Linda Kulp Trout

Thursday, March 21, 2019

New Books to Love!

I buy a lot of picture books, especially those written by poet friends.  Today, I want to share three new books and why I love them.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Angela Matteson is gorgeous! The poems are imaginative and full of wonder.  The illustrations of the characters are adorable. I especially love the expression on the faces of the objects and the cute little dog.  Laura's poems will inspire young readers to look around their bedrooms and create their own "night' poems!

TEENSY MEENSY MICE written by Donna Marie Merritt and illustrated by Ed Heck will have young readers laughing out loud. From tying up the cat to playing tricks and hiding things, you never know what mischief these teensy mice will do!  The playful rhyming text and cute illustrations will make this book a favorite bedtime story.

YOU AND ME written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and illustrated by Susan Reagan is the perfect gift for a sibling of a new baby.  In just a few lines, the rhyming text captures the need for each child to feel special and have his/her own "you and me" time.  My grand-nephew just became a big brother, and I can't wait to give him a copy of YOU AND ME. 

If you've read any new books by our Poetry Friday friends, I'd love to hear about them in the comments.  

A big thank you to Rebecca at Sloth Reads for hosting today's Poetry Friday.

Monday, March 11, 2019

A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND MORE by Janet Wong- And the Winner is...

Laura Purdie Salas!


Thank you to everyone who left comments about Janet's new book.  

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 7, 2019


I have been a fan of Janet's poetry since 1994 when I bought my first copy of GOOD LUCK GOLD. I loved it. My students loved it.  The voice of each poem was so warm and real, it felt like we were sitting around a kitchen table listening to the Janet tell us stories. Some writers are like that. Even though you've never spoken in person, you are connected by their words. They feel like friends, and you want to know more.
(1994 cover and 2012 cover )

Two years later, browsing in a bookstore, I was excited to find  A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED.  I couldn't wait to share it with my fifth graders.  The next day, I brought in a jar of kimchi (which I had to go to three different grocery stores to find), and read aloud "Burial" which tells the story of burying kimchi in the ground until spring. Then we all had a taste of the kimchi. All I can say is that I'm glad I had a water fountain in my classroom! We read poem after poem.  Their favorite poem was "Leeches."  I can still hear their , "Ewww! Read it again!"  A few days later, a boy who usually avoided writing, shared his own "leech" poem.

Over the years, I watched for Janet's new books and added each collection and picture book to my school library.  They made wonderful mentor texts for teaching (and learning about) voice, writing about family experiences, and using sensory language. Check out Janet's website to learn more about her books.

So even though I'm retired from teaching, when I read about A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND MORE, I ordered it right away!  Here is the description from Janet's website:

The entire text of the original book is presented here in A Suitcase of Seaweed & More, along with 50 brand new pages—where you’ll find snippets of story about the inspiration behind the poems, extensions of the themes, and writing prompts to get teens thinking, talking, and writing about their own identities. Wong’s “Advice for Writers” might even inspire them to write their own books, too.

My copy arrived yesterday. Of course I love the poems, and now I know the inspiration behind the poems. This book demonstrates how writers can use their own memories to write memoir, poetry, and stories. Janet not only provides writing prompts, she gives lots of encouragement and permission to "just try." Writers will also discover how one memory or topic can be written about in different forms. I wish I had this book when I was teaching, but I'm grateful to have it now to inspire my own writing.

Back in 1994, I never thought that I would someday meet the poet I had admired for so many years, but twenty years later, I did.  Janet is every bit as warm and real as my students and I imagined her to be.  Teachers, writers, and poetry lovers,  A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND MORE is a resource you'll turn to often. If I were still teaching, I'd want to have multiple copies to use in my writer's workshop. It's that good!

A special thank you to Catherine for hosting this week's Poetry Friday at Reading to the Core.