The last poem for 3rd grade

Hi everyone,

I had a fine time yesterday reading RUM PUM PUM to kindergarten and first grade students at Harrison Elementary. They were such good listeners and quickly learned to help me make the sounds of Tiger’s new friends.

Not only that, my friend ANGELA KNIGHT, the wonderful librarian at Harrison, had found an old copy somewhere of THE BOY WITH A DRUM, my first book for kids in 1969. I don’t know what Angela paid but I found two copies on Amazon, one for over $60 and one for over $120. It was a privilege to sign the copy and wonder what child had heard it read aloud before it wound up in Springfield, Missouri.

I also came away with an idea for my 10th poem for third grade for the book with TIM RASINSKI and LYNNE KULICH! Talking with two old friends who teach kindergarten at Harrison — ROXIE MCQUARRY AND JULEE CURRY — an idea came up that I’ll turn into a poem. I’d been wondering what to choose to complete my list of ten and now I have it. Yay for David Harrison Elementary School and everyone there!

Wednesday? Seriously?

Hi everyone,

This morning I’ll go read for a while to 1st grade students at David Harrison Elementary School. I haven’t been out since school started this year so I’m excited about seeing the kids and wonderful faculty.

This afternoon is a zoom meeting with LAURA ROBB and JANAY BROWN-WOOD to go over what we’ll each present during our event at NCTE Sunday morning. Hope to get a few hours of work done between the two activities.

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.