Another successful Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks

Hi everyone,

Another Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks has come and gone — the 35th — and I’d call it another success. About 2,000 children attended and hundreds of adults. This year there were eight authors and artists and as I sat at my table signing books last night I was reminded, as I often am on such occasions, of all the talented people around the room.

Brad Sneed, Janie (J.B.) Cheaney, June Rae Wood, KD McCrite, Marie Smith, Obert Skye, and Roland Smith were all there and had spent the day thrilling young audiences with their wit, wisdom, and special genius for telling stories and bringing characters to life through words and pictures. One boy asked me if we every felt like competitors, a question I don’t believe I’ve been asked before. I told him that we’re all friends and celebrate when something nice happens to any of us.

During the evening event, Janie and Obert gave brief talks/performances and everyone in the room loved them. They were funny and charming and highly entertaining. My thanks again to Chris Craig and Gale Clithero (the other two members of our Byron Biggers Band) for the fun of performing six numbers together.

It was a lively evening, well attended, and as always we were all grateful for the long hours of preparation by the committee of dedicated women who create the festival and run it year after year, including Becky Crowder, Karen Martin, Margaret Butler, Judith John, Sue Charles, Melinda Hammerschmidt, and I know I’m forgetting someone.

I slept well last night.

A nice interview over at Janie Cheaney’s place

Hi everyone,

I report with sadness that my mother goose has abandoned her nest after sitting on her eggs for more than three weeks. She’s covered the spot with twigs and feathers so I can’t be sure if the remaining eggs are still hidden there. But one thing for sure is that she no longer attends to the business of incubating her young. Maybe the little ones inside failed to develop properly and she, through the wisdom in her genes, knew it. She has withstood storms, rainy nights, cold raw winds, the threat of crows and turtles and even fishermen. Now she and her mate are cropping grass in our yard and life goes on.

My thanks to my friend, the talented author Janie Cheaney, for posting me not once but twice last week. I’ll give you the links in case you would like to view them. http://www.redeemedreader.com/2012/04/interview-with-david-harrison / http://www.redeemedreader.com/2012/04/cowboys-and-other-guy-stuff-poems-by-david-harrison /

Janie, thanks again.
 
I’m in Chicago now at the IRA conference but will catch a plane out this evening at 6:35 and have my head back on my own pillow tonight.

David

Poems of the Week

My thanks to Charles Waters for beng my guest yesterday. Many of you have commented on the interview. For more information about Charles, here is his website. http://www.charleswaters.net

BULLETIN: Here’s a good opportunity for writers in Kansas and area states. It’s an upcomng Kansas SCBWI conference. One of the featured speakers is J.B. Cheaney who was one of the authors scheduled for the Writers Hall of Fame Missouri Author Tour, had it jelled.Upcoming event information:

Catching Fire 2010 Workshop – Fanning the Flames – Research Techniques, Interviewing & School Visits Mardel, Overland Park, KS
Date: 17 July 2010, Saturday 09:30 AM

Time is running out to sign up for this event. Check out the details below.
SCHEDULE:
9:30 Welcomes, chat, stragglers

9:45 to 10:45 Kaite Stover will discuss efficient research techniques and how to utilize your friendly local library’s research experts

10:45-10:55 quick break

10:55 to 11:55 Lisa McCormick will offer offer tips to find the best experts and conduct painless, productive interviews

Lunch from noon to 1:15

1:15 to 2:15 JB Cheaney first half talk about how to dazzle during author visits

2:15 – 2:25 quick break

2:25 – 3:30 JB Chaney pt 2

Questions? Contact your Regional Advisor at ks_scbwi.org

More information and online registration: Catching Fire 2010 Workshop – Fanning the Flames – Research Techniques, Interviewing & School Visits

Since Kathy Temean first began posting one of my poems each Sunday, the number has grown considerably. In case you are interested in reviewing these or looking for some in particular, here is a list of all the poems posted so far and their source.
POEMS OF THE WEEK

Date, Poem, Book
9-06-09 Butterfly, Farmer’s Garden

8-31-09 dragonfly, bugs, poems about creeping things
3-28-10 bookworm, bugs, poems about creeping things
5-2-10 Spider, bugs, poems about creeping things
6-6-10 Chigger, bugs, poems about creeping things

