Saturday, December 27, 2008

Looking back, looking forward, just looking...

This year is almost gone (gone I tell ya, gone!), and frankly, I am okay with that. Not that it would matter much if I weren't, of course, as I understand that this changeover is inevitable. This year is ending with a flurry of travel, family, friends, and even of snow (though the latter was not right here in LA), though not a flurry of blog posts. I've also taken four full days off from checking my email, surfing the web, or any such net-based things until re-appearing here today. And guess what? I've lived to tell the tale! I think that's a valuable piece of news for me to carry into next year... though not one I plan to put to the test very often....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy, Happy, Merry, Merry

Yes, well, indeed -- it's Happy and Merry time of year, and I'm clearly blogging like I've been out hitting the eggnog every night. Or something like that. And it's gonna continue like that through the end of the week, at least, if not the whole darn year!

I wish all of you and yours a wonderful, peaceful holiday time, whatever holiday you celebrate (or not!). It's been a pleasure hanging out with y'all this year, and I look forward to the next year, as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The last Carnival o' the year... and it's a big'un

Yes, the December Carnival of Children's Literature is up over at Jen Robinson's Book Page. It's a doozy, full of everyone's hand-picked "favorite" post of the year on a raft of children's literature topics. Great stuff.

Not only that, but it's Jen's 3rd Blogoversary, so go on over and say "hi!" if nothing else!

Monday, December 15, 2008


One of the great perks of being a volunteer librarian is that I get to pick whatever I want to read-aloud (well, more or less). This holiday time I've forgone the Grinch and gone with The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, a Christmas Story by Lemony Snickett with illustrations by Lisa Brown. The big advantage, as far as I'm concerned of this as a read-aloud is that it allows me to scream "Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" many times. If one knows that a committee meeting is going on in the room right next to the library, it allows one to scream with extra gusto.

I was hoarse for days, but the looks I got later that day were well worthwhile.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Why I Love the Holidays in My Family -- A Christmas poem/A Hanukkah poem/A Chrismukkah poem

Gregory K.

My dad lights the menorah.
My mom hangs Christmas lights.
And so the way I do the math,
It’s presents 20 nights!

The Poetry Friday links are collected here at the Wild Rose Reader. Go on now... go check 'em out.

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, December 11, 2008

Internet friends....

While I have poetically made the claim of being Pretty Well Connected, today via those very connections (and more specifically via Laurel Snyder), I heard a wonderful song that treads some similar terrain: All My Internet Friends.

Now, what makes this even more poetic to my mind... the singer/songwriter is Amanda French, and she was an early Fibber right here on GottaBook! All that lovely connected-poetry aside, you'd still like the song if you heard it. So go hear it!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Shaking, I tell ya.

We've been having sporadic internet outages, and it's remarkable to me how frustrated I can be when I'm unable to pop online and check my mail or, honestly, research. And so I started to remember back before I was ever online. And then I realized how I never woulda known most of y'all.

That just doesn't work for me.

So, with a few minutes of up time, I stopped reminiscing and simply decided to blog about how clearly addicted I am to being online... and how totally okay with that I am!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Aglay, I tell ya. Plans went aglay.

As they gang aft, do my plans (in this case, to return to daily blogging) went aglay, indeed. I suppose this makes three posts this week (and this a post about posting!), but that wasn't my intent.

For me, this week brings to the end 3 1/2 years of coordinating/co-coordinating a monthly SCBWI Schmooze here in the L.A. area. I have to say that I've learned so much from the monthly conversations on sooooo many topics related to children's literature, both from doing preparation work and from the wonderful fellow schmoozers. One thing that is certainly true about folks who write (and illustrate and edit and art design and publish and sell books) for children is that they are passionate, giving, and mighty smart, too. I know I'll even see a few of you GottaBook readers at the Schmooze this week (and next year, too), but in general, consider this a public shout out to everyone who's been part o' the Schmoozing, and particularly to Sara Wilson Etienne, the talented writer (and gifted baker!) who has co-coordinated (and done the bulk of the hard work!) with me the last 2 1/2 years.

Yep. Y'all rock. Now stop reading blogs and get back to work :-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The poetry questions, part two

Again, looking towards the future here at GottaBook, I'm trying to figure out what to do with the ream of poetry that already covers the place... and will continue to grow next year, I'd suspect. I get lots of email requests to use my poetry in all sorts of wonderful places, and along with those, I get requests for links to my poetry books. This is problematic, of course, as I don't have any. I have been asked and thought about compiling the blogged poems and offering them for sale as an ebook or a printed book, but one thing (of many!) that holds me back is that it becomes a business, the whole self-publishing thang. Also, I have a book I've been focusing all my writing energy on and takes priority both time and career-wise.

But I do think about all this, and would love to hear the thoughts of others who have suggestions, experience, or anything to add. Again, comments or email all work. And thanks to those who've come up with design ideas as mused about in my last post!

Monday, December 01, 2008

The poetry questions, part one

So, as I look towards next year here at GottaBook, I start thinking about more posts, more Oddaptations, more Fibs, and more poetry in general. And I start to wonder -- what the heck to do with it all? I'm gonna break this down into two parts, with today being... ta-da!... part one.

I link to all the poems I've posted over there on the right hand side of the blog, and I know that people click on those links all the time. But really now... is this my best layout option? The list has become long and ungainly, to say the least. I've organized to some extent with Tags, but my sense is that people like to see the poem titles (and I get this sense by seeing what links get clicked the most). Do I lay my blog out over a website that keeps the poems static? Do I just keep going?

So the question for today is... does anyone have a good idea or 10 about layout thoughts? As always, feel free to email me or leave thoughts in the comments....

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I have been attempting to do my best bear impersonation (errr... imanimalation?) these past few days by eating so much that I can simply live off of it for months and months. It's unclear whether it will work (particularly as there's flourless chocolate cake one room away!), but I think you'd all applaud my efforts.

If any of you are also thinking of heading to a cave for a few weeks, let me know... or I'll just see you there!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And happy Thanksgiving, too

It's a lonnnnng weekend here, and I hope, though am not sure, to come back from it blogging more regularly. Still much going on hereabouts, but I miss this place!

