Thursday, December 24, 2009

Poetry Redux: Adam Rex's The Flight Before Christmas

It seems mighty appropriate today to re-link to The Flight Before Christmas, Adam Rex's contribution to 30 Poets/30 Days. Adam writes and illustrates brilliant books, I must say, and I hope this poem ends up being part of one. Here's a tease and a link for you....

The Flight Before Christmas
by Adam Rex

'Tis the flight before Christmas. Our aircraft today
is a Boeing C-25 JingleBus sleigh.
At this time I would like to say "welcome aboard"
and please ask for all luggage and toys to be stored
in the space by your feet or the overhead sack.
Use caution untying the sack when you pack
as the toys may have shifted about during flight.
Santa gets a bit…

Please click here to see the whole poem. And enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quiet Time

I get the sense that things will be quiet here at GottaBook for the next two weeks (ish). So, while there might be sporadic posts, there may also be silence, and I figured I should mention that rather than simply disappearing.

I'm looking forward to 2010 here at the blog, as I have a few celebrations coming up, new poetry, and general merriment mixed in with a steady diet of "other."

Even if I post again, I want to take this opportunity to wish a big Happy New Year to you and all of yours, and may the rest of 2009 be full of peace, love, and the dessert of your choosing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Search Poetry - I Enjoy Popping Bubble Wrap with My Pinky Toe

The following poem was created not just by using any search terms that led people to GottaBook this week. Nooo. Instead, each of these search terms, including the title, was followed or preceded by "poem" or "poem about" (or those in plural form). So it's a "poem searching search poem" - a found poem for the Internet age. Or something like that!

I Enjoy Popping Bubble Wrap with My Pinky Toe
compiled by
Gregory K.

Wishing for a baby
If I were a star
Apology to my family
You got a new car

My first day at school
Donuts. Doughnuts. Breakfast
Hockey goalies cool

Monkey's party. Hat. S'mores
Bad week. Stuffy node.
Homework. Naughty Christmas
Coffee. Meatloaf ode.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Susan Taylor Brown's Susan Writes. Head on over and see all sorts of poetry and related posts... and probably nothing else nabbed from search terms!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Searching... people are searching

Today I noted 17 completely different search terms including "christmas poem" that led to my blog. My favorite was "hockey christmas poem for goalie brothers." Right on!

What I always find fascinating is the sheer number of people searching for, well, for everything online. I love getting in the flow of traffic so that folks looking for what I'm dishing out find me, but I also love the unexpected.

Admit it... you fellow bloggers look at your search terms from time to time, too. Right? Good. I thought so :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Of Pen Names, Perceptions... and Respect

On the surface, this has precious little to do with children's literature, I realize, but I still wanted to send you all over to Copyblogger to read the post Why James Chartrand Wears Women's Underpants.

Yes, it's a great title (hey, it's a blog about great writing so what do you expect) and I might send you that way for that alone, but the meat of the article is both fascinating and frustrating and a range of emotions in between.

You see, James Chartrand is a female using a pen name because she found better pay and more respect as a male. And as she says...

Truth be told, if just a name and perception of gender creates such different levels of respect and income for a person, it says a lot more about the world than it does about me.

It's a great post, and an interesting read in the comments, too. And it made me wonder about children's literature and whether any of these same issues exist in our field... and, if so, to what extent.

As often happens, I have no answers... only questions. And y'all?

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Poetry Re-Issue: Why I Love the Holidays In My Family

How often will Poetry Friday fall on the start of Hanukkah, on Christmas Day and on New Year's Day? That's what's happening today, then in two and three weeks. Cool. So, to keep up with "the season"...

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 roundup is over at Random Noodling today. Why not go check it out?

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, December 10, 2009


So screamed I many times today as I read Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, a Christmas story aloud enough times that my vocal chords needed a rest.

And I started to think, what does it say about me that among the read-aloud highlights for me over the years, many are marked by the ability for me to scream loudly or say words like "underpants" loudly to the great glee of the listeners? How much is my enjoyment of the unexpected... and how much is the reaction? Can you separate the two?

I have no answers, but maybe while I'm resting the chords overnight, one of y'all will know :-)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Chicken Ten Thousand (and other "Deep Tracks")

I finally had some time this week to dive into the stacks, such as they are, at the second "branch" of the school library I've been supervising the last four plus (!!!!) years. When you stock a library from donations, you always end up with some fascinating contributions - sure, we might not have much from the last two years, but we have Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Sexton's children's book Joey and the Birthday Present (co-written with Maxine Kumin).

I ran into some other mighty fine books, too... ones I'd call "deep tracks," using the old music biz term. Like an original copy of David McKee's Elmer as well as his Tusk Tusk. That man loved his elephants! There were "celebrity" books of all ilk, from Fred Gwynne's amusing ones to Maria Shriver telling us what heaven is.

But in this go round, my absolute favorite book was 1968's Chicken Ten Thousand by Jacqueline Jackson, illustrated by Barbara Morrow. Main character Chicken Ten Thousand ends up escaping from a chicken processing facility and discovers what life can be for a free hen (including an informative conversation with a "wild" rooster).

Are there earlier books about the conditions in a massive chicken plant? Later ones? I'm guessing "no." Are there picture books about cows escaping from slaughterhouses or dairies? The most interesting thing is that I suspect the story still is just as viable now as it was then... but it still isn't like other picture books I've run into.

Do any of you all know it or know more of its history? I've not been able to find much....

I'm looking forward to getting to spend more time in that collection, as I only looked through about 1/4 of the picture books. Who knows what gems still lurk? Good times. Good times, indeed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A Poetic Superstition

I'm mighty excited here, as my new computer is arriving today. Though I'm a geek of longstanding and have been a Mac user since 1985, I don't do enough hardcore computing or gaming tasks to merit new computers often. But... it was time.

So this afternoon or this evening, after I've set up the Mac (which will take about one minute longer than it takes to remove it from the box), I will carve out an hour or so to make sure that the first document I write on it will be a poem.

Call it a superstition or breaking in/seasoning the computer like one might do with a new baseball glove or wok... but to me it just feels right. Plus, it's an excuse to write poetry!

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Wild Rose Reader. Go on over and check it out. There are a LOT of villanelles going around this week, by the way. Good stuff!

And hey... the next time you hear from me here, I hope I sound faster and newer and geekily happy, too.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tis the season... for lists!

We're getting near the end of another year, and "best of" lists are floating around everywhere. If you're interested in children's books, you can find lists galore... and now you don't even have to search to find 'em.

Instead, head on over to Chicken Spaghetti where Susan has a master list of "best children's books" lists! She keeps updating it, too, so keep on checking.

But it's not just "best of" list time. Nope. Over at MotherReader, Pam has a fabulous post called 105 Ways to Give a Book. Even if you're not thinking of giving gifts, the post is worth a read.

Need more book ideas? Check out Abby the Librarian's Twelve Days of Giving - a "list in process" still, but chock full of good stuff.

And totally off the topic of books, why not check out Susan Taylor Brown's list of over 200 movies about the literary life. Have you seen 'em all (cuz I sure haven't!).

If I add more, this'll be a clear list post, too, so I'll stop here. Now go on off and check those lists out!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cards and Letters - send 'em thataway

I know I've mentioned SCBWI and Lin Oliver, one of the organization's founders and still chief honchos, in these parts before. I'm a big fan of SCBWI and grateful for all the help I've gotten from it and its many members.

I'm also a "fan" of Lin herself, who's always been warn and welcoming to me, including bringing me into SCBWI when we initially met on a completely different topic.