9-18-09 Friends, Partner Poems

9-13-09 Two Frogs and a Witch, The Book of Giant Stories
10-25-09 Giant Named Groans, The Book of Giant Stories

9-27-09 Swimsuits, Vacation
2-21-10 Vacation, Vacation

10-05-09 Jarrett Junior High School, Connecting Dots
10-20-09 Goodbye Picture, Connecting Dots
1-03-10 Away from Camp, Connecting Dots
2-07-10 Kryptonite Blues, Connecting Dots
5-30-10 Mysterious Birds, Connecting Dots

10-12-09 Signing on a Crew, Pirates
11-29-09 Pirates Nest, Pirates

11-02-09 Rooster Walk, Sounds of Rain
11-08-09 Rhythms, Sounds of Rain
11-15-09 Song of Bees, Sounds of Rain
11-22-09 Wondering on the Stars, Sounds of Rain
1-24-10 Ambassadors, Sounds of Rain
12-13-09 Night Stalker, Sounds of Rain
4-18-10 Blowing Downriver, Sounds of Rain
6-28-10 Tree Bones, Sounds of Rain

11-26-09 A Poem Begins, Children’s Literature in the Reading Program

12-06-09 Wolf, Wild Country
12-20-09 Above the Tree Line, Wild Country
12-27-09 No Words , Wild Country
3-10-10 Song of the Tree Frogs, Wild Country
4-04-10 No Words , Wild Country
4-25-10 Puffin, Wild Country
5-9-10 Crossing Paths, Wild Country
7-4-10 No Words , Wild Country

1-10-10 The Bus, The Mouse was Out at Recess
1-17-10 My Essay on Birds, The Mouse was Out as Recess
1-31-10 The Dog in School, The Mouse was Out at Recess

2-14-10 Love, Somebody Catch My Homework,

3-01-10 My Bed, The Alligator in the Closet
3-14-10 The Guest in the Pantry, The Alligator in the Closet
3-21-09 Socks Without Partners, The Alligator in the Closet
5-16-10 Keepers, The Alligator in the Closet
6-13-10 To the Victor, The Alligator in the Closet
6-20-10 Family Heirlooms, The Alligator in the Closet

4-11-10 Weeds, The Boy Who Counted Stars

5-23-10 Spending the Night with Relatives Vacation, We’re Going to the Ocean

Young Authors Conference

BULLETIN: Today I have an original poem posted on Greg Pincus’s site at Thirty Poets Thirty Days. If you would like to see the poem and Greg’s post, here’s the link. http://gottabook.blogspot.com/ Thanks Greg! I appreciate your kind words! I’m also enjoying the comments left by readers. Thank you!

BULLETIN: I’m having fun today. Brad Sneed and Phil Haussler are doing something terrific to raise awareness and help for girls in Napal whose parents sell them into servitude. It’s called Project openbook, A community built children’s book for Room to Read. You need to check their website to get the full message and I hope you will. Brad, a gifted and popular illustrator of children’s books, and his partner in this venture, Phil — who is also a poet among many other talents — posted a poem I contributed to the cause. I love Brad’s interpretation of the poem. Go there at http://www.marblespark.com/blog/pies-for-sale 

rubberman

I had a fine time Saturday in Warrensburg, Missouri giving the keynote talk at the 27th annual Young Authors Conference. More than 500 children in grades two through six, plus their parents, family, and teachers turned out for the occasion.

These were serious young authors. Their parents and family are saints for encouraging their children to do their best and then showing up with them on a busy Saturday in spring to help celebrate their accomplishments and consider more ways to support their efforts.

Many fine writers were there to review manuscripts and provide valuable advice, including Vicki Grove, J. B. Cheaney, and Dorinda Nicholson. Whether or not they realize it now, those budding writers were in outstanding hands!

I was impressed, as I often am, at the dedication of men and women who put such conferences together, sometimes year after year for decades, because they believe in helping students develop their potential as writers. We do live in a great country. I want to thank the co-chairs for this year’s conference, Kelly Tyler and Barb Reiter, and the committee of volunteers who created such a positive event in the lives of hundreds of young people. I thank them for including me in the day.

