Worldwide reading of Jesse and Grace tonight

Hi everyone,

Tonight at 5:00 CST, 6:00 EST, Sandy Asher and I are reading our story in verse about two best friends 4th graders: Jesse and Grace, a Best Friends Story. Some of you have heard us before but this time we’re on radio and the broadcast goes out worldwide. Apple users may have problems, which are adaptable if you have the right app I’m told, but everyone else should be okay. To listen all you should need to do is go to and the show will be streamed there.

For those of you in other parts of the world, I made a short list and attempted to look up the differences between our time here in Central Standard Time and your time. I don’t promise that these are all correct so you’d better double-check me if you are interested in hearing the reading.

+8 hours later for you: Kenneth Tumusiime, Kampala, Uganda

+5 hours later for you: Silindle Ntuli-Nxasane Lives, Hammarsdale, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

+10 hours later for you:   Zafar Rashid Lives, Lahore, Pakistan

+12 hours later for you:      Pote Chinavarakul, Chiang Mai, Thailand

+13 hours later for you:      Joan Liu, Singapore

+8 hours later for you:       Christina Botta, Turin, Italy

+8 hours later for you:       Renee LaTulippe, Piombino, Italy

+10’45” hours later for you: Shan Shanti, Kathmandu, Nepal

+6   hours later for you:     Bryn Strudwick, Basingstoke, England

+7 hours later for you:       Richard Lungu, Lusaka, Zambia

+8 hours later for you:      Vida Sreta Zuljevic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

+3 hours later for you:     Daniela Alejandra Fuentes, Bahía Blanca, Buenos Aires

+8hours later for you:      Rian Draijer, Amsterdam

+10’30” hours later for you: Rama Dixit, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Here’s part of the press release.


“Jesse and Grace: A Best Friends Story” a radio play for young audiences by Sandy Asher and David L. Harrison.  will air on “The Open Eye Theater Playtime” on WIOX Radio in the Catskills 91.3 FM, Tuesday, May 11, at 6:00 p.m. ET.  Children in grades 2-5 and their families will especially appreciate this play about two children who have been friends since birth, almost 10 years.  It has never mattered that Jesse is a boy and Grace is a girl.  They have always understood each other, protected each other, comforted each other, and shared their jokes, toys, dreams, and love of poetry and basketball.  But now they’re in the fourth grade and about to celebrate their 10th birthdays.  When Grace writes a birthday poem and gives it to Jesse, their classmates begin teasing: “Jesse’s got a girlfriend!  Grace’s got a boyfriend!”  Confused and hurt, humiliated and angry, they stop speaking to each other, and do everything they can to avoid each other.  Secretly, they long to forgive and forget, and in time learn that a best friend is the best kind of friend of all.

Winner of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play Award, “Jessse and Grace, a Best Friends Story” was developed from a cycle of poems co-written by Sandy Asher and David L. Harrison.  Sandy and David will perform a two-character radio version of the play live on “The Open Eye Theater Playtime,” Tuesday, May 11, at 6:00 p.m. ET, and will share their creative process with Playtime co-hosts Carol and Arnie Schwartz and Amie Brockway. 

New reading of JESSE AND GRACE

Hi everyone,

I’m delighted to announce that this evening at 5:00 CST, John Newman and Liz Gordon from Utah Valley University will give a reading of JESSE AND GRACE: A BEST FRIENDS STORY, by Sandy Asher and me. She and I look forward to hearing our work presented by other voices, especially when they are as professional and talented as those of John and Ella. I hope you can join us. To register, just follow the steps in the link. RSVP by emailing so he can send you the link and add your name to the guestlist. His student will admit those on the guestlist from the waiting room. Thank you.

The end of a good week

Hi everyone,

My thanks to all who contributed to my article on how to celebrate National Poetry Month in April. The piece is done, submitted, and accepted. It includes ideas from seventeen people in thirteen states — classroom teachers, school librarians, public librarians, university professors, authors, and poets. I worked on it all week and think it will become a useful reference for classroom teachers looking for ways to energize their efforts to make poetry more exciting and appealing to their students.

Sandy Asher and I have now received a recording of our reading of JESSE AND GRACE. I know that some of you who registered for the event were unable to get in due to last minute technical issues that weren’t your fault. This way is easy. Just click and you’re there. You may need to back it up to the beginning.

For the 3,519th time…

Hi everyone,

Today is my 3,519th post on this blog spot that Kathy Temean created for me in 2009. Bill Johnson at Highlight and others had urged me to get a website so I looked around for designers. The first note I sent to friends for recommendations was Ralph Fletcher. He, Ruth Culham, Rebecca Dotlich, Eileen Spinelli, and others gave me names and tips, and I eventually wound up going with Kathy. When Kathy completed my website, she said I needed a blog. I fought against it, lost, and here I sit, 3,519 posts later, saying for the 3,519th time, “Hi everyone.”

Today I look forward to a Zoom meeting with Kathleen O’Dell (Public Relations Director) and Stephanie Smallwood (acting Director of Children’s Services) at Springfield-Greene County Public Libraries to discuss what I’d like to do for a summer reading project with the district. I hope to do one or more videos providing tips about reading and writing poetry for the summer reading program. Perhaps I can use the videos for other programs elsewhere. I’m eager for the visit.

Yesterday, thanks to the expert direction of Marjorie Bicknell, Philadelphia Regional Rep for Dramatists Guild of America, Sandy Asher and I presenting our reading of JESSE AND GRACE. It was the first time a children’s work has been presented in the Footlights series. We drew a record number of registrations, for which we were grateful. For those of you who watched the performance, thank you! The event was recorded so before long we’ll be able to share it with teachers, librarians, and others who might be interested. More about that soon.

Making the plan, revising as I go

REMINDER: Don’t forget the reading of JESSE AND GRACE tonight. Information was posted yesterday.

Hi everyone,

I know how I’ll start my day. I planned it before I went to bed, same as always. I’m not sure how it will end though. If either of two possibilities happens, I’ll probably pull off the project I’m on to attend to one of the others because they both have higher priorities (earlier due dates). I was asked during my virtual presentation last Saturday how I work on so many things at once, and this is how. While Tim Rasinski, Mary Jo Fresch, and I wait for word about our counter offer for a contract on two books, I have roughly two weeks to make things happen. Jane Yolen and I are also waiting for a multiple book contract offer from a different publisher and expect word back on that one any day now. For me the trick is to make the most of these little windows that open and close all the time before and after major projects click into place and take my attention for longer periods. I work thirty-five hours a week so I can get quite a bit done but the important thing is to plan how the time will be spent.