A blog for kids (and their parents) who love books, words, and dreaming big...
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Singing to you...

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

"There is 
something about poems 
that is like loving children: 
They keep returning home 
and singing to you all your life."

 ~ Felice Hoffman,
 in The Place My Words are Looking For

I love it when poems sing to me. Do you? :)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Travel with me...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

I know a way to open doors
and find adventure, tears and pleasure
where witches whisper,
frogs are men
and pirates on wild shores
call us to join a quest for untold treasure.
what we find depends on where we look.
A thousand worlds, or more, await us.
Travel with me,
we'll go by the book.

~ Karla Kuskin

I love to travel and visit new places. However, I don't often have the money to physically travel around the country -- or the world. Luckily, I can travel by book whenever I feel like it! Through reading I can travel to the most remote places on the globe. I can even travel to other worlds, other universes. How about you? Do you like to "go by the book"?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A library book...

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"If I was a book, 
I would like to be a library book, 
so I would be taken home 
by all different sorts of kids."

~ Cornelia Funke

I have to agree with Funke. I can't imagine a happier book than a library book loved by a wide variety of children -- and adults! What kind of book would you like to be?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


The word I want to share with you this week is flummox [fluhm-uh ks], a verb that means "to bewilder; confound; confuse". I like how the word sounds -- and it is fun to say! Here are a few sentences I came up with using this week's word:

She quickly rattled off the directions to her house, 
leaving me completely flummoxed.

Said the magician to his assistant, 
"This trick will really flummox the audience!"

Please don't use all that jargon that I'm not familiar with -- 
it will only flummox me.

How would you use the word flummox? I'd love to read your sentences! Please feel free to share them with me. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The way of life...

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Have you ever noticed a tree standing 
   naked against the sky, 
How beautiful it is?  
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness 
There is a poem, there is a song.  
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.  
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with 
The music of many leaves, 
Which in due season fall and are blown away. 
And this is the way of life.

~  Krishnamurti

I love to see trees lush and green in the summer or ablaze with color in the fall. But I also appreciate the naked trees of winter. There is a poem there, and a stark kind of beauty. Can you hear the song in the bare branches?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Powerful things.

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

     But Peter's word lists were not just scribbles. Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. And when he put them in long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself clicked into order.

~ from The Right Word: 
Roget and His Thesaurus,
written by Jen Bryant

Words are very powerful things indeed. Can you think of words -- something you've heard or read or even said -- that have made a difference in your life or the world around you?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Enjoy the writing...

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"Try to enjoy the writing itself. 
Don't even think 
about publication. 
Just focus on making 
every sentence, every paragraph,
 every page the very best 
you can make it. 
Then, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite 
until the work is even better!" 

~ Suzanne Lieurance

I think that this is very good advice for writers. Enjoy the work, make it the best that you can, and then rewrite it and make it even better. (Easier said than done, I know!)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jack Frost

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

Jack Frost

Someone painted pictures on my
Windowpane last night --
Willow trees with trailing boughs
And flowers, frosty white,

And lovely crystal butterflies;
But when the morning sun
Touched them with its golden beams,
They vanished one by one.

~ Helen Bayley Davis

I've always loved looking at the pictures that Jack Frost paints on my windows! I like the images in Davis's poem, especially the "willow trees with trailing boughs" and the sun's "golden beams". What do you like (or dislike) about this poem?

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

"Literature is my utopia." 

~ Helen Keller

Mine, too. Just give me some good books and a comfy place to sit and I will be in heaven. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Penguin

Photo courtesy of

The Penguin

A penguin isn't thin -- it's fat.
It has penguinsulation.
And it toboggans through the snow
On penguinter vacation.
The penguin's a penguinsome bird
Of black-and-white fine feather.
And it will huddle with its friends
In cold, penguindy weather.

~ Douglas Florian

Happy Penguin Awareness Day! :)

I love penguins and I love this poem with Florian's fun play on words. It makes me smile every time I read it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Algid and Gelid

This week seems like an appropriate time to share two words -- two synonyms -- that I learned recently. The first is algid [al-jid], an adjective that means "cold, chilly". The second is gelid [jel-id], another adjective that means "very cold, icy, or frosty". I've written a few sample sentences using these words:

It has been positively algid 
here this week. (True story!)

Penguins would love this gelid weather.

I love snow, but I don't like 
the algid temperatures that accompany it.

I'd much rather drink a mug of hot cocoa today
 than a gelid glass of water.

Do you like it when it's algid and gelid outside? How would you use these two words?

Monday, January 18, 2016

I dream a world...

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn.
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind—
Of such I dream, my world!

~ from the opera Troubled Island,
written by Langston Hughes

Wishing you all a MLK Day filled with peace, love, and big dreams!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Unarmed truth and unconditional love...

