Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category


Author and Artist Tomie dePaola Dies

April 1, 2020


In the darkness there is light this morning. I found “The Art Lesson” on the shelf and I wake to beautiful snow.
I have fond memories of reading the Strega Nona books by Tomie dePaola to my sons when they were young but my favorite book of his was “The Art Lesson”. It’s about about reaching a compromise with his teacher on drawing in class.
The book opens with Tommy knowing he wants to be an artist when he grows up and draws pictures everywhere he goes. From age 4 he knew he was going to be an artist and author.
I hope all the little artists in the world are drawing every day all day.
When Tomie was in grade 2, after drawing on his math work, he told his teacher he wasn’t going to be an “arithmetic-er”.
Tomie’s stories are timeless and I’m sure will live in the hearts of people who have grown up with them.

Many of you might know author and artist Patricia P. She was a good friend of Tomie’s and wrote this beautiful letter honoring him.

My Dears,

If you haven’t already heard I am the bearer of very sad news. I just lost a friend of 37 years, author, illustrator, story teller, artist, Tomie dePaola. Tomie passed from this life at 2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time yesterday from complications resulting from a very bad fall from the week before. Tomie was 10 years older than myself, 85. He was probably one of the most lauded and well-known children’s authors not only in our country but the whole world for that matter.

Perhaps his best-known stories were the Strega Nona series. Most children in our country were raised on, and certainly possessed several of Tomie’s books. I know my children heard and loved his stories most of their young lives. 

I remember I was thrilled some 37 years ago to not only meet him, because I had just become a published author myself, but I was fulfilling a dream to be near a person that I had admired for so many years.

I always used to say to Tomie, “you remind me so much of my father.” Although Tomie embraced his Italian lineage he was also half Irish and physically looked identical to my own Irish father.
I guess what I loved the most about him was his delicious sense of humor and the mischievous sparkle in his eyes and his Puckish grin when he was telling a particularly tasty story.
In the old days, when all of is authors travelled a lot between school visits, and most especially conventions of librarians and teachers…it was common for all of us authors at the end of the day to congregate in the hotel lounge, sip lovely wine and regale each other with tales of our experiences while out on the road. Tomie’s stories were always a little off color, irreverent, and so hilariously funny we would all fall on the floor laughing. Then Tomie would ease back in his chair and beam as he watched us struggle to breathe between guffaws.
Certainly, all of us illustrators were uncommonly influenced by his genius, his use of color and delightful composition. Each piece he did for any given book was flawless and brimmed with mirth and magic that went straight to anyone’s heart that viewed it.
I shall miss this amazing soul…truly the world is diminished that he has left us. But the glory is that his legacy shall live on as long as his wonderful work remains in print, in film in portraits and galleries.
I feel deeply honored that I knew him and called him friend.

God speed Tomie, until we meet again,
Love love love Trisha

READ ABOUT Tomie DePaola in the US News


Pause in Your Day

March 31, 2020

Right Here in Maine

March 30, 2020

Maine’s digital galleries

The Tides Institute & Museum of Art

How wonderful is this – to know that Maine’s own arts institutions provide online resources featuring Maine artists and others from the past and present shows. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) even has a three-dimensional tour of all of its exhibits including it’s present show that was only up for two days before CMCA closed due to the virus. And, the Farnsworth has a 3-D tour of the Olson House. The institutions and links to them are listed below. Please note: this alphabetical list does not include all the institutions in Maine.


Capacity of the Arts

March 27, 2020

I can’t sleep

Thanks to teaching artist leader for creating this hopeful video to help us remember the importance of the arts.


Saying Thank You

March 26, 2020

Message from a Teacher

I am going to start capitalizing the word “Teacher” every time I write or type it. Why? Because I am so impressed by what I see happening because of teachers all over the world. PreK – grade 12 Teachers hopped into this crisis quickly, no hesitation, and are making things happen for learners.

Grades K-8 Music Teacher Kaitlin Young from Sedomocha Elementary and Middle Schools in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine is the 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year and has been recognized for her accomplishments. I am so proud of Kaitlin and the work she does day to day and what she has done for Teachers everywhere. Her messages are clear and ‘spot on’. Recently Kaitlin wrote on her facebook page a message thanking the many unsung heroes in her school district and beyond who are going above and beyond to support children in multiple ways. With her permission I am re-printing her message since I am sure it is something many of us in education are thinking. Thank you Kaitlin for your leadership and commitment to education!

As we begin this new adventure in remote learning here at SeDoMoCha I wanted to post a photo to stand in solidarity with and express my gratitude for all of the incredible teachers within the SeDoMoCha community, across the state of Maine, and beyond.

And when I say “teachers” I mean all of the incredible people who are modeling what it means to be a member of a thoughtful and caring school community. These people are teaching some of the most profound life lessons to everyone around them throughout this challenging time.

