pendziwol, Jean E. (2013). Once Upon A Northern Night. Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Press. 
  40. Rocco, John. (2014). Blizzard. New York: Disney-Hyperion (2012 Caldecott Honor Book) (16/I)
  41. Rolli, Jennifer Hansen. (2017). Claudia & Moth. New York: Viking Books for Young Readers. 
  42. Rueda, Claudia. (2006). No. Illustrated by Elisa Amado. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Press. 
  43. Rylant, Cynthia. (2008). Snow. Illustrated by Lauren Stringer.  Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc. (840L)
  44. Sakai, Komako. (2009). The Snow Day. New York:  Arthur A. Levine Books. (370L)
  45. Say, Allen. (2009). Tree of Cranes. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (470L, 38/P) 
  46. Silvetro, Annie. (2017). Mice Skating. Illustrated by Teagan White. New York: Sterling Children's Books.
  47. Schulevitz, Uri. (2004). Snow. New York: Square Fish. (A Caldecott Honor Book, 220L)
  48. Spinelli, Eileen. (2015). Cold Snap. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman.  New York: Dragonfly. (790L)
  49. Steig, William. (2011). Brave Irene. New York: Square Fish. (630L, 40/S)
  50. Tresselt, Alvin. (1989). The Mitten. Illustrated by Yaroslava. New York: HarperCollins. (840L, 24/M)
  51. Tresselt, Alvin. (1988). White Snow, Bright Snow. Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. New York: HarperCollins. (1948 Caldecott Medal winner) (840L, 20/L)
  52. Usher, Sam. (2015). Snow. New York: Templar.
  53. Van Allsburg, Chris. (2015). The Polar Express: 30th Anniversary Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton. (1986 Caldecott Medal winner)  (30/N)
  54. Waboose, Jan Bourdeau. (2002). SkySisters. Illustrated by Brian Deines. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press. (34/O)
  55. Woodward, Caroline. (2017). Singing Away the Dark. Illustrated by Julia Morstad. Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books.
  56. Xia, Lei. (2017). Who Ate My Chestnut? Illustrated by Chao Wang. Translated by Duncan Poupard.  Candied Plums/
  57. Yamashita, Masako.  (2012). Snow Children. Toronto, ON: Groundwood Press. 
  58. Yee, Wing Herbert. (2007). Tracks in the Snow. New York: Square Fish.
  59. Yolen, Jane. (1987). Owl Moon. Illustrated by John Schoenherr.  New York: Philomel Books. (630L, 34/O) (1988 Caldecott Medal winner)

3. Poetry & Rhyming Texts

from Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno
  1. Alarcón, Francisco. (2005). Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno (The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series). Illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez. New York: Lee & Low Books. (34/O)
  2. Hopkins, Lee Bennett (Selector). (2014). Manger. Illustrated by Helen Cann. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. (Poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Joan Bransfield Graham, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, X. J. Kennedy, Jude Mandell, Marilyn Nelson, Jane Yolen, Ann Whitford Paul, Prince Redcloud, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Michele Krueger, Alma Flor Ada and Alicia Schertle)
  3. McGrath, Jennifer. (2017). The Snow Knows. Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. Halifax, NS: Nimbus Publishing.
  4. Prelutsky, Jack. (2006). It's Snowing! It's Snowing!: Winter Poems. Illustrated by Yossi Abolafia. New York: HarperCollins. (20/L)
  5. Rogasky, Barbara. (1999). Winter Poems. Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. New York: Scholastic. (50/U)
  6. Sidman, Joyce. (2014). Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold. Illustrated by Rick Allen. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. 
  7. Slayton, Fran Cannon. (2017). Snowball Moon. Illustrated by Tracy Bishop. New York: little bee books.
  8. Van Laan, Nancy. (2000). When Winter Comes. Illustrated by Susan Gaber. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. (630L, 18/K)
  9. Yolen, Jane. (2005). Snow, Snow: Winter Poems for Children. Illustrated by Jason Stemple. Honesdale, PA: WordSong. (40/S)
4. Informational Books including Narrative Nonfiction

from Over and Under

  1. Bancroft, Henrietta & Richard G. Van Gelder. (1996). Animals in Winter. Illustrated by Helen K. Davie. New York: HarperCollins. (18/K)
  2. Berkenkamp, Lauri.  (2014). Explore Winter!: 25 Great Ways to Learn About Winter. Illustrated by Alexis Frederick-Frost. White River Junction, VT: Nomad Press. (840L)
  3. Branley, Franklyn M. (2000). Snow Is Falling (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1). Illustrated by Holly Keeler. New York: HarperCollins. (320L, 18/K)
  4. Cassino, Mark. (2009). The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. (870L, 34/O)
  5. Gerber, Carole. (2009). Winter Trees. Illustrated by Leslie Evans. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
  6. Gibbons, Gail. (2012).  It's Snowing! New York:  Holiday House. (790L, 34/O)
  7. Gibbons, Gail. (2007).  Groundhog Day! New York: Holiday House. (900L)
  8. Jackson, Ellen. (1994). The Winter Solstice. Illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press. (850L)
  9. Markle, Sandra. (2013). Snow School. Illustrated by Alan Marks. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishers. (890L)
  10. Messner, Kate. (2014). Over and Under. Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. (30/N)
  11. Pearson, Carrie A. (2012). A Warm Winter Tail. Illustrated by Christina Wald. Englewood, Cliffs, NJ: Sylvan Dell Publishing. (2013 Gelett Burgess Award, 730L)
  12. Pfeffer, Wendy. (2003). The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice. Illustrated by Jesse Reisch. New York: Dutton Books for Young Readers
  13. Rockwell, Anne. (2009). President's Day. Illustrated by Lizzie Rockwell. New York: HarperCollins.
  14. Stewart, Melissa. (2009). Under the Snow. Illustrated by Constance R. Bergum. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree Publishers. (780L)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Displaced: The Will to Live

