Book Reviews: My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons by Bette Stevens and A Soldier’s Children by Jan Sikes
My Two book reviews – My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons by Stevens and A Soldier’s Children by Jan Sikes.
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In her poetry book My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons, Stevens showed the nature she experienced in the Pine State of Maine. The presentation of the book reminded me of attending a concert to watch the performance of the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s violin concerti “The Four Seasons.” In each season, Stevens opened the curtain and presented the sights and sounds in the nature. For the taste, a lobster dinner was in order. The performance of each season retreated toward the end and invited the next season to come in; and the audience gave a standing ovation.
“Spring Awakening” began with the ice slowly melted, rivers and streams sang, to the birds, animals blossoms awakened, and ended with:
Awaiting next performance
Tulip petals bow
“Summer Songs” began with a bright sun high in the sky, the energy of prancing creatures, dancing flowers, flapping birds, to delicious lobster dinners and ended with:
Restless autumn leaves
Sit, swaying in the background
To summer’s last song
“Autumn Leaves” began with the radiant rustling leaves, flocks went on the southbound journey, folks heaped up firewood, to harvest time, family gathering, and ended with:
Memories in our scrapbooks
Seasons travel on
“Winter Tales” begins with the frozen polar winds, Christmas time for family and friends, children enjoyed the holidays, to neighbors helped each other shovel the snow and ended with:
Tale of winter’s end
Written in morning shadows
Crocus petals rise
It was a great pleasure to be in the audience of Stevens’ well composed concerti. I still can see the seasonal colors and hear the joyful sounds. The author included her own beautiful photography, the interesting facts and symbols of Maine. Readers will enjoy this poetry collection.
About the Author
Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). The author is currently (2019) working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection (2019).
Stevens’s children’s book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO! was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England in a family whose poverty and alcoholism mark him as a target for bullying by young and old alike. This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP (KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017). Stevens is currently working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection/JUNE 2019).
Contact the Author
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The short story of A Soldier’s Children is a delightful and quick read. Jan Sikes depicted a fourteen-year-old Jenny who was assumed responsibility to run the household and care for her seven-year-old sister. Their mother abandoned them for more than six months. Their father was missing at war. Jenny worked part-time at an amusement park and took her little sister Emily along. Emily went missing and scared Jenny. The amusement park owner Mr. Park helped to locate Emily. Jenny learned to be careful making sure the safety of her little sister. After the summer, Jenny and Emily started school again. As Jenny watched other high school girls holding hands walking on campus, she wished to have lived a carefree life like those girls. The story came to a surprising ending.
I find this story and the characters believable. There are many children assumed responsibilities as adults due to the dysfunctional home with alcoholic or drug-addicted parents, or divorced parents. These children would be fortunate if they could beat the social system to keep their heads above the water or make a life of their own. This story is well written. Highly recommended.
About the Author
Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, has been called a wordsmith by her peers.
She published four biographical fiction books about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.
She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.
She has published a book of poetry and art and nine short stories.
She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, and the Executive Council at Rave Writers’ Int’l Society of Authors. She is also a member of the Writer’s League of Texas and Authors Marketing Guild.