instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday Roundup - Happy Birthday, LEE BENNETT HOPKINS!!!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy Poetry Friday!  The Roundup is Here.

 

And, SURPRISE! - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEE BENNETT HOPKINS!

 

Welcome to your Poetry Friday Birthday Party!

 

****************

 

A few weeks ago, the clever and generous Linda Kulp Trout (Write Time) noticed that Lee's birthday fell on a Poetry Friday this year, the one I'd signed up to host.  Let's have a party, she suggested.  Let's do, said I.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (The Poem Farm ) jumped into the planning posse and away we went.

 

Lots of folks in the Poetry Friday community enthusiastically came on board.  See the trail of sprinkles? EVERYONE is welcome to celebrate – leave some birthday wishes below, and/or celebrate on your blog with a link in the comments, too!

 

I'll round up links throughout the day, and everyone can go from one party room to another, with some other fun poetry posts mixed in. Enjoy them all!

 

Lee, folks will be leaving you wishes in the comments today, and many will have links to party posts.  A few other special folks have dropped by here with their greetings.... 

 

The lovely and talented Heidi Bee Roemer (heidibroemer.com) beautifully captures the kind of relationship many poets have experienced with Lee:

 

 When I first met Lee in 1999 (thereabouts) at the Butler University Children's Conference, Rebecca Kai Dotlich's LEMONADE SUN was popping off bookstore shelves. On this pivotal day, Rebecca introduced me to my poetry idol, "the world's most prolific anthologist of poetry for children," Lee Bennett Hopkins. Little did I know what a far-reaching influence he would have in my life. In a career that has spanned decades, Lee has championed numerous aspiring poets, just like me. Moreover, he has captured the adoration of his readers, young and old, who find delight and oftentimes, epiphanies, in the words of a simple poem. Lee's passion for poetry is truly contagious. Allow me please to borrow the title of his brand-spanking new book-- WORLD MAKE WAY! as we celebrate Lee Bennett Hopkins' extra-special birthday!

 

Yes - World Make Way!  Speaking of Rebecca Kai Dotlich (rebeccakaidotlich.com), she wasn't about to miss an opportunity to send along some sprinkled wishes.  Here are her words for you, Lee:

 

I know how much you love birthdays.  How much you love any celebration at all.  Being your friend IS a celebration.  Chocolate is a given, but I hope your day is filled with a little shopping, a little art, a little tapioca pudding and maybe an ice cream cone. And I hope one line of a poem comes to you, because I know that, alone, will bring you joy.  Always know how much you are loved. How lucky I am to have you as my friend for so many birthdays, and for so maaaaannnnnnny more.

 

How old is Lee, you all ask?  Well, let's just say 80 candles means he's still HOT, wouldn't you agree?

 

Wait - I hear a knock.  Why, it's Rebecca M. Davis, senior editor extraordinaire at Boyds Mills Press & Wordsong!  She's here with these words for you, Lee.  (Please imagine some of them in a vibrant purple; my blog wouldn't play nice with colors.)

 

Dearest Lee,

 

Happy 80th birthday to you!

 

Hooray for Lee—friend, poet, friend of poets! Let's call you the poet's poet. You have made and continue to make our world brighter, more joyful, more wonder-filled through your work every day.

With love and admiration,

 

Rebecca (Davis)

 

Thank you for joining us, Rebecca! 

 

Is that someone behind you?  Behind the camera?  Ohh - it's Stephanie Salkin!  She and Jude Mandell spearheaded the effort to have Lee inducted into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame last year.  Stef is busy with her camera settings, so she just sends HUGS AND KISSES, Lee!

 

ENDLESS appreciations to Tomie DePaola  (Tomie's website) for such incredible art, and for joining the celebration.

 

Thanks to everyone for draping streamers from blog to blog today, and special thanks to Charles Egita for keeping the secret! ;0)  

 

Finally, from me,  a haiku for you, Lee -- inspired by Charles: 

 

 

blooming orchids -

the poem he knows

by heart

 

                                                                                                     Robyn Hood Black

 

Now, I know EVERYONE wants to get on with the party… Enjoy clicking through all the birthday posts and poetry – what better way to celebrate?

 

WE LOVE YOU, LEE!

 

**************

 

(Remember to drop in on the 2018 Kidlit Progressive Poem when you can, and check out all the Kidlit Poetry Month projects and feasts rounded up by Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup!  Want to keep up with Lee's latest books and poetic adventures?  Click here for his website!)

 

The Roundup -

 

*From the Night (Before) Owls:*

 

At Write Time, Birthday-Party-Idea-Originator Linda (Kulp Trout) gets this celebration off the ground with balloons, a beautiful personal tribute to Lee featuring one of his poems, and a special giveaway!

