Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet, artist









Hannah enjoying poetry workshop


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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
photo by Steve Kolich

Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
photo by Mel Hornsby

Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy

Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire http://www.kathleenduey.com

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller http://www.debbiemilleralaska.com

photo by Robyn Hood Black
Paul B. Janeczko http://www.paulbjaneczko.com

Copyright 2005-2016 ©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved. Please ask permission before using any text or images on this website, except for reproducible
"4 Kids 2 Do" and "Press Kit" pages.

Life on the Deckle Edge

Celebrating Randolph Caldecott

August 26, 2011

Tags: poetry, Poetry Friday, illustrators, history, book tracks

© Robyn Hood Black

Randolph Caldecott's grave in Evergreen Cemetery, St. Augustine, Florida, and my quick sketch of it.
A couple of weeks ago, my family had a long weekend vacation in one of our favorite spots, and a place I remember fondly from growing up in Florida, St. Augustine.

Last time we were there, I met a delightful young children’s writer working at the Spanish Quarter (a living history complex) who shared this gem with me: Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886) is buried there. He had traveled to the climate in an attempt to improve his ailing health, but died soon after arriving, a month shy of his 40th birthday. The Caldecott Medal , given to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children” was first awarded in 1938.

On our previous trip, and again this time, I went to pay my respects at his grave. [This year I was particularly keen to go, since next weekend I’m heading up to a Highlights Founders Workshop
for illustrators. Yee-hi! I’ve been to one other – on poetry.]

Evergreen Cemetery is unassuming and off the beaten path, but peaceful and well maintained. My only real company both times included birds (woodpeckers, a hawk, and others) and squirrels and some lively Florida bugs.

The grave is maintained by the Friends of the Library of St. Johns County, Inc., and the Randolph Caldecott Society of America . A 2005 plaque on the grave reads: “…As a tribute to his life and art, this burial site is designated a Literary Landmark by Friends of Libraries USA.”

One of my favorite books is Randolph Caldecott’s Picture Books (Huntington Library Classics, 2007), which includes copies of nine of the works in the Library’s collection (songs and rhymes made into books), including The Three Jovial Huntsmen and The Diverting History of John Gilpin. I particularly like the note in the introduction that in Sing a Song for Sixpence, Caldecott “ didn’t want children to think that the maid had permanently lost her nose to the blackbird…,” and therefore he added a verse:

The Maid was in the Garden
Hanging out the Clothes-;
There came a little Blackbird,
And snapped off her Nose.
But there came a Jenny Wren
And popped it on again.


The book is beautifully bound with thick, creamy pages perfectly setting off the sepia line drawings and colored wood engravings which still seem fresh today.

Quoting from the Randolph Caldecott Society of America website:

A friend of Mr. Caldecott, Fredrick Locker-Lampson, summed up Randolph Caldecott's work with these words: "It seems to me that Caldecott's art was of a quality that appears about once in a century. It had delightful characteristics most happily blended. He had a delicate fancy, and humor was as racy as it was refined. He had a keen sense of beauty and to sum up all, he had charm."

For more delightful, racy, charming poetry, visit Irene for the Poetry Friday Roundup .

Just to Say...

August 19, 2011

Tags: nature, animals, poetry, Poetry Friday

Can you smell how sweet it was? At least somebody enjoyed it...
This is Just to Say from the Critter that Raided my Garden…

- apologies to William Carlos Williams:


I have eaten
the cantaloupe
that was in
the garden

and which
you were probably
saving
for lunch

Forgive me
it was delicious
so sweet
and so (mmmmm…) juicy



Was it a raccoon? Groundhog? Rat? Something else? Well, I’m glad someone enjoyed it. But it smelled oh-so-sweet, freshly open there on the ground (what was left of it). I did scoop up some seeds for next time.

Perhaps in a few months I’ll be able to discern from claw marks and such just which critter had been there. Next week I begin a “Master Naturalist” program at our local nature/science center . I’ve wanted to take the course for a while, but last year’s torn Achilles set me back from hiking.

May your own steps be sure, and the fruits of your labors sweet! Indulge in some great poetry at today’s Poetry Friday Roundup, hosted by fellow Georgia peach Doraine Bennett.

Haiku book giveaway over at Berry Blue...