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"I refuse to accept the view 
that mankind is so tragically bound 
to the starless midnight 
of racism and war 
that the bright daybreak 
of peace and brotherhood 
can never become a reality. 
[...] I believe that 
unarmed truth and unconditional love 
will have the final word in reality."

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tomorrow, I'm sharing this quote from the man himself. Let's do what we can to make peace, brotherhood, and unconditional love our reality....

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Under my hood...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

Under my hood I have a hat
And under that
My hair is flat.
Under my coat
My sweater's blue,
My sweater's red.
I'm wearing two.
My muffler muffles to my chin
And round my neck
And then tucks in.
My gloves were knitted
By my aunts.
I've mittens too
And pants
And pants
And boots
And shoes
With socks inside.
The boots are rubber, red and wide.
And when I walk
I must not fall
Because I can't get up at all.

~ Karla Kuskin

Have you ever had days like this? I sure have.... :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

One kind word...

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"One kind word
 can warm 
three winter months." 

~ Japanese proverb

Warm someone up today with a kind word or deed.... :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Have you ever heard of a binturong [bin-too r-awng]? A binturong is an animal, a kind of civet that lives in the trees of South and Southeast Asia and has a long, prehensile tail. My family and I love to watch the binturongs at our zoo, especially my son, Nick. It's Nick's 17th birthday today, and in honor of that, binturong is our word of the week. I wrote a few sentences using the word:

Binturongs are also called bearcats.

Binturongs smell like popcorn. 
(Really, they do!)

The binturong walked across the log 
like an acrobat on a tightrope.

How would you use the word binturong? Are there any unusual animals that you like to watch at the zoo?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Now I Am Six

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When I was One, 
I had just begun. 
When I was Two, 
I was nearly new. 
When I was Three, 
I was hardly Me. 
When I was Four, 
I was not much more. 
When I was Five, 
I was just alive. 
But now I am Six, 
I'm as clever as clever. 
So I think I'll be Six 
Now and forever and ever. 

~ A. A. Milne 

Tomorrow is my son Nick's birthday. He's a *bit* older than six now -- eleven years older -- but I'm sharing this poem in honor of his special day....

Monday, January 11, 2016

No snow?

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

     "No snow," said radio.

     "No snow," said television.

     But snowflakes don't listen to radio, snowflakes don't watch television. All snowflakes know is snow, snow, and snow.

~ from Snow,
written by Uri Shulevitz

I'm glad that snowflakes don't listen to the radio or the tv. Ours kept saying we wouldn't get any snow, either, but we finally did anyway. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A library...

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"Here is where people,
One frequently finds,
Lower their voices
And raise their minds."

~ Richard Armour

Lowered voices and raised minds -- two reasons why I love libraries so much!

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net


Snowflakes softly falling,
coasting on the hills,
Children building snowmen,
sharing Winter thrills.

Skaters on the ice pond,
dressed in outfits bright,
Lacy fir and pine trees--
such a lovely sight.

Drifts along the roadside,
frosted windowpanes,
Fence posts capped in ermine,
lining country lanes.

Crystal brooks and streamlets,
fairyland delight,
World of glistening beauty
blanketed in white.

Purple shadows lengthening,
moonlight on the snow,
Families snug and cozy
'mid the hearth fires' glow,

Fellowship and laughter,
happiness sublime,
Many joys to cherish
when it's wintertime.

~ Beverly J. Anderson

I love all of these "Winter thrills". Do you?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Snow What Fun!

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

I love snow. I love to watch it fall from the sky. I love to go sledding in it, and ice skating, make snow angels and snowmen. And once I'm done playing out in the snow, there's nothing I like better than wrapping up in a warm blanket,  with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book!

Even though it's been many years since any of my kiddos have sat on my lap to listen to me read a story, I still enjoy reading and looking through picture books. Here are a few that I found at our library recently and wanted to share with you:

No Two Alike,
written and illustrated by Keith Baker, 2011

Two little birds explore the winter wonderland all around them and discover that, though many things are similar to each other, each one is unique. I love the gently rhyming text and Baker's creative scenes on every page, like the bird skiing on pine needles in the picture shown above.


written and illustrated by Claudia Rueda, 2009

Winter has come. It is time for mother bear and her little one to go to sleep until spring. But little bear wants to stay up and play in the snow. This is a cute story, perfect for reading at bedtime when your own little cub doesn't want to go to bed!


Red Sled,
written and illustrated by Lita Judge, 2011

This delightful story about woodland creatures who find a sled is told through Judge's illustrations and a bit of onomatopoeia.


When Winter Comes,
written by Nancy Van Laan
and illustrated by Susan Gaber, 2000

This engaging book uses rhyme and repetition to tell about what happens to animals and plants when winter comes.