I hope all of y'all in the U.S. enjoy the holiday (and all of y'all everywhere can, too!), and hope that each of you have much to be thankful for this year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fibs. Yes... Fibs!

Fibs continue sprouting up around the Web (and world, I guess). "Where, Gregory K., where?" I hear you ask. Welllll, the new issue of the fib review is up. There's some inspired experimentation going on with the use of Fibonacci in this issue. Well worth checking out.

Then over at London Word Festival, they're doing a months long Search for the Golden Fib. Already some excellent examples up over there. Why not join in the fun?

There have been other Fib sightings, too, but those two should keep the Fibbers among you plenty busy....

Friday, November 21, 2008

A poetry re-issue: Thankful

It seems like a mighty fine time to dust off a Thanksgiving poem (originally posted right here)....

Gregory K.

You ask me what I'm thankful for....
I hope I don't sound jerky,
But I'm really, truly thankful that I wasn't born a turkey!

And why not go check out the Poetry Friday collected links over at author and readergirlz diva Holly Cupala's Brimstome Soup? 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!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Carnival (November edition)

Sure, I'm being quiet, but if you need a kidlit fix, why not head on over to November's Carnival of Children's Literature (hosted at Mommy's Favorite Children's Books)? You'll be glad you did....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Travel, with kidlit overtones

It is fun and funny to tool around Southern California and view things through a children's lit perspective. For example, this weekend, I saw many plants that clearly musta inspired Dr. Seuss to draw what he drew. Oh, sure, I have no proof of this inspiration, but you just look at some of our native flora and suddenly some of the good doctor's stuff doesn't seem as totally far-fetched anymore. I bet all of you in other locales can find similar points of reference.

In fact, perhaps many of you around the blog-reading-world have had the same experience as me: this weekend, I actually drove to where the pavement (and sidewalk) ends... and even drove beyond.

I am hoping to be duly inspired. But it was fun, regardless!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shelved at last. Shelved at last.

Library two is shelved at last!

Hard to believe we're pushing into November and just now getting the second library open, but there was construction and provisioning and lots an lots of dust. Oh, and books. But intrepid volunteers have taken care of that and today we're thaaaaaat close to opening.

We have books, too, thanks to parental donations (and some from y'all!) and cannibalizing from our existing library. We have celebrity books (Carville, Foxworthy, the Barber brothers), quirky gems, and a Joyce Carol Oates' picture book. I think we're ready. Though it would be nice to have some of these titles, too.

This is one of many projects that's had me in blog-lite mode. All are actually progressing, so I remain lite... but I'm blogging every day in spirit!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What could make me re-surface?

How about learning that Douglas Florian is blogging! That'd do it.

So would someone offering lots of Reese's Cups, by the way. I'm just saying....

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Things are busy here in GottaBook land, so let this serve as a heads up that posting is potentially sporadic for a few weeks here. This doesn't mean I won't be posting. For all I know I'll be posting every day as random thoughts occur. But it also means I might not and that the silence has no major, hidden meaning (though I should also note that my Halloween stash of Reese's has gone to nil, and that can cause me to become withdrawn and moody. But I get over that!).

Now, watch me end up posting three times a day now that I've blogged this....

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

As it should be....

I have voted. The line at our polling place was only about 20 minutes long, and it was a beautiful day here at that. Everything went smoothly... and there was a wonderful feeling of community in our line, of a shared sense of purpose. I have no idea if people around me were Democrats or Republicans or Greens or anything else. At that moment, we were all just citizens exercising our rights, and we also shared agreement that it was a net positive that this many people cared enough to give up time, to make an effort, to VOTE.

Years ago, when someone asked me what I liked to read the most (beyond "funny" and "good thrillers!"), I realized that my favorite books, even ones that were darker, all offered one common theme: they were ultimately hopeful. That tends to drive me in my own writing, too. And today I found waiting in line offered that same feeling: this many people caring enough? That is ultimately hopeful. And that, to me, is as it should be.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Why I Vote

I’ve voted in every election since I was old enough to vote, a pattern of behavior that I suspect comes straight from my parents (who I recall voting and discussing elections and politics in a way that transcended party-line thinking). There have always been specific issues that I’ve been passionate about. As a writer and reader, for example, I care passionately about freedom of speech and threats to it. More recently, as an online enthusiast, I see threats to our freedoms there. These issues still are part of what drive me to cast my ballot.

But not terribly long ago, I became a parent. Now I constantly think about my children and the world they live in today and the world I want them to live in when they’re grown. So I vote in an attempt to deliver the future that I want for my children, and also because I want to exhibit behavior I want my kids to model.

Parents often say “use your words” to our kids. As adults, we need to “use our rights,” and we need our kids to see us do it. I use my right to free speech to talk about the issues with my children, and I talk about what it means to have the right to vote. As I said here, voting is more than just a word – it’s an action that gives us a voice.

So tomorrow I will go to the polls and use my voice for myself and my children. I’m going to vote... and I hope all of you who are registered do the same.

This post is written as part of the non-partisan, non-bashing Blog the Vote event. Please head over to Chasing Ray to see links to a wonderful collection of posts about voting.

(If you encounter problems while trying to vote, you can call the non-partisan Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA.)

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!

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, 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.

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 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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I interrupt recapping to say...

Cybils nominations open October 1st (aka TOMORROW).

Get thee hence!

NOMINATE!!!! (well... after midnight!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Kitlit08 (even quicker)

There are so many great posts about the Kidlit08 Conference up already (and wonderfully collected here), that I ended up spending the day reading them instead of formulating my own thoughts and blogging them. And now, frankly, the weekend has caught up with me... and I only have one thought: bed.

OK, fine. I'm also thinking that I don't understand how come nobody brought a dozen maple/bacon donuts back to the conference!

But for deeper conference related thoughts... tune back in soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kidlit08 (quickly)

Kidlit08 was faboo. I'll have more to say this week, as right now I gotta type and fly, but I just wanted to say what a blast it was and how grateful I am to Jone and Laini for all their work.

There will, I suspect, be a lot of posts about the conference, and to find them you can head here.