 

Linda Mitchell continues the party with today's line in the 2018 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem over at A Word Edgewise.   Oh, you'll never believe where she's taken our poem's flowering protagonist, Jasmine.

 

Off to Maine we go with Donna at Mainely Write….  She has the perfect "L" day celebrations for Lee… Go See!

 

An ekphrastic poetry master, Diane at Random Noodling offers a cherita in Lee's honor based on a painting, "The Poet's Voice" (1923) by Alice Bailly [1872-1938].  (She also includes a link to Lee's terrific NPR interview for World Make Way.) 

 

Diane's Kurious Kitty gives readers a glimpse into the breadth of Lee's many, many (many) works!

 

And, speaking of World Make Way, Karen Edmisten is highlighting this special book today, with some special wishes for Lee, too.

 

Matt chimes in from Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme with an interview with Louie Chin, illustrator for Don't Ask a Dinosaur, which Matt co-wrote with Deborah Busse.  He's also got some Poetry Cubed #5 entries, and birthday wishes for Lee!

 

At Teaching Authors, Bobbi shares a fulsome post about "The Crowned Prince of Poetry" (our guest of honor, of course)with more about World Make Way as well. 

 

Alice Nine shares two poems inspired by Lee's… "Crows" and "A Deet-ed Tick"!  (I know, you have to go check them out – poems are the best gifts!)  

 

Buffy shares a "Spectacular Lee" post in honor of his anthology, Spectacular Science.  The book inspired her original poem, "Spring Questions."  (Hoping Spring makes its way to all of you in chilly climes!)

 

At Reading to the Core, Catherine shares an original, celebratory poem made from some of Lee's book titles. (Well done, Catherine!) She shares a video of Lee as well. 

 

Brenda is celebrating Lee at Friendly Fairy Tales with a poem after this Lowcountry gal's heart – "Why Salt Marshes?" – with another nod to Spectacular Science. 

 

At Today's Little Ditty, Michelle has a delightful poem for our guest of honor, "Don't Ask a Hopkinsaurus" – I dare you to get to the end without smiling.  Catch up on her current giveaways (including Don't Ask a Dinosaur by Matt Forrest Esenwine and  Deborah Bruss) and poetry projects, too!

 

Grab your party hats and blowers to go visit the Gathering Books crowd.  Fats is celebrating Lee today with some favorite poems from different anthologies.  

 

At TeacherDance, Linda B. is celebrating up a storm!  She has two poem-gifts for Lee, a haiku as part of her Poetry Month project and a colorful poem featuring lots of his book titles.   

 

You MUST check out the festive birds celebrating Lee over at Michelle Kogan's place – and her original poems for Lee.  She shares a couple of his poems, too! 

 

At Writing the World for Kids, Laura shares a poem she wrote to celebrate Lee 10 years ago, "Recipe for a Poetry Book." It still perfectly fits! 

 

Alan J. Wright at Poetry Pizzazz would like to know, "Where's the Poetry Section?" in bookstores.  Will you join him in asking?  

 

Jama, who has kindly rounded up Kisdlitopshere Poetry Month offerings at Jama's Alphabet Soup, has a celebration of World Make Way AND a giveaway! 

 

Ramona is checking in from Pleasures From the Page with warm recollections of how Lee's books have touched her over the years, and with a 13-line poem created with some of her favorite LBH book titles.  Perfect for the 13th!

 

Laura Shovan has a fascinating celebratory post sharing Lee's "Final Score," with connections between that poem and her new book, TAKEDOWN.

 

Jone Rush MaCulloch  offers a gorgeous haiku and photo honoring Lee today at Deowriter.

 

Jone is also featuring some wonderful Student Poetry at MacLibrary.  Enjoy! 

 

Raincity Librarian Jane shares a poem excerpt from "Druid Hill Park" by British Columbian poet Heidi Greco, part of the local "Poetry in Transit" program.

 

At Beyond Literacy Link, Carol has… well – Shhh!  It's a Surprise! ;0)

 

Hear those voices of happy kids?  Those are  Teacher Ann Marie Corgill's  first graders from Shades Mountain Elementary in Hoover, joining the LBH Birthday Party at The Poem Farm with Amy.  You'll also find Amy's Poetry Month project poem for today, which is something like a simile. ;0)

 

*Next Up:  The Early Birds:*

 

Our bella Renée is wishing Lee Happy Birthday via Facecbook.  At No Water River, she continues her Community Collections series for Poetry Month with Elizabeth Acevedo, renowned slam poet, presenter, educator, and verse novelist – powerful poetry!


It's almost a book birthday, too – Tabatha Yeatts's Mistakes Anthology is about to make its way in the world!  At the Team Imperfect book blog today, she's got mini mistake poem riddles by Molly Hogan.  These would be great to share with kids!

