Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Cybils -- poetry nominees

Continuing in catch up mode, here are the 26 (!!!) books the Cybils' poetry nominating committee will be considering before narrowing it down to five:

The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems
compiled and illustrated by Jackie Morris; various authors
Barefoot Books

Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant and Other Poems
written by Jack Prelutsky; illustrated by Carin Berger
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Blackbeard: The Pirate King
written by J. Patrick Lewis; various illustrators
National Geographic Children's Books

Busy in the Garden
written by George Shannon; illustrated by Sam Williams
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
written by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Beth Krommes
Houghton Mifflin

Castles: Old Stone Poems
written by J. Patrick Lewis and Rebecca Kai Dotlich; illustrated by Dan Burr
Boyds Mills Press

Dear Mr. Rosenwald
written by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Gregory Christie

Flamingos on the Roof
written and illustrated by Calef Brown
Houghton Mifflin

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich 
written and illustrated by Adam Rex
Harcourt Children's Books

The Friendly Four
written by Eloise Greenfield; illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Got Geography!
selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; various authors; illustrated by Philip Stanton
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

written and illustrated by Douglas Florian
Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins

Hey There, Stink Bug!
written by Leslie Bulion; illustrated by Leslie Evans

I Heard It From Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden
written by Juanita Havill; illustrated by Christine Davenier
Chronicle Books

written by Walter Dean Myers; illustrated by Christopher Myers
Holiday House

The Man in the Moon-Fixer's Mask
written by JonArno Lawson; illustrated by Sherwin Tjia
Boyds Mills Press

Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry
written by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Michelle Berg
Houghton Mifflin

Mites to Mastodons: A Book of Animal Poems 
written by Maxine Kumin; illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin

Once Upon a Tomb: A Collection of Gravely Humorous Verses
written by J. Patrick Lewis; illustrated by Simon Bartram
Candlewick Press

One Odd Day
written by Doris Fisher and Danny Sneed; illustrated by Karen Lee
Sylvan Dell

Rhyme & Punishment
written by Brian P. Cleary; illustrated by J.P. Sandy
Milbrook Press/Lerner

There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me
written by Alice Walker; illustrated by Stefano Vitale

Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art
written by Diane Siebert; illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
Chronicle Books ­

What a Day It Was at School!
written by Jack Prelutsky; illustrated by Doug Cushman
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

When the Horses Ride By: Children in the Times of War
written by Eloise Greenfield; illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Lee & Low Books

Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku 
written by Paul B. Janeczko and J. Patrick Lewis; illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Little, Brown, & Company Books for Young Readers

Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary 
written by Julie Larios; illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Harcourt Children's Books

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More catching up

So, besides not having time for little things like desk-cleaning, I've also been falling behind in pointing out "the good stuff" out in the world.

Like the new Edge of the Forest! You even get an interview with blogging writer Lisa Yee.

I'm also exceedingly happy to point you all over to the Class of 2K7 blog. Over thereabouts, besides answering many other great questions, the Class has taken a crack at my "Why Write For Kids" query. (Yeah, I know. I'm not the only one who's ever asked that).

Here's Part One of the FIVE PARTS! If you click Next Entry at the top o' that post, you'll get the other responses, too. It's goooooooooood stuff. (And again, the Class blog is good reading well beyond these five answers. There be some mighty fine writers over there... which is really no shock when you think about it.)

Now I'm off to FuseNumber8 for what I suspect will be a heap o' time to catch up on all the stuff I must catch up on.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back, rested, and that means...

It's time to clean my office!

Yes, really. I mean it this time. Not the procrastinatorial cleaning of yore. Oh no, this is the spring cleaning that never was. If any of you out there need some recyclable material, I'm telling ya to come on over and take the detritus away with ya.

Other than that, what does the near term hold here in GottaBook land? I'm excited about the Oddaptation I'll be putting up in December. I hope to have some time to write some poems just for the heck of it. I'm already thinking about ways to fix my first draft (though not regretting sending it off, either). I will also be diving headlong into library projects which I suspect will yield some fun stories. First up, however, solve the car dilemna, answer a near-week's worth of email, and keep trying to stay relaxed.

And now I gotta book -- there's piles of paper here that need to be given a good talking to.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Food is disappearing around these parts at an alarming rate, much of it into my own stomach so I can do my imitation of last night's turkey. On the upside, I have it on good authority that because I turned in a draft of my book, the food is all non-caloric, so I am taking advantage of the situation in a big way.

Like many out there, I'm on semi-vacation for Thanksgiving. And it's great. The burn out factor was high for me -- higher than I realized -- and I'm trying to make up for that with NO writing and basically NO websurfing. Really, it more boils down to no sitting other than for meal times. So I'm missing Poetry Friday, I'm missing out on conversations on my favorite blogs, and I'm looking forward to catching up next week. But for now, I gotta eat some calorie free pecan pie because it's calling my name. Can you hear it?

I knew it! It's not just me!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Eat at the buffet...

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than with a great collection of links based on the theme "What are you thankful for in childre's literature?" OK, sometimes it's loosely based, but that's the fun. Yep -- the Carnival of Children's Literature is back!

