My writing...reflections...poems...pictures...projects...life...in Maine.
All material on this website is © Donna JT Smith unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - N

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 
Welcome to N!

N is for
A Net of Stars 
by Jennifer Jacobson

A Net of Stars

indigo night moon and stars surround
my bed aloft, my boat afloat
in oceans of midnight blue
starry schools swarm about
lighting shimmering
gossamer lines
filling my
net with
©Donna JT Smith, 2014

This poem form is a Nonet, with nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, and each line decreases in its number of syllables until the last line, which has one syllable.  It can be about any subject and may or may not rhyme.  It seemed to work nicely for this poem - it can look like a fishing net in the water or like from the bottom you are looking up into the huge night sky.

A Net of Stars is about a young girl conquering her fears.
More about the book and Jennifer Richard Jacobson here on Jennifer's website.
Jennifer Richard Jacobson lives in Cumberland, Maine.
Night Full Frightful
by Henry Hamilton

Night Full Frightful is a collection of scary poems, published in 2013.
Henry Hamilton was born in Lewiston and now lives in Otisfield, Maine.
The Hamilton's beautiful farm in Otisfield is called Maine Fun Farm, where they raise their own food and tend lots of animals to provide for their needs.  Their website is MaineFunFarm.com
I would have written a poem for this title, as it is full of potential, but the book is already a book of poems, and I don't want to step on toes!
This post was brought to you by the letter N!


O, what letter is next. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - M

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!

Welcome to M!

M is for
A Mountain of Mittens
by Lynn Plourde
A Mountain of Mittens

The days were cold, I needed mittens to wear
But I could not find even one matching pair
I picked up a mitten I threw it behind
Where were the pairs, am I losing my mind?

I rummaged, I rifled, I rooted and foraged
Until I had tossed every mitten from storage
I’d thrown all my mittens behind in a heap
Until pretty soon those mittens were deep

I then spun around to go back out the door
To see if somewhere I could find any more
But there in my way was a big mitten hill
Of singleton mittens no doubles...until

There at the bottom of Mount Mitten I spied
A nice red and blue one with white fuzz inside
And there on the top was a white fuzzy mitt
With blue and red inside, turned right-sided it

Was the match to the other! No more need be found,
Now all I need do was get over this mound
I climbed up one side and stood on the peak
Slid down the other, with a loud shriek!

Eureka! I’ve found them! My mittens! A pair!
But then from its foothills, my mother’s stern glare,
“And what will you do with this mountain of mittens?
There’s more than enough for the three little kittens!”

So I stuffed them all in a big bag to deposit
That mountain of mittens back into the closet!
Mount Mitten will grow as the springtime draws near
And should be much higher by this time next year.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Lynn Plourde is a native of Dexter, Maine, and now lives in Winthrop, Maine. Here's her website link.
A Mountain of Mittens about the pile of mittens in the school's Lost and Found, and how it is getting out of control.

Make Way for Ducklings
by Robert McCloskey
I remember this one being read on Captain Kangaroo when I was a child.  I've used a Robert McCloskey book earlier for the letter B for Blueberries for Sal.
In this book, a busy city makes way for ducklings, allowing them to cross the busy street in safety.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is my very favoritest book ever.  I loved painting lupines with my classes each year.  I love how Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, looks a lot like the author.  In this book a granddaughter is told by her grandfather that someday she must do something to make the world more beautiful.  She vows that she will do three things: travel, settle down by the sea, and somehow make the world more beautiful.  When she is grown, she fulfills all her promises, as she comes to live in a little house on the ocean after a life spent traveling to faraway places. She then scatters lupine seeds all over the coastal village, creating beautiful spots of colorful flowers everywhere.
She also wrote Eleanor, which was one of my E books.

Brought to you by the letter M!


And now for the nifty letter N!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - L

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!