David

Missouri Author Tour

Yesterday I mentioned the New Jersey State SCBWI Conference in Princeton, on June 4-5. Today I’d like to tell you about a different kind of opportunity for writers, librarians, teachers, and anyone else who is interested in childrens literature and the people who create it.

The Missouri Author Tour will take you by deluxe motor coach from St. Louis to Kansas City and back in four days (June 4-7). Along the way you will meet ten of Missouri’s most successful creators of children’s literature. Their combined talents include poetry, YA novel, picture book, nonfiction, illustration, playwriting, and storytelling.

The tour is guided by Dr. Linda Benson, professor emeritus at Missouri State University. Linda is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about children’s and young adult literature. Her infectious energy and sense of fun will add to the enjoyment of your trip. Dr. Benson is a longtime member of Writers Hall of Fame, an organization that since 1997 has encouraged an interest in writing by honoring authors and awarding scholarships to high school seniors. All proceeds from the Missouri Author Tour go toward creating additional scholarships. Because of Dr. Benson’s credentials and the caliber of our featured authors, Drury University will make available one hour of credit at the undergraduate or graduate level.

In addition to meeting the authors, the trip includes a Mississippi River sightseeing cruise; guided tour of Booksource, a major book distributor in the midwest (with book buying opportunities); guided costumed docent tour of historic St. Charles, including a visit from chidren’s author Vicki Berger Erwin; and dining on Laclede’s Landing featuring some of the best jazz in St. Louis.

The stars of the tour include Vicki Grove, Cheryl Harness, and June Rae Wood. You’ve met Vicki and Cheryl as guests on my blog and June Rae is coming up on March 5. You’ll meet others on future dates. Here is the entire cast.

J.B. Cheaney (she may or may not tell you what the initials stand for) was born in Dallas and dropped out
of college to get married. In the 36 years since, she and her husband have lived in six different states, moved a total of 23 times, raised two children and home-schooled them for a dozen years. When not writing, or thinking about it, she likes to travel, read, sing, sew, do needlework and sleep—though not necessarily in that order. She lives in Bolivar, Mo. Her works include three Wordsmith books and novels, The Playmaker, The True Prince, My Friend the Enemy and her most recent, The Middle of Somewhere.

Vicki Grove, who lives near Cole Camp, Mo., has been a freelance writer for 29 years, and has published
300 articles and short stores in various magazines. Two of her short stories and three excerpts from her books have been used in junior high and high school textbooks. She was part of a team of writers commissioned to produce Word Publishing’s Youth Study Bible. She has written ten novels, including Destiny and her most recent, Rhiannon, a murder mystery set in medieval England. She recently completed her second historical novel, The Red Dove.

Cheryl Harness, who has written and/or illustrated some 30 titles, lives and works in her historic hometown
of Independence, Mo. Harry Truman once took his daily walks in her leafy neighborhood full of handsome old homes and mansions, which is the setting for her novel, Just For You to Know. She has just completed The Harry Book, a comic book about HST’s life and times. Her picture book subjects range from American women’s history to ancient Egyptians’ daily life along the Nile. Her vocation began with a degree in art education at Central Missouri State University. She loves to spend time with friends, sew, read murder mysteries and go to the movies.

Kate Klise. author of picture books, middle-grade graphic and young adult novels, says her mother, a teacher “gave me a set of luggage, a typewriter and a direct order. She said she’d pay for my college education only if I wrote one letter home every week for all four years of college.” It’s not surprising, then, that many of her books, including the Regarding Series, are epistolary novels. “Everything I know about writing came from writing letters home.” Her collaborator and illustrator is her sister, Sarah, who lives in California. Together, the Klise sisters have netted award nominations in 20 states. Kate lives in rural Missouri and also works as a correspondent for People Magazine and, since 1993, has covered everything from country music to reality TV to rappers, rockers, serial killers, a leper colony in Louisiana and, yes, of course, Brad Pitt.

