20 March 2017

12 Books About Immigrants to the United States #resist

Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain
written by Russell Freedman

Anna and Solomon
written by Elaine Snyder, illustrated by Harry Bliss

The Blessing Cup
written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or, John Howland's Good Fortune
written and illustrated by P.J. Lynch

Carmen Learns English
written by Judy Cox, illustrated by Angela N. Dominguez

Dancer Daughter Traitor Spy
written by Elizabeth Kiem

Grandfather's Gold Watch
written and illustrated by Louise Garff Hubbard

Hannah Is My Name
written and illustrated by Belle Yang

The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams
written by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Kathryn Brown

I'm New Here
written and illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien

In English, Of Course
written by Josephine Nobisso, illustrated by Dasha Ziborova

In the Small, Small Night
written by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by Rachel Isadora

17 March 2017

17 Books About Ireland

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Enjoy some reading about the Emerald Isle.

Across a Dark and Wild Sea
written and illustrated by Don Brown

written by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850
written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Bog Child
written by Siobhan Dowd

Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story
written by Bryce Milligan, illustrated by Helen Cann

Easter Rising
written by Richard Killeen

Feed the Children First: Irish Memories of the Great Hunger
edited by Mary E. Lyons

Fin M'Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill
written and illustrated by Tomie De Paola

Kate Culhane, a Ghost Story
written and illustrated by Michael Hague

Katie's Wish
written by Barbara Shook Hazen, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

The Last Snake In Ireland: A Story About St. Patrick
written by Sheila MacGill-Callahan, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

The Leprechaun's Gold
written by Pamela Duncan Edwards; illustrated by Henry Cole

The Meanwhile Adventures
written by Roddy Doyle, illustrated by Brian Ajhar

The Pirate Queen
written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

The Prince of Ireland and the Three Magic Stallions
written by Bryce Milligan, illustrated by Preston McDaniels

Small Beauties: The Journey of Darcy Heart O'Hara
written by Elvira Woodruff, illustrated by Adam Rex

The Wishing of Biddy Malone
written by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Christopher Denise

10 March 2017

Lost In Rocky Mountain National Park

My mother was a history teacher, so we took long road trips in the summers often hitting national parks, monuments and historic sites along with museums and state parks. She adored the Western United States (still does), and many of our trips took us through the mountains, deserts and canyons prevalent in those areas of the country.

In 1986, my mother, my niece and I went to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

We arrived at our campsite, set up our tent and unloaded the van -- except for the food because of bears. After that was all done, my niece and I just wanted to stay in the tent and play with our Barbies. What can I say? We were nine.

Mom, however, wanted to go look for wildlife, so she found a nearby trail to follow.

My niece and I happily played in the tent until Mom returned and insisted we come with her.

Reluctantly, we followed her down the trail until we came upon a herd of elk grazing in the distance. Mom oohed and ahhed. We used the binoculars to get a closer look. Soon enough, my niece and I grew bored, and Mom told us we could go back to the campsite.

That's when things went south.

Walking back to our tent, we turned left when we should have turned right. In no time at all, we were thoroughly lost.

But we were in the campground of the park. Surely we could wander around and find our spot, right?


We trudged all through that campground, waving at cars that drove past, and completely unconcerned for ourselves. We could not find our tent.

We walked up a small hill and looked from on high. We could not spot our tent.

We even ended up walking past the ranger station, but did we ask one of the helpful rangers to point us in the right direction? Of course not! We were nine. We weren't supposed to talk to strangers!

We kept walking. It seemed as though hours passed, but it was probably more like forty-five minutes.

Eventually, among the trees and tents, our beautiful cream and blue van came slowly around a curve in the road. Hooray! We found Mom!

We ran and climbed inside while Mom wondered where we had been. She said she had been looking everywhere. We were right here in this campground the whole time.

Guess who then got told what to do when one is lost? That's right. Two nine-year-old girls who quickly learned to stay in one place to be more easily found.

But what we really learned was to always go hiking with Mom.

04 March 2017

"Nevertheless, she persisted." 31 Women's History Reads

Although I celebrate women's history each and every day, March is officially Women's History Month. Dig in to some of these books for a good read.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
written by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by April Chu

Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq
written and illustrated by Mark Alan Stamaty

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream
written by Tanya Lee Stone

Amelia to Zora: Twenty-six Women Who Changed the World
written by Cynthia Chin-Lee, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy

Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures from the Archives of the Anne Frank House
written by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol

Anne Hutchinson's Way
written by Jeannine Atkins, illustrated by Michael Dooling

Annie and Helen
written by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Raul Colón

An Apple for Harriet Tubman
written by Glennette Tilley Turner, illustrated by Susan Keeter

written by Melanie Crowder

Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrickson Zaharias
written by Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Female Villains
written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, illustrated by Rebecca Guay

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring
written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca

Becoming Billie Holiday
written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Behind the Mask: The Life of Queen Elizabeth I
written by Jane Resh Thomas

Beyond the Myth: The Story of Joan of Arc
written by Polly Schoyer Brooks

The Bobbin Girl
written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child
written and illustrated by Jessie Hartland

Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey
written by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909
written by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Brave Harriet: The First Woman to Fly the English Channel
written by Marissa Moss, illustrated by C.F. Payne

The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne
written by Catherine Reef

Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story

written and illustrated by S.D. Nelson

Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly
written by Sue Macy

Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis
written by Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Mark Lang

Catherine Called Birdy
written by Karen Cushman

Celia Cruz: Queen of Salsa
written by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Julie Maren

Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts
written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Michele Wood

Coco and the Little Black Dress
written and illustrated by Anemarie van Haeringen

Code Name Verity
written by Elizabeth Wein

Crossing Stones
written by Helen Frost

Daisy Saves the Day
written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes

01 March 2017


Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
photo by Sara K Joiner
Like many people, I am still angry about the presidential election. I am horrified and appalled by what is happening to the country around me, to people I love, to strangers suffering from doubt and uncertainty and fear. I have called my senators and my representative. I have emailed, and I have protested.

I am still furious, but above everything, I am worried. And I am most worried about the environment and our national park system.

I love our national parks. I have written before about my love of them, but I am now taking that love as a form of protest. Since Inauguration Day, I have been tweeting personal photos from national parks and sites that I have visited. The limited characters allowed on Twitter don't give me the opportunity to truly voice my delight in and appreciation for the National Park Service, one of our greatest government agencies. Park service employees have been facing reduced funding for years and years, and they continue to serve the public. No matter who drives up to the entrance, you are welcome to explore the natural wonders or historic sites of our country.

So this is an extension of my Twitter resistance. This will be me writing about my memories of visits to national parks and sites throughout the United States. I haven't visited every one, but I cherish every one I have visited. I hope to get to more before, as I fear, the current administration drills for oil on them or turns them into golf courses or simply bulldozes them down to build a name-branded skyscraper.

I know my voice is only one in a sea of angry voices. I know that this will hardly make a dent in all the noise. I know for absolute certain that the current administration will ignore me. This is only one way I will resist. I will continue to call and email and protest. I will continue to fight for my country, for people I love, for strangers.

But I need to do more. This is more.