Community Collection 13: GOLDEN SHOVELS with Nancy Bo Flood

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
Please take a moment to peruse the how-to below, and then dive in! Happy writing — and thank you for helping to build our collection(s)!
Remember: The Community Collections are open indefinitely, so you can visit each post at your leisure to add your poem!


Today’s Guest…

was a research psychologist studying brain development before she took up the pen and began writing for young people. Please welcome poet and storyteller  …




Note from Nancy: “Seven Ways of Looking at Eagles” is my favorite poem from the anthology Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School (Edited by Timothy P. McLaughlin). The poem was written by Tonia Scabby Face, middle-school student, Lakota, at Red Cloud School. My own thoughts soared with her words.



Use the above poem selection (or any poem of your choice) as the impetus to write a “golden shovel poem,” as follows:
  1. Choose a poem.
  2. Select a single line that speaks to you.
  3. Write the individual words along the right side of the page, vertically.
  4. Create your own new poem in which each line ENDS with the word on the right side.


Here are Nancy’s sample poems to illustrate how it’s done. She used the line “the eagle lets us borrow his feathers” from the poem selection above.






1. Paste it into the comment section below. I will gather the poems and add them to this post. OR
2. Email it to me at and I will add it to this post (graphics welcome)!













In Nancy’s words: As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, I have always loved stories. I believe that words – in poetry or prose – help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. I’ve lived and worked as teacher, counselor, researcher, and writer in settings as diverse as Malawi, Hawaii, Japan, Saipan, Samoa, and, most recently, the Navajo Nation. I was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota before following my passion –writing for children.

I have authored more than a dozen books with a variety of publishers. Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons (Salinas Bookshelf), was recognized as an ALA Notable Social Studies book and an Arizona Book of the Year. Warriors in the Crossfire (BoydsMills/Highlights) received the Colorado Book of the Year. Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo, has been a champion award-winner.  Water Runs Through This Book Fulcrum Publishers), received the Sigurd Olson Environmental Writing Award. Recently out is Soldier Sister, Fly Home, a middle grade novel (Charlesbridge), awarded Women Writing the West’s Willa Cather Literary. Soon out this summer is First Laugh, Welcome Baby, a collaborative picture book with Navajo elder Rose Tahe and Navajo artist, Johnathan Nelson.

My “bottom line” message at school visits: Read every day. And for writers, do the same. As a kid, I kept a stack of comics under my bed. And a flashlight! Now I keep a stack of books next to my bed. You never know when you need a good book.

Discover more about the author and her books at



Fourteen-year-old Tess is having a hard enough time understanding what it means to be part white and part Navajo, but now she’s coping with her sister Gaby’s announcement that she’s going to enlist and fight in the Iraq war. Gaby’s decision comes just weeks after the news that Lori Piestewa, a member of their community, is the first Native American woman in US history to die in combat, adding to Tess’s stress and emotions. While Gaby is away, Tess reluctantly cares for her sister’s semi-wild stallion, Blue, who will teach Tess how to deal with tragic loss and guide her own journey of self-discovery.

Lori Piestewa was a real-life soldier who was killed in Iraq and was a member of the Hopi tribe. Back matter includes further information about Piestewa as well as a note by author Nancy Bo Flood detailing her experiences living on the Navajo reservation. A pronunciation guide to all Navajo vocabulary used within the text is also included. (from the author’s website)


The history and tradition of the Navajo rodeo are made lively and accessible in this “day-in-the-life” account. Short narrative poems accompany each spread, recounting the anticipation, determination, danger, and excitement of the day.

“Big Brahma bull/stands square,/glares./Big Brahma bull/head down/ horns able/to rip a rider wide apart./Big Brahma bull…/My turn to ride.” An announcer guides readers through the book (and each individual event) page by page. “Ladies and Gents, all eyes to the arena for our first timed event. Watch close, or you just might miss the action. These calf ropers are fast as lightning!”

Children will easily be roped in, from barrel racing to steer wrestling, team roping to bareback bull riding. Each event is described in concise, informative detail. The colorful photos almost steal the show as they expertly capture the athletes and animals in action.

Warm and inviting, the book gives a real sense of what it’s like to be a part of the Navajo rodeo. A top-notch introduction to a unique event. (School Library Journal)

This book and the photographic images presents a sense of wonder and mystery about water, presenting unusual information – regional, global and astronomical – and then describes ways to conserve this resource that is essential to life – from birth to death.

Water Runs Through This Book is written for readers, young and old, “green or not yet green” who are interested in participating through art or action to increase water awareness and water conservation. Through photographs, verse, and narration, this book celebrates the most essential ingredient to life: water.

Author and educator Nancy Bo Flood and award-winning photographer Jan Sonnenmair combine imagination and information to explore this ever-changing yet essential element.

Water Runs Through This Book is much more than an exploration of how water impacts life on Earth. It is a guide for how readers of all ages can become conservationists and protectors of this endangered resource. (from author’s website)

Don’t miss a prompt! Save this calendar to your desktop.


Check out the poetry video library!
Golden Shovel poems and prompts copyright © by Nancy Bo Flood.
Copyright on community collection poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Soaring Eagle by Flo Maderebner; Eagle Over Woods, Gray Owl, and Owl in Flight from Pixabay via Pexels (no attribution required)