Making videos

Hi everyone,

I’ve made 5-minute videos of me reading from two books, AFTER DARK and NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T. They’re homemade on my laptop so the quality is about what you would expect, but I was successful yesterday in sharing them with another party so now I can share them with others who might be looking for material for teaching homebound kids. I used “We Transfer” to move the videos. It’s a free program that worked for me although I’m sure there are others that will do as well. My Dropbox is full so I can’t use it unless I spend time deleting stuff and I don’t want to make the effort right now. So far “We Transfer” works for some but not for everyone. Today I hope to try a different way to make these and other videos available, maybe through YouTube. I’ll let you know when I get it figured out.

My publishers remind me that these videos are good through June 30 and should be requested by or through teachers and librarians who are seeking ways to reach their homebound students during this crisis.

Hear my books on KOLR10-TV

Hi everyone,

As the nation scrambles to reach kids isolated at home during the crisis, a number of creative ideas are bubbling up. One going on in Springfield, Missouri is on CBS affiliate station KOLR10-TV in partnership with Springfield Greene-County Library District. On-air Talent from KOLR are reading a series of my books for families at home throughout the region to hear. So far they’ve recorded four titles: WHEN COWS COME HOME, THE BOY WHO COUNTED STARS, and BUGS, POEMS ABOUT CREEPING THINGS (all from Boyds Mills Press) and A PERFECT PLACE FOR A FAMILY (from Holiday House). Here’s the link.

Part of the plan calls for me to go to the station for an interview and to read one of the books myself. Time will tell if that will happen soon or need to be delayed for a while. Whatever happens, I’m thrilled to have this chance to reach a lot of children who may be getting tired of staying in.

Party time at my house today!

Hi everyone,

Doom and gloom getting to you? Same here. What we need is a party! I haven’t had a virtual party at our house in ages and this feels like a good time to have one.

Please join me today right here and we’ll greet one another as friends and have a few laughs. You can stay six virtual feet away if you want to but I like hugs better and what the heck and why not?

The main rule of the party is to have fun. I know we’re all being effected by the pandemic, and you’ll have sympathetic ears if you feel the need to share your story and concern, but the main idea of getting together today is to celebrate all the good things we have and spend a day sharing fellowship and talking of pleasant news. Come early or late, or come early and stay late.

In the past many guests have brought refreshments. Bring something if you like, but if you don’t have time to prepare anything for heaven’s sake come anyway. I want to know what you’re up to. Are you writing or illustrating something that excites you? Have questions for someone else at the party? New article coming out? Having a special day/event? Any announcements? It’s a party. Tell others. Bring friends. Introduce them. I know the world is a scary place now, but for just a while let’s relax together. Please come. It won’t be the same without you.

You are invited to my house tomorrow

Hi everyone,

You are hereby invited to my house tomorrow for a virtual blog party. It has been far too long since we all got together and I think it’s time. A lot has happened since my first party in December 2015. Who could have predicted then what we’re living through now? It’s not to make light of the current situation but because of it that we need to spend some virtual time in the company of friends and loved ones from around the world.

Please make plans to drop by. Reach out to your own contacts and invite them too. Let’s share some joy. Sing if you want to. Dance. Bring your saxophone. Recite poetry. Share a favorite quote. Come early. Come late. Drop in and out during the day. Nothing is more casual than my parties. To join the chatter all you need to do is click in the balloon in the upper right-hand corner of the page, enter your comment in the “Leave a reply” box at the bottom, and click to post it. Presto, you’re at the party. I’m eager to see you tomorrow!

A ritual of spring

Hi everyone,

Yesterday morning through the kitchen window I noticed several dark forms just below the water’s surface of Goose Lake. Even with binoculars I couldn’t be sure what they were but leaned toward fish, maybe carp.

By afternoon the forms had multiplied several fold so I finally went out to the edge of the yard for a better look. They were clods of vegetation from the floor of the lake.

The lake turns twice a year, spring and fall, and this is, after all, spring. It’s a rather ugly reminder of spring but a reminder nevertheless and I’m grateful. When the water at the surface of the lake becomes warmer than at the bottom, whatever is down floats up for a while, long enough for the temperatures to equalize. We have few blossoms or buds yet but it won’t be much longer now. And with spring comes renewed hope.