I know many others reading hereabouts have met Lin or are part of SCBWI, so beyond passing on the news that Lin is recovering from a double bypass/valve replacement surgery, I wanted to encourage everyone to send her cards and letters via the SCBWI main office:

SCBWI, 8271 Beverly Blvd, L.A., CA 90048 (address 'em to Lin, natch)

I know I'll be writing, and I hope many of you will, too.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The "I Will Not Overeat but Will Give Thanks" Post - 2009 Edition

I have been in training for the last few weeks, expanding my stomach slowly and carefully so that there is room for me to at least sample every different pie I encounter over the next few days.

I firmly believe, by the way, that there is a separate dessert stomach that always has room. While medical science might not agree, I would point out that there is visual proof - the more you put in that dessert stomach, the bigger it appears to others.

As we come to another Thanksgiving, let me say once again how grateful I am to y'all who read GottaBook and to all who talk about children's literature and literacy all around the blogosphere and offline, too. It's an amazing community and one I am quite thankful to have found and to be a part of.

I'll likely be quiet here for a few days, as there's family everywhere these days. I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving... and see you soon!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Although I didn't get anything poetry related up on Friday... many others did. You can find this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at Julie Larios' Drift Record. Good stuff! Check it out.

Also, though I no longer remember where I first saw this (Twitter, I believe, but from whom escapes me now. Apologies!), I got a real kick out of last week's Abstract City blog post, Bio-Diversity. I think you'll enjoy it too... hence the link! Funny leaves. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reading on your Smartphone

I'm just curious how many, if any, of y'all do any sort of reading on your smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, Palm, whatever).

There was an interesting article in the New York Times the other day about this very thing... yet I don't know people who are reading like this. Then again, I'm a writer, so I don't get out much.

Anyone reading on their phone? Liking it? Hating it? I'm curious!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Blast, Winter Version

The Winter Blog Blast Tour started today. What's that mean? Well, head over to see the full schedule at Chasing Ray, but in brief, today it meant that you'd find interviews with Courtney Sheinmel, Derke Landy, Mary E. Pearson, Megan Whalen Turner, Frances Hardinge, and Jim Ottaviani.

Go bop around and see these. C'mon now... here's the "tease" for Frances Haringe at Fuse Number 8: "Expect kidnaps, betrayal, chocolate, moonlit chases, traps within traps, consequences, fire from above, death-defying chimney incidents and an extremely important radish."


There are six more great interviews/features each day this week. Check 'em out, join in the convo, and have a Blast.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Lament of Thursday the 12th (a poem) and the Poetry Friday Roundup!

The Poetry Friday roundup is here today! Amazingly enough (to me), this is my first time hosting despite participating for... well... a long time. If you leave a link to your Poetry Friday post in the comments, I'll add you to the roundup below.

First, however, I want to start with my own contribution to the festivities, an original poem from the point of view of... a day!

The Lament of Thursday the 12th
Gregory K.

It just isn’t fair.
I want fans. I want fame!
Yet no one reacts when I call out my name.
Folks always look past me.
That’s so wrong. I exist!
I feel like a baby who’s never been kissed.
Now each time I’m here
My whole day’s full of sorrow,
Because of one fact: I’m today, not tomorrow.

And now, with no further ado, let's see what else is going on on this wonderful Poetry Friday:

Over at A Year of Reading, Mary Lee is up with a rictameter and two book reviews. Yes, I said a rictameter.

Melissa at windspirit_girl shares a visual poem called Grace I: Through. This is the first in a series, so be sure to check back there for more.

At The Write Sisters, Diane has posted two cinquains (or is the plural cinquain?) AND shares the rules of the form, including some variations.

Head over to Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet to find Lewis Carroll's advice to an aspiring poet in Poeta Fit, Non Nascitur

The tireless and talented Elaine gives us multiple fun this week: original double dactyls (about characters from children's books and fairytales) at Wild Rose Reader; light verse by Arthur Guiterman at Blue Rose Girls; three new posts at Political Verses - Driving Drunk: A Short Poem about Mary Strey, A Dead Rabbit Toss Competition Poem, and Making the Grade.

At Across the Page, Janet has a review of Elizabeth Spires The Mouse of Amherst. It's a children's introduction to Emily Dickinson... or for adults who've missed her, I say!

Julie Larios posts an original rictameter over at the Drift Record. She also expresses desire for a pictured hat... and who can blame her?

Swine Flu with Asthma is the name of the original rictameter posted by Andromeda Jazmon on a wrung sponge. And it's about her son who, yay, has now beaten the flu.

Is this a new form - the definito? Check out Heidi Mordhorst's poems at My Juicy Little Universe.

Laura Salas treats us thrice: Bear Attack (an original) and Shoal of Sharks (by Richard O'Connell) and the prompt/roundup for 15 Words or Less Poetry, held weekly at her blog.

Liz Garton Scanlon features Susan Taylor Brown's Hugging the Rock over at Liz in Ink. (Oooh, if Susan were to feature Liz on her blog, that'd be soooo cool and circular!)

Diane Mayr features Amy Lowell's On Carpaccio's Picture (and the picture that inspired the verse) at the fabulously-named Random Noodling.

At The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia posts a raft of rictameters (she was the inspiration for them all!) as well as Malachi Black's Sifting in the Afternoon.

Kelly Fineman treats us to an excerpt of T.S. Eliot's Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock at her Writing and Ruminating blog.

At Read Write Believe, Sara Lewis Homes offers up an antidote to "no" with Kaylin Haught's God Says Yes to Me.

Linda has a review of Wendy Mass' Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall up atWrite Time.

The Shelf Elf gives us Carl Sandburg's Choose (a poem I had actually just re-run into this week, too).

At Teaching Authors, April Halprin Wayland has an original poem and lesson ideas about Food and Fiction. Yum!

Jama Rattigan's alphabet soup lets us savor Ching Yeung Russell's Tofu Quilt. Again... yum!

Author Amok celebrates the re-issue of Paint Me a Poem by Justine Ransom. It's a fabulous book, y'all.

Mother Reader thinks she's pushing the limits of Poetry Friday with her post today. I disagree. You be the judge!

Jone's got a book review and an original rictameter for us this week for a fun double play.

Martha Calderaro explores the new Poetry Speaks site - a combination social network and poetry market place from Sourcebooks and friends.

Charles Ghigna (aka Father Goose) notes "Style isn't how you write. It's how you do not write like anyone else." in his post On Writing: A Mini-Lecture. Poets... heck, all writers... head on over for a good read.

At There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town, Ruth shares Walter de la Mare's November. How fitting!

Lisa in Little Rock share's poet Dave Johnson's Cheating. Not a poem for kids, perhaps, but fine poetry indeed.

Sylvia Vardell features Lee Bennett Hopkins at Poetry For Children. Actually, it's not just Lee, but her discovery of the process and materials that led to one of his anthologies being published. It's a great read.

At bookstogether, Anamaria also, yet differently, posts about Paint Me a Poem: Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art. See... I'm not the only one who loves this book.

An original poem, I'm not this girl, is the Poetry Friday treat from Miss Erin

How about some barbeque poetry? Julie Reinhardt, author and BBQ-er, offers up a tasty 'Q poem called Eck. I Don't Inject. at She-Smoke.

I'll keep updating as more comments come in. Feel free to leave your link below!

And if, by chance, 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, November 12, 2009

Pssst. Poetry Friday's here tomorrow....

I'm going to be hosting Poetry Friday tomorrow (Friday, November 13th). I'm putting this post up now for all you East Coasters who won't be awake at midnight my time when I put up the actual roundup post.

Feel free to leave me your link and info in the comments below. I'll add you to whatever roundup post I do. I may, or may not, delete this post afterwards, so don't be TOO brilliant in the comments!

All about Lula's Brew, Elizabeth O. Dulemba's picture book iPhone app

When author/illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba announced she had a picture book iPhone app called Lula's Brew for sale (you can find it on iTunes or by searching the App Store for "Lula"), I was excited. I love seeing authors and illustrators (and publishers, too, by the way) experimenting with technology and distribution methods.

