Thursday, April 21, 2011

Two Great Online Events!

Below are announcements for two online events that might be of interest.

 Ink Link's first Computerside Chat

May 10, 2011 at 7 PM EDT

Passionate Voices: Science, Math, and 21st Century Skills with Vicki Cobb, the "Julia Child of Kids' Hands-on Science"
David M. Schwarz, of How Much Is a Million Angela Maiers,  the passionate expert on 21st century literacy skills

We are trying something new.  Come experiment with us. This is not a webinar, it's much more personal.  We want to share our stories to put the joy of learning back in your classroom and set your mind at ease about those !@#$%*() assessment tests! You'll be able to see us live via streaming video and ask questions with Twitter #authorsoncall. Space is limited to forty endpoints so please make your reservations by clicking here.  In the registration form, we want to know something about you.  So have fun filling out the textbox!


A Live Webcast with Gary Schmidt
Join two-time Newbery Honor-winning author 
GARY SCHMIDT for a live webcast event!
Monday, May 9, 2011 1:00pm EST
Join author Gary Schmidt as he talks about his writing, discusses his books including The Wednesday Wars and his new book Okay for Now, and answers questions, live from the Rare Books room of the New York Public Library.
For those of you interested, go to

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is That A Poem In Your Pocket, Or Is It Something Even Verse?

From NPR

I just want you to know first that I wrote that headline just so that you would come here to tell me how terrible, how agonizing, how truly depressingly abhorrent it is, and then when you got here, I could remind you that it's Poem In Your Pocket Day!

No, it really is.

It's Poem In Your Pocket Day, from the Academy Of American Poets, co-sponsored by the National Council Of Teachers Of English and some other folks. I have decided to stretch the premise to its absolute limit by declaring that since this is my pocket (of the world), I will mention a couple of poems here, and then ask you to mention one that you like, and then we'll all have poems in our pockets, and that will make poets happy, and ... wait, I'm not sure poets are supposed to be happy. But anyway.
I once read a gigantic e.e. cummings biography for work (!!), so it's not only the ubiquity that makes me say I have a fondness for some of his stuff — I like "my father moved through dooms of love," which has more gorgeousness in just that line than many people will produce in their lifetimes.

And yes, like many others, I will make the thoroughly predictable pick of "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock," which you should read aloud immediately if you never have (the people in your office will love it). The fact that it's so well-known that it was once referenced without comment on Law & Order (when a schlub who had fallen for the wrong woman sighed, "Just once, I dared to eat the peach") doesn't mean it isn't awfully good. "In a minute there is time / For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse." Dang, you can use that every day.

But if I had to put only one poem in my pocket, I would pick "Cotton Candy On A Rainy Day" by Nikki Giovanni. It's the title poem from a collection of her work that was recommended to me by a teacher when I was in tenth grade, and it includes the line, "I share with the painters the desire / To put a three-dimensional picture / On a one-dimensional surface." For some reason, that line perfectly encapsulated every frustration I had about being a high-school student who, like most high-school students, felt that nobody understood anything I was trying to say, ever.

So: What poem would you put in your pocket?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Video Interview with Marilyn Singer

From the Reading Rockets Website: 

A video interview with...

Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer has written all kinds of great books for children and young adults — picture books, fairy tales, mysteries, non-fiction, and novels — but poetry is her favorite. Singer is on a mission to "knock poetry off its pedestal" and to introduce kids to the pleasing rhythms and powerful emotion of poems, but also to encourage kids to express themselves through verse.

You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Marilyn Singer, or see a selected list of her children's books.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Celebrating National Poetry Month: PoetryTagTime

A new poetry e-book for kids, PoetryTagTime, compiled by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, is out just in time for National Poetry Month. It is the first ever electronic-only poetry anthology of new poems by top poets for children (ages 0-8), and available for only .99 cents at the Kindle Store at Amazon.

This collection of 30 new, unpublished connected poems range from the humorous to serious, about tongues, turtles and toenails, in acrostics, quatrains, and free verse written by 30 of our best children's poets. And the "connections" between poems as the poets voice how their poems are interconnected in this game of poetry tag adds another layer of fun and meaning. You'll be able to share brand-new poems and poetry tips with children all month long for pennies a day!

Even if you don't own a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app for a number of devices, including your Windows or Apple computer, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android-powered phone. Also, be sure to check out our web site ( and companion blog ( for strategies for sharing each of the 30 poems in the book, rolling out one per day throughout the month of April.

For more information:

2010 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Announced

Picture Book Winner
Malaspina, Ann. Yasmin’s Hammer. Illustrated by Doug Ghayka.  New York: Lee and Low, 2010.

Picture Book Honor
Thong, Roseanne. Fly Free! Illustrated by Eujin Kim Neilan.   Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 2010

Children’s Literature Winner
Preus, Margi. Heart of a Samurai. New York: Amulet Books (Abrams), 2010.

Children’s Literature Honor
Perkins, Mitali. Bamboo People. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2010.

Young Adult Literature Winner
Senzai, N. H. Shooting Kabul. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010.
Young Adult Literature Honor
Bazaldua, Barbara. A Boy of Heart Mountain. Illustrated by Willie Ito.  Camarillo, CA: Yabitoon Books, 2010.  

