The price of procrastination

Hi everyone,

I’ve mentioned before that THE DIRT BOOK is on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master Reading List for 2023-24. As part of the preparation for that year, KATE COSGRAVE and I were asked to make individual videos to explain how we made the book and to add answers to a list of questions. The deadline was way off in the future.

The smart thing would have been to make my video and check it off my worry list. I didn’t, of course, and in time I forgot about the obligation entirely. Yesterday evening Kate got around to making her video, and it’s just really excellent. She looks good, sounds good, and shows both of our books that she has illustrated, including AND THE BULLFROGS SING.

Today is the deadline that once seemed so far in the future. I’m at the Wilderness Club near Branson, an hour’s drive from Springfield. I didn’t bring “video clothes” with me, nor do I have a copy of THE DIRT BOOK with me. Sometime today I’ll check to see if there’s a library nearby that has a copy of my book that I can borrow. If I can’t cobble together some decent clothes, I’ll have to drive back to Springfield anyway.

My deadline to review my editor’s comments for the upcoming book of poems is tomorrow. I hadn’t intended to work much while we were here relaxing, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

About the Texas Bluebonnet

Hi everyone,

After I’d already announced that THE DIRT BOOK is one of 20 titles selected for the 2023-2024 Bluebonnet Master List, I found this picture posted on the Texas site, plus some factoids. The list was chosen from 1018 books that were submitted. The books are for grades 3-6. Each year, more than 75,000 third-through-sixth graders from across Texas vote for their favorite title from the master list. “Read 5, then decide” is a slogan known by school librarians, public librarians and homeschooling parents across the state. 

Texas Bluebonnet

Hi everyone,

I’m delighted to have my most recent book of poems, THE DIRT BOOK, selected for the 2023-2024 Texas Bluebonnet Master List. The announcement was made today. The book is wonderfully illustrated by KATE COSGROVE and published by Holiday House.

Previous recognitions for THE DIRT BOOK include:

  • Named as one of eleven “Can’t Miss” poetry books on “2021 Poetry: Versification for the Masses,” for School Library Journal, 2021
  • Art from the book displayed in New York City at The Society of Illustrators “Original Art” exhibit. This exhibit showcases original art from the year’s best children’s books as determined by a jury of outstanding illustrators, art directors, and editors.⁠
  • 2022 Notable Books: NCTE’s 21 Best Poetry and Verse Novels for Kids
  • Named by New York City Public Libraries as one of the six best books of children’s poetry published in 2021. Three of the poets are from Argentina, Chili, and Haiti.
  • Named by National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to its 2022 list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12.
  • On master list of finalists for the state of Kansas Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award.

Pirates on Texas Bluebonnet list

rubbermanPOETRY TIP: If anyone is struggling with a way to start your “thanks” poem, go to the Teacher page on my website, scroll down to Teaching Tool for the month of August, and try the association technique described there.

I was delighted to learn that PIRATES has been named to the Texas Bluebonnet Master List for next school year. As I understand it, at least 10,000 Texas students will be reading titles from the list of 20 nominees and eventually vote for their favorite. I’m up against the likes of Gary Paulsen, Linda Sue Park, Kate Klise, and many other great writers, so I’m pleased to see my book of poetry listed among them.

For more information about the Bluebonnet awards, go to: .