Archive for the 'Inspiration' Category

The Writer is a Bad Influence…

8 November 2014

It’s Picture Book Idea Month! Click here to learn all of this writer’s *secrets*…

PiBoIdMo-2014-cropped

Be Brave

9 October 2013

be-brave

Inspired by the many wonderful teachers and librarians on Twitter who have “Be Brave” as a motto for their classrooms this year, I made this poster for downloading. A special thanks to all who have shared The Story of Fish & Snail with their students!

Suggested Reading, Picture Books About Courage: Sheila Rae, the Brave, by Kevin Henkes; Swimmy, by Leo Lionni; When Jessie Came Across the Sea, by Amy Hest & P.J. Lynch; Mirette on the High Wire, by Emily Arnold McCully; The Scar, by Charlotte Moundlic & Olivier Tallec; Brave Irene, by William Steig.

Missing Maurice

2 May 2013

Sendak homage

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, ABFFE, will hold its Annual Children’s Book Art Silent Auction on Wednesday, May 29, at BookExpo America. This year’s auction will include some special pieces created in memory of Maurice Sendak — and this is my tribute, above. You can learn more about ABFFE and this special event here.

Frog and Toad Have Good Ideas

6 November 2012

Lessons learned from Frog and Toad:

I’m on the road today, guest posting over at Writing for Kids.

“As you probably noticed, I went away forever.”

21 June 2012

It seems I decided by around age five that I wanted to be Maurice Sendak when I grew up. I penciled my name in right next to his on this book that he illustrated for Ruth Krauss in 1952, which is one of my most treasured possessions and has been with me always. Over the years I’ve become an obsessive collector of his work and words, which have taught me just about everything I need to know about writing and illustrating for children. I can think of no more to add to all that’s been said about Sendak, or by Sendak, who died on May 8th at the age of 83.

“Hello, 
As you probably noticed, I went away forever. I am very experienced now and very famous. I am even a star…. I get plenty to drink, too, so don’t worry…. If you ever come this way, look for me. Jennie” *

Dear Jennie, I did notice. And I will certainly look for you. Love, Debbie.

Some Wonderful Interviews:

*As shared by Lynn Caponera, Sendak’s assistant and longtime friend, who perfectly closed a memorial service for him at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last week by quoting this letter and sharing this image of his beloved dog, Jennie, “from his favorite book”, Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or There Must Be More to Life.

Blown Away

8 December 2010

E. E. Cummings

a wind has blown the rain away and blown
the sky away and all the leaves away,
and the trees stand. I think i too have known
autumn too long…

(the rest, with commentary)

I Wanna Genius Too!

11 November 2010

H.Robinson.1

“… I became conscious that I was being haunted by a strange genius… Where he came from I cannot tell. At some time in his existence he must have wandered long in Alice’s Wonderland… He was sincerity itself, and he had the simplicity of a child combined with the wisdom of old father William. No mortal could compare with him for ingenuity and inventiveness. He could do wonderful things with a piece of knotted string. There was one thing he lacked and that was a sense of humour; perhaps this was not a loss, for strangely enough it made him all the more humorous. It seemed wrong, however, to laugh at one so earnest, so guileless and free from cynicism, but at times he was irresistible. Fortunately, he was far too busy to care whether I laughed or not.”

H.Robinson.2

from W. Heath Robinson, My Line of Life, 1938
Illustration © W. Heath Robinson

Visit SurLaLune Fairy Tales to see more illustrations by W. Heath Robinson.

The Jumblies

15 June 2010

The Jumblies

By Edward Lear


They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, “You’ll all be drowned!”
They called aloud, “Our Sieve ain’t big,
But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!
In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a ribbon by way of a sail,
To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,”
0 won’t they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it’s extremely wrong
In a Sieve to sail so fast!”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, “How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And all night long they sailed away;
And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
In the shade of the mountains brown.
“0 Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
In the shade of the mountains brown!”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of Stilton Cheese.
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And in twenty years they all came back,
In twenty years or more,
And every one said, “How tall they’ve grown!
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of the Chankly Bore”;
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, “If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,–
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!”
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

Suggested Reading, Picture Books by Edward Lear: “A” Was Once An Apple Pie illustrated by Suse Macdonald, The Duck and the Kangaroo illustrated by Jane Wattenberg, The Jumblies illustrated by Edward Gorey, The Owl and the Pussycat (Visions in Poetry) illustrated by Stephane Jorisch, The Quangle Wangle’s Hat illustrated by Janet Stevens, The Pelican Chorus: and Other Nonsense, illustrated by Fred Marcellino.

He Makes It Look So Easy…

8 June 2010

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, 1878 – 1949


Suggested reading for children: Rap a Tap Tap, by Leo and Diane Dillon

Bee!

1 June 2010

Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due -

The frogs got home last week -
Are settled, and at work -
Birds, mostly back -
The Clover warm and thick -

You’ll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me -
Yours, Fly.