In fact, I was so excited that I asked Elizabeth a bunch of questions, which she kindly answered. You can see the full interview over at The Happy Accident. You can also see my comment on that post in which I talk about kids' reaction to the app (it's good!) and some of the iPhone economics.

I really hope you'll go read the interview and chime in (here or there) about both the changes and the possibilities in the business of children's literature.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Come See Me in January in Santa Barbara!

Maybe you can't come to Asilomar in February... but what about Santa Barbara in January?

January 8-10th, I'll be part of the faculty for the SCBWI Ventura/Santa Barbara region's 2010 retreat - Thriving in a Changing Inudstry: Cyber-Promotion Tools for Published Authors & Illustrators.

I'll be presenting along with Lisa Yee, Anastasia Suen, and Harold Underdown in a weekend put together by Alexis O'Neill. I've attended this retreat before, and it was stellar (and fun, to boot).

There are only 28 spots available at the retreat, and registration's now open. Hope to see some of you there!

Sunday, November 08, 2009


For no particular reason, I started playing with my blog template and the like today. I removed 22 "draft" posts, including one from early 2006. I remember starting a couple of these posts, but a few were total mysteries. Upon reading them, I see why they all remained drafts!

I once again confronted the lonnnnnng list of poems over on the right of the blog. For now, as before, they're chronological, but I keep thinking there must be a better way to organize them. I do use labels (for most - some are still unlabeled, I fear), but don't really see a better way to categorize them since the bulk are not linked to other poems by topic or form.

As always, I'm open to hearing ideas on ways I could make that list more helpful, useful, or... well... better! I don't see patterns in the stats and such that give me much help, but maybe one of y'all will know....

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Seeing the Sesame Street characters on Google this week made me flash back to one of my earliest memories. Through the haze of time, I no longer know if it was kindergarten or first grade, but I do remember clearly that the school bus driver did NOT arrive after-school... and the small handful of kids on my route sat around waiting, worrying that if the bus was much later, we'd arrive home too late to watch Sesame Street.

Such were the worries we had back then - and they were worries, I still recall.

The principal drove the bus, eventually. I missed half of Sesame Street.

And I lived to tell the tale!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The SCBWI San Francisco/South 27th Annual Golden Gate Conference... and Me!

I'm excited to say that I'm going to be part of the faculty for the 27th Annual Golden Gate Conference at Asilomar, held February 19th-21st, 2010. I'll be talking social media for writers and illustrators for children... as well as enjoying what looks to be a fabulous conference.

For years, I've heard rave reviews of the Golden Gate Conference (put on by the SCBWI-San Francisco/South chapter) and looking over the list of my fellow faculty members gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Gary Schmidt!!! Yuyi Morales!!! Ellen Klages (who I met at the very first Kidlitcon)!!! And that's truly just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

Registration hasn't opened yet, though I hear it sells out quickly. And if any of y'all are gonna be there, let me know. I'd love to see (or meet!) some familiar faces :-)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

More Math - and Clothing!

When I was at Kidlitcon09, I was lucky enough to meet Sondy (or Sondra Eklund, if you prefer)of Sonderbooks.

Besides enjoying talking books, we also talked math (and poetry). You see, I talked about Fibonacci poetry and Fibs on the same day that she was wearing her Prime Factorization Sweater.

"What?" you ask, "is a Prime Factorization Sweater?"

It's plain old cool is what it is.

Go to her post about the sweater and find out in more detail. Cool, I tell ya!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Poetry Friday: a Halloween zeno!

Earlier this week, I mentioned the zeno - a form of poetry created by J. Patrick Lewis and based on the hailstone sequence. In short, the zeno's syllable pattern is 8, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, and lines 4, 7, and 10 rhyme with each other.

Here's the first zeno I wrote (and also left in the comments at the Miss Rumphius Effect where the zeno debuted).

Gregory K.

I counted down October days.
Tonight, at last,
I prowl the dark,
My costume on,
I’ll shout,

If you are among those who trick or treat, as always, feel free to send leftover peanut butter cups my way. And feel free to head on over to the Poetry Friday roundup, hosted over at Jen Rothschild's Biblio File.

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 28, 2009

Did you know...

... that when you say "pooped" in a read-aloud with second graders, you get really wonderful reactions?

Yes, I suspect you did. But it's true!

Interestingly, you get great reactions from adults, too....

Good times. Good times!

(By the way, the word in question came up while reading from Adam Rex's Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich in the poem Godzilla Pooped on My Honda)

Monday, October 26, 2009

A new form of math-based poetry!

Over at the Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia's got her Monday Poetry Stretch up, this time featuring a brand new poetic form by J. Patrick Lewis called the zeno.

The zeno is based on the hailstone sequence, a bit of math that ends with a repeating cycle that Pat has used for his verse form. Cool stuff!

So head on over to today's poetry stretch to read more about the form... including many examples by Mr. Lewis plus my very first zeno in the comments there.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Friday Whistle Blows

I have decided that I'm no longer going to settle for a metaphorical whistle. I want a real whistle to blow signifying the start of the weekend. Perhaps I should write my Congressperson?

Or maybe I should just settle for the appearance of Poetry Friday to mark the end of the week? Probably a safer bet....

The Poetry Friday Roundup is over at Big A little a today. Go on and check out the poetic goods! That'll launch you into Saturday nicely, I do believe....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Middle Grade. We Always Need Middle Grade....

Today, I actually had a tiny bit of free time in my librarian "job," and started entering in a few recent donations into our computer. These were some meaty books, mostly from our own parent body, and a few got checked out as soon as I put them on the shelves.

As usually happens when I put out new books, I realized that the thing we miss the most at our library-sans-budget is new middle grade material. And since we're an elementary school, well, middle grade is a major sweet spot for many of our kids.

It's not a crisis, I know, and I often wonder if this would be such a frustration to me if I weren't so heavily involved in the children's literature world (though what elementary school librarian wouldn't be???).

Still, it's definitely been a pattern for us that we're behind, and I keep thinking of great books to recommend that we just don't have. Luckily, there are lots of good books to be had (many thanks to readers of GottaBook who've sent them my way - so THANK YOU again!)... and there's always the public library just a few blocks away!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A very few notes from Kidlitcon

The third annual conference of bloggers of the Kidlitosphere (loosely - those of us who blog about children's literature from pretty much any perspective and covering everything from board books up to YA books) was a blast!

It's great to meet bloggers who you sorta feel like you "know" already anyway. This year, there were many whose blogs were newer to me, but everyone proved to be wonderful whether I'd read them or not.

There was tons of great information throughout the day. Perhaps the most "important" part was that Pam Coughlan (aka Mother Reader) arranged for a representative of the FTC to come address our group to explain what their new guidelines mean for those who review books on blogs.

The short answer is that independent reviewers - as opposed to those endorsing a product through a marketing program - don't have to worry about disclosure of where they got their review copy. (Though I'd note... why not say?)

The longer answer and more nuanced points (like about affiliate links) are summed up in many great posts from fellow attendees. I'm going to send you to two posts, both of which link you to even more!

Michelle at Galleysmith has a great round-up of the talk.

Similarly, Liz Burns has a great write-up at A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy.

Finally, you can check out the Twitter stream for the day from Kidlitcon to see what else you might've missed, content-wise. I'm afraid I can't make up for any missed fun - and there was plenty - but you can start planning for next year right now to make up for it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oddaptation (redux!): Where the Wild Things Are

Today sees the release of the feature film version of Where the Wild Things are, so it seemed a good day to re-issue my Oddaptation of that classic picture book. You can click here for the Oddaptation definition and backstory... or just think Cliff Notes with attitude.

by Maurice Sendak
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

Another family meal is missed:
Max is angry. Max is pissed.
And rumpus beasts? They don’t exist...
My word, Max needs a therapist!

