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!


Karen Boss is coming

Hi everyone,
KAREN BOSS headshot
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.61wO366ugqL__AA160_ 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?

Back tomorrow

Hi everyone,

Sorry I can’t play today. I’m in Texas having a fine time!
David and Dan at TLA
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.

More soon.