My brother popped in and live-blogged my session. (thanks, bro!). That post is on his blog. It's remarkably thorough, considering how fast I talk! Also thanks to Jon, we've gotten a fresh copy of the Book Promotion Wiki up for all to read, use, and add to. Come on by!

My first impression of this year vs. last year is that the community continues to grow (and be populated by wonderful people) and that we're all still learning our way to some extent or another. The potential reach and upside and options for bloggers, individually and collectively, truly is astounding.

More later, but I gotta book!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oddaptation: Where's Waldo?

It's been some time since I posted an Oddaptation, and since Waldo just turned 21 last week and was in the news, it seemed like a good time to Oddapt Waldo. (For those new to Oddaptations, they are kinda like Cliff Notes with attitude... or distillations of the reading experience in rhyme (and with attitude). There are links to all the prior Oddaptations on the right hand side of the blog or through the label below.) And so, with no further ado....

by Martin Handford
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

Where is Waldo?
I can’t tell.
Boy, he’s hidden really well.
I tried to find his pointy hat
But sadly had no luck with that.
I failed to find his stripy shirt.
I’ve looked so long my eyeballs hurt.
I cannot find his wavy hair.
I just can’t find him anywhere!
I will not take another look.
It’s time to throw away this book.
I’m angry now and full of rage!
I... THERE HE IS!!!!
Next page!

Here are this week's Poetry Friday links courtesy of the Miss Rumphius Effect.

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, September 25, 2008

Collectively we are... what?

I'm heading off to Portland tomorrow for the second annual Kidlitosphere conference, and there I'll meet many, many bloggers. So I was wondering what the collective term for bloggers might be. Flock of seagulls, herd of cows, murder of crows... we know them. But what about a web 2.0 collective?

A bunch of bloggers?
A cacophony of bloggers?
A glob of bloggers?

Whatcha think? Any and all suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cybils time!

I'm quite excited to be judging the Cybils, once again, as one of the poetry judges. I can tell that the first round judges are gonna hand us fabulous books, but then it'll be up to me, John Mutford, Sylvia Vardell, Jama Rattigan, and Liz Garton Scanlon to pick the Cybil winner. I can't wait, frankly, as it's always invigorating (and good reading, too!).

Nominations open October 1st, so get yourself ready to be part of the process, too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Carnival!

It's time for another Carnival of Children's Literature! This one is hosted by Jenny at the Wonderland of Books. It is chock, chock, chock full of good stuff, so why not head on over and check it out?

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm Pretty Well Connected -- A Web 2.0 poem/an online poem/a social network poem

(a Web 2.0 poem)
Gregory K.

I’m pretty well connected:
Facebook’s got my face.
I AIM and blog.
Of course I vlog.
Come see me at MySpace.

I Flickr, and I Twitter.
I wiki and Squidoo!
I’m Live. I Ning.
I’m there on Xing.
I’m really LinkedIn, too.

I Hulu, Yelp, and Google.
My YouTube channel’s hot.
I share Goodreads,
Have many feeds,
And Digg and link a lot.

Second Life and Classmates?
Xanga? RateItAll?
I’m on those four
And dozens more
Plus some I can’t recall.

I’m pretty well connected:
My friends are EVERYWHERE.
I bet I’d meet
Them on the street...
If I’d just leave my chair.

Happy Poetry Friday (with this week's links collected here by author amok). I've posted an original poem that I can't wait to revisit in years hence to see how many of those hyperlinks still work!

And hey... 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, September 17, 2008


I got an email today asking me for the "simple way to write a rhyming poem in iambic pentameter."


I guess my answer would be "just think in iambs, count to five, and rhyme!"

It must be the start of the new school year, where homework questions come to me via email or in various comments. Good times! I'm sure many of you get the same, particularly those of you who review books I'd imagine, but it treads that fine line between amusing and head-scratching to me. Brave new world, indeed!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Time value?

Not so many years ago, I was a fantasy baseball addict. True. I could watch a game on TV or in person and calculate how it impacted my team. In fact, sometimes I'd peek at a box score online just to see... as if knowing somehow made a difference since my team was set and not changing. It was, I must admit, a blast.

But then I realized that it was taking time and mental space away from... well, I'm not sure what. But it was definitely taking time and mental space.

I share this now because I have been filling up those same moments with reading... bits o' this... bits o' that. And of course, this doesn't in any way feel like procrastination or filling time (even though, I must add, I'm not always reading for work in any way, shape, or form!). It's strange how this works, but I'm embracing it.

Though I sure do miss my fantasy baseball team!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Poetically, he says...


That describes the day and week and leaves me to link to the Poetry Friday roundup, kindly hosted over at the Biblio File (where you should go to read her review posted in her Poetry Friday post. That's a must have!). I have been so remiss of late that I'm setting myself a goal to make next Friday an original poetry post. I expect harrasment should I fall short of my goal!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I blame the super-collider

I have a theory. I believe that unknown to anyone in Los Angeles, there is a super-collider underneath us. Furthermore, it is directly underneath my office where particles collide and create tiny black holes. No, they don't destroy the earth. Rather, the black holes suck in much of my free time, many of my best thoughts, and all the chocolate I expected to find in the third drawer from the top (to the right of the sink).

I cannot prove this theory (perhaps the proof, too, has been black holed?). But I can't disprove it either, and it explains a lot!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Kidlit08 is fast approaching!

Good to see the ever-growing list of the 2nd Annual Kidlitosphere Conference everly growing. Are you on it?

Why not? There's still time to come hang out with your favorite bloggers. You'll be glad you did....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Time for that first read-aloud choice again....

Hmm... this is the week where I'll (probably) pick the first read-aloud of the year. I'm not saying there's added pressure or anything... but what should it be? Different, most likely, for the incoming K students than for the returning and now fifth graders... but maybe not. Hmmm....

As always, I'm open for any brilliant suggestions!

Friday, September 05, 2008


The week is done, and I couldn't be happier. This was the (abbreviated) first week of school for us, and that's always exciting and draining. It was also a week of no unpacking o' library books, as other projects popped up (and we have a bookcase shortage!). It was a week of working on my own projects, too. And, of course, it was a week of going Bananas.