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.

And hey... the fabulously poetic Laura Purdie Salas has this week's Poetry Friday roundup. Head on over and check out the fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The sad decline of the desk chair

My desk chair suddenly got old. It doesn't just creak when I lean back against it. No. It POPS loudly and part of the back gives way, shifting my body. There's a tube hanging out of the side that used to... uh... be something or another. I vote lumbar support.

The arm pieces, too, are now cracking and worn. The chair isn't really broken, but it's mighty disconcerting and a tad sad.

I should get rid of it, I'm sure, but I've written some mighty fine poetry in this chair. What if it's the key to my creativity? Or what if it's been holding me back all these years???? Hmmm.

I am pleased to say I didn't think about any of this while I was up in Seattle. The SCBWI chapter up there if fantabulous, with an amazing core of volunteers running a tight ship and providing so much for their members... who were every bit as impressive. A great time for me, indeed.

The chair will wait, too. For tomorrow... off to Kidlitcon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

On the road again....

I'm in Seattle, getting ready to present a four hour workshop called Unleashing the Power of Social Media for Writers and Illustrators thanks to the fine folk at SCBWI's Western Washington chapter.

I must tell you... I love this social media stuff! I could talk about it for far longer than four hours (more than five, really: I get a bonus hour tomorrow night at the chapter's bigger monthly professional series meeting. That's NOT sold out, so check the above link and come on by).

I continue to believe that we folks in the world of children's publishing better be using the tools available to us... and we need to understand how it all works. Yup. I could talk about this a lot :-)

I hope to see some of you up there... and I'll see the rest of you right here soon enough. But for now, I gotta book!

Friday, October 09, 2009


Yrteop is poetry backwards - not a form of poetry, but the word. It seemed an accurate title, too, as I ask all my poetry loving fans a question....

Know any poems for kids that are about things/people being backwards?

In rapid succession this week, I ran into Mary Ann Hoberman, Shel Silverstein, and Douglas Florian poems predicated on the idea of a person doing things backwards - walking on ceilings or underwear on the outside or riding a horse backwards or or or.

The poems were all different and funny, and I started thinking there must be more that I could group together for a readaloud. Perhaps couple them with David LaRochelle's fab fairy-tale-in-reverse picture book The End for a backwards festival!

All suggestions welcome. And while you're thinking poetry, head on out to see the Poetry Friday roundup, hosted today at Picture Book of the Day - one of amazing author, teacher, blogger Anastasia Suen's blogs.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I'm Pretty Well Connected (v. 2.0) - a Social Web poem/a social network poem

I’m Pretty Well Connected (v. 2.0)
Greg Pincus

I’m pretty well connected.
I’ve got my Facebook page.
I tweet, blog, plurk
From home and work.
I link, connect, engage!

I Stumble, and I Ustream.
My YouTube channel’s big.
I’m there on Sphinn,
MySpace, LinkedIn.
I HARO, and I Digg.

Goodreads, Hulu, Google -
Flixster and Squidoo -
You’ll find me there
While in my chair!
I Yelp and podcast, too.

FourSquare, FriendFeed, Flickr?
Of course I have accounts.
And also Ning
and Ping and Bing
Plus eight I can’t pronounce.

I’m pretty well connected.
I love the web, it’s true.
But it’s just fine
If you’re offline...
I’ve got some friends there, too :-)

Just as with last year and version 1.0 of I'm Pretty Well Connected, I look forward to clicking those hyperlinks in years ahead to see if they all still work. This time, by the way, a few link to my own profiles rather than just the sites themselves - another 2.0 revision.

With FriendFeed already acquired by Facebook, will it be the first to go... or will someone else above be acquired or just go under? Any predictions, comments, or thoughts about what v. 3.0 will look like are more than welcome!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Nomination Time at The Cybils and 28 Days Later

It's nomination season all you fans of children's literature! And you've got two great ways to be part of the fun....

28 Days Later, a Black History Month celebration of children's litetature, is the flagship initiative of The Brown Bookshelf. The event is a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by African Americans. (Yes, I took that from their site because when I tried to write it differently, it ended up the same!)

You can nominate books until November 1st, and all the details are at this link.

The Cybils are also open for nominations, though only until October 15th. You've got nine categories to choose from this year... though you don't have to choose! Nominate your favorite qualifying book in any or all categories (though only one per category). I am a Cybils judge on the final panel for poetry books, just so you know.

Click here for the Cybils' rules and categories, and I highly urge you to head on out and join the nominating fun.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Spot the Plot (on Poetry Friday!)

This week in my volunteer librarian hat, I not only read aloud what turns out to be the most challenged book of the last three years - And Tango Makes Three - but also had the pleasure of reading J. Patrick Lewis' Spot the Plot - A Riddle Book of Book Riddles to a slew of appreciative kids.

Spot the Plot is a book of poems each of which is also a riddle. The solution to each riddle is the name of a well-known children's book. Yes, it really is a riddle book of book riddles! The art by Lynn Munsinger helped (and amused) the kids immensely as they tried to solve those riddles. And...

We had a blast: I'd read a poem, count to three, and then all of us would shout out our answers.

And I was always right! The kids were almost all always right, too, but a few made some pretty interesting guesses that led to great conversations. An added bonus.

The poems are a hoot by themselves, but the concept made it a total win. The kids talked about writing their own book riddles! Yes, they wanted to WRITE POETRY!

I was also inspired, and so, for Poetry Friday, I shall share one of my own attempts at a book riddle:

J. Patrick Lewis
Gives us the clue-s.
We read all his poems...
Then name all the tomes.

(All together now. 1, 2, 3: "Spot the Plot!")

Thank you. Thank you. I'm here all week.

You can see a whole bunch more poetry at this week's Poetry Friday roundup hosted over at Kelly Herold's Crossover - where books have no boundaries.

You can also see two poems by J. Patrick Lewis right here at GottaBook: The Poet of the World (his contribution to 30 Poets/30 Days) and A Sixth Grader Sees the Future.

EDIT: J. Patrick Lewis has left two not-in-the-book book riddles in the comments! Be sure to check 'em out.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A post about #kidlitchat...

... is hanging out over here at the Happy Accident if you'd like to read it. Even though the chat is all about children's literature, the post itself seemed to belong more over there.

Still, if you're interested in what Bonnie Adamson and I are thinking about in terms of chat - as a resource, a community building tool, and a way to spread the word about children's literature to an even wider audience - I hope you'll check it out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Final Freeeee Webcast Reminder: tomorrow at noon/9 Pacific

The fourth and final free webcast in the Social Media and the Book Industry series that Mark Blevis and I have been offering is tomorrow (Thursday) at 12 noon Eastern/9 AM Pacific. This week's topic is social media success stories (in terms of books and book promotions, that is!).

You can find all the information about the series here. Or you can click here to register. "See" you there!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September's Carnival is Up!

The September Carnival of Children's Literature is up and ready for ya. It's chock full, once again. It's hosted over at Susan Taylor Brown's blog, so once you're done with the carnival, I think you should poke around there, too, because you'll find a lot of great stuff.

I'm gonna find me some kettle corn and have some fun reading. See you there?

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Library Season!

In the middle of last school year, I attempted to go into retirement as a volunteer librarian. I succeeded for a while, but... well... I'm baaaaaaaaaack. It's unlikely I'll ever put in as many hours in the job as I once did (and as it needs), but budgets being what they are, the gig is gonna remain a volunteer position for some time. This year, there should be plenty of help, however. Or so I hope!

The year started off we me needing a short, simple, fun book, and I grabbed John Stadler's Wilson and Miss Lovely (thanks, Amanda!). It started the year off with as a rousing success.

This being Banned Book Week, I've got some ideas for a read-aloud... though I'll be driven by quality, not by whether a book's been challenged or not.

It's good to be back in swing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Issues. There are issues.

