Almost there

Hi everyone,

Sometime in the next day or two my blog will register visitor number 100,000. Most visitors don’t leave comments but I want to make it more appealing for those who do. When the meter hits 100,000, I’ll send an autographed book to the person whose comment is registered closest to that moment.

Today I’ll have the pleasure of participating in the Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks, which is held on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. The eleven other authors and artists present are JB Cheaney, Vicki Grove, Cheryl Harness, Nina Nelson, Obert Skye, Marie Smith, Roland Smith, Brad Sneed, Michael Spradlin, June Rae Wood, and Judy Young. Twenty-five hundred children are coming so we’ll all be busy.

David

What Are the Pros Up To, with Cheryl Harness

“>

Hi everyone,

I’m always glad to welcome back previous Featured Guests to give us quick updates on recent mountains climbed and publishers’ doors battered in. Cheryl Harness is one of my favorite pals and a consistant star at children’s literature festivals when kids have a choice of who they want to meet and listen to. Thanks, Cheryl, as always, and congratulations on the new book. (She always sounds like it’s a miracle when she places a book but believe me, it isn’t.)

David, did I tell you that I sold a manuscript? For the first time in an awfully long time. Almost makes one tempted to believe in oneself. Albert Whitman’s going to do my picture book about Dr. Mary Walker, that feisty old character. The nice, sweet ed. there had me do a couple of pictures by way of an audition so I’m still waiting to see if I’ll be doing the illustrations. I’d never had to do that before, but as you know, the world is a very different place nowadays. and always has been, as you also know.

<a

I had a great visit in Joplin with old friends w/ Vicki Grove & Veda Boyd Jones. I swear that's the best thing about this so-called book biz, the people you get to know. You for instance.

I got to visit Savannah, GA for a bit just here lately. My baby brother's daughter was married, time being a runaway train. She's completing a doctor of phys. therapy degree & she married a cute young
baseball player! look up a fella w/ the Mets organization, named Josh Stinson. And if you look on
my facebook page you'll see a pic of me w/ my uncle Lester. I visited him in Florida.

Life sure has its compensations, no?

Here’s a link to a recent article about Cheryl. I hope you’ll click on it to learn more about today’s Featured Guest.
http://www.examiner.net/features/x1043377231/Cheryl-Harness-Master-storyteller

rubberman

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

42nd annual Children’s Literature Festival

rubberman

I’ve spent the last three days in Warrensburg, Missouri at the Children’s Literature Festival. This year the event was attended by 5,300 boys and girls in grades 4 – 8 and 1,200 adults. Forty-one authors and artists spoke to four groups of kids each day on Monday and Tuesday. The first day, Sunday, we attended a luncheon and spent the afternoon sitting at tables signing books. Over the 42 years of the festival’s history about 350 authors and artists have participated in the event, which was started by English teacher Phil Sadler and librarian Ophelia Gilbert. Ophelia died last year and Phil died two months ago but their legacy lives on and is now in the capable hands of librarian Naomi Williamson and a dedicated committee.

Among the talented speakers this year were Sandy Asher, Gary Blackwood, J. B. Cheaney, Sneed Collard, III, Jan Greenberg, Vicki Grove, Mary Downing Hahn, Cheryl Harness, Patricia Hermes, Peg Kehret, Claudia Mills, Barbara Robinson, Brad Sneed, and June Rae Wood to name just a few. The entire list was stellar and kids went away with useful information about writing, signed books, and good memories.

If you have an interest in learning more about the festival, contact Naomi Williamson, director, at williamson@library.ucmo.edu . Next year’s festival is set for March 20 – 22, 2011.

By the way, since Kathy Temean created this blog for me last August, my meter tells me that as of yesterday the blog has been visited more than 20,000 times. My thanks to all!

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