One black nose is all that shows
in all that fur he's got.
White as snow from head to toe—
I think I'll call him
Spot! Is one of the poems that did not make it into my picture book, NAME THAT DOG! Because it was an ABC book, I could only choose one poem for each letter of the alphabet. But I kept coming up with names that started with the letter S!
Twenty-six years ago, in April of 1996, the Academy of American Poets launched National Poetry Month to celebrate poetry and poets and the role that they play in our culture. Poetry matters!
My love of poetry began with nursery rhymes. In school much of the poetry that we studied didn't interest me—those that were deep and needed to be analyzed. I did enjoy poems by some of those classic poets, but mostly I enjoyed simple poems that touched my heart or made me feel something. Poetry that was mysterious, exciting, humorous, thoughtful, or sometimes prayerful.
Later I discovered Shel Silverstein, X.J. Kennedy, Jack Prelutsky, J. Patrick Lewis, Bruce Lansky, Ken Florian, Kenn Nesbitt and many others including someone called 'anonymous'. Humor hits home with me.
There are many other children's poets that I love, like Lee Bennett Hopkins, Nikki Grimes, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Heidi B. Roemer, David Harrison, Patricia Toht, April Pulley Sayre—and more! I learned from all of these, and I'm still learning.
From reading and listening to nursery rhymes to writing poems and picture books in verse, poetry has captured my heart. I hope that my poetry and my picture books in verse will find their way into your hearts as well.
In the middle of a puddle,
in the middle of a road,
On a teeter-totter twig
sat a teeny-tiny toad….
And so begins the adventure of a tiny toad through the park in A HIPPY-HOPPY TOAD.
Find my book at your local bookstore, online, or at your local library to follow Toad's journey through the park.
Happy poetry reading!