29 April 2011

BREAKING NEWS: The Royal Family in Traverse City!?

Dear Royal Readers,

The Books for Walls Project loves libraries, books and also good stories. We have the makings of a good story today! Did you hear? Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Sarah Ferguson, Queen Victoria (the Young Victoria), Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill and Catherine (Kate) Middleton, the bride herself --were seen in Traverse City!! Well sort of...
Queen Elizabeth (Gramma), Prince Charles (The Sister's Uncle), Margaret Thatcher (The Bean) and Winston Churchill (The Poet)

Kate Middleton (The Big Sister), Sarah Ferguson (The Mom),  Prince Charles, (The Sister's Uncle), The Young Victoria --the actress Emily Blunt who played Victoria (The Little Sister), Winston Churchill (The Poet) and Margaret Thatcher (The Bean).

The Sisters have been learning all about the world and lately have focused on current events: The Royal Wedding. Today we attended a viewing of The Royal Wedding live on the big screen at our favorite local hot spot --The State Theatre. To make the event even better attendees were urged to dress up: "Uniform, morning coat or lounge suit, please. And every English lady wears a hat to a wedding." The Sisters' Uncle thought up, made and delivered the fantastic mask idea (we do love to go incognito!) And The Sisters are up for any and every occasion to dress up --so we got serious-- even though it meant rising at the ridiculous hour of 3:30am!!

The Poet volunteered --arriving, by bicycle at 3:30am, now that is dedication! He and fellow volunteer cut the "TC version of Prince William's Groom's Cake" as a cameraman filmed the action. We love the way he kept Winston Churchill in his back pocket!

While there are a multitude of opinions about the Royal Wedding --one thing is for certain the folks gathered to view the affair were treated like royalty by a committed group of volunteers and the ever-inspiring staff of Traverse City's State Theatre. Thanks to everyone who took part, we will never forget the event!

Next Week: Choose Privacy Week, A Royal-ish Challenge --coming Wednesday!
RIGHT Now: Take this week's Challenge and Celebrate National Poetry Month all year --learn more here. Have a great weekend!

27 April 2011

Thirteen Ways to Look at _______ Challenge

In response to the Put a Poem in Your Pocket Challenge our Regular Contributor The Teacher shared one of her own poems and an invitation/assignment. The Sisters decided that a perfect way to end National Poetry Month would be to challenge our readers to write a poem of their own. So this week we give you a poetry challenge from The Teacher:
A blackbird made by The Sisters
during Days of the Blackbird
"There's a poem by Wallace Stevens titled Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.  The first time I introduced it to a class, I ended up asking them to chose an object (not a quality, like "love") and, following Stevens's example and their own imaginations, see how many ways they could look at that object (at least 7); using figures of speech, etc." 
Want to give it a try? First read Wallace Stevens' poem, next read The Teacher's poem and finally click comment and write your own!

Among twenty snowy mountains, 
The only moving thing 
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds, 
Like a tree 
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. 
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman 
Are one. 
A man and a woman and a blackbird 
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer, 
The beauty of inflections 
Or the beauty of innuendoes, 
The blackbird whistling 
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window 
With barbaric glass. 
The shadow of the blackbird 
Crossed it, to and fro. 
The mood 
Traced in the shadow 
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam, 
Why do you imagine golden birds? 
Do you not see how the blackbird 
Walks around the feet 
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents 
And lucid, inescapable rhythms; 
But I know, too, 
That the blackbird is involved 
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight, 
It marked the edge 
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds 
Flying in a green light, 
Even the bawds of euphony 
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut 
In a glass coach. 
Once, a fear pierced him, 
In that he mistook 
The shadow of his equipage 
For blackbirds.

The river is moving. 
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon. 
It was snowing 
And it was going to snow. 
The blackbird sat 
In the cedar-limbs. 

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Willow 
by Lynn Barrett (The Teacher)

Willow weeps
With a war-weary world.

O Willow, why do you weep?
Ophelia floats peacefully
In the stream.

O Willow, why do you weep?
Listen to the laughter
Of children playing
Inside the tent of your branches.

