Zeus’s Autopsy: A Poem

Zeus excises a cross section of the Earth

From his lab on Olympus

A shrunken landscape

On a morticians slab

A row of dirt caked boulders

Like so many shrunken head trophies

For the cannibal

To remember meals of gluttony.

(Photo by David Stroup)

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

She Gets Me! Thrilled by Recent Review

 

Recently The Online Book Club posted an official review of of Dragon Sky which got me all choked up. This reviewer, kandscreeley, not only understood the message of Artania, but she also likened it to Harry Potter.

Feeling such gratitude I could hug everyone!

Her post is here. Official Review

 

 

 

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California.

Picture This: Diversity in Children’s Books 2018 Infographic

Let’s continue to strive for books with characters our children can relate to.

Sarah Park Dahlen, Ph.D.

In 2016, we published the infographicDiversity in Children’s Books 2015.” It went viral and was discussed on Twitter, in Facebook groups, published in books and journals, and presented at countless conferences.

Today we present to you an updated infographic, “Diversity in Children’s Books 2018.

DiversityInChildrensBooks2018_f_8.5x11Link to JPG & PDF files: Diversity in Children’s Books 2018 – Dropbox Folder
Full citation: Huyck, David and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2019 June 19). Diversity in Children’s Books 2018. sarahpark.com blog. Created in consultation with Edith Campbell, Molly Beth Griffin, K. T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Madeline Tyner, with statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/

Released for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0 license). You are free to use this infographic in any…

View original post 316 more words

The Darker Side of Teaching: Part 1

As yet another summer vacation begins I think back over all the years I have taught. And time and again I return to the boy I tried so hard to save.

It was my first year teaching in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Santa Maria and I was shocked. Our students were a mix of the destitute and working class. Some families were migrant field-workers following the harvest and moving every three months,  others were homeless living in cars and run-down hotels on Broadway,  and many were laborers working long hours doing construction or gardening for little pay.

Most were very poor, so far below the poverty line that they lacked the basic necessities you and I take for granted. Cleanliness. Clothing. Adequate space. Enough to eat. I remember watching  a third-grader running a race over the spotty grass of our playground, wondering why she kept one hand on the waist of her oversize pants. That’s when I noticed that every time they fell down, they revealed that she had no undies on. Another of my students lived in a home that was so dirty she contracted hepatitis A and ended up in the hospital with jaundice.  Daily,  I saw hungry children greedily eat every morsel the school cafeteria provided because some would get no more meals that day.

Children without backpacks, binders, or even crayons. After Christmas that year I asked the kids to journal about their gifts. One of my students wrote, “I got a pencil.” I went out and bought her a bicycle and toys the next day. When I took my own children to the immigrant family’s converted-garage apartment to deliver the gifts, they had trouble believing that eight people could fit, much less live in such a tiny space.

Challenging lives.

But worst of all were the gangs. Fathers who bragged  about beating their wives to the floor. Mothers who dealt drugs out of the kitchen. Cousins who used chains, blades, and even guns against the rival gang a few blocks away.

All leaving traumatized children who could barely function, much less learn, in school.  Like Gabriel. *

 

*Name changed to protect his privacy.*

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California.

Dean and JoJo: A One of a Kind Friendship

A man, a dolphin, and a friendship that spans decades. This heart-warming story has inspired millions and Kaitlin Andrews recently discovered why.  Here is her article celebrating their bond.

Click here to read article.

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California.

 

Kidnapped Smile: Chapter One

While the smiling Mona Lisa strolls the cobblestone paths of this art-created world, dark forces wait.

“I’m perfectly fine. Now stop being so silly.” Placing a painted hand on The Thinker’s bronze arm, Mona Lisa patted it.

“But child. The attempts.”

“Failed. And now you and Father have me tucked away in this fortress. Worry not.” Without giving him a chance to argue more, Mona Lisa turned and glided down the stone steps of the castle.

Artania’s leader leaned over the parapet of the castle gazing at the renaissance city below. Florence. Red tile roofs topped sunflower yellow or misty white walls. Crushed granite alleyways and cobblestone side streets zig-zagged from one end of the town to the other. The Arno River snaked through this muted palette as gently as dear Mona Lisa’s smile.

