|Up-Coming Author Visits
SCBWI Fall Conference
September 25-26, 2015
St. Charles, MO
Local Author Open House
November 19, 2015
6:00 to 8:00 pm
427 Spencer Road
St. Peters, MO 63376
Please contact me if you would like me to autograph copies of my picture book, NAME THAT DOG, at your school's Scholastic Book Fair.
Author visit, with Author and Instructor (Writing for Children), Nancy Polette May 2015
Author visit at Troy Buchannan HS March 2015
Scholastic Book Fair, St. Charles, Missouri December 2014
Scholastic Book Fair, Fenton, Missouri December 2014
Scholastic Book Fair, Columbia, Missouri December 2014
Saturday Writers presentation on writing and marketing a picture book, June 2014, St. Peters MO
Lakeview Elementary School, O'Fallon, MO in April 2014
With Kim Piddington, Missouri SCBWI Regional Advisor, at the Missouri Association of School Librarians convention in St. Louis, April
Indiana SCBWI Spring conference April 2014
Chesterfield, MO children's writers group at Christmas 2013
scholastic Warehouse Book Signing December 7, 2013
At Main Street Books with owner, Vickie Erwin November 30th
B&N with authors Mike Force, Chris DiGiuseppi, and Valerie Battle Kienzle November 22nd
Local Author Open House at MK Library in O'Fallon, November 21st
Carlin Park Elementary School Angola, IN
Sherwood School Scholastic Book Fair in Arnold, MO
ICD Scholastic Book Fair with students--Immaculate Conception Dardenne Prairie, MO
Peggy with children's author Karen Guccione-Englert at the MK Library Local Authors Open House in O'Fallon, MO
Book signing at Indianapolis Fairgrounds, with Mary Igras
Author Visit to Immaculate Conception School (ICD) April 2012
ICD library staff
Edison Elementary School Hammond IN
Lincoln Elementary School Hammond IN
Beta Delta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Hammond IN
Heather Alexander, editor at Dial Books for Young Readers
Quinlan Lee, agent, Adams Literary Agency
Suzanne Morgan Williams, author of BULL RIDER
Kids Ink Independent Children's Bookstore, downtown Indianapolis
Shirley Mullin, bookstore owner, with children's authors Janna Mathies, Peggy, and Nathan Clement
Thank You cards from Holy Family School in South Bend
Fieler Elementary students
Ms Hanneman's class at Northview Elementary
In the classroom at Northview Elementary School
Talking to students at Northview Elementary
Working together to create a poem in Starke County
Talking with students at Starke County
Author Judy Roth and students at the Starke County Young Artists Day
Booksigning at B&N Bookfair
Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, with author and keynote speaker Tim Green
friendly staff at The Bookstore
Author Book Signing
Butler University Chorus entertains with Christmas Carols
Turkey for Thanksgiving?
Stuffee and the author
November: Picture Book Idea Month
Author Panel: the Road to Publishing--Kathryn Page Camp moderating
Kate Collins: adult trade publishing, mysteries
Peggy Archer: children's trade publishing, picture books
Katherine Flotz: self-publishing, memoir
Michael Poore: adult trade publishing, fiction
Cynthia Echterling: e-publishing & small press, science fiction
Author visit to Portage Public Library, October 23rd
Esther Hershenhorn talks about the Reader's story and the Writer's story
Esther shares resources, experience, and opportunities
Trish Batey, Indiana RA
Yellow paper on your back gave a hint of 'What author are you?' for the day
Peggy Archer gives an overview of the 2010 SCBWI conference in LA
Karen Kulinski gives an update on Indiana's HoosierLinks
Janna Mathies at the piano sings "Why It Matters" by Sara Groves
IN SCBWI steering committee with Trish: (L to R) Karen Kulinski, HoosierLinks, Kristi Valiant, Website Coordinator, Alina Klein, Listserv Coordinator, Peggy, ARA (not pictured: Sharon Vargo, Illustrator Coordinator)
New Regional Advisor, Kristi Valiant, talks about plans for 2011
Indiana SCBWI: Outgoing RA Trish Batey, ARA Peggy Archer, Incoming RA Kristi Valiant
Visiting with author/illustrator Nathan Clement and son Theo at the ROAR author event
Autographing for a young reader
Story Time at ROAR's (Reach Out and Read) Evening With the Authors Event in Indianapolis
Reading to young bankers at Citizens Financial Bank in Valparaiso
Some of the crowd at the SCBWI conference in LA
Ashley Bryan, Golden Kite winner for Nonfiction
with Keynote speaker and Golden Kite winner, Marion Dane Bauer
Illustrator and Keynote speaker, Loren Long
E.B. Lewis, Keynote speaker
with Keynote speaker, Gennifer Choldenke
Keynote speaker, Gordon Korman
Chris Cheng, Australia RA and SCBWI Member of the Year
Kris Vreeland, Independent Bookstore manager, Vroman's Bookstore
Eva Mitnick, LA librarian and reviewer for SLJ
Greg Pinkus and Alice Pope on networking
with Lin Oliver, co-founder of SCBWI
Steve Mooser, co-founder of SCBWI, with Sally Crock RAE
Indiana SCBWI members Mary Jo, Shannon, and Peggy celebrate in LA with Heart and Soul.
