Thank you, teachers

We are getting ready to send our oldest to kindergarten in the fall. In our part of North Carolina, there is LOTS of school choice–magnet schools, charter schools, lots of homeschooling co-ops. We have chosen to send our son to our neighborhood school. I plan to write a little more about this decision in the near future, but in further celebration of National Poetry Month, here’s a poem. I think I read it as a kid, probably in one of the school newsletters that went home every month. It’s a little campy, and certainly idealistic, but that’s part of the point. I really believe public education can be a great thing, but if you don’t go in with a helping of idealism about your school (the school your kids are attending), you aren’t going to be as invested in making reality approach that ideal. I don’t know that it has a title (I found 3-4 in the 3-4 different places that I found the poem on the web), but it has been attributed to Ray A. Lingenfelter, who, according to this source, was an elementary school principal:

I dreamed I stood in a studio
And watched two sculptors there,
The clay they used was a young child’s mind
And they fashioned it with care.

One was a teacher;
the tools she used were books and music and art;
One was a parent with a guiding hand and a gentle loving heart.

And when at last their work was done
They were pround of what they had wrought
For the things they had worked into the child
Could never be sold or bought.

And each agreed she would have failed
If she had worked alone
For behind the parent stood the school,
and behind the teacher stood the home.

P.S. Happy birthday, Jenny (one of my favorite teachers)!

Out of the dark

Phew. My online class is done as of tonight (although will thankfully be open for another month to save resources!), our last two rounds of visitors have come and gone, our weekend birthday party was a success, and the arm hurt last week did not require a cast. Hopefully this means blogging will become a regular activity again. To celebrate, here are some of the great book resources I learned about from the class, Bilingual Storytimes, offered by Library Juice Academy:

The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays/El Libro Bilingue de Rimas, Canciones, Cuentos y JuegosThe Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays/El Libro Bilingue de Rimas, Canciones, Cuentos y Juegos by Pam Schiller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great resource for bilingual story times–especially helpful in simply providing a large number of songs, rhymes, short stories, etc. to incorporate. The only critique I have is that it seems to be almost entirely English rhymes that are then translated into Spanish. Still extremely helpful.

No voy a dormir = I'm Not Going To SleepNo voy a dormir = I’m Not Going To Sleep by Christiane Gribel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super cute book about a little girl who’s NOT going to go to sleep. Many of the pages are wordless, and the picture shifts between looking at the little girl and seeing through her eyes.

Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, ThreeUno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three by Pat Mora

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute, short counting book that also has a narrative: two little girls are getting ready to celebrate their Mamá’s birthday. In English, with Spanish number words. Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee, who’s well known for Mama, Do You Love Me?.

I Love Saturdays y DomingosI Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A little girl tells about how she spends time with both her Grandma and Grandpa, and her Abuelito y Abuelita, in both English and Spanish. Ends with a fun birthday surprise!

Mama Goose: A Latino Nursery TreasuryMama Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury by F. Isabel Campoy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lovely treasury of songs and rhymes–a nice compliment to Schiller, Lara-Alecio, and Irby’s Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays because it’s a selection of Spanish rhymes that have been translated into English instead of vice versa.
Pio Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery RhymesPio Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes by Alma Flor Ada

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great selection of Spanish rhymes.



Las nanas de abuelita / Grandmother's Nursery RhymesLas nanas de abuelita / Grandmother’s Nursery Rhymes by Elivia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another selection of Spanish rhymes; this one was particularly neat for the word and sound play (and the explanations for English speakers!) that it included.

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Natasha Trethewey

For those of you who don’t know it, April is National Poetry Month. I have always liked poetry in theory–and there are many poems that I truly enjoy, but I often overlook poetry for fiction when choosing something to read.

Last summer, a couple incidents inspired me to read more poetry. One of the incidents was hearing an interview on NPR with Natasha Trethewey, who had just been named our newest poet laureate. I thought she sounded interesting and I liked how she wrote many poems about both her mother’s experiences and her own, being a mixed-race child growing up in the South. I checked her (then) most-recent collection, Native Guard, from the library, and was floored. I later bought a copy of the collection and have also read her collection Thrall, which was published this past fall.

To read and hear some of Trethewey’s poetry, check out this page at the Poetry Foundation website:

This page also has some links to articles and the NPR interview:

I haven’t found a (legitimately posted) version of her poem that first took my breath away, “Genus Narcissus” (in Native Guard). I can’t in good conscious post the whole thing here, but here is a short excerpt:

Childish vanity. I must have seen in them
some measure of myself–the slender stems,
each blossom a head lifted up

From “Genus Narcissus” by Natasha Trethewey

To hear the whole story (and this poem does have a story), get your hands on the book!