Displaced (M.A. Reilly, 2014)

And I dreamed I was flyingAnd high above my eyes could clearly seeThe Statue of LibertySailing away to seaAnd I dreamed I was flying
                              - Paul Simon 


Watching my husband these last 3 months has taught me a thing or two about fighting for your life. As many of you know, Rob was diagnosed towards the end of August with Stage 4 lung cancer. He just spent the last two weeks in the hospital after having surgery to clean an abscess from his chest caused by a staph infection. He's spent nearly 30 out of the last 90 days in the hospital. Throughout this he has remained grateful for the quality and consistency of care he has received from doctors and nurses, family and friends.  Alongside this horrific illness there have been countless lessons about love--gestures so sweet they bring tears. And it is love that most fuels my husband's commitment to do what must be done in order to live.

Love fuels. Fear debilitates.


I think about Rob's drive for life in light of the horrible decisions that politicians, like the one from the state where I live, are making. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is being ridiculed for his callous and frankly irrational comment that the United States should not accept refugee orphans from Syria younger than five years old because they have no family here.  Christie asks, "How are we going to care for these folks?"


He adds he distrusts the current administration to vet the refugees and claims that the safety of you and me would be in jeopardy if Syrian refugees were admitted to the United States, even those who are orphaned babies.

Fear debilitates. Love fuels.


Surely the governor has lost his way. For is there no one as innocent as an orphaned baby? Is the face of the orphan now the face to fear?  Our safety is not in jeopardy by refugees--be they 3 or 33. The good people from Syria are doing what we all would do--what I see my husband doing--fighting to live.  We must respect that and help, not turn away people who are in such need.

The knee-jerk reaction of Republicans, like Christie, shames us all. and requires us to act--to send our elected politicians that turning away Syrian refugees is immoral, wrong.

Love fuels. Fear debilitates.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#SOL15: Being Present - The Value of the Moment


The first chemo treatment. 10.30.15
It's been nearly 90 days since my husband was first diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. During that time he has spent one-third of those days in the hospital. Most of that time has been spent not treating the cancer, but rather diagnosing and fighting staph infections caused by the insertion of a contaminated port into my husband's chest on the early morning of September 14. 

As I write this, Rob is 30 miles away on the fourth floor of Morristown Medical Center recovering from surgery to remove and clean an abscess that formed in his chest. More staph. He's been there for 12 days. Yesterday he waited for the technicians to whisk him to the imaging center to have an MRI of his brain made. No one arrived. We have been trying to get the MRI done since September--to see if his inability to walk unassisted is due to the cancer spreading to his brain.

Waiting gives rise to counting. 

Out the window of the hospital room we have been living in these last days, a murder of crows lifts from a field, winging sharply in an odd synchronization that forms and breaks. Against uncertainty, quantifying the bits and pieces of life offsets some of what we cannot know.

Early today, the MRI was done and now we wait for the results.


Your body, like mine, has trillions of cells. If cells could be counted like coins, it would take more than 31,000 years to count just 1 trillion and you have far more than that in your body. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. In Rob's body, old cells don't die like they do in healthy bodies. In his body, cells grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells. Some time ago these cells amassed and formed a mucinous cystadenocarcinoma in the apex of his right lung. While the cells amassed, we continued to walk through the days, ignorant, until this August when time folded in on itself like a poor house of cards. 
All around us, life as we knew it began to slowly collapse and we were none the wiser, nor were we able to wake ourselves from this trauma.  
It was 8:16 a.m. on August 20th when the doctor phoned. I remember later thinking how odd that such news arrived before the morning papers, before the first sip of coffee.  It was a day we had planned to sleep in. Work was over until September and we were planning a quick end-of-the-summer trip to Maine. What makes lung cancer so deadly is that the patient is often asymptomatic until the cancer metastasizes elsewhere in the body. For Rob it was acute chest pain that sent him to his doctor who said, "Let's be safe and get a picture of your chest." That picture led to a CAT scan and then an MRI and finally to a VAT procedure of the lung and a needle biopsy of the lesions that were found on his spine. And that morning, as I paced in our bedroom listening to Rob's voice, i tried not to piece together a possible story of cancer.

It's always a matter of life and death. I had forgotten that.


Last Friday in Paris, 129 people were murdered and another 352 were injured by terrorists. Ordinary people going about the business of living.

I think of those killed and wonder what each might have done differently that Friday the 13th knowing that in a few hours their lives would end.  It's tricky to live with knowledge of your mortality not as some distant, unformed end, but rather as that which is potentially more imminent, more present. Living deliberately is best expressed in the small, innocuous acts that typify an average day. For example, earlier I bought some tissue paper that I intend to use to wrap the few gifts I've gotten Rob for his birthday. I took time selecting what I wanted, imagining a small pile of gifts wrapped in this rainbow of colour. In the past, such acts were more like tasks to be checked off rather than opportunities to be dwelled in. This deliberateness, this odd gift of being present in the moment, gives definition to the mundane.

Some days it is easier to forget the mortality that signals our impermanence, dogs our steps.  Others less so.

It's how we live in the moment, in the here and now, that matters most.