Adult Word of the Month Poems so far

With just 2 more days before we cut off submissions for February, I thought you might like to review our poets and their poems so far. Here they are without the comments that you see on the poetry pages, just to make it easier and faster to see them. Voting begins on the 23rd. Enjoy!


1) Field Distraction
By Steven Withrow
We’re too free to move beyond daffodils.
The eye, too quick for a single beauty,
Lunges toward tire marks, toadstools,
Poles on the road that furrows this garden.
There’s too much here to fix on,
So nothing sticks. Nothing is enough
To hold, so nothing is holding.
Still, the daffodils, willfully gold,
Grow overbold, and the eye finally goes.
We are too free to tumble past anything.

2) Haiku
By catgirlslovehaiku

loose asphalt chunks form
a small mound on the shoulder –
deep hole in the road

3) It’s Not Too Late
By Gay Fawcett

We share the road.
Me—on the left,
He—on the right.
Me—fit and middle-aged,
He—frail and very old.
Me—Monet umbrella above,
He—rusty wagon behind.
He stoops
To pick up the mess that others made—
Candy wrappers, empty cans, plastic bottles.
I think
Of all the times I’ve cleaned up someone else’s mess–
Dirty rooms, ugly quarrels, careless mistakes.
But oh
The times someone else has cleaned up my mess!
Angry words, selfish decisions, empty lies.
I’ve made more messes than I’ve cleaned up.
But it’s not too late
to pick up more bottles and cans than I throw down.
Not too late to clean up more messes than I make.
I cross to the right.
I pick up the mess that others made.
He pulls the wagon.
We share the road

4) End of the Road
By Brian Miller

from the dark shadows
living in basement corners
at the edge of light
the tattered map finds us,
breathing new life
into the afternoon sun.
up the step we fly
before our new wings
collect the weight of dust,
slowing us down, nor
dashing our dreams
into the afternoon sun.
down forgotten roads
rising to kiss wetly
black rubber bike tires
we follow our finger
along drawn dotted lines
into the afternoon sun.
at the end of the map
dangling our legs over
the edge of the world
we look down on the clouds
on their way to tomorrow
into the afternoon sun.
i dare you to jump.
and so we do,
before we get to old
to wonder.

5) The Classic Family Road Trip
By Claire
Where are we going?
Christmas is in Louisiana for a change of pace
Said my father with a smile on his face
As he loaded the station wagon with the last suitcase
It’s only 12 hours to Grandma’s
You need to go to the bathroom, already?
Didn’t you just go?
Junk food, NO!
You don’t need a truck stop souvenir memento
Only 11 hours and 45 minutes to Grandma’s
What are they like, Dad?
The Italian side of the family tree?
My 5 younger brothers look just like me
All with dark hair and brown eyes, you’ll see
It’s only 8 hours to Grandma’s
What about Santa?
Yes, Santa knows where we will be
And there will be cookies and a tree
And tons of Italian food (mmmm, spaghetti)
It’s only 6 hours to Grandma’s
Don’t you have something to read or play with?
Why do you have to be such a bother?
Just stop looking at your sister!
Gee wiz, stop touching your brother!
Only 4 hours left to go
Why does the car sound like a helicopter?
That is the sound of a flat tire flapping
Kids on the side of the road crying
Father muttering with mother just praying
(That we survive the) last hour to Grandma’s
Do we have to go home?
At last, the two week visit comes to an end
The cousins cannot bear to lose their new found friends
We’ll be back next week, the children pretend
Only 12 hours back home…

6) Life’s Road
By Genia
Really excited!
Only a few more days
At last, she is here!
Daughter Cameron is born.
Round two approaching,
One more,
And we’re done!
Darling son Carter completes our family.
Raced by went the time,
Off to kindergarten she goes,
Away from me all day.
Does she wish we could go back in time a little?
Ready for kindergarten,
Only it’s not his turn.
Always sixteen months behind her.
Don’t grow up too fast.
Ready to graduate.
On thier own now.
Adventures await them,
Don’t forget to call your mom.
Ready for marriage,
One wedding for her
And another for him.
Dance with your mom and dad.
Really excited!
Only a few more days,
And we become grandparents!
Darling grandchildren.

