Feb 25, 2016

POETRY FRIDAY: Celebrating Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thank you to Liz Steinglass for hosting Poetry Friday this week!
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I have been busy writing and revising lately, and it has been way too long since I’ve posted. But I wanted to jump back into Poetry Friday this week to talk about American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was born on February 27, 1807.
Longfellow is the author of many well-loved poems, including one of the first poems I ever memorized as a child:

There Was a Little Girl
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Longfellow also wrote another one of my favorite poems, The Landlord’s Tale. Paul Revere’s Ride, which I read every year to my third graders when I was a teacher. Although not 100% historically accurate, the narrative of the poem captures the urgency and spirit of this moment in America's collective consciousness. The cadence and atmosphere is spectacular, and it is always such a joy to read aloud. Here is the opening stanza:

The Landlord's Tale. Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

Listen my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,—
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
To read the rest of this poem, click here

Thanks for stopping by to celebrate Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s birthday tomorrow! Have a wonderful weekend, and happy writing!

Feb 1, 2016

Reading, Writing, and Revising

So far it’s been very quiet on my blog in 2016, but that's because I've had lots of exciting things going on. I took the plunge and joined the 2106 12 x 12 Challenge, and am *LOVING* it! If you're unfamiliar with 12 x 12, it is a community of picture book writers who motivate and support each other in our goals of writing 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. 12 x 12 was founded by author Julie Hedlund and 2016 is its 5th year. In January I wrote two new picture book drafts and revised another I’ve been working on for a long time. I’ve attended two great webinars and am looking forward to another fabulous one tomorrow. And yesterday I posted the first 250 words of a PB for critique (this made me very nervous!).

In January I also joined a local SCBWI critique group that, although new to me, is established has some incredibly talented writers and illustrators. And I’m also participating in a “Read 1000 Picture Books in 2016” challenge. Here is what my dining room table looks like right now:

So far my favorite picture books have been the 2016 Newbery and Caldecott winners, which I bought last week. The Newbery winner this year is a picture book, which is remarkable since most years the award is presented to a middle grade novel. Last Stop on Market Street was written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. This year's Caldecott winner, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, was illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick. Both winners are AMAZING picture books with heartwarming stories and several "layers"—wonderful reads for both kids and adults. I can’t believe I had not read either book until last week. I will do much better in 2016!

I’d love to hear what your favorite picture books are. Please comment below if you’d like to share. Have a wonderful February, and Happy Writing!