My favorite editor just sent me a book that was published in 1937. It’s called FOUR AND TWENTY FAMOUS TALES, A Silent Reader. It was written by Anna Clark Nelson and published by Hall & McCreary Company in Chicago. Following the introduction and procedure are twenty-four short fables, a spelling list, and a brief test for each tale.
I read every word and marveled at how education has changed over the last eighty years. I’ll quote an example from the procedure. “As a chart to show improvement in comprehension is an incentive to more careful reading, it is suggested that the name of each pupil be written on the blackboard in a column, after which, in vertical spaces, may be recorded the correct number of answers of each pupil each day.”
I recognize some of the tales: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” “The Lion and the Mouse,” “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” etc. Many others were new to me although they followed a traditional formula. I have vowed to keep this book on my desk where I can see it and smile. I’m most grateful.
Last year my picture book, A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY, went out of print at the same time it was selected by CBC (Children’s Book Council) for its 2015 Gifts Galore list. I retrieved my rights and Roberta Angaramo did the same for her charming illustrations.
I sent out a query to another publisher to bring the book back into print. I received an expression of interest for the story only, which would be re-illustrated by an artist they had in mind. Roberta and I decided we didn’t want to split up so I passed. She then tried a publisher in South Korea, Kyowon CO., LTD. Yesterday we received a contract offer for a Korean translation of our book with a first printing of 8,000 copies. I have a few questions to resolve but am hopeful that we’ll reach an agreement and sign an amended contract soon.
I’m particularly pleased because I’ve never been translated in Korean before. My books and poems have been translated by seventeen publishers into nine languages (including four times in Japanese, three times in German, and twice in Lithuanian) since THE BOY WITH A DRUM came out in Japanese in 1969, but never in Korean before. Other translations have come out in Africa, Norway, Israel, Netherlands, Italy, and France. My poetry has been published in English in India, France, and elsewhere.
Last night’s freeze zapped most of the remaining geraniums. We brought two hibiscus plants inside so we still have blossoms from those as well as a few fading roses that we cut a few days ago.
Today the lake is covered by thick fog. Here’s a poem from my one and only e-book, GOOSE LAKE
Fog on the Water
This morning Goose Lake holds a cloud on her lap white and thick as a down comforter. Pity a Mallard lost on the water surrounded by Canadians — a tug boat bobbing blindly among freighters. In an hour the fog will vanish. Like a magic trick its mist will freeze on trees, flashing diamonds on every bony finger, but now Goose Lake is a mystery lady covering her secrets in a white wrap.
Yard lights on the far bank
wink like fireflies probing the fog
for safe passage.
My hackberry trees
raise leafless arms,
to an invisible foe.
Somewhere a duck without a body.
quacks to itself a lone note
that stirs no interest.
Mornings like this,
Goose Lake avoids company.
Her pulse slows.
Little moves or mutters.
I just received the recording from France of “It’s Me!” my poem about Marilyn Monroe that’s featured in the recently released NEW PASSWORD LITERATURE published by Didier.
The recording artist is a woman with a coquettish voice. This is the first time I’ve heard the poem read by anyone else and I’m delighted to hear this woman’s voice sweetly teasing the reader about which one is the “real” Marilyn. Now when I look again at the book’s cover, I can imagine that the woman pictured could be the reader of my poem. It’s a great way to begin my Monday!
Wishing everyone a good week,