Barbara Robinson tomorrow

BULLETIN: My friend Jan Greenberg has won NCTE’s top nonfiction book award, the Orbis Pictus Award, for her picture book with Sandra Jordan and illustrated by Brian Floca, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring. What wonderful news, Jan! Congratulations! Jan was my Featured Guest on September 10, 2010. She mentioned the book in that interview.

Hello everyone,

Tomorrow you are in for a treat. Barbara Robinson will be my Featured Guest. In addition to being one of our nation’s most gifted children’s writers and possessor of a sharp wit and easy sense of humor, you will note (below) that Barbara doesn’t believe in expounding on her accomplishments. I asked for a bio, I got a bio — short and sweet. You must now go in search of more about Barbara to know her better by tomorrow. You won’t be sorry.


Barbara Robinson is the author of some forty to fifty short stories and eight books for children, including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Born in Portsmouth, Ohio, she attended Allegheny College, and has lived in Pittsburgh and Boston and presently lives in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. She has two daughters, Carolyn and Marjorie, and three grandsons, Tomas, Marcos, and Lucas, and all these people read books like crazy!

Thanks, Barbara. I hope you didn’t exhaust our readers.


Who will be my next Guest Reader?

You must admit that we’ve been hitting homeruns with the Summer Guest Reader Series! To refresh your memory, here’s the lineup of stars we’ve featured so far. If you don’t see your face on this post, it’s because you haven’t pitched in to share something about yourself with the rest of us. Shame, shame! You need to be about it!

Amy VanDerwater in New York,

Charles Waters in Florida,

Mary Nida Smith in Arkansas,

Carol-Ann Hoyte in Montreal,

Ken Slesarik in Arizona,

Wendy Singer in Montreal,

Nancy Gow in Montreal,

Silindile Ntuli in South Africa, and

Mimi Cross in New Jersey.

Hundreds of visitors have read and appreciated the works of these Guest Readers and I know there is an expectation of meeting more guests in the coming weeks. Let’s here from you. Send me your picture and a poem or a write-up of 500 words or less about yourself and your journey as a writer. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


And our June Hall of Fame Poet is . . .

I’m proud to announce that this month’s Hall of Fame Poet is from my own hometown! Virginia (V.L.) Gregory is our top vote getter and so will wear the crown for the month of June. Congratulations, Virginia. Way to go for Springfield, Missouri! Obviously I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed your poem.

Steven Withrow and Liz Korba also did well but are ineligible to win again during this twelve-month period. Julie Krantz, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and Cherie Geisler Neal also made a run at winning this month and I’m sure they will continue to grow their fan bases as we go along.

My thanks as always to everyone who participated in June as a poet, a reader, or a voter. Here’s to July and another bumper crop of poems inspired by one word.

And the word for July? What else? ITCH. Make you think of anything? I’m eager to see what your fertile minds scratch up.

I have more good news. We are getting quite a lineup of Guest Readers on tap for the coming weeks. Tomorrow you’ll meet Carol-Ann Hoyte. Ken Slesarik is up on July 7 and he’s followed by Wendy Singer on July 14 and Nancy Gow on July 21. Wendy and Nancy took Carol-Ann’s advice to send me a picture and poem. They all live in Montreal.

I hope many others will take Carol-Ann’s advice too!

Sometime soon we’ll have another Friday Featured Guest. As we speak, Charles Waters is at work on an interview. So we have plenty to look forward to this summer and we’ve hardly begun!


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater today

It is my pleasure today to introduce my very first Featured Reader, a new feature of my blog that highlights poets who decide to share their picture and a poem. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater from Holland, New York also intends to share an article when it’s ready.

Thanks, Amy!



A lone abalone
adrift in the sea
was found by a sailor
who gave it to me.

It lives on my nightstand
all rainbow and motion
reflecting each story
it learned in the ocean.

So mermaids and pirates
are real to me now.
My shell sings them back
as I stand on the prow
of a ship bound for treasure
salt spray in my face.

But when Mom tucks me in
she cannot find a trace
of gold in blue moonlight
seaweedy air.

My bedroom looks normal.

But oh!
I was there.

© Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

For more about and from Amy, visit her poem-a-day-for-a-year blog, The Poem Farm ( reader, Carol-Ann Hoyte, has promised to share a poem and article too. I’m eager to see them when Carol-Ann is ready.