7) Between You and Me
By jingle

When you don’t know me,
And I don’t know you,
I dreamed about getting in touch with somebody,
That somebody could be anyone, including you.
When you don’t know me,
And I don’t know you,
I pictured in my head for my dreams to come true,
Upon then, my life will be upgraded, fresh and new.
Between you and me,
There are distances, near or far,
Between you and me,
There are roadblocks keeping us apart.
The path that connects you and me
Is invisible,
The light that shines our way
Is unreachable.
Eventually, both of us are ready,
We meet with a click of our mouses,
Joy and satisfaction have gone steady,
As we network and enjoy one another without leaving our houses.

8) A Nomad’s Eyes (Pay Attention)
for E. E. Cummings
By drj3kyll

1. Wisdom Seems Distant…
“There are truths
in the wear and tear,”
my grandfather advised,
looking to the rear;
“Life is a fare game,
but you have to pay attention.
Otherwise, you won’t have the cents
or the write to succeed.”
I wasn’t really listening.
How could I comprehend?
I no what I know.

2. Time Teaches In Steps…
I took his arm and slowly
walked a trail of sweat and dust, of lowly
sorrow and inspiring muscle, all in the world that he held holy
kept sacred within
the side-view mirror.
Grandma continued;
I can still hear her:

3. The Truth Is A Glimpse…
“I’ve often wondered how it would be
if I had possessed within me
A Nomad’s Heart.”
For just one moment, I understand:
I’d never be a home-bound man.
Would living be worth the going way?
Could I ever look back and say
A Nomad’s Prayer?
For just one moment, make my mind still…

4. The Key Is [In]Sight.
“This old, weathered truck has wondered there,
and here, and back, and in between,
and that’s just in the memory of the machine!”
They saw each other
through joys of pain
when spirits had soared
and wills had waned;
Only then did I know what I could afford:
A Nomad’s Eyes.
And so I took my grandpa’s advice.
I lived without fear, and to my surprise,
my gaze followed his to the glass at his side;
I found the greatest wisdom that age could hide—
“Objects in mirror are
closer than they appear.”

9) tanka
By Diane Mayr

waiting for the light
we see cobblestones through
the worn asphalt
her talk turns to trolley cars
and the old rag man’s horse

10) Roads Unknown
By Mary Nida Smith

The road I travel
is unknown.
I journey with the best
of my ability
from the desert road
leading upward
through open meadows
where the grass is green.
The road continues upward
twisting and zigzagging
as I travel the goat trails
up the south side
of the mountain range.
I arrive where the road
ends at the lake’s edge.
At the summit I stare below.
Relieved, that the seasonal hike
ended, without dangerous encounters
with wild cougars and wolves,
and where gun toting
mountain men roam.
I am an Idaho mule deer
enjoying the fresh aroma of spring
in the Sawtooth Mountain range.

11) Untitled
By Tricia Stohr-Hunt

She walks slowly
past village and farmhouse,
leaving silent prints
along the road side.
Dreaming of Thoreau
she longs for a simple life,
communing with nature
in all its grandeur.
But it is winter,
and the arctic wind
has burned her cheeks
and dampened this desire.
Her feet carry her forward
around the lake,
where she steps lightly
on its frozen edges.
She smiles and imagines
sharpened skates,
a soft muffler,
steaming cocoa.
This evening she will sit by the fire
and remember youthful winters,
where enthusiasm for snow
was unbounded.

12) Once Upon A Time
By Barbara J. Turner

There are no roads to yesterday,
to Was or Might Have Been.
Turn around, the blacktop fades,
the path obscures in murky shades
of memory, fogged with Olden Days
and I Remember When.
There are no roads to yesterday
to days once so sublime.
The country lanes to Days of Yore
are overgrown with Nevermore.
Gone is the road I’m searching for,
to Once Upon Time.

