Thursday, January 26, 2023

Absurd Words. A Review

Hello Friday, Hello Poets,

Jan G. Annino is hosting our round-up today at Book Seed Studio.  Make sure you visit her thoughtful, soulful, kind blog space for a poetry filler-up. She is a lifeforce of positivity that also writes. 

Last year, I heard some buzz about a new book by Tara Lazar, Absurd Words. A Kid's Fun and Hilarious Vocabulary Builder for Future Word Nerds (2022. Sourcebooks eXplore).

You might recognize Lazar's name from her many other award-winning books, blog Writing for Kids While Raising Them, especially Storystorm--a January brainstorm for picture book writers (although I've used the daily prompts for poem writing).

Like any good school librarian, I asked my public library to order a copy so I could see it in person before purchasing it. 

I love Absurd Words! This book nudged me hard toward choosing WORD as my O-L-W for 2023.

First, like all of Lazar's books, this book is funny! The table of contents offers Word Squads instead of chapters in bright, middle-grade-friendly colors and topics. See the humorous figurative language and turns of phrases? 

See Kirkus' Five Star Review

Absurd Words highlights uncommon words for the 9-13-year-old set as outstanding nonfiction. Readers learn in etymology, usage, grammar, and the context in short, tightly written paragraphs...ALL the things old timers like us used to get out of Grandma's Reader's Digest but in today's kid-friendly way. Here's a page I especially love:

I now have Absurd Words as an eBook in my school library. And, I'm delighted that I can use it for lessons and passive programming at our maker station with simple word/definition matches. Even if you are older than 13, I'll bet you will enjoy browsing through this gem of a book written for future words nerds. 

My WORD poem today comes from this book and is on the padlet.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

I Spy -- Do You Spy?

Poetry Friday!

January is chugging along. Thank goodness. I'm not a fan of cold, dark days. They have their purpose. But, I can't help looking forward to spring.

Our Poetry Friday roundup host this week is Marcie Flinchum Atkins. I met Marcie and next week's host, Jan G. Annino, in 2016 at  Highlights where I was way over my head in the practice of writing. However, Marcie, Jan and other writers were tremendously kind and helped me re-connect with a a daily practice of writing and weekly blogging.  

Marcie's blog includes writing tips, encouragement, and ideas. Her advice on how to organize a writing life is beyond compare. Some of us lucky poets are on her poetry postcard mailing list. Please don't miss all those goodies when stopping by to drop your link this week.

But wait, there's more! Marcie is also a colleague, a fellow school librarian, full of amazing knowledge of books that really appeal to kids. She presented Filling the Library Shelves: What Librarians Look for in Books for their Collections with Jess Stork this week for SCBWI. 

Seriously, if Marcie is not on your regular radar--fix that now. 

My O-L-W for this year is word. I've noticed that in past years, I've anxiously searched out my OLW for blog posts ... and then at some point I don't even recognize, my OLW comes looking for me. It's a wonderful game of hide-and-seek. 

Currently, I'm in the seeking stage. My seeking is very much like the poem below that stems from a photo I took at a market stall in London. This stall was just steps away from where I had fun with printer blocks. It was too delicious not to take a photo of...even if my family was pulling me toward the exit.

Photo by Linda Mitchell December '22

What are you noticing with your OLW?

There's a new poem on WORD's padlet.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Fr1day th3 l3th?!

The last Fr1day th3 l3th I remember well was the day we were sent home from school for an indefinite break due to a national covid-19 emergency.

I'm not terribly superstitious...but why risk it? I don't want to give Fr1day th3 l3th any more power than it might already have--so I don't spell it out unless I have to. Words have power. Make sure you visit all the words at this week's Poetry Friday round-up host, Susan, at Chicken Spaghetti.

It's only ten days until this poetry anthology comes out:

I'm pleased and proud of my poems about libraries that are sitting next to so many of yours.

Also, I'm impressed by Bridget Magee's efforts in creating this book. It's an amazing amount of work to cull through submissions, design a manuscript, and be in touch with every author with requests for changes, biographical information, and, photos. Then, there's an entirely new wave of effort in sharing author copies, celebrating a book's debut, and sales.

