And the winner is Kate Cosgrove!

Hi everyone,

My congratulations to Kate Cosgrove, the gifted artist who illustrated THE DIRT BOOK. Many of you saw yesterday that Kate’s artwork for our book has been chosen by a jury for inclusion in this year’s 2021 Original Art Show in New York City. Here’s more about the exhibit and why it’s such an honor for Kate. Here’s some information from the website.

The premier showcase for illustrators and animators, the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition features over 400 pieces of the most outstanding works created throughout each year. Open to artists worldwide, thousands of entries are considered by a jury of professionals, which include renowned illustrators, art directors and designers. The Original Art is an annual exhibit created to showcase illustrations from the year’s best children’s books published in the U.S. For editors and art directors, it’s an inspiration and a treasure trove of talent to draw upon. For art students, it’s a marvelous opportunity to examine—up close—the work of the best in the field. And for the public, it’s a chance to appreciate the enormous range of creativity in children’s books and to see the printed pages alongside the original paintings, drawings, prints, and collages they represent.

Way to go, Kate! First we did AND THE BULLFROGS SING.


Who knows what might wait for us down the road. I’m proud to be your partner. 

Catching up, rat-a-tat-tat

Hi everyone,

Up for air and a quick report. I’m afraid this pattern must continue for now. It has been another productive week. I’ve sent Tim Rasinski, my writing partner on the school project, another six poems, which brings the total so far to 16, leaving 59 to go. I’m on schedule, exactly, without a lost day to spare. But I like the results so for and our school district client does too. I’ll identify the district before long.

A quick list of other recent odds and ends in no particular order. Skunk scare. Saw one walk by us in the yard two out of three nights and disappear each time behind a certain shrub, assumed it had dug a hole, warned the neighbors (who had also been seeing it) set a trap two nights,

on second night caught a raccoon, put cage in my trunk, drove to James River, released the raccoon, came home and checked behind the shrub. No den there, and no one has seen the skunk in a week. I’ve put the trap away.

Son-in-law Tim Williams had a birthday, which we celebrated at our house, much of it in the back yard where Tim grilled his own birthday burgers and brats. Not fair but they tasted better thanks to his master’s touch. His parents, Fred and Clair Williams, joined us; always a treat.

I enjoyed a virtual book talk about THE DIRT BOOK for a store in Ann Arbor, Michigan called Nicol’s Books/Shuler Books. The books artist, Kate Cosgrove, was a delightful partner in the bit. I have an in-person book store talk and signing coming up at Pagination Bookshop in Springfield. It was scheduled for this Saturday but has been set back one week. I’m working on details for my DIRT BOOK program on September 1 at TLC main library in Springfield.

With a new book coming out in October, I WANT AN APPLE, promotional dates are starting to come in. First will be a virtual book store visit to BookMark in Neptune, Florida. I’m pleased about that. They’re good people.

Had to buy a new office chair and got it put together. My old one is out by the curb in case someone driving by might have a use for it.

Had a 20-minute TIA (mini-stroke) last Monday that passed just fine but I still landed in ER for seven hours. Spending these hot afternoons in the pool, taking a lot of picture of the tiny things i see when I’m in the water. More about that community later. My toe’s better. I don’t think I told you it was bad but anyway it’s healing. Storm before last another section of our ancient globe locust blew over. Last nights storm knocked off another section. This morning I’m set for a carotid scan. Never had one of those before. Before and after that I’m finally going to take time to work on my “weed” poem in tribute to our Word of the Month Challenge word for August.

I’ve been spending some of my writing time standing at my desk to keep from sitting so much. I’m not used to working this way but it’s not terrible and I’ve written a couple of decent poems standing, so I think I can get used to it. Our besties, Larry and Maryann Wakefield, gave me a fold-up lap desk for Christmas that I hadn’t used yet. Turns out that by setting it on top of my desk it’s just the right size for me to stand and write on.

I haven’t covered everything but that’s plenty for now. It feels good to get out and stretch. I’ll be back tomorrow and maybe Sunday and then go silent for the coming week. So far that seems to be the pattern.

The Word of the Month word for August

Hi everyone

Kaye Cosgrove and I enjoyed our virtual visit yesterday morning to The BookMark in Neptune, Florida. I hope sometime to get over that way to meet Rona Brinlee and the gang in person. The picture is in a different place (SunDog Books in Seaside, Florida) and a different book (AND THE BULLFROGS SING, but also illustrated by Kate), but it’s hard to take a picture when you’re doing a virtual visit. If it helps any, yesterday I wore the same shirt and shorts.

Time to put away your “poem” poems and write your “weed” poems. I’ve been looking back through the records and it appears that we’ve never used that word before.

So off we go. Let’s see your weedy best!

Book store today

Hi everyone,

This morning at 9:00 EST I’ll join artist Kate Cosgrove in a virtual visit to The BookMark, a fine book store in Neptune, Florida. I look forward to the opportunity to talk about THE DIRT BOOK and see Kate again. The new book is off to a good start and I hope this will make a few folks in the Neptune area aware of it. Maybe I should write a sand book as a sequel. Have a good weekend.

Adding some new dates

Hi everyone,

This is noted portrait photographer Randy Bacon taking my picture for a literacy project in March. I love this picture and can’t wait to see which shot Randy will choose for the exhibit.

Yesterday I heard from a journal editor in California inviting me to do a little tweaking on an article on poetry I submitted in May and send it back. I’m in a time crunch for now but hope to get back to that before long.

At Kate Cosgrove’s invitation I’m joining her for a virtual book talk in a Florida book store in August.

In October, Laura Robb and I are now booked to do a zoom tweet about our book, GUIDED PRACTICE FOR READING GROWTH, TEXTS AND LESSONS TO IMPROVE FLUENCY, COMPREHENSION, AND VOCABULARY, Grades 4-8.

A conference call set for tomorrow will determine the fate of a major project in the works. More about that tomorrow.