East and Midwest members celebrate at the Golden Kite Luncheon in LA--Peggy, Courtney, Julia and Mary Jo.
Peggy with Alice and Lisa, co-RAs from IL--friends and roommates
Linda V., formerly of Indiana, with her 'dog-in-training,' Dusty.
Anyone for Literary Bingo?
This is the cornfield just down the street from my house on July 13th. That's me with the boot on my foot again!
Local Authors Day, Valparaiso B&N
Welcome to the Young Artists Fair in Plainfield, IN
Signing books at Van Buren Elementary School in Plainfield, IN
Happy Birthday, Name That Dog!
Little reader loving that dog book!
Celebrating the Book Launch!
Doggy treats at the book launch party
With Jocelyn at the Porter County Expo Center for the Be Kind to Animals Celebration
Speaking to readers and writers at the LaPorte County Public Library in April
Our new grandpuppy, Dudley!
The new Mr. and Mrs. Biggs!
Trish Batey, Indiana SCBWI RA, Stephen Roxburg, Lisa Graff, Helen Frost, Peggy Archer, Indiana SCBWI ARA
Stephen Roxburg, Publisher of namelos, talked about writing the YA novel, the current state of publishing, and his new company, namelos
Lisa Graff, Middle Grade author, talks about writing the middle grade novel and the Slush Pile
Lisa autographs books with a smile
Introducing Helen Frost, YA author and poet
Question and Answer panel--Lisa, Stephen, and Helen
Registration, getting to know you
Schmoozing with other writers
Trish with author, Valiska Gregory
Books for sale--writers can never have too many!
Taking it all in.
Afternoon Tea with the author in Mitchell
Alexis talks about storytime for the very young
My little corner--I love when students come up to talk.
HOW many dogs do you have?!
Authors of the day
Keynote address: Growing an Author with Peggy Archer
Making a book with Katie Mitschelen
Research--detective work, with Peggy Miller
Crafting a poem with Mary Ann Moore
Becoming an artist with Edwin Shelton
Music with the Band
One small hand holding onto another
Name That Dog! Sharing F&G's and write-up in Dial's catalog with group.
Writers Christmas lunch and meeting in Michigan City
Meeting up with Esther and Karen in Chicago
Name That Dog! ISBN: 978-0-8037-3322-0
Writing friends from the beginning!
Drawing a turkey at Hussey-Mayfield Public Library-- Zionsville, IN
Autographs at Hussey-Mayfield Library, Zionsville
"Who likes to eat turkey at Thanksgiving?" --Morton Elementary School, Hammond, IN
Thank you cards from Morton Elementary students
Reading to my grandson's pre-school class at Zion Lutheran School-- Bethalto, IL
Family Book Basket
Courtney Bongiolatti, Editor S&S
Laurent Linn, Art Director S&S
Terry Harshman, Editor CBHI
Author-Illustrators, Kristi Valiant and Sharon Vargo
Kristi Valiant, IN-SCBWI logo winner
Our volunteer crew (minus a few)
author Katie Mitschelen and Peggy enjoying the conference
Janine Harrison, opening remarks
Sharon Palmeri, President IWC and speaker
Kathryn Page Camp speaks on Taxes for Writers
Kate Collins, mystery book author and Keynote speaker
Gordon Stamper, secretary IWC
Peggy, Sally, and Karen--writing friends enjoying the dinner event together
Autographs with a smile :)
Smokies in the morning
Smile and say 'author'!
