Slice of Life – On Choices in Reading and Banning Books

4 April 2023 Slice of Life at

It’s good to be back here with you on just Tuesdays this month! One of the posts I read last month, I am still remembering with fondness today. It was at Trish’s Jump Off; Find Wings. She wrote a letter to Jane Yolen. It was warm and personal, and it sent me right away to the library to check out the two books she mentions:

  1. The Devil’s Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen, a powerful Holocaust story that treats young people with the ability to handle truth, even when it is difficult.
  2. Attack of the Black Rectangles, by Amy Sarig King, a story of censorship of children’s books, including The Devil’s Arithmetic, “for the good of the children,” Jane Yolen makes a heroic appearance in this book defending freedom to read. Attack of the Black Rectangles is based in part on a true event that happened to the author’s own child.

Since I had just finished the books, for my #Verselove poem today I thought about writing about censorship. I first wrote out some coherent thoughts. Because the prompt was to write in a grammatically ungrammatical way, I thought I would try that later.

When we ban and censor books
our children come to the conclusion
that we are afraid of them,
that we don’t trust them.
We make book sales go up,
not because of their content
but because of interest
sparked in the banning
What if we let our children and youth
decide what to read
based on their interests?
Not ours.

Then I went to change it up, to write as our mentor Jennifer Guyor Jowett did–writing grammatically ungrammatically–turning nouns into verbs, modifying nouns with adverbs, and so forth. It was fun, and I think the product is much better than the thoughts I wrote out first.  What do you think?

When we ginger
around delicating and timiding
our adolescents
and children
with afraidness and frailitude,
when we “don’t-read-that” them–
our hungry people young–
we lose and abuse them.
we disaster education
and failure
failing to represent their
sacred wholly wings
represented for flightfully
library wholeness

Poetry Friday – This is What the Jasmine Flower Knows

Today is Poetry Friday, hosted by Elisabeth at Unexpected Intersections. Elisabeth wrote a poem about what the marmot knows. Check out the other posts on her blog and see what other Poetry Friday poets are up to. Many are following the prompt inspired by Jane Yolen’s “What the Bear Knows.” Read more here on Mary Lee Hahn’s blog post.

This week I helped plan a surprise Zoom party for my dear friend and ministry partner. One stop I made was for her favorite flowers. I went to a little shop just outside the Hindu temple and purchased a string of jasmine flowers. The shop keeper, Raj, gave me a snip for my hair. (In my thin hair, it didn’t stay very long, but I do keep it nearby enjoying the scent as a work.)

Today we had the surprise Zoom party with friends and her family members, some in India and some here in Bahrain. I wrote my poem for my friend.

Ode to My Friend Vinolia,
Who Has Learned to Live Life Well
From What the Jasmine Flower Knows
To light up the room with love
And spread gentle perfume of
This gift of God, beautiful and pure,
Strong and full, savoring to cure
This is what the jasmine knows
Comfort of sopping up your tears of prayer
Later the warm caress of hugging your hair
as you hold the gaze of your mum and dad,
adult sons on life’s launching pad,
husband and daughter by your side–
The shepherding Way as your forever guide.
This is what Jasmine knows this year,
as your milestone birthday appears.