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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

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Every Second Something Happens with Melanie Hall

September 9, 2011

Tags: illustrators, poetry, Poetry Friday, writing life, Highlights, workshops

Robyn with Melanie Hall, illustrator of Every Second Something Happens and much more...
I'm still relishing my Highlights Founders Workshop in Advanced Illustration last weekend, and praying for the folks in that region facing floods this week. I'll conjure up a recap soon.

One highlight was meeting award-winning Melanie Hall, who has illustrated several volumes of poetry. I cornered her for some tips and she kindly offered insights and encouragement. Her exuberant illustrations reflect her joyous, infectious spirit. She uses a variety of media to create her colorful illustrations, which are often full of movement.

We took a close look at Every Second Something Happens - Poems for the Mind and Senses, selected by Christine San Jose and Bill Johnson (Wordsong, 2009). I particularly love the variety of pictures and the generous amounts of white space giving the poems room to breathe. Melanie designed the book with Boyds Mills's Tim Gillner.

The book offers a multiple intelligences approach to organizing the poems. From the Note to Parents: "We've organized the verse in a way that follows the natural human approaches to making sense of the world: through language, senses (eyes, ears, movement), rational thinking, dealing with others, and knowledge of ourselves. ...So this book might quite rightly be reckoned as poetry in the service of children's intellectual development. But we confess that for us it's the other way around: helping children use all their native wits and sensitivities to discover the myriad delights of poetry."

Poems by children, with names and ages listed, appear alongside works by David L. Harrison, Lucille Clifton, Dawn Watkins, and Shakespeare - just to name a few. (The book's title comes from a poem by six-year-old Sam.)

Rebecca Kai Dotlich's "A Circle of Sun" is included in the "Wiggle, Waggle, Shimmy, Shake" section. (Melanie also illustrated Rebecca's collection, Over in the Pink House.) I've used "A Circle of Sun" with very young students in school visits, and they love acting it out. Here are a few lines from the middle - for the complete poem, see Lemonade Sun or this anthology!

Excerpt from "A Circle of Sun"
by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

I gallop.
I grin.
I giggle.
I shout.
I'm Earth's many colors.
I'm morning and night.
I'm honey on toast.
I'm funny.
I'm bright.


Bright is the perfect word to describe Melanie Hall's contribution to poetry collections, including this one.

Katie has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Secrets & Sharing Soda.

Comments

  1. September 9, 2011 9:02 AM EDT
    I'm so glad you had a good time! :) e
    - Elizabeth
  2. September 9, 2011 10:02 AM EDT
    Great photo!

    I can imagine kids acting A Circle of Sun out. Must be fun!
    - Tabatha
  3. September 9, 2011 10:04 AM EDT
    That's a lovely photo, and it does sound like you had so much fun. I love "A Circle of Sun" - this summer I was looking for poems for my nine year old to take to heart - and this would have been a perfect choice. Well, never too late for her to read it again and again and own it. ;-)
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  4. September 9, 2011 10:10 AM EDT
    Thanks for spotlighting Melanie's work and featuring Rebecca's poem. Lovely post!
    - jama
  5. September 9, 2011 10:28 AM EDT
    Thanks, e! Tabatha and Myra, it's a great poem, isn't it? The complete version is the perfect length for kids to experience and act out. And thanks, Jama - they are two delightful, talented souls, aren't they?
    - Robyn Black
  6. September 11, 2011 7:02 AM EDT
    Wow! I'm going to have to take a look at that book! How did I miss it?
    - Mary Lee

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