Today, however, I’m going back in time…
…to a year that will live in infamy…
…the year that changed everything…
There, I said it. I know plenty of folks who would just as soon forget about 2020 and the arrival of Covid-19, but I for one will always look at 2020 fondly; I sold two manuscripts that year, I saw two anthologies to which I contributed come out, and I got to discover first-hand what home-schooling was all about. (It really wasn’t as bad as I’d feared – although my kids might disagree!)
Hard to believe that was two years ago!
One of the two anthologies that were published in the fall of that year was one of the late Lee Bennett Hopkins’ final children’s poetry anthologies, Night Wishes (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2020).
A unique concept for a poetry collection, the premise was that as a child gets ready to go to sleep, all the inanimate objects in their room are saying good night, in their own way.
For example, the bed invites the child to climb in after a long day, the teddy bear is ready to snuggle, and the pillow – well, the pillow is ready for adventure:
All images © 2020 Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, all rights reserved
What an honor it was to be part of such a beautiful book with so many wonderfully talented individuals! You can learn more about the book by checking out my Book Birthday post about it.
I feel fortunate that I was able to connect with the marketing team at Eerdmans to help promote the book, as Lee had passed away the year before and could not share the news. I also connected with editor Kathleen Merz, who liked a poetry manuscript of my own that I’d sent her, and we signed a contract! (I still can’t divulge too much about it, but it’s one of the biggest, most important projects I’ve undertaken in my writing career and I can’t wait to tell everyone more about it!)
.Lee still has a couple more anthologies to be published posthumously, and I’ll tell you all about them right here.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll visit Jama’s Alphabet Soup for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup being served with cider, fruit, and all sorts of baked goodies – and a Thanksgiving poem from CJ Beaman.
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I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!
I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career!
I tailor my presentations to fit the needs of the classroom. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!
Student presentations include:
- The Making of a Picture Book
- How a Child Saved a Book
- “Once Upon Another Time”
- The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
- “I Am Today”
Adult presentations include:
- The Making of a Picture Book
- Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
- The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
- Free Yourself with Free Verse
- Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book
Learn more at my website!
If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN
(Beaming Books, 2022)
Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!
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I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.
Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!
Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)
Thank you to everyone for your support!
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Finalist, 2019 New Hampshire Literary Awards
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness!
DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:
- “Rollicking rhyme!” – Booklist
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