Thursday, September 12, 2019

Luca's Bridge Paired with Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Happy Friday, Poets

This week, the author-poet-on-fire (with multiple books coming out this year) Laura Purdie Salas hosts our weekly round-up at Writing the World for Kids. When my writer-self grows up...I want to be Laura!

I have a different kind of Poetry Friday/book review for you today.

Not too long ago, debut author Mariana Llanos asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing her new book, Lucas's Bridge (Penny Candy 2019). I agreed and I received this beautiful English-Spanish bilingual book in the mail. See the book trailer for Luca's Bridge

Penny Candy Books, 2019

I read it. I liked it. I knew I could and would write a favorable review. And, there was something about it that was familiar. A kind of dream or trancelike recounting of an experience that begins with loss. It didn't take long before a poetic match...Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye came to mind.

This book and Nye's poem (words in plum and formatted special for this post ) pair beautifully.

  Luca and his family must leave The United States. Luca and his brother have the necessary documents to stay. However, Mami and Papi do not. If the family wants to stay together, they must drive to Abuela's house in Mexico to live.


Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever...

  Luca sits in the backseat on the long car ride holding his trumpet thinks of all the people and places and special things he is losing. He sees birds and trucks out the window. He imagines what they are doing and what it's like to be them instead of himself. He sobs quietly. 

...the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel... 

  Luca's trumpet is his constant companion when his family arrives in Mexico where everything is different. His fingers tap on his trumpet. He longs to play music to connect him to a life he's familiar with.
     "No music now hijito. We've had a long day. It's time for bed," says Mami.

...Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then ...

  Luca goes to bed listening to music of the night in a new place. In his dreams his trumpet comes to life and builds a bridge to...? Well, my friend, you will need to read the beautiful places this bridge leads to in Luca's Bridge

Trust that it is a good place, a safe and happy place--and a place of kindness. You and your friends will want to go, especially if readers read in English and Spanish.  Seek out this book to find out where Luca's trumpet takes us all. I'm so glad that I did.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Box Poems

Happy September, Poets

It's the first Poetry Friday of the month -- which means our poet-author-publisher friends, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, are hosting our round-up at Poetry for Children.

And...Sunday Night Swaggers are sharing responses to a poem challenge.

Our challenge this month comes from Catherine. She presented photos of a sampling of boxes and asked us to write from one or more of the photos.

I chose...
Box Top from Catherine

boxes inside boxes from Catherine

Box Poem 

I have a box

it has four sides

a top

a bottom

with stories inside.

If you lift the top 

It’s blank and dark 

cardboard walls
fold around
a hollow box-heart. 

Peer closer still
Can you see?
this box has 

to hold wishes
or candies
secret love notes
bottle caps, rocks
knock-knock jokes

I have a box
it has four sides
a top
a bottom
with stories inside.

(c) Linda Mitchell

Which do you like better-- haibun or the rhyming poem?

Take a peek at more Sunday Night Swagger Box Poems

-Catherine at Reading to the Core -Margaret at Reflections on the Teche -Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
-Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Poetry Swap Can Be...

Good Friday Poets,

Can you feel a change? The temperature has dared to dip and dry out the air at least once here. My leaf-friends are looking a bit tired. Even though we still wear shorts and sandals...autumn is surely on her way.

I am grateful for Tabatha's Summer Poetry Swap. I've gotten a boost of inspiration from fellow poets that enjoy writing and sharing with someone else. I've loved seeing the sharing on various Poetry Friday blogs throughout the summer. Thank you, Tabatha for hosting the exchange.

card by Michelle Kogan

My mailbox brought me these beautiful treasures from Michelle Kogan who took a line from a recent poem of mine and made it the theme of her tremendous gift of painting and golden shovel poems. 

Old Town Manassas by Michelle Kogan

Summer's Face
For Linda Mitchell

Travel through summer
Her rolling blue
Mountains dappled in nature's paints,
Alight on earthy red highlights. Ah...It's
Mother Nature's magical face.

Journey Back
For Linda Mitchell

Weaving steps with threadbare threads
journey back through
time...To a field
brimming with history to
a mountain range overlooking hills 
hiding answers to
trying times...awaiting hearing in the sky

(c) Michelle Kogan

Not only that, but she looked up my hometown and painted one of our best landmarks--the trains station in Old Town Manassas. 

Four bookmarks -- when fit together form the painting! Wow! by Michelle Kogan

I'm blown away by Michelle's care and attention to detail--and artistry. What a lovely, thoughtful gift. It's simply stunning and I feel so special to have received it. Thank you, Michelle!

Hand-stitched journal by Michelle Kogang - Wowie wow wow!

A Poetry Swap Can Be

A do-si-do of poems
words of inspiration
proof that I’m not simply
whistling in the dark
with paper and pen
or laptop
or stick in the sand
on a beach.
A poetry swap can be
an old fashioned envelope
in my mailbox
a package
with a door bell ring
tied up with ribbons
taped with love
painted with care
so many, many things,
A poetry swap can be
reason to write
Write as a writer
the way I’m
to be.