Teachers: Administrators, Technology Integrators, School Resource Officers, Nurses, School Counselors, Maintenance Staff, Data Clerks, and Administrative Assistants who have developed and implemented thoughtful response plans all while calmly answering millions of questions from colleagues and the public. They have been putting in a great deal of work and time in behind the scenes. They are making tough decisions and modeling what it means to dig into the challenging work on behalf of our students and our communities.

Teachers: Bus drivers, Food Service Workers, Education Support Staff, Teachers, Families, and Community Members who have swiftly jumped into action to support our students. The outpouring of offers to help connect students and families to the resources they need has been humbling. “What do you need?” “How can I help?” “What if we try this?” And within moments of struggle when people share their frustration (perhaps in not the most kind of ways) I have heard words of empathy, “they must be really hurting or scared because this is challenging.” There has never been a moment when we have doubted the commitment to our kids. They are the faces that greet our families and help them to stay connected to our community. They are flexible, resilient, and empathetic to the needs of others and model what it means to be on the front lines.

And of course our students, our greatest teachers of all. Amidst the chaos, they continue to make us smile as they wave from the backseat of a car during packet pick up, send funny emails full of memes, or simply do or say something silly at home that was communicated through a parent email. As teachers, all of us who work with our students each day, we know that there are many lessons to learn from our resilient, creative, and compassionate students. They are the reason we do this in the first place.

Everyone is stepping out of their comfort zones to face this uncertainty with grace, kindness, and the need for human connection. (Though stay at least six feet away from each other, please!) We are willing to learn with and from each other as is evident from the plethora of resources that have popped up over the last two weeks. We are willing to make mistakes within our own new learning and continue to provide the best instruction we can. The creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration that happen every day in education have been on display throughout this adventure.

I can only speak about SeDoMoCha from the first-hand experience, but from what I have seen and heard from colleagues we are not unique in these efforts.

Over the last week, we have checked in on each other, laughed, cried, and experienced this challenge as a community. Please continue to take care of yourself. Please check in with your colleagues, students, neighbors, friends, and families. Remind yourself and others that we are doing the best we can as we all seek to find a new sense of “normal.” (Though as someone said to me yesterday, “Were we ever really normal?”)

I am proud and grateful to be a member of the SeDoMoCha Community and the broader community of teachers. Stay safe and keep singing


Maine Arts Commission Survey

March 25, 2020

From the Commission

The following is located on the Maine Arts Commission website at

UPDATED MARCH 18, 2020 – 3 p.m. 

The Maine Arts Commission continues to expand our resources and services amidst the COVID-19 public health crisis. We recently shared a survey for arts organizations that is being used to assess the impact of the outbreak on our nation’s arts and culture sector. Based on the preliminary results, Maine is picking up traction in the number of respondents who have taken the survey.
Today we are publishing a survey for individual artists living in Maine. It will be used as a means to collect data and aid policy makers who are on the front lines of arts advocacy networks and relief efforts at the federal, state, and local level. We ask that you please visit our RESOURCES PAGE to find more information that supports our creative sector.

          SURVEY FOR ARTISTS                                SURVEY FOR ORGANIZATIONS 

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing information about further relief efforts that will be provided to our field. Stay tuned.
The Maine Arts Commission is here to support our artists, arts organizations, educators, and communities. Please reach out with any questions, concerns, and suggestions. We are here for you. Be well and keep safe.
All of Us at the Maine Arts Commission

This We Believe

March 23, 2020

Association for Middle Level Education

Call for Student Voice and Visuals

The Association for Middle Level Education is updating our foundational position paper (previously titled This We Believe), that identifies the characteristics of successful middle schools. This critical document serves as the centerpiece of exceptional middle schools around the world that are focused on shaping the best possible educational experiences for their students ages 10 to 15. We’re interested in bringing student voice and visuals to the new edition of the book, and we need your help. We’re seeking student submissions as follows:

  1. A testimonial Students can write a statement of 1000 characters or less in response to one or two prompts:
    • How has a teacher, principal, or other adult in your school had a positive influence on or encouraged you?
    • What’s your favorite thing about middle school?
  2. Two-dimensional art
    This can be any type of artwork including, but not limited to, watercolor, pencil, oil painting, photography, and digital images. The art should express the energy and culture of your middle school and should be submitted as a high-resolution photo or .jpg image. The art should be accompanied by a statement from the student about the inspiration for the art (1-4 sentences).
  3. A reflective poem.
    We’re seeking a poem either about the student, about an adult they appreciate at the school, or about their experiences in middle school.

Each student whose quote, art, and/or poetry is featured in the new book will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and their work will be displayed on and at the #AMLE20 Annual Conference, November 12-14, in National Harbor, MD.

Teachers need to be prepared to submit the art as a high resolution photo in .jpg or .eps format. Poems can be submitted as .doc or .pdf files.

Submissions are due by May 15, 2020. In August 2020, we’ll notify you if your students’ entries are selected for inclusion in the new book.


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