Ready to start!
Sara Grant, Editor, Working Partners
One on one with Sara
Author and Editor...
Getting to know you...
Sharing thoughts... connecting
Our Kentucky friends...
Trish, RA, Peggy, ARA, Christi and Alina, steering committee members
Picture book author, April Pulley Sayre, speaking in South Bend.
Esther and Heidi
Esther with Steve and Sally from National SCBWI
Heidi and Peggy, friends and poets
We came from Indiana...
...from California and Iowa
and enjoyed the friendships.
Peggy, Karen & Esther--connecting once again.
Critique group gathering at Peggy Miller's house. Karen, Fred, Mary Ann, Katie, Judy, & the two Peggy's in front.
Our daughter, Sarah & our son, Dan both sang original songs at the Porter County Fair in the Colgate Country Showdown.
From Fort Wayne to Whiting, we gathered to talk & gain some bit of insight into the world of creating children's books.
Enjoying the company of other children's writers & illustrators.
Meeting other children's writers.
Smiles were free.
Peggy Archer talks about trade publishers.
Judy Roth talks about working with a small publisher.
Karen Kulinski talks about working with an agent.
Karen fielding questions.
Peggy with the Cat in the Hat
Katie and the Cat in the Hat
I won a collection of autographed books from the IL SCBWI (Society of Children's Writers & llustrators) booth at ALA for the Valparaiso Public Library. An awesome prize! Thank you IL SCBWI!
Peggy, presenting books won at ALA to Connie Sullivan, Branch Manager and Leslie Cefali, Youth Services Assistant, Valparaiso Public Library.
August 26, 2015
Today is National Dog Day
! I didn’t have a dog when I was growing up, but we did have two dogs (at different times) after my husband and I got married.
We got our first dog, Skipper, because our son had been begging for a dog when I found out we were having another baby. So we ended up with a new puppy and a new baby at the same time.
Skipper was more of an outside dog. We had him in a large fenced yard, but that didn’t hold him back. He would jump over the fence and visit the neighbors around the block. Once when we were walking him, an older lady sitting on her porch said to us, “Oh, I see you have my dog!” That’s when I found out that Skipper led a double life.
Skipper was the main character in a true story that I wrote for Guideposts magazine
in 2007. It involved building a stable for our new outdoor Christmas nativity scene and our ‘lost’ dog. It ended finding Skipper snuggled up next to the Baby Jesus in the stable in our front yard.
Our second dog, Snickers, was the inspiration for my picture book NAME THAT DOG! Puppy Poems from A to Z
. Snickers was more of an indoor dog, though she loved being outside. We got her when our youngest daughter was in high school, so I had more time to get attached to this dog. She’s in many of the poems in my book.
Pets are a great inspiration in many ways. Here are some of my favorite books about dogs, including some classics from the past.
A PET FOR MISS WRIGHT
, by Judy Young
, illustrated by Andrea Wesson, Sleeping Bear Press 2011
Miss Wright is a writer, and writing is a lonely job. She decides that she needs a pet to keep her company, but finding the perfect pet for a writer is not easy. Find out what makes a dog the perfect pet in this book.
by author/illustrator Steven Kellogg
, Dial Books for Young Readers 1979
Pinkerton is a loveable puppy, but he just won’t behave. He sets a bad example for the other dogs and flunks out of obedience school. But when a burglar comes into their home, it takes a little girl to know just the right commands. Anyone who has had a new puppy will relate to Pinkerton and his family in this book.
, by author/illustrator Dav Pilkey
, The Blue Sky Press and Scholastic 1995
The other dogs tease Oscar because he is short and long. But sometimes using what makes you a little bit different can save the day.