Yes, it's true - there are issues in the world, and those of us who write for children are faced with wondering how (or sometimes if) we should address them. And which issues, as you can't address them all.

Luckily, many smart minds think about this... and I can link you into a couple conversations with the idea that maybe you'll add your voice, too. Or at least enjoy the thinking!

To start with, over at Chasing Ray, Collen has put up part 7 of her What a Girl Wants series. This post is called Because We Are Not All Rich Girls. It's thought provoking and full of great comments already.

Over at author Mitali Perkin's blog, she approaches a related issue in a post about Consumerism and the YA Novel. Mitali's blog is full or wonderful posts about many topics, by the way, including many about race and culture and writing.

Banned Book Week beings on Saturday... and recently, New York Times bestselling YA author Ellen Hopkins found her books pulled from a school and her school visit canceled. You can read about the situation on her blog, starting here. In a touch of irony, Ellen had penned a poem for Banned Book Week called Manifesto.

There are so many more issues out there we should all be thinking about... and I hope one of these three resonates enough with you to get you to share your thoughts, too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Webinar Reminder

Tomorrow (Thursday) is part three in the Social Media and the Book Industry series that Mark Blevis and I are doing. This one is all about engaging with social media communities. It's at noon Eastern/9 AM Pacific.

You can get all the information about the series here.

Or you can just click on this registration link.

Hope to "see" you there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shel Silverstein and Piles of Books

Betsy Bird, aka Fuse #8, has a great post up at her blog at School Library Journal today featuring, among other things, a video of Shel Silverstein on the Johnny Cash show!

The title of the post alone, taken from the video, should get you over there: Sometimes he shaves his head and wears a beard. Sometimes he shaves his beard and wears his head.

And I also want to shoot you over to The Happy Accident, where I have a post up featuring 14 pictures of people's To-Be-Read piles. If you've got a pile, you might feel better seeing some of these. Or worse, I suppose. I felt better, though, and a real sense of camraderie, too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Poetry Window

For Poetry Friday this week (with the links rounded up at Becky's Book Blog), I want to send you to the Poets' Window to take a look at 7 Deadly Sins written by Fassbinder... and all in Fib form.

While the site (and these poems) aren't geared towards kids I love the site's inspiration - poems displayed in the window of a charity bookstore in London - and also, I admit, love seeing how people continue to play with Fibs.

Hope you're all have a lovely Friday, a Happy New Year (if it applies!) and have a good weekend, to boot.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Webcast Reminder and a Possibly Useful Link

I wanted to plug the (freeeeee) webcasts I'm doing with Mark Blevis (of Just One More Book and much more) since the next one is tomorrow (noon Eastern/9 AM Pacific). This webcast is all about Twitter and the book industry... and I hope folks will find it useful.

Here's the link to all the information about the series and the way to register.

I also went to send you off to an interesting article at Mashable called HOW TO: Write a Novel Using the Web. There are some great resources within the article that I think are useful whether you use them as part of a bigger "write using the web" strategy or not!

What do you think? Any of the links in that article seem helpful to you?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The 3rd Kidlitosphere Conference - You Really Should Go

The 3rd Kidlitosphere Conference is fast approaching - it's October 17th in Washington D.C., and you can check the information about it here. The reduced hotel rate at the Sheraton ends on Wednesday (NOTE: it's been extended!), so now is really the time to make your reservations. And why should you go?

Because, if you are someone who blogs about children's literature, be you author, illustrator, editor, agent, librarian, parent, reviewer, fan, or whomever, you will be among your people - learning more than you expect, creating and cementing friendships and relationships that (at least for me) enrich life, and understanding how we collectively and individually can help ourselves and children's literature via what we do online. Plus there'll probably be cookies!

Not enough? Why not read what Betsy (aka Fuse#8), Jen, Colleen, Sarah, Pam (aka MotherReader), Jules and Eisha and Lee Wind have to say about the Conference (and why you should go).

Friday, September 11, 2009

This Morning I E-mailed My Manuscript Out - a poem for writers

Gregory K.

This morning, I e-mailed my manuscript out –
Clicked send then I let out a huge, happy shout.
Now that it’s gone, there’s so much I can do:
Like speak to my friends and my family, too!
I’ll do all the dishes. I’ll sweep all the floors.
I’ll visit that place that they call “the outdoors.”
I’ll catch up on reading. A movie sounds good.
I’ll clean off my desktop to check if it’s wood.
I’ll cut back on coffee and eat some real meals.
I’ll see if my legs like how exercise feels.
I do hope I hear ‘bout my manuscript soon,
But I won’t check my inbox... at least until noon.

Elaine has the Poetry Friday Roundup over at the Wild Rose Reader today. It's well worth checking out, as is her blog itself.

If you want to get all my 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 10, 2009

The Attack of the Spammmmmers

Every now and then, I get a rash of spam comments here at GottaBook. If you've ever left a comment here, you'd know that you actually have to type in a verification word, so these spammers have a real person working for 'em.

What amuses me is that the comments they leave are so... uh... not sounding like people this way might talk ever link here maybe... that I cannot figure out how they expect me not to notice and delete.

I'm sure over the 3 1/2 years here, some comments have gotten through, but still.

Ah well, onward! And if you see a spam comment... don't click on the links :-)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

#kidlitchat (again!)

Tonight is #kidlitchat on Twitter (9 Eastern/6 Pacific), and if you aren't already joining us there, I highly encourage you to come check it out. Yes, you've probably missed this week, but we're there every week. It's quickly become a highlight for me, and I'd love to see more of y'all there.

If you're wondering what twitter chats are and how they possibly work, Debbie Ridpath Ohi has a great article about them on her blog. I highly recommend reading it before jumping in.

Also, I've been saving the transcripts of prior chats. Take a read to see just how much fun they are!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Poetry and Fires

It has been a smoky, hot week here in Los Angeles. I'm lucky not to be affected directly by the flames, though thinking of all the folks I know (and all the people I don't know) who have been impacted still takes up mental space. Ash, unfortunately, takes up lung space, too.

I mention this here on Poetry Friday because I want to send you off GottaBook to read my friend Sara Wilson Etienne's blog entry No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again.

To me, her piece is poetic, in the best sense of the word (a sentiment I see is echoed in the comments there!), even though it's prose. As a bonus,it also talks about one of my favorite, quirky places in Los Angeles: the Museum of Jurassic Technology! I think you'll enjoy the post, so I hope you'll go check it out.

Afterwards, why not head over to Kelly Herold's Crossover blog and check out the Poetry Friday roundup? You might even want to take a gander at all the posts. After all, no one may ever have the same post list again....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Announcing a Free Web Series on Social Media and the Book Industry

I am excited to tell you about a series of free webcasts that Mark Blevis and I will be offering come September.

The series is called How social media can help you sell books: Guidance for the book publishing industry and its stakeholders.

I like Mark's description of what we're offering: a series of FREE webcasts that will give book publishers, publicists, authors, illustrators and enthusiasts social media savvy for outreach and promotion.

In short, each installment will have a different focus and seek to answer the question "Yeah, but how does this help me sell books?"

Here's a brief rundown of the four sessions (with a handy link so you can register now):

September 10 – Finding the Conversation: Who’s talking about you and what they're saying

Understanding search and alerts to monitor the digital conversation. This session will focus on effective use of Google with references to Technorati, Twitter and IceRocket... and, yes, talking about how this can help you sell books.

September 17 – Twitter: More than “What are you doing?”

Exploring why to use Twitter, how to engage and craft your message, how to use hash tags plus a few "aha!" Twitter stories.

September 24 – Bloggers/Podcasters are People, Too: Engaging with the social media community

Ideas and recommendations for meeting, relating to and collaborating with the social media community.

October 1 – Remarkable Uses of the Internet to Promote Books (and the People Behind Them)

Interesting and successful examples of effective book promotion in the digital age.

