What Are the Pros Up To?

Hi everyone,

Recently I invited Charles Waters to rejoin us with an update on his activities since he was my Featured Guest on July 9, 2010. It has been a while since I’ve posted an update on a previous guest and Charles came through with an impressive list of accomplishments and good news. Way to go, Charles!

Well things have been busy in the past 4 months so let’s play catch up.
-Continuing to do the Disney jobs to the best of my ability and am thankful for the employment.
-Same thing goes for Sleuths.

-I will be performing my own poems for the first time on April 23rd at the Orlando Public Library Southwest Branch for their National Poetry Month Celebration. Afterwards there will be a Q & A and writing/performing workshop conducted by myself. This is a big deal to me because after performing over 150 of other people’s poems for 3 years at Poetry Alive at last the time has come where I act out my own words to an audience.

-I’ll also be performing at the IRA (International Reading Association) poetry extravaganza in May which will be held in my own backyard of Orlando, FL. I can’t thank performance poets Sara Holbrook (www.saraholbrook.com ) and Michael Salinger (www.michaelsalinger.com ) enough for this opportunity.

-I’ve been accepted to the Highlights Foundation retreat called The Poetry Muse which is a week-long children’s poetry residency mentored by Rebecca Kai Dotlich (www.rebeccakaidotlich.com ). I was able to secure a partial scholarship for this event which made it all possible. Rebecca has become a welcome addition to my life as I’ve gotten to know her personally aside from the hours I had spent reading her books and performing her poems with Poetry Alive in the past. The retreat will run from August 13-18 in the hills of Northeastern PA near the town of Honesdale.

-3 poems of mine have been accepted by Georgia Heard (www.georgiaheard.com ) for her anthology called The Arrow Finds Its Mark: Found Poems. According to Wikipedia Found Poems are: a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. The resulting poem can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original.
I should add that in Found Poems you’re allowed to create your own title to the piece as well. I sent Georgia 36 poems, she took 3 of them and they’ll be known in the book as “School Poems.” Needless to say I’m thrilled to be in my first anthology and am looking forward to receiving the check in the mail! The book is scheduled to be released in early 2012 by Roaring Brook Press out of NYC.

-Continuing to write commissioned poems for the magazine Spotlight on Recovery (www.spotlightonrecovery.com ). A magazine that deals with overcoming issues that life may bring you; it’s a worthy endeavor spearheaded by a wonderful woman out of Brooklyn, NY named Robin Graham.

-Got another poem accepted by a major children’s poetry anthologist for a big deal publishing house. However I’m not at liberty to reveal anything other than that but believe me once I receive the go ahead I’m shouting it from the rooftops!!!

-Was asked to once again participate in 30 Poets/30 Days where a new poem by a children’s poet will be published every day during the National Poetry Month of April. This event was spearheaded by poet/social networking extraordinaire Greg Pincus (www.gottabook.blogspot.com ).

-My dear friend/web designing visionary Isabel will be giving my website a good old fashioned facelift this month with new additions including my acting reel, more poems and each poem read by me. http://www.charleswaters.net /

-Got cast in a Home Depot commercial where I’m helping customers find the material they’re looking for.

-Got cast in a Pepsi commercial as a vintage baseball player, then a day later found out they didn’t want me after all. This is a good lesson for young people because sometimes you can do the best job you can and still have it not be enough for reasons COMPLETELY out of your control.

-Participated in a Navy Seal designed 3.1 mile obstacle course called The Rugged Maniac in February finishing in the top 3rd of my heat. I was pretty proud of myself, considering that I’ve never done anything like that before. There was lots of jumping in and crawling through mud as well as climbing 20 foot high walls. It was so much fun (or I’m losing my mind) that I’m doing a similar race called The Rugged Warrior on April 30th.

Wish me luck … with everything!

Thanks again, Charles, for the great update. The scope of your interests, activities, and accomplishments is impressive!


What Are the Pros Up To, with Cheryl Harness


Hi everyone,

I’m always glad to welcome back previous Featured Guests to give us quick updates on recent mountains climbed and publishers’ doors battered in. Cheryl Harness is one of my favorite pals and a consistant star at children’s literature festivals when kids have a choice of who they want to meet and listen to. Thanks, Cheryl, as always, and congratulations on the new book. (She always sounds like it’s a miracle when she places a book but believe me, it isn’t.)

David, did I tell you that I sold a manuscript? For the first time in an awfully long time. Almost makes one tempted to believe in oneself. Albert Whitman’s going to do my picture book about Dr. Mary Walker, that feisty old character. The nice, sweet ed. there had me do a couple of pictures by way of an audition so I’m still waiting to see if I’ll be doing the illustrations. I’d never had to do that before, but as you know, the world is a very different place nowadays. and always has been, as you also know.


I had a great visit in Joplin with old friends w/ Vicki Grove & Veda Boyd Jones. I swear that's the best thing about this so-called book biz, the people you get to know. You for instance.

I got to visit Savannah, GA for a bit just here lately. My baby brother's daughter was married, time being a runaway train. She's completing a doctor of phys. therapy degree & she married a cute young
baseball player! look up a fella w/ the Mets organization, named Josh Stinson. And if you look on
my facebook page you'll see a pic of me w/ my uncle Lester. I visited him in Florida.

Life sure has its compensations, no?

Here’s a link to a recent article about Cheryl. I hope you’ll click on it to learn more about today’s Featured Guest.


What Are the Pros Up To, with Marilyn Singer

Hello everyone,

Today on What Are the Pros Up To, I’m pleased to bring back Marilyn Singer to tell us what she has been doing since her last appearance here. As always, Marilyn keeps busy and remains one of our most popular and successful poets. If you have thoughts or questions, please post them in the comments below.