Welcome to L!
L is for 
Lighthouse Lullaby
by Kelly Paul Briggs
Lighthouse Lullaby

What would I sing to a light house
if I had to sing a song?
What do the waves say to it
when they are crashing so strong?
I think that it would like to hear
soft murmurs from the stars
the sound of sand 
as it swirls in to the land
I think a lighthouse would like
to hear
a tune of a conch’s shell
and maybe the faraway ringing
of a harbor’s channel bell
a lullaby for a lighthouse
would be like one for you or me
except that the sound of the singing
would be the soft, salty sound of the sea.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

I would just like to say that Lighthouse Lullaby literally came out in one fell-swoop, or one swell foop, as I like to call it.  I did not change a thing about it - even the line breaks, except the typos.  I could not look at the computer while I wrote this one.  It was too sudden and unexpected - a poem vomit, if you will, only beautifuller.  It was distracting to look at anything while I listened to the words inside me.  I like when those happen.  I'm not crazy about vomiting, but when it's a poem that comes out... it's just different.
Lighthouse Lullaby is illustrated with beautiful pointillistic, pastel-toned pictures. The story was  inspired by a true story of a lighthouse keeper who lived on a Maine island 100 years ago.  For approximately 4 to 8 year olds.

Kelly Paul Briggs is an author and illustrator of children's books.  She was born in Rockland, Maine, in 1958 and raised in Camden, where she lives with her family. Briggs' great-great-grandfather was mayor of Camden in the 1800s.  
Little Loon and Papa
by Toni Buzzeo
In Little Loon and Papa, Little Loon is nervous about his diving lessons.  Papa Loon shows him how to tuck in his feathers and dip down into the water, but Little Loon doesn't even want to try it and heads off on his own. Being on his own he gets scared, but his Papa soon comes to rescue him.  For the 4-8 year olds again.
Toni Buzzeo is also the author of "No T. Rex in the Library","Dawdle Duckling," and "The Sea Chest" (remember this one - hint, hint!). Toni lives in Maine.

The Last Book in the Universe
by Rodman Philbrick
In The Last Book in the Universe the world has been almost destroyed. An epileptic teenager fights to bring human intelligence back Earth. For 8-12 year olds.
Rodman Philbrick was born in Boston, and grew up in New England, working as a longshoreman and boat builder. He has written books under his own name and pen names. He and his wife, author Lynn Harnett, live in Kittery, Maine, and Marathon, Florida.

An old book for boys was written by James Otis Kaler, called The Lobster Catchers: a Story of the Coast of Maine.  It is available for download as a PDF here.
Kaler was born in Winterport, Maine. When Kaler was 13 he became a reporter in Boston, and at 16, he covered Civil War battles and events.  He wrote adventure and patriotic biographies especially of interest to boys. He authored over 150 children's booksincluding Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks With the circus - which was made into a Disney movie in 1960.
He used two pen names, James Otis for most, and Amy Prentice for books written for young readers.

This post was lovingly brought to you by the letter L!


"LMNO" - remember when that was one letter?
Remember when you learned that M was it's own letter?
You don't?  Well, it is.
And M is next.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Miss Cree, the Ant

This was my poem for the word "Miscreant" in March Madness 2014, that I didn't submit.  I liked it, but there might have been explanations to go with it, as in there are a couple of types of ants that have worker ants that try to put their own eggs in with the queen ant's eggs.  A guard ant will sniff out the eggs that don't belong to the queen and eat it.  And sometimes they will kill the offending ant also.
My word "miscreant" in Miss Cree, the Ant:

Miss Cree

Miss Cree, the Ant, aspired to lay
Eggs with Queen Ant’s, so late one day
She tried to sneak one by Queen’s guard; 
He sniffed the egg, her way was barred.
He said, “We’ll eat this egg for snack! 
And if you’re smart, you won’t come back!
The next time we will eat you, too.
I think we’d love miscreant stew!”

Back to A-to-Z tomorrow!
The letter L!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - K

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.  The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 

Today I wrote a Kyrielle (notice the K? Klever!).  A Kyrielle has quatrains (4-lined stanzas), each line with 8 syllables.  Each quatrain has a repeating line or phrase which is usually last.  In mine it is first.  But the addition of the last two lines - a couplet - I've turned it into a Kyrielle Sonnet.
"A Kyrielle Sonnet consists of 14 lines (three rhyming quatrain stanzas and a non-rhyming couplet). Just like the traditional Kyrielle poem, the Kyrielle Sonnet also has a repeating line or phrase as a refrain (usually appearing as the last line of each stanza). Each line within the Kyrielle Sonnet consists of only eight syllables. French poetry forms have a tendency to link back to the beginning of the poem, so common practice is to use the first and last line of the first quatrain as the ending couplet. This would also re-enforce the refrain within the poem."
Shadow Poetry

Welcome to K!
K is for:
Kisses and Fishes
Liesel Moak Skorpen
Kisses and Fishes

Oh, fisherman, oh, fisherman,
I truly love you, fisherman
There is no man does what you can;
Oh, fisherman, bring me fishes!