And as usual, the sign of a long week hereabouts is that I don't get anything together for Poetry Friday, though now that the school year is here, I vow to be more diligent. But not today. Nope. Now I gotta book....

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hold the bus!!!

For a few of you, I suspect the above title will spark an immediate pop-culture reaction: you'll imagine four costumed characters running around crazily, bonking into each other and anything else in their path with great zeal. For the rest, lemme just cut to the chase: I'm talking about the Banana Splits!

Why, you might ask? Well, because not terribly long ago, I was lucky enough to be involved in writing some new material for the Splits -- a slew of one to two minute interstitial skits. And now, I'm pleased to say, it's coming out all over the place: the Splits' website, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang for starters. There's even a new album coming out (the Splits, lest you forget, were and are a band (performing in Myrtle Beach, by the way)).

It's pretty fun and funny stuff, I say with bias. And since I know at least a few of you who watch TV with your kids... some of you might even run into one or two of the skits I wrote. I know I'll be watching....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Boxes o' surprises

Over the summer, we gathered a lot of books for our school libraries (yes, now there are two!). One day this week, I'm gonna get to go through about a dozen boxes for the first time. I love this, as when you get donations, you really have no idea what will turn up. Besides the board books we'll re-donate, the books on parenting, the far-too-old Time-Life books, there are always remarkable gems and obscurities. We've been given first editions, children's readers from the 1800s, books by Cat Stevens and Fred Gwynne and Saul Bass, and more copies of The Giving Tree than anyone could possibly need.

What will this year's boxes reveal? I have no idea, but can't wait to find out!

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!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I know you've got tales to tell....

So, if I meet you at the SCBWI Conference this weekend, odds are that conversation will turn to what's happening online in the world of children's literature and what you've thought/experienced/learned from and about it. But if you're not gonna be there... well, heck, I still wanna know!

If you have any stories you'd like to tell me about interesting (or not!) things that have happened from your blogging or social networking or your website, I'd sure love you to leave a comment or email me. Collecting stories here online is my preferred, as quite often, one story prompts another... but hey, however you want to tell your tale is fine by me!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shaken, not stirred

Yep. That was an earthquake alright. I've lived through bigger, but it had been some time since I'd had that kinda outta body experience of "hey, look... everything's shaking, including me!" No damage here (or thankfully anywhere that I've heard about).

And on this topic... anyone know a great earthquake book for kids? Maybe it's just of regional interest, but sure seems like there should be a handful. Heck, even the Berenstain Bears and the Big Shake would be something!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Hmmm. I love the searches that end up leading people here, as y'all know. I so often wish I could speak to the searchers -- sometimes to give them answers to their queries and sometimes to ask for the story behind the search. This one falls into the latter category. I mean really... wouldn't you like to know why someone searched for

related literature of acceptability of fish meatloaf

I like to think they were at a diner part and were fed same. They found some literature about it, saying it was in fact NOT acceptable, but didn't want to take one source as the truth.

But I could be making that up :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just over a week...

... to the SCBWI Summer Conference. This tends to be a yearly highlight, so it's safe to say I'm looking forward to it. Besides my carpool buddy...who will I see there?

Monday, July 21, 2008


I have always loved sporks. I mean really... to know one is to love one, I'd say, plus the word itself is just fun to say (and funny, since it has a K). Now, I don't wish to make light of any sort of bad news, but I read this tidbit in an article on CNN about how there was a weeeee miscalculation in the value of supplies given out (or not actually given out) after Katrina:

For example, each spork was assigned the value of an entire case, inflating the original estimated value of the supplies a thousandfold to $36 million from $36,000.

$36 million in sporks!!!!???? That's a lotta sporkage!

Sounds like a good picture book title to me....

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I have been remiss on library duty this summer... so far. I haven't pounded the pavement for new books or begged some usual suspects for donations. But now that next week I'm actually gonna see the space where Library 2 (Electric Boogaloo!) will be, I have a feeling that I'm gonna start going manic again. So those of you who haven't heard me pester yet... you will!

I know... such happy summer tidings!

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Want to Build a Snowman -- a snowman poem/a summer poem

Gregory K.

I want to build a snowman
With arms that reach so high.
I’d use a carrot for his nose,
Green peppers for each eye.

I want to build a snowman
With icicles for teeth.
I’d put him in a floppy hat
And add a wig beneath.

I want to build a snowman,
But my dream seems out of reach.
You see, today’s July 18th,
And I’m here at the beach!

Happy summer and happy Poetry Friday, too. Kelly is on the roundup this week. Go on. Check it out.

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, July 16, 2008

On topic? Off topic? I don't care!

Sometimes something is funny enough to me that it doesn't have to tie into any of the various "normal" topics on the blog. I had decided that this fit the bill... but then I realized that I could even make it fit! Ya see, this year, the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary added a new word: mondegreen. As they say, a mondegreen is "a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung." A classic example is the oft-quoted Creedence Clearwater Revival lyrics "there's a bathroom on the right" instead of "there's a bad moon on the rise." Cool word, right? And ties in with the oh-so-literary bent of this blog, right?


Now, here's the reason why I'm laughing (and talking mondegreen):

Joe Cocker at Woodstock (with subtitles)

"Oh, liver!" Indeed!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Creativity (and where it comes from)

I'm sure fellow writers out there will nod with recognition if I say that someone recently asked me "where do you get your ideas?" Perhaps this video (that I discovered thanks to Recess Queen author Alexis O'Neill) can be a response in the future about how I can get my creative juices fired up to find ideas:

The Harvest

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An actual vacation, it turns out....

I do believe this is my longest blog absence, and certainly the longest I've gone without dealing with all but the most, most, most pressing of emails. But it really was true that 'net access was lacking where I was... and ya know what? I survived! Sure there was some withdrawal and some mumbling incoherently, but all told, it was proof that a break could be had and managed.

And now, after three hours in a plane BEFORE taking off... I'm ready to skip most of the online world and go breathe some fresh air for a spell. But since I think my monitor-tan has faded, I'll be back to working on that tomorrow!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Travelling man....

