A good week

Hi everyone,

A short week but a good one. We returned from Oregon on Tuesday after a great trip with Jeff and Jennifer that included Portland, Crater Lake, Sunriver, and Cannon Beach. Spectacular views, wonderful food, and loving company. Couldn’t ask for more or better.

I’m twenty work-days away from my Fairfax deadline and feel confident I can make it. A lot of things are going undone for now but it won’t be much longer before I can return to a more normal routine. This past week I agreed on terms for an old story of mine, “The Little Boy’s Secret,” to appear in a U.K. HarperCollins anthology for 7-year-olds. The story originally came out in THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES, co-published by American Heritage Press in the U.S.A. and Jonathan Caple in England in 1972.

I’m set for a virtual return on October 30 to The BookMark in Neptune Beach, Florida. This time I’m introducing the new book, I WANT AN APPLE. I look forward to it.

I began sketching notes for a video I promised to make as part of the Fairfax project. I need to make it before the end of November. Mary Jo Fresch, Laura Robb, Tim Rasinski, and I made plans to rehearse a 60-minute webinar for California Reading Conference that will be broadcast live on November 18.

Next week I speak at American Association of School Librarians at its national conference in Salt Lake City. Kate Coombs and I will discuss science/nature-based poetry for young people. Our presentation, “Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Connecting Young Readers to Nature,” will be moderated by award winning librarian Amanda Jones from Louisiana. I’ll speak on the subject in general but with emphasis on THE DIRT BOOK.

Time to get to work.

A thank you note can mean so much

Hi everyone,

Those of us who write love it when someone sends a note of appreciation. I got one yesterday. You may have seen it posted as a comment to my blog post. It came from Eva, who lives in Pennsylvania.

“My five-year-old has just discovered your book of giant stories. So we looked you up to see what else you have written. So thank you from my little Amy Lee, Who is right now sitting on our swing on our deck in the evening here in the woodlands of Pennsylvania (when she really should be in bed) asking me to please read your Book of Giant Stories!”

Eva must be a writer, too, by the way she paints such a beautiful image with a few carefully arranged words. The note arrived as we were sitting down for dinner and I told my tablemates about it as we began to eat. It filled me with happy pride to know that as I sat surrounded by people I love, a little girl in Pennsylvania was cuddled next to her mother, listening to stories in a book I wrote forty-nine years ago in 1972.

The Book of Giant Stories has been translated into a dozen or so languages and used extensively in anthologies. It has been around so long that on occasion it has been mistakenly taken as a classic handed down from antiquity. In 1973 the book received a Christopher Award, which was established in 1949 by Father James Keller of the Christopher Foundation. The award was created “to salute media that affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” I know that other recipients during the 72-year-history of the awards include Jane Yolen, Ralph Fletcher, Charlotte Zolotow, David Macaulay, Arnold Lobel, and Lee Bennett Hopkins. No doubt you would know many others as well.

Thank you, Eva, for stirring so many warm memories.

On the lookout for summer bugs

Hi everyone,

Next on our summer topic suggestions is this one from Jeanne Poland, who sent this entertaining challenge.

“Today a house fly sat on my deck rail and said hello. Jeanne PolandPlease entertain us with some summer bugs. I want kindergarten science on your blog. I’m sure you wrote the poems already.”

Jeanne, here are two I may have posted before. The first is from the book called bugs, poems about creeping things. The second appeared in The Book of Giant Stories. I have many bug poems but kindergarten children might like these. I’ll look for others but in the meantime the floor is open for others to post their own bug poems, including the clever Jeanne herself.

David L. Harrison

Never kiss
The centipede,
Pick him up
Or hug him.

The centipede is
All you’ll do is
Bug him.

In his youth,
The centipede
Never learned
To play,

Never learned to
Or kiss.
Now he’s
That way

So never kiss
The centipede.
I say
Not once
But twice,

The centipede’s
A waste of time.
He simply

The Gnat
David L. Harrison

A careless giant once sat
On top of a very small gnat.
The gnat looked around
And said with a frown,
“That giant has ruined my hat!”

Giants in German

Hi everyone,

Congratulations to Sylvia Vardell on her new book, THE POETRY TEACHER’S BOOK OF LISTS. I am ordering my copy at once. It sounds like just the thing for anyone with an interest in children’s poetry. Way to go, Sylvia!

My new pleasure is a translation of my book, THE BOOK OF GIANTS, into German. The original book came out in 1972 and was published in the United States by American Heritage Press, in the U.K. by Jonathan Cape, in Canada by McGraw-Hill, and in Italy by Mondadori. When the book won the Christopher Medal, additional translations began to arrive in my mailbox. I tried to keep one of each but I’m not sure I have them all. I see Chinese, Japanese, French, and German on my bookshelf. From here I count fifteen different editions and translations. Trade and book club sales worldwide exceeded 750,000.

McGraw-Hill acquired American Heritage Press in the 70s and there came a time when GIANTS no longer fit into the company’s thrust. I retrieved my rights to the book. After letting it rest for a time I approached Kent Brown at Boyds Mills Press and and he brought back THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES. It’s now available in paperback. I’m delighted to see international interest in the book continue and this new German translation makes me hope that other countries will rediscover it. Recent queries have come from the Philippenes, Ireland, Iran, and India. Storytellers in Canada, the U.K., and Australia have told stories from the book and at least one of the three stories has been read on the BBC. GIANTS has been featured on educational TV and released many years ago on CD-ROM. I’ve seen it described as classic folklore tales, which makes me smile. After all, I may be classic but I’m not that old!


New translation for Giants

Hi everyone,

In my mail yesterday was a copy of THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES translated into Lithuanian. I had been expecting it and was delighted to see my old stories in another language. I’ve lost track of how many times the book has been translated since it came out in 1972. When GIANTS won the Christopher Award, foreign contracts came quickly and I think a dozen or more countries published it. Some were in English but at least ten or twelve were in other languages.

Individual stories from the book have appeared in numerous anthologies and reading textbooks. The most recent request was from the Phillipines this past summer.

Wishing everyone a good week,