was a banner month for me. I traveled to
Indianapolis to see my boys’ high school marching band compete at Grand Nationals (I am a
proud tuba and trombone mom) and I surpassed my goal of 50,000 words in this year’s NaNoWriMo!
I am busy preparing for holiday gatherings, church performances, and one of my
favorite traditions—the December poetry workshop I do each year with local
fifth graders. In our October workshop, we talked about the importance of the
poetic tradition, had fun with rhyme scheme, and read lots of wonderful poetry.
In just a few weeks, we will continue our discussion and I will introduce some
more fun poetic formats.
of the fun forms we discuss each year is acrostic poetry. This format has been
around a looooong time; acrostic poetry was discovered during the archaeological digs at Pompeii! The most common variation of the acrostic poem has a subject
spelled out vertically in the left-hand margin, with each letter serving as the
beginning of a word or phrase relating to or describing the subject.
elementary-aged students are familiar with acrostic poetry and are confident
masters of the format. But when I show the kids this acrostic poem by my friend
and critique partner Derick Wilder, with both the first AND last letters of each
line spelling out the subject, they are shocked and amazed:
it is time for the kids to write their own poems at the end of our lesson, many
choose to tackle this particular challenge. It’s always fun to see what they
come up with!
kid favorite is the cinquain, which is a five-line poem that spotlights a person, place, or thing. Each line
has a prescribed formula and minimal words, and follows this pattern:
Line 1: Title - 1 word (noun)Line 2: Description - 2 words (adjectives)
Line 3: Action - 3 words (verbs)
Line 4: Feeling - 4 words (phrase)
Line 5: Title - 1 word (synonym for the first noun)
is a cinquain poem that I share with the kids each year (this one was written by me):
look forward to sharing more December poetry next week!
YOU WRITE PICTURE BOOKS please keep reading! My talented friend and critique partner
Tara Luebbe*, who has two picture books coming out this spring (SHARK NATE-O
from little bee and I AM FAMOUS from Albert Whitman), is kicking off the second
year of her Writing with the Stars mentorship program. Writing with the Stars
is a (free) contest that will match 16 aspiring picture book
writers/illustrators with 16 published professionals. Mentorships are available
for authors and author/illustrators who are unpublished and unagented.
am super excited to finally be able to share this year’s incredible list of
mentors, who are volunteering their time and talents to help aspiring picture book writers. Seriously, people—it is such an OUTSTANDING list!
drumroll, please….the 2017 Writing with the Stars mentors are:
Melissa Iwai &
For more information,
visit Tara’s website here. You can also follow Tara on Twitter at
@t_luebbe. Please feel free to share this with any picture book authors or author/illustrators that you know!
Have a wonderful weekend,
and Happy Writing!
Yes, I know—I have some rock star critique partners!