Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GOING ROGUE: A Poem about Sarah Palin & Her Book

I just posted a brand new Palinoem over at Political Verses--GOING ROGUE: A Poem about Sarah Palin & Her Book.

Cybils 2009 & Children's Poetry Books

The Cybils 2009 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards will be up and running tomorrow. Nominations will be open to the public from October 1-15. You may nominate books in nine different categories:

NOTE: Any book published between last year’s contest and this year’s is eligible.

For More Information:

I’ll be serving as a second round judge on the Poetry Panel this year.

FYI: Some excellent children’s poetry books have been published in 2009. I have written reviews of nine of them. Here are links to the poetry book reviews I’ve posted to date this year at Wild Rose Reader:

Stay Tuned: On Friday, I’ll be posting a review of a wonderful book of mask poems—Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes by Alice Schertle.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Maurice Sendak & Where the Wild Things: Article & Movie Trailer

From The Psychologist
Volume22 - Part 10 – (October 2009)

Eye on Fiction—Where the wild things are
Richard Gottlieb analyses Maurice Sendak’s fascinating 1963 picture book, on the eve of its cinematic release

Click here for the pdf version of the article mentioned above.

Where The Wild Things Are Trailer

Onward to a Teacher's Life: A Poem Written in the Style of Peggy Noonan

I have a new post and an original poem over at Political Verses--Onward to a Teacher's Life: A Poem Written in the Style of Peggy Noonan.

2009 Cybils Poetry Panel Announced!

I’m going to be involved with the Cybils Poetry Panel once again. This year, I’ll be serving as a judge in Round II rather than as a member of the nominating panel in Round I. I’m excited! I’ll be in the company of some wonderful kidlit bloggers.

Some excellent children’s poetry books have been published in the past year. I think the nominating panel is going to have a wonderful time reading and evaluating them.

The 2009 Cybils Poetry Panel
Panel Organizer: Kelly Fineman, Writing and Ruminating

Panelists (Round I Judges):

Bruce Black, Wordswimmer

Kristy Dempsey, Reverie--Abstract Musings on a Hopeful Life

Kelly Fineman (Panel Organizer)

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, The Miss Rumphius Effect

Sylvia Vardell, Poetry for Children

Judges (Round II):

Sara Lewis Holmes, Read Write Believe

Elaine Magliaro, Wild Rose Reader

Greg Pincus, GottaBook

Jama Rattigan, Alphabet Soup

Stacey Shubitz, Two Writing Teachers

Saturday, September 26, 2009

2009 NCTE Annual Convention

Is there anyone out there who is going to attend the 2009 NCTE Annual Convention (November 19-22, 2009) in Philadelphia? I've already registered! I really want to be there when Lee Bennett Hopkins receives the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children at the Books for Children’s Luncheon scheduled for November 21st. There’s also going to be a Poetry Party for Lee on the morning of Friday, November 20th. A panel of poets mentored by Hopkins will join in a celebration of Lee’s life, work, and poetry at the party. Here are the names of some of the children’s poets who will be there: Janet Wong, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, J. Patrick Lewis, Walter Dean Myers, Jane Yolen, and Georgia Heard. It doesn’t get much better than that—does it?

Come join me in Philadelphia to help celebrate the life and work of Lee Bennett Hopkins, children’s poet and anthologist extraordinaire. Let me know if you’re planning to attend.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Poem for Banned Books Week

How many of you still remember the “Great Scrotum Debate” of 2007 that took place after The Higher Power of Lucky won the Newbery Award? I thought about it yesterday as I was compiling a list of links for Banned Books Week 2009. I thought I’d post a revised version of Book Talk 2007: A Poem, which I wrote when there was a lot of discussion going on in the kidlitosphere about Susan Patron’s book and about the censorship/banning of children’s books. BTW, I’ve left off the final couplet that was included in the original poem: Who’s got a solution antidotal/For the current row o’er something scrotal?.

Here’s my contribution to Poetry Friday—a poem for Banned Books Week (September 26-October 3, 2009).

Book Talk
by Elaine Magliaro

Dressed in uniforms of blue,

The word police arrived at two.

With laser eyes, they scanned our pages

And locked our naughty words in cages.

Then up we cried: “You’ve taken text!

Will you remove our pictures next?”

“Your pictures?” one policeman said.

“We only take the stuff that’s read.

Your naughty words must be excised.

Let all your authors be advised

To watch their words when they compose

Their poetry…and all their prose.”

