Category: News

You Make My Face Smile, Olivia Whitman

Kids often ask me, “How old do you have to be to write a book?” I tell them that if they can write or draw, it doesn’t matter how old they are. You don’t have to be a grown-up to get a book published.

I often point out best-selling child authors such as Alec Greven, the author of How to Talk to Girls, or Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon and the other books in the Inheritance Cycle.

Recently, though, I’ve been telling people about Olivia Whitman, a 9-year-old girl from Michigan who survived brain cancer and went on to publish her first book, a collection of her own poems and drawings called “You Make My Face Smile.” Watch the video below to see how Olivia got her wish and had her book published.

Olivia Whitman, author of You Make My Face Smile

Olivia Whitman, author of “You Make My Face Smile”

I you would like to order a copy of Olivia Whitman’s book, you can mail a check or money order for $12.00 per book (includes shipping & handling) to:

Liv Via Books
401 E. Main St
DeWitt, MI 48820

Or you can “Like” Liv Via Books on Facebook and order your copy at the Shop Now tab. You can also click here to read more about Olivia’s remarkable story.

New Videos Created by Readers

While poking around on YouTube this morning, I came across three new videos that readers had made of my poems. What struck me as most interested about these three videos is how different they all are from one another. I am always impressed at the creativity kids put into creating videos. Watch these and you’ll see what I mean.

This first one, using my poem Today I Wrote this Poem (from My Hippo Has the Hiccups), displays the poem one line at a time, while also showing lines from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to demonstrate the particular poetic technique mentioned in my poem.

The second video is a young girl rapping my poem Beavers in the Bathroom from my book The Tighty-Whitey Spider. She has apparently practiced quite a bit with this poem, as she recites it quickly and with no mistakes.

The final poem is an animation of the poem Gerbil, Gerbil, On the Run, also from The Tighty-Whitey Spider. I was so impressed with this animation. I’d love to find out how it was created because it has such fun text animation effects.

There are so many different ways to create videos from poems. If you happen to create a video of one of my poems, please drop me a line and let me know about it. I would love to see what you have done.

An Early Christmas Present for Poetry4kids Readers

This year, as my holiday gift to you, I have made a change to the website that I think you are going to like. Not only have I doubled the number of poems on the Poems page — giving you now over 100 funny poems for kids — but I have also brought back all of the most popular poems ever.

If you haven’t visited the Poems page of Poetry4kids.com lately, drop by to discover some old favorites, including My Teacher Took My iPod, My Puppy Punched Me in the Eye, All My Great Excuses, and many, many more.

Click here to visit the Poetry4kids.com Poems Page:

Happy Holidays!

Poetry Time is Quality Time

Poetry Time is Quality timeEven when the holidays arrive, it can be difficult to switch off the busy lifestyle that we’ve all become so used to. How do we learn to slow down, and really experience this special time of year?

I’m a firm believer in the power of poetry and prose, read aloud, to change the rhythm of our interactions with the children we teach, as well as the kids we live with. Good writing comes with its own built-in rhythm, and it just doesn’t work if you rush it. If you’re looking for a way to bring some of that holiday spirit into your world, and you’re not quite sure where to start, then look up some of these great resources. Take a few moments – heck, take a few hours! – and open up a classic holiday poem, or a short story.

Whether you’re sharing with little children who want you to repeat the funniest lines over and over again, or with older kids who can take turns being the ‘storyteller’, reading portions out loud, you’ll find your day has slowed down, and some of the magic of the holidays has come alive.

An Interview with Janet Wong

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Children's Author Janet Wong

Children’s Author Janet Wong

Last week I had the opportunity to speak with children’s author and poet Janet Wong about her writing, her books, and her current projects, including her new eBook project with Sylvia Vardell, the Poetry Tag Time series. The third book in the series, Gift Tag, is out just in time for the holidays, and is already one of the best-selling children’s poetry eBooks on Amazon.com.

 

32 Days of Holiday Poems

Beginning December 1 and continuing throughout the month, right up until New Year’s Day, I will be posting a funny holiday poem or funny winter poem every day on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter. Follow me now to read them all! Click on the Facebook or Google Plus logo on the left or the Twitter logo on the right to follow.

NOTE: You don’t need an account to follow along and read the poems. Even without an account, you can still view the Twitter feed and link to the poems. Just click on the Twitter link on the right to see my tweets, which will have links to the poems.

An Interview with Children’s Poet Ted Scheu

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Ted Scheu, That Poetry Guy

Ted Scheu, That Poetry Guy

Ted Scheu (pronounced “shy”), also known as “That Poetry Guy,” has been writing funny poetry for kids for a dozen years now. His poems have appeared in many anthologies in the US and the UK, and he has published four collections of humorous children’s poetry.

His newest book, Now I Know My ZBCs: 59 School Poems for Young Gigglers is available now.

I had the chance to interview Ted recently about his poetry and you can listen to our conversation here.

How I Fell in Love with Poetry

Hap Nesbitt, Danny Nesbitt, Jimmy O'Dell, and Kenn Nesbitt

Can you guess which one is me?

I was nine years old when my family went water-skiing every day for an entire summer. We’d get up early, fix enough sandwiches to fill the cooler, and head for the lake in our midnight blue 1967 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, ski-boat in tow. On the best days, we would arrive before the wind had kicked up, when the lake was still a glassy calm.

Somehow, my dad’s job with a heating and air conditioning company allowed him to work mainly in the spring and fall. With summers free, my parents took us to the lake every day; me and my two brothers, Hap and Danny, and our friend Jimmy. Hap was the one with the crew-cut. Danny looked just like me, only more devious. We were all skinny, tanned, and a little too wild.

This was 1971, and the car had only an AM radio. No FM, no 8-track player, and certainly no DVDs or video games. A trip to the lake meant over an hour in the car each way, along winding mountain roads where the AM radio was useless, there weren’t enough other cars to play “slug bug,” and thumb wrestling got old in a hurry. Eventually–as four boys will do when stuck in the back seat of a car for an hour or two–we would begin to fight. It always started innocently enough with a “Quit touching me,” or a “Hey, that’s mine,” but would quickly erupt into a full-blown wrestling match on the floor of the car. Did I mention we also didn’t have seat belts?

An Interview with Children’s Author/Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins

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Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee Bennett Hopkins is an award-winning children’s author, poet, anthologist, and editor, and a lifelong promoter of poetry for children. I had the honor of speaking with him recently about his career, his books, and his thoughts about children’s poetry. You can listen to the interview here on the Poetry4kids Podcast.