In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Comment challenge & Collier

 Dear Annie,

I've been having such an interesting online weekend, thanks to Rachel, Friday's guest blogger, who alerted us to Comment Challenge 2011.  It was started by Mother Reader, a quite wonderful kidlit blogger, with maybe the best subtitle going (check it out on her site). On January 6, she challenged bloggers to leave 100 comments on other kidlit blogs, by January 26.  That comes out to five comments a day, if one had started at the beginning.  I signed up on Friday, so my goal is simply to keep up with the five-a-day pace, which, it turns out, is a lot.  It doesn't take long to write a comment, but many of these blogs are really interesting -- one can spend quite a chunk of time wandering around.

So welcome to all you other Challenge participants, and today I strongly recommend you check out Book Loving Boys, by Trina.  The post I've linked to is about finding the time in busy lives to settle down and read with your kids.  One of Trina's discoveries is to read to her kids while they're in the bath.  The post brought back waves of memory for me -- bathtime reading was one of our favorites.  Mother memory seems appropriate today, my firstborn's 21st birthday (that's Lizzie in the photos to the right, lying on the grass reading Harry Potter #7).

The other thing I wanted to do today is come back to one of last week's award winners:
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
, a non-fiction picture book for  which Brian Collier won both the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and a Caldecott Honor (also for illustration).  It's the story of a slave in South Carolina who worked making large pots used as storage vessels.  We know about Dave because he inscribed short bursts of poetry into the clay of his pots.  The picture book is short and eloquently written by Laban Carrick Hill:

To us
it is just dirt,
the ground we walk on.
Scoop up a handful.
The gritty grains slip
between your fingers. 
On wet days,
heavy with rainwater,
it is cool and squishy,
mud pie heaven.

But to Dave
it was clay,
the plain and basic stuff
upon which he learned to
form a life
as a slave nearly
two hundred years ago.

Collier's illustrations follow the whole process of mixing the clay, throwing the pot on a wheel, finishing off the tops, then scratching in a line of poetry.  His awareness of Dave is so beautiful.  It's a portrait of a man deeply involved in his craft.  Even this picture of Dave's back shows someone who's completely absorbed.


Aunt Debbie


  1. You mentioned finding the time to read to our kids. Love the bath suggestion. Some others are: at lunch, while waiting for sister to come out of school, while sister is doing her homework, big brother can read to little brother while Mom makes dinner :)


    ~ Lauri Chandler

  2. I hadn't heard of David the Potter. I'm adding it to my library request list now! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm so glad that you did join the Comment Challenge, because now I've found you guys! I love your back-and-forth approach to blogging. Very fun. I do have to agree that the Comment Challenge takes longer when you are investigating new blogs, as I too have been playing around on new-to-me sites. But commenting as part of my day-to-day reading is easier. Thanks for playing!