Warning given…the men in blue

Then turned to leave. They bid adieu.

We books now left with words deleted

Feel somehow, sadly, incompleted.

Now…don’t go and read any banned books!


At Blue Rose Girls I have a poem by Elaine Equi entitled Ciao Bella Chocolate Sorbet.

At Political Verses, I have Dirty Dancing with the Stars: A Poem about Tom DeLay.

Susan Taylor Brown is doing the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Banned Books Week 2009

From ALA—Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read (September 26-October 3, 2009)
From ALA—About Banned & Challenged Books
From OIF (ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom) Blog—Banned Books Week Video: Puppet Book Banners
From ALA—Banned and Challenged Classics
From ALA—Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century
From School Library Journal—Celebrate Banned Books Week, September 26–October 3
From Random House—Censorship Causes Blindness Poster
From Random House—First Amendment First-Aid Kit
From the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign—Challenged Children’s Books
From the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression—Banned Books Week Handbook Online: The Stories Behind Some of This Year’s Book Bans and Challenges

Dirty Dancing with the Stars: A Poem about Tom DeLay

I haven't been writing many original poems for my blog Political Verses lately. Thanks to Tom DeLay, I was inspired to write a silly little verse this week. Here's the poem I posted today: Dirty Dancing with the Stars: A Poem about Tom DeLay.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall-Themed Picture Books & Poetry

Picture Book Lists & Book Reviews
Just Fall Picture Books from Your Friendly Librarian (9/11/09)
Autumn Days from Through the Looking Glass Book Review
Autumn Books for Children from Johnson County Library, Kansas
Fall into Autumn from McNally Robinson Booksellers
Harvest Mood by Lee Bock (School Library Journal, 10/1/2008)
Fall Recommended Reading-Kids Books for Autumn (Apples 4 the Teacher)
Autumn Celebrations: Recommended Books for Fall (The Holiday Zone)
Thematic Book List--Fall (The Miss Rumphius Effect, 10/25/2007)
Change Is in the Air (Reading Rockets)
Autumn Book Bunch: Leaves, Leaves, Leaves! from Wild Rose Reader(9/29/08)
Look What I Did with a Leaf! from Wild Rose Reader(9/22/08)
Fall into Poetry from Wild Rose Reader (9/19/08)

Autumn Poetry from Wild Rose Reader
Poetry Friday: Autumn Acrostics
MAPLE: An Autumn Acrostic
Poetry Friday: An Autumn List Poem
Poetry Friday: Autumn Leaves
Poetry Friday: Autumn Fires
LUNES (Includes a quartet of lunes about September)

Autumn Crafts and Activities
Fall Crafts, Decorations, and Printouts from Enchanted Learning
Autumn Lesson Plans and Ideas from Scholastic
Autumn Leaf Crafts & Activities from Wild Rose Reader (9/25/08)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blogging My Poetry

When I began blogging at Wild Rose Reader in April of 2007, there was something I had to seriously consider: Would it be wise to post my original unpublished poems here? At the time, I remember other writers who blog discussing the subject of putting our work “out there” without getting paid for it. Some thought it would be unwise. Even though I wasn't sure it was the smartest thing to do—I decided to post dozens of my original poems at Wild Rose Reader anyway.

Of the original poems I’ve posted here:
  • Some were written for Tricia’s weekly Poetry Stretches at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
  • Some were written specifically for posting at Wild Rose Reader.
  • Some were written for poetry collections that still remain unpublished.

I asked myself: Would any editors be interested in publishing a poetry collection I had written if some of its poems had already been posted on my blog? Would any anthologist/publisher ever pay me for permission to use any of these poems in anthologies?

I can answer the second question in the affirmative. Earlier this year, a poet/anthologist in the UK asked permission to use a poem I had posted in 2007 at Wild Rose Reader in an anthology that he's compiling. The poem will be included in the book My Cat Is in Love with the Goldfish and Other Loopy Love Poems. The book will be released next February. I also received a request from a well-known poet/anthologist in the United States in August. The anthologist asked if he could use two of my poems in a special project that is being published in conjunction with The Academy of American Poets. Hooray!!!

Once I started posting my original work at Wild Rose Reader I never looked back. I love writing poetry. I enjoy sharing my poetry with kidlit bloggers, poets, writers, teachers, and other visitors who stop by to read it. I like reading the comments people leave for me. After all, I write because I want to share my creative thoughts with others—and once in a while, it actually pays off!


