I hope this doesn’t change my perspective

Hi everyone,

Time changes all, even rocks. Seven years ago we spent Thanksgiving in Portland with Jeff and Jennifer. While we were there we went to a beach near Cannon Beach where I climbed onto this rock to pose for a picture. I’ve used it many times since.
This year we returned to the same rock. Jeff and Jennifer had recently discovered that in the intervening years part of the rock had tumbled onto the sand. So here’s the new version of my favorite seat for looking toward the future.
This still works but if the rock divides again I’m going to need a higher place to sit.

LET’S GO, TRUCKS! Still out there working

Hi everyone,

LET’S GO TRUCKS came out in 1973. Bill Dugan illustrated it. I just now looked Bill up. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. I passed through Tucson a couple of years ago. Wish I’d known where Bill lived then.

A few days ago I received a note from the director of a literacy council asking for help in locating a new or newish copy of LET’S GO, TRUCKS! for their collection. It was the favorite book of a little boy who recently died of cancer.

Then yesterday I heard from Paul Kastle in Riverside, California with a note that really made my day and a picture of his 3-year-old son Marshall. With Paul’s permission, here is his note.
“I just wanted to send you a note to thank you for my favorite book as a boy, which is now one of my three year old son’s favorites as well. With your many accomplishments I’m not sure how much credit this book gets, but it really is a great (and timeless) piece of work. As a car guy, and now a technical writer, I appreciate what you did there. Whenever I or my parents see a tow truck being towed, we cheerfully say “Towtrucks tow towtrucks.” We also tend to mention “crafty criminals and crooks” whenever we see an armored truck.”

I’m so grateful when readers take time to send notes like this one, particularly when the book is 46 years old. My thanks to Paul and his parents, and of course to young Marshall who is keeping the tradition going!


P.S. There is more to the story. Last night I heard from Nancy Kastle, Paul’s mother, retired now from her career in school and county libraries, where she often planned weekly children’s programs. She said, “I’ve seen how reading to children inspires their imagination and emotional growth. Very little is more important. They become readers, better students and good parents.”

Thank you, Nancy. Your good parenting to Paul is now being passed down to Paul’s children. Families like yours make wonderful role models for others to follow.

Another reason why I go to conferences

Hi everyone,

In my talk at the Notable Poetry Book session I suggested ten ways teachers can guide students’ search for ideas to write about.

During the same session I used an 11th approach. One of the books that won recognition was written in a form I’ve never cared for and seldom use. I wondered in passing if I should get a copy of the book to read, and decided not to.

Later that night, after the conclusion of the Scholastic dinner, a member of our table mentioned a very different kind of poem that he likes to write but doesn’t think he’s good at it.

Back in my room I wrote a poem for him in the style we had discussed and e-mailed it to him before I turned in. He e-mailed back right away and I was glad he was pleased.

Lying in bed, an inch from sleep, elements of the three events came together and I knew what I’m going to write next.

The conference was successful anyway, but this alone will make NCTE 2019 go down in my mind as one of the best ever.

Been there and done that

Hi everyone,
Good day yesterday. Here’s the crowd settling in for the Children’s Book Awards Luncheon.

Last night I enjoyed the Scholastic reception and dinner.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Notable Poetry Books panel presentation and my part in talking about ways to get more poetry into the classroom. All in all, I gave this one a high score. Now it’s homeward bound.