Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween -- a poetry re-issue!

It's Poetry Friday AND Halloween, so it seems like a good time to re-post a poem originally posted here two years ago.

Gregory K.

Be prepared
To be scared.
Ghosts and ghouls are haunting.

Mummies moan.
Specters groan.
You know it’s you they’re wanting.

Wolfmen howl.
Goblins yowl.
A shadow hides a grave.

Streetlights flicker.
Heart beats quicker.
It’s so hard being brave.

Flashing lightning,
Far too frightening.
You know you want to flee.

But don’t run.
Just have fun.
And bring candy home for me.

Poetry for Children has the Poetry Friday links collected right here. Have a happy and safe Halloween if you're heading out tonight. Feel free to bring me candy!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Look who's blogging!

Why it's the pumpkin carving, picture book and YA writing (and illustrating), all around nice guy David LaRochelle! Go check out his most recent post on the blog where he is one of 10 bloggers: One Potato... Ten! And you too can learn why not to sign books with a Sharpie!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oops. And a reminder.

Yes, that's right: oops. I had the best of intentions to get up a blog today about all sorts of interesting things. And then I looked at the clock. Right. Another day.

Instead, I'll simply remind y'all that on Monday the 3rd, it's time to Blog the Vote. Hope you'll all join in....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Once again... with feeling!

It's time for this month's Carnival of Children's Literature (hosted at the Well Read Child). Lots of good stuff over there, indeed. And heck, I even got myself together enough this month to rejoin the fun.

Go on... enjoy a carnival on a lovely Fall day (or whatever type of day it is where you are!).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Vote? -- a voting poem/an election poem/a voting Fib

Why Vote?
Gregory K.

Folks fight
For this right.
It's not just a word:
Vote! It's how you make your voice heard.

It's a Fib, but it's no fib: you should vote if you can. And don't forget about Blog the Vote on November 3rd. And I have another voting poem here. Oh, and don't forget to visit the Poetry Friday links, collected over at Big A little a.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flashback, children's literature variety

For absolutely no discernible reason, today I began reciting a "jingle" from a Homer Price story (by Robert McCloskey). A Homer Price story that I last read... oh... maybe when I was 10? I'm in Hollywood and 29, of course, but even so that's a long time ago. Anyway, the point is that here I was, working away when suddenly I'm saying "Punch, brothers, punch with care!" And I said more than that, but I don't want it to get stuck in YOUR head the way it did all those years ago with me.

Sure, it could be my weird brain chemistry that made me flash back to Homer. But instead, I think it was multiple readings of the Homer Price stories long, long ago... books I loved that sank in and even now can come back up at any time (such as whenever I see a donut machine).

What about you? Any children's literature flashbacks for you (whether you're younger or older than my 29 years!)?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Three years ago...

... as I shuttled books from my car up to our new school library... then into classrooms... then into storage only to bring them back out of storage, I vowed not to lift another box of books.

So here I am, shuttling boxes of books from one library to the other, bringing new books to each and carting 'em up stairs or to the farthest spot on campus, depending.

Deja vu all over again! Along about January, I will vow not to lift another box of books for the school.

You might as well laugh right now....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

There is no joy in Mudville

For me, the baseball season is as good as done now (though if there's a Game Seven, I'll be watching). I was thinking, though, how hard the feeling of fandom, of your team winning/losing is to capture for the younger set. I mean "just wait til next year" means something very different when you're thinking about Kindergarten rather than offseason free agent moves.

Lucky kids, he grumbles!

Ah well... just wait til next year!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vote for Me! -- a voting poem/an election poem

Gregory K.

Vote for me!
Vote for me!
Everybody vote for me!

I put up my posters. I promised free toasters!
Boy, asking for votes is so fun.

Vote for me!
Vote for me!
Everybody vote for me!

The votes are all in... errr... I guess I’m the winner.
So tell me now... what have I won?

The Poetry Friday links are collected here at Becky's Book Reviews. (And I now have another voting poem, in Fib form, here!)

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, October 16, 2008


Are you kidding me? Past the middle of October already???? It's wrong, I tell ya. I was not informed time would pass so quickly, unlike prior years.

Do you think we could all get a "time bail out" from someone? Those of us who have overly-leveraged our time would be appreciative.

Today I actually attempted to carve out time to write poetry for fun, something I haven't been doing nearly enough of. I need to return to starting each writing day with poetry, I think, because it entertains and gets the writing blood flowing. Kinda like the coffee of writing for me. Ahhh... if only poetry sold like coffee! But that's for another day. Because I'm overly-leveraged right now, and I gotta book!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog the Vote.

At the Kidlit08 Conference in Portland, Colleen, Lee, and I hatched a plan:

On November 3rd, the Monday before election day, we're encouraging folks throughout the children's literature blogosphere (and because of interest already expressed, the broader lit blogosphere, too!) to blog about why voting matters to them. The post can be broad ("Voting is great because that's what makes democracy work!") or personal (here's a post by Little Willow that's a great example). The two things we ask are that it be positive and non-partisan. Instead of promoting or bashing a candidate or party, let's concentrate on one thing we should all agree on: getting out and voting.

Colleen will be putting up a master list of all the posts on Chasing Ray. She'll have the post up early enough (the 1st or 2nd) so that you can link to it when you blog on the 3rd. The instructions on what to do with your post are here on Colleen's original announcement... well worth a read. But in short, mail your link to Colleen or Lee or me. We'll be reading each post to make sure it's copacetic, pulling a great quote, then linking to you on the master list.

Questions? Check the links above or email any of us. And I hope you'll join us on November 3rd.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And in the boxes o' surprise...