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by Alexandra Teague titled Language Lessons.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Becky’s Book Reviews.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Cybils 2009 & Wikipedia

It’s coming up on that time of year again. I’m not talking about the end of summer/beginning of fall--I’m talking about the Cybils.

FYI: Nominations for the new 2009 season will open on October 1st. Here’s some news from The Cybils website: The word is spreading, and thanks to everyone who's made the Cybils such a well-organized and respected endeavor over the past three years, we're now officially a fixture on Wikipedia! That's right, the Cybils has a Wikipedia entry , complete with lists of award winners, a little history, and everything else the world needs to know about us.

Read the rest of The Cybils are Wiki-Fabulous here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Small Graces September Auction Is On!!!

Announcement from The Foundation for Children’s Books

This month Small Graces: A Painting a Month to Benefit the FCB features another fabulous painting by the talented and generous author/illustrator Grace Lin. This is the 9th painting to be auctioned on eBay as a benefit for our programs in under-served schools.

Here's how it works: Every month a small (5x5 inch), unpublished, original painting will be auctioned on eBay with 100% of the proceeds to support the FCB's author/illustrator visits and residencies in urban schools. Each painting will illustrate a bit of wisdom, a proverb, a "small Grace."

This month's painting (below), painted in gouache on watercolor paper, is on auction beginning today, Monday, September 14 through Friday, September 18. To bid on this painting, click here for the e-bay listing. For those who find original art from children's books beyond their budget, this is a great way to buy affordable art! Please spread the word and bid!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creationists Work to Keep a Movie about Darwin from Being Screened in the US

First, some people do their best to censor books in school and public libraries—and now they’re working to keep Creation, a movie about Darwin, from being screened in the United States.

I’m a reader of Jonathan Turley’s blog. Turley is a professor of law at George Washington University and a constitutional scholar. I found the following post on his blog today—Movie Selection of the Fittest: Creationists Block Internationally Acclaimed Movie on Darwin From Being Shown in U.S.

Turley writes in his post: The film has been the target of creationists, who remind distributors that only 39 percent of Americans believe in evolution. Jeremy Thomas, the producer of Creation, notes “[t]he film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it’s because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.”

You can read the rest of Turley’s post here.

CREATION: Darwin Movie Trailer

And from Telegraph.CO.UK, 11 Sept. 2009:
Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'

A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.
However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

I find all this extremely troubling! How about you?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Poetry Friday Is Here!!!

I'm doing the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. Please leave the URL of your poetry post in the comments. I'll be updating and adding links throughout the day.

At Wild Rose Reader, I have Here I Am, an original poem I wrote in remembrance of Karla Kuskin, the award-winning children’s poet who passed away in August.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have two poems dedicated to the memory of Lindsey B., of one of my former students. I just learned on Wednesday that Lindsey had passed away at the age of thirty. The poems are Little Elegy by X. J. Kennedy and Child of a Day by Walter Savage Landor.

You’ll find a poem titled Heart on the Unemployment Line by Diane Lockward over at Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup. Jama highly recommends Diane’s book What Feeds Us.

Over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, Tricia has the poem The Weight of What Is Thrown by Joe Wenderoth—a new poet whose work she found on the Internet. Tricia also has this week’s Poetry Stretch Results - Poems of Work.

Diane Mayr gives us Across to Brooklyn, an original poem she wrote after 9/11 at Random Noodling.

Kelly Fineman has a video of actor Matthew MacFadyen performing William Carlos Williams’s poem This Is Just to Say.

Diane of The Write Sisters is sharing Still Here by Langston Hughes.

Curious Kitty gives us a quote by former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.

Nandini says she has a (rather rough ... apologies!) original about an old family pet—The Dog in the Rickshaw.

Sherry thought George Eliot's The Choir Invisible might be appropriate to post today in memory of 9/11.

PaperTigers is in with Sally's post about The Carnival of the Animals: Poems inspired by Saint-Saëns Music, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura.

Gregory K. of GottaBook says he’s up with an original (for writers... or illustrators (or editors and agents, probably) called This Morning I E-mailed My Manuscript Out.

Mary Lee of A Year of Reading explains that she and Franki have done a series of posts all week that celebrate teaching. Today she has a poem (song lyrics, really) celebrating the "uphill climb" of teaching.

This week, Laura Salas has some poems from School Supplies, an anthology compiled by lee Bennett Hopkins. Laura says she also has 15 Words or Less poems based on a ransom note image—and that everyone can come participate.

