From Missouri to England to Mexico

Hi everyone,

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had been approached by a designer in London who was working on a project for a major department store on a Valentines campaign, “For the love of poetry.” The project tested successfully so I’m standing by for possible future involvement.

I recently sent her the first two videos I’ve made of me reading from AFTER DARK and NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T. Yesterday I heard from her that she has shared the videos with her aunt in Mexico City who is principal at an English school called Humanitree. Needless to say, I am delighted! I may be stuck at home making videos in my bathroom, but at least my stories are seeing the world.

Making it work

BULLETIN: I’m very happy to announce that Gregory K. Pincus just posted me today as one of his 30 poets in 30 days feature. Thank you, Greg! For those interested, the link is http://gottabook.blogspot.com

Hi everyone,

Not much to report this chilly Sunday morning. I slept in a little; hope to make a couple of videos later today for teachers and librarians. I’ve set out CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS (Boyds Mills & Kane) and A PLACE TO START A FAMILY (Charlesbridge). Maybe this time the light will be good in some other room in the house other than the guest bathroom where I had to sit last time.

Now that Missouri is under a stay at home rule and we’re being told to wear masks when we go for groceries, Sandy and I need to get masks. I’ve seen examples on TV of how to make them. This morning I’ll check Google to see what might be available to order.

Yesterday I received a copy of the April issue of “Literary License,” the publication of The Society of Midland Authors. This one includes pictures with quotes of three of us in the 12-state midland region about how we are “moving forward on (our) book projects amid the COVID-19 social distancing.” The other two authors are Margaret McMullan and Cynthia Clampitt. The picture I’ve posted today is a favorite and was taken in Chicago at the annual awards dinner of The Society of Midland Authors in 2017. That year NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T (Charlesbridge) was chosen by the society as the best nonfiction book of the year for children. Sandy, Robin, and Jeff were all there. Jeff took the picture and you can see part of Robin behind me. It was a wonderful occasion.

To video or not to video

Hi everyone,

This past week I’ve spent time recording myself in three 3-minute promotional videos, one each for NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T; A PLACE TO START A FAMILY; and CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS. I’ve intended to do this for months and wasted time searching in vain for the program I used quite a while ago when Sandy and I made a video of me reciting one of my poems, “Practice.” Jeff finally came to my rescue and determined that my program had gone out of existence and must have been dropped during an update. He installed VSDC Video Editor, which is free and easy to use.

Making promotional videos is hard work, at least for me. I forget to smile. I scratch my nose. You can hear my breathing. It’s awkward holding up a book. I fail to include an important point. The light makes my skin look creepy. Etc. But yesterday I finally got a decent take on the third book so now they’re in the file ready to use.

Next I need to set up a new DropBox account so my publishers can share the videos and we can talk about ways to use them. It’s a whole new world out there baby.

Outstanding Science Trade Book List for A PLACE TO START A FAMILY

Hi everyone,

A PLACE TO START A FAMILY (Charlesbridge, 2018) — about structures animals create in which to start their families — has been chosen for the 2019 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books list. This is my second partnership with Giles Laroche, who also illustrated 2017’s NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T, also Charlesbridge. Both were edited by Karen Boss who told me that this year five Charlesbridge titles made it on the list.

I’m delighted to see A PLACE TO START A FAMILY recognized by science teachers. PIRATES was honored by VOYA, NOW YOU SEE THEM was voted best children’s nonfiction book of 2017 by Society of Midland Authors, and now A PLACE TO START is being honored. All three books are science-based poetry so I’m especially happy about that.

Why is this man smiling?

Hi everyone,

Ruth Culham kindly snapped me signing at Charlesbridge. That’s part of my wonderful editor, Karen Boss, in the background. So now I can prove that I really was there! Thank you Ruth!

Here’s Tara Welty between Mary Jo Fresch and me showing off our new book with Scholastic. Tara is Editor-in-Chief for Teacher Resources at Scholastic.

Laura Salas was kind enough to share this selfie from NCTE. With Laura (left), Sylvia Vardell, and Sandy around me, you can understand why I’m smiling!