Friday, December 18, 2009


Another book from our holiday box is Winter Poems selected by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

We enjoy the soundscapes found in many of the poems. At times we 'hear' the serene quiet of winter, for example, in Elinor Wylie's "Velvet Shoes."

"Let us walk in white snow
In a soundless space."

Or a single sound is heard set against a backdrop of stillness in Oliver Herford's "I Heard a Bird Sing." 

"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing"

In other poems, winter chills us with sounds that make us glad we are inside. In Emily Dickinson's "An Awful Tempest" we feel safe to watch the world from the window:

"The creatures chuckled on the roofs
And whistled in the air,
And shook their fists, and gnashed their teeth,
And swung their frenzied hair."

While in "Cat on a Night of Snow" by Elizabeth Coatsworth, we can relate to the first narrator's wish to keep her cat indoors by the fire where the "flames are leaping and hissing low." But the Mistress cannot persuade her cat who has an instinct for the night regardless of how cold it is, for there are "things that are yet to be done."

"Outdoors, the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night,/ strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore ... Open the door!" This cat is much like our Miss Mimi - an 'outdoor-cat-at-heart' kept, against her will, inside.

Our favourite poem in this collection is an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells" for its celebration of sound. We love the two lines in which the word "bells" is repeated six times. And of course, "tintinnabulation" - what word describes the ringing of bells better than this? Just the first part of Poe's poem appears in Winter Poems. To read "The Bells" visit -

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Susan at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Poetry Friday: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Though I've been a Poetry Friday fan for a while now, this is my first post and I just loved the "welcome" - thank you, Diane.

Half of the fun of decorating our tree is opening up our holiday storage boxes. Tucked between the silver and gold ornaments and frosted balls are the beautiful picture books that we save for this season. Each year we choose a new picture book to add to our collection.

A few winters ago, my daughter was mesmerized by a reading and a film depiction of a Robert Frost poem presented on Reading Rainbow. By coincidence, she received a book gift shortly after. It was "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers. It is one of our favourite treasures in our winter collection. Jeffers' illustrations are gorgeous in mostly white, grey and black with just a hint of colour on each page. The soft images work beautifully with Frost's poem to create a feeling of hush and wonder.

One of our favourite lines from the poem is:
"The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake."
We just love that "and downy flake" gets a two page spread of giant snowflakes.

This book is a great way for a child to be introduced to the work of Robert Frost.

You can read the entire poem by clicking this link-
Dianne at Random Noodling is hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm a Little Snowflake

My poem "I'm a Little Snowflake" is in the current issue of Turtle Magazine for Preschool Kids. It's perfect timing as many parts of Canada and the United States are being hit with the first snowstorm of the season.

The adorable illustrations by Kathryn Mitter offer visual cues so that kids can follow along.

This action rhyme can be sung to the familiar tune "I'm a Little Teapot." If you're looking for something with a winter theme to get your preschool kids singing and moving, follow this link to the web version -

Friday, November 13, 2009

Inspired by NaNoWriMo

Stiff neck, distractions and work commitments aside - I am doing this!

Inspired by NaNoWriMo, I am involved in a November writing challenge. I am doing this alongside the members of one of my critique groups. We have created contracts stating our November writing goals and we support each other in sticking to these goals. I have challenged myself to write a poem each day to be included in a themed collection for 5-9 year olds. By the end of the month, I'll have 30 poems to edit  in December. I'm so grateful to the warm writers in this critique group. They are a talented and supportive bunch!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Poetry Markets

I keep hearing it in my various poetry circles - publishers are buying less and less poetry. Really? I hope not! Even if this is true, I'm looking on the bright side -which is that poetry does continue to sell (even if less of it is selling).

For example, children's magazines ARE accepting poetry! In 2009, I have sold poetry to the following children's magazines:

SPIDER Magazine
Highlights for Children
Highlights High Five
AppleSeeds Magazine
TURTLE Magazine for Preschool Kids

If you want to see your poetry in print, try submitting to children's magazines. I have gathered a list of magazines that are currently accepting poetry. I will add to this list as I find more. If you know of a publication that accepts poetry and it is not listed here, please leave a comment and I will add it to this list. Each magazine listed here has specific guidelines to follow (and sometimes themes) so it's best to check the magazine website or your children's writer's market guide.

Highlights for Children
Highlights High Five
Know Magazine
Turtle Magazine for Preschool Kids
Humpty Dumpty
Jack & Jill

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Reading Recommendation

I recently read the moving novel in verse, Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Heese. This deeply touching account of the Japanese attack on Alaska's Aleutian Islands in 1942, is told through the voice of Vera, a strong Aleut girl battling the consequences of government-enforced evacuation and relocation. Uprooted from their treeless coastal landscape and traditions, the Aleut people are forced to try to make a life for themselves in the dense, almost suffocating air of the inland forests. Without the tools for fishing, nor the proper resources to build up their community, the Aleuts are left with almost nothing but their wills to survive.

I cannot imagine a more perfect genre for this story. Poetry allows the unfolding of Vera's thoughts to happen as she is ready to share them. Poetry allows the reader to be patient and open to Vera's unique telling.

Vera is able to voice the experiences of struggle and death, courage, hope and love with a timing that only poetry can make possible.

The book jacket recommends Aleutian Sparrow for kids 10-14. I would place it in the older part of this rating, perhaps a 12 and up, as I think older readers would enjoy this book too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Poem In Your Pocket

A few days ago for Poem In Your Pocket Day, I carried around a poem from Black Stars IN A White Night Sky by JonArno Lawson. I love all the poems in this book but I chose a short one called "Are You Worried?"
My daughter and I took it one step further (or maybe people are already doing this). After I read her the poem in my pocket at the end of the day, she asked if she could 'borrow' it for her pocket and bring it to school the next day. So I passed it on to her.
Yesterday I found the folded piece of paper in the dryer. I wonder how many poems ended up in laundry this week.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cybils Winners

The Cybils Winners have been announced!
Honeybee by Naomi Shihab Nye is the winner of the poetry category!
I just finished reading A Maze Me: Poetry for Girls by the same author and absolutely loved it so I'm excited to get my hands on Honeybee.
Off to the library I go ...

To see the complete list of the 2008-9 winners, go to:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poetry for Girls

I've been reading A Maze Me: Poems for Girls by Naomi Shihab Nye. I got it from the library for my daughter, but I've been hogging it. The poems are beautiful, decadent, moving. They bring me back to those complicated years. I highly recommend this book as a source of inspiration for girls and young women. 

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