, by Margret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey, Harper and Row and Scholastic 1944
Pretzel started out just like his brothers and sisters, but by the time he was grown he was the longest dachshund in the world. Read about the different ways that Pretzel uses his special size, and how he wins the heart of Greta in this story.
, by author/illustrator Jules Feiffer, HarperCollins 1999
When George's mother tells her son to bark, he meows. She tries again and he quacks, oinks and moos. George is a dog and something’s definitely not right. So his mother takes him to the vet, who finds some interesting things when he reaches down George’s throat.
books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins I Can Read series of books about a puppy and his adventures.
The HENRY AND MUDGE
books by Cynthia Rylant
, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin Ready to Read series of books about Henry and his big dog, Mudge.
Books about HARRY
by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, and the books about BENJY
by Margaret Bloy Graham, Harper & Row and Weekly Reader Books.
A couple of middle grade books about dogs that I like are:
LOVE THAT DOG
by Sharon Creech
, HarperCollins 2001
This novel in verse is told from the viewpoint of Jack, the main character, as he learns to enjoy writing poetry when he writes about his dog. A great introduction to novels in verse, this one is hard to put down once you begin.
ADVENTURES OF PACHELOT
, books one, two and three, by Wendy Caszatt-Allen
, Mackinac Island Press 2007
Travel back in time with fur traders, sailors and Native Americans as Pachelot, an Australian Shepherd, tells his story of life in the wilderness with the early explorers in the seventh century.
August 15, 2015
What’s better than a walk around the lake? How about a Storybook Walk
around the lake on a beautiful summer evening! BARK, GEORGE!
by author/illustrator Jules Feiffer was the featured picture book on the Storybook Walk at St. Charles Community College
in Cottleville, Missouri last month. Three of our grandchildren were visiting, so we decided to make an unofficial stop and check it out.
When George's mother tells her son to bark, he meows. She tries again and he quacks, oinks and moos. George is a dog and something’s definitely not right. So his mother takes him to the vet, who finds some interesting things when he reaches down George’s throat. Our four-year old granddaughter used her imagination to add even more hilarity to the story!
, by author/illustrator Jules Feiffer, HarperCollins 1999
Last week I took home a new bunch of picture books from our local library. Here are just a few of my favorites out of the two bags that I checked out.
MEMOIRS OF A HAMSTER
by Devin Scillian, Illustrated by Tim Bowers
, Sleeping Bear Press 2013
Seymour has the perfect life—a bowl of seeds, a cozy pile of wood shavings, and room to run. He never wants to leave. Until Pearl the cat convinces him that life outside his cage is even better. If you’ve ever had a hamster (or not) you’ll love this book about Seymour’s adventure. Illustrations are colorful and a great compliment to the text.
by Michelle Knudsen
, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
, Candlewick 2006
One day a lion enters the library, upsetting Mr. McBee who works there. Since there are no rules about lions in a library, the lion makes himself at home. While he waits for story hour, he makes himself useful, helping the staff and the people who come to the library. However, when the librarian falls and the lion is caught running and being loud, things change. Is there ever a good reason to break the rules? Find out in this story. Illustrations fit the quiet atmosphere of a library and compliment the story, adding detail.
GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN
by Tammi Sauer
, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Disney Hyperion, 2015
The Truman Elementary Troublemakers were a bad bunch. Cap’n Gatastrophe, Destructo Dude, and Make-My-Day May did not follow the rules, and pretty much made school miserable for everyone. Then Ginny Louise came to school. Find out if she has what it takes to turn things around when she is challenged to a show-down. Colorful, fun illustrations and lots of play on words make this a fun book for readers young and old.
WATER IS WATER
by Miranda Paul
, illustrated by Jason Chin
, Roaring Brook Press 2015
“Water is water, unless…” I love the format of this book about water and its different forms—steam, clouds, fog or rain for example. Information is simply presented, in a wonderful poetic voice. More information is given at the end in greater detail. The book is illustrated in beautiful paintings, showing the different seasons and adding to the information presented in the text.
Click on the link below the picture to find out more about the Storybook Walk at St. Charles Community College!
