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Monday, August 16, 2010

Poetry and Children's Books

The writing group I belong to boasts a number of poets. They are very good writers. And when I sit down to begin or edit or continue writing a children's story, what I've learned from these excellent writers bubbles to the surface of my fingers. They are lessons I take to heart, e.g., use words sparingly. Make the words you use say exactly what you want to say, what your characters feel, and what you wish your reader to feel.
A poem from my book "An Old Heart: Yesterday and Today":


Ice conquers
paper-thin skins
raw winter leaves us shrunken
though once we bloomed
reaching toward sun's warmth
while sweet summer rain
pulsed through our fragrant yellow heads
now we lie
far beneath December's killing snow
with each spring
when warm winds once again
thaw our yearning hearts
the earth never forgets we're here.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Recently, an old classmate of mine went back to our elementary school for an Arts Festival. The participants set up their booths on the lawn of our old school. Frank, my classmate, couldn't resist going inside the school to take a see how it might have changed. His sister took pictures for me, and to my great surprise, the school has not changed in the past - oh, well, too many years to think about.  When looking at photos of the hallways and the gymnasium, old memories flooded back to me. I was there again, dancing to live bands in my socks (those wonderful sock hops - they wouldn't let you wear shoes in the gym, shoes would wreck the floor). I was dancing to the music of Danny and the Juniors, Frankie Avalon, Chuck Berry...  What great inspiration to get my mind wrapped around the age of adolescence.  It might be an easy way to take yourself back and transfer some of those adolescent insecurities into your writing, if that's your age group: either look at some old photos, or take a trip to a local elementary school and just sit and take it all in. Wow, time flies.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

School Visits

If you're at all interested in tips for making terrific school visits, I've found a website. . Here's their latest. 

"To “make” more time for academics, many school districts across the country have chopped recess and axed assemblies. To make sure that you don’t fall victim to the “Dulling of American Students,” make your author visit program irresistible to administrators. When you describe your assemblies, show administrators how your presentation links directly to the curriculum and educational standards. If you’re willing (and able) to do large group assemblies, this also makes your program more attractive to schools who want to be totally democratic and reach all children."

Their site has loads of terrific tips for making your school visit memorable.