WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? with Jane Yolen

Another Monday, another great opportunity to catch up with one of my previous Featured Guests to see what’s been going on lately. Today I’m delighted to re-present Jane Yolen. With Jane, there is always a LOT going on. Thanks, Jane, for returning. This time I was able to get your picture posted. I love the one you provided.

I have come back from my 3 1/2 months in Scotland, having gotten a full (short) novel that was under contract done–SNOW IN SUMMER, two short stories (one sold), four proposals for books with poetry and son Jason’s photographs, 3 new HOW DO DINOSAUR books, and got about a half dozen rejections.



WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? with Charles (Father Goose) Ghigna

REMINDERS: Don’t forget to vote for your choice of 2010 Hall of Fame Poets this week. The ballot boxes close Thursday night at 10:00 CST. Early leaders are Euleta Usrey (adult) and Taylor McGowan (young poet). You can also see my W.O.M. poems and let me know if you have a preference among them. Thanks to all.

Back today for an invited encore is none other than Father Goose, sometimes known as Charles Ghigna. To see Charles’s original appearance as my guest on May 7, 2010, here’s the link.

Hi, Charles. It’s good to hear from you again. What’s up with you these days?

Hi David!

Always good to hear from you! You have an amazing blog and are so kind to promote your fellow authors! I look forward to hearing what’s new with YOU! 🙂

My latest book project is a beginning reader that I wrote with my wife, Debra, titled BARN STORM. It was released from Random House last week on Sept. 28. The book is illustrated by the wonderful Diane Greenseid. BTW, I love your SiRs too! 🙂


Charles Ghigna • Father Goose
204 West Linwood Drive
Homewood, AL 35209

“You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? with Sandy Asher

REMINDER: Have you voted yet for this month’s Hall of Fame Poets? You have until this Wednesday night, September 29 to cast your ballot!

Hi Everyone,

It’s Monday and time to bring back another visit and update on WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? You’ve been hearing from Sandy Asher lately as she and I trade weeks chatting about writing on my Tuesday segment, WRITERS AT WORK. So today I asked Sandy to bring us all up to date on what she has been up to lately. To see Sandy’s original appearance on my blog, go to this link. https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/guest-blog-by-sandy-asher/

Hi, Sandy. What’s up with you these days?

Hi, David. The big news about my work is TELL YOUR STORY: THE PLAYS AND PLAYWRITING OF SANDRA FENICHEL ASHER, which is “about my work” but not entirely by me. It’s a collection of six of my published plays for young audiences, with commentary by editors Judy Matetzschk-Campbell, Ph.D., and John D. Newman, Ph.D. The collection made its debut in August at the Dramatic Publishing Company booth at the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) conference in San Francisco. Very thrilling, humbling, and kind of overwhelming, really. I’m used to writing about, not being written about!

Here at home, I’m currently working on a stage adaptation of my picture book HERE COMES GOSLING! This is a really interesting project, my first attempt at something called “full immersion theatre for the very young.” A couple of years ago, my daughter, granddaughter, and I attended a London production of a play called “How Long Is A Piece of String?” It was put on by a company called Oily Cart (see many fascinating clips by doing an “Oily Cart” search on YouTube), which specializes in this kind of theatre. During the course of a magical hour, my granddaughter and the rest of the children, ages 3 – 6, were up and about, each tending to a yarn “baby,” trotting along a “rope-y road” with the actors, rowing a ship on a stormy sea, bathing their babies in a shower of bubbles aglow in colored lights, singing a lullaby — and much, much more.

The idea is to involve the children in the story by engaging their senses as much as possible. The production enchanted all three of our attending generations, and I was determined to try something like it when I got home. HERE COMES GOSLING! seemed perfect for the basic story, and directors at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti and Pollyanna Theatre Company in Austin, TX, have agreed to help me develop the script. I’ve done a couple of drafts and will be going up to Michigan in November to “test drive” some of my ideas with Head Start classes. Performances are scheduled for March at EMU and May in Austin.

But here’s the tricky part: The EMU production will be “full immersion,” with small audiences of children up and involved with the actors all the way. The Pollyanna production needs to be a traditional proscenium stage version, with the actors on stage and the kids in their seats. So I’m writing the play two ways at once! I may even be working with two different composers, one for a more musical version at EMU, the other for mainly incidental, background music for Pollyanna.

What a challenge! And what fun! Along with that, I’m juggling a couple of other plays-in-various-stages-of-progress — one for adults and one for teens — and also continuing my work with Youtheatre at the Fulton on our group-devised script about immigration, “For We Were Strangers in the Land.” That received a workshop production at the Fulton Theatre here in Lancaster this past summer. We revise and rehearse during monthly meetings through the school year and the six-week summer intensive, and then put on a full-out production at the Fulton next July.

