instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Blog

Celebrating National Poetry Month for Children


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.

Poetry Friday 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.

Reading Rockets 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:

Shel Silverstein
Jack Prelutsky
Kenn Nesbitt

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!  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Caldecott and Other Great Picture Books

Caldecott Medal

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.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Check Out the Caldecott Medal and Honor Books for 2014!


The Caldecott Medal Books for 2014 were announced on January 18th. I was finally able to get copies of them from my library and have a look. The winner—

LOCOMOTIVE by Brian Floca
Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2013

Caldecott Honor Books are—
JOURNEY by Aaron Becker, Candlewick Press
FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO by Molly Idle, Chronicle Books
MR. WUFFLES! by David Wiesner, Clarion Books

A few things struck me as interesting.
The Caldecott winner and all three honor books were by author/illustrators.
The Caldecott winner is non-fiction.
All three honor books are wordless, or almost wordless in the case of MR. WUFFLES.

I love when picture books have illustrations on the inside covers as well as inside the book itself. The inside covers of LOCOMOTIVE are illustrated with different historical moments and maps as well as having text and pictures with additional information. On the inside covers of JOURNEY there are illustrations of vehicles of transportation.

FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO has flaps to open, like in ‘Lift the Flap’ books. The illustrations are very graceful, a good compliment to the type of dance that the flamingo and the little girl are doing in the book.

In JOURNEY, the girl with the red marker or crayon reminds me of Harold in HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson, and the door that she goes through reminds me of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by CS Lewis. You’ll have to ‘read’ it to see the surprise at the end.

Never underestimate the power of a cat in MR. WUFFLES! As in other David Wiesner books, the detail is fun and interesting.

Unlike the Caldecott Honor books, LOCOMOTIVE is filled with wonderful words and language. It tells the story of a train, its crew, and a family traveling west aboard America’s first transcontinental railroad. The use of different fonts and letter size, and the many ‘sound’ words (onomatopoeia) throughout the book make it both fun to read and to look at. It reads like poetry—

“…Men came from far away
to build from the East,
to build from the West,
to meet in the middle….”

I listened to a speech online given by Brian Floca at the 2013 National Book Festival. He talked about how his first idea for this book grew from something simple to something more complicated. He also talked about the research he did before beginning to write and illustrate his book. It included reading many books, visiting museums, looking at old photos from the era, as well as primary sources such as talking to people and taking the trip to get the full picture. He actually drove a train along the same path as the first continental railroad trip. From that trip he took what he found most interesting and began to write—notes, questions, phrases. He also drew things that he saw along the way. Revisions included re-writing the text, and changing and re-shaping his drawings as well.

LOCOMOTIVE has received many other awards and recognitions as well, including being selected as a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, NY Times 10 Best illustrated books of the year and Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2013.

Congratulations to all of the author/illustrators of the Caldecott Medal books for 2014!  Read More 
Be the first to comment

ALA Awards and Best Children's Books lists for 2012

The 2013 announcements of the ALA Youth Media Awards took place at 8 a.m. PT on Jan. 28, from the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

The winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children is “This Is Not My Hat,” illustrated and written by Jon Klassen, and published by Candlewick Press.

Five Caldecott Honor Books also were named:
“Creepy Carrots!” illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

“Extra Yarn,” illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

“Green,” illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press

“One Cool Friend,” illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group

“Sleep Like a Tiger,” illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue and published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

The winner of the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature is “The One and Only Ivan,” written by Katherine Applegate, and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named:
“Splendors and Glooms” by Laura Amy Schlitz and published by Candlewick Press

“Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” by Steve Sheinkin and published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press

“Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

For a complete list of ALA awards for youth media, go to ALA Awards

If you’d like to see what other reviewers have chosen as the best children’s books of 2012, check out the following lists.

Looking for some laughs? Check out this list of children’s lit in 2012 from SLJ.
2012 Children's Lit: The Year in Miscellanea
School Library Journal

For a more serious look at children’s books in 2012, check out the Horn Book's picks.
Horn Book Fanfare: Our Choices For The Best Books of 2012
Horn Book

And more from three major review sources.

Publishers Weekly
Booklist
Book Page
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

American Library Association Announces Award Winners

On January 10th the American Library Association announced the 2011 awards for best books, videos, and audiobooks for children. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s and young adult experts, the ALA awards encourage original and creative work. Following is a partial list of the winners.

Award Winners for Children’s Books 2011

The Caldecott Medal, awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children:
A SICK DAY FOR AMOS McGEE, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press

The John Newbery Medal, given for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House Inc.

The Michael L. Printz Award, for excellence in literature written for young adults:
SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults:
ONE CRAZY SUMMER, by Rita Williams-Garcia is the 2011 King Author Book winner. The book is published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

DAVE THE POTTER: ARTIST, POET, SLAVE, illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the 2011 King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Laban Carrick Hill and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:
THE PIRATE OF KINDERGARTEN, written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, for children ages 0 to 10.

AFTER EVER AFTER, written by Jordan Sonnenblick and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc, for middle-school readers (ages 11-13).

FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, written by Antony John and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., for teens (ages 13-18).

The Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video:
Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard of Weston Woods, producers of THE CURIOUS GARDEN. The video is based on the book of the same name, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, and is narrated by Katherine Kellgren, with music by David Mansfield.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The 2011 winner is TOMIE DE PALOA, author and illustrator of over 200 books, including: “26 Fairmont Avenue” (Putnam, 1999), “The Legend of the Poinsettia” (Putnam, 1994), “Oliver Button Is a Sissy” (Harcourt, 1979) and “Strega Nona” (Prentice-Hall, 1975).

The Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:
THE TRUE MEANIING OF SMEKDAY, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group. The book is written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin.

The Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children:
KALAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRAGEST PARROT, written by Sy Montgomery. The book features photographs by Nic Bishop and is published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book:
BINK AND GOLLIE, written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile. The book is published by Candlewick Press.

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults for the best nonfiction book published for young adults during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year:
JANIS JOPLIN: RISE UP SINGING, written by Ann Angel. The book is published by Amulet/Abrams.

Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2011 ALA Awards for Children’s literature!

And now we’ve got some reading to do!

For a complete list of winners and runners up, go to: http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=6048.
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

Caldecott Awards 2010

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, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

The Cladecott Medal winner for 2010 is "The Lion & the Mouse," illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers).

2010 Honor Books include "All the World," illustrated by Marla Frazee, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, published by Beach Lane Books. And "Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors," illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

What wouldn't an author give to have their book chosen as a Caldecott Award Book!

But how can an author, who is not an illustrator as well, make a difference?

What if our words could inspire the most fantastic pictures in the mind of the illustrator! So much so, that their hands and fingers would magically translate those wonderful pictures to paper, which become pages in a book. And in the end, the eyes of a child could see into the heart of our story.

For an author, isn't that what's it's all about? Words, inspiring pictures, inspiring a child?

May our words and pictures work together to inspire the hearts and minds of children. I do so appreciate the illustrators who translate my words into pictures to that end. Read More 
2 Comments
Post a comment

Welcome to my children's author blog!

Welcome!

My name is Peggy Archer and I am a children's author. My newest picture book, NAME THAT DOG!, will be out from Dial Books for Young Readers in April 2010! To see more about me and my books, please visit my website at www.peggyarcher.com.

My author website has been around for awhile, but until now I have resisted 'The Blog.' My plan is to add something of interest to children's writers and anyone interested in children's books weekly on Wednesdays. So please check back.

The ALA (American Library Association) convention was  Read More 
2 Comments
Post a comment