(c) Linda Mitchell with thanks to all those that swapped poetry this summer.

Please visit Kat Apel at  for the entire Poetry Friday Round-up. She's got some great news to share!

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Dear Ones,
Today, Poetry Friday bloggers celebrate Lee Bennett Hopkins,  children's poet, poetry-champion and hero, who passed away earlier this month. To say his presence will be missed is a vast understatement.

Amy Ludwig Vanderwater is hosting a  #DearOneLBH  round-up at The Poem Farm.

I went to two of my favorite places to spend time with Lee. First, Renee LaTulippe's No Water River interview. Then, Michelle Heidenrich Barns' Today's Little Ditty Spotlight on Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Renee requested that Lee use the word poem in a couplet...but he wrote a haiku.

I took the line, write true poetry.

(c) Linda Mitchell August 2019

At the end of Michelle's interview, Lee challenged readers to write a 'Me' poem.
As in the way of poetry, I ended up writing a 'Me' poem....but from the perspective of a red-winged blackbird in this photo that came across my twitter feed a few days ago. Isn't he handsome? He's definitely all about the me!

Red Winged Blackbird’s Me Poem

Look at me
wetlands are
my territory
Look at me
a cattail throne
is what I need
Look at me
red wing, black coat
and feathery
Look at me
I sing loud and often
so you’ll notice me
Look at me
insects bother you?
my tasty treat
Look at me
so long as you peek
we ‘re friends
you see

© Linda Mitchell

Godspeed dear Lee. You are missed...we find you in your words. Thank you for all of them.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Good Tree, Good Memory

Good Poetry Friday Poets

This week's round-up is hosted by inspired teacher poet Christie at Wonderings and Wanderings. Make sure you check out her blog. I always learn something there!

Christie invited us to share a poem about trees. Last week, I shared a poem that Lee Bennett Hopkins posted to the introduction of his lovely website ... and it gave me an idea. 

Inspired by Lee's poem Good Books, Good Times!

Good Tree,
     Good Memory!

Good tree.
Good memory.
Good bird.
good breeze.

Good swing.
good kite.
good shade.
good light.

Good leaves.
Good peek.
Good hide.
Good seek.

Good bird.
Good breeze.
Good tree.
Good memory.

(c) Linda Mitchell

And, I have some sparkle to share with you today. Rebecca Herzog shared this lovely poem for our summer poetry swap based on many of favorite things!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Poetry Swap Goodness

Good Day Poets,

Head on over to Molly's Nix the Comfort Zone for the rest of this week's Poetry Friday round-up!

I received the nicest card and original poem from Emily Young in our summer poem swap. Three cheers for Emily for sharing what looks to be an awesome experience in poetic form. I think if you look at just her first lines in each stanza...there is another hidden poem. Isn't she clever?

Here's a little fun I had with scissors and some magazines 

Linda Mitchell
The news of Lee Bennett Hopkins passing is just now making its way around the internet. Like you, I am deeply saddened. Lee so generously allowed us to stand on his poetic shoulders. The poem below is from Lee's website main page. These words are what he used to lead you to his boundless humor and warmth. And, they do.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

August Poetry Friday


Heidi is hosting this week's round-up at my juicy little universe. Go there to enjoy lots more poetry AND to learn the poetic form she's invented. It's called ...


A definito is a free verse poem of 8-12 lines aimed at readers 8-12 years old. This form highlights word play as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word which always ends the poem. Heidi's inviting us to write definitos along with her.

Definitos I've Written 
I'd love to know which one is your favorite.
Let me know in the comments. Thanks!


Time to get dressed, 
I day-dream on my bed…
Pick up the pace, Mom says
Stop dilly dallying, Dad shakes his head. 
My cereal milk an ocean, my spoon a ship
C’mon brother urges…don’t waste time. Let’s go!
If I could slow time to fit my speed needs, delay
plod along, 
lag behind,


All day long I’d lollygag.

(c) Linda Mitchell


Come play with meaning
Hint at the game--but not the rules
Refer to fun with a mention
Suggest a name
Imply who goes first
If it goes wrong, insinuate blame
Have a mysterious attitude
Make others guess the name of the game
which just maybe is ALLUDE

(c) Linda Mitchell


If the perfect expression of
and an ideal of white...snow
Typical talk for go now is green
as a firefly conjures up glow
A symbol of peace is a dove
A Valentine’s heart equals love
Each is an attempt
To show the essential
              purest form of all...quintessence.

(c) Linda Mitchell


First day at a new school
where I don’t know a single
other kid.
I wish I’d hidden
under a blanket
behind my clothes
in my closet.
Who will laugh at me
Who will help or be a friend?
Who will see my
timid, unsure, sitting duck stare?
I’m totally vulnerable.

(c) Linda Mitchell


Think of merch
Think of value
Think of getting both
Think of payout
Think of profit
You bank the growth
When there’s a buyer and a seller
and money moves, it’s commercial.

(c) Linda Mitchell