Poetry Friday: The Smith-Corona

I recently became the caregiver to a 1953(?) Smith-Corona typewriter which inspired the following poem. Enjoy! (Now if I could only find a new ribbon.)

There aren’t a lot of typewriters out there
not a lot of typers either.
Hard to get ribbons and parts.
A’s require pinkie force that I do not possess.
Computers have made me soft.
Still there is a satisfaction of
and noise
each clack of hammer on roller
the absence of wires
no plug in sight
just me and the keys and the return bar.
My thoughts too quick
hammers catch on each other
stuck like a logjam of paperwork
sitting on some secretary’s desk.
She with pencils in her hair
and a pencil slim skirt
doing a hard days work.
I imagine her
wanting more.
To be a journalist
a novelist
the boss.
Just like her
my time will come.

WNDB Mentorship Program

News from the We Need Diverse Books organization!

WNDB Mentorship Program

Are you a diverse writer or illustrator, or working on a diverse book? Award-winning diverse authors and illustrators will support and guide recipients through a yearlong mentorship, providing support and guidance throughout the creative and publication process. Applications for the 2016 mentorship program will be open from October 1-31, 2015, and recipients will be announced in December, 2015. Information on the program and the application are available at http://weneeddiversebooks.org/aboutapply/

Specific questions can be directed to wndbmentorship@gmail.com (mailto:wndbmentorship@gmail.com)

Launch Party for I’M NEW HERE, by Anne Sibley O’Brien: September 19th, Portland, Maine

It’s my great pleasure to pass on information from the author/illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien regarding her new book, I’M NEW HERE. Anne and I worked together to expand her school and library speaking bookings. She traveled to Seattle, the Philippines, and beyond meeting with children and educators to discuss issues of diversity, privilege, and peace. Her most recent picture book is about welcoming new people everywhere. (An important thing when the news is full of refugees seeking new places to call home.) If you live in the Portland, Maine area, I hope you’ll try to attend Anne’s book launch on September 19th, 2-4, at the Portland Public Library. If not, purchase the book at your local independent book seller and find out more about the book on Anne’s website.
I’m excited about my latest picture book, I’m New Here, about 3 immigrant children. It’s been getting some wonderful attention, including a starred review in Kirkus and a mention in the August 23 New York Times Sunday Book Review!
The launch will celebrate National Welcoming Week – http://www.welcomingamerica.org/get-involved/national-welcoming-week-2015/
I’m New Here Launch Party
Rines Auditorium, Portland Public Library
Saturday, September 19
2:004:00 p.m.
The event is a film premiere for the book trailer/video teaching tool, starring Hall School elementary students talking about being new and being welcoming. There will be a red carpet, flashing bulbs, and photo ops, as well as snacks from Portland’s multicultural markets.
Please stop by if you’re available!

Summer Reading Rocks!

I’ve tried all summer to pull away from the lure of the screen: lap top, desk top, and iPhone. Instead, I spent July teaching horseback riding, taking kids on creek hikes, picking berries, singing and more as a camp counselor at Eagle’s Nest Camp (a camp that I went to as a child and counseled at during my 20’s). June and August were dedicated to my client MaineShare as I helped them coordinate the MaineShare Fair an event that will take place next week (September 9th) in Portland, Maine.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time out on the Androscoggin River rowing and coaching others. Eagles, herons and leaping fish were a gift as I glided over some amazingly smooth water. I slipped my middle grade work in progress into sunny summer slivers of time thinking deeply and working on a revision that amplifies desire, conflict and tension.

Even with all this incredible activity I made time to read. I embraced audio books with the amazing FREE audio book summer reading program at SYNC. These books filled the time on the long drive from Maine to North Carolina and back. And without Facebook, I had plenty of time to sink into a book at night. At the beginning of the year, I’d challenged myself to read 26 books thinking that one every other week would be great, but I’ve already exceeded that goal. Now I’ve increased that goal to 40 (but really I’m hoping for 52).

I have a number of adult and poetry books on my list for fall but I’m super excited about Melanie Crowder’s next (her 3rd) novel A Nearer Moon that launches next week, and Meg Wiviott’s debut novel Paper Hearts that launches TODAY!


Congrats to Meg and Melanie!

Now on with my summer reading list! (Books are listed in the order I read them starting in June.)

MONSTER, Walter Dean Myers (audio book). This is an amazing full cast presentation with an extra from the author explaining his research process and his interviews with numerous incarcerated young men. Highly recommended.

BUDDHA BOY, Kathe Koja (audio book). Bullying and acceptance.

MATERIAL GIRLS, Elaine Dimopoulos (eGalley from Net Galley). More on this in a later post. Highly recommended.

CIRCUS MIRANDUS, Cassie Beasley. Gentle, loving, and magical to its core, this book is the one you want to read aloud to your students this school year. It will draw your too-big-for-read-aloud-books back to your embrace. (Evidence: my 6 foot 2 inch high school sophomore beside me nightly.) Highly recommended.


EL DEAFO, Cece Bell. Newbery Honor. I was especially interested in this because my major was ASL in college. I wanted to see how Bell handled the Deaf community. The book is about the main character’s struggles to fit in with her Hearing family and mainstream life even though her mother is eager to have her learn ASL. By the end of the book, her interest is piqued and I got the feeling that had the book gone on the girl may have explored the Deaf Community more. There is an excellent author’s note about the spectrum of culture and language in the Deaf Community. Highly recommended.

BROWN GIRL DREAMING, Jacqueline Woodson. What can I say about this memoir in verse that hasn’t already been said? The book won the National Book Award Winner, Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and is featured on many many lists. Highly recommended.

CROWS & CARDS, Joseph Helgerson (audio book). A fun recording that harkens back to pre-Civil War days, river boat scoundrels, and Mark Twain language and humor.

THE CROSSOVER, Alexander Kwame. Newbery Winner 2015.

THE SKIN I’M IN, Sharon Flake. I picked this middle grade up at a library book sale and so glad I did. First pubbed in 1998, if you loved JUMPED by Rita Williams-Garcia you’ll be engaged by Maleeka’s struggle to love herself. Highly Recommended.

STORY OF A GIRL, Sara Zarr. A quiet YA novel that digs deeply into self acceptance, family and forgiveness.