Speedy Snails!

Yay and hurray, there was speedy Snail mail in my letterbox this week – advance copies of my March release, What Snail Knows. (You can pre-order your copy here.) And, with the perfect prop, there were just a few photos snapped to mark the occasion. 🙂 (Snail has been waiting and waiting for her day of fame and she was keen to make the most of it! No other snails have had a look in.)

Excuse my damp and rumpled dress. It started drizzling at the letterbox, and I had to walk 1km clutching my parcel – so very grateful it was sent Express, because not only did it arrive super-fast, (Yay for speedy snails!) but it also had plastic packaging to protect it!😅

Here are some fave Snail pics, to mark the occasion. You can be pretty sure more will make an appearance, somewhere.

No new poetry today – but What Snail Knows is a verse novel! A companion story to Too Many Friends – this from the perspective of Lucy. The quiet one, who’s always alone… (So beautifully illustrated by Mandy Foot.)

Lucy and Dad move a lot, so it’s hard to make friends.

Lucy’s glad she has Snail, the perfect pet for a lonely girl. If only she had her own shell to hide in every time she started at a new school.

But this place is different. She likes her teacher, Miss Darling. She likes her classmates, especially Tahnee. She even likes Mei-hui’s van park, where she lives with Dad and Snail. This place feels like home. Can she convince her dad to stay?

If you are missing snail poems, you’ll find a selection of mine here

Or perhaps you’d enjoy this prompt, here to write your own snail (or other pet) poem. Perfect for kids, with their delayed start for school!

Talking of snails… the lovely Irene Latham has her own snail story releasing shortly; Snail’s Ark. (Yes! You definitely need that yellow dress, Irene!) Today Irene is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-up at Live Your Poem. How perfect is that?

 

The Little Things

I am determined to post again – so today I’m sharing two poems I’ve had sitting in my files for many-many years. I’d never seen fireflies until I was married. And we still don’t see them often. Didn’t seen them at all during the drought years. But I saw some on Christmas day… and again, two weeks ago.

Fireflies

Fanciful
fireflies
fritter
the night away,
flitting
and flashing
like flickering
festive
fairylights.

By contrast, drought or floods, there are always ants. (And lots of them!)

Ants

Bit by bit
they thieve
and leave.
Left, right,
left, right,
left, right…

Left!

Poems © Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved

Hoping the little critters in your life are sparking your joy – not stealing it!

Someone who sparks my joy is Tabatha – and she’s hosting Poetry Friday this week, at The Opposite of Indifference. (She had some fun animal couplets last week. If you haven’t already seen them, scroll back for a smile.) Thanks Tabatha.

Wonder (of wonders, I am here!)

I’m becoming reacquainted with my computer after a break through the Christmas/New Year period. There are so many things I could post – but I just can’t yet pull those thoughts together, so for today, I’m keeping it simple with a poem (right) inspired by a moment of wonder I experienced this week.

My last post mentioned snail eggs. Well – I have since hatched four clutches of snails! But the tiny snails that hatched this week were a complete surprise – and so small, they almost escaped notice! There aren’t many – but I spotted T2 busily laying more eggs today…

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There are more bubba snail pictures on my Instagram page – and lots of other things, too, actually. 🙂 (I’m still basking in the beauty of yesterday’s sunset.) Click the montage to go directly and you’ll see I didn’t completely fall off the face of the earth, even though my blog was quiet.

And there are more poems on the Poetry Friday round-up, which you’ll find (with a jewel of a pomegranate poem) at https://ayearofreading.org.

Thanks Mary Lee for hosting the Poetry Friday crew this week. I made it! (Just…)

So Much Happening!

The past weeks have been huge here. Life has been huge – so many emotions. Including the overwhelming joy and wonder of rain! (That happened last Friday – and I am still rejoicing.)

watercolour landscape;
a new canvas
reflects the sky

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved

During all that, I’ve been super-busy with final page proofs for my upcoming verse novel 🐌 – and cover design, internal spreads, and final pages for my next picture book🐺, releasing May 2022. What a (busy!) joy it has been to be bouncing between two such very different books. One sweet, gentle, heartfelt free verse. The other a jaunty rhyming picture book with humour and heart. (There will be a cover reveal coming soon for the picture book! Cannot wait to share it with you.) I’m thankful for all the wonderful people I get to work with in publishing, (or who work behind the scenes bringing their skills and passion to the project) and for the friendships I have developed. I truly am blessed and love this writing life!

