A good way to start the week!

Hi everyone,

More good news for A PLACE TO START A FAMILY. Last night I received notice that the book has been selected a K-3 2019-20 Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award Title.

Voting by students will begin in January 2020 and winners will be announced in mid March. Fingers crossed for a win, but just being on the list is high honor. The purpose of the Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Program is to promote reading of quality books by young people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to encourage teacher / librarian collaboration in young adult and children’s literature, and to honor authors whose works have been recognized by the students of Pennsylvania.

My gratitude to the librarians of Pennsylvania for selecting my title for the list.

To video or not to video

Hi everyone,

This past week I’ve spent time recording myself in three 3-minute promotional videos, one each for NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T; A PLACE TO START A FAMILY; and CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS. I’ve intended to do this for months and wasted time searching in vain for the program I used quite a while ago when Sandy and I made a video of me reciting one of my poems, “Practice.” Jeff finally came to my rescue and determined that my program had gone out of existence and must have been dropped during an update. He installed VSDC Video Editor, which is free and easy to use.

Making promotional videos is hard work, at least for me. I forget to smile. I scratch my nose. You can hear my breathing. It’s awkward holding up a book. I fail to include an important point. The light makes my skin look creepy. Etc. But yesterday I finally got a decent take on the third book so now they’re in the file ready to use.

Next I need to set up a new DropBox account so my publishers can share the videos and we can talk about ways to use them. It’s a whole new world out there baby.

Crawly School for Bugs has good news

Hi everyone,

Many of you have seen the list by now but I didn’t learn until yesterday that CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS is one of NCTE’s 2019 Notable Poetry Books for Children selections.

My other new title this year, A PLACE TO START A FAMILY, made the NSTA 2019 list of Outstanding Science Trade Books so both books are off and running. I lOVE those lists!

Where are the reviews?

Hi everyone,

Here we are winding down another year and my thoughts are already shifting toward 2019, to seeing old friends again when I speak at South Carolina ILA in February, greeting my lead article about poetry in the Winter issue of Missouri Reader, and holding the first copy of my 96th, due out in spring.

It’s exciting to look ahead, but there’s a risk in it too. I haven’t done an adequate job of promoting the two titles that came out this year and I don’t want to go off into 2019 and leave them behind! A PLACE TO START A FAMILY was recently named to the NSTA list of Outstanding Science Trade Books and CRAWLY SCHOOL was chosen to represent Missouri at the 2018 National Book Fair in Washington, D.C. so the new books are off to a promising start. The reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, etc. have all sung high praise for both titles, but so far neither one has received many online Amazon reviews from readers, and I need to look into that.

If you have read either or both books and haven’t posted your thoughts online, now would be a good time and I would appreciate it very much. Naturally you can order copies if you’re inclined to, but I’m assuming that at least a few who follow my blog already have purchased or checked out copies but have been too busy to think about giving the books a boost.

Here are two sample poems, one from each title:

European White Stork

When high on chimney top you nest,
Legend tells us those who dwell
Within this house are surely blessed.

How old your nest no one can tell,
You keep it in such good repair.
Your ancestors built it well.

Stick by stick they placed it there
Where now you cast your lucky spell
And raise your baby storks with care.
(c) 2018 David L. Harrison
from A PLACE TO START A FAMILY (Charlesbridge)

Private Thoughts
of a Praying Mantis
in the Lunchroom

Tender,
buggy
treats . . .
Sigh.

I could catch them
off guard.

I promised
not
to eat
at school,

But boy oh boy
is this
hard!

(c) 2018 David L. Harrison
from CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS (Boyds Mills Press)

Outstanding Science Trade Book List for A PLACE TO START A FAMILY

Hi everyone,

A PLACE TO START A FAMILY (Charlesbridge, 2018) — about structures animals create in which to start their families — has been chosen for the 2019 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books list. This is my second partnership with Giles Laroche, who also illustrated 2017’s NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T, also Charlesbridge. Both were edited by Karen Boss who told me that this year five Charlesbridge titles made it on the list.

I’m delighted to see A PLACE TO START A FAMILY recognized by science teachers. PIRATES was honored by VOYA, NOW YOU SEE THEM was voted best children’s nonfiction book of 2017 by Society of Midland Authors, and now A PLACE TO START is being honored. All three books are science-based poetry so I’m especially happy about that.