Friday, January 23, 2015

I Love Gardens, I Love Books

I love libraries.  And I love to see young people using their passion, taking initiative, doing something to make a difference.  See what Lori has done:

Buliding a little free library dedicated to Cathy Horowitz, my amazing mother and elementary school librarian for 35 years, took crowdsourced fundraising (we raised $1700!) and the collective effort of the neighborhood. I moved to Black St in East Liberty in the summer of 2013. Once I became involved in the community garden in my new neighborhood, I realized how many children there are around the area, and how much they could stand to benefit from a Little Free Library. The library we built houses children's books for four different age ranges: 0-4, 4-8, 8-12,and 12+ to young adult as well as gardening books. I am so excited that it is up and running, and the neighborhood kids really seem to feel the same. We thank Karen Lynn Williams for her contribution of a number of copies of Galimoto. This is a book that I grew up with my mother reading to me, it was one of my and her favorites. I am very glad that it gets to be a part of our Little Free Library.  

See more here:

Thanks Lori!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where is Beatrice Now?

Every once in a while I am asked where Beatrice is now.

Wendy Stone the photographer for this book I wrote after visiting Kenya sees Beatrice about once a year.

Here is what she has to say:

I see Beatrice every
year and I am in close contact with her via email. I am going to Kenya
in February and I will be seeing her then.
She is doing so well. She graduated
from Utali Hospitality School last year, after a two year course in
cooking and hotel hospitality. 
She was unable to be accepted in
University for nursing or teaching since 
her high school grades were
not high enough. 
Considering her background, she is incredibly
accomplished.  She and I visited many schools 
together and she decided
that Utali was the best choice for her. 
Her story continues to be
truly amazing. Shortly after she graduated, 
the terrorists El Shabab,
started attacks in Kenya. 
All tourists cancelled their trips to Kenya.
In addition to that, Ebola broke out in West Africa, 
so most people
who had planned to visit Africa, 
cancelled their trips. Many hotels have
now closed and thousands of Kenyans, 
who worked in the
tourist/travel/hotel industry, 
are  now unemployed. So Beatrice was
unable to find a job. 
She made a very smart decision to go back to
school again and is now 
taking a two year course at Moi University.

Check back for recent photographs of Beatrice and 
more about her story when Wendy returns from Kenya 
in February.

In the meantime see what Wendy Stone has 
been doing in her photo workshops with
young girls in Kenya.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Some of My Favorite Things

Look what another friend surprised me with over the holidays.  If you read my blog you will not be surprise to know that puppets(I  used to make them and put on puppet shows with my children), poetry and found object art are a few of my favorite things.

Books are too and Ashley Bryan is one of my favorite writers.

So I feel like he created this book just for me.  And my friend knows me well!

Ashley Bryan's Puppets  is lush with imagination and creativity.   His puppets are created from bits of sea glass and driftwood, fishing nets and bleached bones.  He is endowed with the artists eye and the ability to look at an object and see something new.  From these found objects he has created a family of puppets and for each one he has written a poem.  What child would not itch to create this kind of whimsy and write their own poems?

And speaking of found object crafts, creativity and imagination this book makes a great companion book for Galimoto written by yours truly.  There is a reason this book is still selling strong after more than twenty years.  Children love to imagine and create....all over the world.

Thank you Nancy Bo Flood.  Check out her books and life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Make a Writer's Day! Why I love librarians!

It's kind of dreary here on the rez.  Rainy, damp, cold.

Difficult to get going on a day like today.

Then this bit of sunshine from a School Librarian:

Although my school is in central Illinois, my 3rd grade students found much in common with Facile and his family.  Our school population is  76 % free or reduced lunch and   61% minority.  The themes of hope and determination really resonated with my kids.  They know these are the characteristics needed to be successful, and this book is an excellent example of culturally responsive literature.  Thanks, Karen!

It's nice to hear from readers and their adults.

Made my day!