13) Untitled
By Ishabelle

Somewhere along that road
you will see
The footsteps I left behind,
so you could follow me.
Can’t you see the rocks on the road
that I’ve left behind?
It’s for you to find me here
going almost out my mind
Sitting here, on the dusty pavement
they call the road side
Saying no to the kind old man
who’s offering me a ride.
I shall wait for you even when
the darkness starts to fall.
I shall stay here and wait for you
even when you don’t heed my call.

14) Lovers’ Quarrel
By alohasara

Come on, come on, it’s time to go
What’s your problem, I need to know
You always do this, you’re so slow
Hurry, hurry; we’ll be late for the show!
Hold on, hold on, I’m packing my stuff
I’m so frustrated with you and your guff
Like a baby stomping around in a huff
Frankly, I’ve had it, more than enough!
Stop yelling, I really don’t want to fight
We need to go and you know I’m right
No matter what, you’ll surely be a sight
You know, with your dress so darn tight!
How dare you poke fun at my weight
While I’m trying to dress for our date
It’s so rude and we’re not even late
I’ll be quicker if you just simply wait.
If we’re late, my career could implode
You know my boss, he will explode
I really hate that big, fat, warty toad
Now put on your shoes, let’s hit the road.
I just need my purse and then I’ll be ready
But now I’m mad cause you’re so damn petty
We’ve not had a date since we went steady
I wanted to look nice; I wanted to be pretty.
I know, I know it’s an uncommon treat
But being on time shouldn’t be such a feat
Forget what I said, you’re trim and petite
Now will you go faster, since I was sweet?
When you say such things, I want to cry
Why can’t you see, I try, I really try
But, when you’re so mean I wonder why
What did I do wrong, what’s gone awry?
This isn’t the right time to have this talk
I’m being a jerk, but you know you rock
Now, when you hear this, try not to balk
I can’t find the keys, so we’ll have to walk!

15) New Maps
By Jaymie

searching for alluring roads
paved with broken certitude
sweat of another man’s toil
so that a map could be lent
to all of life’s followers, who
was this pioneer that dared
to brave wild new territory
clear out overgrown doubt
pave the path of aspiration
liberating another frontier
future progeny dare follow
was he a simple man like me

By Judith Lachance-Whitcomb

Hurry, run,
people to see, things to do.
Rushing, go.
Freeway, free?
Never in this direction.
Cars, trucks, jams.
Horns beeping,
idiots, jerks, surrounding.
Head throbbing,
Searching eyes
seeking more hurry ways for
must be quicker. Scuttle down
exit ramp.
Turn left then
curve, two lanes unite, now one. Speed slows.
Grey borders
trade for verdant greens. Rapid breaths ease.
In the calm,
tunes float on prairie winds with placid timbre.
Bubbling bells of bird chatter, cross meadow’s sweet murmurs.
Rasping bass of Pickerel Frogs join the simple song.
Soon begin crescendos of tambourines, cicadas’ sounds.
Queen Anne’s Lace on road’s edge, swaying sweetly to joyful tones,
Majestic Bur Oaks lead dazzling sunrays to the stage.
Strident calls of people, things mute as mind-soul renews.