And that’s what’s new here in Lancaster, PA. Thanks for asking, David.

WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? with Sylvia Vardell

ANNOUNCEMENT: From time to time I bring you updates from Ralph and Laura at Smories. So now I’m delighted to present a success story from one of our readers, Kara Kramer. Congratulations Kara! Read Kara’s note and consider getting busy!

Dear David,

Since I learned about the Smories website on your blog, I wanted to let you know I have a story posted this month. I just love hearing anything read by those beautiful voices. It is so awesome. Check out mine here

Hi Everyone,

Today we get a visitor all the way from Spain. None other than Sylvia Vardell is checking in to let us know what she has been up to lately. Her report is fascinating. Read on!

Dear David,

Thanks for your sweet offer– and sorry to be so slow in responding. I am in Spain following the IBBY Congress here and checking emails slightly less frequently.I’m honored to be included and have attached two photos of me in Spain, FYI. One is a photo of many (most) of the U.S. members who attended the Congress (with me in pink tights, 3rd from left).

The other is from an exhibition of prominent children’s book illustrators of Spain– this one featuring Tassies who was highlighted in the July issue of BOOKBIRD, the journal I co-edit and my reason for attending the Congress.

IBBY– the International Board on Books for Young People includes 72 nations around the world who all work for promoting books and reading among children. It’s a terrific group and the US section (USBBY) is an active member.

We (USBBY) also hold biennial conferences, the next one is set for Fresno, California in October, 2011. Being part of this group (the US and the global) has taught me so much about the world picture of children’s literature and editing the organization’s journal has been a labor of love.

I’ve also been able to infuse a bit of poetry into the journal and we feature a poem as the last page of each issue– by a wide-ranging variety of poets from around the world. In the October issue, the poem is “FamĂ­lia Poliglota/Multilingual Family” in both Portuguese and English written by Bartolomeu Campos de Queiros, a finalist for the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award with approximately 50 works of prose and poetry for children and young adults to his credit. More studies have been published about his work than about any other Brazilian author of children’s literature. See how much I’m learning?! Our global poetry world is fascinating!

Thanks again– Sylvia

Sylvia M. Vardell, Ph.D.
Texas Woman’s University
School of Library & Information Studies
P O Box 425438
Denton TX 76204-5438
Author of:
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN ACTION; A LIBRARIAN’S GUIDE (Libraries Unlimited, 2008) POETRY PEOPLE; A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO CHILDREN’S POETS (Libraries Unlimited, 2007) POETRY ALOUD HERE! SHARING POETRY WITH CHILDREN IN THE LIBRARY (ALA, 2006) BOOK LINKS columnist: Everyday Poetry Co-Editor, BOOKBIRD, the journal of international children’s literature (http://www.ibby.org)



Last week I brought back Wendy Schmalz to tell us about her most recent activities. She kicked off the new Monday segment, WHAT ARE THE PROS UP TO? in fine style.

This week it’s nice to feature another friend, Gay Fawcett who, as always, is busily engaged in new work. Gay, thanks for returning to my blog. I met Gay when she, Tim Rasinski, and I wrote a book together for Scholastic called Partner Poems for Building Fluency. Since then most of you have met her too through her poetry and her informed, caring comments.

Hi, David,
Thanks for asking for an update. Here’s what I’m currently doing. I’m into so many things, it gets confusing even for me.

1. I just finished up a book, which I co-authored with Robin Wiesznewski, Nancy Padak, and Tim Rasinski titled Evidence-Based Instruction in Reading: Culturally Responsive Instruction. Should be out in a few months through Pearson.

2. Finished up two books with Tim Rasinski, Kristen Lems and Robert Ackland titled Fluency in Action: Preschool- Grade 5 Fluency in Action: Grade 5 and Beyond. Those will be out in November with Scholastic.

3. Working on a book on vocabulary instruction–no co-authors on this one.

4. Teaching a writing course for University of Central Florida. It’s not a poetry-writing course. I’m just exploring my poetry wings through your blog. However, you should “see” some students of mine in November as I am requiring them to participate that month.

5. Teaching Educational Psychology for University of Dayton.

6. Doing some presentations for teachers on the new national Common Core Standards for English Language Arts.

7. Evaluating a Federal grant for Palm Beach Community College.

Just as important, I’m preparing for a Teddy Bear picnic with my grandkids, reading The Fatal Shore (about Australia’s founding), and walking and doing yoga every day.

Life is full of interesting work and fun times!

“Never confuse motion with action.”
–Benjamin Franklin