June 29, 2015
Summer is finally here and it’s Storybook Walk
time again! This year Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville, Missouri features the picture book, BIRDS
, by Kevin Henkes
Nestled among the trees around the lake you’ll find the pages of the book displayed. You can read the story, one page at a time, at different markers along the path. You might even see some of the birds from the book in the trees as you walk!
Quail Ridge Park
is a beautiful place to visit. My husband and I like to walk the paved trails. Our grandkids also like the playgrounds and the park creatures like toads and bugs and the animals they see there. There is also disc golf, picnic areas, unpaved trails, and a dog park.
For another Storybook Walk experience, check out St. Charles Community College
in Cottleville, where featured books along the half-mile trail are changed each month.
‘Stories are handpicked by library staff with a child’s enjoyment in mind.’ Watch for a new Storybook Walk coming to the St. Charles City Park.
The St. Charles County Library Foundation
created the ‘series of Storybook Walks throughout St. Charles County to offer a unique approach to reading. In collaboration with our community partners, the Storybook Walk provides a new outdoor adventure that champions family connection, early childhood development, and health and wellness. Each month a new book is posted at several stations along a trail, allowing families and friends to enjoy a story as they walk the path and take in the scenery.’ (from: St. Charles County Library Foundation website 2015
Check out the blog, Coffee Cups and Crayons
, for some activities to go with BIRDS.
Take a summer break and visit a Storybook Walk in your area for a new way to experience the joy of reading picture books with the children in your life!
June 18, 2015
In February I attended a program offered by the Catholic Writers of St. Louis called “Enliven Your Writing with an Understanding of Clinical & Spiritual Psychology.” Psychologist, Dr. Richard Johnson
, talked about how a character’s personality makes him act the way he does, and he encouraged us to create characters with attention to their personality.
He covered such a range of information, and it’s impossible to cover everything that he talked about. But I wrote a brief wrap-up for our Missouri SCBWI
newsletter that was recently posted on Lori Galaske
’s blog, Kid Lit Life (June 16, 2015)
. Follow the link to Lori’s blog, and a re-print of the article. If you follow the link to Catholic Writers of St. Louis
, you can read even more! Then check out Lori’s website, The Other Side.
June 9, 2015
Missouri SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators)
is sponsoring Critique Across Missouri
, a week-long event during the week through June 13th. Critique groups are forming across the state to bring children’s writers and illustrators together to share each other’s work and offer feedback. All genres are included, and everyone is invited to participate, members and non-members alike.
Writing is a solitary business, and getting together with others who understand
what you do is a great perk. My focus is on writing picture books—poetry, fiction and non-fiction. People who aren’t immersed in writing for young children often think that writing a picture book is quick and easy. Because the story is, for the most part, uncomplicated and simple, with a single focus. Only another picture book writer really knows the truth. Well, maybe your spouse, or your best friend, too.
They understand that finding the perfect word can take many revisions, that picture books have rhythm, and that writing a well-crafted story in such few words is an art, and can be more difficult than writing for the older crowd.
Picture books and poetry are meant to be read out loud, and a critique group is the perfect audience. Better yet is to have someone in your group read your manuscript out loud. You can hear the rhythm the way someone else hears it. Do they stumble anywhere? Some words are pronounced differently by different people. Sometimes it’s because of the rhythm you’ve created, and sometimes it’s just that there is more than one way to pronounce a word. This is the place to find out.
In a critique group, we tell each other what works in our manuscripts as well as what isn’t working or what might help to make it better. But besides the actual critique that we offer each other, we share the highs and lows of the business. Personal notes from editors, acceptances and rejections. No one understands the joy and the pain of trying to create a work of art than another artist—both writers and illustrators.
Besides critiquing manuscripts, we also share marketing tips and writing or illustrating tips with each other. Sometimes someone will suggest the ‘perfect place’ to submit your manuscript. We also share picture books that we like in some way, and how it brings home the writing tips that we’ve heard at events or conferences for children’s writers and illustrators.
Critique Across Missouri is a good way to get feedback from writers who haven’t formed that personal connection to you and your writing, because you are probably going to be meeting with some writers who aren’t in your regular critique group. So it’s a fresh point of view for your work.