17) The Road to Indiana Dunes
By Jackie Huppenthal

We follow an asphalt road that winds through the sand dunes
On either side, hills roll up and away from us
Reaching out to a cloudless blue sky
Nature trails beckon to me but I must pass for now
for we are going to the lakeshore and our arms are full
We walk past prairie grasses and purple field thistle
I spot marshes and bogs ahead in the distance
Red barberries hang from sturdy stems among lush green leathery leaves
While pine trees dot the landscape
Abundant plant life thrives here in this desert-like oasis
If you concentrate on the beauty and notice the colors and textures here
you almost forget about the heat and humidity
You almost don’t notice the sweat that beads on your forehead
or the bag straps that cut into your shoulders
You almost can’t hear the common complaints of hot anxious young children
It’s not often that the road that leads to somewhere grand
is just as magnificent as the destination you are seeking
I make a point to express my joy and wonder and I invite my boys to look around with me
Awkward flip-flop steps bring each one of us closer to the cool Lake Michigan water
and their excitement grows as we march on and now search for animals along the way
What kinds of small lizards and frogs live here and drink from the wetlands?
a determined and patient eye is needed to find these quick tiny creatures
but they are here, hiding somewhere
perhaps in the cool shade of a shadow close down low just out of site
Eagles and hawks are here, soaring somewhere
perhaps on the other side of a dune far up high just out of site
Sometimes we are rewarded with a glimpse or two of something rare and wonderful
Even snakes are here slithering somewhere – although I must admit
I’m somewhat grateful I have not encountered them here yet
Eventually we arrive at the beach
My children play happily in the sun, sand, and water all afternoon
When it’s time to go home an exhausted family
will once again appreciate the unique beauty that this road cuts through
Oh how perfectly it links the parking lot with the sparkling lakeshore

18) Untitled
By lyndonu

Someone said “The Road to Hell
Is paved with good intentions.” Well,
I do not know and I have pride
That on that road I do not stride.
But as I sat, deep in thought
My heart was troubled – is all for naught?
If good intentions pave that way
Then what will keep my soul away?
I sat and pondered for a while
Interrupted by my child
‘Daddy, Daddy – What’s on your mind?
Why the tears and all the sighing?”
As I explain her face alights
“Oh Daddy dear, it’s alright”
Then she explains – skips back to bed
Her simple words inside my head.
The road to hell is just a road;
Paved, but cracked; broken … old.
The road to hell is downhill grade
Broken pavement; poorly made.
“You want to keep from going there?
Then turn around, the road won’t care”
The upward lane isn’t smooth or wide
But it’s paved with ‘I really tried.’

19) Haiku
By V. L. Gregory

Bleached bones, rutted trails–
Silent tribute to the road
Across the Wild West.

20) Clem (a limerick)
By V. L. Gregory

There once was a cowpuncher named Clem.
He rode on a horse sleek and trim.
They gathered the beeves,
Fought rustlers and thieves–
Lived a life full of vigor and vim.
“Old Paint,” said Clem, “I’m Nebraska bound.
We’ll herd our beeves and mavericks we found.”
With saddle cinched tight,
Provisions packed light,
He set his face North and covered ground.
Trotting along in Kansas one day
A prairie dog hole caused Clem dismay.
Being caught off-guard,
His horse went down hard
And somersaulted Clem quite some way.
Thistles and thorns shot straight through his shirt.
Exposed body parts were caked with dirt.
He rose up groaning.
He limped on moaning.
Never had he felt so pained and hurt.
There once was a sodbuster named Clem.
He plowed fields with a horse sleek and trim.
They gathered the crops,
Cut off roots and tops–
Thankful for surviving where they’d been.

21) 1860’s Destiny Road
By V. L. Gregory

The beeves stamped their impatience,
drovers opened the gate.
Click, clack, pop! Ankles snapped a cadence as
they headed toward their fate.
There was a rhythm to the bawling,
The clashing of their horns,
The jostling of the bodies–
Destiny wouldn’t wait.
A bitter cold Nor’easter roared across the plain.
Howling, wailing, it plowed through like a runaway
Man and beast were pelted with hailstones.
No refuge to be found.
Squatting beneath their saddles,
Destiny dealt them pain.
The tiresome road stretched far beyond human
Zzzz, snort, cough. Heads nod, bodies sway in
tedium from morn to night.
A cowpuncher slides from his saddle;
Lies sprawled on the ground–
His neck, broken by the fall.
Destiny released his plight.
Fire rages in the West spawned by lightenings
cruel blow.
Zap, sizzle, crash–it encroaches ever closer with
searing, scorching glow.
Roundup the beeves and get them away
But don’t run them too hard–
A pound shed, is profit lost.
Destiny can pay low.
Atop bluffs, Indians watch the movements of the
Whoops and yells signal their advance. Friendly!
The sojourners will survive.
Barter is made for crossing their land:
Eight beeves, sugar, flour, beans,
And a wool coat for the chief.
Destiny left them alive.
Cowpunchers reigned in their impatience–market
at last.
Jokes, laughter trickles down the line. Pay is
doled out for three months past.
The road left behind: rutted, furrowed–
Fashioned with joy, death, fear.
A beckoning road many followed.
Their destiny, my history.