Mona Lisa. Ever since the attempted kidnapping, she had stayed within these castle walls. Making the sweet child restless. Today was the first time he’d agreed to let her stroll along the river. Accompanied by soldiers in striped bloomers and metal helmets of course.

“Nicolo, you must be ever vigilant.  You know what will happen if the Shadow Swine capture the Smiling One,” he had ordered the guardsman earlier.

“Yes, as do all citizens, whether they be painting, sculpture or sketch,” Nicolo said.

“Keep her close. Keep her safe.”

“I do swear,” the guardsman said, bowing with one hand across his chest.

 

Nicolo’s presence should have calmed The Thinker’s fears, but for some reason he still felt uneasy.  All around, soldiers patrolled the parapet wall or stood guard behind the notched battlements in the rectangular towers.

The iron grating of the portcullis was down leaving only doors vulnerable. And after the last kidnapper had made his way inside, The Thinker had ordered them locked at all times. Even so he knew that in these terrible times anything could happen.

His bronze gaze rested on the river and the short docks built beside the walkway. The Smiling One emerged from the doorway below and gave him a short wave before turning toward the cobblestone path skirting the river. All was as it should be.

He thought.

He had just relaxed his shoulders when a flash caught his eye. He shouldn’t be there!

A man dressed in rags leapt out of one of the rowboats tied to the dock and began running toward Mona Lisa. But with her back to him, she didn’t notice

“Lisa!” The Thinker cried.

When she turned, the snarling man grabbed her by the arm and began pulling her toward his boat.

“Let me go!” Mona Lisa screamed.

Soldiers appeared and rushed down the embankment, Guardsman Nicolo in the lead.

Mona Lisa strained against the beggar’s grip. But it was no good. He was half a head taller and probably outweighed her by fifty pounds. He dragged her ever closer to the rowboat. A few more feet and they’d be on the river.

“No!” Mona Lisa cried, clutching her veil in a milk white grasp.

“Halt,” Nicolo cried, booted feet flying toward the dock. “Halt, I say!” He sprung over the cobblestone path and drew his sword.

The ragged man dragged her closer to the water. The Smiling One’s feet skidded over wood.

“Hurry,” The Thinker whispered.

As soon as they reached the dock’s edge, the beggar shoved Mona Lisa behind him. And turned.

With a snaggle-toothed grin, he bent forward and unleashed a tremendous kick. Crying out, the painted girl hurled upwards. She shot over pilings arcing toward the river below.

The Thinker’s bronze heart froze. He gripped the coping stone tighter.

Mona Lisa splashed and disappeared beneath the murmuring waters.

All eyes turned toward the river. Every Artanian from castle keep to the guard tower and down the stony walls held a breath. Waiting in silence.

But the waters remained calm.

“Find her!” the bronze man cried.

With a desperate leap, Nicolo dove into the River Arno. The Thinker scanned east and west for a veiled head but only the guardsman surfaced.

Nicolo submerged again, his booted feet kicking deeper. Only to break the surface for quick gulp of air before diving down. Twice. Three times. Seven.

When the exhausted soldier floated up after the twenty-fifth descent, he turned to the gathered crowd with a sad shake of his head. “She is gone.”

The Thinker fell back against the wall and sunk to the ground. “All is lost.”

Brambles: A Poem

I have been on a path to find my way back to myself
But I’m so lost that I can’t tell if this bramble covered ground
Is a road, a garden, or a kingdom.
I reach for shears to cut through the thorny vines
But they have long since rusted
And crumble in my hands.
I try wading through the woody sharpness
And look down to find my feet torn and bleeding.
I remember Jesus imploring me on that night
So long ago.
With unspoken words that touched and terrified me.
And decide that this is not a path
But a snare.
I entrap myself in again and again.

Students in the Philippines must plant 10 trees to be eligible for graduation, under new law — Life & Soul Magazine

Students in the Philippines – elementary, high school and college – are now required to plant at least 10 trees each before they are eligible to graduate, under a new law. The trees will be planted in forest lands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan […]

via Students in the Philippines must plant 10 trees to be eligible for graduation, under new law — Life & Soul Magazine