... weren't that many surprises, actually. Whenever, in the past, I've been lucky enough to unpack boxes of donations for my school library, there have been some remarkable finds. Mind you, remarkable can mean any number of things! This time there weren't that many treasures (though a copy of Little 1 by Paul and Ann Rand was sweeeeet), but there were a handful of interesting moments.

One box (and these were donations from many sources mixed together) had picture books written by Dolly Parton, Madonna, and James Carville in it. James Carville? I don't recall Mother Reader nailing this one in her Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors writings.

Regardless, books were sorted and alphabetized and admired... and library two is about to open for business. The shelves could certainly be fuller, but hey, we've only just begun! Thanks to all my readers who have donated, by the way. It really is true that neither of our libraries would be the same without you. Our students are exceedingly lucky that so many of you (and so many others, as well) are so generous.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Really early this morning, I got up and went outside to get the paper. Nothing unusual about that, of course... but outside, the sun was just up, a crisp wind whipped, leaves -- actual leaves -- flew in the air and down the street, and it was even chilly enough to make me notice. Now, here in Los Angeles, where it was 100 just recently -- today was Fall. It might be all we get here, at least of the crisp and perfect autumnal variety.

You might think I would be immediately inspired to hurry inside and write a poem. Nope. Instead, I did something even more poetic -- I walked down to the sidewalk, found some dried leaves, and crunched them!

Yeah, I know. Some of you get to do that for months. Forgive this city boy. I'm just saying it was a mighty fine thing.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Poetry news on a Friday

How nice that on Poetry Friday (links collected here by Anastasia) we've got the announcement that Mary Ann Hoberman is the new Children's Poet Laureate (taking over from Jack Prelutsky).

I was lucky enough to see Mary Ann Hoberman do two small classroom visits. I learned more in those two hours than I ever thought possible (including learning just how much work I was gonna have to do to do what she was doing!). She should be a great choice to raise awareness about children's poetry, indeed.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Better late than never!

It was a month ago when I said I thought we'd get our second library up and running... thought I'd get to dig through boxes of books and find happy surprises. Didn't happen quite like that. But now, I tell ya, now it's gonna happen. This is the second full library I've helped start... and we moved our original library and relaunched it once, too. In three and a half years! I remember vowing never to carry another box of books....

By the way, as our school has aged, so have our students... and it's not unlike building yet another library on top of them all -- a deep, rich middle grade library. I figure that without a budget, we're never gonna be an A-list research library, but fiction? Well, if any of you are sitting on boxes of middle grade (or great picture books!), lemme know how I can get 'em!

Meanwhile, I'm still looking forward to finding some hidden gems. In fact, I already caught sight of a few of Sid Fleischman's McBroom books... but who knows what else there'll be? Soon enough I'll know... and maybe so will you!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Funny, political, good read-aloud

Yup -- if I were taking out a personal ad for books right now, I'd be looking for a picture book that covers voting, or American history, or politicians... was a good read-aloud... and definitely has humor in it. I could give on the latter. Fiction or non-fiction or a combo, it's all good.

Lane Smith's John, Paul, George, and Ben is a great example. Duck for President, too. And...?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Laughs, I tell ya.

This is so self-reflexive -- linking off to Fuse #8 the same day she links to me (whoa. So meta, man.), but her Video Sunday is always a highlight of the week... and today's first video is, as she accurately notes, kinda the musical version of my recent poem. Plus you get sock puppet theater! What's not to love?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Simply put...

I love the playoffs. I know it's not profound or anything, but baseball and I are mighty close... and playoff time? It's all good.

Sure, it's better when I've got a rooting interest (and I do this year), but it's still the playoffs!

Good times. Good times.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kidlit08 (less quickly-like)

There truly have been so many great recaps of the conference (go here for a master list) that I'm gonna avoid doing a full recap. I'd have little to add that hadn't been said about the various sessions, and I already did my quickie look. Instead, I'll be more reflective and specific. Like...

My trip to the conference started with meeting Lee Wind in the airport and getting go fly up to Portland with him. We couldn't get seats next to each other (small plane and tall people on the aisle who didn't want either of our window seats) but we talked anyway, in a way that was kinda like passing notes. A great way to start, and knowing Lee would be around meant I knew there'd always be someone interesting to talk to.

That wasn't a problem, of course, because I didn't actually meet anyone there who WASN'T interesting to talk to. Go read all their blogs, and you'll see what I mean.

But one person I would've loved to talk more with... about anything... was Mark Blevis, half of Just One More Book. This post of his about the conference is thought provoking and spot on in my opinion. And it saved me from having to type up big thoughts like that! Thanks, Mark (and thanks for the tech support, too).

Chatting with the Readergirlz (as represented in this case by Dia, Lorie, and newest diva Holly) was fantastic, as what they're doing online is wonderful and remarkable. And talking with Colleen Mondor about everything from Alaska to her Summer and Winter blog blast tours to Guys Lit Wire was fun and invigorating both. Again, the potential of the web is just being scratched... but these are some of the people scratching it.

I'm always inspired by what Jen Robinson has done and continues to do for children's literature, and getting to hang with Mother Reader and Fuse8 is always a treat.

But beyond the fun and information (and there was great fun and great information), my overall thoughts go towards what Mark Blevis was driving at... something bigger picture. We really are still learning the power of the net... of connectedness... of community... of how collectively we are greater than the sum of our parts (and individually there are some utterly stellar, remarkable parts). As we learn more and more... as we work harder and harder to understand and examine and act... then more and more becomes possible for us collectively and individually. The children's literature community online is just starting to flex its muscle, so to speak. And I look forward to being part of the community as we continue to push ahead in the years to come.