An Absent Blogger: The Explanation

By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, and Other Stuff

Many of you in our close community will have noticed that the lovely Kim has been ‘missing’ from our blogs, and hers, for more than a week now.

Her blog is better known as ‘By Hook Or By Book’. For those of you who don’t know her, here is a link to that blog.

https://cadburypom.wordpress.com/

I was concerned, as it was not like her not to post, or to miss commenting on other blogs. Luckily, we have each other’s email addresses, so she was able to contact me.

I am pleased to report that she is fine! After a storm close to their Alabama home, Kim and Tom lost all Internet access, and she has only had occasional use of Tom’s phone for messages.

As soon as some parts have been replaced by the phone company, she will be be back online, and back to the blog.

Meanwhile, make sure you keep following her great blog. 🙂

Guest Post: Ngozi Dorcas Awa

I am very pleased to have received this guest post from Nigerian blogger, Ngozi.
Here is her own short bio.

My Bio:
I am a Marketing Communications enthusiast.
I started blogging as a hobby, but now I’m so passionate about it. I could win an award for being the quietest and most reserved person in a room…haha.

Here is a link to her website.
https://doshelles.com/

This is her unedited guest post, received today.

How new is the New Year?

Whizzing whistles…Bang! Bang!
An explosion of coloured lights into the night sky.

Lights shaped like sunflowers, illuminating the dark sky with its luminous petals of dotted yellow lights.

Beside the sunflowers are lights shaped like jellyfish. Swimming the night sky gracefully like primer ballerinas. Leaving in its wake long streaks of orange-blue lights.

The jellyfish lights glide in the dark sky, showing off the flexibility of its translucent umbrella-shaped bodies. Bodies dotted with pink-purple lights.

You watched this display of colours and lights joyfully. The fireworks signaled to you a new beginning.

In the midst of your colour induced euphoria, you ask yourself, is this really a new beginning? How new is the New Year?

The mind tells you, the only ‘new’ in the New Year is your age. All things being equal, you may add a new age to your Driver’s License.

You disagree with the mind. The new year is what you, the internal and external factors that influence your daily existence make of it.

You understand that your life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are sociocultural and socioeconomic factors that may make or mar your goals and aspirations.

All hope is not lost, nonetheless.

You believe in the power of self over the mind. You have prepared a foolproof guide to achieve your goals. You plan to stick to it.

In addition, you have also prepared a contingency plan. Your foolproof plan may fall apart. You don’t want to be caught living in a fool’s paradise.

You are smart, you learn from past mistakes.

Please take time to visit Ngozi’s site, and give her some encouragement.

Book Review: Erebus, by Michael Palin

I am reblogging this excellent book review by fellow blogger and published author, Jon Risdon. Please check out Jon’s blog for other posts that you may find interesting, and give him some encouragement.

Wilfred Books

erebus-terror Picture credit: oikofuge.com; showing Erebus & Terror

If you’ve never before read any of Michael Palin’s serious writing, I think this will be a very good place to start, despite it being one of his most recent books (Hutchinson, London, 2018; ISBN 9781847948120 [hardback]); if you have, however, I am very confident that you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. Michael is known for his Ripping Yarns series, albeit at some remove now, but this book is a true life ripping yarn, although with a bitter-sweet ending, and although the review is rather longer than others I have posted, I feel that this book deserves it, in view of the impressive detail contained therein, and the research that clearly must have been done in preparation for its writing.

It tells the story of the 1846 Franklin Expedition to discover the North-West Passage, but what first excited Michael’s…

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If Only They Were This Good at Brexit

This is the post that announced my quiz award on Chandler Swain’s blog.

CHANDLER SWAIN REVIEWS

NEWS FLASH FROM ENGLAND:In an atmosphere of revelry rivaling that of both VE Day and anytime Kenneth Branagh leaves the country, the people of Beetley are celebrating the success of local Ollie owner and the only resident of the town to have personally flashed a rude gesture at Benjamin Disraeli, Grouchy Pete. in his landmark victory in cracking the Enigma Code that is the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz.

Brexit Stalls as Parliament Investigates Suspicious Security Breach From Beetley; Dog Will Testify

In a move that has stunned NATO and forced an admission from French President Emmanuel Macron that Parisians are indeed “annoying”, an ancient Beetley native known only by the alias Pete (which in the Welsh dialect means either “angry Rainman” or “Ollie’s burden” depending on how many whiskey shots you have consumed), has solved what has been called by prominent scholars at the ivy…

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Please Help A Blogger

I was contacted by British blogger Ian Swinton yesterday. You may recall that I featured a guest post from him a while back.
https://beetleypete.com/2019/09/12/guest-post-ian-swinton/

This is what he had to say.

My ideal scenario is to be part of the wider blogging community. To read your posts, to share our work and generally help each other out. Whether that be in WordPress or on social media.

I am asking for help in joining the blogging community in a number of ways. Firstly, I would like to know of any tips on Twitter. Any accounts that you would recommend to follow and why? Are there any twitter chats worth joining in with? Any other tips for twitter that you would love to share?

