Friday, September 11, 2020



Just want to send you over to Books Around the Table, the blog I share with Julie Paschkis, Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Laura Kvasnosky and Bonny Becker. I'm celebrating the publication of my fifth picture book, EEK! A Noisy Journey from A to Z, co-written with Julie P. and blessed with her charming illustrations. Please read what I have to say over there about the art of collaboration, which is all about finding someone you are in sync with in terms of priorities - for Julie P. and I, it's a matter of playfulness and of diving into language and coming up refreshed! Click here for the link. And below are a few sneak-peek pages: 






Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Eek! and Hurrah, Huzzah, Wahoo!


Author copies of my new book, Eek! A Noisy Journey from A to Z, co-authored and illustrated by  Julie Paschkis, arrived today! It's a combination of nonsense, energy and color; it's a story of love and friendship and adventure and misadventure; it's a journey from A to Z, all in sounds, from Achoo to ZZZZ. 

I can't wait to give a copy of it to Henry and Thea, my six- and three-year-old neighbors. 

Here's a link to Books Around the Table, where Julie Paschkis has just posted her thoughts(and several illustrations) from Eek!

 Here's a link to a starred review of the book at Kirkus (sneak peek: "An absolute zoo of an ABC book - in the best possible way.") 

Thanks to all the people at Peachtree for getting this book out into the world. And thanks to Julie Paschkis - again - of course! Julie's artwork is always so invigorating - the publisher, Peachtree, even chose one of the illustrations from Eek! to be the cover of their Fall 2020 catalog.  ♥️

Whoop-dee-do, hubba hubba, hot-diggity-dog, la-di-dah, yippee, YAHOO!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Poetry Friday: Ciardi, Reid, Brown...and Paschkis!

Today, I'm going to send you over to Books Around the Table, a Wordpress blogsite I share with four other writers, because this whole month we've been posting some of our favorite kids' poems. Specifically, I'm going to link you to the post by the multi-talented author and illustrator Julie Paschkis, because I love her choices: a poem by John Ciardi, a wordplay delight by Alistair Reid, and a poem (and book) completely new to me by Margaret Wise Brown. Julie P. recites that last poem to the crows in her neighborhood.

To lure you in, I'll post the Margaret Wise Brown poem here, but take the time to read Julie's choices - then, if you have time, click on the links she lists where each one of us (Bonny Becker, Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Laura Kvasnosky and I) posted a few favorites.

Little Old Rook
Little Old Rook
Where do you look? 
At the very last page
Of this very same book
Said the Little Old Rook.  

from Where Have You Been? by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

The Poetry Friday Round-up is hosted today by the incomparable Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Head over there to see what other people have posted. Jama's blog always puts a smile on my face and often makes me hungry!  Thanks, Jama, for hosting!

Friday, October 11, 2019



Such fun! Don't you love nominating your favorite children's books of the year for the annual Cybils Awards? It means a lot to me to shine a light on my favorites, especially if they've been flying a little under the radar. Sometimes it's important to pull for the underdogs, right? Time for some sunshine, favorites!

Of course, many of my favorites are books of poetry, and it's wonderful to see 33 books already nominated in the Poetry category. But there are SO many more that need to be nominated, and OCTOBER 15TH is the last day for nominations, so don't delay. You'll find all the information you need at the Cybils website, including an FAQ page in case you end up with questions.

Here's a description of the kind of books which qualify for the Poetry category, offered up by Bridget Wilson, this year's Poetry Chairperson:

What belongs in Poetry? 

  • Anthologies or collections written by multiple authors
  • Anthologies or collections written by a single author
  • Novels in verse or verse novels
  • Some poetry will have illustrations. Some will not.
  • Verse written for children and young adults 
  • The audience can be toddlers, preschoolers, elementary, middle grade, or young adult.
  • Poetry does accept eBooks. 

I've been busy down at my local library, reading through the newest children's books (nominated books need to have been published between Oct. 16, 2018 and Oct. 15, 2019)  trying to get a handle on what to nominate in the Poetry category.

Right now, on my shelf of Still-Must-Reads, I have an anthology called Thanku: Poems of Gratitude, put together by Miranda Paul. It has poems by many fine poets, including Naomi Shihab Nye, an outstanding poet for both children and adults. I'm also looking forward to reading Marilyn Singer's Wild in the Streets: 20 Poems of City Animals and  Margarita Engle's Dreams from Many Rivers: A Hispanic History of the United States Told in Poems. Loved Boom! Bellow! Bleat!: Animal Poems for Two or More Voices by Georgia Heard - definitely would  love to hear kids perform those! Also loved The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander - that's one I just might nominate, especially if I don't see anyone else nominating it. It deserves to be considered.  

I have no individual poem to post today for Poetry Friday. Just want to encourage you to click here for the Cybils website and get busy nominating your favorite kids books of 2019. 

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Catherine over at Reading to the Core. Head over there to see what other people have posted. And thanks, Catherine!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Poetry Friday: Mary Oliver Among the Trees

The poem I’m posting for today's Poetry Friday is pure Mary Oliver. Along with Kay Ryan, Oliver is the poet whose work I hope children learn to love as they become young adults, and I've chosen  “When I Am Among the Trees” because it does what a poem does best:
  • Takes something ordinary and makes it extraordinary
  • Starts exactly where it should, with real-world details rather than abstractions, by naming the specific trees - willows, honey locusts, beeches, oaks pine
  • Has the courage to be full-hearted and to address life’s large complications. 
I found Oliver’s poem recently while reading Maria Popova’s Brainpickings. It moved me because I know that this fall I’ll be taking many walks among trees - here in the Pacific Northwest the maples are already beginning the turn from green to red - it’s a wonder-filled season for walking. 
Some of the walks will begin at lunch time, because I love to see the kids at Columbia Elementary - just around the block from our house - racing around full of the dickens on the playground during lunch recess. Maybe I’ll head down to the fishermans’ terminal. Maybe past that cedar-shingled house on North St. that always reminds me of my years in Berkeley. Or maybe west on Connecticut St. to see the bicycle nailed up in a tree, the one that’s kiddie-corner from the garden decorated with pieces of an old boiler that blew up....

Chances are I’ll collect a few leaves, a few acorns, a few pine cones along the way. And I’ll think about Mary Oliver, how she trained both her body and her soul to see the world. I’ll consider how the trees might help me fill with light. 

  Hope you have some trees to walk among, too. 

by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
Mary Oliver
Today’s Poetry Friday host is Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink. Head over there to see what other people have posted.