Thursday, December 27, 2018

Celebrating the Short: 15 Words or Less with Laura Salas

Oh, look! it's the last Poetry Friday of 2018

Whew, did that sneak up fast. 

I'm wishing all my poet friends a most happy 2019. 

I've participated in Laura Salas' 15 Words or Less prompt that she shares early Thursday mornings (guidelines here). I enjoy the challenge of creating something short, complete and on the fly as I sip my coffee before dashing off to school.

15 Words or less is creativity I often share with this week's Round-up host, Donna, at Mainely Write. Donna shares words on paper and screen and heart throughout our year. 

Thank you for hosting this week, Donna. 

All photographs below are credited to Laura Salas. Words are mine. Enjoy! I'm still haiku-ing away. Here's the link for my contributions to #haikuforhope.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Haiku for Hope

Thank you, Mary Lee Hahn, for your now annual invitation to write one haiku each day in December. It is a beautiful mindful exercise. You can see her invitation on her blog, A Year of Reading

I scroll through my twitter feed early mornings until something  grabs my attention inspires haiku--actually haiga which is haiku with a visual (see captions for image credit links). 

It is indeed hopeful to spend time noting significance in each day. And, I've so enjoyed seeing other poet friends responses to the invitation as well. Search #haikuforhope on twitter to find more.

Buffy Silverman is hosting our round-up today. Thank you, Buffy.

December 31

Bain News Service, Publisher. Cafe, New Year's Eve. [Between and Ca. 1915] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .

December 30

December 29

December 28

December 27th

December 26th

December 25th

December 24th

December 23rd

December 22nd

December 21

December 20

December 19

December 18 (bonus)

December 18

December 17

December 16

December 15th

December 14th

December 13th

December 12th

December 11th

December 10th

December 9th

December 8th

December 7th

December 6th

Schnitzspahn, Doug. “The 10 National Parks You Need to Visit.” National Geographic, National Geographic, 23 Feb. 2018,

December 5th

Robert. “Word of the Day: ‘Skyelly’ - of a Sky, for the Greater Part Overcast, but with Bright & Glittering Clouds Prominent, Often Glowingly Backlit by Sun (Scots, Esp. Orcadian; Also ‘Glamsy’ & ‘Skyran’); Usually Portending the Arrival of Bad Weather.” Twitter, Twitter, 5 Dec. 2018, 

December 4th

Davis, Jerome. “Found My Missing Files. Penfield, NY” Twitter, Twitter, 19 Nov. 2018,

December 3rd

Steele, Paul. “Gorilla Tracking Uganda - The Mubare Family.” Baldhiker, BaldHiker, 10 Sept. 2018,

December 2nd

According to google: The principle (of the wheel) was discovered, but the implementation of the object was invented - ie it is the combination of axle, hub, and bearing that is the invention, allowing a wheel to be attached to a cart or similar, to make it useful. “Today in History: Dec. 2.” WTOP, WTOP, 2 Dec. 2018,

December 1st

November 2018 was the month we lost our dear friend and stellar Teacher Librarian Beth Bowen. After her passing, her school claimed #BeTheLight as a remembrance of Beth. I missed her sorely at our annual conference.

All haiga in this post are (c) Linda Mitchell 2018 for December's #HaikuforHope invitation by Mary Lee Hahn.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cookies, Haibuns and a Winter Poem Swap

Hello There, Poetry Friday. 

I've been busy this week--up to my ears in nonfiction with eighth grade. And, you know what? Kids LOVE nonfiction. They really do. It's been fun watching kids who "don't like to read" spend some time in facts.

And, I've been writing a response to the lovely Winter Poem Swap gifts I received from Laura Shovan who is hosting our round up this week on her blog. Many thanks to poet blogger Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for organizing the swap. 

What a lucky poet am I!

Berger Cookies
By Laura Shovan

Eight in a box
Thick chocolate icing above
to bite
Crumbly vanilla cookie below
to carry
Open wide
Your mouth awaits.

Last Poetry Friday, Laura shared Chocolate Haibun. I knew as soon as I saw her post that I would write a response haibun...after I learned exactly what a haibun is. A haibun is a combination of a prose poem and haiku. Sounds easy doesn't it?'s trickier than that simple description (or at least it was for me).

Fortunately, the good folks at has great information.

And, if you still need more step by step guidance try this link at the haiku society of america .

Here's my attempt:

Berger Chocolate Creams

Winter Poem Swap 2018

An ingredient label whisks me to sweet Louisiana sugar fields…
caramelized by
 frying-pan heat. Up north in Kansas wheat
waves ‘
neath sunflowers and the endless blue table. Salty
bring cocoa ships from Africa to eastern harbors…until
by the setting sun, drowsy cows return from clover grazing
to stalls of their milking barns.