Carol is in with Lillian Morrison’s Holes, a poem she's posting in honor of her father.

Tanita S. Davis joins the poetry posters with a David Budbill poem titled Horses At Midnight Without A Moon.

Jules at 7-Imp has a review of Yona Zeldis McDonough's new picture book biography of Alcott, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen, at her Poetry Thursday and Friday post.

G. R. LeBlanc presents Unusual Shoelaces, a humorous poem by X. J. Kennedy.

Sara Lewis Holmes says that she tried April Halprin Wayland's lesson plan over at Teaching Authors today to write a poem about something she couldn't. It's here: Stop.

Author Amok has information about Poetry Out Loud—the national recitation competition for high schoolers. One of the poems on the performance list is Gertrude Stein's "Susie Asado," also up on her blog today.

Andrea of Just One More Book!! Podcast says that Mark and she are contributing an original Farewell poem she wrote titled A Capital Lament.


Karen Edmisten has a poem by Mary Oliver entitled Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the Next Days and Weeks to share with us this Friday.

At Write Time, Linda presents Splitting an Order, a poem that was written by one of her all-time favorite poets—Ted Kooser.

Little Willow joins the poetry crowd with September in Australia by Henry Clarence Kendall.

Shelf Elf selected Damselfly, Trout, Heron, a poem by John Engels on food chains, because she starts teaching Habitats to her class today.

At the Stone Arch Books blog, Library Bound, you’ll find Fairy Songs by Louisa May Alcott.

At In a heron’s Eye, Gavin shares Notes From A Marine Biologist’s Daughter, one of my favorite poems by Anne McCrary Sullivan, a poet who is a Florida Master Naturalist.

Today at TeachingAuthors, April Halprin Wayland commemorates Sept. 11 with a short poem. She also shares two other original poems, and a Writing Workout/Lesson Plan for writing about difficult topics. Check out the post—9-11 Lesson Plan: Stand on Your Head.

At The Stenhouse Blog this week you’ll find a poem by Lynda Hull: Insect Life in Florida.

Lee Wind has posted a poem that a fourteen-year-old poet sent him. Lee says that the young man’s heartbreaking and heart-healing poem stunned him with its honesty and wisdom.

At Here in the Bonny Glen, Melissa Wiley explains how a read-aloud of Winter Holiday took them to Tennyson's Locksley Hall yesterday.

Lorie Ann Grover is dealing with her daughter leaving for college. She shares her poem One Empty Mic at her blog On Point.

And at readertotz there’s a video of Shel Silverstein's Backward Bill in honor of the release of the special edition of The Light in the Attic!

Color Online is sharing a haiku from Sonia Sanchez.

Liz Scanlon has a poem by Marie Howe entitled Hurry at Liz in Ink.

Jone shares Library Lady, an original work poem that she wrote for Tricia’s Poetry Stretch this week at Check It Out.

Erin contributes an original poem called important repetition to the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Father Goose—aka Charles Ghigna—also presents an original poem. Its title is Butterflies of Fall.

Mary is sharing Nancy Willard’s Night Light over at vary the Line.

Anamaria at Bookstogether is joining in with a post about Awful Ogre Running Wild.

A Poem in Remembrance of Karla Kuskin

Karla Kuskin, one of my favorite children’s poets, passed away in August. I loved Karla’s poetry. Much of it was joyful and exuberant. It was poetry that truly spoke to children and about the world of childhood. My elementary students read and enjoyed and took pleasure in memorizing Karla Kuskin’s poetry.
I had the opportunity to hear Karla speak twice—the first time at the Boston Public Library when she gave the David McCord lecture more than twenty years ago and then again at a children’s literature conference at the University of Southern Maine. I could tell you more about Karla—but there’s no reason to because Sylvia Vardell has already posted a lovely tribute to Karla at her blog Poetry for Children: Remembering Karla Kuskin. I suggest you read it—if you haven’t already.
(Note: These are titles and first lines of some of Karla’s poems that my students and I loved best: A Bug Sat in a Silver Flower, Buggity Buggity Bug, I Woke Up This Morning, Rules, The Question, The Gold-Tinted Dragon, Where Have You Been Dear?, Around and Around, and nearly every poem from her book Any Me I Want to Be. I guess I could go on and on.)

Here is one of the poems from Any Me I Want to Be—probably the best collection of mask poems ever written for children. I love the book so much that I bought two copies—just in case I lost one. I memorized the following poem—as well as a number of others from the book.

