Tuesday, March 31, 2009


There’s no question I’m excited about 30 Poets/30 Days kicking off tomorrow along with National Poetry Month. And there’s also no question I’m excited about using Twitter as a way for us fans of poetry (and children’s literature) to find each other and have fun talking about what we love… and maybe broaden our community to include others who love what we love. They’re out there on Twitter -- I’m sure of it.

I posted before about using the #poetry and #kidlit hashtags so we can all find each other and others can find us. Now here are some poetry specific ideas about what to tweet about, just in case you want to jump in:

Tweet a link to any National Poetry Month event or news story… to your favorite poet’s website… to a blog where people are talking about poetry.

Tweet short poetry – create Twitter verse for the Twitterverse! Haiku, Fibs, tetractys all should fit fine, and #haiku is already being used. Maybe #poetwee should be the catch all?

Find poetry lovers on Twitter and re-tweet their tweets of interest.

Tweet about poets you love… and why. Create a conversation!

The goal here is to have fun, with us all tweeting about what we’re passionate about. For me that includes #kidlit and #poetry. Will I be tweeting about 30 Poets/30 Days? Of course! But I’m looking forward to much, much more than that.

Here’s a link to a search of everyone talking #poetry and #kidlit on Twitter. You can modify the search to find one or the other… or whatever else you’re interested in. Have fun… and hope to see you there!

You can follow me on Twitter at@GottaBook or follow @30poets30days for a purer #poetry experience.

Tomorrow's the big day!

Yes, tomorrow launches the first ever 30 Poets/30 Days, and I'm pretty darn excited about that. It also launches National Poetry Month, Mathematics Awareness Month, and is April Fools' Day. And...

For Kenn Nesbitt (a 30 Poets participant and the man behind the fab Poetry4Kids), April 1 also happens to be the launch date of his new book, My Hippo Has the Hiccups: And Other Poems I Totally Made Up! I hope you find a way to help him celebrate his big day. Maybe follow him on Twitter and say "congrats!"

Looking forward to tomorrow and a new Jack Prelutsky poem to kick things off hereabouts. Hope to see you then!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Talking 30 Poets/30 Days (and more) on Just One More Book, plus....

I've talked about the joy that is the Just One More Book podcast before since it's my single favorite podcast around... so you can imagine my excitement at being asked to be on it. You can hear the results here on their episode 550. While I'm super excited about 30 Poets/30 Days, I'm also incredibly looking forward to their Rock Stars of Reading video series which starts tomorrow.

I also wanted to thank Jennifer at 5 Minutes for Books for letting me write an On Reading column at their site about my love of children's poetry.

Another hat tip to my compatriots in the Kidlitosphere for all their help. I encourage y'all to go check out the most recent Carnival of Children's Literature being hosted at Jenny's Wonderland of Books to get a little idea of what's going on in the children's literature blogosphere.

In barely under 36 hours, we'll be kicking off 30 Poets/30 Days with a new Jack Prelutsky poem... and I'm incredibly excited. Thanks again for all your support. I'll have more later, but right now I gotta book!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A 30 Poets/30 Days welcome to...

... all the folks getting here to GottaBook via the Choice Literacy newsletter! I'm glad you've come to see what we're up to here in April... and I hope you come join us (and keep spreading the word, too).

One of the great things for me about this whole project has been that as I've surfed the web looking for places I thought might be interested in what we're doing here, I've ended up discovering so many great informative and entertaining sites. I've certainly spent more time reading online and emailing people links than I have anything else during the last few weeks! Go figure.

It's only four more days until 30 Poets/30 Days kicks off, and guess what? I'm excited... and looking forward to seeing you all next month!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Twitter, #poetry, #kidlit... and an invitation!

It’s Poetry Friday again, with this week’s roundup at The Drift Record, the blog of Julie Larios -- one of the participants in 30 Poets/30 Days! But before you head over there, why not stick around a minute while I talk a little about Twitter (and poetry!)?

Twitter is a fast growing social network where folks “tweet” messages of 140 characters or less to each other. To make conversations trackable, people can categorize what they say by the use of the # sign (called a hashtag) within a tweet. For example, if you include #poetry in your tweet, folks can find your comment (and other people talking #poetry) by searching Twitter for the hashtag.

There are millions of users of Twitter (including President Obama), but only a few of them are tweeting about #poetry and #kidlit. National Poetry Month seems like a good time to change the former, and Poetry Friday, all the great children's poetry blog projects this month, and the growing Kidlitosphere make it a great time to change the latter, too. But why? Well...

One thing I re-learned when Fibs were spreading around the web is that there are poetry lovers in every walk of life. They may not write or read poems regularly, but they love to be reminded of it… and get re-invigorated. They’re on Twitter. Parents are on Twitter, too, maybe not spending enough time thinking about kids' books... or maybe looking for information. You don’t go on Twitter and say “buy my book!!!” of course, but if we start using #kidlit even just talking among ourselves, I'm pretty sure before long we'll meet all sorts of fascinating people who share our love of children's literature.