You are all familiar with my pet snails – that I’ve had for more than 8 months now. I got them during the first week of edits for ‘What Snail Knows’. Which is why one of them is called Snail – for Lucy’s Snail in the book. (I was looking at pics today and am rather gobsmacked by how much Snail and T1 have grown in that time!) This week, on the day I sent my last little tweaks for Final Pages… this ⬇️⬇️⬇️ happened!

And I am all amazement!

Snail eggs! Baby snails are coming… 😮 Snail’s baby snails! 😲 I will keep you posted!!

To cap off a very busy week of all the feelings… Many, many years ago I wrote a poem for a class of Superkids. There have been soooo many Superkids since that time, but how lovely to see that the poem is still powering on! Click the pic below to watch the video.

My post is late – because… busy week!😜 But not too late to link into the Poetry Friday round-up, hosted by Michelle at Michelle Kogan. And not too late to squeeze one more thing into the busyness. I’ve a book event tomorrow morning, at the new Bundaberg Book Boutique! Hoping to see lots of Bundaberg kids there for a reading of ‘The Bird in the Herd’, and activities.

Have a great weekend, whatever you are doing!

This Post Comes With Cute Alert!

I’m thinking today must be my cutest post – ever! Because I’m sharing fellow Aussie kidlit author, Michael Gerard Bauer‘s adorable little granddaughter, reading ‘The Bird in the Herd’. She’s not even two!

I love the rock and read. And her adorable pronunciation. That expressive finish. And those precious moments of shared reading between Daddy and daughter. (So much love for that!) 💕

Let’s not dumb down our writing for kids. Let’s give them mouthfuls of words that they can chomp and chew, to extend their vocabulary and their knowledge of the world around them. And let’s give them rhythm and rhyme to roll with!

I’m super-grateful to doting Poppy Mike, who shared this video with me, so I can share it with you! And to Mummy and Daddy who have given their permission. This video is precious! (So is this little lass.) Thank-you.

Ruth at there is no such thing as a God-forsaken town has our Poetry Friday round-up today. I’m sharing a photo of the bird in the herd on a rainy day, for our little poppet, and also for Ruth, who loves birds. Praise the Lord, it is raining as I prep this post on Thursday.

Australian Verse Novel Resource – NCACL

The past many months I have been working on a project with the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature, and fellow verse novelist Sally Murphy, to create a resource related to Australian verse novels. I am so pleased to share that the project is complete – and far better than I ever imagined possible. In short, it looks amazing!

I am super-excited that the Australian Verse Novel Resource is now live! Australia has a rich history with verse novels, and it is so good to have a centralised jump-off point for readers and educators alike, to find and read more and more of these wonderful books. I’m also proud that this resource can fly a flag on the world’s stage, for a genre that Australia has championed for so long.

The resource will be launched (both in-person and online) by the highly respected Aussie author of many genres, Jackie French, AM. The 5pm AEDT launch time won’t work for friends in the Northern hemisphere – but the Australian Verse Novel Resource itself is timeless. And I most definitely recommend that you check it out!

 

The Australian Verse Novel Resource provides a comprehensive listing of titles, including; annotations, themes, useful resources, awards and Australian curriculum. The Resource is intended to help educators, librarians, readers and academics identify and explore Australian verse novels. I’m pretty confident it delivers. 🙂

In the lead-up to the launch I was interviewed by the lovely, knowledgeable and very generous Joy Lawn on her blog, Paperbark Words. It kind of feels like I’ve peeled back a portion of my skull, committing things to paper that I’ve not done before – but I so appreciate Joy’s questions and observations, and the way she had me both delving into the past, and considering future practises.

 

Be sure to have a cuppa on hand, because it is a longish read.🙃

And don’t forget to check out this week’s links for Poetry Friday at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Because you can never have too much poetry. Thanks, Matt.

Coming Soon! What Snail Knows

I am delighted to share the cover of my upcoming verse novel with you. Illustrated by Mandy Foot and published by UQP, What Snail Knows will be releasing March 2022 in Australia.