August 15, 2011

Tags: poetry, Berry Blue Haiku, haiku

If you haven't checked out the new Berry Blue Haiku blog yet, this would be a great month to do it - Editor Gisele LeBlanc is giving away a special book of haiku written for children.

Simply titled Haiku, it comes from talented haiku poet Kala Ramesh, illustrated by Surabhi Singh. It also comes from India and is not available in North America. [I'd love to have a copy myself!]

Click on over to read a couple of the poems and leave a comment to enter!

Slow wave to the end of summer...

August 11, 2011

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry

Still hanging on....
© Robyn Hood Black
Most schools around here started this week; my 16-year-old still has another week before hitting the halls and my 19-year-old has the same before heading back up the road to college. We are squeezing out the last bit of summer with sun and without alarm clocks.

Apologies if anyone else has already posted this, but I thought Jane Kenyon’s “Three Songs for the End of Summer” an appropriate tribute for August:

from
Three Songs for the End of Summer

by Jane Kenyon

A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.

Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils. …


I particularly love the “weird authority” ending the first stanza and how “the garden sprawls and spoils” at the end of the second. Please click here to read the rest of the poem.

To savor the end of summer with more great poetry, saunter over to Karen’s for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Celebrating Vicky Alvear Shecter's new book with Style...

August 6, 2011

Tags: authors, bookstores, book tracks

Donna H. Bowman, me, a very cool Roman Soldier, Vicky Alvear Shecter, and Janice Hardy celebrate the launch of Vicky's CLEOPATRA'S MOON at the Little Shop of Stories.
Vicky Alvear Shecter's Launch Party at Little Shop of Stories was a classic BLAST. See post below...

Poetic Nod to Cleopatra's Moon

August 5, 2011

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, historical fiction, authors, book tracks

It’s a good week for historical fiction in the Atlanta area, specifically, in Decatur. – Lynn Cullen spoke about her hot-off-the-press Reign of Madness (Putnam) Wednesday evening at the Dekalb Library (shout-out post below), and tonight, Vicky Alvear Shecter is launching her YA Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) at The Little Shop of Stories.

I’m lucky to be in a critique group with Vicky and happy to help celebrate. Hence my rather long-ish book spine poem in honor of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony. Caveat: I’m purchasing my book this evening and haven’t read it yet – so I hope my “poem,” scoured after bedtime from bookshelves upstairs and down, is somewhat on target! (Well, books and one DVD case.)

Congratulations to Vicky, whose novel is raking in rave reviews.

Here’s my poetic take on the story, if the titles aren’t clear in the picture:

Cleopatra Rules!
Golden Legacy
Between Parent and Child
Born Free
Girl in a Cage
Another Country
Night
Out of the Depths
New Moon –
Girl in the Mirror
Who Does She Think She Is?


For the Poetry Friday Roundup, start off the new school year with Libby at A Year of Literacy Coaching.

(See post below)

August 4, 2011

(l-r) Kim Siegelson, yours truly, Elizabeth Dulemba and Vicky Alvear Shecter celebrate with Lynn Cullen (seated) as she signs REIGN OF MADNESS.
(see post below)

Go, Lynn Cullen!

August 4, 2011

Tags: authors, historical fiction, book tracks

Lynn Cullen signing Reign of Madness
Go, Lynn Cullen!

Last night I met up with Kim Siegleson, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Vicky Alvear Shecter in Decatur (Ga.) to hear our friend and author extraordinaire Lynn Cullen
speak about her brand-new REIGN OF MADNESS (Putnam). The talk was sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, and it was standing-room-only in the conference room at the Dekalb County Library.

I always enjoy hearing Lynn describe her European jaunts and treks down little by-ways, all for the sake of research, of course. She brought a fun slide show to share. I can't wait to dive into this story of Juana of Castile, daughter of Queen Isabella. Was she really mad, or was she the victim of rumors fueled by insatiable appetites for power?

From School Library Journal:

"While not as well known to American readers as her mother, Queen Isabella, or her son, Charles V, Juana is a sympathetic heroine, and lovers of historical fiction will enjoy her story."


I'm one of those, and I'm sure I will. Congratulations, Lynn!

Quick Clicks

Media
bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Poems
Explore a poem or two or five....
Haiku
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
Author visits
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
Magazines
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
Books
A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!
Portfolio
illustrations