Hi everyone,

Today Kirkus publishes its review of my new poetry collection, A PLACE TO START A FAMILY.

Poems About Creatures That Build
Author: David L. Harrison
Illustrator: Giles Laroche

Review Issue Date: December 1, 2017
Online Publish Date: November 13, 2017
Pages: 32
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.99
Price ( e-book ): $17.99
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-58089-748-8
ISBN ( e-book ): 978-1-63289-605-6
Category: Poetry

Twelve poems present a variety of animal homes and mate-attracting constructions. Arachnids (trapdoor spider, garden spider), birds (red ovenbird, white stork), fish (stickleback, pufferfish), insects (termite, paper wasp), mammals (star-nosed mole, beaver, prairie dog), and a reptile (the king cobra) are each introduced by way of a double-page spread and a simple two-to-eight stanza poem. In four sections—building underground, on land, in the water, and in the air—animals are shown building webs, nests, food traps, and tunneled homes, along with their mates, eggs, or young. Laroche’s layered, cut-paper illustrations are clear and intriguingly detailed, handsomely supporting the informational content of each poem. Rich colors and varied textures allow this 3-D original artwork to work well in two dimensions. Harrison’s poems employ varied voices, rhythms, and formats; all are memorable and easy to understand. Some are humorous: a busy stickleback male appeals to a potential mother of his family: “The best nest / that’s ever been! / Please, / Ms. Stickleback, / swim in.” Backmatter gives each animal an explanatory paragraph and, for several, a suggestion of books for further exploration. The author’s and illustrator’s own sources are not indicated. A bonus poem and terrific illustration on the last page describe “A different kind of builder,” sun coral, which creates coral reefs by congregating together. A fine synthesis of poetry and science. (Informational picture book/poetry. 5-8)

I hope that portends more nice things in the book’s future. We won’t know much more until the title is released on January 16 so we have several more weeks of waiting.

My thanks again to Karen Boss (Charlesbridge) for her great editing and to Giles Laroche for his wonderful art!

Thanks to those who have already placed orders. Don’t forget my giveaway of a copy to someone who writes a comment on by February 16.,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch


Giving away a book

Hi everyone,

I want to remind you I’ll give away a copy of A PLACE TO START A FAMILY one month after it’s released on January 16. If you order now and leave a comment on between January 16 and February 16, I’ll put your name in a pool and draw one to receive the extra free copy.

Here’s a sample poem from the new book.

White Stork

When high on chimney top you nest,
legend tells us those who dwell
within the house are surely blessed.

How old your nest, no one can tell,
you keep it in such good repair.
Your ancestors placed it well.

With sturdy sticks they built it there,
where now you cast your lucky spell
and raise your baby storks with care.

(C) by David L. Harrison
Charlesbridge Publishing, 2018
reprinted by permission

Off to a good start

Hi everyone,

First of all, I have no idea how “Remembering Dr. Bond” managed to become the title when I started this post yesterday. I didn’t put it there. Laura was my biology professor and advisor at Drury University and I have wonderful memories of her. She guided me toward Emory University for my graduate work in parasitology. She also managed to pull strings to get me into a Drury writing class — my one and only as a student there — although I lacked the prerequisites needed for the course. Dr. Bond changed my life in important ways and I have written about her in the past.

But for this post I started to say that I’d just checked A PLACE TO START A FAMILY on and was delighted to see that it’s already ranked 599 in zoology for children. It doesn’t come out until January 16 so I want to thank you for ordering copies early. I hope enough people will order and qualify to post their thoughts about the book that I’ll have a good pool of names from which to draw a winner for the free autographed copy.

In the meantime, let’s see those CAT poems on Word of the Month. I know we have a lot of cat lovers among us so let’s hear from you!


A sporting proposition

Hi everyone,

In my mail when we returned was an advance copy of A PLACE TO START A FAMILY, coming out in January from Charlesbridge. I’ve shown you the cover before but here it is again.

Amazon seems to be taking advance orders now so I propose this: If you order a copy, you’ll be qualified to post a review/comment once the book comes out. I’ll wait for 30 days after the official pub date and draw a name from those who post a review, good or bad. I’ll send the one I draw from a hat an autographed book that can be a gift for someone else.

I’ve never tried this before but let’s see how it goes. Enough comments might help sell the book but the pool of names may still be small enough that chances of winning the extra book could be good.

A Place to Start a Family

Hi everyone,

This morning I spotted my next book of poetry, A PLACE TO START A FAMILY, posted on Amazon even though it doesn’t come out until January 18, 2018. I’m happy to show you the cover at least. Giles Laroche has done another wonderful job and I think you’ll agree when you see it. Way to go, Giles!