What I have for your young reader

Hi everyone,

Picture thanks to Nathan Papes, Springfield News-Leader

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

Dreaming my life away

Hi everyone,

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.

Couple of things

Hi everyone,
One is that Jane Yolen is celebrating her 400th published book and is being celebrated by fans everywhere. Here’s the link to one of the articles coming out. https://www.masslive.com/entertainment/2021/02/prolific-childrens-author-jane-yolen-readies-400th-book.html?fbclid=IwAR31IWUgI2qE-gp47NabavYFiiH7Xpw_UWcQxHmSNNUTEALb4qNyYsS3lRc
Way to go, Jane. Did someone say you’re thinking 500 is in your future? I just hope I sell one more!

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.

Making the plan, revising as I go

REMINDER: Don’t forget the reading of JESSE AND GRACE tonight. Information was posted yesterday.

Hi everyone,

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.

Lighting the fuse

Hi everyone,

On WednesdayJane Yolen and I had a delightful 4-way conversation with two editors at a publisher we respect. We discussed several ideas and got excited about some projects we might develop. Between this initial vision and seeing the result in print there are exactly 5,034,269 steps. I counted them once. But this is where it starts, lighting the long burning fuse that gets us excited enough to say yes to a new adventure and the possibility that one day, 5,034,269 steps from now, we’ll be holding some new books.