You can click here to register for the free sessions. And I hope to "see" you there!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Back To School Carnival is Up!

It's the last Carnival of Children's Literature of the summer, hosted at a blog whose name always makes me nod: In Need of Chocolate.

The Carnival is chock full of great stuff, with posts covering everything from ethics, racist picture books, book reviews, calls for submissions, poetry, and much much more.

And deep fried Twinkies!!!!!

Oh, wait. That was another carnival.

Anyway, go on and check it out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thoughts turn to Shel Silverstein...

... on this 100 degree plus Poetry Friday. One could sit around in one's bones here today, and it'd still be hot!

For some cool poetry, though, head over to Kate Coombs' blog Book Aunt for the roundup of Poetry Friday posts. There's lots of great links, as well as Kate's own tribute to the remarkable poet Karla Kuskin who just recently passed away.

And when you're done, could you send me some ice? Thanks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

KidLitCon 3 (three!!!!!) in October!

On October 17th I'll be speaking at and attending the 3rd KidLitCon - a conference largely for folks who blog about children's literature. You can see the details here at the site.

I say largely, because if you love children's literature or love the folks who blog about it or are interested in that world or are thinking of starting a blog or or or... you really should come.

I have made great friends in the kidlit world, and getting a chance to see them IN PERSON is by itself a reason to go to this conference, at least for me. Plus, there's such a huge base of knowledge and such a willingness to share.... Good times!

So... you coming? You know you want to....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Poetry Re-issue: The First Day of School - a first day of school poem

(This poem originally ran here at GottaBook in September of 2006 and again last year, I believe. But it is that time of year again!)

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!”

Good luck to all parents (yeah, and kids, too) as the first day of school comes 'round once more. And happy Poetry Friday to all! Why not check out the roundup of this week's posts over at The Boy Reader?

Oh, yeah - you can change "Dad" to "Mom" in that last line, as necessary!

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, August 19, 2009

Come See Me October in Seattle

(This post is cross post from my other site, The Happy Accident. If you happen to see it twice, well, the truth is that I really do want to see you all in Seattle! That's all I'm saying....)

On October 12th and 13th, I'll be up in Seattle, courtesy of the wonderful folks running the SCBWI Western Washington Region.

On the 12th I'll be presenting a four hour "Training Camp" seminar called Unleashing the Power of Social Media for Writers and Illustrators. How wonderful are the folks up there?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stretching (poetically speaking)

I have not been writing nearly as much this summer as I'd like - not poetry, stories, or even blog posts. Sometimes it's nice to get a wee kick to restart the process or, for that matter, just to inspire me even when I'm writing a lot.

So, thinking some of you might be like me, I want to send you over to the Miss Rumphius Effect where Tricia puts up a new poetry stretch every Monday.

You don't have to share what you write (I rarely do... but that doesn't mean I don't use 'em), but if you want to, you can add them to the comments or post them on your own blog. On Thursday's, Tricia also shares the results of the stretch on her blog (which, for some, might work as accountability).

I also like poetry stretches because I never hurt my hamstrings while doing them yet still keep my (writing) muscles limber. So head on over and stretch!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sneaking in a link!

Sure, it's already Saturday in much of the world, but here it's still Friday, so I feel okay in sending you all over to Andromeda Jazmon's a wrung sponge for this week's Poetry Friday roundup. As always, a lot of good stuff... from videos, to reviews, to original poems to some Jefferson Airplane.

Go on and check it out!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Post-SCBWI Conference Sorta Wrap Up Post

With the great coverage of the Conference by the SCBWI Team Blog and all the folks tweeting, there's little I can add that hasn't been said already. But that never keeps me quiet :-)

One key thing I took away from the conference: the picture book might not be dead, but it's still a soft market. Sigh. I'd also note that NO ONE spoke of poetry books that I heard. Double sigh. Still, children's books in general aren't hurting as much as other areas of publishing during the economic downturn.

There were more agents at the conference this year than in any prior year... and a bit of a sense in general that it helps if one has an agent. True... or simply a reflection of the attendees? It's unclear. Still, what was clear is that there are some mighty savvy, smart and funny agents out there.

There were cookies with morning coffee, something that made me feel very adult. I ate them BECAUSE I CAN DO THAT. The ratio of female to male attendees was around 7-1. Attendance this year was a record high. And the coffee was drinkable!

One of my jokes was a winner - the first time that has happened in a couple years. The last time I won, it was actually my friend Dan Hanna putting my name on one of his entries since he'd won so much (note: he's funny!) already.

As usual, it was the people who made the conference great. Everyone - faculty, staff, attendees - meshes together in a rather remarkable way for four days of community at its best. I miss folks, and I mean lots of folks the moment the conference is done.

I probably have an anecdote or two left in me for the days ahead, but I do highly encourage you to go to the SCBWI Conference blog and do some reading, if you haven't already done so. It'll make you feel like you were there... and then I'll miss you, too!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Heading off for the last day of the SCBWI Conference... and as usual, it's total overload.

One of my favorite tiny bits so far came via author Karen Cushman. I will paraphrase (though it might be an exact quote, actually, but since I'm not sure, I call it a paraphrase!).

They say write what you know. If I did that, it would be

I woke up.
I made stuff up.
I went to bed.

Instead, I say write what you want to know.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Conference Time!

Tomorrow starts the SCBWI Summer Conference - four days of learning, fun, and fun learning (plus food and fun and schmoozing and fun and some fun, too). I have literally just gotten back to town and can't imagine being ready by morning, but I know when I check in and start seeing familiar faces... well... it's gonna be a blast!

If you're there, be sure to say hello! I hope to put up some updates, but this year you can check out the SCBWI Live Blog and also try tracking the #SCBWI09 hashtag on Twitter (and yes, that's a zero not a capital O).

Now, it's time to sleep (after shopping and unpacking and and and....)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Boogie Boarding - a beach poem, a Fib, a boogie boarding poem

Boogie Boarding
Gregory K.

I zoom
On white foam
‘Til I glide to shore
Then the ocean roars, “One more ride!”

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is at Sylvia Vardell's fabulous Poetry For Children. Why not go 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, July 30, 2009

Carnival Time

Over at Melissa Wiley's Here in the Bonny Glen (which, by the way, you should check out on a regular basis), you can find the most recent Carnival of Children's Literature. This Carnival encompasses two months worth of goodies, rather than the normal one, and now that I've nabbed some net access and read it over, I can heartily recommend it. Sure, there's no fried Twinkies, but it's still a party!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mellow days here at GottaBook....

I expect to be on a slightly reduced posting schedule over the next week or two, as I take some summer time off... then get to see many of you at the SCBWI conference here in L.A.

Not that I'm disappearing, mind you, but if there's a longer than expted lull, just picture me writing poetry on a secluded beach at sunset. It won't be the case, but I like the image!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Awful Library Books

Oh, my... this site cracked me up enough that I felt a need to post simply to refer you there:

Awful Library Books

I have many favorites but Do-It-Yourself Coffins ranks mighty high on that list.

A Twitter hat tip to BookwormBites for the link!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Poetry Re-issue: I Threw a Baseball - a baseball poem

This poem originally appeared here in April of 2006 (and the post contains one of my fave comments (at number five)).

Gregory K.

I threw a baseball into the air.
If fell to Earth I know not where.
And so you see, I can't explain
What happened to your window pane.

You can check out the Poetry Friday roundup over at the wonderful A Year of Reading. For more baseball poetry (hey... there was a perfect game tossed yesterday, so baseball's on my mind!), hope on over to Bardball.

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, July 23, 2009

Another Reason Not to Judge a Book By Its Cover

I encourage you all to go over to author Justine Larbalestier's blog to read her post Ain't That a Shame.