And I'm going where there's no wireless signal, my friends, and no wired one, either. Do such places exist? Yes. Yes, they do... even in civilization! So, if there's a wee gappage in posts hereabouts, you know why. And who knows... maybe I'll come back on with stories to tell!

Or not. But the point is, I'm not leaving you out of anger. I'm leaving due to technical difficulties!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Yes. Right. That's what I did....

I had mentioned going down to ALA to hang out with some blogging pals then I never mentioned anything about it. But luckily others did, including Fuse8's video blog, Jay Asher's ALAsummation, and Jen Robinson's recap of her ALA trip, as well. So since they're all meaty, fun posts... I send you off to find out more!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


July 4th was always one of my favorite holidays growing up. It wasn't just the fireworks, though I loved them. But for many years, I got to go to a (dinky!) town carnival. My memories are of grilled sausage with peppers and of chuck-a-luck, somehow a legal game even when I was a single digit lad (or so my memory banks say). And I vividly, and accurately, remember my dog shaking in the shower every time fireworks went off...

So to all of you celebrating at dinky or huge carnivals or sitting at home or working or shaking in the shower... happy July 4th!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Into the piles...

Yep, tomorrow's a big packing day... and hopefully office floor cleaning day, too, as I dive into figuring out how to build a second library from new donations (with more needed!( and our existing library. Are there enough Seuss doubles to stock two libraries? No... but close?

We'll see tomorrow! Wish me luck....

Monday, June 30, 2008

It isn't often...

... that you see a classic poem (and one arguably for kids, even) in a major news story, but today saw Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" referenced by a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals! What's next? Well, I look forward to Shel Silverstein somehow making an appearance in the current Presidential campaign....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

ALA bound (kinda)

As if BEA wasn't enough, today I'm heading off towards the ALA Convention. OK, sure, I'm not actually attending... but I am gonna hang out with a bunch of kidlit bloggers and pals. Good times. Will I see you there?

Also, I missed Poetry Friday yesterday... but that doesn't mean I can't post you the link to the roundup on a Saturday. So head on over to Biblio File and wax poetic.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sure, step 14 is okay... but 15???

Sooooo, I'm always thinking of vacations, particularly when it gets hot here in LaLa. Now, thanks to my friend Late Blooming Mom (with an assist from the fine folks at Google Maps), I now know the way to get from here to Sydney, Australia! I'm pretty good with it up until step 15. But there... well.... Hey, care to join me?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What goes around...

... always comes back around, or something like that. What prompts this profundity? I've noticed a lot of searches coming my way for FIRST day of school poems! Yes, somewhere school (or summer school) is beginning again, even as it's ending elsewhere.

I admit that I was one of those who always enjoyed the start of a new school year... but I also enjoyed the end of the school year (and some years WAY more than others!). As an adult, there's nothing with that same cycle for me... nothing with two such powerful, emotional responses. Well, except maybe waking up and starting the coffee and waiting for it to finish... but I don't think it's a fair comparison.

How many of you are on summer vacation? How many of you wish you were? And who's doing something which'll make me jealous??? A guy wants to know....

Monday, June 23, 2008

June Carnival time....

I'm sure in many towns there are June carnivals and soon to be July 4th Carnivals, but I was actually referring to the June Carnival of children's literature. It's here! This one, hosted by Susan Taylor Brown is all about fathers in children's literature, so it's a meaty one. I had nothing to add to this convo (figuring my father poem wasn't really about dads in kidlit!), but believe me, it's well worth a read-through.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Slowly, slowly" said the typist

I know that those of you in the Northeast had your recent heat wave, but we here in the desert are going through ours. So I'm typing slowwwwwly. Very slowly. Fast typing (even of just the alphabet) would cause sweating and more heat. And we can't have that. In fact, there'll be enough of that when I head to a BBQ where, upon last check, the expected temperature will be 193. Or close to that, anyway, at least in the sense that it'll be three digits of heat.

The plus side of this is that I don't actually have to leave my desk to eat, as I can scramble eggs on either my office floor OR the back of my computer (which is whining in the heat in a most un-Mac like way!). Those who have seen my office floor are probably wondering if this is a good strategy, of course....

It's time to turn off the computer, find some cold caffeine, and enjoy the day, heat or no! Writing's just gonna have to wait....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You know...

... I took time today to read every single blog on my blogroll (and realize that in a few cases, I realllllly gotta update those links). Goodness gracious, there are some really fantastic bloggers out there! Any of you interested in the broader world of children's literature owes it to yourself to go clicking along....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Talking about book promotion....

Last month I left these parts to talk all about book promotion on social networks. Now, I've left these cyber-parts and blogged about it elsewhere. But while many of you chose not to travel cross country with me, you can all just click here to read my post! I hope you'll come check it out and join in the conversation....

Look at me, all cross-posting and stuff like that. Wooo hoo!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Books. No... I mean it.

It's flashback time again for me, dealing with stocking up a whole new library. You'd think there'd be ample state funds... programs galore... library starter kits every which way you turn. But no. And in tough economic times, I suppose, a library (as opposed to a classroom library) might be looked on as a 'bonus' or some such. Feh. I don't think I coulda spoken as passionately as I can after three years volunteering, but a library surely has the potential to be a wonderful, wonderful, necessary place.

And so, with our school year winding down, I can turn my attention to making sure we open up the school year with books aplenty. I look forward to it. But if you hear me whine this summer, cut me some slack, cuz building a collection with no money just isn't easy no matter how passionate you are!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Suspicions confirmed....

I had figured that lots of folks would be searching the web for father's day poems and that some of them would end up here at Gottabook. But as usual, the exact search terms that led folks here... well... what do you all make of this?

father's day poem for an uncle about little feet

Perhaps they were thinking of Little Feat? Though what that has to do with anything I'll never know....

Ah well. My guess is that somewhere out on the web there's actually a poem for an uncle and about little feet. Not here, perhaps, but it's a big web!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A poetry "re-issue"....

Again digging into the vault for a poem that seems quite fitting these days: an end of the school year poem!

Hello, Summer! -- (A Last Day of School Poem)
Gregory K.

Goodbye, classroom!
Goodbye, Teach!
You can find me at the beach...
Or in the park or at the pool
Or any place that isn’t school.

