As I approach the end of my latest collaboration with Mary Jo Fresch and look forward to collaborating on a new book for teachers with Laura Robb, I have several feelings. First, I’m excited. In a few days I’ll embark on a new adventure that will call for me to write enough new poems and short prose texts to fill my part of the book. Subject matter will vary widely so each subject will need to be researched. Getting ready to write something like this usually takes more time than it does to write it. Mary Jo and I recently wrote a book on that subject, 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS.
Another feeling is the old question, can I do it again? As we move into the next book, will my writing please my partner? I’ve learned quite a bit over the years about the subjects of these education books, but my background is in science and most of my books are trade books. Will I be good enough to contribute my fair share for another collaboration with an expert in the field? Will the teachers who eventually read what I’ve written be pleased? Excited? Informed? Maybe even impressed? Only time will tell, months and months of it.
A third emotion is gratitude. I’m lucky and know it. My writing partners on these professional development books have all been outstanding educators, well known for their brilliant research, scholarly publications, teaching, and presentations. To get to work with such wonderful people is a privilege, one that I treasure. So let the good times roll!
EDUCATION and PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOKS
1999 Easy Poetry Lessons that Dazzle and Delight (with Bernice Cullinan)
2003 Using the Power of Poetry (with Kathy Holderith)
2009 Partner Poems for Building Fluency (with Tim Rasinski and GayFawcett)
2013 Let’s Write This Week with David Harrison (DVD series; guide book with Lauren Edmondson)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Short Vowels (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Long Vowels (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Consonants (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Consonants and Blends (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Rimes (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2016 Social Studies Literacy; Grades 4-6 (with Timothy V. Rasinski)
2017 7 Keys to Research for Writing Success, Grades 3-5 (with Mary Jo Fresch)
Empowering Student’s Knowledge of Vocabulary: Learning How Language Works (with Mary Jo Fresch)
Untitled (with Laura Robb)
CHAPTERS IN PROFESSIONAL BOOKS
2009 “Yes, Poetry Can,” the poetry chapter for Children’s Literature in the Reading Program (3rd Edition, edited by Deborah Wooten and Bernice Cullinan; International Reading Association.
2015 “Poetry, the Write Thing to Do,” the poetry chapter for Children’s Literature in the Reading Program (4th Edition, edited by Deborah Wooten; International Reading Association.
2018 “Poetry, the Write Thing to Do,” the poetry chapter for Children’s Literature in the Reading Program (5th Edition, edited by Deborah Wooten; Guilford Press.
1994 No More Boring Poems; Instructor Magazine
1994 What I’ve Learned So Far; Journal of Reading
1995 One Good Idea Leads to Another; Show-Me Libraries
2005 Retracing Memories: Writing Memoir Poems; Teaching Pre-K-8, April
2005 The Letterman Factor, A Matter of Meter; The California Reader
2006 The Game of Poetry; Florida Reading Journal
2007 The Relationship Between Authors and Young Readers; Dragon Lode
2008 Too Big for Hugs and Kisses; GRAND, The Magazine for Grandparents
2009 Reading to Our Children; Gannett, News-Leader
2009 Promoting Literacy: It’s Everybody’s Job; Alpha Chi Recorder
2014 Q & A Reflections; Post Road Magazine; Boston College
2017 Before They Write: Topic, Presearch, and Research (with Mary Jo Fresch); Missouri Reader
2017 Why Poetry?; Laura Robb blog
2018 The Poet and the Poem; SCBWI Bulletin
2019 The Game Changer; Missouri Reader
Yesterday I had a manuscript turned down by an editor who called me a “lovely writer.” An hour later I got a nod from a different editor (on a different proposal) saying things look promising on that one. The new book is for teachers and I’m co-writing it with Laura Robb. My part is to provide reading texts including poetry and prose. We don’t have the green light yet but I take it as a good sign when the reviewers loved it and the editor calls it “a fabulous book.”
Also yesterday Mary Jo Fresch and I moved another step closer to completing the book we’ve been working on over these past several months. We’re waiting for input from more than a dozen classroom teachers and will plug those in as they arrive. We’re not there yet but it won’t be too much longer now.
Thanks to everyone who supported our family yesterday as we paused to remember my sister. I appreciated all your notes very much.
What began in a rough patch turned out to be a good week. I found the groove I needed for the new book proposal and by the end of today I’ll have five good poems ready to go. A decent poem per day makes for a successful week. Three are in verse and two are free verse. Sandy, my hawk-eyed first reader, suggested two spots to reconsider, which is what I’ll do this morning. After that I’ll send them along to my writing partner, Laura Robb, and we’ll get back to our editor.
On another front, Mary Jo Fresch and I finished the proposal on another book and sent it on its way. Our editor was just leaving for a conference so we’ll be waiting a while to hear back on that one.
Home from Austin with many new good memories in spite of heat that reached 105-109 for record setting daily highs. Attendance was down somewhat but still several thousand people from here and abroad were there and it was time well spent.
I was grateful to Sandy for going with me and I know that Mary Jo was glad that Hank came too. The four of us have a good time together and when conference work kept Mary Jo and me busy, Sandy and Hank amused themselves sightseeing and shopping.
Mary Jo Fresch and I enjoyed doing a Facebook Live broadcast that has been viewed more then 8,400 times already, and on Sunday afternoon we had excellent attendance for our two-hour workshop. Also hooked up with Laura Robb to discuss a book we might do together and touched base with Glenda Nugent about the poetry article I’m writing for Missouri Reader. Had a good visit with Su Hutchens and talked her into contributing to my article about her experiences in using poetry in the classroom.
My thanks to the folks at Teacher Created Materials for their generous support and lovely breakfast on Sunday morning, and to my friends at Scholastic for their usual stellar author reception on Saturday evening as well as for putting us on Facebook Live and proving a signing time/space at their display area.