A good Monday

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I received excellent help from Brett Piper at KOLR10-TV and my son Jeff Harrison. Brett took the two videos I made and placed them into the station’s Tell Me A Story program. You can now see five of my books read by station on-air Talent plus my two videos, and more book readings are to come. To see them, go to KOLR10-TV at https://www.ozarksfirst.com/community-2/, along the top of the page find “Living Ozarks,” click on it, scroll down to “Tell Me A Story,” click on that, and you’ll find the whole menu.

Thanks to Jeff, the videos are now available (until June 30) on YouTube by request from teachers and librarians. If anyone else is interested in having them the publishers ask that they go through a teacher or librarian. To get one of both videos, get in touch with me at DavidlHarrison1@att.net and provide your email address so I can share them with you.

In other news, Tim Rasinski tweeted the hand-washing ditty I wrote at his request and included the charming video made by Joan Arth reciting it with her great-nephew. Right away Mary Jo Fresch retweeted it. I did too and others have started. I hope you’ll join the fun. Tim’s tweet is at https://twitter.com/TimRasinski1/status/1244695652375896064?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet Some of you know Joanie Arth from all her years in assisting at the Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, Missouri. when my 2018 book, CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS, was chosen to represent Missouri at the National Book Fair in Washington, DC, Joanie and her hubby Doug went to Washington to run the Missouri booth.

Yesterday my issue of “Literacy Today” arrived from ILA and I was delighted to see the Guilford Press full page ad, which includes two books, BEST PRACTICES OF LITERACY LEADERS 2ND EDITION and CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM 5th edition. I wrote the poetry chapter in the second title, which was edited by Deborah A. Wooten and Lauren Almonette Liang.

All in all it was a great start on the new week. Today I’ll work on the second poem in a new collaboration, so bring it on.

Tons of puns

Hi everyone,

My thanks to Terry Bond for passing this one along to me:

What does a thesaurus eat for breakfast?
A synonym roll.

Terry has been guilty of such wry word play in the past. In my book with Tim Rasinski and Gay Fawcett called PARTNER POEMS FOR BUILDING FLUENCY, you’ll find a poem called “Groanosaurs”. At the time I was working on the poem I shared it with Terry, who promptly doubled the number of puns. The final poem reads like this:

(Terry Bond, who loves puns, wrote half of this poem. DLH)

What do you call a dinosaur in a hurry?
A dino-scurry.
What do you call a dinosaur in a snowstorm?
A dino-flurry.
What do you call a dinosaur at a funeral?
A dino-bury.
What do you call a dinosaur who likes spicy food?
A dino-curry.
What do you call a dinosaur stuck in tar?
A dino-tarry.
What do you call a dinosaur digging a hole?
A dino-quarry.
What do you call a dinosaur pulling a wagon?
A dino-lorry.
What do you call a dinosaur who takes this test?
A dino-sorry!

(c) 2009 by David L. Harrison
Scholastic Teaching Resources

It was some day

Hi everyone,

Yesterday was a good day. I pulled back a story that had been stuck with an editor for more than ten months and sent it to someone else. She responded in sixteen minutes that she likes it and will take it to committee. In a seven minute period I heard from that editor plus two colleagues, Tim Rasinski and Mary Jo Fresch, on separate book projects that we’re starting. Now both of those future books (fingers crossed) are moving along into the proposal stage. This all happened by 8:00 a.m. What a strange business. In the last few days I’ve placed one book for sure, three others with strong probability, and started two more. Just when I was about out of something to do — remember last week when I got up without a task? — now I’m full boat with projects to attend to.

Yesterday I also stopped what I was doing long enough to comply with a request from my editor at Boyds Mills Press who needed all my research notes/resources for a book of nonfiction poems scheduled for 2019. I pulled them together — all 74 pages, 25,500 words — and sent them to her.

The afternoon news was of a different sort. I received an e-mail from Boyds Mills Press informing me that due to a change in distributors twelve of my old titles are being taken out of the line. Boom. Like that. So if you have ever wanted a copy of any of the following titles, here’s your notice.
Farmer’s Dog Goes to The Forest
Farmer’s Garden (p)
Somebody Catch My Homework (p)
Pirates (p)
Piggy Wiglet…Great Adventure
Connecting Dots
Vacation: We’re Going to the Ocean

At the risk of sounding redundant, it’s a strange business we’re in.


Hi everyone,
My book with Tim Rasinski— Rhymes for the Times: Literacy Strategies through Social Studies — is off to a turtle-esque start and I need to pay more attention to marketing. I worked hard on the book and it turned out well, he mentioned modestly. The project began as three books, one each for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades and I agreed to write twenty poems for each book around a core social studies subject. For 4th, the states; for 5th, American history; and for 6th, ancient civilization.

At some point an editorial decision was made to combine all the material into one book. What I like about the format is that so many classroom activities are designed to put my poems to use. A partial list includes reader’s theater, word ladders, rhyming riddles, Greek and Latin roots, connections through writing, and poetic form. The book is full of such strategies that teachers can put to immediate use with their students. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted a poem from the book. This one is from ancient civilizations.

Imperial Rome
2,100 years ago

Caesar himself,
so it was said,
hated the ruckus —

chariots rattling stony streets,
dogs yapping, screaming boys,
vendors shouting, crowded shops,
roaring hubbub, thrumming noise —

Caesar might have said —

pounding hoof beats, beggars’ cries,
bleating animals, shrieks, squeals,
cracking whips, roaring crowds,
warlike groaning iron wheels —

“I cannot think!”

All was jangle, throb, and clamor,
Clatter, chatter, clang, and clop.
Caesar must have held his head
and longed to make the noises stop.

The biggest city on the earth,
a million people called it home.
“It’s noisy here,” said Caesar.
It was Rome!

I hope to see more schools discover this resource in the coming months. Until they do, I’ll try to spread the word!

Greetings to a new friend

Hi everyone,

Timing is everything. We went out with friends last night. When we got home, I found a package on the porch with two copies of my new book with Tim Rasinski, RHYMES FOR THE TIMES. It was an out with the old in with the new sort of day. I will always miss the three titles that just went out of print but it helps to be holding this new one, especially now.

This is an educational book but the sixty poems in it would make three stand alone trade books, one each on the states, American history, and ancient civilization. Here’s a sample from American history. It’s a villanelle. ‘
American Indians

Our tribes were many, our nations strong.
From the great plains to the bountiful sea
We danced our dance, sang our song.

Mostly our people got along,
Lived their lives in harmony,
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.

Our customs were old, our patience long.
Throughout our ancient history
We danced our dance, sang our song.

We taught our children to belong,
To learn their part so they could see
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.

To kill more than we needed was wrong.
As our animal brothers roamed free,
We danced our dance, sang our song.

We didn’t know of the coming throng
Of men who wouldn’t let us be.
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.
We danced our dance, sang our song.