Friday, August 29, 2008

Another poetry re-issue...

Seemed like a good time to dust off an old GottaBook poem, both for Poetry Friday (with the collected links here courtesy of Charlotte's Library) and for the start of school (which some of y'all have already experienced!).

by Gregory K.

I don’t know the teacher.
I sure hope she’s nice.
But what if she’s mean with a heart cold as ice???
What about bullies?
There might be a bunch.
And what a disaster if I mess up lunch!
I don’t like that playground:
The slide hits the sky!
And now here at drop-off, I can’t say “goodbye.”
My stomach is queasy.
My stress can’t be greater...
But then a voice calms me,
“Bye, Dad! See ya later!”

(And can change Dad to Mom!)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Other events (modest proposals...)

Been a lot of conversation/thought around these parts about proposing other Olympic events, what with baseball and softball cycling out (and while reading, again, about how there used to be arts medals given out as well. I wanna be gold medalist for goofy rhymes!!!). Still, we were thinking sports....

Like wouldn't it be great to see world class sprinters in a three-legged race?

What about a marathon... but with everyday traffic on the roads!

Then there's the partner-triathlon: bicycle built for two, three-legged run, synchronized swimming.

The mind boggles at the possibilities! And feel free to share your best ideas. After all, it's all in the name of sports....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Without a word....

Interesting thread on an email list I'm on -- what are your favorite wordless picture books with complex enough stories you can use in middle grade classes? I suggested WHY, by Nikolai Popov and ZOOM and RE-ZOOM by Istvan Banyai.

There are a lot of other worldess books I quite like and wouldn't hesitate to "read aloud" to most grades, even if they're not story-rich. But any others come to mind for you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Book 'em.

It's almost back to school time in my world... and that means it's back into library action. Thanks to those who've donated books over the summer to my favorite library. And this time, a special hat tip to Caroline Hatton, author of, among other things, the fabulous, timely new book The Night Olympic Team (all about drug testing, drugs, the Olympics. Or, as her site puts it, "an adventure story that happens to be about scientists who happen to be real people"). Caroline has, over the last three years, probably given me a book or two for the library most every time I've seen her. How wonderful is that????

But there are so many to tip my hat to: fellow bloggers who donate books (and often lots of 'em); friendly readers who donate books (again, sometimes in shocking quantities); people who dive in and help out at the school level. Three years of volunteer librarianship and yes, I'm burned out and would love a budget and and and... and it remains the single best project I've ever worked on in my life. Go figure!

One day I'll stop doing it, but until then if you see me, don't be suprised if I say "got books?"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sports is poetry, but vice versa?

Taking a break from the Olympic fun, I added in a baseball game this weekend. Sports and the sporting experience definitely are poetic, at least to my eye. I write a lot of sports poetry, but every time I watch in person or TV I pick up something new. No, I don't just mean team handball (not new to me, actually!), but some new image or tradition or something.

This time at the ballgame I was struck by the strong sense of community... the shared rituals. I mean where else do you just pass money to a stranger beside you, knowing that it'll travel 14 seats to the aisle... and that a snow cone and change will wend its way back to you? Exactly. That's poetry in motion... and tasty, too!

Friday, August 15, 2008

You can tell...

... it's summer blogging time when I don't get to Poetry Friday (the roundup's here, by the way) until a lot of East Coasters are a'bed. But summer blogging time it is, and I'm gearing myself up for the return of the school year (and beyond!).

OK, fine... I'm not totally in gearing up mode yet, either. But soon, right?


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gold! Gold!

I have decided, perhaps a bit late in life, that I want to win a gold medal. Or a silver. Or a bronze. I wonder if Fibbing will become an Olympic sport? I wouldn't win at procrastination, not only because I'm a professional crastinator and thus not qualified, but also because my skills aren't what they once were. Desk cleaning? Possible. Desk messying? Yes.

Hmmm... not really looking promising. I guess I'll just have to live vicariously.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Watching... watching...

Normally, I wouldn't say I'm "lucky" to be re-outlining part of a story, but hey... the Olympics are on, so I can sit on the couch and work and watch and watch and work. I've always been a bit of an Olympics addict, I must confess. This year, I'm showing great discipline (harder and harder with so much on!). But that discipline comes with a high price: I haven't seen any team handball!

The week is young, however. There's always hope!

Friday, August 08, 2008

24 Hours in 20 Syllables -- a Las Vegas poem/a Las Vegas Fib

It's a Fib inspired by a recent whirlwind trip...

24 Hours in 20 Syllables
Gregory K.

Cab ride.
Checking in.
Let the games begin!
Sigh. Bye, Vegas. Next time I’ll win....

Check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at Becky's Book Reviews. You'll be glad you did....

If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sans sinspiration....

If you thought I'd head to "Sin City" (as I did for a whirlwind trip) and be inspired to write tons of lovely new picture books, you'd be wrong. But I did get to thinking -- are there any Vegas set picture books? It's a fascinating town with a rather remarkable look and history, too.

Hmmm. Hmmm....

I was inspired while there, by the way, and with luck you'll see the result of that inspiration tomorrow on Poetry Friday. But I'm also tired, so I gotta book.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The onlininess of it all....

This weekend, I overheard the inspirational/instructional/damned funny Bruce Coville saying that he'd like to be paid to name things. Me, too. Or to make up words. So today I dub "onlininess" in hopes that it's a new word for all the online-y stuff out there.

What struck me at this past weekend's SCBWI Conference was simply how many people are online in one form or another: tons and tons of bloggers (most of whom I've never even run into; folks into MySpace or Facebook; the denizens of Verla Kay's boards; people with their own websites; publishers with new online initiatives. What's it all mean? Convergence, I suppose. And good to see folks embracing rather than shunning.

Along these lines, seems like a good time to plug the upcoming Kidlit Bloggers Conference (Conference 2.0!) in September in Portland. Hope to see many of you there.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

More on the SCBWI Summer Conference

I have a whole new strategy for blogging the Conference: I'm just gonna point you to others who detail their experiences way better than I would detail mine. Cool. I will add a few thoughts of my own (cuz, like, that's what I do!), but I highly recommend going to check out 7th penguin Paula Yoo's blog (with that reference explained in this blog entry) and Stephanie Blake's Colorado Writer and the ever happening Disco Mermaids.

As for me, once again I had a blast, learned a ton, met great people, laughed myself silly, got inspiration, and now need sleep. There were, as usual, things I decided were "themes" of the event. The biggest one, to me, is probably biggest because I'm looking for it everywhere. No, no... not chocolate. Rather, it's the whole issue of technology, publishing, writing, illustrating, producing books... and how they all mesh. Change is in the air... though what that change might be, no one (self surely include!) knows exactly what that means. Still, anyone who has watched the newspaper industry or the music business over the last few years knows, change is coming and cannot be stopped. How will it impact all of us (and by "all" I mean everyone who loves children's literature no matter whether a creator, editor, promoter or all of the above)? Stay tuned cuz it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Blogging the SCBWI Conference

OK, I haven't been... and I'm still not, even though I had plans to do so. But I've just been having too much fun listening, learning, hanging out, relaxing, and enjoying myself. But lotsa folks ARE blogging from the Conference. So if you're looking for info, you can search or start off over at Alice Pope's CWIM blog (where CWIM stands for Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Marketplace of which she is the editor).

Go on. Read. Pretend you're there with us. And since I'm out the door, I'll pretend I'm seeing you there soon!