Retired teacher releases children's poem book
Retired elementary school teacher Nancy Bond is visiting the Forest Grove City Library to deliver her new collection of poems "Lemon Pie and Dog Spit" to the children's section.
On a weekday morning, the area is already buzzing with little ones and their parents.
Bond says hello to many of them, who say hello back.
After living in town for decades, Bond recognizes some friendly faces, she said.
Bond has lived in town since 1959, attended University of Oregon and Portland State University, and ultimately became a second- and third-grade teacher for the next 30 years at Harvey Clarke Elementary School.
She wrote "Lemon Pie and Dog Spit," about topics that children may be "uncertain, happy, confused, or frightened about" and "dilemmas and life changes" they may go through, Bond said.
Creating a dialogue for students and their peers about this opens the door to the knowledge they aren't alone at a young age, Bond said.
Each poem is a quick read, and in her teaching experience, reading them out loud could be like a counseling session when many students may not have access to those outside the classroom.
After speaking to other writers, counselors and teachers, Bond spent three years developing the book.
"The poetry is a blend of just-for-fun imagery and problem-solving and addressing subjects," said Bond, while sitting in the Forest Grove Library holding her book. "They lend themselves to discussion of many things — bullying, concerns about growing up, confusion about what Mom wants you to do and you think you've done it but she gets angry anyway."
The poems represent a range of styles, including haikus, cinquains, sonnets and straight rhymes. Many titles are named after her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, since they were inspirations to her, Bond said.
"After I retired and had time to myself, and I needed time to do other things, so it wasn't until my husband and I had a more settled life that I finally got to do some writing," Bond said. "You feel a need to write, and pretty soon it evolves and you have so much of it that if you don't do something with it, it won't feel worthwhile. That is when I decided to make a book."
Drawings by children from 5 to 16 years old provide illustrations for the poems. They were collected from schools in the Hillsboro area, with some coming from as far away as California.
Local illustrator Emily Lux created the cover art and has done some of the intricate work inside.
Beyond writing, Bond is active in volunteering with the local library.
"During my tenure as library director, Nancy has been a tireless supporter of books, reading and libraries, especially the Forest Grove City Library," said library director Colleen Winters. "Her charming new book is very representative of Nancy's talent and love of the written word. Becoming a children's book author feels like an appropriate next chapter in her life. We are proud and happy to welcome 'Lemon Pie and Dog Spit' into the library's collection."
Bond said she will release her third book this fall — about a dog, she said — and she's hoping to work with Lux again to have it illustrated.
Want to see "Lemon Pie and Dog Spit" in your classroom? The book is available for purchase on Amazon, and it can be found at Valley Art in Forest Grove.
By Janae Easlon
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune971-762-1166
Follow Janae at @Janae_Easlon
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