So my invitation to you is to join me in April, tweeting away about #kidlit and #poetry. We can share ideas and resources. We can make some poetic noise. And really, now… doesn’t that sound like fun?

You can find me on Twitter as GottaBook and also get updates from 30poems30days. I'll have more detailed information (including ideas about what to tweet to get you started) next week. I'm soooo looking forward to April here on the blog... and I'll see you in the Twitterverse, too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

30 Poets/Countless Thanks... and more!

It's been a fun couple days for me since the 30 Poets/30 Days announcement, I must say. Besides enjoying the fact that I no longer had to keep quiet about the event, it's also been really gratifying to see that other people are as excited as I am about how much fun April is going to be (throughout the Kidlitosphere!).

I want to take another opportunity to thank all the poets for jumping into this with me, and I also want to thank all of you who have been helping spread the word about this fun, freeeee project via links on blogs and by emailing me ideas. I've had a great time reading some blogs that were totally new to me (Mental Multivitamin, for example) and spent hours clicking around blogrolls. I've once again wondered how Melissa Wiley has time to blog so wonderfully, write books, parent her brood, AND coin the word Kidlitosphere. I've again been inspired to write poetry by Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides. And I can't wait to read Tricia's Poetry Makers series. (Perhaps I can bribe her with a Lee Bennett Hopkins or Linda Sue Park or Jack Prelutsky poem???)

There are many more folks to thank (Camille! Sondra! Adrienne! Cheryl R.! Cheryl K.! Lee!), and I'll be doing so all month, I'm sure. And I'm so excited about the days to come... but for now, I gotta book.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Announcing 30 Poets/30 Days!

I'm incredibly excited to announce the first annual 30 Poets/30 Days, a celebration of children's poetry taking place here at GottaBook during National Poetry Month.

(You can CLICK HERE to see all the 2009 poems and poets.)

(There is also a 2010 edition of 30 Poets/30 Days!)

(There is also now a 2011 edition of 30 Poets/30 Days!)

Every day in April, I'll be posting a previously unpublished poem by a different poet. Here's the alphabetical list of who's participating:

Arnold Adoff, Jaime Adoff, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Douglas Florian, Betsy Franco, Kristine O'Connell George, Charles Ghigna, Nikki Giovanni, Joan Bransfield Graham, Nikki Grimes, Avis Harley, Mary Ann Hoberman, Lee Bennett Hopkins, X. J. Kennedy, Bruce Lansky, Julie Larios, J. Patrick Lewis, Pat Mora, Kenn Nesbitt, Linda Sue Park, Ann Whitford Paul, Gregory K. Pincus, Jack Prelutsky, Adam Rex, Jon Scieszka, Joyce Sidman, Marilyn Singer, April Halprin Wayland, Janet Wong, and Jane Yolen.

We'll launch on Tuesday, April 1, with former Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky's new “A Little Poem For Poetry Month.” We’ll end April 30th with “Books & Me” by Pat Mora to help celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day). And every day in between will bring something new. You can follow along here and via 30poets30days on Twitter.

There will be a lot of other poetry related fun going on in the Kidlitosphere during April, including...

- at the Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia has a great series called Poetry Makers featuring interviews with 36 (!!!) poets.
- at Poetry For Children, Sylvia Vardell will be reviewing a new children's poetry book every day.
- at the Pencil Talk blog, Anastasia Suen will be collecting school poems written by children throughout April... and posting one each day.
- and of course there's Poetry Friday every week... plus much, much more, so look for updates here at the blog throughout the month.

I want to thank all the poets for their generosity and enthusiasm, and I particularly want to single out J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt for going above and beyond the call in helping me put this event together. Also, special thanks to my brother Jon and all the folks who've given me ideas and support along the way. If there has been any frustration in organizing this event at all, it's only that there are so many other wonderfully talented people writing poetry for kids and it was hard not to invite them all. But that's why I plan to make this an annual celebration.

I'm really looking forward to April. I hope you'll all come join the fun!

(Again, the poetry has begun! If you click here, it will take you to the top of the blog where the day's poem will most likely be the first post you see. If it's not, just scroll down a little and it'll be there. After today, if you keep scrolling down, you'll see the whole month's worth of poems to date. Enjoy!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Best Concert Ever -- a music poem/an orchestra poem/a poem about instruments

Gregory K.

A violin told knock-knock jokes.
A trumpet made a pun.
A French horn told some riddles that were really goofy fun.

The timpani and xylophone
Made lots of silly faces.
A tuba and a piccolo decided to switch places.

A double bass got lots of laughs
By standing upside down.
Every last viola had been dressed up like a clown.

The instruments played forte soft.
They played piano loud.
The woodwinds all threw whipped cream pies directly at the crowd.

I haven’t laughed this heartily
Since I can’t tell you when.
I sure can’t wait ‘til I can hear this Symfunny again.

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!

Elaine is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today over at the Wild Rose Reader. Go on over and check it out.