 

Craving more of that?  At The Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha is sharing more mini mistake-maker riddles ("Thieves, Fairies and Hearts") and birthday wishes for Lee!

  

Greg Pincus is in the party spirit, sharing a seasonally appropriate poem from Lee that he first featured several years ago at Gottabook.  

 

You can't have a party without Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy, and she sends colorful art and Joy-ful poetic greetings for Lee from her Hawaiin islands. (Is that a ukulele I hear?)

 

At There is no such thing as A God-forsaken town, Ruth continues the celebration with some of Lee's own words about his work life.  She also has a poem by Tony Hoagland that is guaranteed to stretch your poetic senses. 

 

Drift on over the The Drift Record, where Julie has some appreciative words for Lee along with one of his poems, and a shout-out for one of his next books! 

 

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading shares a student experience and a golden shovel poem about conquering a math problem, along with birthday wishes. 

 

Molly Hogan is out and about looking for Spring, taking gorgeous photos and documenting the outdoors in poetry.  She shares Lee's "Spring" poem, too!

 

At My Juicy Little Universe, Heidi takes us back to 2009, and the poem she read when Lee received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.  Meander through her "Stanza Means Room" and enjoy a poetic house that grows sturdier with time.

 

Irene continues her ARTSPEAK series featuring Harlem Renaissance personalities, with a poem for today written specifically for Lee, "The Birthday Birds of Bonaventure Island." 

 

At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret celebrates Lee and World Make Way, with an original poem, "Coming home," inspired by her father's artwork.  It includes a line from "Early Evening" by Charles Ghigna.   

 

The ever-enchanting Jan at Bookseed Studio has a post that – well, the whole thing is just a work of poetic art.  Enjoy her singular way of telling a touch of Lee's story with love and panache. Lee makes the world "a whole lot brighter," and Jan does too. 

 

I double-dog dare you to get through Christie's post at Wondering and Wondering without smiling.  She's got Lee's "Under the Microscope" as inspiration for her response poem, "Under Our Stereoscope."  She's got kindergarteners!  Fairy shrimp!  And more!  The perfect birthday tribute.

 

At Wild Rose Reader,  Elaine has two poems about nighttime – one which made it into her new book, THINGS TO DO, and one which didn't.  Which one do you like best?  Either would be good inspiration for our current Kidlit Progressive Poem! She has birthday wishes for Lee, too.

 

Head over to Poetry for Children for three perfect quotes from Lee in Sylvia's Poetry Quote-a-thon series this month.  Hear, hear! 

 

Kay at A Journey Through the Pages lets us follow along on a poetic journey through her recent family vacation!  Your heart rate will slow to a smooth, steady beat reading her poem.  (And then will perk up again with birthday wishes for Lee.) 

 

Over in her Corner, Carol has created a poem inspired by Lee's "Storyteller (For Augusta Baker) from Jumping Off Library Shelves.    A tribute tucked into a tribute!

 

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect shares the ways her path has crossed with Lee's, in the classroom and beyond, and she offers a poem in his honor.  

 

At Bildungsroman, Little Willow offers up a deliciously dark poem today, "Dark Matter and Dark Energy " by Alicia Ostriker. Thanks for joining in!

 

Lisa at Steps and Staircases has some Spring-inspired paint chip poetry to celebrate Lee today.  What colorful fun! 

 

JoAnn Early Macken has a fun poem about "poetic license"  to share for Lee and all of us today.  She's also got a drawing every day this month for copies of her book, Write a Poem Step by Step.  Teachers, get thee hence! 

 

--Noon Whistle!  I must get myself hence to my Studio to open for the afternoon.  I'll be back later to Round up Afternoon post-ers.--

 

*...And now, Happy Hour:*

 

At Evolving English Teacher, Poetry Friday newcomer Glenda shares a terrific golden shovel using a line from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, in which she contemplates her long teaching career.  Many will relate to "I Have Seen Myself in Prufrock." Welcome and thanks for sharing, Glenda!

 

Welcome to Cheriee, too, who has also been posting poems each day this month at Library Matters.  Sometimes that can be a challenge, as she explores with a big dash of humor in "Another Poem." 

 

*And, Last Call...*

 

At Merely Day by Day, Cathy chimes in with wishes for Lee and a poem about black pants!

63 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Lee Bennett Hopkins and SCHOOL PEOPLE Giveaway!





Is your monitor shaking, or your phone screen, maybe? I’m so excited about this week’s post, I might be jumping up and down a little….


Lee Bennett Hopkins is here!

If you’re a Poetry Friday regular, you know that Lee Bennett Hopkins is a singular force in the world of children’s poetry, holding the Guiness World Record for number of poetry anthologies for children published.