22) Road
By Datsme

You plan your trip and your destination
You decide on the routes to take
considering every ramification.
Armed with all the details and plans
you set out on the road
but then
road takes over from you implementing its own plan.
At places it is smooth as butter, luring you to speed through it
enjoying the thrill of being in charge
And then, suddenly there are bumps and potholes
giving you a reality jerk, very harsh.
At places it is straight as pine
you may glide and even take your eyes off it
At places it gets serpentine
with twists and turns
you need to be alert and make the right moves
a wrong one can put you on an unwanted u-turn.
This way your journey goes on
sometimes the road is guiding you
sometimes it becomes part of your crew.
And then one day, you reach your destination
and your journey ends
You bid adieu to the road
and it moves on and on
guiding some other traveller to his destination.
Such is a road
Is it any different from life?

23) Daydreamer
By Liz Korba

I want to walk a road of light –
A road made by a star.
Not sure where I’ll be going,
But I hope to travel far.
And when I get to where I’ll go
I’ll see the sights,
Enjoy each new adventure
In good time resume my tour
Of all the stars
And planets
Each galaxy that spins…
Right here beside my window
In a sunbeam
I begin.

Tim Rasinski today

BULLETIN: Our guest today heard a few days ago of a very high honor being bestowed on him. Tim Rasinski now joins a virtual Who’s Who list of pioneers and scholars who are members of International Reading Association’s Reading Hall of Fame! Congratulations, Tim! What a wonderful and well earned recognition of your work and passions. To learn more about Tim’s honor, see

Today my guest is Dr. Timothy V. Rasinski. Among my most pleasant experiences as a poet was co-authoring a book on fluency with Tim and another of my guests to this blog, Gay Fawcett. For this interview I asked Tim to respond to the following questions.

1 What attracted you to the field of early childhood learning? 

My first degree was in business. After serving in the military and a few years in the business world, I knew this wasn’t for me. At the same time, I come from a family of teachers and I have always enjoyed school and working with kids. So I decided to go back to school and get my teaching degree from the Univ of Nebraska.

2 What special interests have you pursued in your career as a leading researcher, reporter, and speaker?

As a teacher I was always interested in struggling readers… I went from a classroom teacher to an intervention teacher. While teaching I noticed that many of the kids seemed to have difficulty in reading fluency – -they had trouble just negotiating their way through the words in the text. At the same time I was into my masters program. I began to read articles on reading fluency that I had not seen before – -Dick Allington’s Fluency, The Neglected Goal of the Reading Program. I read this and other articles and it all began to fall into place for me. Reading Fluency is a key to children’s success in reading. And yet, fluency was being ignored in the classroom.I went into my doctoral program and began to study fluency more deeply. My dissertation study exploring reading fluency won several awards. I found that fluency interventions could make a big difference in students’ reading lives. Since the late 1970s and early 80s I have been deeply involved in exploring this concept of reading fluency and how it can be taught in ways that students and teachers find authentic and engaging – the use of poetry and poetry reading is one way to do this I have found.

3 Why is research-based teaching important? What was wrong with the “old days” when teachers taught the way they thought best, sort of experience-based teaching?


Experience and intuition are great. I say that teachers are artists and they need to rely on their gut feelings about things. But teaching is also a science (that’s why teaching is so challenging – -it’s a science and an art) so we need to be able to provide empirical proof that what we do as artists has a positive impact on our students. I attend a lot of conferences and hear great ideas on how to teach children. But I often ask where can I find more about this approach and how it actually impacts students’ learning. More often than not I am told that the research doesn’t exist. Without some evidence or research base that an approach to teaching reading works, I have to be skeptical. Most of my research today is with teachers where we take what they do and try to determine if it has the positive effects that we are looking for. I think there needs to be more collaboration between college professors and teachers in the field to make this sort of authentic research happen.