Diamond in the Snow,
written by Jonathan Emmett
and illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, 2006

Mole has never seen snow before. When he finds something smooth and sparkly sticking out of the snow, he thinks it must be a diamond. However, the diamond keeps changing shape in his hands -- maybe it's magic?  This charming story shows just how magical wintertime can be.


Anna's Wish,
written by Bruno Hachler
and illustrated by Friederike Rave, 2008

It hasn't snowed in years. In fact, Anna has never even seen snow -- except for in her dreams. But then she spies a little white horse in the bakery window, standing on a cake that looks like snow. Maybe, if she just wishes hard enough...


Winter is for Snow,
written and illustrated by Robert Neubecker, 2013

A little girl is not fond of the cold and the snow, but her brother sets out to convince her that there are many wonderful things about winter. I know some people who are like the little girl in this story, who are always trying to wish winter away and skip ahead to summertime. I'd love to send them all copies of this book! :)


You Make Me Smile,
written and illustrated by Layn Marlow, 2013

It is a very special day for a little girl and her snowman! This is a sweet, magical story about friendship.


This Place in the Snow,
written and illustrated by Rebecca Bond, 2004

The morning after a big snowfall, the plow comes through and makes a mountain of snow. The children work together to make their own splendid place in the snow. I especially liked Bond's poetic text. Plus, this fun book reminds me of my son Ben and the other boys on our cul-de-sac. The plow always piles the snow up at the edge of our yard -- the kids love to build forts there, with sledding paths and more.


written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, 1998

The whole city is gray. Then, one snowflake falls to the ground. And another. The grownups say it will just melt away, but one young boy with his dog waits for the snow... and soon the city is white.


For even more wintry picture books, check out this previous post of mine:

Have you read any of the books above? If so, what did you think of them? What are your favorite picture books about winter?

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Image courtesy of Clkr.com

"Everything in writing 
begins with language. 
Language begins 
with listening." 

~ Jeanette Winterson

In other words, writing begins with listening. Listen to the world around you... what do you hear? What can you write about?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


This week's word is reminisce [rem-uh-nis], a verb meaning "to recall past experiences, events, etc." Here are a few examples I wrote, using the word of the week:

I love to reminisce about good times
 in my past. (True story.)

New Year's Eve is the perfect time to reminisce 
about the last twelve months.

When I get together with old friends, 
we often reminisce about things we did years ago.

Do you like to reminisce? How would you use the word in a sentence?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

If you, like me,...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

If you,
like me,
were made of fur
and the sun warmed you,
like me,
you'd purr.

~ Karla Kuskin

This fun poem makes me smile. (So does the photo!) If I could be an animal for a day, I would choose to be a cat. I would love to be that limber and graceful and relaxed. And I would really enjoy stretching out in the warm sunshine for a cat nap.  I have no doubt that I would purr! 

How about you? Would you like to be a cat? Or is there another animal that you would prefer to be?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Frozen now in time...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

     It began to snow heavily, falling in drifts. All Ophelia could see were the outlines of walls and the shapes of what might have been low hedges, now white. She shuffled through the snow. There were stone creatures, she noticed, covered in frost. Eagles with outstretched wings and lions reclining on the walls and a white horse rising up on its hind legs as though startled, only frozen now in time. 

~ From Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
written by Karen Foxlee

I read this book last summer, on a very hot day, and day-dreamed about snow. Now I can look out my window and see my very own winter wonderland. No eagles or lions, though. ;)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What to do...

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"Wear the old coat 
and buy the new book." 

~ Austin Phelps

I received some money for Christmas from my parents -- a very generous amount -- and am trying to decide what to buy with it. Right now all I that have on my "to buy" list are books! There is little else that will provide so much pleasure....

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net


so quiet
without a sound

to the ground

Snowflake feathers
from snow-white birds

Snow is a poem
without any words.

~ Eve Merriam

I love to watch snow falling, don't you? I love it when I'm inside, warm and cozy, gazing out my window and I love it when I'm outside in the cold, snowflakes landing on my face and melting there. I love how beautiful it is... and how quiet. 

Merriam's poem above makes me smile. I especially like that last line. And now whenever I watch the snow fall, I will think of it as poetry without words. :)

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Happy New Year

Image courtesy of

A Happy New Year

What shall I wish thee?
Treasures of earth?  
Songs in the springtime,
Pleasure and mirth?
Flowers on thy pathway,
Skies ever clear?
Would this ensure thee
A Happy New Year?

What shall I wish thee?
What can be found
Bringing thee sunshine
All the year round?
Lasting and dear,
That shall ensure thee
A Happy New Year?

Faith that increaseth,
Walking in light;
Hope that aboundeth,
Happy and bright;
Love that is perfect,
Casting out fear;
These shall insure thee
A Happy New Year.  

~ Frances Ridley Havergal

I wish all of these for you in 2016... and also a year filled with good books to read! Happy New Year! :)