The post is about how the US cover of her book Liar does not reflect the content of the book and, in fact, could undermine the story for some readers. The cover, you see, features a long-haired, white female... yet the protagonist of the book, per the author, "is black with nappy hair which she wears natural and short." That the character is also a nearly pathological liar creates even more disconnect with the cover and the story within.

Justine's written a very thoughtful piece on race, imagery, publishing and much, much more. There are many important issues here, and I highly recommend you read the post... and I'll be curious to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Fib Review #4 is Up!

For those of you who've been here awhile, you've seen me mention the Fib Review before... and now you get to see me mention it again. The fourth issue of this online journal of Fibonacci poetry is now up and available over at R.G. Rader's Muse Pie Press site.

If you click on the Writers tab on this Fib Review site, you'll see the talented poets contributing this time around (including at least one who contributed Fibs here early on!). And if you want to submit for the next issue, you can do that, too.

I love seeing what folks can do with the Fibonacci form, and if you do, too, I highly recommend a trip to the Review.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Next #kidlitchat - Tuesday, July 21st at 9P Eastern/6P Pacific

Yes, #kidlitchat is coming back this week, but we're trying out Tuesday night. There were 40 of us (!!!!) chatting last week, but we were in some conflict with two other chats that attract writers (#WNW - Wednesday Night Writers, and the rather self-expanatory #editorchat). If Tuesday flops, we can move back, but for now, Tuesday evening is our home unless/until we announce a change.

So, please join me and Bonnie Adamson for...

What: #kidlitchat
Where: Twitter
When: Tuesday, July 21st at 9:00 PM Eastern/6:00 PM Pacific

You can find last week and future transcripts posted here at the Happy Accident, at least until we have a happy home for the chat and info elsewhere.

Looking forward to seeing you at the chat!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Poetry Post Squeeze

Sure, every week you can get a poetry stretch over at the Miss Rumphius Effect, but today I offer you a poetry post squeeze. Yup, Poetry Friday flew past me, yet here at a couple minutes before the end of the day, I'm squeezing in a post.

First off, the roundup of Poetry Friday posts is over at Becky's Book Reviews. As usual, it's great reading. And...

I also want to single out a post today by Laura Purdie Salas about her experience the Poetry Blast at ALA this past week (AND it includes a poem each by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Rebecca Kai Dotlich!). I would have LOVED to be in the crowd at the Blast to hear Laura and all the other amazing poets who were there. Ah well. Another year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A New Twitter Chat - all about children's literature!

Bonnie Adamson and I are excited to announce a brand new Twitter chat that we'll be co-hosting. The first chat will be Wednesday night, 7/15, at 9 PM EDT/6 PM PDT, and we're using the hashtag #kidlitchat for now. Neither time nor tag are set in stone, by the way, but we wanted to get up and running sooner rather than later.

We hope that ANYONE with an interest in the craft and/or business side of writing for children, from board books through YA, will come join us.

The initial plan is that each chat will feature topics from a range of craft and business areas (hopefully suggested by all of us chatters!). We also hope to incorporate special guests in future chats. This first one will also include a focus on what we all would like to get out of a children's literature Twitter chat - be it community, knowledge, specific topics, a recreation of an SCBWI schmooze or...????

If you have any ideas, questions, or want more information, please leave a comment here or find Bonnie or me on Twitter.

Hope to see you there... and look for updates here and there as the chat evolves!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why wasn't I informed???

What? There's a new Harry Potter movie coming out this week? And there are seven of those books???? Huh. Who knew?

And speaking of movies from children's books (nice segue, eh?), do any of you have an opinion on the odds of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs living up to the fun of the picture book? I'm sure the special effects will be good enough to eat, but you could say I'm a bit nervous here. Am I alone in that feeling?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Father Goose Blogs!

Charles Ghigna, aka Father Goose, is now blogging! Ooooh... and he's posting poetry. In a word, "yay!"

Charles was one of the participants in 30 Poets/30 Days here at GottaBook, and since it's Poetry Friday, it's a fine time to re-link you to his "A Poem Is..." contribution to that project.

And finally, don't forget to go check out the roundup of Poetry Friday posts over at Jama Rattigan's alphabet soup. Good times, indeed!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

It Was a Dark and Stormy Contest

Over at her blog, Brooklyn Arden, Cheryl Klein is having a contest! It's fun. It's silly. It's baaaaad.

Inspired by the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, Cheryl's asking everyone to submit a really bad, totally made up opening sentence to a children's book. Actually, you can submit up to three times. The contest ends July 17th, and already the competition's steep.

Still, I have confidence that you GottaBook readers can do bad as well as anybody else, so go on over and try your worst!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Crash Into Me

Today, Crash Into Me, the debut novel by YA author Albert Borris hits the shelves. Normally as an author, when your book comes out, particularly your first one, you're telling everyone you can to help spread the word. But back in December, Albert Borris suffered a massive stroke which has left him currently unable to write or say words in the order he wants them to be in.

You can read more about Albert's story here on the blog of the Class of 2K9, of which Albert was co-president. This would be frustrating for anyone, of course, and must be terribly so for a writer and teen counselor like Albert.

Crash Into Me has gotten strong reviews in Kirkus and in the blogosphere (for example, at The Reading Tub), and the fellow authors in the Class of 2K9 have been helping spread the word. Now I am doing the same (here's a tweet of mine you can feel free to use/retweet/modify) ... and encourage you to join in, too.

For more information, click on any of the links above. And thanks!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

One month to the SCBWI summer conference!

August 7-10 is the 38th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference here in LA (which is, admittedly, two days more than one month away but this is a poetry oriented blog, not math oriented).

So, who amongst y'all will I be seeing there?

Already looking forward to it... and even without waiting for answers, I know I'll be seeing many of you there!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The New Kite Tales is Up!

Kite Tales is the quarterly, free publication of the SCBWI-Los Angeles chapter. If you are at all interested in writing or illustrating children's books, the whole issue, edited by Rilla Jaggia, is well worth checking out. It's free and chock full of interviews, updates, and information. And...

I'm excited to point you all to an article of mine called Twitter, Tweeting and You that starts on page 25 of this issue! The article tells you step by step how to set up an account, find people to follow, use direct messages, tweet effectively, and more. The publication is a PDF, and the link to Kite Tales will take you straight to the download page.

I hope you download Kite Tales and enjoy it... and if you have questions about Twitter or SCBWI-LA, ask away!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Poetry Re-Issue: Garage Sale - a garage sale poem

Garage Sale
Gregory K.

Mrs. O'Leary from down the street
Owned a Chevy and also a Dodge.
She must've sold them both, I guess.
Why else would she sell her garage?

Originally posted here back in 2006 (complete with a comment from Leonardo Fibonacci!), the poem popped into my mind because we're hosting a garage sale today. I figure most of you can't come by and buy, but at least this way you can be with me in a poetic sense.

Please note, by the way, that the garage is not for sale, nor is the yard. If you make a great offer on the sidewalk, however....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lazy Days of Summer Wherefore Art Thou?

Oh, sure... I'll kick back and take it easy. I'll write and relax this summer. Yeah... well... as you can tell by the fact that I don't have a Poetry Friday post up, there was no kicking back and just relaxing. It's all good, though, particularly since part of the day involved going to a hole in the wall donut joint I'd never been to before. Yum.

Here's another person who's not kicking back this summer - my friend Cynthea Liu who's celebrating the luanch ofher book Paris Pan Takes the Dare by hosting an auction full of critiques and the like to benefit a Title I school in Oklahoma. There are critiques from editors and authors and agents... and you can do some good, too.

I hope you'll head over and check out Cynthea's auction (with other ways to help out, too!).

No laziness this weekend for me, but no more donuts, either. Don't worry... I'll survive!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Writing 2day (and almost a contest!)