He has received countless awards for his own writing and his collections, including the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, the Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the Christopher Award, and the distinction last year of being inducted into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame, among others. (Read more about Lee here.)

Today he shares a behind-the-scenes look at his newest anthology, SCHOOL PEOPLE, to be released Feb. 13 from Wordsong, the poetry imprint of Boyds Mills Press (so you know it’s first-class).

From the publisher’s description:


…this collection of poems paired with imaginative artwork introduces readers to the important grown-ups they’ll meet at school. From the school’s own story, written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, to J. Patrick Lewis’s “Principal,” to Alma Flor Ada’s "Spanish Teacher," each poem features the women and men who inspire, encourage, and help children in their own unique ways.


The small format of photos allowed on my blog don’t do justice to the vibrant illustrations by Ellen Shi, but you can get an idea. The publisher kindly shared a couple of interior spreads – “Librarian” by Lee himself, and my own poem, “Lunch Lady.”





LIBRARIAN

He opened the door.
As we walked in
he said,
“Look!
It’s all about books.
And books are you!

Books will lead you
anywhere
everywhere –
to magical places
to meet new faces.”

He opened
one single door
yet he
led us down
pathways
we never
could ever
have traveled
before.


©Lee Bennett Hopkins. All Rights Reserved.



LUNCH LADY

Long before lunchtime
Ms. Bailey keeps busy
stacking towers of trays,
filling the salad bar,
sliding steaming pans
into place.

We swarm the cafeteria.
“Here you go, Honey,” she says,
handing each of us a full plate.

Long after lunchtime,
Ms. Bailey scrubs everything clean,
hangs the last heavy pan.

She rubs her neck,
wipes her forehead,
and changes the menu sign –
for us,
for tomorrow.


©Robyn Hood Black. All Rights Reserved.


How did this collection come to be? Lee generously agreed to share his thoughts.

--How did the idea for SCHOOL PEOPLE come about? (And how long has it been in the making?)

I began my career as a sixth-grade teacher in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in 1960 at the age of 22, fresh out of college. I taught sixth grade for three years before becoming a Resource Teacher in the same school working with grades K-6.

So – after almost six decades later the idea of a SCHOOL and its PEOPLE pops up. One never knows what memory will uncover. Such an obvious topic.


--Each of your anthologies has a distinct personality – some magic you make out of many different contributing voices. How would you describe SCHOOL PEOPLE?

Yes, each anthology does have a distinct personality. When creating an anthology my mind completely focuses on the topic whether it is a collection as difficult as the recent TRAVELNG THE BLUE ROAD: POEMS OF THE SEA (Seagrass Dreams/Quarto) for Young Adults, or SCHOOL PEOPLE for younger readers. I assign topics to various poets who work with me – a wondrous group of dedicated writers. My role is to put the entire collection into focus before it reaches an editor’s desk. The process of producing an anthology can take years.

--This book should lend itself to all kinds of interactions. How do you envision teachers might use it in the classroom or media center?

There are so many ways to use this book in schools. I envision an assembly program where various school people are invited to sit on stage, introduced as each child reads or performs a poem about them…from the principal to the custodian. Or as a weekly, monthly tribute to each of the people represented.

It can also be used to show appreciation of the work each person does to make a school a whole.
I would encourage young writers to choose one or more of their favorite school people to write about.

SCHOOL PEOPLE is also a nice gift to give to various school personnel. How often does a Custodian or a Crossing Guard get acknowledged?


--How do you hope students will respond to the collection?

Hopefully children might see the diversity of people within a school building - for example, a female coach, a male librarian. Also I hope they will experience empathy for individuals – the Bus Driver with ‘that smiling face’ to bring a child home again, the Lunch Lady who works hard and long hours, the Custodian who is “caring, helpful, smart, and kind,” the Nurse who is there “like the heart in my body/like the moon in the sky.”

--The 15 poems come to life in Ellen Shi’s colorful digital illustrations. Any thoughts about how the text and art work together here?

Shi captures so many different moments via her art depicting emotions that are part of every person involved with children. That caring Principal who could ‘teach a bully/how to be humble”, the Librarian who “opened one single door/yet he/led us down/pathways/we never/could ever/have traveled before.” Each double-page spread has a lot of offer, to linger with.

--Do you have a special memory you’d like to share about a teacher or staff member from your own school days?

It was my eighth-grade teacher, Mrs. Ethel Kite McLaughlin, who saw something in the mixed-up child I was due to growing up in a dysfunctional family. She was the one who turned my life around. Being with her in a self-contained classroom environment for a year convinced me that I, too, would become a teacher…like her. And I did! Without her guidance I don’t know where life would have taken me. One teacher. One voice. As Joan Bransfield Graham writes in “Teacher” – “You stretch my world much wider…I feel I, too, can fly.” Mrs. McLaughlin did indeed stretch my world. Oh, how she helped me to fly!