2010 has been quite a remarkable year for me. MIRROR, MIRROR came out in March and has gotten six starred reviews, and been listed as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post, Horn Book, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, Scripps News Service, and blogger Betsy Bird’s list. In addition, it is on the Texas Bluebonnet Master List. I am pleased to announce that I’ve recently completed an as yet unnamed companion book of fairy tale reversos which will be illustrated by the divine Josee Masse, who also illustrated MIRROR, MIRROR.

Other highlights included participating in the annual Poetry Blast at ALA last June and in Sylvia Vardell’s “Poets and Bloggers” panel at NCTE in November, being featured on Reading Rockets, and flying to Washington DC to tape an interview for the Kennedy Center’s forthcoming program “Poets and Presidents,” which will be on educational TV and the Internet beginning January 21.

In the coming year, I have five books coming out: TWOSOMES: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom (Knopf); TALLULAH’S TUTU (Clarion), the first in a series of picture books about a girl in ballet class; WHAT IS YOUR DOG DOING? (Atheneum), a rhymed picture book; CATERPILLARS (EarlyLight), a nonfiction book; and A STICK IS AN EXCELLENT THING: Poems about Everyday Play (Clarion).

My husband and I continue to dance up a storm. Who knows what that might inspire?

What Are The Pros Up To?

REMINDER: Vote by 10:00 CST tonight. That’s when the polls cut off!

Hi everyone,

Mondays are when I like to present past Featured Guests to give us an update on recent and current activities. As is often the case, busy people can’t always take time off when they might like to. Therefore, I’m giving you my own update today.

First, meet my wife Sandy. This was taken on a trip to Dogwood Canyon near Branson, Missouri.

Pretty classy gal. I’d share a trunk with her any day.

I’ve had some nice things happen to my work recently.


As I mentioned last Saturday, PIRATES is on next year’s Young Hoosier Book Award Master Reading List along with 19 others in the intermediate category.



Nominated for one of the two SAA 2010 book awards—“a book that is written for the general public and presents the results of archaeological research to a broader audience” http://www.saa.org . The nomination stated, “Harrison’s book targets 4th-7th graders (ca. 9-12 year olds), a most-important age group that rarely receives nonfiction attention in this medium from the archaeological community. It is this age group that experiences tremendous intellectual development, when children begin to read to learn (rather than learn to read), start to think critically, and display a burgeoning curiosity about everything. Mr. Harrison has done a tremendous service for our discipline by focusing on this age group and introducing an up-to-date story full of concepts, facts, and current issues.”

At Pittsburg University, Dr. Anthony Boldurian, Professor of Anthropology and Director, Archaeology Program, writes, “It may interest you to know that next semester I am teaching for the first time a newly-developed course, directed specifically for majors in the Science Teacher-Ed program. The course, Science + Prehistory →Archaeology, is designed as a pedagogical approach to teaching teachers-to-be about how to instruct archaeology in the Science classroom (elementary & secondary levels). One of the texts I have for required reading is your Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones.”



Reprinted as the featured poem to start Chapter Two: “Learning about Reading and Literature,” in the latest edition (7th) of Essentials of Children’s Literature. Poems by Charles Ghigna and Rebecca Dotlich also appear in this book.

Selected by a western city to be lettered around their new bookmobile. I hope to learn more about the final design soon.



Translatioin into Lithuanian is in the works. Previous translations include French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Afrikaans, Norwegian, and Danish.



Selected by Zaner-Bloser for their Voices in Reading Program. (http://www.zaner-bloser.com/Voices-Reading.html )


I just returned from NCTE in Orlando where I presented Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. We made new friends and, I hope, recruits to the monthly exercise in imagination. REMINDER: Voting ends tonight at 10:00 CST for the November poems.


On December 12-15 I’ll be in Paterson, New Jersey at three schools to provide professional development for teachers and work with their students. I’ll continue the work later on Skype.


I’m excited about the new program for Drury, to be called This Week with David Harrison. We have a team of four working out the details for a regular 7-8 minute program that teachers can bring into their classrooms nationwide. The central theme will be literacy and each week I’ll offer tips and ideas about writing and reading.


Yesterday was the kickoff for a book drive for preschool children, which is part of Family Voices (another project with Drury). We have recorded 17 well-known people reading 34 age appropriate books. This library of children’s literature will be given on a CD to parents who agree to record their own voices reading to their children. Families will also receive free books for their children five or under. More about that later.


On a closing note, I’m working on the final four poems to complete a new manuscript. The book will be published by Boyds Mills Press and illustrated by Dan Burr (who did PIRATES.)


What Are the Pros Up To, with Bobbi Katz

Today I’m very happy to bring Bobbi Katz back to give us an update on what’s going on with her lately. As always, Bobbi is busy!

I know lots of writers feel nurtured by critique groups, but I have never been drawn to them. I believe that when I talk about the contents of what I’d like to write or what I’m working on, somehow my creativity springs a leak.The energy seeps out of the project. So I will be vague.For the first time in more years than I can count, instead of focusing on writing a particular book on my own, I’ve been collaborating, both with J. Patrick Lewis on a collection of poems and also with a musician, who composes, among other things, choral music. I’m writing lyrics! I always thought that the lyrics we hear with music were no different than those we read. Since childhood, I’ve made up words to go with music. Now, however, I realize that the words which are sung, just exist in time. Words that are meant to be read, exist in space as well. We can return to that place on the page for the word or idea that we missed on the first go-around. We can reconsider an image. A simple explanation: Reading poems aloud engages more of our senses than simply hearing a lyric sung. I am surprised by the old woman who looks out at me from my mirror. Life never ceases to amaze her with new delights and challenges!

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Port Ewen, NY 12466