I just received excellent news. Karen Boss, my editor at Charlesbridge, is driving in from Boston to make a special appearance at my poetry workshop in Honesdale. I am delighted! Karen is a wonderful editor and will have a lot to say about the publishing business in general and getting poetry published in particular.
My first book with Karen came out in February this year: NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T. Currently we’re wrapping up my part of a second book of poetry, also illustrated by Giles Laroche in his unique style. I’m sure that Karen will have something to say about that when she speaks. She is sweet but tough and knows her stuff. Hey! A couplet!
Karen will arrive on Sunday in time for the kick-off dinner and spend the evening with us. The next day she will speak about the workshop’s theme: how do we get our poetry published? No one person has all the answers but Karen will add significantly to the conversation. Not only that, she’s going to stay with us that day and evening before leaving on Tuesday morning. Here’s her bio.
Karen Boss is an associate editor at Charlesbridge where she works on fiction and nonfiction picture books and middle-grade novels. She holds a MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and regularly acts as a mentor for their Writing for Children MFA program. Karen also has an MA in higher education administration and worked at colleges and in the nonprofit sector for the first 15 years of her career. She still works part-time in development at Hyde Square Task Force, a nonprofit that works with at-risk youth in Jamaica Plain. Some authors she’s currently working with are David L. Harrison, Jane Yolen, Nancy Bo Flood, Rich Michelson, and debut author Tami Charles. Her favorite children’s book is The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White, and she thinks that Holes by Louis Sachar is quite possibly the best thing ever written.
I’m grateful to Charlesbridge for loaning us this talented editor, and I’m grateful to Karen Boss for driving the distance twice to join us at The Barn. If you are coming to my Highlights Foundation Workshop, Karen will truly be a highlight! If you are counting, we now have four editors (Mary Colgan, Rebecca Davis, Allison Kane, and Karen Boss), plus an art director, Patrick Greenish. I don’t want to brag, but is this cool or what?
Last week I finished the novel and completed the first draft of a nonfiction-based story. Giles Laroche is at work illustrating my next book of poetry with Charlesbridge and Julie Bayless is working on my next collection with Boyds Mills. No one has been chosen yet for the one after that. For now at least, those three are out of my hands.
Today I’m supposed to hear from an editor about an educational book proposal but until that comes I’m on my own with a week of few meetings and nothing under contract that requires attention. I don’t have a clue at the moment about how I’ll spend this week, but I can’t wait to get started.
Sorry I can’t play today. I’m in Texas having a fine time!
This is me the last time I was here. PIRATES had just come out so artist Dan Burr and I were there introducing it. We had no idea who the guy dressed like a pirate was. He just wandered by, muttered “Argh,” and got in the shot.
Early reviews for NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T are looking good. Well . . . two out of three are.
Kirkus starred it and said,”The poems are graceful and often humorous, giving good introductions to the reasons behind each animal’s protective coloration. The illustrations, which involve ‘drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing,’ likewise effectively convey how camouflage works, without pretense of photorealism… Endnotes, cover, and layout all add to a thoughtful, well-executed book. An attractive, informative blend of science and the arts.”
The Library Journal says, “The verse is brief but catchy, and Harrison’s sound use of rhythm and rhyme results in offerings that are pleasant to read aloud. Each poem is accompanied by an illustration done in cut-paper relief on hand-painted papers… lively and engaging… An altogether appealing volume for young poetry aficionados and animal lovers alike.
Then there’s Publisher’s Weekly: “Harrison’s reliance on conventional rhymes can lend a singsong quality to some of the entries, however (‘Sun settles,/ shadows creep,/ a piping voice begins to peep’). Laroche’s (If You Lived Here) layered paper collages create impressive depth, texture, and detail, though the scenes can also feel somewhat static at times.”
Really? Huh! Way to keep the average down, PW. The book doesn’t go on sale until February 16 but advance orders are already bringing it up in the ratings and I’m pleased about that.
Tomorrow may be my last post for a week or so and I’ll talk about an interesting article I just read by a reviewer.