Anne-Marie is hosting over at A Readable Feast, and I highly recommend heading on over and reading the Carnival (and poking around, too).

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours....

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fibs away!

I know I promised a meatier post for today, and here I am squeaking in under the wire. So what, you all ask in unison, is the news?

Today I sent off the first draft of what's still called The 14 Fabulous Fibs of Gregory K. to the fine folks at Arthur A. Levine Books!

Let's hear a "wooo hooooo!" from you all. C'mon people... that was NOT loud enough.

That's better.

OK, sure... it's really only momentous for me -- it's the first draft of my first contracted book -- but so many of you were around from the birth of Fibbery that I definitely take great pleasure in being able to share the moment with you.

But now that our big group hug has dismantled, don't think I didn't hear the whispering. "Is it good?" "What's it about?" "Would you please shave?"

Duh. Not saying. If I have to.

Seriously, I'm far too close to the manuscript to talk about quality or anything like that. Plus to me, it's beside the point right now. Suffice to say that I'm thrilled I've sent it off, and I'm sure I'll get notes back. And frankly, I can't wait. I've often said that I feel like I won the kidbook lottery because I get the luxury of writing something then working with people who I know will help me make it better. I mean... a lot better. I mean, geez, would ya look at the books on the Levine list?!?!?! Yes, I'm a lucky, lucky fellow.

So let's just say I'm going to sleep tonight a happy man. Or more specifically...a happy man who mailed off the first draft of his first book!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Really, now...

I'm far too busy to blog today. Far, far, far too busy.

But I know what you all come here for, so I'm still happy to oblige. I know. Such a giver:

Go play.

A more substantial post (with news, even) tomorrow, but for now, I gotta book

Friday, November 17, 2006

Let's Go Play -- a football poem

Yes, more sports poetry in Fib form here on my Poetry Friday entry (this week's links collected by Susan). This time it's football poetry... stemming from my love of a sport I played alllll the time as a kid until everyone suddenly was much, much bigger than me. Line three would be out for me nowadays, but otherwise...

Gregory K.

It's all good.
Whatever the name,
It’s football! Let's go play a game!

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

(for your procrastinatory pleasure, links to this and other poems here on GottaBook are collected to the right under the headline "The Poems".)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Go thisaway then thataway

My new Book Talk column is up on You can go see more of the books I've been reading, because I know ya want to.

And once you're done there...

Nominating in the Cybils ends on November 20th. Sure, you can nominate in a bunch of categories (and you should!), but please make extra special sure you nominate your favorite children's poetry book of 2006. That's the category for which I'm a judge, ya see, so I want to make sure that the nominating committee doesn't miss a single good 'un. And that's where y'all come in. So...


And now Fibs call, so I gotta book.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A little library business

It's not that I've given up my volunteer librarianship, though you might not realize from recent posts on the blog that I'm still doing it. I have been mucho busy with other stuff (Fibbery, Accordians, Rubik's Cube practice sessions), and haven't had nearly as much time to dig in to the library itself of late OR to write about it.

And I gotta tell you, there's definitely an "absence makes the heart grow fonder" thang going on for me. I can't tell you how much I miss watching the reactions of a group of kids as I read 'em a great book. I've seen that "sparkle" folks talk about when kids get engaged, and it's a jolt. This was never something I would've expected to impact me, so I'm rather grateful I discovered it. It surely shows the power of a good story, and I'm lucky to have a nicely stocked library full of gooooood stuff to read. I will note, too, from a writer's point of view, reading aloud and seeing what works and what doesn't (and in the case of picture books, seeing how the text and pictures work together for the read-ee) has been truly educational. Whether I'm a better writer or not for the experience isn't for me to judge, but I do know I'm a more aware writer.

I know a lot of folks who visit here share my passion for children's books, so I think what I'm saying is that what I've learned means there's many reasons for you to go out and adopt a class or a school and read to 'em. Not that I'm proselytizing or nothing. I'm just saying.

Some of what we've been reading at the library:

The Hungry Coat -- Demi
The True Story of Stellina -- Matteo Pericoli
Bringing Asha Home -- Uma Krishnaswami; illustrated by Jamel Akib
The Dot -- Peter Reynolds
Song of the Swallows -- Leo Politi
Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich -- Adam Rex
The American Story -- Jennifer Armstrong; illustrated by Roger Roth

Monday, November 13, 2006

Should I be proud?

Those of you with blogs might, on occasion, look at your sitemeter or equivalent and see how people get to you. I'm just saying you MIGHT. There's no "might" with me, however. I admit I look. Only on occasion, of course, though keep in mind that "occasion" really is an open-ended term.

Anyway, I recently saw a search term that led someone to my blog. My blog (well, one post anyway) is search result number four for this phrase on the whole Web, according to Yahoo. Should I be proud? Should I be embarrassed? Is Yahoo trying to tell me something... or tell the searcher something?

You be the judge!

Ahhh, I love the Web!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The first Fib Review

The first issue of the fib review is now up! The Review is the brainchild of and edited by R.G. Rader, and I'm pleased to see that a few of the contributing writers are folks who visit these parts on a regular basis. Even if that weren't the case, though, the collected poems show some great uses of the Fib form.