Celebrate Poetry Month with these resources

All this month, visit Greg Pincus’ blog GottaBook for the first annual 30 Poets/30 Days project, a celebration of children's poetry. Every day in April, he will update his blog with a previously unpublished poem by a different poet. You can also follow the project on Twitter. Participating poets (in alphabetical order): Arnold Adoff, Jaime Adoff, Francisco X. Alarc√≥n, Kathi Appelt, Jorge Argueta, Brod Bagert, Carmen Bernier-Grand, Calef Brown, Joseph Bruchac, James Carter, Kurt Cyrus, Graham Denton, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Douglas Florian, Kristine O'Connell George, Charles Ghigna, Joan Bransfield Graham, Nikki Grimes, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Alan Katz, Bobbi Katz, Julie Larios, J. Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, Elaine Magliaro, Heidi Mordhorst, Kenn Nesbitt, Linda Sue Park, Ann Whitford Paul, Greg Pincus, Laura Purdie Salas, Liz Garton Scanlon, Joyce Sidman, Marilyn Singer, Susan Marie Swanson, Charles Waters, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, Janet Wong, Jane Yolen, and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. Happy Poetry Month!

Harcourt Trade Books is offering a free classroom kit for celebrating National Poetry Month and Young People’s Poetry Week based on the book new book Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures by Julie Larios, illustrated by Julie Paschkis, and are suitable for students in grades 3-6. Kirkus gave Imaginary Menagerie a starred review stating, “Using poems and pictures, this modern bestiary proves a fascinating introduction to mythical creatures from different cultures. . . . Each creature is described in a poem capturing some of its unique features as well as its mystery. . . . End-pages ingeniously unite the curious creatures providing the perfect start and finish to this little masterpiece.” I was delighted with Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary by the same author/illustrator team. Julie Paschkis' illustrations are amazing. Free classroom kits from the previous two years are also still available to download inlcuding informationand activities on poets Douglas Florian, Bobbi Katz, Julie Larios, and Mary Ann Hoberman.

The Poetry Foundation's Children's Program offers several resources. More than Mother Goose: Poems for the Kids in Your Life is a list of 20 poetry books, ranging from audio collections to classics to contemporary anthologies. Lunchbox Poems provides suggestions for poems parents or other caregivers can slip into children’s lunchboxes to share a giggle or remind them that you’re thinking of them. An Xceptional and Xuberant Poet is an article written by the Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky on the verses of X.J. Kennedy. Thank Goodness It’s (Poetry) Friday is article about how bloggers in the kidlitosphere enthusiastically offer up their favorite poems for kids every Friday (which I will start with the first Friday in April!). In the article She Speaks in the Voice of a Child, Jack Prelutsky discusses the work, writing habits, and fashion preferences of his friend, children's novelist, and poet Nikki Grimes, sharing a few of her newest, unpublished poems along the way. Dragons Pulling Wagons is a feature in which Jack Prelutsky turns the publicity on other fine poets writing for children today. Each month during his tenure, he'll tell you a bit about a poet he admires, and then select a few favorite poems and books by that author. With A Little Help from Dr. Angelou turns the spotlight on African-American poetry. Robert Frost in the Petri Dish discusses steps you can go through to find the science in Frost’s poems about fireflies, birches, the solstice, and growing fruit. Last, but certainly not least, the Essential Collection is a list of books essential to a superb children's poetry library as identified by nationally respected children's literature experts, librarians, educators, and parents. The list includes anthologies, collections of contemporary and classic poetry by individual authors, and poetry collections that include audio recordings on tape or CD.

Friday, April 1, 2011

About National Poetry Month

You may know that April is National Poetry month, but do you know why?

National Poetry Month was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. The following information is from their website:

What is National Poetry Month? National Poetry Month was established by the Academy of American Poets as a month-long, national celebration of poetry. The concept was to increase the attention paid-by individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our poetic heritage, and to poetry books and magazines. In the end, we hoped to achieve an increase in the visibility, presence, and accessibility of poetry in our culture. National Poetry Month has been successful beyond all anticipation and has grown over the years into the largest literary celebration in the world.

Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month? With input from booksellers, librarians, poets, and teachers, the Academy chose a month during the school year so that schools and students could participate fully. February is Black History Month and March is Women's History Month, so April seemed a logical choice.

What are the goals of National Poetry Month? The goals of National Poetry Month are to:
  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry
There are many resources on the Academy of American Poets website:
Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 14th: The idea is simple - select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 14. Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Ideas for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day can be found by clicking on the link above. This would definitely be a fun activity for kids!

Poem-A-Day: Beginning April 1, will send one new poem to your inbox each day to celebrate National Poetry Month. The poems have been selected from new books published this spring. Click the link above to sign-up. What a convenient way to collect poems and share them in classrooms and at home with children.

Poetcast: The Poetcast is the official podcast of the Academy of American Poets. Podcasts are like online radio shows, except that you don’t have to tune in at a given time. Last year the Poetcast included readings by Poet Laureates Anne Bosselaar and Elaine Equi. Additionally, there are over 150 audio clips of poems read by poets available through a searchable database. Children and adults alike enjoy hearing poetry read aloud by the authors.

Curriculum Units and Lesson Plans

National Poetry Map: provides information on the history, poets, organizations and centers, journals, conferences, festivals, and popular poems from each state in the US. Very neat!

Poetry Book club: The Poetry Book Club aims to enhance the reading of poetry, both the private pleasure of the individual as well as the collective appreciation of a group. The proliferation of book groups in the last decade has inspired to create a meeting place for poetry book groups, with where-to-begin suggestions, ideas for formats, and reading lists by contemporary poets.

Tips for Teachers: Includes a number of creative and inexpensive suggestions for making poetry a more important part of school life during April and throughout the year.