Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Co-author Khadra Mohammed took my MY NAME IS SANGOEL on her visit to refugee camps in Yemen.
This little boy is 10 years old. His mom drowned when the the boat they were smuggled in capsized. He is an orphan and UNHCR is caring for him under their unaccompanied minors program, his big smile melted my heart. His name is Hussain my new friend in the camp. He has been in the camp only for 6 months!
Karen he loves his book;)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
plump and curved as a baby's buttocks.
Stolen from Greek myth
planted in Eden,
unnamed fruit of the Bible,
stuck in Adam's throat.
in my geeky boyfriend's neck, when I was a teen
made me want to touch the curious appendage
bobbed up and down
run my finger over it --
Fleshy pomaceous fruit of ripened ovary,
you propagate asexually,
you are self incompatible.
Who knew? The complications of a simple fruit.
Your pale pink flower turns virgin white
just before it falls,
the fall of the human race to the ground under my neighbor's tree.
She wants to hack it down for the mess
of rotting fruit
in Autumn the crow flies
drops an apple from his beak into the lap of a king
brings forth a child
Fruit of fertility
or are you fruit of eternal youth?
Food for the dead?
A cure for cancer? The common cold?
An apple a day.
Cox's orange Pippin
Honey crisp, Braeburn, Erli Blaze, Granny Smith
Golden Delicious, Red delicious, delicious, crisp
sweet, juicy, tart delicious runs down my chin.
My son will eat the core and seeds,
lick his fingers clean.
Was it Macintosh, Fuji, Albany or Empire
Erwin Bauer or Gala that gave us
Gravity with a fall from the tree?
And which did my grandmother use?
forced through a sieve to make her sauce
that I have
never been able to recreate. The secret is
we ate it warm placed gobs on our upper lip and
licked it with tongues stretched to the nose.
Oh, fruit of the universe
waxy red polished to a scarlet shine
picked, bagged trucked year 'round
rows of red and green and yellow
line grocery shelves.
I prefer your golden skin flecked with brown
russety and pock marked,
textured and true
plucked from my neighbors tree in fall.
A gray squirrel scurries one away
leaves it in the corner on my window sill next to stolen tulip bulbs,
fallen green tomatoes from my garden,
he comes back for a nibble now and then.
Does he think I cannot see him?
Does he know the torment of the neighbor's cat below?
Tail twitching like a serpent. Oh!
The joy of forbidden fruit.
-- Karen Lynn Williams
And this lovely email from a reader makes it all worthwhile:
My husband and I were sitting at the table Satursday morning enjoying a guiet and relaxing time. I was reading the paper and my eye caught your poem. I do not read much, but I read your entire poem out loud to my husband and we discussed it at lengh. I never did that before. Poems have always been very difficult for me to understand, but I found by reading out loud and discussing each section, how easy it was to understand. It was enjoyable -- never though I would say that about a poen! I may read more poems from now on. I have broadened my horizon one little bit today. Thank you.
Friday, October 23, 2009
On Sunday October 24 Khadra and I signed books at my home. Many friends and community members were there to celebrate, buy books and meet Sangoel.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
This armadillo "walking" down the sidewalk in the village on St. Simons Island reminded me that the concept of Galimtos as sculptures made from wire, tin cans and other found objects can lead the imagination anywhere.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Here's an excerpt:
When eight-year-old Sangoel comes to the United States from war-torn Sudan, everyone mispronounces his Dinka name until he has the bright idea to make a rebus of a sun and a soccer goal on his T-shirt. This simple story puts a child-friendly spin on a common immigrant experience as the child's classmates respond with similar puzzle pictures of their own names....
The diversity of the boy's schoolmates is evident in Stock's skillfully detailed watercolor and collage illustrations...
This picture book by the authors of Four Feet, Two Sandals is an excellent addition to the growing body of immigration stories for young readers.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Dear Colfax Families:
“What’s in a name?...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Have you heard that before? It’s from William Shakespeare’s famous play, Romeo and Juliet. When Juliet says these words, she is telling Romeo that his name does not matter to her. Do names really matter?
As the school year begins, we are learning many new names. Sometimes we feel embarrassed when our names are mispronounced. If someone laughs or makes fun of our names, our feelings are hurt. It feels good when people remember our names. Names are personal. They are part of us. In many ways, they do matter.
Our first Principal’s Book of the Month for this school year is My Name is Sangoel, by local authors Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed. This is the team who wrote last year’s Principal’s Book of the Month, Four Feet, Two Sandals. Again, this book brings us the story of a refugee, this time a boy from Sudan. Sangoel has lost his father and his home in the war. When he and his mother are relocated to the United States, he finds that no one can pronounce – or remember - his name. Others suggest that he change his name to something more “American”, but he is reluctant to do so. His name is all he has left from his father. How can he let it go?
Sangoel comes up with the perfect solution. If you are meeting new people who have names that are unfamiliar to you, you could use Sangoel’s idea to help you pronounce and remember them. Find out how Sangoel solves his problem in My Name is Sangoel, and think about what your name means to you. But most of all…Read, Respond and Enjoy!
And here is a great idea. Colfax librarian is using Kevin Henke's book CRYSANTHEMUM along with Sangoel. It seems that little character runs into problems with her name as school begins and the other children tease her about the name she knows is special. Our names are important!
Friday, September 4, 2009
On a recent trip to Malawi, my husband brought me back these photos of my favorite toys. I was pleased that children in Malawi are still as creative as I remember and my book Galimoto is still relevant today. Take a look at what a child can do with a little wire and some scraps of cardboard and found objects, a little time without TVs and computers and a lot of creativity, dexterity and perseverance!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Closer to home, I have on occasion headed north of Pittsburgh for the day to New Wilmington, PA. Mugsies is a coffee house that is NOT Starbucks and if I sit facing the window I am enchanted by the passing Amish buggies. A drive through the countryside on the way is a good way to enhance the writing too. The beauty of farm country and the Amish blues invite a flow of creativity.
Recently I have found I do not have to leave home to find the same quiet inspiring writing space that I have at Mugsies or Ohiophyle or St. Simons Island. I took the huge black grill off of our tiny back porch and replaced it with a bistro table. Covered with a flowered table cloth, it brings me back to France. Seated at the table I overlook my garden and I write. Oddly, though this space is only one floor down from and exactly below my office, it is a whole new world where I find the peace and inspiration to write with the chaos of my office overhead. That’s where I write from now.
Soon I intend to check out the picnic tables along the trails in the lush, cool park near my home. I walk there daily and the writing begins in my head. I can only imagine what will happen if a take a few hours there with my laptop and let the muse wander and get the writing up on the screen.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I was invited to visit Nature Camp at the Frick Park Environmental Center in Pittsburgh this summer.