The week is already in full swing, but it’s not too late to join in the hype. Connect with other writers or illustrators who you know this week, in person or online, or even by Skype, and share a manuscript to critique. Or read some picture books, novels or poetry and share your thoughts on the writing or illustrations. Share your experiences in marketing, and writing cover letters or queries. Or just schmooze with others who do what you do, and understand where you’re coming from.
This week is dedicated to critique groups for children’s writers and illustrators in Missouri. Don’t miss out on the perks!
May 29, 2015
Spoede Elementary Family Night
I recently did some author presentations in or near O’Fallon, Missouri, where I live. My goal— to inspire and encourage readers as well as writers and future authors. And for others, to show that if you believe in yourself and work hard at something, you can
In March I participated in Writers’ Week
at Troy Buchannan High School
, where I talked about writing and re-writing and becoming a published author. While I was there, I listened to a wonderful personal essay written by a very talented student. And I was honored to have the cover of my book, NAME THAT DOG, painted on a ceiling tile, destined to join other visiting authors’ books on the ceiling of the school library. The painting was done by an amazingly talented high school artist.
Later that evening I visited Spoede Elementary School
and spoke to the students and parents at Family Book Night
. I felt right at home in the camping theme, with flashlights and stories around artificial campfires in the gym! But the most fun was talking to students one-on-one during and after the presentation.
In May I talked to authors participating in Nancy Polette’s
class on Writing for Children
at the Middendorf-Kredell library about my own journey to publishing and picture books. Nancy is an excellent teacher of children’s writing, and an excellent author as well. School Library Journal said that she is "an educator with imagination, creativity and an appreciation for the intelligence of children."
I remember the times before being published, and I relate to the uncertainty of ever being published, and whether our work is good or not. And I cherish the encouragement and help from published authors that I received myself. I enjoy being able to offer that encouragement to other children’s writers. And having contacts with other children’s writers, published and unpublished, keeps me going.
I also attended some local author appearances during the past few months. Going to another children’s author’s presentation is always food for thought, even if it seems very similar to what I do at an author visit myself, or even if their book is totally unrelated to what I write. Here are a few of my ‘take-aways.’
In March Jeannie Ransom
, author of the picture book The Crown Affair
, gave a presentation to patrons at the Middendorf-Kredell library in O’Fallon. Her presentation was very similar to what I sometimes do, but there were some added things that she did that connected with her audience. One was showing on a map the distance between where she writes to where the publisher is located, as well as the location of the illustrator, and the printing company.
Being able to view the presentation as an attendee gave me additional insight. I could see what parts held everyone’s attention, what they connected with the most, and consider why.
Later that month I went to a presentation and book signing by Cathy Gilmore
and Carol Benoist, authors of Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day
(Cathy is also the author of Little Lamb Finds Christmas
) at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Fenton. I could feel the enthusiasm of the speakers during the presentation, and see how that enthusiasm ‘caught’ their audience up in it. A craft activity afterwards brought children into the book even more.
Most recently, this month I attended a presentation and book signing at the Spencer library in St. Peters with Vicki Berger Erwin and Justine Riggs
, authors of the book for adults, Finally a locally produced Guidebook to St. Charles, by and for locals, Neighborhood by Neighborhood, City and County
—which has to be the longest title I’ve ever read! Vicki has had many books for children published in the past, including some of the Babysitters’ Club books, and is the former owner of Main Street Books in St. Charles. Again, as an outsider, I could see what connected with the audience—not only by what
they talked about in their presentation, but also how
it was presented and how the speakers connected to the audience on a personal level.
Another perk of attending other author presentations is how the excitement of having a new book published catches me up in it with them. It keeps me motivated, and excited about my own work. And sometimes listening to another author speak inspires a new thought or idea that can be totally unrelated to their own book.
Another idea is to see what authors are doing presentations at your local schools. When I started out, I asked the school for permission to attend the presentation with the students. It gave me motivation, information and a base for myself as an author for future author presentations.
So take a moment to check out author appearances at your local library or bookstore. You might be surprised at how it can fire you up as a writer.