Emily Dickinson

Suggested Reading, Picture Books about Emily Dickinson: Emily, by Michael Bedard, illustrated by Barbara Cooney; Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World, by Jeanette Winter; The Mouse of Amherst, by Elizabeth Spires, illustrated by Claire Nivola; My Letter to the World, and Other Poems, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin, illustrated by Chi Chung; My Uncle Emily, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

As the World Wide Web Turns

6 April 2010

Or, The Junkies, Part IV

Sybil said leave tomorrow;
Petra is going in July.
Daniel wants to take the dog!
How come Benito doesn’t go?
Did Dirk also send you this?
Why did Walter show up…
How is Eric doing?
Is Jerold leaving him?
How come Shirley is acting that way?

Hey. Can you please contact me?

- by 10 Spammers

“The Junkies”, Part I, is here; Part II is here; Part III is here. Visit my post from last week for ways to celebrate National Poetry Month.

The Congenital Moon

30 March 2010

Or, The Junkies, Part III

Dadaism, I can’t even start to think…
No dance is innuendo, unkempt,
A talk at elusive edge,
To fit no faultfinding.

I explain a galaxy tugboat
Or teach a capable, inaudible,
Breadfruit some creek and blunder,
Veritable, the congenital moon.

- By Eight Spammers

April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate with:
● Videos featuring the Children’s Poet Laureate, Mary Ann Hoberman, from The Poetry Foundation
● The International Reading Association, lesson plans on “Composing and Performing Found Poetry
● Activites from The Academy of American Poets
● Activities and more from Reading Rockets
● Interviews with 36 poets from The Miss Rumphius Effect
● 30 Poets/30 Days, new poetry on Gotta Book

“The Junkies”, Part I, is here; Part II is here.

The time of my singing is come…

16 March 2010

Illustration by Maurice Sendak, from Charlotte and The White Horse by Ruth Krauss.

More Reading Suggestions, in honor of the coming spring:
Spring Is Here by Taro Gomi; Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson and Tiphanie Beeke; The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett; Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer and Marvin Bileck; The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy B. Ering.

Poetry. Spam.

9 March 2010

Or, The Junkies, Part II

I shall always share these quotes with you,
To explain my barely overdone
Digression, pronounceable.

Do cough by quarters;
Go listen by pathology;
Listen to the animals,
and start as livestock.

Watch this lyricism,
A murmurous lullaby, rolled,
But by my caution -
candyfloss.

- by Ten Spammers

“The Junkies”, Part I, is here.

From the International Reading Association, lesson plans on “Composing and Performing Found Poetry“.

Turn ON the Tube Week

19 January 2010

You know I love books! But the winter is long, and some things are worth watching.

Jumpin’ Jive! Listen to Cab Calloway and watch the truly amazing Nicholas Brothers (don’t miss them from 1:32 to the end) in Stormy Weather, 1943.

GET UP AND DANCE!
Chattanooga Choo Choo, more Nicholas Brothers, and Dorothy Dandridge with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, in “Orchestra Wives”, 1942
The Little Colonel, Bill Bojangles Robinson and Shirley Temple, 1935
Puttin’ On The Ritz, Fred Astaire in “Blue Skies”, 1946
Singin’ in the Rain, Gene Kelly, 1952

It’s Dark Out

22 December 2009

it's dark out

It’s dark out
It’s dark out
Although the hour’s early;
It isn’t even five o’clock
And yet it’s dark all down the block
Because the season’s winter
And the sun has gone to bed.

By Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustration by Norman Hoberman
From Hello and Good-bye, Little, Brown & Co., 1959

“From trickling trills to tongue twisters, Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman reads from The Llama Who Had No Pajama.” Watch and listen here.

Reprinted with permission from the author and illustrator
Text © Mary Ann Hoberman, Illustration © Norman Hoberman

Time for Bed

15 December 2009

It sifts from Leaden Sieves —
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road —

read the rest here

- Emily Dickinson

Happy Hibernation and Holidays to all!

Today’s Reading Suggestion: A Seasonal Read-Aloud List, from “Write Up Our Alley”. And more Emily Dickinson.

How to Fry an Egg

17 November 2009

humpty-dumpty
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings horses
and all the kings men
Couldn’t put Humpty
together again.

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After-the-fall

The Nuts Are Getting Brown

13 October 2009

nutsaregettingbrown

THE MORNS ARE MEEKER than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson

Revery

8 September 2009

© Deborah Freedman

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.

Emily Dickinson

spacer

Suggested Reading for Children, Emily Dickinson: Emily, by Michael Bedard, illustrated by Barbara Cooney; Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World, by Jeanette Winter; The Mouse of Amherst, by Elizabeth Spires, illustrated by Claire Nivola; My Letter to the World, and Other Poems, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin, illustrated by Chi Chung; My Uncle Emily, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

illustration © Deborah Freedman

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