Goodbye, quizzes!
Bye, reports!
Hello days packed full of sports
And days when I’m just lazybones
While eating melty ice cream cones.

Goodbye, homework --
Lunchroom, too.
There’s so, so much I wanna do.
I know the school year flew on past…
But please, please summer -- last and last.

The Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by Clouds Come over at A Wrung Sponge. Do go on and check it out.

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, June 12, 2008

Summer schedule...

I can feel it creeping in already... working its way in my pscyhe, my tempo, my drive. Yes, it's gonna be the summer blogging schedule before I know it. Sure, it's not much of a difference (4-5 posts a week vs. 5-6, more or less), but it's coming... it's coming.

My blog, interestingly to me if not to y'all, has a traffic pattern that's very influenced by the school year. I have a wonderful steady stream of readers all year round (subscribers, linkers, and google-arrivals), but I can tell when school is out and in. Seems healthy to me -- teachers and students looking for poetry and not just in National Poetry month. Still, there is a somewhat noticeable summer schedule in my readers, too. Seems like we're a good match!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Invigorated? Or...?

It was the last kid-book schmooze of the season for us tonight. Much as I love the online world and my friends here, it's still great to get out 'in the flesh' from time to time and talk with wonderful, enthusiastic, like-minded people. It's inspiring and invigorating... yet it's three months til the next scheduled gathering. Eeeps!

I will turn elsewhere, I know. And make extra coffee. But for tonight, anyway, I'll just rue the three month layoff....

Monday, June 09, 2008

Meeting the challenge!

Why not head on over to MotherReader's today and go tip your hat (cyberly or otherwise) to all those who participated in her 48 Hour Book Challenge. These are some dedicated folk!

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Gift for Dad -- a Father's Day poem/a poem for dad/a poem for fathers

Gregory K.

My family plays lots of games, and sometimes I feel bad –
No matter what, from sports to chess, I always beat my dad!
I know he’s trying really hard in every game we play.
I see the glimmer in his eye... but things just go my way.
Sure, he never moans or whines. I’ve never seen him crying.
But I’m afraid if this keeps up, then one day he’ll stop trying.
And so today, I have a plan (although he’ll never know it),
When we play games, I’ll let him win!
I hope he doesn’t blow it.

As you ponder whether this is a Father's Day poem, a father's birthday poem, a poem for Dad on any day, or all of the above, why not check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at just another day of Catholic pondering?

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, June 05, 2008

Whoa. Flashback.

I'm staring at three boxes of books in my office -- three boxes bound for the new school library (mentioned below); three boxes that'll be with me for a month before they can move. Boy, does this bring back memories of the last three summers!

This also, of course, gives me an excuse not to clean my office. And really, what's wrong with that????

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Books! Books! Again with books!

Longtime readers hereabouts know that one of the hats I wear is that of the volunteer librarian at a public elementary school library. Beyond the day to day librarianship, I'm also one of the folks who helped build our collection with a budget of (drum roll, please) zero dollars! See, it turns out you can actually open a public school WITHOUT a library, since money is so scarce. Didn't seem acceptable to me three years ago when I first started building the collection, and it still doesn't. And that "still" matters, as this coming year, we're forced to split our campus into two locations. Ahhh, the life of a charter school. Anyway, what this means to me is that...

We're starting up a second library!!!!!!!!

The focus of this library is early elementary -- think kindergarten and first grade (and, of course, books for the non-readers and advanced readers among them). Yes, we're still working to grow our existing collection (getting new books with no budget isn't so easy!), but I just can't imagine September coming and our second campus not having books, books, books. So....

As before, I'm open to any ideas y'all might have, be they grants, folks to beg from, buried treasure troves of books, whatever. And if you happen to be in Los Angeles, feel free drop off donations!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Carnival's Back!

Yes, it's the May Carnival of Children's Literature hosted over at Here in the Bonny Glen (where the word kidlitosphere was coined, I do believe). Sure, I'm linking in June, but that's no reason not to go catch up on what May offered. Go on... be off!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oooh, my feet.

My poor, poor feet! OK, maybe it's not that bad, but other than a fine, fun lunch with a big bunch of talented, funny, generous of spirit, dedicated, and local kidsbook friends (and please note that all those adjectives describe 'em all, so I just linked in totally random order... and encourage you to visit them in equally random order), I spent from about 8:30-5 yesterday walking. And walking. And looking. And carrying heavy books. And walking. And walking. And waiting in a 40 person deep line for caffeine. And walking. And carrying heavy books. And then walking some more.

Oh, yeah -- and chatting with great people and learning a ton about what's going on in the world of children's literature. Book Expo America is quite the scene, this first-timer would say, but once I got over the sheer size of it (and got over the idea that the goal was to find everything free!!!!), it was also quite the good time. I was wearing my author hat and my children's librarian hat (and occasionally my book promotion hat), and I can safely say it was informative in all ways.

Plus I don't have to exercise for weeks!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Off to BEA....

Gonna hit the floor at Book Expo America tomorrow (and thus forego a Poetry Friday post, unfortunately). If any of y'all are there, I hope you'll say hello! I'll be the guy who looks like my picture, but I'll probably have a glazed/overwhelmed look in my eye as I roam the floor....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The bloggers gather (again!)...

Last year it was Chicago that saw the first children's literature bloggers conference -- a sorta spontaneous seeming event that happened only due to the driving spirit and hard work of the funny and talented Robin Brande. This year it's gonna be Portland that sees us descend in mass.

So I'm thinking... hey, there are some bloggers of the kidlitosphere who read GottaBook. Maybe some of y'all wanna come?

Check it out here... and don't be shy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Summer so soon???

How can it almost be June???? I need to work on a mathematical formula that determines how fast each year flies by based on a slew of variables....

So what's up ahead, you ask? Writing. Library (and look for more on this soon, lest you think I've forsaken this part of my life). Poetry. Sunshine. Heat. And yes... continued blogging, much (though not all) of it more substantial than this post!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

All I wanna do is...

... sleep! And then sleep some more. Normally a cross country trip doesn't wipe me out, but normally I don't get up at 4:30 and fly to the west. Egad!