The willow is a maiden
With tempest-tossed tresses
Troubling the tangled turf.

The willow is a fountain
Of yellow-green droplets
Filtering the slanting rays
Of the morning sun.

Squirrels chase each other
Through the willow tree.
Her limbs sway and bend.
They do not break.

In the heat of noontime,
A nightingale -
Napping -
Nestles in the cool green niches
Of the willow.

The sting of the willow-switch whipping
Will soon pass.
Not so
The deeper wound.

In the gray-green of evening,
The willow whispers wistfully
To the winnowing wind.

What night nuances
Lure me to the moon-made shadows
Of the willow?

Whitened with winter,
The willow waits willingly
For spring.
Now is a time of rest.

The rivulet runs;
The robin returns;
The bluebell blooms:
The willow wakes.

Her roots probed deep
To find life-giving water.

Still the willow thirsts.

Now Dear Books for Walls Reader -it is your turn, pick your object and write your poem then post it in the comments below. We understand if you feel shy and do not want to post it --in that case just post in the comments that you did take the Thirteen Ways to Look at _______ Challenge. And Happy National Poetry Month!

26 April 2011

National Poetry Month 2011: What is National Poetry Month? And Poetry Books for Everyone!

What is National Poetry Month? 
"National Poetry Month (NMP) is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. We hope to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated." For more FAQs on NPM, click here.
Around here poetry is a part of life --we're not exactly great poets, but the poetry of life surrounds us.The Sisters have always loved poetry --from simple verses when they were young to the works of great masters as they grow. Last year they spent an afternoon with a friend who happens to be a poet and a teacher --she paralleled Emily Dickinson and Gertrude Stein. Sharing each woman's life, their pictures and then their poetry. "Gertrude Stein knew PICASSO, she was social and Emily liked her garden, and was quiet!! Gertrude's poems are harder to see --but fun-- Emily's are easy to imagine." The Sisterscannot forget the difference between the two and will not forget their poetry. Our friend knew how to pique their curiosity and plant a seed that is flowering into a love of poetry.
Emily Dickinson
learn more
Gertrude Stein 
There are brilliant ways help children (and adults!) learn how wonderful poetry is and how it can help us through every moment of our lives. There is poetry for every person --sometimes it can be hard to find. So we put together some resources and we have a few amazing poets and poetry lovers here at Books for Walls Project, so email us if you have a question or thought about poetry --we'll try to help you find what you need!
  • Poetry books and collections suggestions from our Regular Contributors:
From The Mom: She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems by Caroline Kennedy. I've had this book for less than a week. I have cried, laughed and ordered a copy for each Sister as gifts on their 18th birthday. For more on the book listen to Caroline's interview last week on NPR, click here. Now We are Six by A. A. Milne Fun and silly verses for little ones --a perfect birthday gift for a six year old, to boot! Emily Dickinson Collected Poems The Poet gave me my copy, making it even more special. Four Quartets by T.S. Elliot my little book is so worn and loved, but precious.
From The TeacherWhere the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein; My Dog May Be a Genius  by Jack Prelutsky (Children's Poet Laureate) and others of his; Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle - and other Modern Verse (compilation); Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot; A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson; You Read to Me, I'll Read to You and You Know Who by John Ciardi.
From The Librarian (we'll be introducing her soon!): 100 Love Sonnets (Cien Sonetos de Amor) by Pablo Neruda. Good for newlyweds and others needing inspiration.
From The BeanThe Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry   It has selections from world cultures and religious traditions. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.
From The DreamerThe Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry by Stephen Mitchell.(she and the Bean suggest this one!!) and I am Becoming the Woman I've Always Wanted by Sandra Martz. I grab them for inspiration, for quotes of an appropriate nature, and to help myself or others get through 'life' moments...
From The Big Sister: All the poetry I like is from all different books, some aren't even in books, I think I need to start my own collection! I really like Robert Frost! But we do LOVE this collection by Caroline Kennedy A Family of Poems with paintings by Jon J. Muth --poetry for the whole family, a perfect gift for a baby, a child, for anyone who loves poetry!
  • Tips for teaching poetry from The American Academy of Poets, click here.
  • The Mom's favorite daily dose of poetry: The Writer's Almanac, click here and sign up for a bit of inspiration every single day!
  • How about some Spoken Word Poetry? Watch Sara Kay's TED talk and learn about Project V.O.I.C.E., click here. The Sisters are working on funding to bring Sara and Project V.O.I.C.E to Northern Michigan, if you are interested in getting involved, email us!
  • Explore local poetry, learn about poets in your own backyard, click here for an interactive map from The American Academy of Poets.
  • Earlier this month the Poetry Foundation shared all sorts of online resources to help enjoy poetry month all year, click here.
  • Learn about Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest "encourages high school students to memorize and perform great poems. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class." Click here to learn about this years contest.
  • Poetry Everywhere was created "to expose a diverse audience to a broad spectrum of poetic voices, build an appreciation and an audience for poetry, and increase the presence of poets and poetry within the two most ubiquitous media in American popular culture–the Web and TV." We simply think that Poetry Everywhere is lovely, lovely, lovely -where else can you watch animated poetry shorts and Robert Frost reading Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening? Please click here to enjoy Poetry Everywhere!!
  • Visit The Poetry Society of America, "The Poetry Society of America, the nation's oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910 for the purpose of creating a public forum for the advancement, enjoyment, and understanding of poetry." click here to visit their comprehensive website.
  • The best place to find books on poetry? Your library! Start searching: www.worldcat.org
Please feel free to share your favorite books of poetry and if you are in the mood, take a poetry challenge: Haiku Your Book Challenge, Put a Poem in Your Pocket Challenge, Your Reading Life in Six Words Challenge, Poetry in a Vacation Challenge or come by tomorrow for a new Challenge, this week from The Teacher