4 What is a typical day/week/month/year like for Tim Rasinski? How many miles do you travel in a year and how many audiences do you address?

Last year I spoke to over a hundred audiences. I love meeting teachers and principals and learning what they are doing and how they are making schools better for children.

Normally when I am home, I try to get into the office around 7 am and for 2-3 hours I try to write. I find I write best early in the morning when and where there are few distractions. Then I work on email, paperwork, college committees, student advising etc. In the afternoon I prepare for class. I normally teach in the evenings – 430-700 pm or 7:20- 100pm. These are long days but I enjoy them immensely. I have no plans of retiring anytime soon.

5 Where does children’s literature enter the picture? How do you incorporate literature into your research, your philosophy, and your teaching?

I am a whole language teacher. At least I consider myself one. I am also an advocate of direct instruction in phonics and fluency instruction. I love literature for the sake of literature, but I also am always on the look out for ways that teachers can use authentic literature to teach these essential skills in reading.

6 Why do you like poetry as an effective teaching tool for reading fluency, vocabulary building, phonemic awareness, and comprehension?

Poetry (and songs) offers so much for teachers and students – and unfortunately they are often left behind when something new comes into the curriculum. Poems for children are usually short and are filled with rhythm and rhyme. This makes them easy for children to learn. Even struggling readers can find success in learning to read and perform poetry. The rhymes in poetry make them ideal for teaching phonemic awareness and for reinforcing word families that children need to learn and are part of phonics. Poems have embedded in them a strong sense of voice. This along with the rhythm and rhyme make them ideal for developing prosody, an essential element of fluency. Poetry is also meant to be performed and this means that students need to practice their poems repeatedly (rehearse). This rehearsal is an authentic form of repeated reading which is essential to building automaticity in word recognition. As you can see, poetry is an ideal text form for beginning reading and working with children who find reading difficult. Moreover, when children eventually perform their poems for an audience, they receive the applause and positive reinforcement that will build their confidence as readers. Eventually, I love to see children writing their own poetry, often emulating the work of David Harrison, Brod Bagert, Shel Silverstein, Sarah Moore, Jack Prelutsky, and the many wonderful poets who enrich our lives.


With many thanks to Tim, I open the floor for your comments and questions.


Tim Rasinski tomorrow


Tomorrow you will hear from one of the nation’s foremost researchers and advocates on the development of reading fluency, a key element in the ability to decode, understand, and enjoy the process of reading. Dr. Timothy Rasinski is a much sought after speaker and keynoter at conferences everywhere. I’m delighted to present him. Here is a brief bio to help you become better acquainted.

Timothy V. Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University. He has written over 200 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited over 50 books or curriculum programs on reading education. He is author of the best selling book on reading fluency entitled The Fluent Reader, published by Scholastic, and co-author of the award winning fluency program called Fluency First, published by the Wright Group. The second edition of The Fluent Reader will be published in 2010. His scholarly interests include reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and readers who struggle. His research on reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, and the Journal of Educational Research. Tim is currently writing the fluency chapter for Volume IV of the Handbook of Reading Research.

Tim recently served a three year term on the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association and from 1992 to 1999 he was co-editor of The Reading Teacher, the world’s most widely read journal of literacy education. He has also served as co-editor of the Journal of Literacy Research. Rasinski is past-president of the College Reading Association and he has won the A. B. Herr and Laureate Awards from the College Reading Association for his scholarly contributions to literacy education.

Prior to coming to Kent State Tim taught literacy education at the University of Georgia. He taught for several years as an elementary and middle school classroom and Title I teacher in Nebraska.


My thanks in advance to tomorrow’s guest, Tim Rasinski.

Missouri Author Tour

Yesterday I mentioned the New Jersey State SCBWI Conference in Princeton, on June 4-5. Today I’d like to tell you about a different kind of opportunity for writers, librarians, teachers, and anyone else who is interested in childrens literature and the people who create it.

The Missouri Author Tour will take you by deluxe motor coach from St. Louis to Kansas City and back in four days (June 4-7). Along the way you will meet ten of Missouri’s most successful creators of children’s literature. Their combined talents include poetry, YA novel, picture book, nonfiction, illustration, playwriting, and storytelling.

The tour is guided by Dr. Linda Benson, professor emeritus at Missouri State University. Linda is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about children’s and young adult literature. Her infectious energy and sense of fun will add to the enjoyment of your trip. Dr. Benson is a longtime member of Writers Hall of Fame, an organization that since 1997 has encouraged an interest in writing by honoring authors and awarding scholarships to high school seniors. All proceeds from the Missouri Author Tour go toward creating additional scholarships. Because of Dr. Benson’s credentials and the caliber of our featured authors, Drury University will make available one hour of credit at the undergraduate or graduate level.

In addition to meeting the authors, the trip includes a Mississippi River sightseeing cruise; guided tour of Booksource, a major book distributor in the midwest (with book buying opportunities); guided costumed docent tour of historic St. Charles, including a visit from chidren’s author Vicki Berger Erwin; and dining on Laclede’s Landing featuring some of the best jazz in St. Louis.

The stars of the tour include Vicki Grove, Cheryl Harness, and June Rae Wood. You’ve met Vicki and Cheryl as guests on my blog and June Rae is coming up on March 5. You’ll meet others on future dates. Here is the entire cast.

J.B. Cheaney (she may or may not tell you what the initials stand for) was born in Dallas and dropped out
of college to get married. In the 36 years since, she and her husband have lived in six different states, moved a total of 23 times, raised two children and home-schooled them for a dozen years. When not writing, or thinking about it, she likes to travel, read, sing, sew, do needlework and sleep—though not necessarily in that order. She lives in Bolivar, Mo. Her works include three Wordsmith books and novels, The Playmaker, The True Prince, My Friend the Enemy and her most recent, The Middle of Somewhere.

Vicki Grove, who lives near Cole Camp, Mo., has been a freelance writer for 29 years, and has published
300 articles and short stores in various magazines. Two of her short stories and three excerpts from her books have been used in junior high and high school textbooks. She was part of a team of writers commissioned to produce Word Publishing’s Youth Study Bible. She has written ten novels, including Destiny and her most recent, Rhiannon, a murder mystery set in medieval England. She recently completed her second historical novel, The Red Dove.

Cheryl Harness, who has written and/or illustrated some 30 titles, lives and works in her historic hometown
of Independence, Mo. Harry Truman once took his daily walks in her leafy neighborhood full of handsome old homes and mansions, which is the setting for her novel, Just For You to Know. She has just completed The Harry Book, a comic book about HST’s life and times. Her picture book subjects range from American women’s history to ancient Egyptians’ daily life along the Nile. Her vocation began with a degree in art education at Central Missouri State University. She loves to spend time with friends, sew, read murder mysteries and go to the movies.

Kate Klise. author of picture books, middle-grade graphic and young adult novels, says her mother, a teacher “gave me a set of luggage, a typewriter and a direct order. She said she’d pay for my college education only if I wrote one letter home every week for all four years of college.” It’s not surprising, then, that many of her books, including the Regarding Series, are epistolary novels. “Everything I know about writing came from writing letters home.” Her collaborator and illustrator is her sister, Sarah, who lives in California. Together, the Klise sisters have netted award nominations in 20 states. Kate lives in rural Missouri and also works as a correspondent for People Magazine and, since 1993, has covered everything from country music to reality TV to rappers, rockers, serial killers, a leper colony in Louisiana and, yes, of course, Brad Pitt.

Constance Levy, a former teacher, college instructor and lecturer, is a children’s poet who evokes essences of the natural world with imagination and playfulness. Her collections of poems appeal to adults and children. “In fi rst grade, I wrote a poem about snow and the teacher praised it so highly, I just kept on writing—even to this day, as a grandmother.” The St. Louis author has been honored for her works, including Splash, A Tree
Place, A Crack in the Clouds
and When Whales Exhale.

Dorinda Makana onalani Nicholson was born in Hawaii to a Hawaiian mother and Scotch-Irish father. The family lived in Pearl Harbor and, standing in their front yard on the morning of December 7, 1941, she clung to her father’s side while enemy torpedo bombers screamed overhead, skimming the treetops, so close Dorinda could see the pilot’s goggles. That early experience informed her mission to bring World War II history alive for young readers. She wrote Pearl Harbor Child and Pearl Harbor Warriors. Her third and newest book, Remember World War II: Kids Who Survived Tell Their Stories, was published by National Geographic. She lives in Independence, Mo., and is a popular speaker at young writers’ conferences because she makes history personal and not just facts and dates.

Lynn Rubright has been a professional storyteller and educator for more than 40 years. Her primary focus
has been performing her original tales for all ages and demonstrating the power of storytelling as a literacy tool in the classroom. Her first chapter book, Mama’s Window, is historical fiction, loosely based on episodes from the childhood of Reverend Owen Whitfi eld, a noted activist, labor and civil rights leader who worked to help Missouri’s sharecroppers during the Great Depression. Currently, she is working on bringing Mama’s Window and other children’s literature to life through drama, storytelling, movement and music with elementary school students in St. Louis area schools.

Eileen Bluestone Sherman, a children’s author, playwright, lyricist and producer, began her career at
Hallmark’s Coterie Theatre in Kansas City in 1982. She won an Emmy for her television adaptation of The Odd Potato, originally written as a picture book. With her collaborator and sister, Gail Bluestone, she adapted the story for the New York theater and produced a charity CD of the musical that starred 20 Tony Award actors. Her drama, Deep, Dark Secrets, about teenage girls and eating disorders debuted last year. She’s also written three young adult novels and loves teaching dramatic literature courses to graduate students. She and her husband, Dr. Neal Sherman, will celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary and their 30th year in Kansas City in June.

June Rae Wood grew up with seven siblings in Versailles, Mo., reading every chance she got. However,
writing never interested her, not even when she went to college. Many years past before the writing “bug” bit her. She honed her skills by studying how-to books and listening to her work on a tape recorder. Her first novel, The Man Who Loved Clowns, was based on the life of her beloved brother. The novel won the 1995 Mark Twain Award in Missouri and the 1995 William Allen White Award in Kansas. She has written four other novels for young adults—A Share of Freedom, When Pigs Fly, Turtle on a Fence Post and About Face. Wood has contributed to two anthologies edited by Sandy Asher: Writing It Right! and On Her Way: Stories and Poems about Growing Up Girl, and her work has appeared in various publications, including Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, School & Community, The Lookout, New Ways and the Sedalia Democrat. Wood remains happily married to William Wood, the man she met on a blind date years ago. They live near Windsor, Mo., and have a daughter and two granddaughters.

Leslie Wyatt, a freelance writer from Clinton, Mo., is a two-time graduate of the Institute of Children’s
Literature, a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and of the Missouri Writer’s Guild. She has had more than 100 articles and stories accepted for publication in various children’s magazines,writing and parenting magazines and anthologies. In addition to her historical middle school novel, Poor Is Just a Starting Place, she has two more books submitted to publishers. Of all the writing she does, Leslie loves concocting historical and contemporary novels the best and is currently working on her first historical fantasy.

Prices for Missouri Author Tour range from $620 each (four in a room) to $858 each (for a single room) and includes round-trip, deluxe motor coach transportation from St. Louis, Mo., three nights’ deluxe lodging with hot breakfasts each morning and manager’s receptions each evening, plus two dinners and one lunch. Admissions and fees for the entertainment listed above and all taxes, service charges and gratuities are included. For reservations, which require a $500 deposit and complete payment by May 8, contact Brian Garrison at Questions? Contact David Harrison at