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White Knuckle

A collection of poetry that unearths the heartache and tragedies of child abuse. Steven Bruce has written a book about his experiences as a child afflicted by parental abuse and the abuse of the foster system. This collection of poems goes over several hard-hitting topics like addiction and substance abuse, domestic violence, verbal abuse and growing up homeless. White Knuckle is a heart-wrenching read for those who don’t see this pain every day and, hopefully, a comfort to those who are fighting similar demons; know that you’re not alone.

Bruce’s poems are very direct and leave little to the imagination. They are eloquently written. So, as someone who has had a happy childhood, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could be so inhumane to a child. I will confess I choked up several times reading about the abuse and pain Bruce went through. Some of the poems had me wondering if they relate to any myths or legends like Black Dog. There are folklore stories about demonic black dogs wandering cemeteries in search of lost souls to eat or guide to the afterlife/drag to hell. There is another story I found while looking up the myths about black dogs –newly created cemeteries would replace the first resident with a deceased black dog to save the person’s soul from going to hell. I’m not sure I see the reason for the last one, but Bruce’s poems, like this one, give a person pause to reflect on a deeper meaning.

There is no wrong way to write a poem as long as it has meaning to the poet. Readers will be pondering the meaning of some of the poems, like Sand and Moonlight, Street Gum and Avocado. There is a deeper meaning to these poems that is elusive yet potent.

White Knuckle is an intense and gritty collection of rousing poetry. I personally try to avoid these extremely emotional and heart-wrenching topics based solely on the fact I try to avoid crying but this is one book that I would definitely read again.

Pages: 102 | ASIN: B08HY35T2W

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Always Inquisitive

Brent A. Ford Author Interview

Brent A. Ford Author Interview

A World of Wonder is designed to help parents and children build a sense of wonder about the world. I think it does this expertly. What was your inspiration for wanting to create such an engaging kids book?

My co-author and I are long-time educators currently working to bring high-quality, science curricula to primary schools across the country.  In primary grades, science instruction often takes a back seat to other subjects and it is our goal to change that by creating resources that integrate science with reading (in this case poetry), writing and mathematics. Young children are natural-born scientists – always inquisitive of the world around them – so we are working to create materials that parents and teachers can use to foster and promote that innate interest. We also want to help parents and teachers inspire children to appreciate, and care for, our world as well as to provide opportunities to engage children in thinking and talking about science.

The art in this book is spectacular. What decisions went into the art direction for this book?

That is an interesting question because we had to think about so many things at the same time! We wanted to include all different types of science; we wanted to include some of those classic poems that many of us grew up with as well as some new ones; and we wanted to include topics that allowed for interesting extension activities that kids would want to come back to over and over again. So we had to weave all of those elements together at same time. We couldn’t just pick the best pictures or just use classic children’s poetry; everything had to work toward the larger goal of building that sense of wonder about the world and be really engaging to kids.

The combined variety of photos and poems are ideal for promoting conversation between parents and children. What poem and photo is your favorite and why?

Thank you – that was certainly our goal! My favorite combination is probably the poem about the eagle – the king of the daytime sky – along with that magnificent image of the eagle fishing – talons extended – above a partially frozen lake. That image is inspiring all by itself, but then the extension activity includes a link to a webcam of an eagle’s nest high in the tree tops above a field, with a stream in the distance. The webcam is always on and you can go back to it often throughout the year to see just about anything – from eggs, to hatchlings, to juvenile eagles just beginning to fly, to Mom and Dad eagle keeping warm through the winter – it’s always fascinating to watch. (It can also a bit graphic at times, so parents need to be careful with very young children.)

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Our science teaching units all use children’s literature as a foundation for the unit and we are in the process of releasing those books now on Amazon and iBooks – both as eBooks and as paperbacks. Several of the books, like When I Grow Up, include spectacular photography similar to this book, while others are fun storybooks. My favorite storybook is When We Were Young, which is a sweet story about Dr. Dolittle’s Pushme-Pullyou and includes really beautiful watercolor illustrations by an illustrator from London.  That was a really fun project to work on!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A World of Wonder by [Ford, Brent A., Hazlehurst, Lucy McCullough]

A World of Wonder is a book designed to help children develop a wonder for, and an appreciation of, the world in which we all live. The book combines spectacular images with a variety of poetry and verse…from time-honored and classic to new and sometimes humorous.

This is not the type of book typically read in one session. We encourage readers to come and go as children ask questions about the world. Children can certainly experience the book on their own, but we also encourage parents and teachers to engage with children – ask questions to tease out their understanding of the world and provide guidance where and when it seems appropriate. We also encourage you to follow children’s leads to encourage their interests in our magnificent world.

The authors, both educators and researchers with many years of experience, ensure that each facet of the experience is scientifically and pedagogically appropriate for young children.

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