And I feel fine

Hi everyone,

Just got home a few minutes ago. Chicago was a great experience as usual. Robin and Jeff joined us and in the little time we had we managed to visit the Planetarium on Monday, the Field Natural History Museum on Tuesday, and the Art Museum today before heading to the airport.

The purpose of the trip of course was for me to accept an award from The Society of Midland Authors for the best nonfiction children’s book by a midland author in 2016. It was a swell party and I’ll report on it through a blog posted soon by my publisher for the book, Charlesbridge Press. As soon as they post it I’ll share it. For now, here’s the building from street level. And here is the view from the 22nd floor where the event took place. Here is a summary board of past recipients.
And here I am standing in front of a board showing this year’s winner. That’s me smiling. This year’s winners were recognized in six categories: Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction, Adult Biography and Memoir, Adult Poetry, Children’s Fiction, and Children’s Nonfiction. In each case there were two or three honorees. I’ll do better in the upcoming post for Charlesbridge. Right now I’m still pretty pumped.

Just won a blue ribbon

Hi everyone,

Once in a while a note comes in that makes me smile and want to whoop and holler. I never enter my work for awards (lazy? cheap?) so I’m especially grateful to Donna Spurlock and her staff at Charlesbridge for doing if for me. You may have seen the notice put up on Facebook yesterday by Karen Boss, my superlative editor at Charlesbridge. In case you didn’t, here it is.

NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T is the winner for the Society of Midland Authors Children’s Nonfiction Book award!

According to the press release from SMA, “The Society, founded in 1915 by a group of authors including Hamlin Garland, Harriet Monroe and Vachel Lindsay, has given out annual awards since 1957. The juried competition is open to authors who live in, were born in, or have strong ties to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin.

Notable winners have included Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mike Royko, Jane Smiley, Dempsey Travis, Leon Forrest, William Maxwell, Louise Erdrich, Scott Turow, Alex Kotlowitz, Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek and Roger Ebert.”

One reason I’m happy is that it’s a book of science-based poetry that won for nonfiction. It’s more evidence for teachers of how poetry can work in their classrooms and hold it’s own against books of prose. When PIRATES came out in 2008, it also was recognized (by VOYA Press) on its Nonfiction Honor List. Both of these titles were well researched so that they can be used in core subject studies.

I haven’t decided yet about flying to Chicago on May 9 to accept the plaque and check at the Awards Banquet. Years ago I didn’t go to NYC to accept my Christopher Award and on another award occasion I stayed home from Chicago. Sandy is encouraging me to go this time. She’ll even go with me. That certainly makes it more enticing.

Meanwhile, if you hear some guy whistling down the street, this might help you understand.

Questions from children

Hi everyone,
Here’s a quick one on the fly. Charlesbridge has posted some Q/A between some school kids and me about NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T. Here’s the link if you’re interested. My thanks to Alaina Leary for putting this together.


ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ve completed my December Word of the Month poem and will post it tomorrow.

Hi everyone,
Yesterday got the week off to a good start. I learned that NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T has received an NCTE 2017 Notable Poetry Books Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry. I’m delighted and honored. This is the third time in my last five offerings this has happened. My congratulations to all the honorees. Here’s the full list.

Are You An Echo?: The lost poetry of Misuzu Kaneko. David Jacobson. Illus. by Toshikado Hajiri. 2016. Chin Music Press

Before Morning. Joyce Sidman. Illus. by Beth Krommes. 2016. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Echo Echo: reverso poems about myths. Marilyn Singer. Illus. by Josee Masse. 2016. Dial Books for Young Readers

Emily Dickinson: poetry for kids. Emily Dickinson. Illus. by Christine Davenier. 2016. MoonDance

Every Day Birds. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illus. by Dylan Metrano. 2016. Orchard Books/Scholastic

Freedom in Congo Square. Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Gregory R. Christie. 2016. Little Bee Books/Simon & Schuster

Fresh Delicious: poems from the Farmers’ Market. Irene Latham. Illus. by Mique Moriuchi. 2016. Wordson/Highlights

Guess Who, Haiku. Deanna Caswell. Illus. by Bob Shea. 2016. Abrams Appleseed

Jazz Day: the making of a famous photograph. Roxane Orgill . Illus. by Francis Vallejo. 2016. Candlewick Press.

Night Guard. Synne Lea. Illus. by Stian Hole. 2016. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: poems about creatures that hide. David L. Harrison. Illus. by Giles Laroche. 2016. Charlesbridge

One Toda: the inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. Richard Blanco. Illus. by Dav Pilkey. 2015. Little, Brown and Company

One Minute Till Bedtime: 60-second poems to send you off to sleep. Kenn Nesbitt. Illus. by Christoph Niemann. 2016. Little, Brown and Company

A Poem of Peter: the story of Ezra Jack Keats and the creation of The snowy day. Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illus. by Lou Fancher. 2016. Viking/Penguin

Somos Como Las Nubes/We are like the clouds. Jorge Argueta. Illus. by Alfonso Ruano. Translated by Elisa Amado. 2016. Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press

Wet Cement: a mix of concrete poems. Bob Raczka. 2016. Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan

When Green Becomes Tomatoes. Julie Fogliano. Illus. by Julie Morstad. 2016. Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan

When the Sun Shines on Antarctica: and other poems about the frozen continent. Irene Latham. Illus. by Anna Wadham. 2016. Millbrook Press/Lerner

The White Cat and the Monk: a retelling of the poem “Pangur Ban.” Jo Ellen Bogart. Illus. by Sydney Smith. 2016. Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press

You Just Wait: A poetry Friday power book. Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. 2016. Pomelo Books

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Hi everyone,
One of the few things I hate about being a writer is asking people to review my books. When a new one comes out, I make myself wait a while before checking to see if anyone is reviewing it. I know about the commercial agencies, of course, because my publisher sends copies of those. In the case of the February release by Charlesbridge, NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T received a starred review from Kirkus.

“The poems are graceful and often humorous, giving good introductions to the reasons behind each animal’s protective coloration . . . The text educates young readers about useful camouflage for predators and for prey, without resorting to anything truly disturbing. Other than a “buzzy fly” becoming “fast food” for a spider and some tiny fish disappearing, predators are shown as merely threatening, and prey are shown as successfully hiding. Endnotes, cover, and layout all add to a thoughtful, well-executed book. An attractive, informative blend of science and the arts.”

The School Library Journal, said: “The verse is brief but catchy, and Harrison’s sound use of rhythm and rhyme results in offerings that are pleasant to read aloud . . . An altogether appealing volume for young poetry aficionados and animal lovers alike.”

From Booklist: “Nineteen varied poems, illustrated in cut-paper relief, describe examples of animal camouflage to young readers. Using instances from sea life, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, insects and spiders, and birds, Harrison’s succinct poems detail the techniques used by these creatures to avoid detection . . . Helping to bridge the gap between science and literature, this joins the growing number of excellent nature poetry titles, such as Joyce Sidman’s Winter Bees and other Poems of the Cold (2014) and Irene Latham’s When the Sun Shines on Antarctica and Other Poems about the Frozen Continent.”

It’s those individual reviews that I love to see and they’re the ones I hate to ask for. But they’re important and help others decide if they want to read the book for themselves or recommend it.

So far only three personal reviews have been posted on Amazon and not a one on B&N. Online book reviews and rankings are hardly the whole story of what’s going on in the life of a title, but they are the most visible. So . . . if you have seen a copy of NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T and feel moved to review it, I would appreciate it very much. Thank you!