21 April 2011

Focus on Libraries: "Let’s choose to be a literate society." Pam Munoz Ryan

 Last week was a busy week we celebrated 
Aswe researched each post, we kept returning to the library and its resources --for books, for information, for inspiration. We decided to make certain to share all the treasures we find and so this week we begin a new BFWP topic: "Focus on Libraries."

When we began the Books for Walls Project we knew that we wanted to support libraries. Since then we learned that there is much more to the library than we ever imagined -libraries are about a whole lot more than just books. The Sisters and The Dad are quite content visiting the library, reading books, creating challenges, and occasionally posting on the BFWP; The Mom is trying to put down her books (once in a while) and learn more, research more, share more, steady and slow. We are learning though, as it often happens, that everything is connected --information, the internet, libraries, books, education, and people. 

So now let us Focus on Libraries, here are a few things we learned this week!
There is quite a bit of buzz about books, libraries and their shaky future in the information age. Last week The Chronicle for Higher Education published an article by Robert Darnton titled 5 Myths About the 'Information Age' which shed light on (and debunked) these 5 myths:

1. "The book is dead." 
2. "We have entered the information age." 
3. "All information is now available online." 
4. "Libraries are obsolete." 
5. "The future is digital." 

In case you are worried: the book is not dead, we've been in the information age for a while (nothing too new there), only a tiny fraction of information is available online (really, think about it!), libraries are NOT obsolete (in fact they are busier than ever), and as far as the future being digital --well you cannot digitize everything, can you? Read the full article, enjoy.

Want a "Geek Ticket to Paradise?" Get your Library card! Linda Holmes, the host NPR's entertainment and pop culture blog Monkey See, just got her library card, by pure coincidence during National Library Week. Linda shared all sorts of goodies about the truth about the library from her point of view:

"The point I'm trying to make is that as a pop-culture-adjacent person, you may think that public libraries are not particularly relevant to you. But I felt like since we've talked about movie pricing, e-book pricing, and a lot of other business models, it was only fair to bring to your attention my experience with this bizarre business model that's so crazy it just might work."
Read the whole story visit Monkey See.