--I think most would agree you absolutely SOAR. Thank you so much for joining us today!

Thank you, Robyn, for your forever poetry enthusiasm! Hugs.


Other familiar Poetry Friday faces with work in this collection include Matt Forrest Essenwine, Michele Krueger, , Irene Latham, Charles Ghigna, Renée LaTulippe, and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. And other familiar POETRY faces include Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Ann Whitford Paul, J. Patrick Lewis, Joan Bransfield Graham, Alma Flor Ada, and Darren Sardelli. (So honored to share book pages with these fine poet-folk!)

But wait – there’s MORE. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press will send a copy of SCHOOL PEOPLE to a lucky reader! Just leave a comment below by Wed., Feb. 21, and you’ll be entered in the drawing. (Be sure the hidden email associated with your comment is a good way to contact you later for a snail mail address, just in case today’s your lucky day.) I’ll be out of pocket next Friday, but back to announce the randomly-selected winner on Friday, Feb. 23.

Sally Murphy has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week – hop, skip, or jump on over (under?) to beautiful Australia for more poetry surprises.
 Read More 
37 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - TRAVELING THE BLUE ROAD with Lee Bennett Hopkins, Margarita Engle, & Others...


I’m up to my knees in ancestral sleuthing lately, as mentioned in last week’s post. Copying what I’ve seen on other Ancestry.com family trees, I’ve been slowly adding sailing ship profile pictures to folks I can identify as immigrants in my own tree.

Our stories are borne upon waves.

TRAVELING THE Blue Road: POEMS OF THE SEA (Seagrass Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group, 2017) is a recent and breathtaking collection by Lee Bennett Hopkins, featuring works by a dozen of today’s most stellar poets and mesmerizing illustrations by Bob Hansman and Jovan Hansman.

First, the visual.

The violet- and indigo-hued cover is gorgeous, with its subtly-rendered small boat silhouette sailing along a horizon line of water above the title, against a backdrop of what I perceive as bubbly stars. Spot gloss on the boat and text adds to the appeal.

A variety of media is used in illustrations throughout the book, including pastels, charcoal, Conte crayons, cut paper and markers. An endnote about the artwork says, The images evolved over the course of the book, beginning with an entirely “archival” image, gradually blending archival images with drawn images, and ending with entirely drawn images. Even the art, which undulates between ethereal and gritty, is a journey.

The personal and creative story of father-son art team Bob Hansman and Jovan Hansman is amazing – Click here for a 2014 feature in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

There is also a note about the various type fonts employed. (This causes shallow breathing in a lettering & type nerd such as yours truly.) I learned a thing or two, and I so appreciate the care taken with this aspect of the book. Exquisite.

Then – the words.

      Wistful with wind and North Star,
      the sea sailed steamships, …


I fell overboard immediately with those opening lines from Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s Forward poem, “SEA.”

Readers embark on a journey through centuries, from Columbus’s 1492 voyage and The Mayflower in 1620 through The Middle Passage and desperate travels during the Irish Potato Famine, World War II, and the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis, among others.

Here is a poem toward the end of the book from Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle, about the Mariel Boat Lift in Cuba, which took place over six months in 1980:


      CARRIED ON SWAYING WAVES OF HOPE


      Adiós, Mariel, crowded port
      where boats swoop like seabirds,
      each vessel filled up with people
      who dream of seeing primos, tíos y amigos
      on the far shore
      in La Florida,
      where we will soon
      celebrate a fiesta
      with plenty to eat
      and freedom to speak
      of our past, present, future

      as families
      reunited…

      but still divided.

      Adiós, Abuelita, adiós.
      Will I ever see my grandma
      again?



©Margarita Engle. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


Other contributing poets include Paul B. Janeczko, J. Patrick Lewis, Allan Wolf, Marilyn Nelson, Denver Butson, Georgia Heard, Jane Yolen, Naomi Shihab Nye, G. Neri, and Lee Bennett Hopkins.

The oceans portrayed in this collection are weighty, powerful, full of both promise and threat, as described within the final poem by Lee Bennett Hopkins:


      seas seas smooth seas unfathomable seas titan seas …


After the poetry, brief, thoughtful notes explain the historical context of each poem and the dates of the events they describe. The collection targets ages 8 and up. It has been named a 2018 Notable Poetry Book for Children by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). (Congratulations, all!) Read more, including some stunning reviews, at the publisher’s website here .

What was it like putting together such a challenging collection? Lee Bennett Hopkins shares these thoughts:

      Compiling this anthology was an emotional experience for me. Each poet worked endlessly on each poem. We went back and forth to consider various points of view, honing not only lines and words but syllables! I wanted the poems to read like the waves of the ocean ... calling us, hugging us, showing its strength, power and what it had done, does, and will continue to do forever.