April 13, 2015
National Poetry Month
was initially celebrated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Since that time it has become the largest literary celebration in the world! There are so many good places out there in cyberspace to find children’s poems, interviews with children’s poets, videos of poetry readings, poetry-writing help, poetry celebrations, poetry book lists and more. Here are some places to look.
During Poetry Month, ALA sponsors the Dear Poet
project, a multimedia education project that invites young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response to poems written and read by award-winning poets.
ALA also sponsors Poem in Your Pocket Day
, which will be on April 30th
this year. Participants carry a favorite poem with them and share it with others throughout the day. You can share your poem on twitter, or other social media places, too.
Find more poetry month celebrations on twitter at Poets.org
, and National Poetry Month
is a special tradition in the Kidlitosphere
. It's a weekly gathering and sharing of favorite poetry thoughts and poems and books, hosted by a different blogger each week. And you can continue to be part of Poetry Friday throughout the year!
On her blogsite, The Poem Farm
, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is featuring a special project for poetry month this year called Sing That Poem!
You won’t want to miss a visit to her site this month.
At The Miss Rumphius Effect
blogsite you’ll find links to poetry resources and so much more on this teacher’s blog. A special feature for poetry month this year are her daily links to different poetry forms
Find more poetry tips and terms on the website of Sharon Creech
celebrates children’s books and authors, and of course, National Poetry Month. Watch videos of poets reading poetry, interviews with children’s poets, and much more
Visit the Poetry Foundation: Poetry Picks for Children
where you’ll find favorite poetry books for children selected by Children’s Poet Laureates.
The National Council of Teachers of English
(NCTE) established its Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1977 to honor a living American poet for his or her aggregate work for children ages 3–13. This award is currently awarded every two years. The winner of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children for 2015
is Marilyn Singer
. She has published over one hundred books for children and young adults in a wide variety of genres, and many of her books have won prestigious awards.
Find a list of Ten Popular Poets for Kids
here on the pbs parents website. Some of my favorites are:
So many links, so little time! All of this is enough to make my head spin! Children’s poets like Marilyn Singer and so many others are a great inspiration to those of us struggling to write not just good
poetry, but really great
poetry—advice from poet laureate, J Patrick Lewis
on Day 8 of RhyPiBoMo
. So enjoy, learn, and be inspired!
April 4, 2015
It’s Poetry Month! And what better way to celebrate writing poetry this month than by participating in RhyPiBoMo
! At first glance it sounds a bit like something Mork, from Mork and Mindy
, would say ‘back in the day.’ But really, RhyPiBoMo stands for Rhyming Picture Book Month
Started in 2014 by author Angie Karcher
, RhyPiBoMo is a great experience for poets, both new and experienced, whether you write in rhyme or not. I followed it last year, and it was like taking a 30-day course in writing poetry!
And there’s still time to sign up as a participant! Take the pledge, and register by April 8th
to be eligible for some great daily prizes. Visit the RhyPiBoMo website for official rules, to see who’s posting, and for a list of prizes.
Read the daily posts
and get inspired—you’ll catch up quickly! Then check the daily challenges for hands-on poetry writing.
Ok, so I seem to be consistently a day late this week! Yesterday was “WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE RHYMING PICTURE BOOK” Friday
. I love good rhyme, so here are a few of my favorite rhyming picture books.
TROUT, TROUT, TROUT! A Fish Chant
by April Pulley Sayre
TEN LITTLE LAMBS
by Alice B. McGinty
GOD’S QUIET THINGS
by Nancy Sweetland
And one that discovered recently, written in verses although not a rhyming picture book, has become another of my favorites—
ONE THOUSAND TRACINGS
by Lita Judge.
Join RhyPiBoMo before April 8th and get your badge! Happy Poetry Month!
March 23, 2015
Inspiration for Name That Dog!
Today is National Puppy Day!
A note to picture book writers—Can’t think of anything to write about? Write about a dog!
Many picture books with dogs (and older books for children, as well) have remained popular over the years. Here’s my shortened list of books about dogs that most picture book readers know.
Names of familiar dogs in picture books
Spot (see Dick and Jane, 1950’s)
Books with dogs as characters
The Poky Little Puppy
A Pet For Miss Wright
Officer Buckle and Gloria
Are You My Mother?
