Off to visit with kids

Hi everyone,

I’m in Warrensburg, Missouri today for my 36th time to participate in the Children’s Literature Festival. Last year I had to cancel to have my gallbladder removed and a hernia repaired. I’m glad to be going back this year!

As always I look forward to talking to the latest groups of children. More than 150 schools will be represented. I love seeing so many author and illustrator friends as well as teachers who come each year to bring their classes. I’m sorry to say that my good friend Susan Hutchens and her hubby Danny can’t make it this year but hope for better luck in 2018.

Spring is itching Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

It’s time for love around Goose Lake, or dating at least. Lately I’ve observed couples of ducks and geese strolling around yards, slyly checking out cozy nesting spots in window boxes and behind hedges. Down on the water, male Canadians are fussing over territory.

Early blooming trees such as plum and Bradford pear are showing off their finery in spite of temperatures that have vacillated from low twenties to high seventies over the past few weeks. Weeds are among us of course. And yesterday I finally spotted the first dandelions.

A handful of robins that overwintered here rather than spend the energy migrating are hopping around with more positive attitudes these days. Surely the worms will soon shake off their winter torpor and come out to give a hungry bird a fighting chance. Any day now I look for the return of the migrating robins from somewhere south, probably Florida, full of berries and looking for love.

By the way. I DID finish the poem yesterday afternoon. Or at least I think I did. I’ll come back to it today and will probably pick at it some but, Jane, I’m about ready to abandon it.

Sometimes the words fight back

Hi everyone,

I want to make a correction to yesterday’s post. My article, “For the Fun of It,” appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Missouri Reader. I knew that but worded the note poorly. My apologies to co-editors Sam Bommarito and Glenda Nugent. For anyone interested, you can click on this link to find that whole issue. https://joom.ag/SMZQ The current issue is also online and can be viewed here. https://joom.ag/q9OQ

I hope today I’ll finally stop fretting over the poem I started on Monday. It’s the first of the new collection I mentioned and it just will not surrender. For one thing I’m working in free verse, which I find harder than verse. It took one day to research the poem but that was also my birthday and I spent much of the time reading good wishes and responding to them. The second day I mostly stared at my notes, trying to find the poem hidden somewhere among them.

Day three I finally got a draft going but it was rough and clumsy. I kept coming back to the same few lines and tweaking them over and over. By the end of the day I knew I’d made improvements but it was hard to prove it.

Yesterday I finally shaped the verses into a logical form with a sense of sequence and balance, but it still had a long way to go.

So here I am on day five. I am beginning to forgive this stubborn child of my mind but that could change if it resists me for another day. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Missouri Reading Journal

Hi everyone,

I think I mentioned the article coming up in the fall issue of Missouri Reader but I forgot to tell you when the journal came out. I won’t print the whole piece here but this is how it starts.

The Missouri Reader
Vol. 40 / Issue 1 A publication of the
Fall 2016 Missouri State Council

David Harrison- For the Fun of It

“When I made up my first poem, I was hungry
and tired of waiting. My mother was frying fish
in the kitchen and I was sent to the living room
to wait for dinner. The words I thought of
expressed my need. I liked the way they
sounded. “Sometimes I wish/I had a fish/Upon a
little dish.” No one told me I had to make up a
poem. I was six-years-old. It was just a fun
thing to do. My mother taped the poem into my
scrapbook. High praise!

Seven decades later I’m still making up
poems. Kids ask why I climb out of bed at 6:00
a.m. to settle into my daily writing routine. The
reason hasn’t changed. It’s a fun thing to do.
Writing poems makes me feel good. Writing
well is neither simple nor easy, but it provides
me with a sense of gratification that drives my
desire to do it again.”

Versions of the article have appeared in New England Reading Journal and are scheduled for Arizona Reading Journal and California Reading Journal in their next issues.

Calling for teachers

Hi everyone,

SONY DSC


Mary Jo Fresch and I have been at work on a book for classroom teachers for quite some time and have finally arrived at a point where we need to work with some teachers who can provide samples of student writing to go in the book. The target audience is grades 3-6 and the subject is about how to help students prepare to write before they start writing. There are a number of good books in the market about finding ideas, drafting, revising, etc. but few give appropriate space to the importance of researching the subject before writing the first word.

Between us we have a list of teachers to turn to for input and we recently sent them an outline of classroom activities they can try with their students and submit the results for our book. Some of them responded to an earlier call for help so we have their comments and samples in hand. One problem we encounter in situations like this is that teachers plan their year in advance and few of them can rearrange their lessons to accommodate folks outside their classrooms. Our deadline to complete this book is the end of this month. Obviously we won’t hit it, but we need to keep moving.

So this is a call for teachers who like the idea of having their names and samples of their students’ work in a Scholastic book and are in a position to work with us on a quick turnaround basis. If you know of other teachers who might have an interest, please share this with them and urge them to get in touch. We’ll gladly forward an outline of the book with specific activities that we’d like to include. We won’t overload anyone. No teacher should need to tackle more than one or two of them.

Thanks!

David