The imagery evoked gave me goose bumps: "Wistful with wind"; "fearless faith'; "facing the blue unknown"; 'the sea was never mine to see". Only poets can do this with language. They capture the sweeping, swooping, clinging, breathing sea.

I am indebted to know these marvelous talents. Ah, poetry. Ah, Poets.


(You caught that, right? The honing not only of lines and words, but syllables? That's why anthologies with Lee Bennett Hopkins's name on the spine are worthy of the accolades received, and then some!)

One final note: So delighted that Lee dedicated this book to Judith Mandell and Stephanie Salkin, whose persistence and organization of many moving parts supported Lee’s induction into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame last February, which I got to see with my own eyes. (A trip on land I’ll always treasure!)

Many thanks to Margarita Engle for sharing her poem here this week, and to Lee Bennett Hopkins for this brilliant collection, another wondrous and important addition to the bookshelf.

Speaking of journeys, for more fine poetry, steer your ship toward A Journey Through the Pages, where our good Captain Kay is rounding up Poetry Friday this week.
 Read More 
31 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - A Florida Orange Juice Toast to Lee Bennett Hopkins!


Today’s brief post is a combination of Throwback Thursday (see the pic) and I-Can’t-Wait-Til-Next-Thursday (read on for that!).

The “throwback” part is that nearly 10 years ago (gulp!), I finally got to meet Lee Bennett Hopkins in person, at the SCBWI Conference in LA, where I had gone to take his Poetry Master Class. He hasn’t changed a bit – I’ve seen pictures and Renée’s NCTE Poet Award interviews - while I’m edging my way along the road from Long-ago Maiden toward Crone. (And that’s fine with me – I don’t worry what anybody thinks of me these days, and more creative time DOES open up after years in the carpool lines.) ;0)

The “can’t wait” part is that next week, I’m driving a wee bit down the coast and taking a right turn past the Florida line toward Gainesville, to go watch Lee be inducted into the Florida Arts Hall of Fame. I was honored, along with many others including some fellow Poetry Friday-ers, to write a nominating letter on his behalf and to include accolades from several Star-Power poets and others supporting Lee’s recognition. [Hats off to poet friends Stephanie Salkin and Jude Mandell, who guided us through the process. ]

Lee’s receiving this honor is especially meaningful to me, because I grew up in Florida. My folks are still there, and I have family members tucked in among the orange trees all around Central Florida from Orlando to the Gulf coast. I always carry a bit of The Sunshine State with me, and visit when I can. The Hall of Fame recognition is the highest honor given by the state to artists in a variety of fields, and the list of recipients includes Ray Charles, Tennessee Williams, and Ernest Hemingway, among others.

THREE CHEERS to Lee on this wonderful honor, which will have good company with all the red-carpet-worthy awards he’s won over the years. I’ve been blessed to know Lee as someone whose work I’ve admired beyond words, and who, as a mentor & editor, has pushed me into writing stronger poetry. Next week I’ll be a fan, a friend, and something akin to a fellow-Floridian, cheering from his corner.

In Georgia Heard’s THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK, A Book of FOUND POEMS (Roaring Brook), my own poetry first shared pages with poems by some of my poetic heroes. Here is the beginning of Lee’s poem, “First Wins” (from selected words in a SPRINT newspaper advertisement):

FIRST leads.

FIRST moves us forward.

FIRST kicks open the door.

FIRST takes us places
            we’ve never been
            before. …


©2012 by Lee Bennett Hopkins.


I think we could say,

LEE leads.

LEE moves us forward.

LEE kicks open the door.

LEE takes us places
            we’ve never been
            before. …
!


And, I'm grateful.

[I’ll be on the road back home next Poetry Friday, so you can enjoy this post for two weeks. ;0) ]

For today’s inspiring Roundup, please visit poet and librarian extraordinaire Jone at Check It Out.
 Read More 
37 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday: Of Mice and Chihuahuas - and Rebecca Kai Dotlich


Just over three years ago, we rescued a three-pound Chihuahua. (Okay, I rescued a three-pound Chihuahua when something tiny ran in front of my car on a busy road. “You’re not even a real dog!” I said, dodging traffic.) Less than a year old, no tags or microchip, and though she’d been loved by somebody, we were unable to find an owner. So she joined the family, and son Seth named her Rita.

We’ve never been “tiny dog” people, but I have to say, this one steals everybody’s heart. More than one vet tech has marveled that she’s a nice Chihuahua.