And I'll see you back here on Monday when I stop teasing and finally say what's going to be happening at GottaBook during April for National Poetry Month. Did I mention I'm excited? Good. Because that's the truth!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Retro RIF!

I just had a wonderful flashback, thanks to the Reading is Fundamental website. In a wonderful section of the site called Retro RIF, they've collected some of their old commercials. There are two I remember as if I just saw them yesterday (which I didn't)! Good stuff. Good site in general, by the way, and highly recommended for a visit....

Monday, March 16, 2009

You gotta like that!

I'm happy to see a good New York Times review of Douglas Florian's just out Dinothesaurus (read a bit of the review over at The Florian Cafe). If you've been reading his blog, you've seen some excerpts of the book. I've loved them all, personally, and have a copy of the book waiting at a nearby bookstore... which I look forward to getting, if I ever leave my desk chair.

And I look forward to April here at GottaBook where Douglas Florian might very well be a part of my oft-teased Poetry Month celebration. Look for an announcement on the 23rd to know for sure....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Pi Day!

Yes, today is 3.14 aka Pi Day.

A day like this appeals to my admittedly geeky heart. Plus I use it as an excuse to eat pie! And since it's annual, it's easier to celebrate than waiting for 1-12-35 or 11-23-58 to come around to celebrate Fib day... though Fib Time is a whole different story....

I want to point out that I attempted to put up this post on 3.14 at 1:59 but was not on top of things enough to do so. Pi Day doesn't not change the natural order of things, apparently!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I can't help it! I'm a tease.

Yes, call this another poetry tease, but I am incredibly excited about what's going to be happening here at GottaBook for National Poetry Month this year. I'll be announcing it here on the blog on March 23rd, but in the meantime here's what I'll say since I can't contain myself:

There will be new poetry here every day of the month, just like the last three years. HOWEVER... this year, it's not just my poetry. Nope. Definitely not. And who's joining me? Well, I'm still not saying, but I'm telling you, it's gonna be a monthlong party. I hope you'll all come join in.

For less of a tease, go on over to the Miss Rumphius Effect for today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A hippo in the classroom!

Well, not exactly. Instead, what about poet Kenn Nesbitt in your classroom, virtually? In celebration of the release of his new book My Hippo Has the Hiccups, Kenn is offering up a free 30 minute web-based visit for any group that purchases 10 or more copies of his book. I did the math. That's a deal, indeed.

I want to add, by the way, that Kenn Nesbitt is actually one of the main reasons I blog. When I first knew I was gonna have an "online presence," I started thinking about what I might want to do. I thought of building a website with my poetry and links and information and... well, Kenn's already done that at Poetry4Kids, and I wasn't gonna be able to do it as well, let alone better. There is a soooo much funny stuff on his site AND so much great information, too. So, I sulked for awhile then eventually started blogging instead. And I'm glad I did, of course! But sometimes I have site envy :-)

Anyway, I really think you should check out Kenn's offer and book and site. And, as a further tease to a prior tease... I should mention that Kenn Nesbitt will be part of the (I think very) exciting April here at GottaBook. Ooooooh. How? Why? When? Patience. Patience. No get thee hence.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Run, run, run....

While this blog rarely, if ever, delves into the details of my life, you can actually tell when I'm busy -- I miss Poetry Friday! Luckily, I can still post a link to the roundup over at Anastasia's blog (or rather, ONE of her blogs) even though it's now Saturday.

The busy-ness will only keep me quiet a few more days, here, but part of what's taken up some time is working on this April's poetry extravaganza here at GottaBook. It requires left and right brain action, so those of you who know me (or who've seen my desk) know that this presents challenges. But it's all good. And the end result in this case is something I'm realllllllllly excited about, too.

So, as they say, "don't go away. We'll be right back!"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The top 100 picture books -- a poll!

Over at Fuse #8, Betsy is putting together a list... with everyone's help, that is.

Here's her post explaining the poll on the Top 100 Picture Books. Each of us gets to list our top 10 and send it in to her. Only ten?? This should be fun and challenging both, and the results should be fantastic. I can already see cabals forming to try and gather votes for favorites. Deals made in smoky back rooms. Yes, this should be good.

No go on and check it out so you can jump on in....

Monday, March 02, 2009

Happy Dr. Seuss's Birthday to You!

If you were to ask the kids at the school where I'm the volunteer librarian who my favorite author of children's book is, I'm pretty sure every one of them would say Dr. Seuss. What can I say other than "true!" Hey, don't get me wrong -- I don't argue that every one of his books is perfection or anything like that. But holy smokes, the combo of artistic fun and verbal play is so extraordinary. Yah, I know, I'm not the first so say so. :-)

Anyway, loving him as I do, I also realized that I've done Oddaptations of 10 of his books. You can see the whole Oddaptation collection right here (or click individually on the links on the right hand side of my blog AND, in doing so, see an explanation of what Oddaptations are!). I write 'em from love, I tell you.

So Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss. And thanks!