Reading the north

November 3, 2012 

Montessori: Living the Good Life

By Connie Ripley Lujan (WestBow Press, $13.95)

The blurb: A retired director of religious education and a certified Montessori teacher living in Anchorage, Lujan delves into Maria Montessori's concepts on the origins of war and peace and provides a guide for parents, grandparents and educators.

Excerpt: "As a scientist and educator, Maria Montessori used her experience and observations of children to teach and develop a method of education that worked within the framework of mankind's universal human tendencies. Her method is an approach to the child where the adult prepares surroundings in which each child can fully develop his individual potential. By observing the needs of each child, the adult can be aware of and remove obstacles from the path of development and provide appropriate materials for the child's work.

Appreciating our human tendencies was major for me. When I first read about the ten universal tendencies, I failed to give them significant attention. Like many of Maria's profound ideas, I was slow to grasp the substance of her thought. Later, in a special course for newborns and infants, and after many hours of observing the babies, I began to realize how basic the knowledge of human tendencies is to Maria's method of education. Like the mortar between the bricks, the cement or clay holding the stones in place, tendencies are the graceful beginnings for Maria to explain how to create an appropriate environment for a new being constructing his future life."

A Collection of Poems by 'Me'

By Michael Flanary (Xlibris, $15.99)

The blurb: Born in Kentucky and raised in Memphis, Tenn., poet Michael Flanary now lives in Eagle River

Excerpt: "Sighing softly I sit by your side

You made this place for you to hide

Where you sit with words unspoken

Lost, alone, sad and broken

Men have put you in this state of mind

Drove you away a safe place to find

I see the tears falling from your eyes

They hurt you with their pain and lies

You've lost yourself, completely let go

But you are still so sweet, this I know

Now tell me please what I can do

Because I'd do anything to save you

-- Me"

Many Ways to Say It

By Eva Saulitis (Red Hen Press, $17.95)

The blurb: This collection of poems by marine biologist in Alaska observes natural phenomena with both a poet's and the biologist's method.

Excerpt: "When I lay flat on you

like a specimen in a press

cheek deep in the damp mushroom

smell of you, when I splay my toes

in your muskeg, dig my fingers in

your pelt, flowers faded, mostly, away, skeletal

lichens spidering this

small hummock topped by gale-flattened

spruce there's nothing

I need. Willingly, I would shed all but

these old clothes. Twist me

inside out like prey. Examine, dissect

catalogue me. And I will eat

your saltbrush, your quillback fish,

your sulfur fungus arrayed on the dead

tree. I will gnaw the bones

of your drowned deer. When I go,

may I be pregnant from our animal

love on the streambed and on the bluff."

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