A world of goodness
savored in every morsel
cookies from a friend

(c) Linda Mitchell

I am especially grateful to Laura as well for the tremendous developmental edit she gave to a collective biography manuscript (that's all I'm saying at the moment) that I'm plugging away at. 

Recently, Laura has begun consultant work for The Writer's Ally. Through TWA, I hired her to conduct an edit of my project. I got great advice, help and support and feel like I really can take this mess of words I've strung together to the next level--with the required work, of course. 

If you need help getting a project to move forward I can say that I had a great experience with each individual at TWA. I'd be happy to answer specific questions if you have them.  E-mail me privately. I'd love to encourage others to move their work forward.

Have a cookie

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Recommended Reads by Virginia Librarians for Middle Grade Social Studies

Happy Poetry Friday in December,

Holidays bring such magic. I hope you're feeling it. Congratulations to Elizabeth Steinglass on the upcoming publication of her new book, Soccerverse (Wordsong 2019). She is graciously hosting our round-up this week at her blog. Thank you, Liz!

Last week, I spent several amazing days with the Virginia Association of School Librarians to celebrate, talk shop and trade ideas about librarianship. I so enjoy the battery charge I get from VAASL 

My presentation partner, author and librarian Nancy Silcox, and I presented Recommended Reading by Virginia Librarians for Middle Grade Social Studies 1865-present.

Nancy and I talked dozens of books that Teacher Librarians and Social Studies teachers can collaborate on...with. The following books in verse are included.

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
Three Rivers Rising: a novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards
Carver: a life in poems by Marilyn Nelson
Audacity by Melanie Crowder
Silver People by Margarita Engle
The Watch That Ends the Night by Alan Wolf
Talkin' Bout Bessie by Nikki Grimes
Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell
Schomburg: the man who built a library by Carole Boston Weatherford
One Last Word by Nikki Grimes
Roots & Blues by Arnold Adoff
The Trial by Jen Bryant
Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse
You Can Fly: the Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford
Dust of Eden by Mariko Nagai
Jazz Owls by Magarita Engle
Death Coming Up the Hill by Chris Crowe*
All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg
A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Loving vs. Virginia: a documentary novel of the landmark civil rights case by Patricia Hruby Powell
Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Enchanted air: two cultures, two wings: a memoir by Margarita Engle

*This book has content more mature than most for middle grade. It was presented as a book for teachers to read.

It was a joy sharing the power of poetry to provide paint history in a way that students can understand. Poetry seems to be enjoying a moment in today's kidlit world--including education. Verse can absolutely do the heavy lifting of history learning. Spread the word!

If there are titles you would like added to this bibliography for books in verse related to US History 1865-present click here.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Craft Talk: Creative Cross-Training

Happy Poetry Friday. Enjoy the Round-up over at Carol's Corner today.

Recently, I met with my critique group. I love my crit group. Each of us brings something special that makes our work shinier than when we started. And, I like to talk process and craft.

I talked about a long term project I've been plugging away at. I believe in the project. I've spent  resources to move the project forward. Alas, as happens each school year, the project stalled and is now at a near standstill as my full-time jobs require more and more of me.


I found myself wanting to allow the writing life to guide my project rather than let my project to drive my writing life.

What does that mean?

I think -- I hope -- it means it's OK to take a step back for creative cross training.

I've never considered myself especially artistic. Yet, I enjoy making -- being crafty.

Give me  earbuds, an audiobook, or Netflix documentary and I and start stenciling, snipping, and mod-podging old book pages (thank goodness for the weeded books from libraries). I never thought of this as part of my writing life until I made PLAY my olw for 2018.

Creative Cross-Training--greeting cards

Creative cross-training is something that has been a fascination for me. If there is a better name for it, I'd love to know. Writers I admire sometimes share that they knit or bake, garden, quilt or photograph things. Is this part of their secret? Can I make it part of mine?

Some audio books I've enjoyed about creativity are: 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Gilbert, Elizabeth. “Big Magic.”, Penguin Audio, 2015,

Creative Quest by Questlove (Questlove. “Creative Quest.”, Harper Collins, 2018, 

I looked for a poem to capture what I mean by this creative cross-training. I didn't find one...but I'd like to. I think I need to write one.

Poetry Friday Friends what poem can you find or write to show creative cross-training? Do you creatively cross train? How so?

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thankful, Thank You

Happy Poetry Friday,

Like many friends in the states, I'm working my way out of a food coma from Thanksgiving festivities. For us, it's a holiday to reflect and give thanks for what Providence has provided. I have much to be thankful for. Today, I am specifically thankful for the participants of Poetry Friday including Irene Latham who is hosting this week's round-up at Live Your Poem.

Here are some more Poetry Friday bits I'm especially thankful for...

Thankful -- Thank You


Writing challenges

April's progressive poem

Poem swaps

Publication celebrations

Photo prompt swap

Poet Interviews

Postcard exchange

Global poetry champions

Poetry Fridays