Anyway, it was a wonderful trip full of brain-fattening ideas AND friends and kidlitters a-plenty in NYC (thanks Fuse!). I couldn't have had a much better time in general. More on all of this, I'm sure, will appear in dribs and drabs AFTER a good night or two of sleeeeeeeeeeeep.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My brain hurts, I tell ya.

For the past couple days, I've been thinking a lot, all about issues not usually at the forefront of my brain. No poetry this week -- instead, it's a steady diet of issues related to computers, freedom, privacy, social networks, data mining, and technology policy among other things. Good stuff, but I not an iamb to be found!

You can tell I've been busy, I suspect, as this is my first post in days and days. And, in fact, it's brief, as there's much more to twist my brain around here for the next 24 hours. See you when my brain's not a pretzel....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

And he's off....

Posting might be sporadic here as I journey to the east. Or it might not. I have very little idea what'll happen, other than I'll be at kidlit drink night on Monday and CFP after that. I hope to see some of you at one of the other. Heck, I hope to see all of you, but that'd make for one full bar/conference!

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Superhero Band-aid -- a band-aid poem/a bandaid poem/a boo-boo poem

Gregory K.

My superhero band-aid
Takes all my pain away --
I put it on a cut I got when I went out to play.

My superhero band-aid
Is barely hanging on….
I’ve worn it 18 days, but still, it’s why the pain is gone!

It's a Poetry Friday poem dedicated to all the parents who've tried to peel off a band-aid TOO EARLY! The Two Writing Teachers are on the poetry roundup today. Check it out here.

And 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, May 15, 2008

And after NYC, you ask?

I'm not actually going to the East Coast just to be at a kidlit drink night. Nope. There's more to it than that. So why is this poet/writer guy heading to Connecticut after a brief day in NYC?

I'll be at CFP2008, of course!

I know some of you guess "Computers, Freedom, and Privacy" cuz really, why wouldn't you. But I'm serious that that's where I'll be -- learning about a slew of stuff, from freedom of speech to reputation management to how technology factors into the upcoming election, and the impact and issues of social networks. I'll even be leading a breakout session on how to promote a book via Facebook and other social networks. (Got tips or want tips? Check the in-progress wiki!)

Promises to be a blast, I have to say. And who knows... maybe I'll see you there?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Me... in NYC!

Yes, I'm taking the GottaBook show on the road and getting a whopping full day in NYC. And because she's the bee's knees, Fuse #8 is organizing a Kidlit Drinks Night so I can hang with the City's children's literature finest (or at least the ones who are free and able to make it to Sweet & Vicious on Monday, May 19th at around 6PM). Here's all the info per Fuse.

Will I see you there? I hope so!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The allure of bubble letters....

I'm not sure what the actual allure of bubble letters is, but I do know that many, many people out there are interested in making mother's day cards out of said letters... cuz they somehow end up finding me here at GottaBook (specifically going here).

Which of course leads to interesting questions about what knowledge, if any, we can gain about the world by seeing what people search for in general. I love seeing that type of information -- on More Words, I am fascinated by seeing the recently looked at words, for instance. I'm sure there's a bunch of great philosophical questions that could be discussed when it comes to all this, but I don't think that's where this blog is heading. In fact, what I really wanted to say when I sat down to type this (and please imagine this in a bubbly font) is...

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Another Poetry Friday repeat!

Seemed like an appropriate time to dust off my Mother's Day poem , since most of y'all weren't around two years ago when I posted it. And, after all, 'tis the season!

Gregory K.

I made my mom a giant card
With letters three feet tall
(I couldn’t find the paper
So I used the playroom wall).
Then I made her breakfast –
Trix and jam rolled up in bread!
I think she would’ve liked it,
But I spilled it on her bed.
Our neighbor grows great roses,
So I filled our biggest vase.
I wish you could’ve seen it –
What a look on Mommy’s face!
Our cuckoo clock chirped six A.M.
I said I’d go and play.
Then I told my mom I loved her…
And she said I’d made her day.

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!

Plus, it's Poetry Friday, and writer2b has the roundup. Go on over and see how poetic the blogosphere can be....

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's been a long time...

... since I posted a Search Fib (that'd be a Fib made up of various search terms that have brought folks to GottaBook). I may have to dust off that oddball sub-genre soon, particularly since today's search highlight is eight syllables. But what does it mean?

"Don't want to give credit poems"

So... is this a search for poems about not wanting to give credit where it's due? Or is someone gonna use my poems without giving credit? Or...? Guess we'll never know!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The SCBWI 2008 Summer National!

Was just perusing the info for the 37th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference. As always, a stellar lineup (this year seeming to be extra heavy on editors). I love this conference, I must admit (as if it were some big secret?), and am already looking forward to August.

I know I'll see many familiar faces there, but maybe some of you lurkers/new readers will be showing up, too? Lemme know!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Changing gears....

I gotta say that it's been a bit tough switching back into a more traditional blogging mode rather than a poetically-posting mode. Oh, sure, you say... just post poems EVERY day ALL year!!!! Hmmm. I'll take it under advisement :-)

But in the meantime, I hope you'll forgive some fits and starts as I get back into linking, writing, and ruminating.

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Sixth Grader Sees the Future -- an original poem by J. Patrick Lewis

It's a huge Poetry Friday treat for me -- an original J. Patrick Lewis poem, posted here with his permission. You really should go to his website, and check out his fabulous books of poetry for children. Seriously. (And check out the Poetry Friday roundup at Big A little a, too)

A Sixth Grader Sees the Future
J. Patrick Lewis

In a billion years, A.D.,
Our sun will shine for none to see.
The sea will miss each passing ship;
The sky will hover over zip.
Those blazing stars will start to cool,
And I won’t have to go to school.

In a billion years from now—
Or maybe more—but anyhow,
The earth may shrivel up and die,
                   The universe? Pi in the sky.
                   The future, spinning, may have spun.
And I might have my homework done.

[Note: This poem will appear in J. Patrick Lewis’s COUNTDOWN
Little, Brown, 2009. All rights belong to J. Patrick Lewis. Posted here by his express permission]

Thursday, May 01, 2008

April poems bring May... uh... well...

