Nelson Mandela International Day poem by J. Patrick Lewis

When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders
by J. Patrick Lewis (Author), Jim Burke (Illustrator), R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator), Tonya Engel (Illustrator), John Parra (Illustrator), and Meilo So (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis gave new voices to seventeen heroes of civil rights: King, Harvey Milk, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Sylvia Mendez, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mamie Carthan Till, Helen Zia, Josh Gibson, Dennis James Banks, Mitsuye Endo, Ellison Onizuka, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Yunus, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in this 2013 volume. After the book came out, Nelson Mandela died, so Lewis updated the poem. He asked me to share it with you today on Nelson Mandela International Day.

Nelson Mandela International Day

July 18

It was as if he’d landed on the moon
Five years before the actual event.
At Robben Island prison, his descent
Into a nightmare world, an outcast dune,
Began at forty-six, his fate derailed.
There were no clocks, his life defined by bell
And whistle, sisal mats (no beds), his cell
Seven feet square. But destiny prevailed,
So that for twenty-seven squalid years,
He kept his keepers, not the other way around:
The wages of nobility unbound.
Respect had overcome a freight of fears.
Madiba, as Mandela’s widely known—
The gentleman who calmed the combat zone.

J. Patrick Lewis

This week’s Poetry Friday Round-up is hosted by The Opposite of Indifference.

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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by Patricia H. Aust (Author)

Booktalk: Miguel’s dad is at it again—physically abusing his mom and sister and terrorizing Miguel for no good reason. But when Miguel’s mom and sister, who have been whispering to one another for some time, decide to stand up to the abuse and decide to move to a women’s shelter, Miguel’s life begins to take turns he never expected. After the family moves out, it isn’t long before Miguel’s dad promises to change his ways before once again becoming abusive; leaving Miguel to summon the courage to stand up to the man he thought he loved.

Snippet: In one way, it’s good we won’t be home for a few days. It’s always hard for me when Dad hurts Mom and she has to hide her injuries. Lie to her boss and friends.

But this is worse. One look at her face and Ellie’s leg and anyone would know something’s wrong. They’ll pity us, think we’re freaks. Maybe even call the cops or the State.

What was Dad thinking?

Mom pulls into a paved driveway. “Is this the shelter?” Ellie asks.

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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Everything Goes: In the Air

Everything Goes: In the Air
by Brian Biggs (Author, Illustrator)

Booktalk: Zoom along with Henry and his parents as they take off on an airborne journey and learn about all kinds of flying vehicles in this oversized picture book that looks like a comic.


HENRY: Wow! Where is everyone going?

DAD: Everywhere! They’re traveling on vacations and for business to places like London, Paris, and Hawaii.

MOM: Planes leave from here and go all over the world.

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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Mr Strike Out

Mr. Strike Out by Anastasia Suen (writing as Jake Maddox)

A baseball novel

David Gray is notorious in his baseball league, notorious for striking out, both as a pitcher and a batter. He spends so much time practicing his pitching, he has never honed his batting skills. After learning about the great Babe Ruth, David becomes determined to be a better all-around player, which means he’ll have to learn how to bat. With some help from a teammate, David hopes to never hear the words “Mr. Strike Out” again.

  • Copyright: 2007
  • Guided Reading level: J
  • Lexile Level: 380L
  • ATOS Level: 2.7
  • AR Quiz Number: 109968
  • Library Binding / Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Arch Books

Book Activities:

Play Math Baseball (If your answer is correct, you will get a hit!)

Explore the Science of Baseball. Test your baseball reaction time, learn how to throw a curveball and how to find the “sweet spot” on a bat.

At Teachers Corner, you can print baseball journal pages, and create your own baseball crossword, word search or word scramble pages.

Find out what happened Today in Baseball History.

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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The Technology of Baseball

The Technology of Baseball (High-Tech Sports)
by Thomas K. Adamson (Author),

Booktalk: Take me out to the ballgame or just watch the game from your phone! From motion capture technology to software such as GameChanger and PitchTrax, the tech world has become a regular part of Americas national pastime.

Snippet: Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants pitches with motion capture sensors attached to his body. The sensors provide data that will help Lincecum’s delivery look more realistic than a video game.

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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Just So, Brianna

Just So, Brianna by Anastasia Suen
All-Star Cheerleaders (Book #3)

  • Copyright: 2012
  • Ages 5-9
  • ATOS Level: 2.6
  • Lexile Level: 300L
  • AR Quiz Number: 153277
  • 96 pages
  • Publisher: Kane Miller

Booktalk: Brianna wants everything to be perfect, and that includes her cheer moves. She practices and practices, and even then, sometimes not everything is “just so.”

“Really?” said Victoria. “The baby can fly?” She looked down at Brianna as if she didn’t believe it.

Brianna looked over at Victoria. I’ll show you what I can do.

Hazel Mitchell did a great job with the illustrations in this chapter book series. You can find activities for each book and see the entire squad at the All-Star Cheerleaders webpage…

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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