She’s also entertaining. Her latest antics involve stalking mice below the house from the comfort of indoors. Our small coastal cottage was built on slanted ground with pillars in the back. Boards run from the ground to the bottom all around, but there is open space between them. You can open a gate and walk on dirt underneath the back part of the house. With insulation tucked beneath the floor, it’s evidently an inviting space for little critters to make themselves at home. (Hubby was down there this week, and one of said little critters dropped down as he was tacking up insulation – not sure which one was more surprised! At least it was small.)

From inside the house, Rita has set up a couple of monitoring stations. One is below the dining room hutch. She can fit inside the space between its carved legs. She’ll sniff and then sit on high alert, head cocked and ears up, for quite a while. Then she’ll run around to the rug in the kitchen and adopt the same stance. Wonder what she’s listening to? I’ll ask her, “Rita – where are your mice?”

All this puts me in a mind to share Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s beautiful poem, “Winter Home.” It’s from one of my favorite collections of all time, Sharing the Seasons (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010) by the incomparable Lee Bennett Hopkins . The rich illustrations by David Diaz are pure magic.

Enjoy!


Winter Home

by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

We build our beds
inside this barn,
with shreds of cloth,
old rags, twine. A room
where we can winter-dine
to chime of ice, by windows full
of snowflake art. With dreams of crumb,
cracker, tart, inside this old
wind-whistling place, this cold
and tiny mousekin space,
we cuddle to chase
the chill away,
imagining an April day.



©Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Used with permission.


Savor this poem – it’s one to read again; you’re sure to catch some new poetic treasure the second (or third!) time. So many luscious words/turns of phrase - do you have a favorite?

I wonder if these mice are distant cousins to the ones who usher us into and out of Jumping Off Library Shelves (Wordsong, September 2015)? :0)

RKD fans, take note: If you haven’t seen her oh-so-clever One Day, The End.: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories (Boyds Mills Press, October 2015) illustrated by Fred Koehler, you’re in for a treat. Keep your antennae out next month for another Boyds Mills title by Rebecca, The Knowing Book, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek of this one, and it’s going to be on my gift-giving list for all kinds of occasions. (“This picture book encourages readers to make the most of their lives….” School Library Journal).

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing the perfect Winter poem today, and to all the wee critters that enrich our lives.

Keep celebrating a new year of poetry with our wonderful Tabatha, rounding up at The Opposite of Indifference today. Stay warm and cozy!
 Read More 
25 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday: Lee Bennett Hopkins is Here with LULLABY...!


Shhhh.... Don't wake the ba- ... Oh, never mind. The baby's awake! And ready to enjoy wonderful poetry from the incomparable Lee Bennett Hopkins!

Before we dive into poetry for the very youngest listeners, let's congratulate Lee on some big news. You likely know of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award. This week, it was announced that The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Lee have joined forces to establish the SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, which "recognizes and encourages the publication of an excellent book of poetry or anthology for children and/or young adults." This award will given every three years. [Click here here for the Publishers Weekly article, and here for the SCBWI award page with details. ]

Our guest of honor today is no stranger to awards - among his many honors are the NCTE National Council of Teachers of English Excellence in Poetry for Children (2009), the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for “outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature” (1989); and recognition by the Guinness Book of World Records as "the most prolific anthologist of poetry for children" (2011).

With more than a hundred books under his belt, including original works as well as collections he's carefully compiled and brought to life, Lee is simply a force for children's poetry like no other. The countless (who could count them?!) children who have entered the magical world of poetry because of his work might not know of the accolades behind a poetry book held in their hands, or one read to them. But Lee knows these children. He knows the power of poetry for one child.

Warmest Greetings, Lee – Poetry Friday folks are always thrilled when you join us! I’m also thrilled to share your thoughts about your new collection of poems to be released from Abrams next week (Tuesday, March 3). It’s for the very youngest readers and listeners, LULLABY & KISSES SWEET – Poems to Love with your Baby. What inspired you to create a book of poems for babies?

I have been at work compiling LULLABY & KISSES SWEET for a long time. I feel it is of the utmost importance that babies are exposed to oral language, hearing words, knowing books, as early as being in the womb! The sooner we get our children to read, to appreciate words, the faster they will become lifelong readers.

And what could be more important than instilling children with the music of poetry?


Why is it important to expose babies and toddlers to rhymes and verse?

Hearing rhymes and verse opens children to experience the world around them. I chose topics for LULLABY… that are both universal and an integral part of growing up… Family, Food, Firsts, Play and Bedtime.

What could be more enjoyable than reading a poem about something that is a new childhood experience – a first tooth coming in, riding a tricycle for the first time, or having a teddy bear tucked near one’s head at bedtime? Experiences to cherish, to share, via verse.


From your perspective as a poet – what are the challenges of writing for this very youngest of ages?

