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!

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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....)