• Plunge into Summer with Poetry!

    Hello Gentle Po-Folk, Welcome to summer! This is the time when I transition from doing school visits to summer library family presentations and the occasional teaching conference. This is a time when I try to travel less and write more. I’ll also be memorizing poetry from a few of my upcoming books, so I’ll be ready to recite them once they come out! Today I am howling about two exciting developments in my poet life: A New Book!My latest picture book in rhyme, How to Tantrum Like a Champion: Ten Small Ways to Temper Big Feelings (Candlewick Press) will publish on September 10th, just in time for the start of…

  • Use Poetry to Turn Worry into Wonder

    Turn Worry into Wonder The new school year is coming upwith goldfish, glue, and glitter!Your stomach feels all tangled upwith butterflies and jitters.You worry that your first big daywill be your next big blunder!Accept the way you feel,then turn that worry into wonder! I wonder what the year will bring.I wonder what good friends I’ll see.I wonder what fun songs I’ll sing.I wonder what cool books I’ll read. When worry and anxietytear all your world asunder,accept the way you feel,then turn that worry into wonder!  Hello Gentle Po-Folk, For most of us (students and teachers), the new school year brings equal parts excitement and anxiety. But did you know that you can help…

  • A Poem a Day for National Poetry Month

    What Matters Mosta poem for those who teach If you feel overwhelmed and lost,with nothing up your sleeve,before you ask, “What shall I do?”ask, “What do I believe?” And let your heart be guided bythese two repeated thoughts:“I believe that I can teachand students can be taught.” Hello Dear Gentle Po-Folk, April is National Poetry Month, so it seemed fitting to begin with a poem written in honor of the many teachers and librarians who I’ve been blessed and inspired by over the years. These post-covid months have found many of you releasing a lot of pent up grief and feeling PTSD, and all the while you are facing new challenges regarding the…

  • A Much-Needed Poem for the Holidays

    Raise your hand if you’ve heard the phrase, The holiday season is upon us!, as if the holidays were an invading force from which we must seek refuge. We’ve barely recovered from the Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving turkey, and now here comes the biggest wave of them all, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. And let’s not forget New Year’s celebrations. Whether you anticipate this time of year with delight or with dread, it is easy to lose your sense of self amidst all the clamor. As this poem from one of my forthcoming collections, The Gift of a Broken Teacup, advises: if you find you are not being…

  • September Update

    Dear gentle Po-Folk,There is a lot to howl about in the Wolf Den this fall. A Picture BookMy brand-new picture book, The Blanket Where Violet Sits, is now available everywhere! It stars a girl eating a sandwich on a blanket, in a park, in a city, on a planet, in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe! As she looks through her telescope, Violet sits at the center of it all, surrounded by starlight and love.  We had a fun interactive live-streamed book launch, Thursday, September 1st, with Malaprops Bookstore. The book’s illustrator, Lauren Tobia, joined us all the way from London, England! How cool is that? A Pioneer NovelMy historical…

  • Children’s Publishers, Authors Test the Waters for In-Person Events

    Via Publishers Weekly   By Joanne O’Sullivan | May 05, 2022         It was immediate and universal: when the pandemic hit in March 2020, author events and school visits went virtual, just like every other previously-in-person event on the planet. Within months, the online format was the new norm, and authors had their online presentations dialed in. But for readers and authors, the desire to interact in person appears never to have waned. Jeff Kinney took a creative approach in fall 2020 by developing a drive through event for the launch of The Deep End, his 15th Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. Wimpy fans in decorated…

  • The Princess, the Pea, and the Poemo sapien OR “Why don’t poets just say what they mean?”

    Guest post via Nerdy Book Club This is my third time in the guest nerd seat. In the past few years, I have confessed to being an adult-onset bibliophile. I have told the story of how I used to write on my bedroom walls. And I have admitted to being only a “5” on the Nerdometer Scale. I’m most excited about this post to celebrate National Poetry Month. Poetry is my jam. And my I am. Allow me to quote two paragraphs from an interview with the wonderful Margaret Simons at Reflections on the Teche. Since I first discovered rhythm when I was four years old (I remember it as…

  • Video of Magical Garden Book Launch

    The virtual book launch of Behold Our Magical Garden was magical! You can watch it right here! I shared Daniel Duncan’s artwork and read a few choice poems. It was a treat to have special guest Jordan Diamond, the director of the delicious FEAST garden education program. You can purchase copies of the new book anywhere books are sold. Or you can order specially signed (by me) copies through Malaprops, my hometown bookstore, HERE.

  • Behold Our Magical Book

    Warning! You may never look at an eggplant in the same way again! Behold Our Magical BookJust in time for Spring! Say hello to my brand-new book, Behold Our Magical Garden, a collection of poems set in and around an elementary school garden.  Poems about compost, seeds, germination, roots, digging, watering, eating, harvesting, bugs, birds, worms, dirt and every other magical thing that makes a school garden . . .  well, magical.  Plus, every poem is paired with the engaging illustrations of Daniel Duncan. This book begs to be read aloud, and yes, you’ll discover a few multi-voice poems in the mix. Behold Our Magical Book LaunchPlease join us for the virtual…

  • Solar Sonnet on PBS

    PBS At-Home Learning (Classroom Connection) has created a special lesson, aimed at 3rd Graders, to help students understand the basic structure and characteristics of a poem. And the lesson features the Solar Sonnet from The Day the Universe Exploded My Head!  Check it out!!