Apr 29, 2009

Recommended Reading

National Poetry Month is coming to a close. Have you written a poem? Have you read some poetry? Have you introduced your child to the beauty of poetry? I think poetry is perfect for children. Sometimes when my kiddies are getting to bed late and we don't have time to read a whole book, a poem or two is the perfect way to end the day. Children love rhyming- look how long Mother Goose has been around. Poetry instills a love of language. That's why I'm recommending Red Sings from Treetops: A Year In Colors by Joyce Sidman. Ms. Sidman takes your children on a journey through the seasons of the year through the beauty of color. With the help of a little, red bird singing it's cheer, the seasons unfold. The book begins with spring, and Sidman writes, "In spring, even the rain tastes Green." (It's true, I was out walking in it this morning- it does taste green!) Each season is explored with white, yellow, green, purple, etc., with the book beginning and ending with the color red. What a great way for your toddler to learn their colors! I love this book so much I could transcribe the whole thing here for you, but that might lead to legal trouble for me, and besides I want you to enjoy the poetry while you look at and hold the book (especially since the illustrator, Pamela Zagarenski, is so amazing).
Good-bye National Poetry Month. Thank- you Joyce Sidman for Red Sings from Treetops!

Apr 16, 2009

Ouch! Twice In One Week!

I received another rejection letter this week. But, not to worry, I'm drawing inspiration from Susan Boyle, and being a tiger about it.

Dear Becky,
Thank you so much for sharing your work with me. I enjoyed my time at the conference in Pittsburgh back in November. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your picture book submission, DOES YOUR NOSE REMEMBER.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't seem right for our list. I'm sorry not to have better news, but I wish you all the best in finding a home for this manuscript soon. Thank you, again, for sending it to me.
Senior Editor
C. Press

Apr 13, 2009

Rejected But Not Dejected

So, it finally happened. I received my first rejection for a manuscript. It's strange, but I kind of feel a sense of relief because that first one is out of the way. I know there's many more to come and I won't always feel so calm and cool about being rejected, but I have a real belief in my story and that it will eventually be published.
Here is the rejection letter (I left out names because I'm not sure what professional protocol is for such things).

Dear Rebecca,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript entitled Does Your Nose Remember? Tu NarizRecuerde? to A--- P-- Press. Unfortunately, your submission was not selected for publication.

If you wish your materials returned to you, please send us a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with the appropriate amount of postage. If we do not receive your SASE within a month, we will shred and recycle all materials.

We appreciate your interest in A--- P--- Press. Please feel free to submit other selections of your work for our consideration in the future.

_______________, Ph.D.

Apr 6, 2009

A Secret Garden

April snow showers here in Ohio have me dreaming of warm spring days again. At least I did get some gardening done before the winter-like weather. My lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots and peas are in!
I grew up in Michigan with a large garden in the back yard. As I child I did not like gardening, it seemed like so much work. My poor mother was always trying to get the six of us (yes, six children) to help plant and weed. Oh, how we hated to weed! My two kiddies love to help garden. Most times their "help" makes more work for me, but I don't want to discourage them. In fact, to encourage them, my dear friend, Christine, and I decided we should build a"secret" garden for our children. Well, it's not really a secret, and we didn't build it, Christine's husband did.

But, it was our idea. Oh wait, technically we got the idea from a book, but I know we should get credit for something along the way! Basically, the secret garden is a teepee made of branches with peas planted at the base to grow up . After the peas are done growing, we can plant pole beans in their place. We got the idea from a wonderful book called, The Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Gardening. The book is a practical guide on gardening that offers easy projects that kids will love, like how to design a fairy garden, creating a wildflower meadow, and planting a rhubarb patch (rhubarb pie, yummy). One of my favorite projects is how to make a Victory Garden- it makes for a gardening and history lesson in one! For a more whimsical approach to gardening with your children, check out Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots. (I have to thank Christine for finding this treasure of a book.) While its project content is similar to the Kids Can book, Sharon Lovejoy has populated the book with the sweetest water color illustrations, and dotted throughout the book are poems, recipes, and historical tidbits that add to the overall magical quality of this book. Ms. Lovejoy took the teepee idea one step further by making it a "Moon Garden," which calls for planting night blooming and heavily scented flowers. Imagine sitting in your back yard with your kids, star gazing and inhaling the sweet smell of jasmine tobacco from the door of your garden teepee. (Please come soon summer!)
Speaking of magical books, I would be remiss if I didn't encourage you to read or re-read The Secret Garden. What can I say that hasn't already been said about this beautiful classic? Nothing. Go read it, and be inspired to create a secret garden of your own!

Apr 3, 2009

The Problem With National Poetry Month

I can get nothing done, nothing but poetry that is. No blog entries. No laundry. No nice meals, just hot dogs, pizza, and grilled cheese. Every day I've been visiting Poetic Asides for the Poem A Day (PAD) Challenge. The name says it all; it's a challenge to write a poem each day for the month of April (National Poetry Month). I may not be working on my children's books, but I am having fun and working on my writing, so it is a win-win for me. Here's the poem I wrote for today's prompt- "The problem with ____"

The problem with having children

They steal your very identity away.
Instead of witty banter, you begin to speak in “goos” and “gaas,” and other nonsensical things. They torture you with sleep deprivation until you feel like some kind of wraith or zombie, stumbling about the kitchen in the morning for a cup of coffee. Coffee, your once morning company will now be your all day partner. You think of ways to have it administered continuously, like a drip bag with an IV, no more brewing cup by cup. Oh, and that book on your nightstand is no longer a book, but a dust collector, and it will be for the next three years. Deep and impassioned poetry will be left to the academics. You’re too busy counting fingers and toes and writing drivel about how God kissed every one of them when he created your little “miracle.” Forget about stories of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches being shoved into movie playing appliances. It’s worse than that. It is the never ending hell of potty training, of knowing that you once taught a mere puppy to piss on a newspaper, but you can’t get your own damn child to “tinkle” in a toilet. (Yes, you will use words like “tinkle.”) And, after a long day of power struggles, tantrums, and whining, you will set your cup of coffee on top of your dust collector, crawl into bed exhausted, and cross, praying to God for another miracle- sleep. But, as you give yourself over to the darkness, a small shape climbs up beside you, sweaty and sniffling. You curse them, then kiss them. Very soon, small sounds emit from the sleeping child- quiet, steady breathing and heart beating. You want to roll over and fall asleep yourself, but you can’t. Instead you snuggle closer, smelling something similar to strawberries and honey. You run your finger over the round, warm cheek, cursing, then resolutely kissing your identity good-bye.