Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend Window #7 -

 The weekend is almost over and I am late posting my Weekend Window, where I share cool art (written or visual) that I discovered on the web this week.

I usually have about three links to share but the weather has been so nice and I've started spring cleaning and am spending time outdoors with family, so today I have only one for you-- a poem by De Jackson. Scoot on over to her blog and check out To Love the Poem.

I hope the weather is also lovely where you are and that you've enjoyed the weekend.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend Window #6 - February/Water Fall/Celebration/Black & White

For today's weekend window (where I share links to cool artwork or writing I've discovered online in the past week) I have two poems and , a photo, and a blog post.

First, poetry.I was reading the latest work at Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. If you aren't familiar with this journal, go check it out. I like how they combine photos and poetry by different artists (though they don't do that with every post. But when they do, they complement each other perfectly.) I found a lovely poem by Donna Vorreyer posted on March 31. It caught my attention because it is one a theme I've been writing about recently, learning to let go of a loved-one after they have passed. This is beautifully written, so go on over and read "You Leave in February". And while you are there, maybe check out more of the work on their website.

The second poem I'd like to link to is "Water Fall" by Kailani Bird Clarke. When I read this poem in my Rattle newsfeed it blew me away to think that a 14-year-old wrote it. I like the concept, the imagery, the play on words. If you are curious about writers of the younger generation today (or even if you just want to read cool stuff), this is definitely worth a read.

Speaking of kids and writing, what about people who write for children? When I think of some of my favorite childhood books I think of Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, and Judy Blume (and Rockwell's book How to Eat Fried Worms). I stumbled upon a post today about Bevely Cleary. Today is her birthday. She's 99! To read that blog post by Juliana Lee, follow the link to her post "Drop Everything and Read".

Last but not least is our artwork post of the week. I love black and white photography. Another element I like in photos is the use of shadows. A photo by Vivian Maier utilizes both of these and Maud Casey reflects on it at a post from July of last year in The New England Review.

I hope one of these links brings you to something you enjoy. And if you go to all four links, feel free to write in the comments box and tell me which one you liked best.

Enjoy what is left of your Sunday and best wishes for the week to come.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weekend Window #5 on Tuesday

I did it! I finished the latest revisions of a picture book I am writing. It started as a silly poem. Then my friends said, "Hey, that would make a fun picture book!" So I wrote it into a story. Then I revised. And revised some more. And once again. Then I had an idea of how to make it even better/more marketable. So I totally rewrote it. New POV. New angle. Changes in the plot. Different ending. I like the way it turned out. I went back and looked at each sentence. I made my final revisions this weekend-- just in time to submit to the SCBWI work-in-progress contest. But because I was so busy working on my manuscript, I forgot to post my Weekend Window links. Sorry! So, here they are... on Tuesday.

The fabulous Jessie Carty has started a new online literary journal (called Then and If) which is similar to her old one (Referential). A piece of writing (flash fiction, poem, or non-fiction) or photo is posted and writers response to it with their own related piece. I am curious to see how this site develops. If this sound interesting to you and you won't to take part (or just want to read) here is the link:

Also, since I am posting a link to Jessie's new site, I thought it might be nice to link to one of Jessie's poems. I found her short poem Hospice has been made into a video at "Moving Poems".

and here is one of Jessie herself reciting one of her poems

OK. That's all for now. I'm off to prepare for RhyPiBoMo and April poetry month challenges.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

World Poetry Day 2015 is today!

Today is World Poetry Day!
To celebrate I am posting a few links to poems that I've come across the past week. (This post doubles
as my Weekend Window  #4)

The first one is "Light in the Fig Root" by Lori DeSanti (featured at Words Dance).I've been discovering more and more of Lori's work in literary journals and I like her style.

The second is by Matt Rasmussen, winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award for his poetry collection titled Black Aperature. I happened upon his work accidentally while doing a search for something else. This poem speaks to me because a few months ago I lost someone dear to me due to suicide. This is the poem "Aperature".

The third is a poem I was introduced to in elementary school and one of the reasons I became interested in poetry. Here is Carl Sandburg's "Fog". It showed me how poetry often looks at things from a different perspective.

And lastly, I want to say that if you are like me and like both poetry and writing for children, you might get a kick out of the work that has been posted recently in the March Madness Poetry competition this year. Participants are given assigned words and must write a poem for children. Poets compete in several rounds until a final winner is chosen based on votes. I've been reading and voting (and enjoying a few laughs as well because many of these are humorous poems) and you can take part in the voting process, too. If there is a child in you who likes to smile and giggle, head on over to the Think, Kid, Think! site.

Oooooh, and I almost forgot. Have you heard some cafes around the world are offering a free coffee to people who hand in one of their poems? Yes, it's true. Get more information here:

Coffee or no coffee, I wish you a perfectly poetic day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Short Note for Today

Two of my writing friends are currently competing in the March Madness Poetry contest. I met Rj through Poetic Asides years ago. Her work often utilizes clever word play and her rhyming is spot on. Dean Damon just took part in the PB14:14 blog challenge which I just finished posting about and he also frequents a few other sites I take part in.

Please show them some support and vote for their poems so they can move to the next round. You don't need to register. Just click the voting circle at the bottom of the posts. IMPORTANT NOTE: voting is today only, so get to it! (pretty please)

Here are the links:


Friday, February 27, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 14!!!!!!!

