I slept in today, a delicious and rare treat. After my second cup of coffee and the paper, I wandered intothe office to check email and made a discovery that has made the last day of 2021 end on a high note! An old friend and colleague, LINDA BAIE, has been kind enough to nominate THE DIRT BOOK for the Cybils Award. It has been accepted and is now on the published list. Linda, you are so kind to do this. What a wonderful surprise. I’m glad my coffee cup wasn’t still full when I saw this news!
It has been some year, huh? News has been Covid-driven and we all know someone whose life has been impacted in a serious way by the virus. I know there’s more Covid ahead but it doesn’t keep me from making plans for 2022. I know there will be many changes along the way but I love to begin with at least the skeleton of a schedule.
I have one more month of work to finish the book for Teacher Created Materials with LAURA ROBB and TIM RASINSKI. I hope by then to hear from four trade book editors who have expressed interest in manuscripts they’ve been considering. All four could be a yes but in the publishing world it never pays to count your yesses ahead of time.
In February I have two education books due out with Scholastic, co-authored with MARY JO FRESCH and TIM RASINSKI and a virtual children’s literature festival at Park University. By then I hope to be into some serious writing on at least one of five ideas I’ve been lugging around in my head for months, afraid to put them down for fear of losing track of them.
March is a special month for me. Widely recognized photographer, RANDY BACON, in partnership with Ozarks Literacy Council, will present an exhibit about literacy advocates called “Words and Pictures.” I’m delighted to be in it. Also, March is my birthday month and David Harrison Elementary School wants to throw a birthday party for me. How cool is that!!
I think the book I’m finishing now with TCM is set for an April release. Thanks to LAURA ROBB, I’m on a poetry proposal for NCTE in Anaheim in November. The other two poets are MARGARITA ENGLE and LANAY BROWN-WOOD.
Lots of room on the calendar for other opportunities so I keep it handy.
I hope your holidays brought you your share of joy, love, and happiness. Mine did. We missed the physical presence of JEFF and JENNIFER in Portland and JON and ALEXIS in Monett, but felt very blessed to share the days and evenings with ROBIN, TIM, KRIS, TYLER, and JOSIE. And when it came to gift exchanges, I made out like the proverbial bandit. Not one but two collections of Billy Collins poems. A box of Big Hunk candy bars, nifty new duds, a pair of hand-size binoculars to carry at large events to bring action on the stage up close, and a new supply of brandy and cognac. One of the best was from Sandy, who took a print from NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T, and got it matted and framed to hang on the wall in front of my computer.
In this quick snap of it, I notice my image hovering in the background as I leaned in to take the picture. I decided to keep it as a reminder that the picture was by GILES LAROCHE, but the words that caused the picture were also in the mix. Giles, thank you again for the gift of your picture for my personal delight.
One day soon I’ll show you some of the other wonderful pieces of art from my books that grace the walls and countertop in my office. They include works from WHEN COWS COME HOME by CHRIS DEMAREST; PIRATES by DAN BURR; VACTION and BUGS by ROB SHEPPERSON; and A THOUSAND COUSINS by BETSY LEWIN. Collectively, these wondrous gifts give me hours of pleasure throughout my workday.
I’m not exactly back to work yet but am working toward it. Thank you for your patience and Merry Pick-up-and-Put-Away. And go Chiefs!