Seeing the World with Wonder #FridayFunReads #Poetry #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

Today, I’m offering a two-for-one special on book reviews. These two poetry collections have three things in common. First of all, the authors’ first names start with the same letter. Second, their poetry helps us look at nature and other topics with a sense of wonder. Last but not least, I met both authors through Behind Our Eyes, a writers’ organization to which I belong, and I have enjoyed reading their work over the years.

 

One Goes to the Sea

by Joan Myles

Copyright 2021

 

What Smashwords Says

 

What is it about poetry that so readily connects readers with their Spiritual selves? And is it possible to focus these expanded faculties of perception beyond the page–intentionally, inward?

One Goes to the Sea is a collection of the poet’s waking and sleeping flights of fancy, her dream journal sketched poetically and visually illustrated by her daughter.

 

Buy from Smashwords.

 

My Thoughts

 

I like the vivid imagery and word play in Joan’s poetry. This collection has a nice mix of rhyming and non-rhyming poetry. The title, One Goes to the Sea, is referenced in her poem, “The Journey,” and it’s easy to see the connection. According to Joan’s bio at the end of the book, she “has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker.” This comes through in her poetry, which I highly recommend, even if you’re not into spirituality.

 

Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse

by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Copyright 2022.

 

What Amazon Says

 

The fifty-two short poems in Dancing with the Seasons: A Year in Simple Verse are easy to understand, yet rich with emotional and sensory details. Celebrate the vivid, ever-changing beauty of nature in rhythm and rhyme.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

Dancing with the Seasons is a perfect title for this collection. The vivid images in these poems appear to dance across the page. Many of these works reminded me of those in Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, which I read often in my younger years.

Although these poems reflect many aspects of the four seasons, they’re not in chronological order from spring through winter, as the subtitle, A Year in Simple Verse, might signify. There’s a nice mix of rhyming and non-rhyming poems.

I could relate to such poems as “The Merciless Heat of July,” and “A Fire on the Mountains,” which took me right back to brutally hot summers when forest fires raged around us. I like how such outdoor phenomenon as the movement and songs of birds and floating leaves are portrayed here. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys nature poetry that’s light and airy and full of wonder.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

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Essays Offer Glimpse of Life as Blind Parent #Thursday Book Feature

Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark

By Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Copyright 2019.

 

In this collection of short pieces, the author describes what it’s like to be a blind parent to a sighted child. The title was inspired by her daughter’s response when a teacher asked her what it’s like to have a blind mother.

She talks about little cooking mistakes she made like using apple sauce instead of spaghetti sauce. She explains how she educated her daughter’s classmates and others about her blindness. She discusses cooking, gardening, and doing art projects with her daughter and provides recipes and craft ideas. She reflects on school violence after her daughter endured lock-down drills in elementary school and actually became involved in “the real thing.”

Even though I’m not a parent, I enjoyed reading this book because it brought back memories from when I was a visually impaired child and when I was a visually impaired adult married to my totally blind husband Bill. The author’s cooking disasters reminded me of the time Bill, before his strokes, put what he thought were muffins in the oven, and they turned out to be fully cooked sausages. The scene where the author fell and her daughter chastised a  passer-by for laughing instead of stopping to help reminded me of how my younger brother, when we were kids, said to other children, “Stop staring at my sister.”

As a caregiver to my late husband, I could relate to her feelings of inadequacy and fear of being turned in for neglect or abuse. I loved the last piece in which she explains how she accidentally put garlic instead of sprinkles on her daughter’s ice cream sundae. It was a great way to end the collection with humor.

Some people, especially those in the social work industry, are under the misconception that blind people cannot be parents. As a result, blind parents have been forced to fight for their children after giving birth. This book should be required reading for anyone training in social work and other professions that require working with disabled people on a regular basis.

In fact, everybody should read this book. You never know when you will encounter a blind parent. Before you shove them aside in a grocery store, laugh at them because they’ve fallen on the ice, or call the Department of Family Services because you think they can’t cope, read this book and realize that blind parents are no different from sighted ones.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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