Oh, fisherman, oh, fisherman,
I’m waiting for those fish, oh, man,
I need a fish for my fish flan,
So, fisherman fish for fishes!

Oh, fisherman, oh, fisherman,
There's fish there in your fishing can
I’ll pop them in my frying pan
And give my fisherman kisses!

Oh, fisherman, oh, fisherman,
I'll give my fisherman kisses!

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

Children's author Liesel Moak Skorpen was born in Germany and emigrated with her family in 1936 to the U.S. to escape Nazi oppression. She lives in Verona Island, just outside Bucksport, ME.
She attended Yale with the intention of becoming a philosophy professor, but married and became the mother of six.

Kisses and Fishes is about a little girl who wishes to live without her parents rules.  When her parents are suddenly swallowed up by the sea, she finds she's not as happy being alone as she thought she would.
This book is out of print, but still available through private sales on Amazon or Abe books.  I just purchased one. 

Knights in Shining Armor
by Gail Gibbons
Knights in Shining Armor is written for Kindergarten to Grade 3ish.  It explains knighthood in an understandable form for young readers. Gibbons explains the era, feudal system, castle configuration, weapons, armor, chivalry, tournaments, and the process for becoming a knight. Good for children beginning to do research.
Gail Gibbons is a prolific writer/illustrator of children's non-fiction books. She was born in Oak Park, Illinois. She and her husband divide their time between Corinth, Vermont, and Matinicus Island, Maine.  Many of her titles have been designated "Outstanding Science Trade Books" by the National Science Teachers Asssociation. She has received the Washington Post Children's Book Guild Award for overall contribution to children's nonfiction and the 2009 Katahdin Award presented by the Maine Library Association.

Brought to you by the letter K!


Where are you L?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - J

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!

Welcome to J!
J is for
Just Across the Street

by Rachel Field

Just Across the Street

Just across the street,
Just beyond my view,
Just around the corner,
Just in a mile or two -

Just across the river,
Just on up that hill,
Just beyond the rainbow,
Just over rock and rill -

There's just another friend
I have yet to meet
Just another story
Just across the street.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014
Here is an interesting and amazing research paper done on Rachel Field.  You will want to read this.
Just Across the Street (1933) A contrast of city and country life.
I couldn't skip this well-known author. I attended UMO while Stephen King was there, and was among the group on the library steps when he and others spoke out against the Vietnam War.  He was an imposing figure even before his writing days officially began. 
by Stephen King
Stephen King was born in Portland.  He attended Durham Elementary School and Lisbon High, and graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in English in 1970. He married another Maine writer, Tabitha (Spruce) King, in 1971.
He was the author of Carrie, Salem's Lot, Misery, The Shining, The Langoliers, and so many more!  Many of his works have been adapted to film, television series, mini-series and movie.  King was the 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

This post was brought to you by the letter J!


Here komes K!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - I

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April. 
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 

Welcome to I !
I is for
If I Never Forever Endeavor
by Holly Meade
If I Never Forever Endeavor

One day I made a noise;
Momma grinned at my new talk.
And when I tried and took a step,
She smiled at my new walk.
The day I ran she proudly beamed
So I did more and more!
Before she knew what happened
I was headed for the door.
I tried and tried with momma’s help
To conquer my new bike,
and pretty soon I'd caught on -
so much faster than my trike!
I learned to swim,
I learned to dance,
I learned that I could do
almost any new thing
I endeavored to.
Exciting things are out there;
good things to be done!
If you forever try to
most likely you'll have fun!
If I had never spoken,
never walked on through the door,
never tried to play a sport,
never tried to leap and roar,
never dared to make a friend,
never tried to row a boat,
never made a birthday cake,
nor ever sang a note,
how would I ever know
 that there is even more?
How would I know the fun
life has for me in store?
My book would be just cover;
no pages in between.
If I never bravely endeavor
I won’t get to the next scene.
So start to write your story;
try things that you should do,
and soon you will be writing
Chapter number 2.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014
Holly Meade, Maine artist, children's book author and illustrator, lives in Sedgewick. She has twice been published in Raising Readers stories for Maine children. She won the 1996 Caldecott Award.  She died near her home in Sedgwick, Maine, on June 28, 2013.