I have a post up over at The Happy Accident called, in part, 2 B or Not 2 B all about the importance of writing well on Twitter (and everywhere, really). And the title of the post got me thinking...

What rewrites could we do in Twitter/instant message/Internet-speak to children's book titles or quotes? Or could we update them to make them "hip and now"?

Here were a few of my ideas from the different categories....

2 Think Th@ I Saw it on Mulberry St.

Jacob Have I <3'd

Charlotte's Web - "Where's papa going with that Google search?"

Wikipedia Brown (and the Case of the Missing URL)

I'd love to see what you come up with. I didn't turn it into a full blown contest this time because I couldn't narrow the idea down (well, that and I'm tired!), but if y'all have fun with it... who knows where it'll lead in the future?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Would you believe...

I was looking for an old query letter of mine that predates this computer and sent me the dreaded "paper files." And looking through there, I found a picture book manuscript I had completely forgotten about.

It's not great or nothing, mind you, but the fact that I completely erased it from memory seemed highly unfair - it had no bad history nor was it deserving of such a fate.

Does this happen to you? Do you run into material that you are surprised to find? And is any of it ever fabulous? Cuz, like, if it is... I'm gonna dig some more!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Return of the Search Fib

It's been a lonnnng time since I posted a Search Fib - wherein I create a Fib from the search terms that have led people to my blog from a rather staggering assortment of search engines. But today, the muse struck... mostly because of the search that turned into the last line of the poem. And so, with no further ado:

Search Fib (Untitled)

Fib Day
Last week school!
Poem: really bad
Poetry for my bestest dad

Bestest, indeed! And while I wish a happy almost Father's Day to all you good, better, and bestest dads out there, I note that it's still Friday, and that means Poetry Friday is here. So head on over and check out the roundup of posts over at Carol's Corner. You'll find some great stuff if you go poking around... though probably nothing else quite like the Search Fib :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Go say "hi!"

Today I had a slightly paranoid moment, I must admit. Just a flash. But at first glance, I thought the email in my inbox said "Arthur A. Levine is following you." My editor? Wha???? He's onto me! Ah, but wait... the full subject line said "on Twitter" at the end.

Ahhhh. I get it!

So if you're on Twitter, why not head on out and start following @AALBooks? And if you're not on Twitter... well... maybe come join us!

And if you're in the traveling mood, there's been some great conversation over at Read Roger lately. If you're a blogging book reviewer or author or illustrator or editor or anyone interested in how the online world is challenging (or not) the print world in terms of reviews, criticism and marketing, the come jump on into the conversation (the posts Blogs and Buzz and "The fanboys can be merciless." being two current hot-spots).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Books! Books! Books!!!!!!

I haven't spoken as much this year about my volunteer school library gig, in no small part because I took a sorta-hiatus from the day-to-day of being the librarian. I miss the almost-daily readalouds but have enjoyed having solid blocks of time to work. The library is in fine hands... but it's not like I've disappeared totally!

Unfortunately, one of the challenges of running a library with no budget is that it's mighty hard to get new (as in recently released) books on the shelves. We've worked hard to make the library a place the kids love coming to, and it really helps being able to have, say, the Lightning Thief books or the Clementine books or or or hundreds and hundreds more. This is the area I keep working on, and I have to say that considering the budget, we've done more than okay. How? Because...

My secret weapon has been you, my online friends.

Thanks to each and every one of you who has sent books my school's way. Seriously - like major, major thanks. This year, I want to offer up a really super-duper big hat tip to Amanda at A Patchwork of Books and author-illustrator Antoinette Portis for particularly big piles o' book donations. But each one of you - reviewers, authors, illustrators, publishers, friends, bloggers, readers - who has gotten me even one book has made a difference for us. And kids love our library.

If any of you are ever in L.A. and want to see what you've helped create, please let me know, and I'll see if I can bring you by at least one of the two libraries we've got running. And once again "thanks!" on behalf of all the students, teachers, and parents at the school. The generosity of book lovers never ceases to amaze....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer? Reallllly?

Okay, I want to lodge a complaint with someone or another about the fact that almost half the year has gone past already. Who do I call?

Still, the arrival of summer does mean I'll be switching into summer mode here at GottaBook, though looking at my likely schedule these next few months, I don't think there'll be a huge impact. Just know that if I appear to be a little lazier, it's nothing personal - it's just summer!

Blogging poetry lovers weren't lazy today, so why not head on over to the Poetry Friday roundup over at the Critique de Mr. Chompchomp? Good links, good poetry, what more could you want (other than the last 5 months not to have gone so fast)?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What a Girl Wants....

Over at Chasing Ray, Colleen has kicked of a series with a post called "What a Girl Wants: The Books We Can't Forget." The series itself will tackle various issues for girls and books, with this entry serving as an introduction to the group who'll be having the conversation.

Reading was not as big for me growing up as it was for many of my book-loving friends or, for that matter, my book-devouring brother. So, there truly is no one book that holds a special place in my memory... though I will say that it was reading a slew of mystery and action-adventure books (hand picked by Mom!) that made me start to appreciate reading a whole lot more.

What about you? Is there a book you can't forget or a book that made a huge difference for you growing up? Feel free to mention it here or go on over to Chasing Ray and jump on in the conversation....

Monday, June 08, 2009

Do You Haiku? And...

I do like Haiku
Strict form, thriving on word choice...
And they are not Fibs!

I'm excited to tell you all that Nikki Grimes is running a month-long Haiku contest on her new Facebook page. You can win a signed book... just for writing poetry! Why wouldn't you?

And.... Yes, there was an and: I'm pleased to say that Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman is now on Twitter! How cool is that?! That makes at least 20% of the 30 Poets/30 Days group who are there. Can the rest be far behind? I hope you'll come join us!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Doughnuts! Oh, Doughnuts! - a donut poem/a doughnut poem

Doughnuts! Oh, Doughnuts!
Greg Pincus

Doughnuts! Oh, doughnuts! Fried circles of yum.
You food that I simply adore.
You’re sure not nutritious, but you’re so delicious
I’m always left wishing for more.

I love you with frosting or covered in sprinkles.
I swoon for you, sweet, sugar raised!
When you’re filled with jelly, you warm up my belly...
While still leaving room for a glazed.

I’ll dip you in coffee or dunk you in milk.
I’ll eat you for breakfast or brunch.
I get so impassioned for simple old-fashioned
That sometimes I make them my lunch.

Doughnuts! Oh, doughnuts! Definers of yum.
You perfect fried circles of dough.
Although you’re caloric, you leave me euphoric...
So give me a dozen to go!

Today is not only Poetry Friday (with the roundup of posts hosted at Sara Lewis Holmes' Read Write Believe), but it's also National Doughnut Day (or, if you prefer, National Donut Day)! This certainly rates as one of my favorite "holidays" to celebrate, so this year I'm doing it with food AND poetry. And you? Wanna meet me at Stan's or Bob's or...?

You can find this poem and 53 others in my collection The Late Bird, available on Kindle (and all the free Kindle apps, too) and Nook

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!

More soon, but now I'm off to dream of Bavarian Kreme....

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bright, Glowing Cheers!

I'm excited when any of my friends have new books out, and I love seeing them get good reviews, too. That'd make me doubly pleased to see that Chris Barton's The Day-Glo Brothers got a starred review in Kirkus. But I admit I'm even happier than normal.

You see, I met Chris at the very first SCBWI conference I attended - at the late, lamented open-mic night, specifically - and we've stayed in touch ever since. He and his blog are among the chief reasons I started blogging, in fact, and you'll see him over there as the first blog in my (waaaaaay out of date and in need of love) blogroll. I was excited when he sold Day-Glo, felt his angst as it was delayed and delayed, and now am thrilled to see that the wait and work was all worth it.

Congrats, Chris! And I'm looking forward to the rest of the books in the pipeline hitting the shelves....