A picture of a happy man

Hi everyone,

Yesterday the librarian at David Harrison Elementary School, ANGELA KNIGHT, came by to drop off an enormous picture of the day in March when the whole school worked to give me the best birthday party anyone could ever have. It’s a wonderful keepsake of that special day. As soon as I get it in the frame she brought, onto the wall it goes! For now, here’s a quick view from where it rests on the chair. Enrollment at Harrison is 317 this year. I’m going out to read to the 3rd graders on October 19. Already smiling about that.

Today’s my party!

Hi everyone,

Today I’m off to celebrate my birthday in style. My birthday was on the 13th but the wonderful folks at David Harrison Elementary School have planned a belated party today at the school and I can’t wait. I’m very grateful to principal SHAWN DEWITT, librarian ANGELA KNIGHT, and others who have helped make this event happen! Thank you!!!

I’ll read to 4th graders in the library, stroll up and down the halls to stop by each classroom long enough to greet the teachers and kids, and then head for the gym. When special invited guests and the whole student body are assembled, I’ll hand out gift wrapped copies of THE DIRT BOOK, one to a student from every classroom, and read some poems. After that, rumor is there will be cake and cards and singing and one happy old gent grinning through it all. I hope someone will take pictures.

Before the festivities begin I’m to be interviewed for the archives about how the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools got its start some forty years ago. I was one of five founders and am now the only living member left of the group. I need to bone up a bit before the interview!

Getting set for 2022

Hi everyone,

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.

Best visit ever!…since the last visit

Hi everyone,

I am grateful to Principal Shawn DeWitt and Librarian Angela Knight for taking me around the school yesterday. They made me feel at home and encouraged me to come back anytime. I promised to return after the first of the year to sit somewhere and read to the kids. I also told 3rd and 4th grade teachers I’ll be happy to help when they get to writing units, the same as I’ve done in previous years.

I met a Harrison teacher yesterday who started two weeks ago and hugged a bunch of other teachers who have been there since the doors opened or close to it. I was in every room where kids were, learned the Harrison wave — performed by touching thumb to middle two fingers and waving with the 1st and 4th finger. How about that!

That’s the doorway of the library. All doors are decorated for the season. The two quotations above my head are from me to the students of Harrison. They have been lettered up there for years. “Every day look for something that no one else sees. Think about what you see. Write it down in your journal.” ~ David Harrison. “Reading is a rocket ride to the future. It launches children on a journey to learn who they want to be, where they want to go, and how to get there.” ~ David Harrison

Going back to Harrison Elementary!

Hi everyone,

First I’ll apologize to those of you who turned in to KY3 yesterday at 11:15. My interviewer didn’t tell me in advance that the segment was being record for airing a few days from now. I’m so sorry to cause you frustration. When I’m told the date and time and given a link, I’ll let you know.

My happy news today is that at 9:00 this morning I’m going to visit the kids, teachers, and everyone at David Harrison Elementary School! This will be only the second time since the pandemic began that I’ve walked the halls and stepped inside the rooms to wave and greet. It’s a special feeling and I’m eager to have it again.