If I Never Forever Endeavor is about trying new things, being afraid to launch out and try new things - like flying for this baby bird.  He pictures the bad things that could happen, but in the end...

Brought to you by the letter I!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - H

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.  The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!
I wanted to highlight an adult fictional novel by a Maine author this time for the poem, but I've also included two more books for ages 8-12 below, that also have H titles by a Maine author.

Welcome to H!
H is for
The Hungry Ocean
by Linda Greenlaw

 The Hungry Ocean
When I was just a little girl
I combed the ocean side
I walked the beach both up and down
And then from side to side

I looked for little treasures:
Rubber bands and small containers
Bits of glass, tool handles,
A metal spoon, dish drainers,
Rubber tires, some driftwood,
A shoe, a belt, a sock;
And if I was very lucky,
A really smooth flat rock.

Sometimes some bones would wash ashore
And we’d pretend to fish;
I’d fry them up with salt and sand
And serve on a rock dish

We took what we could find
As it washed on the beach;
And we would gather in
Whatever we could reach.
We set up house, we made some meals,
We played all day on rocks;
Only when we went inside
Would we wear shoes and socks.

We didn’t need the store bought toys
With shells and rocks outside;
Fodder for our brains and hands,
Our toys were made seaside.

And when the tide rolled in again,
Waves covering all the bay,
The hungry ocean ate them up,
And they were washed away.
Tomorrow’s tide would bring to us
New adventures on the shore
The ocean, though it’s hungry,
Would give to us once more.

©Donna JT Smith, 2014
Linda Greenlaw is one of the most successful fishermen in the Grand Banks commercial fleet.  Greenlaw's boat, the Hannah Boden, was the sister ship to the doomed Andrea Gail, which disappeared in the mother of all storms in 1991 and became the focus of Junger's book, "The Perfect Storm".  She lives on Isle au Haut.
The Hungry Ocean is an account of Greenlaw and crew on a month long swordfishing trip of over 1,000 nautical miles out to sea.  This is not children's literature.  It's a grown up book for grown-ups!

The Hole in the Wall
by Lisa Fraustino
Lisa Rowe Fraustino was born in Guilford, Maine, lives in Pennsylvania and summers in Bowerbank on Sebec Lake in Maine.

Written in 2010, The Hole in the Wall is for 8 to 12 year olds. Sebby finds an escape from his bickering family.  It's a Hole in the Wall leading to a beautiful area in the middle of a mining area behind his home. But then strange things begin happening.

by Emily Herman

Hubknuckles - Every Halloween, Hubknuckles pays a visit to Lee and her younger sisters and baby brother. They watch the ghostly figure from the kitchen window.  But this year, Lee has decided that Hubknuckles isn’t real. She about to get a surprise.

Emily Herman and her family live in Five Islands, Maine, where, according to the author, a ghost named Hubknuckles pays an annual Halloween visit! Again, this author lives close by.

Brought to you by the letter H!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - G

There's a squirrel distracting me this morning.  He's taking corn off the cob we threw out there a couple of days ago, and he's burying each kernel on our lawn or in the woods.  You know they never find them again, don't you?  I think we'll have a garden this year, thanks to Rocky.  Yesterday we watched a lone turkey out there, two days ago it was five deer.  The osprey returned on the 4th and 5th (one each day).  It must be spring! 
Slight revision - 13 turkeys keep appearing out of the woods to peck around on the lawn today, then disappear to reappear later like it's all brand new territory.  Maybe they are digging up the kernels of corn. 
Wow!  And 7 deer with tails straight up, white torches, just now blazed through the woods in back of the house!  This is a great place to sit!  Oh, no!  All the big ones passed about three minutes ago, and now here comes a little one, a fawn, all by itself picking its way slowly through the woods.  At least it appears to be headed in the right direction.
There's not a G word in this...Goodness!  See below if you want to get inundated with the letter G.


My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.  The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration!
Today there were four good titles, so I've used all four in one poem!

Welcome to G!

G is for 
Grandma’s Secret Letter
by Maggie Davis
A Garden of Whales
by Maggie Davis
A Gift from the Sea
by Kate Banks
by Lois Lowry

I am not sure of the title to this.  I think it's the first - "Grandma's Secret Letter".  I've used all four titles in this poem.

