Portland Public Library’s Journaling group meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 5:30, in the Portland Room. For July’s gathering we decided to meet at the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Garden, thanks to our wonderful neighbors at Maine Historical Society. (For the August 16th meeting, we’ll be back in the Portland Room, at 5:30.) One of our popular journaling prompts, to get the writing wheels turning, is something we call “write where you are.” We began the summer evening by seating ourselves in different parts of the garden, which offers plenty of nooks and perches. After 12 minutes, we gathered and read aloud what we came up with. Most of our participants sent in their choice excerpts from the exercise, and here they are:
“There are two trellises in front of the brick wall. They appear to be window frames but when one looks through them there is only the bricks. Windows to nowhere. This seems absurd just like the artist who painted ‘This is not a pipe.’ This is not a window.
Some people have windows that have nothing to see when peered out of. Others have windows that showcase spectacular views. Are they always appreciative of the view or does its ability to enthrall wane over time. The human mind enjoys variety. After a certain amount of time it is not aware of what is right in front of it. If sticky notes become ubiquitous the mind ignores them, searching for some fresh perspective to alight on.”
“The pathway of flagstone steps leads up and around through yellow day lilies and ferns. A birdbath sits at the top of the path but no birds are bathing at this moment though their song can be heard from where they perch on branches overhead.”
“A stream comes from lion’s mouth,
The stream hits the water beneath,
Every tree is different,
Dressed leaves or pods.
Some trees stretch their arms towards the sky.”
– Karen P.
“The living brick,
the wind in brick,
Tree stirred to swimming shadow
on the once-dead wall.”
“Colorless sky, unconvincing siren, sea gulls sound their own alarm. A tiny ant makes its way across the sea of bricks, passing by another ant. Writers return to their seats.”
“A stone lion always running his mouth, but forever in one place. This place, with black, iron benches forged with designs of grapes, not of wrath, but of respect for one’s solitude.”. In case someone has submitted a line referencing the lion or the grapes, and you do not wish the collaboration to fall redundant, here is another: “The garden is dressed head to toe in brick, but hidden within a concrete jungle.”
“They are red, purple
Staring up at the sky
waiting to be noticed
Planted to stay
but free to climb
They change the
Of the green landscape.”
“Writers are spread around the garden, surely pleasing Henry’s spirits! At the height of summer, the tress; verdant drapery are at their densest, and earthen aromas of boxwood waft with the breezes. All of this is situated right at the center of the city, and few have any idea this is here, along the busiest street in this state. But on scratch and scribe the writers in Hank’s back yard, scribbling with the seagulls and garden beetles.”– Abraham
(Items from the Library, about the Longfellow Garden!)
Reading, playing, talking, singing, and writing are the five practices that stimulate the growth of a child’s brain and make the connections that will become the foundation for reading. The Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library will be presenting SingingThrough Your Day, a series of programs and workshops for parents and caregivers and their young children which will focus on the practice of singing. According to Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library:
Singing helps children hear the distinct sounds that make up words. Songs also teach new vocabulary and introduce new ideas and concepts.
Sing with your children any chance you have: at home, in the car, during a walk. You don’t need a perfect voice, just some enthusiasm.
Move to the music. Children develop motor skills as they clap, jump, twirl and spin to music.
Sing nursery rhymes or sing instead of reading a book. Find a book that is based on a song or make up a simple tune for one of your child’s favorite books.
The final program in this series will be held on June 28th at 10:30 am
Singer songwriter Emilia Dahlin will be our very special guest in the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library series about the role singing plays in early literacy. During this program for our very youngest (birth-24 months) Emilia will demonstrate how parents and caregivers can sing through the day with their young children!
Born on a small farm south of Boston to a musical instrument collecting father and accordion playing mother, Emilia was destined for a life of music. She started piano, formally, at the age of five and trained classically for the next thirteen years. It was Christmas day, 1996, when Emilia decided she wanted to play the guitar. She went up to the attic, pulled out a warped and worn guitar, which once belonged to her great grandfather, and started to play. She never stopped. Throughout Emilia’s fifteen-year musical career she’s made Maine her home while performing in coffeehouses, performing arts centers, and festivals in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Europe. Known for strong storytelling sensibilities and memorable performances, Emilia has garnered many national awards, from Telluride Troubador, Winner of the Starbucks Music Makers Competition, Winner of Boston Music Conference Songwriting Competition, and the Great Waters Songwriting Contest.
Emilia is co-founder of The Transcendence Project which uses music as a medium for building community locally and globally.
Most recently, Emilia has stepped back from touring to focus on teaching locally with the Maine Academy of Modern Music where she offers songwriting in Portland Public Schools, co-directs the MAMMOTH Rock Chorus to elementary and home-schooled students and hosts and produces “The Kids Are Alright” family music series at the Portland Public Library.
THE SUMMER READING PROGRAM AT THE PORTLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY
BEGINS ON MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2017
The Portland Public Library and the Portland Public Schools are excited to announce a joint summer reading program for 2017, I ♥Reading in Portland: Pedal Through the Pages. Children throughout the community are encouraged to read about and explore Portland this summer!
The program will run for 8 weeks and sign up at the Portland Public Library begins the week of June 18. Participants will be given a reading log and adventure map. The goal is to read or listen to at least 8 books and to complete at least 8 activities on the adventure map. The adventure map contains suggestions for reading as well as outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. There will be a variety of educational and entertaining programs at different Portland Public Library locations!
Children who visit the Library during sign-up will also receive a ticket voucher to a Portland Sea Dogs game! Those children who reach the reading goal and return their logs to the Library will receive a certificate, a book, a coupon from The Gelato Fiasco and a free Kids’ Meal from Subway. They will also have the chance to win a bicycle thanks to the generosity of Portland’s Triangle Lodge and the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Bikes for Books program.
This year there will also be a component to our program for very young children and their parents/caregivers, Stroll ThroughSummer Reading. It includes a game-board of early literacy activities to complete. They include talking,singing, reading, writing, and playing – as they are the five simple and powerful ways you can help your child get ready to read!
Studies have shown that children who do not read over the summer months lose reading skills, while those who do read have their skills hold steady or even improve. Improvement helps put students in a better place to achieve academically when the school year begins. Studies also show that family participation in literacy activities greatly benefits children’s learning. Make it your aim to read this summer.
Read often – Read all summer – Read together as a family