Also in the news are public and school libraries --cuts and closings. On Saturday Pam Munoz Ryan, beloved children's author, wrote an op-ed for Sign On San Diego, the website of the San Diego Union-Tribune. She explained, 

"library programs need the public’s support now more than ever. We cannot afford to lose the academic enrichment that a library brings to a school community. Please urge your congressional representatives to restore the federal budget for libraries in the coming year. " 

She pointed out the need for librarians, "a library without a librarian often becomes stagnant and falls into disrepair. Imagine a classroom without a teacher, or an orchestra without a conductor." We agree, librarians are essential. She closed with a great suggestion: "let’s choose to be a literate society."  For the full article "Improving literacy through school libraries" click hereFor more on Pam Munoz Ryan visit her website

If you are interested in daily updates what's happening in the library world and bibliophile heaven, follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter --we try to keep up on all the latest, we'll post the highlights here when we Focus on Libraries. 

19 April 2011

Books for Walls Project: In the News!

Karin Beery styling a Books for
Walls Project shot! for more on
Karin visit her website
A few weeks ago we met with a lovely writer named Karin Beery. The Sisters are getting very good at interviews, last year they were interviewed by Erin Crowell of the Northern Express and Linda Stephan of Interlochen Public Radio. (Our interview with IPR includes a surprising response from NPR/WAMU Radio's Diane Rehm when The Mom asked her about her favorite childhood book, definitely worth a listen click here.) These three women have introduced a wonderful perspective on the media to The Sisters and shared a little about what the do everyday. With each new interview the girls have learned more about they way things work out in the world of newspapers and radio (Thanks for the education Karin, Erin and Linda!) 

The Sisters were very impressed with Karin --she could type and listen, "she types sooooooo fast!" This latest interview left the Four of Us more focused on our mission to support literacy, libraries and book love --in this past year we have learned so much about the need to support our libraries and we plan to do just that. Watch for our posts to keep you updated on what is happening at our libraries. We also learned that Karin Beery is a fellow bibliophile; we gave her a Books For Walls Project book journal and that night she went home, started writing in her journal and sent us a photo of her reading her latest book (thanks Karin, we LOVE these photos --send more anytime!)

This week the Grand Traverse Insider published the lovely article that Karin spun from our hour and a half long interview. The interview begins with this fact: "Recent Michigan MEAP results showed improvement in math and science, but decreased scores in reading." The Books for Walls Project is also about supporting literacy and as B.F. Skinner said, "we shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading." But how do you teach a child to love reading? That is something we'll continue to explore here at the project. We suggest a simple plan, grab the nearest child and a book and start reading --that simple. If you don't have a book handy, then head to the library! Read the full article, click here

Keep up with the latest on literacy, libraries and book love with us on Facebook (The Mom tries to keep up daily with what is happening) and sign up for our RSS feed and we'll add the highlights to our weekly posts here at the Books for Walls Project. 

Tomorrow: Get Seussy with us --come back for the latest reading challenge!

15 April 2011

National Library Week 2011 (Why we LOVE the Library.)

We like to say that the Books for Walls Project was "created to support literacy, libraries and book love." But if you want to get technical we could shorten that to simply "created to support libraries." Because you see, libraries support literacy and book love. So if we support libraries, they do the rest.

The Four of Us are big supporters of our local library, Interlochen Public Library,
"Interlochen Library feels like a second home to me. I've been there so many times. I cannot explain it, exactly, but with all the books and the librarians --I am just comfortable there. Plus, it is a LIBRARY!" The Big Sister

April 10-16, 2011 is  National Library Week, which is, according to the American Library Association, "a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support." So how can a person best support libraries? Really it is simple. Janette Grice, Director of Interlochen Public Library, said it best, "use your library!" To learn more about IPL read our interview with Janette.
"I love the library, I love Janette she is smart and funny! I like all of the people at the library a LOT, they are NICE and they love books too!!" The Little Sister
At the Books for Walls Project everyday is National Library Week. We never have ads trying to sell books; rather than buying a book we suggest you first try to find it at the library. Need a little help? Try starting with www.worldcat.org which helps you find a book at a library nearest you, wherever you are!