I liked growing.
That was nice.
The leaves were soft
The sun was hot.
I was warm and red and round
Then someone dropped me in a pot.

Being a strawberry isn’t all pleasing.
This morning they put me in ice cream.
I’m freezing.

In remembrance of Karla Kuskin, I wrote a poem using titles of her books and poems and lines from some of her poems. I typed Karla's titles and poem lines in italics.

Here I Am: A Poem in Remembrance of Karla Kuskin
by Elaine Magliaro

Here I am
Sitting near the window tree,
Feeling green as a bean,
Getting the urge to roar and more,
To saddle up and ride on the gold-tinted dragon
In the middle of the night
A silver night that’s full of the moon.

Here I am
Sitting near the window tree,
Counting the stars
While the Earth goes spinning around and around,
Dreaming different dreams,
Pretending to be any me I want to be
A worm,
A wizard,
A blue bird on a branch.

Here I am
Sitting near the window tree
Where stillness is my secret,
Thinking dreams are life you live asleep
Wondering: Where do you get the idea for a poem?
Telling myself: Dig deep in you
Some things you know.

Here I am
Sitting near the window tree
Writing wordless words,
Composing a tuneless tune
A song to be sung at night
When I look out at the world and listen
To the day shut tight.

For further reading:

At Blue Rose Girls, I have two poems dedicated to the memory of Lindsey B., of one of my former students. I just learned on Wednesday that Lindsey had passed away at the age of thirty. The poems are Little Elegy by X. J. Kennedy and Child of a Day by Walter Savage Landor.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is here—at Wild Rose Reader—today!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School

Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School
Written by
Laura Salas
Illustrated by Steven Salerno
Clarion, 2009

Stampede! is a collection of poems that tells about various experiences children have when attending elementary school—feeling lost at a new school, thinking about picture day, playing at recess, waiting for lunchtime, sharing time, counting on one’s fingers. Salas said she was inspired to write the poems after her younger daughter had two teeth pulled at the dentist’s office. She thought her daughter looked like a walrus—albeit a cute one—once her teeth were gone. Salas says she then began seeing kids with “fangs and fur instead of ponytails and soccer shirts.” And so she wrote these poems in which children take on attributes of animals: Children are like a “swarm” of bees on the playground before the school doors open, a child at a new school feels like a mouse finding its way through a maze, one child sees herself as an ugly caterpillar before picture day arrives, children walk down the hall likes “ducks in a row,” students thunder out of school like a stampede of elephants at the end of the day.

The book opens with Swarm. Here’s how the poem begins:

We crowd the empty schoolyard,
a flood of bumblebees.
We buzz and flitter-tumble,
trade gossip in the breeze.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

New Mouse comes next.

Go left, then right.
Wrong turns, dead ends.
Can’t find my class.
I’ve got no friends.

Each hallway is
a hallway clone.
Can’t find my way
around alone.

A thousand halls,
a thousand ways,
I’m lost inside
this new-school maze.

And so it goes with the human “animals” in school and out on the playground: A boy messes around in the mud like a pig in Whole Hog; a child thinks his writing looks like chicken scratch in Printer Problems; a student tries to tuck his face into his sweater in hopes that the teacher won’t call on him in Turtleneck; a girl warns classmates to stay away when she’s feeling nasty and porcupine-y in Prickly.

The collection closes with the poem Stampede!—in which children storm out of the building when the school bell rings at the end of the day:

From Stampede!

The last bell rings.
We spill outside,
like captives finally freed…

You can read the entire poem here.

Salerno’s bright, bold cartoon-like illustrations add just the right touches of humor to this light-hearted collection. Stampede! contains eighteen rhyming poems perfect for sharing with young children in the early elementary grades. It’s a good collection to include in a teacher’s classroom library.

NOTE: I’d like to thank Laura Salas for granting me permission to post the full text of her poem New Mouse in my review of her book.

More Poetry for School Days


I have two posts over at Political Verses this week—Political Pop Singers: Four Couplets and MARIA: A Song Parody about Maria Bartiromo.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have September 1, 1939—a poem W. H. Auden wrote after hearing about Germany’s invasion of Poland seventy years ago.

Kelly Herold has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Crossover this week.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A New Song Parody at Political Verses

I have a new post over at Political Verses. It includes a song parody about Maria Bartiromo, the Money Honey of CNBC, and videos of Maria discussing health care reform on MSNBC with Rep. Anthony Weiner and with Matt Taibbi.

Here's the link: MARIA: A Song Parody about Maria Bartiromo