I sincerely cannot imagine doing much more than the poem-writing part at this point in my life. 

Hats off to Bridget Magee for her kind and cheerful reminders of deadlines, careful copy edits, decisions on book design, and promotion. She makes our poetry community better and stronger. 

Visit the FIB-O-RAMA

Today's word is for Bridget and it is...Thank you!

There's a new poem for word on Word's padlet

And, I forgot to mention last week that I have now opened up a previously locked pinterest page for STAR. I started to collect images, articles, and inspiration in January 2022. 

You can now see that board  here. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Happy New Year, Poets!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

How did you celebrate the start of 2023? 

I chose one little word for 2023 to see it click here.

This month, Inkling Heidi, challenged us to write about #change.

By our first meeting of the new year, we Inklings were a little short on poems about we leaned into a group effort with an exquisite corpse poem--which incorporates the idea of change beautifully.

All of us contributed a line, one at a time. Mary Lee started us off. I decided to play with nouns by replacing one noun in each line with my OLW for 2023. It's kind of neat. Maybe its not the best poem of all time...but I like it. Perhaps in the future, I'll change it? 

Original lines

Changed Poem
by Linda Mitchell

January 6, 2022

I have started a new padlet for WORD! Oh, my does it look empty and lonely right now. I look forward to seeing how this year helps fill it up.

Thank you, Inkling Catherine, for hosting our first Poetry Friday of 2023 at Reading to the Core. Make sure to stop over at her blog to see how she wrote a changed poem too!

Additionally, find changed poems at:

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

One Little Word for 2023

Hello Friends,

Here we are again.. a start of a year, at the head of a new trail, another rotation around the sun. Isn't it exciting?

Thank you, Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche, for getting the year of posts started with our OLW thoughts.  My participation in SJT wasn't great in 2022. I aim to be better this year.

My one little word for 2023 came to me several months ago. I kicked the tires of it, so to speak, and thought about it as a possibility in a short list of possibilities I'd been keeping in my journal. 

About that time, I learned of Freadom an organization that directs 100% of its net profits to literacy initiatives throughout America. They were selling a shirt with my 2023 OLW possibility on it. It felt like a nudge.

I bought the shirt.

My OLW for 2023 is word.

As 2023 approached I was busy!  After school started there were Fall conferences, holiday traditions, gifts, and foods to prepare. There were visiting college children and covid tests, a flight to London to meet our daughter who studied there, and then a return flight home with her on New Year's Day. 

When we walked around London (leaving no corner or cobblestone un-touristed), I'll admit to a case of cold feet about my OLW idea. It's kinda weird, I thought. There are so many directions the word, word can go. 

Should I focus on the etymology of the word, w-o-r-d?
Could I find 52 pieces of art that contain words?
What about words in other languages? 
'Words of the Day' and, 'Word of the Week' isn't original. right? 
Am I out-arting myself here?

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know!

On my last day in London, our daughter pointed to a street market stall. " See the tables of stamps, Mom? I almost bought you one. But, I didn't know which stamp you might want."

Oh yes...there were stamps. But they were NOT the rubber crafting stamps that I'm used to.

These were vintage printer blocks made for book illustrators. Printers make lots and lots and lots of words!





It was better than being in a candy store, picking up the letters, words, art-deco designs, and numbers, chatting with the seller, who addressed me as madam.  Jordan told me that his Grandfather made these blocks and now that he's retired he helps his grandpa by selling them at market.

Jordan demonstrated pressing a block 

How to choose? I wanted A-L-L of the blocks... they were old and smudgy and bonus -- smelled wonderfully of printer's ink! Since Jordan accepted cash only, my family dug out all the pounds they could find from all their pockets to help me purchase several blocks--a fun and funny memory.

It occurred to me that word was in the piles of printer blocks that had delicious histories of making words or illustrating words. I could almost hear the blocks calling out...pick me! pick me!

So, for better or for worse, W-O-R-D is my OLW this year.

My spirit is delightfully intrigued to see where we will go together in 2023. I hope you'll join us on the way. I have started a padlet for word that I'll add poems to once a week. 

my O-L-W for 2023. Mixed media collage by Linda M.