My thanks to NILE STANLEY, poet and Chair, Department of Childhood Education at University of NorthFlorida, for reviewing, RUM PUM PUM in the latest issue of The Florida Literacy Journal. JANE YOLEN and I co-wrote the story, richly illustrated by ANJAN SARKAR, and published by Holiday House in 2020.Nile is a former editor of the Florida Reading Quarterly and founder and chair of the annual Poetry Olio of the Conference of theInternational Literacy Association.
In his review, he states, “This is a book that children will want to experience again and again. The book lends itself naturally to storytelling because the plot is engaging, simple, and fast-paced…I found the experiences of teaching the book to children equally satisfying through the techniques of visual storytelling, read aloud, and literary storytelling. I eagerly introduced the book to a large group of aged 3 to 5 preschoolers with a picture walk through the book.”
Thank you, Nile. I hope our paths will cross again one of these days, at a conference or elsewhere.
Those of us who write for young people are sometimes asked by friends who want to get a book as a gift if we have anything for a certain age and/or particular interest. I’ve never blogged about it, but in some of the upcoming posts I’ll try to include brief descriptions as an aid to anyone who might be interested.
To start, here’s the link to my website book page where you can see all my titles plus other information, including, in many cases, what reviewers have said about them. http://www.davidlharrison.com/books.htm
Most of my work has been for children in grades 3-5 but some titles appeal to older readers and a few were written with the very young in mind. Today I’ll give you a couple of suggestions for the very young, starting with the first book I ever wrote, THE BOY WITH A DRUM, which came out in 1969 and can still be found now and the on Amazon Used Books.
A little boy — charmingly illustrated by Eloise Wilkin — marches down a road and is followed by a growing number of animals, each singing its own song as they go. “If they haven’t stop marching, they’ll be marching still.” It’s a mass market book that sold for 29 cents in 1969. I just checked it on Amazon and a used copy is listed for $66, but that’s a computer-driven price. Try it again and the price will probably be much lower. You might have to settle for a well-loved copy, more than 2,000,000 copies have sold. It’s a good rhyming tale for kids at the age to learn the sounds that animals make and follow along with the marching little boy going rat-a-tat-tat on his drum.
Jane Yolen and I combined to create a different sort of parade although it, too, involves a drum and a following of animals through the forest. RUM PUM PUM is handsomely illustrated with a setting in India, thanks to gifted Indian artist Anjan Sarkar, who lives in London.“As Tiger traverses the forest, other animals take a chance and accompany the big cat and his gentle ‘friend,’ adding their voices to Tiger’s ‘ Rrrrrrrrrrhhh’ and Drum’s ‘Rum pum pum.’ Monkey, Rhino, Parrot, Chameleon, and Elephant make up the rest of the parade through the lush green-and-gold Indian forest. The phrase ‘And they went along and went along and went along the road’ recurs, giving the story the feel of a folktale.”—Booklist
I’m potentially one day from an editorial meeting that will determine if a new educational proposal with Tim Rasinski will be accepted. If it is, I won’t have that window of time I was expecting until mid-August when I’ll begin work on the book for Shell with Laura Robb and Tim Rasinski. In anticipation of getting the green light, I’ve already begun work on the first of what would be 75 new poems.
If the proposal is accepted, I’ll have very little time for the rest of the year to develop new ideas for trade publishers. The other day Nikki Grimes was relating how she has recently pull some old manuscript out of storage and given them fresh chances to be accepted. Jane Yolen does now and then. So does Sandy Asher and any number of other writers including me. That might be about all I’ll have time for. That’s not altogether bad though. I once sold a book years later to an editor who had turned it down in the first place.
The other item is that I was asked this year to participate in Drury University’s “Match Madness” fund raiser by making a 10 minute video reading from AFTER DARK. It is now posted sometime. If you have young ones in the family or classroom, I hope you’ll check out the site at http://www.Drury.edu/read.
REMINDER: Don’t forget the reading of JESSE AND GRACE tonight. Information was posted yesterday.
I know how I’ll start my day. I planned it before I went to bed, same as always. I’m not sure how it will end though. If either of two possibilities happens, I’ll probably pull off the project I’m on to attend to one of the others because they both have higher priorities (earlier due dates). I was asked during my virtual presentation last Saturday how I work on so many things at once, and this is how. While Tim Rasinski, Mary Jo Fresch, and I wait for word about our counter offer for a contract on two books, I have roughly two weeks to make things happen. Jane Yolen and I are also waiting for a multiple book contract offer from a different publisher and expect word back on that one any day now. For me the trick is to make the most of these little windows that open and close all the time before and after major projects click into place and take my attention for longer periods. I work thirty-five hours a week so I can get quite a bit done but the important thing is to plan how the time will be spent.