So again, I say check out the fib review.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oddaptation: The Sneetches

For those who've read prior Oddaptations (helpfully collected to the right of the blog under the headline "The Oddaptations"), you know that synopsis mixes with point of view mixes with whatever I so choose when I do these. This particular attempt to Oddapt Seuss was done some time ago but seems to fit nicely with the news of the week, so here ya go. And happy Poetry Friday (links collected by Nancy)!

by Dr. Seuss
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

For as long as they’d known, all the Star Bellied Sneetches
Had lived as the kings and the queens of the beaches.
The Sneetches with bellies as plain as the day
Lived empty lives teeming with gloom and dismay.

One day a fine chap by the name of McBean
Came by with a Star On and Star Off Machine.
The Plain Bellies paid and were given new stars.
Then Star Bellies paid and removed theirs from thars.

Then in again, out again, stars off and on
Til every last bit of their savings was gone.
McBean rode off laughing. The Sneetches looked sorry:
They no longer knew who'd been plain or been starry.

But then as they stood in the sand of their beaches
They suddenly realized that Sneetches are Sneetches.
Yes, Sneetch-Sneetch relations have truly made progress…
And McBean was last seen making oodles from Congress.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Duck season! Busy season!

It's busy time here in GottaBook land. Approaching holiday seasons haven't even made their impact felt, but I am utterly, totally treading water... and I admit to kinda liking that. Why? Well, it's largely work-ish stuff, including the final stretch on the first draft of 14 Fabulous Fibs!!!! (You can tell it's a first draft because I can't tell you how many Fibs are in it at the moment.) To say I'm excited and nervous about finishing the draft would be a pretty fair assessment. To say at moments I'm terrified and at moments I'm overjoyed would also be fair. To say that I wish the rest of life would stop so that I could focus exclusively on Fibbery would be VERY fair. But alas, that's not to be. Or maybe that's not so alas, really, as it would be mighty dull around here if it were the case.

So, as I lean on my diet rich in the antioxidants found in coffee and chocolate, get ready here on the blog for some Oddaptation action, some poetry, some random musings, and some reminders to go vote at the Cybils. But now, I gotta book and write a book!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Future stuff...

My immediate future, of course, involves getting a different car, but I was thinking more in the bigger picture kinda way when I wrote that title. Recently, I heard Jean Gralley speak about the possible digital future for picture books (which she explores in Books Unbound (which if you haven't seen, you really should)). It's great to see people trying to push a form forward in the digital realm, rather than simply trying to make old rules apply no matter what. I suspect technology is gonna change every aspect of publishing (though not, one hopes, every aspect of storytelling!), so trying to be ahead of the curve... or even on the curve... seems key.

And while still mulling this over, I ran into Ms. Dewey. Now, you'd think this is a library thang, what with the Dewey reference, but instead it's an interesting hybrid of search technology and entertainment. I admit, I laughed quite a few times both at some of the waiting around stuff as well as some of the responses to my search terms (which also brought up perfectly fine search results ala any search engine). Would I use Ms. Dewey if I were in a rush? Nah. Would I use it if I could create a more personalized version of it for folks to use to search my blog? Oh, sure. Would you?

It's fun to think about this type of stuff, though right now I gotta book and deal with far more prosaic life issues... like the fact that I haven't had coffee yet!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A "why write" update...

Thanks to Daphne over at The Longstockings for her reply to the "Why write for kids?" question I posed. That's a blog well worth checking out for those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure.

Thanks, too, to the many who emailed me answers. There's still time to go to the original post and add in your repsonse. Well, there's always time, but I was collecting some of these as conversation starters for an event this coming Wednesday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Getting Ready -- A Hockey Poem

Sports poetry keeps on popping up here at GottaBook, in this case with me adding to the world's collection of hockey poems (in Fib form). What can I say? I love sports almost as much as I love food, so expect to see more poems on both topics as time goes on. You have been warned. Happy Poetry Friday (with links collected at Big A little a)....

Gregory K.

Face mask.
All I ask...
By all that's holy,
Survive my first game as goalie.

(for your procrastinatory pleasure, links to this and other poems here on GottaBook are collected to the right under the headline "The Poems".)

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!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Work crashes to a halt!

Oooh, quite dramatic sounding, I know, but it's so rare that I blog about something that's not just "the writer's life" type o' stuff that I thought I'd go for the gusto. I mean, I coulda headlined this post "I was in a car accident, but I walked home from the body shop, so clearly it's got a happy enough ending" but then where's the drama? The statement is accurate however, and I only make light of the situation since no one was hurt. Automobile wise, however... well, let's just say I started off driving a mid-size but ended up in a compact.

Being a writer, of course, I feel the need to record the experience. So here in Fib form is a little ditty about my afternoon....

My car
Is renamed:
Once my chariot,
Now my Honda Accordian.

(Please, please, please know that I didn't post this so that you'd all feel compelled to leave a "glad you're okay!" comment, since unless you're totally heartless, of course you're glad. Strangers on the street were glad. The tow truck driver was glad. I'm glad, too, believe me! So, you're off the hook.)