Go, Dog! Go!
Pup and Hound
Books about dogs belonging to people in history
George Washington’s Dog
Lewis and Clark’s Dog
Poetry books about dogs
Bow Wow Meow Meow: It’s Rhyming Cats and Dogs
Once I Ate a Pie
Love That Dog
and of course, Name That Dog!
Books without a dog or puppy in the story, but the dog in the illustration adds to the story
The illustrator, Thor Wickstrom, added the dog to my picture book, Turkey Surprise. It has no dialogue, and nothing is said about the dog in the story. But that little dog adds such humor, and you really know what he’s thinking by looking at the illustrations!
Writers, I hope you’re inspired! Now pick up your favorite children’s puppy book and enjoy National Puppy Day! Click here
for some quotes about dogs.
February 23, 2015
On February 2nd the American Library Association
announced the 2015 Youth Media Award winners. Among those awards is the Caldecott Medal
, awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
Congratulations to the 2015 Caldecott Award winner, The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend
, illustrated and written by Dan Santat! I’m not an artist or an illustrator, so the awards for illustrations made me stop to look at picture books from a different angle—illustrations.
I borrowed The Adventures of Beekle
from the library. The illustrations are very colorful and imaginative, and, I think, match the feelings of Beekle. There are illustrations of children with their imaginary friends on the inside covers, done in black and white over blue background, which adds to the picture book experience, and also adds to the story. As a reader, I always like when there are illustrated end pages rather than blank pages. Much of the story experience in this book is told through the illustrations.
In addition to the Caldecott Medal winner, this year Caldecott Honor Awards
were given to five picture books for young readers, and one graphic novel for young adults. I wasn’t able to find all of these books at the library, but I did take a look on line at the ones that I couldn’t find. Here are a couple of the Honor Books that I did get to look at.
Nana in the City
written and illustrated by Lauren Castillo
The illustrations of the city in the beginning of the book lack as much brightness—when the young boy thinks the city is busy, loud and scary. Later, as Nana shows him how the city is a wonderful place, the illustrations become brighter and more colorful—I like the contrast. I like the textures shown in the illustrations, too.
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett.
I read this book last year, and at the time I thought that the illustrations carried the story. I still feel that way. Sam and Dave are digging a hole, hoping to find ‘something spectacular.’ Through the illustrations we see that as they dig, they change directions, just missing their ‘something spectacular.’ What most impressed me in the illustrations was that the story seemed to begin and end in the same place, but subtle details in the illustrations show that it’s indeed not the same place. For example, what was an apple tree in the beginning of the book, is a pear tree at the end. You’ll have to check out the book to find the rest.
Of the winners that I didn’t get to look at (yet), there were two books that I definitely want to read.
The Noisy Paintbox
by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPre, written by Barb Rosenstock
I checked this book out on line. From what I saw, I loved the colors and the art style. The story line also sounded interesting to me, and I hope to be able to read this one soon.
The Right Word
by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant
This is another book that intrigued me when I looked it up on line. I’m a list-maker, and this is a story about Roget, of Roget’s thesaurus—a list-maker. The illustrations seemed to be very ‘busy,’ which matches Roget’s list-making personality. I’m interested in seeing more.
I love when the words and the illustrations work together in a picture book to create a beautiful work of art. There are a couple of picture books in my own library which are not Caldecott winners or honor books, but books where (in my opinion) the illustrations worked with the text to create a ‘winning’ picture book.
One is God’s Quiet Things
, illustrated by Rick Stevens, written by Nancy Sweetland. I love the soft pastel illustrations. They seem to take me to a new dimension where I can feel as well as see the quiet things in nature that God created. The writing is also very soft and lyrical, which I enjoyed.
Another book, which combines text and illustration to create the story, is Mole Music
, written and illustrated by David McPhail. Mole’s story is told in the words, but the effects of what he does is shown in the illustrations. It leaves a very powerful impression on the reader.
For those of us who write for children but don’t illustrate their work, I hope this inspires you to take a ‘different’ look at picture books.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.