Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My NZ Poetry Adventure

I just spent an amazing week in New Zealand for the IBBY Congress and enjoyed sharing my poetry poster, meeting New Zealand poets, soaking up a panel dedicated to poetry, chatting with a Latvian publisher of poetry, checking out poetry at the downtown library and area museums, and seeing the country's plans for their National Poetry Day (TODAY!). So fun! Here are a few highlights. So gratifying to learn we are part of a global poetry community!

I had my poster printed on a scarf and then WORE my poster-scarf for the rest of the conference! Check out (but get a Groupon first and it only cost $20 plus $10 for shipping!).

I met these poets at the conference and was excited to point out to Jenny and Paula that their work was featured on my poster. Bought Paula's massive book (pictured in blue) and got her to autograph it too! Don't miss this excellent website:

She is publishing 100 individual Latvian poems as little cardboard books with art by various well-known Latvian illustrators-- to reach pre-school children and their families in particular! Check out

This panel featured poetry exclusively and here Helen O'Carroll talked about verse novels including works by Holly Thompson, Allan Wolf, Kwame Alexander, Ann E. Burg, and Karen Hesse, as well as Australian and New Zealand novels in verse.

Here's an example of the reader response to THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT by Allan Wolf from a NZ teen.

American professor and author Chris Crowe shared the fascinating process that emerged as he created his novel in verse, DEATH COMING UP THE HILL about a teen struggling with war in the world and in his family, written entirely in haiku and containing one syllable for each soldier who died in the Vietnam War.

Check out this shelf of poetry books at the downtown public library (including UNBEELIEVABLES, ECHO ECHO, WATER SINGS BLUE), plus the first issue of the NZ School Journal, THE source of literature provided to ALL NZ children for years and years-- including now.

A participatory magnetic poetry wall at the main cultural museum (Te Papa) in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Yes, National Poetry Day is held on the last Friday of August every year in New Zealand (since 1997) and there are tons of activities planned for all ages. Wish I could stay for it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

IBBY in New Zealand and poetry

I'm attending the biennial Congress of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in Auckland, New Zealand. This is such a wonderful event, a great opportunity to get a global glimpse of he field of children's literature and meet people from around the world and hear speakers from many countries. I'm particularly eager to check out the poetry published for young people in New Zealand (and Australia) because they are doing some very interesting things there! 

I'm also presenting a poster session on how poetry is a perfect medium for crossing cultural boundaries and will share the graphics here, FYI. I'm trying something different this time and have printed my poster on a scarf which I will display during my allotted time and then WEAR afterwards! I'll try to share photos later. Meanwhile, check out the conference programme here. Very cool!

Several years ago I co-edited the IBBY journal, Bookbird, and we closed every issue with a page featuring a poem for young people by different poets from around the world (usually in English as well as in the poet's native language). I just LOVED doing that and learned so much about poetry for young people published in other countries. Anyhoo, here's a graphic that features all the poems (too small to read, but you get the idea). You can access all these prior issues of Bookbird via Project Muse, if you have access to that resource. Enjoy!

More info to come soon...
Meanwhile, head on over to Dori Reads for more Poetry Friday fun. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Irene Latham + Awards + Elephants

Did you know that August 12 is World Elephant Day? Yep, and of course we have a poem for this occasion in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations written by the lovely Irene Latham. 

It's also the perfect moment to announce that Irene Latham was chosen to be the 2016 recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award.  Congratulations, Irene! This award is given every three years and goes to a poet with two books (or fewer) of poetry published thus far. The committee recognized her book, Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems From the Water Hole (Millbrook Press/Lerner), in particular. She also published When the Sun Shines on Antarctica (Millbrook Press/Lerner) prior to receiving this award and just this year published a new poetry collection, Fresh Delicious (Boyds Mills Press). 

Check out Irene's interesting website and follow her thoughtful blog, Live Your Poem, where she posts regularly. Irene was part of my fabulous Poetry Round Up panel at the TLA conference this spring and it was so lovely to meet her in person-- finally!  As a fellow southerner, I really appreciate her storyteller's way with words and her genteel spirit. Check out her work!