Grandma’s Secret Letter A Garden of Whales A Gift from the Sea

the day my ocean grandma died
mom handed me a brown package tied
with gossamer ribbons
“grandma said it was
her secret letter for you,
mom put the package
in my hands
i gently untied its featherlight bands
and unwrapped the brown paper
there inside
in the paper
a little gold heart with a V
and a book
my small hands shook
as I read the title
“a gift from the sea”
with shells all named
and fish of all sorts
swimming across the page
and a handwritten note
above the fish
on a boat
in its sails
it said “look for
a garden of whales”
turning more
i saw whales galore
whales and more whales
swimming together
not whales of a feather
but a big ocean garden
of none of the same
red letters hand-traced
in each name
“granddaughter, please,
unscramble these”
said a note written on
the sea
“use this for a V
mom whispered to me
as she pointed to
the gold heart.
i wrote them down
and messed them around
until grandma’s secret
letter revealed
“foreer and eer
Grandma ~
i will loe you,

©Donna JT Smith, 2014
Grandma's Secret Letter by Maggie Davis
A child's secret letter from Grandma tells her get to her grandmother's house, and tells her of the elves, ghosts, witches, and dragons she will meet along the way.
Maggie Davis lives in East Blue Hill, writing and publishing books for children and adults.

A Garden of Whales by Maggie Davis
A young boy is concerned with how the whales are disappearing from the earth.  He  imagines how the whales could be saved.
Maggie Davis lives in East Blue Hill with her husband. She founded her own publishing company, Heartsong Books, in 1993. She's published books for children and adults.
A Garden of Whales

A Gift from the Sea by Kate Banks (Banks, Katherine)
A boy finds a rock on the beach. As he looks at it in his hand, he doesn't realize the story of that rock and how it as come to be where it is.  But he does know that it is a gift from the sea. 
Katherine Anne (Kate) Banks was born and grew up in Maine, and now lives in France. She has written many books for children and young adults.
A Gift from the Sea

Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Gossamer is about dream makers who gather memories from the things in our home, and then give them to us in our dreams. But it is also about how the boy in the story, in foster care, is dealing with the affects of an alcoholic, abusive father.  So that puts it in the upper ages for kid's books, probably middle school.
Lois Lowry's family was in the military and she became a military wife, so she has lived in different places all over the world. She lives in Cambridge, MA and in Maine. She attended Brown University and received her degree from the University of Southern Maine.

This post was brought to you by the letter G!


See you tomorrow H!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ayuh to Z Challenge - F

Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors, and my poem using the title of the book each day for the month of April, except Sundays.  The poem is not about the book itself, but is inspired by the title only!
Yesterday I posted two books and a poem for "F", in case you don't like these, go back a day (these two aren't my favorites I've ever done, but they are done)!...or you are running out of A-to-Z blogs to check out (yeah, right, like that would happen!).  Or maybe you are just curious and you knew we weren't posting on Sundays so you never even turned your computer on (yeah, right, like that would happen!).  Well, I did post because I said I would post a poem a day, so I pre-posted Sunday's poem.

F is for

Fox Eyes

by Margaret Wise Brown

A fox causes other animals some concern when he discovers their secrets. They don't realize that fox's secret, will be a help to them.

Margaret Wise Brown also wrote "Good-Night, Moon" and many other familiar books.  She died at the age of 42, in 1952, and her ashes were scattered at her home on Vinalhaven in Maine.


A Haiku: Fox Eyes
Slender snout sniffs
Pointy ears confirm before
Mouse comes into view

©Donna JT Smith

Who knew? A fox's vision is not all that great. They depend mostly on their senses of smell and hearing!  Their eyes basically detect motion after they know all about the situation from their other senses.  So I learned something.  Glad I looked it up before I wrote about what great nocturnal vision they have!

And my second poem for Fox Eyes - an experimental new form of poetry that I just made up - A Crossword Poem - it's a poem if I say it is! To do this, the word you use off the main word has to have two of the letters in it that your main word has or you will not be able to have a word come in and one come out. You would be done with your crossword too soon.
I used FOXEYES as one word over and over going down with the other words joining them.  But I think I might try another sometime and use other words going down instead of repeating.

©Donna JT Smith

Today's post was brought to you by the Letter F!


See you tomorrow G!