I am keen to join the blogging community on Facebook. Can you recommend any Facebook communities, groups or pages that would be worthwhile in joining? I am specifically looking for areas to share my work, read others blog posts and be able to join in with commenting and sharing.

The internet can be a lonely place for a blogger when trying to reach out. A lack of views, comments or general interest in what you have spent time producing can lead to logging out and never returning which would be a shame, don’t you think?

We all start out at the beginning but some grow and some fall away, hopefully with all your help, I can grow and be part of a great community.

Ian’

As you can see, he is asking for advice and tips about expanding his contact with our blogging community.
I am not on Facebook, but I know many of you are. Although I do use Twitter, I only promote my posts on it as a rule, and do not engage that much with tweets.

So, please rally round, and let Ian know your thoughts, ideas, or suggestions.
I am sure I can count on some of the members of our great blogging circle to help him out.

Thanks in advance, Pete.

Guest Post: Jennie Fitzkee

Jennie is an American blogger. She is a truly inspirational teacher of young children, with a real love of reading, books, and education.
She is not only the teacher I wish I had had, but the one we should all have had.

https://jenniefitzkee.com

Here is her guest post.

How Reading-Aloud Made Me the Teacher and Person I Am Today.

My very first day of teaching preschool in Massachusetts, thirty-two years ago, was both career and life altering. Lindy, my co-teacher, asked me to read the picture books to children each day after our Morning Meeting. Sure (gulp)! I was new, scared, and unfamiliar with many children’s books. I had not been read to as a child, except for The Five Chinese Brothers from my grandmother. I still remember the page that opens sideways, with the brother who could stretch his legs. One book, and to this day I remember it vividly.

The book I read to the children on that first day of school was Swimmy, by Leo Lionni. It was magical for me, and for the children. The story line, the art, the engineering, the words… it was a taste of something I knew I had to have. And, I couldn’t get enough.

The next few decades I consumed children’s books. I realized that the more I read aloud, the more the children wanted to hear stories and be read to. I displayed books in my classroom front-facing, so children were drawn to picking up and ‘reading’ the books. In this way, the children wanted to handle, hold, and turn the pages of books. This was a big deal! It was true hands-on learning, with exploding questions and interest. I was the yeast in the dough, or perhaps the books were the yeast. Oh, our Morning Meetings grew. We had to include a children’s dictionary on the bookshelf so we could look up words that were new. That was fun!

By this time I had become picky about good books. Whenever I read a good book, it sparked so many questions and conversations, that sometimes it took ‘forever’ to get through the book. The first time I read Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky, it took forty minutes to finish reading the book. I started with the inside cover, a picture of the courtyard, and simply asked questions; “Where is this?” “Does this look like Massachusetts?” “What is different?”

Reading picture books triggered big discussions. I often stopped to ask questions. Sometimes I would simply say, “Oh, dear…” in mid-sentence and let the children grab onto that rope. Yes, I was throwing out a lifeline, a learning line, and it worked. It was exciting, always engaging.

Before long, I started reading chapter books before rest time. This was unconventional for preschoolers, yet it felt right because children were on their nap mats and needed to hear stories without seeing pictures. I started with Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, and have never looked back. The first thing children learned was ‘you make the pictures in your head’. This is thrilling, because we now have non-stop reading and multiple discussions, without pictures. Thirty minutes of pretty intense reading-aloud. My chapter books include the best of the best.

My teaching had become language based and child centered. Often there were ‘moments’, things that happened because we were reading all the time. Reading had spilled over into my curriculum. The day we had set up a restaurant in housekeeping, children were ‘reading’ menus and ‘writing’ orders on clipboards. I was spelling out the words to one child and listening to questions about the menu from another child. I doubt these moments would have happened had I not read so often in the classroom.

I wanted to tell families what happened, about moments of learning, and of course about reading-aloud. So, I started to write more information in my newsletters, and include details. I wrote, and I wrote, sharing small moments and relating those moments to the big picture in education.

I attended a teacher seminar, and Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, was the keynote speaker. As he spoke I wanted to jump up and rush over to the hundreds of teachers in the room, screaming, “Are you listening to this man?” “Do you realize how important his message is?” Instead I wrote him a letter and included one of my newsletters to families that spoke about the importance of reading-aloud. That sparked his interest in my chapter reading, and he visited my classroom to watch. I’m included in the latest version of his million copy bestselling book.

My public library asked me to direct a library reading group for second and third graders. This was another new adventure in reading. I read The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes, among many wonderful books. Again, these were new books to me, and I loved it. This past summer I embraced YA books, thanks to reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I read every Kate DiCamillo book I could lay my hands on. Every one.

My reading and reading-aloud continues to grow. Thank you Read-Aloud West Virginia for getting the message of how important reading is to the public. We are making a difference.

Jennie

I have followed Jennie’s blog for a long time now, and I don’t even have children. But I get inspiration and wonder from reading about her dedication to teaching, and her love of the kids she cares for. Please read her blog. And if you have small children, you will want to follow her heartwarming stories of a life devoted to education, kindness, and compassion.