This week's addition to Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Fridays comes to us from the heart of bug country, the Great Plains. What do you think of when you think of Kansas? Well, that's what I used to think until I spent the week with Carol Murray at Highlights Summer Camp last July. When not … Continue reading Cricket in the Thicket – Perfect Picture Book Friday
In honor of National Poetry Month and Perfect Picture Book Friday, I'm shining the spotlight on a brilliant Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award Winner from 1997: "They took to the road in Waycross, Georgia Skipped over the tracks in East St. Louis Took the bus from Holly Springs Hitched a ride from Gee's Bend … Continue reading Harlem: A Poem by Walter Dean Myers
Summer slips away, leaving room for Fall. The first order of the day is to talk for a moment about a friend's book of poems, Selene by Michael Odom. I see this book as a reflection of an obsession. A woman. A sorceress. A corpse. An eternal ambivalence, love and hate. The cover uncovers, revealing the … Continue reading Return from the Abyss
Well, it seems I've been inspired by one of my favorite poets, Robert Okaji. Spring Night (after Wang Wei via Robert Okaji) Dogwood petals sigh in spirals, blessing my recline. Spring darkness rests on hollow muted hills while moonlight strikes the owls awake, their hoots slipstreaming through ravines. Unlike Robert, I named the … Continue reading Spring Night (After Wang Wei via Robert Okaji)
So you're looking for a couple of books from a brilliant author/illustrator? Ones that will make kids say "ewwww" page after page, all while laughing uproariously? Ones that kids will want to read again and again and again because each little twist is ingenious? Tedd Arnold's will do the trick: For the most part, his … Continue reading Parts and Even More Parts – Perfect Picture Book Friday
I am NOT having an affair with my postman. He loves to ring and run, never waiting to see if I'm home. When I find the package on the doorstep, there's not even a telltale trail of exhaust from his vehicle on the street. I'm not sure if he's afraid of me or is an extreme … Continue reading Surprise! Mother’s Day Gift!
A little over a year ago, we gathered family and friends on an island in Muscongus Bay in Maine to celebrate Peter Hoffmann's (my father-in-law) life and bury his ashes in the island cemetery. It was a glorious day—sunny and warm—for a picnic, wine, and shared memories. Sarah, my mother-in-law, asked the kids to craft … Continue reading Setting Fire to the Origami Crane – For Sarah Briggs Hoffmann
Marcy Erb, a poet/illustrator turned me on to a poem this morning: In Memoriam John Coltrane by Michael Stillman "Listen to the coal rolling, rolling through the cold, steady rain, wheel on wheel, listen to the turning of the wheels this night black as coal dust, steel on steel, listen to these cars carry coal, … Continue reading Rhythm and Margaret Wise Brown
Tick! Tick! Tick! Just sent my short story submission to the good people who direct the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. If you've got a story or a chapter (5,000 words or fewer) from a novel lying about the house, you've got until MIDNIGHT TODAY to apply for this summer's workshop. Hope to see you … Continue reading Hitting the “Send” Key — Squaw Valley Community of Writers
After getting my MFA in Creative Writing for adults, I thought I knew how to write. Turns out, I didn't know how to write stories with pictures. But for the past two years, I've been trying. Correction, the first year I flailed about in the dark. The second year, I bought a flashlight to shine … Continue reading Want to Improve Your Writing?