Poems written for LULLABY… were not only challenging to compose but tricky to create. Since this was being produced as an oversized board book no poem could be more than eight lines long, all had to rhyme, and each poet was assigned to a specific subject. The poets and I worked back and forth, sometimes altering many, many drafts before the verse was right for this collection. Oh, how I admire the tenacity of poets.

Compared to over l00 anthologies I have compiled for children and young adults, LULLABY… was a constant, ongoing challenge.


Tell us about the title of the book; it’s just delicious.

The title comes from the first line in Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s poem “Sandman”. Rebecca told me she made up this poem as a song and sang it bedside to her young nephew when he had just moved and was homesick the fist night. From that time on he knew the verse by heart, as did the entire family. Rebecca’s mother begged her for years to publish the poem. Finally, she will get to see it come to life on the page – a gift Rebecca so wanted to give to her aging mother. I am so happy I could fulfill a few dreams. “Sandman” though only four lines long is filled with a lifetime of memories, generations of ‘kisses sweet ’now published for forthcoming generations to read, read aloud, and share.

Alyssa Nassner's illustrations are so fresh and lively. How would you describe the way pictures and text work together in this project?

Alyssa’s artwork is perfect for this collection. The varied anthropomorphic full-color drawings are perfect for this age level.

What child (or adult) wouldn’t fall in love with kittens, bears, lions, or a bunny with pink ears playing in a sandbox?


This is a case-bound board book (perfect for gift-giving, folks!). Was it important to you that the collection be sturdy enough for babies to handle themselves, not just listen to? How do you hope this special audience interacts with this poetry?

It was my brilliant editor, Tamar Brazis at Abrams, who led this project on to become a board book. And it is one of the biggest board books I’ve seen in a very long time – 30 poems each getting their own page.

On an end note I thank you, Robyn, for the amount of time and work you put into your poem, “Milk” in the Food section. Writing a gem featuring a baby, a grandmother, a father and a sippy cup is no small feat. And in five-lines you managed to bring in so much familial love. Wow!

LULLABY… is subtitled: “Poems to Love with your Baby”. Each poet’s words resonate with the concept – love.


Many thanks for joining us today, Lee (and for those blush-worthy kind words). Your gifts to readers of all ages know no bounds.

Let's close with a few poems from the book, shall we?

The spread pictured above features these two terrific poems in the "Play" section.

Sandbox

by Stephanie Salkin

Sand on my fingers, on my toes,
Sand on my chin, my ears, my nose,
Sand on my elbows, neck, and knees.
Take me out of this sandbox -

Please?


©2015 by Stephanie Salkin. Used by permission.



My Tricycle

by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

How many seats? One.
How many pedals? Two.
How many wheels?
One, two, three.

I am riding by myself.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


©2015 by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Used by permission.

[Many thanks to Stephanie and Amy for sharing these fine poems.]

What? All that playing has made you sleepy? I have just the thing. Among many lovely poems in the "Bedtime" section is one of Lee's own:

Read to Me

by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Read to me.
Read to me.

Read to me - then -
read to me
read to me
again and again.


©2015 by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Used by permission.

There now, didn't that make you... what's that? You want to hear it again!

Read these poems and more - again and again! - this coming Tuesday, when LULLABY AND KISSES SWEET is officially launched from Abrams.

To tide you over til then, please visit My Juicy Little Universe, where the lovely Heidi is marching forward to round up Poetry Friday today.
 Read More 
36 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday: LULLABY AND KISSES SWEET Pre-Preview...

Poem ©Robyn Hood Black; Illustration ©Alyssa Nassner. All rights reserved.

Greetings! Unless you are checking in today from the Western edges of the US (or another country), you are likely tapping a keyboard with fingerless gloves and peering out from under a toboggan! I hope you have a cuppa something warm close by.

NEXT week, our special guest here at Life on the Deckle Edge will be...
(drumroll, please.......)

LEE BENNETT HOPKINS!

Lee will kindly drop by to share a peek behind the scenes of his brand-new poetry collection, LULLABY AND KISSES SWEET - Poems to Love with your Baby, illustrated by Alyssa Nassner. The official release date is March 3, from Abrams Appleseed. The casebound board book features 30 original poems from 27 poets. [I'm beyond delighted to be one (!), along with other familiar faces from our Poetry Friday community.]

No spoilers - we'll dive in deeply next week. In the meantime, I'm grateful to share my poem above, featured in the section, "Food."

                    Milk

      by Robyn Hood Black

    Grandma holds my sippy cup.

        Daddy helps me pour.

    I love my milk each morning

                      But

        I love them even more.



©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


[Can't wait for next Friday? Click here here for the Publishers Weekly review.]

Raising a cup of steaming coffee - no, Milk! - to the warm and wonderful Linda at Teacher Dance as she rounds up Poetry Friday this week. Stay cozy! And see you here next week....
 Read More 
34 Comments
Post a comment