I guess I'll have to see what happens in May before I can answer that, but I suspect it won't rhyme.

Posting poems here is a lot of fun, and it's also occasionally instructive. I love feedback, but it's not that I post here to workshop poems, per se. Still, it's always clear when a poem really connects, because it inspires more comments and emails than normal (though I've also learned that a paucity of comments or emails doesn't translate to a 'bad' or 'weak' poem).

Also, as always, I learn a lot about my own take on what I've written -- as when I paste a poem in but then hesitate too long before actually publishing the post. That long hesitation always leads to not putting the poem out in public. This month there are six poems sitting in a folder because for some reasons (some I know, but some I haven't yet discerned) they didn't make the cut at the last minute. For all I know, of course, those poems would've been somebody's favorites of the month... but they weren't mine, and it's my blog!

Again, thanks to all for hanging around and reading....

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Don't Like Words -- a homophone poem/homophone poetry

Gregory K.

I don’t like words.
They don’t make sense.
Words make me upset and tense.
How due eye no witch whirred two ewes
Ore how too right thee won aye chews?
Wile sum mite think words are a bawl,
Eye dew knot care fore words at awl!

This seemed like a good way to end my National Poetry Month poem-a-day run. Obviously, I do like words... most of the time. You can find links to all the April poems over on the right of the blog under the headline "The Poems". And remember, poetry happens here at GottaBook alllll year long, so it won't be long til I'm back at ya, for better or verse.

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!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Dog is Quite the Dancer -- a poem about dancing/a dance poem

Gregory K.

My dog is quite the dancer.
His salsa is a sight!
He does ballet
Throughout the day.
I hear him tap all night.

His rumba moves are perfect.
He’s learning to fandango.
His swim and twist
Should not be missed.
I love to watch him tango.

He jives and does the two step.
He’s king of modern dance.
He’d hit the town
To disco down
If I’d give him the chance.

His cha-cha is enchanting.
His waltz is mighty fine.
Sometimes he gets
The neighbors’ pets
Into a conga line.

People often ask me,
“How can he dance like that?”
His secret? Well…
I guess I’ll tell:
He learned it from my cat!

I'm posting an original poem each day in April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Links to this and other poems here on GottaBook (and I post all year round, because poetry is NOT just for April!) are collected over on the right of the blog 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!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Losing to My Lunch -- a poem about playing games/a food poem

Gregory K.

The carrot won at Yahtzee,
But I really think it cheated.
I played the toast in CandyLand:
It could not be defeated.
Blockhead with potato chips?
I lost one hundred times.
The peaches won at Rummikub.
I lost Kerplunk to limes.
The ice cream won at basketball,
Since every shot went “swish.”
The yams won Chutes and Ladders.
The tuna won Go Fish.
My mother always scolded me.
She said, “You know it’s rude.”
But I have different reasons why I never play with food.

I'm posting an original poem each day in April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Links to this and other poems here on GottaBook (and I post all year round, because poetry is NOT just for April!) are collected over on the right of the blog 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!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ballonstof. And you?

One of the great joys of the 'net is that you just never know what might happen. Yet here in National Poetry Month I received in the mail the March issue of Ballonstof magazine. I'm sure many of you subscribe to it... or at least all of you who want to read the hot air ballooning magazine of the Netherlands. Anyway, for subscribers, there on page 27 you'll find my poem My Balloon (in English) over a lovely image of a hot air balloon floating off at sunset. And yes, my poem was found via a web search.

Now, I'd written the poem thinking of a child with a balloon on a string, but I will say that it works quite nicely this way, too. It's a gorgeous magazine... and it makes me wish I could read Dutch!

1000 Word Essay -- a homework poem/an art poem

Gregory K.

A picture’s worth a thousand words,
And so I drew the sea.
I claimed it was my book report...
My grade was worse than D.

I'm posting an original poem each day in April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Links to this and other poems here on GottaBook (and I post all year round, because poetry is NOT just for April!) are collected over on the right of the blog 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!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Constant Companions -- a vision poem/a poem about seeing

Gregory K.

Everywhere I’ve gone today
I’ve seen the same three things:
A greenish toad, a yellow bee,
A kite with seven strings.

I saw them as I walked downstairs
Then at my breakfast table.
My Mom and Dad ignored them all.
I tried but wasn’t able.

Then I saw them in my school.
They came to all my classes.
Wait a second! Check this out!
They’re painted on my glasses.

I'm posting an original poem each day in April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Links to this and other poems here on GottaBook (and I post all year round, because poetry is NOT just for April!) are collected over on the right of the blog 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!

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Talking Cake Blues -- an excuse poem/an apology poem/a cake poem

Gregory K.

I walked in the kitchen and there was your cake.
I know, Mom, it took you the whole day to make.
Its beautiful frosting was something to see.
If you said “it’s perfect!”, I’d have to agree.
But then something happened, though I’m not to blame --
‘Cause Mom, it’s the truth, the cake called me by name!
I said “please stop talking,” but still it called out.
I heard that cake plead. Heard it beg. Heard it shout.
So I did what it wanted. I sure won’t deny it –
I tasted its frosting in hopes of some quiet.
I started out slowly -- one finger, that’s all.
The line that I made in the frosting was small.
Then it begged and it whimpered and asked me for more….
So I pulled out a spoon from the silverware drawer.
I shouted “One mouthful. That’s it! Not another.”
But then the cake said “I’ll just call for your brother.”
Well, you know he’s so young he’d come in on the double.
He’d mess up that cake, and he’d be in such trouble.
That seemed so unfair, and because I respect him,
I kept right on eating. I had to protect him!
I ate and I ate ‘til my mouth was exhausted,
But now that cake’s quiet! (And also unfrosted).
I think you can see how there wasn’t a choice:
I had to do something to silence that voice.
I should stay right here to say “sorry,” I know…
But the TV is calling, so I gotta go!

The (last National Poetry Month) Poetry Friday roundup is here at the always faboo Miss Rumphius Effect. And I'm posting an original poem each day in April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Links to this and other poems here on GottaBook (and I post all year round, because poetry is NOT just for April!) are collected over on the right of the blog 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!