Today is the last day of the Picture Book 14:14 which is organized each year by Christie Wright Wild. Be sure to check out her blog Write Wild. Not only can you find links to other PB14:14 posts but throughout the year Christie blogs about picture books, gives helpful advice for writers, posts about agents, discusses website management, and holds contests. In addition to all that, she's a really nice person. A round of applause for Christie for being our awesome PB14:14 hostess.   YAY, CHRISTIE!!!!! Thank you.

And now onto today's book:

Title: Spoon
Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Scott Magoon
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Year: 2009
Word Count: 391
Top 10 Element: conflict

As far as the top ten element for picture books goes, I could have chosen character since the book is written from Spoon's point of view. I could also have picked beginnings and ending because Spoon feels one way at the beginning and the opposite at the end. I also could have chosen them, pattern, or dialogue. This book has used almost all ten elements effectively. But there is no rhyme.

So why did I pick conflict? There are two types of conflict in a book. The physical: it snows so much that you can't go out the door (Blizzard), character is sick and can't do his job (A Sick Dday for Amos Mcgee), character being chased by hungry dragon (Dragon Dinner) OR it can be emotional: character misses friend who moved away, character is afraid of the dark, character lacks confidence, etc. and needs to revolve the internal conflict. This book revolves around the latter, and I think it is very important for children to have books like this. (I also believe children should have a wide variety of books--fairy tales, humor, rhyme, non-fiction, character development stories, and ones that just plain entertain.)

When I first saw this book with the simple title Spoon and a basic illustration on the cover, I didn't think it was going to be a good book. Boy, was I wrong. I love this book. At the beginning of the story we meet Spoon and his family. On this day Spoon is feeling a bit down. He thinks all his friend have it better than he does. They get to do all the cool things. Knife get to cut things and spread things. Fork gets to twirl spaghetti and speer all sorts of things. And everybody loves Chopstick(s). This is a "the green is always greener" kind of story. Except that we all know the grass isn't always greener on the other side. In fact, while Spoon is lamenting his boring life, his friends are all discussing how lucky Spoon is. Knife says "Everyone's so serious with me. No one's ever allowed to be silly with me like they are with spoon." Fork mentions how he never gets to measure things like spoon does. And Chopstick(s) think Spoon is so super cool because he gets to do things alone. Soon Spoon comes to realize that it's not so bad being a spoon.

I like the message of the story but the kicker for me is the subtle humor in the book --for instance, his Aunt Silver being so proper or spoon going stir-crazy. The younger children might not pick up on the humor in those lines but older kids and parents do. And a good picture book has elements that appeal to both crowds. I especially love when Spoon can't sleep and his parents tell him to come into bed with them. His mom says, "Come, Spoon." And then they spoon. Sweet and silly at the same time. Also, there aren't many picture books where a spoon is the main character and original and/or quirky is usually a hit with me.

Yep, this book is a winner. Go out and read it. The author also has written books called Fork and Chopsticks, but I haven't read those yet. If you've read them all, please tell me which one is your favorite.

And if you haven't read spoon, you can hear a class of first-graders reading it at the following youTube link:

Also, the link to other day 14 posts is:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 13: This is Not my Hat

Wow, the Picture Book 14:14 challenge is almost over. How did we get to day 13 already? I wish we had more time, especially so I can read more of the other posts. I commented faithfully up until around day 8 and then my schedule got hectic and I've not been able to read many. I planned on reading and commenting on every post and now have a lot of catching up to do. Lately all I can do is post my review. Speaking of which...

here it my day 13 book.     

Title: This is Not My Hat
Author: Jon Klassen
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Candlewick
Year: 2012
Word Count: 196 (if I counted correctly, which is iffy as I am half asleep)
Top 10 Element: word play

If you like Klassen's earlier book I Want My Hat Back, then you might like this one as well. It has the same humor in it. Whereas in I Want My Hat Back the story centers on a bear searching for his hat, this story turns that concept around. Now the narrator is not the victim of the crime but the thief. When a small fish steals the little blue bowler hat of a big sleeping fish, he's not worried at all. He's sure he'll get away with it.

lThe fun part of the story is that the pictures and the words contradict each other. While the small fish tells us he's got a plan and it's working perfectly, the illustrations show the big fish following behind him. Usually we think of word play in a picture book as alliteration or silly puns or onomatopoeia. However, this type of humor is also considered word play, and children get a kick out of it. 

In the end the big fish does get his hat back. The fate of the little fish? That is left open-ended, so you can speculate what happened. Perhaps he got "a good talking to" when they were in the thick of the sea weed (or pond vegetation). Perhaps the little fish scurried off so fast when he noticed he'd been caught that the hat fell from head and that was that. Or maybe he became dinner. It's interesting to ask children what they think happened. Some of them come up with very interesting tales.

Some people say the book promotes stealing. Uh, really? (you can read the 30 one-star reviews at Amazon for examples of this and other complaints about the book... though the 213 five-star reviews totally tip the scale here) You know me. I always say its all in how you use the book. This book can actually teach children that just because they think they can get away with something, that doesn't mean they should try it. Wrong is wrong. And I think humor makes them actively think as well.

I was introduced to this book at a SCBWI conference last year. Since I don't have the book and my library doesn't have it either, I don't have a picture of the cover to post. BUT I checked youTube and someone has a video of it being read. To see it clink the link below.

And if you aren't familiar with I Want My Hat Back (or even if you are) you can listen to someone reading it at the following link. I especially love the turtle's voice.  :-)

Which of the two books do you prefer? This is Not My Hat or I Want My Hat Back? Let me know in the comments section.

to read other PB14:14 picture book reviews for day 13, here's the link: