Getting warmed up in New York

Hi everyone,

We left the house yesterday morning at 6:00 for New York and arrived at our hotel by 3:00. Waited in the lobby until our room was ready and then headed out to buy theater tickets. It was great weather so we walked from our hotel on 37th Street to the theater on 52nd Street. We scored for MEAN GIRLS, which was written by Tina Fey, and went for drinks and food at View, the revolving restaurant on the 48th floor of the Marriott Marquis until show time.

The play was quite good and we enjoyed walking along the crowded sidewalk as we strolled back toward our hotel. Then we spotted Connolly’s Pub and couldn’t resist dropping in for a nightcap. Imagine drinking Corona in an Irish pub. Jeff will NOT approve this message.

We tucked it in close to midnight Springfiel time. Today we’re thinking about taking a Gray Line City tomorrow and shopping for clothes. We’re in the city. Yeehaw!

Thank you, Sylvia Vardell

Hi everyone,

This week Sylvia Vardell, my friend and beloved authority on children’s literature, does me the honor of posting about my journey as a writer on her famous blog. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to drop over to Sylvia’s and have a look.
Sylvia, thank you again for all you do for those who create literature for young people. You are a blessing.

Where bones of my wits will lie at peace

Hi everyone,

The boxes of my papers recently placed on a 10-year loan to the Meyer Library on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield have been processed and are now available for students and others interested in looking through some of my work. Should anyone want to find them, the collection number is M131, Dates 1972-2018. I don’t believe the Finders Aid is online yet but will let you know if it becomes available. At some point not far off there will be a video interview and an audio interview of me talking about my work placed with the collections.

The bulk of my earlier papers are archived in 37 boxes and 4 binders in the Philip A. Sadler Research Collection of Literature for Children and Young Adults housed in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library at University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Here’s a link to the collection.

Oh I do love it so

Hi everyone,


Yesterday Sandy and I attended an open house at David Harrison Elementary School ( where I wallowed in the delight of getting hugged by kids who spotted me in the halls and waved at by busy teachers who were engaged in their visits with parents. I learned that one of my recent books, A PLACE TO START A FAMILY, is in a new 4th grade curriculum book and I was invited to come read from it to the kids. How’s that for a cool coincidence??

This was my first visit to Harrison Elementary this school year and I always look forward to being there. I met one new teacher this time and loved seeing principal Josh Holt and so many familiar faces among the teachers who have been there for a while, a few of them, including 4th grade teacher Roxie McQuarry, since the school opened ten years ago. Another wonderful teacher, Dawn Licata, has taught her 9-year career at Harrison. She and some of her 2nd graders appear in the book I did with Mary Jo Fresch, 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS.

Wild in the Streets by Marilyn Singer

Hi everyone,

I know I’m not the first to mention Marilyn Singer’s newest book of poetry, WILD IN THE STREETS, 20 POEMS OF CITY ANIMALS, but my copy only arrived yesterday. I read it before I went to bed last night and this is my first opportunity to brag on my friend’s work.
This one falls in the category of books “I wish I’d written,” which is the best kind of flattery I know to give. If you follow my tales of Goose Lake, you know my fascination with animals that live among us in our communities. Marilyn shares that interest and goes a huge step farther by writing about animals that live in other cities around the globe such as deer in Nara, Japan; pythons in Singapore; coyotes in Chicago; and falcons in New York City. Here’s a stanza from her poem about millions of Mexican free-tailed bats that roost by day below a famous bridge in Austin, Texas and swoop off in enormous living clouds by night.

Over the wide bridge
people passing. Underneath
spry bats amassing.

Not only that, Marilyn provides in fascinating prose the back story about each species and why/how it comes to flourish where it does. Kids and adults will love the surprising variety of city dwellers that either have moved to town or live where they’ve always lived while we humans have built our communities around them.

What I always enjoy about Marilyn Singer’s books is that she works seriously at her craft. You never get anything trite or sing-song in her offerings. You get variety that distinguishes her writings from the fare dished up in too many purported books of poems for children. I love it that in WILD IN THE STREETS, she takes the time to explain the poetic forms she chose to use in this collection. They include examples of triolet, haiku, her own reverse, cinquain, acrostic, sonnet, terze rima, and villanelle.

So by all means get a copy of WILD IN THE STREETS. It’s illustrated by Gordy Wright and published by Quarto Publishing. A new book by Marilyn is always a time to celebrate.