Home from IRA

BULLETIN: Poets, forgive me for being slow to post the May Word of the Month! Blame it on IRA. I’ll remove April’s poems and comments this morning. In the meantime, you can start thinking about your new poems. The word is WINDOW.

Hi everyone,

I’m back at my computer this morning, trying to decide how and where to begin playing catch up. IRA was a whirlwind and I loved it. Sunday at 5:30 I met Janet Wong, April Halprin Wayland, and Esther Hershenhorn for conversation at Mercat a La Planxa then attended a wonderful dinner party at Dee’s Mandarin Restaurant hosted by Highlights Foundation where I had a chance to greet my friend Kent Brown.

Monday began with breakfast at 8:00 with Tori Bachman from IRA followed by meeting Laurie Edmondson at the Phoenix Learning Resources booth to help introduce our new DVD series and kit, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. (More about that later).

From 11:00 – 1:45 I participated in a symposium called “Using Poetry for Word Study, Fluency, and Instruction.” The other presenters were Tim Rasinski, Brod Bagert, and Alicia McCartney. I divided the afternoon into signings at Boyds Mills Press, Scholastic, and Phoenix Learning Resources.

At 5:30 I attended the Scholastic Authors’ Reception at the Cage Restaurant, which was splendid, as always, and then caught a cab to join my friends and hosts, Dona Rice, Conni Medina, and Sharon Coan, at the Teacher Created Materials dinner at Gene & Georgetti Steakhouse. What a great evening. However, during dinner I received a phone call that the manufacturing plant on my property in Springfield, which was formerly my firm, Glenstone Block Company, was on fire. Sandy went to the scene, which was blocked by six firetrucks and three squad cars and had a hard time getting close. She finally spoke with the fire marshal and learned that the fire had been set by someone. It took hours to bring it under control and the building is a total loss.

There was nothing I could do, of course, except grind my teeth. I haven’t been to the scene yet but yesterday’s and today’s papers show pictures and explain more about the situation. The original plant was built on that spot in 1945 by my dad and his partner. Lots of memories went up with the flames and smoke.

Later in the evening I left the Teacher Created Materials dinner and barely made it to the Poetry Olio held in the Hilton in time to present a couple of poems and enjoy hearing a few by other poets. I was supposed to meet Mary Jo Fresch for a nightcap but it had been a long day and we both decided to put off getting together until Tuesday.

Tuesday began with breakfast with Ruth Culham and then I spent the rest of the day signing at Boyds Mills Press, Phoenix Learning Resources, Zaner-Bloser, and back to Boyds Mills Press. Mary Jo and I managed to squeeze in a brief meeting about the book project we’re doing together. I finished there at 4:00 as the exhibit hall was closing for the day, grabbed a cab to the airport, and made it to my gate with a few minutes to spare. For some reason I napped in the cab going out.

That’s my report. It is always stimulating to attend IRA and see so many old friends. Every year I meet new ones too. I’m already looking forward to next time.

David

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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.

PIRATES

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.

MAMMOTH BONES AND BROKEN STONES

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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.”

MY BOOK poem from SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK


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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.

THE BOOK OF GIANT STORIES


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

DYLAN THE EAGLE-HEARTED CHICKEN


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

ON OTHER FRONTS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

David