CHECK THESE OUT!
Here are lists and links for some of my favorite things, plus resources you might find helpful or enjoyable:
BOOKS I LOVE
- Anything ever written by Louisa May Alcott, Leo Buscaglia, Pamela Duncan, and Leif Enger; most things written by Katie Fforde, Lee Smith, Patricia Sprinkle, and Anne Tyler
- A Land Remembered, by Patrick Smith - A riveting, grueling account of the domestication of Florida. After reading this, I understood why my ancestors decided to homestead in Jacksonville instead of Miami!
- As It Is in Heaven, by Niall Williams - A beautifully written, tenderly romantic story in which the boy finally gets the girl and the whole village lives happily ever after
- Nevil Shute wrote a number of intriguing books, including On the Beach, A Town Like Alice, and The Checquer Board. For synopses of all his books, plus reviews, movie adaptations, insights into this prolific author and more, click here.
- The Reivers, by William Faulkner - Road trip! Poignant and laugh-out-loud funny coming-of-age tale about a young boy and his two companions who "borrow" Grandfather's spiffy new car for a few days. Despite the fact that brothels and gambling figure prominently, this should be required reading list for high school and college English classes--and should certainly be the first Faulkner book anyone ever reads!
- Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn is an amusing little book that will introduce your students to a vast array of new vocabulary words and offer wonderful discussion possibilities on the subjects of censorship, government control of private lives, and freedom of speech. For poetry, Carl Sandburg's The People, Yes should be on every high school reading list.
- How Now, Brown Cow?, by Alice Schertle - I only discovered this book recently. Published in 1994, it's currently out of print, but I'm lobbying for a new edition! Schertle's charming poems and Amanda Schaffer's absolutely glorious illustrations make this one of the most delightful picture books ever. If there's a child in your life, you owe it to them to find this book.
MOVIES I LOVE
- Anything with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. The definitive odd couple--with chemistry that ignites like a Roman candle!
- Gone With the Wind, with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. I find something new every viewing!
- Ladies in Lavender, with Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. Two of the world's best actors, a bittersweet tale, magnificent cinematography.
- Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, with Joan Plowright. I love ALL of Joan's films, but this one is pure bliss.
- Music Man, with Robert Preston. Fabulous music, fabulous cast, and the hysterical "Ode to a Grecian Urn." This might just be my favorite movie of all time.
- The Whales of August, with Bette Davis, Ann Sothern, & Vincent Price - Vincent Price is the consummate gentleman, and Ann Sothern coming up the path with her blueberry bucket is in my "Best Scenes on Screen Hall of Fame."
- White Christmas, with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. I never, ever get tired of this one. And I never fail to be astonished by Vera Ellen's tiny waist!
WEBSITES I LOVE
- Alzheimer's Research Forum - My family coped with our mother's Alzheimer's for ten long years. This is an excellent site offering the latest news on this tragic disease.
- Americans for the Arts - Exposure to arts education is essential for children to reach their full human potential. Find out how bonding with a piccolo, a poem, or a paintbrush can make the world a better place.
- Book Crossing - The most clever idea for spreading literacy and good literature since the printing press! Thanks to Ron Hornbaker and his lofty-minded software development company, the world is now just one giant book club.
- Dew on the Kudzu - Reviews and ruminations on all things Southern..
- Fellow Earthlings Wildlife Center - Save the meerkats! Better yet, VISIT the meerkats!
- Helen Keller - Details about my childhood heroine and her home. What an incredible woman she was!
- Louisa May Alcott - Official site for the woman I credit as my greatest inspiration
- Plugged In - Christian, family-oriented movie reviews that tell you exactly what to expect
- Getting Boys to Read - Wonderful blog launched by a male librarian who was himself a reluctant reader
IF YOU THINK YOU DON'T LIKE POETRY
If you think you don't like poetry, you just haven't found the right poet. Honest! There's as much difference in poets as there is in cars--and you surely agree there's a big difference between a pick-up truck and a Lamborghini. Next time you're in a library or bookstore, take a look at what these poets write. You may be surprised.
RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS
Book That Poet - Great place to discover new poets, and useful if you're looking for speakers or classroom presentations
Children's Book Council - great ideas for celebrating Children's Book Week
Civil War Poetry - Unique collection of poems and songs from Civil War soldiers on both sides
Columbia Grangers World of Poetry - Access this comprehensive poetry database with your library card
Creative Writing Prompts - Inspiring ideas to help your students (and perhaps you?!) get those words flowing freely
International Children's Digital Library - A site dedicated to presenting the best in children's literature from around the world
Interview with Billy Collins - terrific insight into some of the reasons why this poet has redefined poetry for the 21st century
A Video Interview with Billy Collins - Produced by Big Think and recorded at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival. To use this resource
in your classroom, please contact Andrea Useem at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Library of Congress Center for the Book - Information about literary events and competitions all over the country
March Madness Poetry - Poetry meets basketball in a teachable moment
Poetry for Children - A wonderful blog by Texas Woman's University professor Dr. Sylvia Vardell, chockful of information
Poetry Idea Engine - A poetry generator
Poetry 180 - Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins' wonderful project to get poetry into our nation's high schools--one a day, for the full school year. Start a movement in your own school district and urge principals at every level to have a poem read aloud every day during morning announcements--either these, or poems students write or select themselves.
Poets.Org - Ideas for celebrating National Poetry Month. Be sure to request a free NPM poster to hang in your classroom!
Poetry Out Loud - Get the scoop on how to get your school and students involved with this annual competition. Check the sidebar on the right for poetry activity PDFs.
Poetry Read-a-Thon - Find out how to get your students involved in this fun national challenge
Poetry Teachers - Lessons and ideas for teaching poetry, mostly for younger grades
ReadWriteThink - Resources and clever lessons from the International Reading Association
Two Writing Teachers - A blog by, yes, two writing teachers designed to enrich, enlighten, and inspire.
Weekly Reader Teacher Resources - Opportunities, links, and articles to make your life and life in the classroom easier and more interesting.
Writing Fix - Interactive prompts and lesson ideas from the Northern Nevada Writing Project
Your Daily Poem - A different poem every day, from both classic and contemporary poets. Includes a brief bio of the poet. This website is an outgrowth of my "Poetry Parade" project that I started in 2001.
GREAT WEBSITES FOR WOMEN
Allreaders.com - Need something good to read? This search engine makes recommendations based on your choice of everything from plot twists to time period. There's a search option for movies, too.
Minnie Pauz - Humor is definitely the best medicine for those "middle ages!"
Persimmon Tree - A literary ezine by women over 60, featuring fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
Women's Hall of Fame - site that recognizes the contribution of women from all walks of life
Women Writers - a wonderful, meaty, cerebral site that offers brain food for all women, not just writers
RESOURCES FOR WRITERS
Absolute Write - terrific place to learn and to tune into what's happening in the writing industry
Bas Bleu - a wonderful catalog for writers and booklovers. Great website, too!
Guide to Literary Agents - Chuck Sambuchino's terrific blog about the comings and goings and passions and prejudices of literary agents.
Holt Uncensored - a fine and feisty site, in general, from Pat Holt (former book editor of the San Francisco Chronicle), but this links directly to her "Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See," which should be required reading for anyone even contemplating creative writing (or, possibly, everyone who has moved beyond a Dick and Jane reader).
How a Poem Happens - established poets answer questions on how specific poems come to fruition
Long Story Short - e-zine featuring meaty interviews, neat contests, plus plenty of worthwhile tips and resources
North Carolina Writers Network - Terrific resource and writers' advocate, even if you don't live in the Carolinas.
Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form - A wild and crazy international writing project, this attempt to define every word in the English language with a limerick manages to be hilarious, challenging, and enlightening all at the same time.
Plot-O-Matik - Writer's block? Drawing a blank on your next chapter? This site generates random characters, settings, problems, and irrelevant details.
Poets & Writers Magazine - in-depth articles and great classifieds
Poetry Kit - a wonderful site with info about poetry websites, publications, competitions, and events all over the world
Publisher's Lunch - industry newsletter that arrives around noon every weekday, chockful of all the news you need to know to be an informed member of the literary community
Radio Interview Tips - from expert Bryan Farrish
Teachers Who Made a Difference in Your Life - an online opportunity to thank that teacher who helped you become the writer you are today
Twentieth-Century Poetry in English - A wonderful resource for work and biographical information, plus a gazillion links to great poetry sites.
Wit's End Poetry - Promoter of poetry readings, slams, and other poetic events in the Upstate SC/Western NC area.
Write On! Online - Originally a newsletter for a California writers' group, this has grown into a terrific resource for any writer, with interviews, writing prompts, and creative assignments to keep those juices flowing.
Writer's Almanac - Site for the wonderful daily feature by Garrison Keillor on National Public Radio
Writing-World.com - wonderful source of helpful, informative articles about various aspects and genres of writing
- Good place to track down classic poems, plus a "haiku generator" that's great fun
Your Daily Poem - My website devoted to sharing the pleasure and diversity of poetry.