Constance Levy, a former teacher, college instructor and lecturer, is a children’s poet who evokes essences of the natural world with imagination and playfulness. Her collections of poems appeal to adults and children. “In fi rst grade, I wrote a poem about snow and the teacher praised it so highly, I just kept on writing—even to this day, as a grandmother.” The St. Louis author has been honored for her works, including Splash, A Tree
Place, A Crack in the Clouds
and When Whales Exhale.

Dorinda Makana onalani Nicholson was born in Hawaii to a Hawaiian mother and Scotch-Irish father. The family lived in Pearl Harbor and, standing in their front yard on the morning of December 7, 1941, she clung to her father’s side while enemy torpedo bombers screamed overhead, skimming the treetops, so close Dorinda could see the pilot’s goggles. That early experience informed her mission to bring World War II history alive for young readers. She wrote Pearl Harbor Child and Pearl Harbor Warriors. Her third and newest book, Remember World War II: Kids Who Survived Tell Their Stories, was published by National Geographic. She lives in Independence, Mo., and is a popular speaker at young writers’ conferences because she makes history personal and not just facts and dates.

Lynn Rubright has been a professional storyteller and educator for more than 40 years. Her primary focus
has been performing her original tales for all ages and demonstrating the power of storytelling as a literacy tool in the classroom. Her first chapter book, Mama’s Window, is historical fiction, loosely based on episodes from the childhood of Reverend Owen Whitfi eld, a noted activist, labor and civil rights leader who worked to help Missouri’s sharecroppers during the Great Depression. Currently, she is working on bringing Mama’s Window and other children’s literature to life through drama, storytelling, movement and music with elementary school students in St. Louis area schools.

Eileen Bluestone Sherman, a children’s author, playwright, lyricist and producer, began her career at
Hallmark’s Coterie Theatre in Kansas City in 1982. She won an Emmy for her television adaptation of The Odd Potato, originally written as a picture book. With her collaborator and sister, Gail Bluestone, she adapted the story for the New York theater and produced a charity CD of the musical that starred 20 Tony Award actors. Her drama, Deep, Dark Secrets, about teenage girls and eating disorders debuted last year. She’s also written three young adult novels and loves teaching dramatic literature courses to graduate students. She and her husband, Dr. Neal Sherman, will celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary and their 30th year in Kansas City in June.

June Rae Wood grew up with seven siblings in Versailles, Mo., reading every chance she got. However,
writing never interested her, not even when she went to college. Many years past before the writing “bug” bit her. She honed her skills by studying how-to books and listening to her work on a tape recorder. Her first novel, The Man Who Loved Clowns, was based on the life of her beloved brother. The novel won the 1995 Mark Twain Award in Missouri and the 1995 William Allen White Award in Kansas. She has written four other novels for young adults—A Share of Freedom, When Pigs Fly, Turtle on a Fence Post and About Face. Wood has contributed to two anthologies edited by Sandy Asher: Writing It Right! and On Her Way: Stories and Poems about Growing Up Girl, and her work has appeared in various publications, including Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, School & Community, The Lookout, New Ways and the Sedalia Democrat. Wood remains happily married to William Wood, the man she met on a blind date years ago. They live near Windsor, Mo., and have a daughter and two granddaughters.

Leslie Wyatt, a freelance writer from Clinton, Mo., is a two-time graduate of the Institute of Children’s
Literature, a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and of the Missouri Writer’s Guild. She has had more than 100 articles and stories accepted for publication in various children’s magazines,writing and parenting magazines and anthologies. In addition to her historical middle school novel, Poor Is Just a Starting Place, she has two more books submitted to publishers. Of all the writing she does, Leslie loves concocting historical and contemporary novels the best and is currently working on her first historical fantasy.

Prices for Missouri Author Tour range from $620 each (four in a room) to $858 each (for a single room) and includes round-trip, deluxe motor coach transportation from St. Louis, Mo., three nights’ deluxe lodging with hot breakfasts each morning and manager’s receptions each evening, plus two dinners and one lunch. Admissions and fees for the entertainment listed above and all taxes, service charges and gratuities are included. For reservations, which require a $500 deposit and complete payment by May 8, contact Brian Garrison at Bgarrison@greatsoutherntravel.com. Questions? Contact David Harrison at davidlharrison1@att.net.

David