poetry friday

Myra here.

I am glad to be joining the Poetry Friday community again this week. We have not been as active as we wanted during the latter part of last year, so we plan to at least be more present this 2015.

Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.
Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.

We have just recently launched our new reading theme last Sunday. As we also have HOT FOR CYBILS as part of our reading theme, allow me to share one of the Cybils 2014 Finalists for PoetryBrown Girl Dreaming. Poetry Friday is hosted this week by lovely blogging friend Tabatha Yeatts from The Opposite of Indifference.


I am proud to share that this is the first book I finished reading for 2015. It is everything that bookblogging friends said it would be: intuitive, authentic, heartfelt, with the words breathing and alive on every page. Admittedly, it was a bit slow-going for me in the beginning, but it soon began to pick up its pace and I was enchanted by something so real, I felt as if I were a part of Jacqueline’s own history as she wrote about her grandfather, her mother, her siblings, her forever best friend. They became family to me as I inhaled her words and her memories. I also took photos of pages that resonated with me and edited them using an iPhone app as I wanted to share them with you beautiful people here for Poetry Friday.


The page above is a testament to Jacqueline’s love for words. One that will resonate with anyone who has an ongoing romance with words, verse, lines, poetry.


These lines also made me catch my breath. The knowledge that there are things that do not die because they have already been written down on paper. Doesn’t matter where the love has gone or if the memory has faded, the object lost to oblivion – the words shall keep them alive.


Then there is the acknowledgment that no matter how powerful words can be, sometimes the solid warmth of a person close by, the strength of a shoulder no matter how bent, the firm grip of another’s hands no matter how gnarled, one’s actual physical presence on the “front porch swing” no matter how fleeting – are enough.


This moved the gypsy in me, this vagabond heart of mine, into thinking about home

and home.


If you know what that thing is, dear friends, share it with me.


Here’s to leaning close to the silence to hear the stories buried beneath.

I have learned that to listen is to be still.


Brown Girl Dreaming is the Winner of 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 3 of 35


#MustReadin2015 Update: 1 of 40

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

27 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Starting My Year With Brown Girl Dreaming

  1. I don’t know if you meant to put these two together, but I got a pang from having the comfort of her grandfather (and a world that would “always be here”) next to the butterfly that never dies. A perfect world would have us tucked under our loved ones’ arms, with our eternal butterflies…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love love love this book — what beautiful passages you shared — I felt the entire book was simply luminous, with so many, many touching moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really loved this book. You did a beautiful job of sharing Woodson’s masterpiece. Each word was perfectly selected and created such vivid imagery. You may also want to check out Sharon Draper’s brand new MG release, “Stella by Starlight,” based on her grandmother’s journal. Just reviewed it and I read it with the same “chills” I did Woodson’s book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a gem to read, savor, re-read, love,Myra. Glad to see you loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely, Myra. I gave this book to myself for Christmas, but haven’t started it yet These little tastes will move it higher up my tbr pile.


  6. Catherine Johnson

    Great book and so easy to read. I love the way you paired snippets with beautiful pictures.


  7. Myra, thank you for showcasing Jacqueline Woodson’s words from “Brown Girl Dreaming.” Your juxtaposition of pages and your thoughts is perfectly matched. Since my one little word for 2015 is LISTEN, i heard the words, “Even the silence has a story to tell you. Just listen. Listen.” Then, you followed that with “I have learned that to listen is to be still.” Beautiful pairing. In the silence and sitllness, I yearn to listen to the callings of winter.


  8. Typo in the early morning hours-change i to I. I am still pondering listening is to be still. I shall take line with me today.


  9. Beautiful! This is on my reading list. Thanks so much for sharing the excerpts.


  10. maryleehahn

    I love how you shared this book! It’s a great one, isn’t it?


  11. It’s on my list as well – thank your for so thoughtfully curating these snippets and selections! And, we know you all are busy busy “gathering books” throughout each season – but always great to catch up with you on Poetry Fridays! Much love for the new year….


  12. I do so love this book, Myra – and the way you’ve woven these excerpts with artwork is just breathtaking.


  13. Such an exquisite way to showcase the passages. I’m trying to get my copy back from the student I loaned it to for winter break! I can’t wait to read it again!


  14. I love, love, love this book. The poems you chose to showcase are magical. Thank you. =)


  15. A beautiful book. It’s on my To Be Read list! You have convinced me to move it to the top of the pile.


  16. Thanks for sharing this, Myra…I’m looking forward to reading it for the CYBILS!


  17. I so enjoyed this book–and your post!


  18. Just recently read this, Myra–in one sitting–’til 3:30am. I could NOT put it down! You’ll love it 😀


  19. Your perfectly selected snippets have me craving this book even more than before! Sometimes it takes a trusted, thoughtful nudge to tip the scales on the purchase button. Thanks, Myra!


  20. I MUST read this book now. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for the warm welcome to Poetry Friday. I can’t wait to hold this book in my hands. 🙂


  21. This was my first book of the year, too! I also loved it.


  22. Laura Shovan

    Hi, Myra. I love how you used the app to illustrate these lines and small poems from Brown Girl Dreaming. The series of “how to listen” poems within the larger narrative of the book caught my attention, too.


  23. Pingback: Poetry Friday: Brown Girl Dreaming

  24. Brown Girl Dreaming looks absolutely beautiful. ❤


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