There are so many ways that a library can help, all you have to do is ask! Here are some tips and fun ways to learn about and support our wonderful libraries:
  • New to the library? The Sisters created Library 101 just for you, click here and get started!
  • Do you love the library? Check out I Love Libraries (www.ilovelibraries.org) brought to you by the American Library Association (www.ala.org.)
  • Interested in the State of America's Libraries? Read the 2011 report, hot off the presses --read on, click here.
  • Follow the Books for Walls Project, we promise to keep up to date on library news and have a bunch of bookish fun. Click here for ways to keep in touch.
  • Do you love YOUR Library? Add it to our Favorite Libraries List -click here to check out the list, click here to add your favorite library.
  • Tell us a a Library Love Story, we LOVE stories or tell us why you love your library (we shared out top ten) click here and read more!
Now go out and enjoy your library and tell them 
The Sisters at Books for Walls Project sent you!

12 April 2011

Drop Everything...

...And Read.

At Books for Walls Project we like to say "everyday is a good day to read a book." And National D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Day is "a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority." So it makes great sense to celebrate this wonderful day --which is on April 12th in honor Beverly Cleary, who turns 95 this year.

BFWP Reader and friend Maureen with Ramona
at the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden
which is near the real Klickitat Street! 
Today --wherever you are-- we invite you to DROP EVERYTHING AND READ. The Sisters and The Mom are planning to read a WHOLE book out loud together --what are you reading right now? Click here and take the challenge. Or tell us about a favorite childhood book, take The Little Sister's very first challenge the Childhood in a Book Challenge.

For more fun with Beverly Cleary:
Stop by tomorrow for a new challenge!

10 April 2011

Why Read? Quotes to make it clearer. Celebrating Libraries and Beverly Cleary.

"Quite often somebody will say, 'What year do your books take place?' and the only answer I can give is, in childhood."  Beverly Cleary

Yesterday was a perfect spring day in Northern Michigan: sunny, temps in the sixties. We found a way to make the day even better: a 10am, 25cent matinĂ©e Ramona and Beezus at our beloved State Theatre. What better way to begin our celebration of Beverly Cleary, who turns 95 on April 12th.

And Beverly Cleary is a great way focus on National Library Week (April 11-17). How many of us have checked out a Beverly Cleary book from the library? So many of us know and love her. But did you know that Beverly wasn't an easy reader right away, 
Troubled at school and beset by bad teachers, she didn’t learn to read until the third grade. Though, as she remarked tartly in our conversation, “My mother always read to me, so why should I learn to read?” (Source: The Ageless Appeal of Beverly Cleary, NY Times, April 8, 2011)
But like Ramona Quimby she didn't give up and once she learned to read well, can you guess her favorite place to spend time? That's right, the library. And, of course like each of us, she grew up, went to college and then began working as a children's librarian! And again, just like each of us, Beverly's life lead her on a journey. And along the way she noticed children --what children are really like-- and she read children's books and recognized something wonderful, "I knew I could write a better book.” And who could possibly disagree?

Join The Sisters and The Books for Walls Project this week as we celebrate books, libraries and Beverly Cleary --what would childhood be without books and libraries? And take a moment and take this week's simple challenge: Tell us what you are reading RIGHT NOW! click here, The Sisters thank you!

07 April 2011

What Are You Reading RIGHT NOW! Challenge April 2011

Happy April Readers. It is time to start this month's What are You Reading RIGHT NOW! Challenge. It is simple. Just tell us about the books, magazines, poems, etc. you are reading. The Mom has grown to LOVE this Challenge --it always improves her reading list! Here are of few of the titles The Sisters are reading RIGHT NOW!
UPS just delivered The Big Sister
her very own copy of
The Dragonology Handbook,
she'll be returning the library's copy
in case you want to read it too.
The Mom and The Little Sister
are reading the Mr Putter Series
and laughing REALLY hard.
Coincidentally in this volume of
Thea Stilton's adventures the girls are
in Japan. So far the Cherry
Blossom Adventures
are great fun.
And when you finish your book come back and tell us all about it. Take a challenge, or two, or ten!

Today (April 7) is The Teacher's Birthday! We are sending sent a tiny regatta of freshly made boats out onto slowly thawing Turtle Lake in her honor. Happy Birthday Dear Teacher and thank you for helping to make the BFWP so wonderful! 

Please use the following format for your commentTitle of Book, Author, and your thoughts on the book.