Some of the words that have been used to describe it thus far include; delicate, gorgeous and whimsical, pretty and fairytale. I’m utterly charmed. But don’t be fooled – because there’s toads and things inside! But mostly, there’s a sweet and sensitive little girl called Lucy. And Snail. So much Snail!💕

A moving verse novel for younger readers about a shy girl coming out of her shell with a little help from her pet snail.

Lucy and Dad move a lot, so it’s hard to make friends. Luckily, she has Snail, the perfect pet for a lonely girl. If only she had her own shell to hide in each time she started at a new school.

But this place is different. She likes her teacher, Miss Darling. She likes her classmates, especially Tahnee. She even likes Mei-hui’s van park, where she lives with Dad and Snail. This place feels like home. But can she convince her Dad to stay?

A story about making friends and finding where you belong.

Available for pre-order now, via the UQP website.

Special shout-out to the lovely Linda Mitchell, who messaged me offering to be a beta-reader at a time when I was swirling in doubts. If it wasn’t for you, this manuscript might still be hiding in the snail shell that is my computer. And that’s the truth! 💕

No poem from me today – just this gorgeous cover, and the promise of many more poems inside!

Mary Lee is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-up, which promises many more poems, too. You’ll find it here; https://ayearofreading.org. Thanks, Mary Lee!

What a Snail Shows

I was recently rearranging my snail home and (Gah!) dropped T1 … onto my tiled floor. My heart dropped, too, before I even saw the broken shell. We know what happens when things drop on tiles.

I was sure I had condemned T1 to a painful death. Such a significant portion of the new growth cracked off, exposing florid pink flesh. I started googling …  and behold! Snails can mend their shell. Quite quickly, in the right environment.

I always have eggshell and shell grit in their home – but I crushed more and added it, then added more moisture to the soil (so his body didn’t dry out) …  popped the vented lid on …  and voilà! Five days later the shell had regrown. It was only thin – and there was an obvious line. But I was astounded! Another 10 days and if you look closely you can see the mended shell. (And so much more new growth added for good measure. T1 just keeps on growing!)

I do not recommend dropped snail. If the shell had broken in the middle, the outcome may not have been so good. But how amazing is the intricate detail in creation; that snails can mend a broken shell?

Poetry Peeps and blog followers may recognise that this poem is inspired by some similar poems posted recently – though it doesn’t conform to the form. You can read ‘What a Snail Knows’ and ‘What a Snail Does NOT Know’ here.

Poets know that you will find the link-up to today’s PoetryFriday at Linda’s blog; TeacherDance. Thank-you, Linda!

A Whisker of Poetry

Could there be a better OpShop find? I will only talk in cat poems from now on.

 

life will be
crazy
little kitty –
pounce
like a tiger

(This untitled cunning whisker of poetry © Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved)

Feline Affection

mischievous cunning;
pounce
nip
swat
hiss
trick
play
scratch

stripe like a tiger

cat

(This wild whisker of poetry © Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved)

The lovely Irene will help you Live Your Poem – and share fabulous poetry inspiration from the whole Poetry Friday gang. Have a tigerific weekend. I’m excited for next week – a whole week talking books and poetry as author in residence at St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School … Swoon! Purrrrrfect!)

Nothing… 😶

I’m rather delighted to share another short poem published on the  Dirigible Balloon this week. Contrary to what you might think, it’s a poem where I have nothing to say. Intrigued? You can read (and hear) more here.

I’m also excited to say that I’ve had a sneak peek at the new Australian verse novel resource that a small team of us have been working on – and it is amazing! I’m so excited that it is almost ready to unveil for the world. I’ve always known Australia has a rich history in verse novels, and appreciated the support of my publisher, UQP, who are so much a part of that rich history, but who knew that we (Australia) have published so many for children!

Here is an interesting fact I learnt this week, in a blog post by Steven Herrick on the release of his new novel, ‘How to Repaint a Life’. Steven writes;

I’d like to acknowledge Leonie Tyle and UQP, who twenty-five years ago had the courage to release the first verse novel for young adults ever published in Australia. They followed this a few years later with the first verse novel for children ever published. Both were happily written by me.

You can read Steven’s full blog post here; https://poetryfootballtravel.blogspot.com

Catherine at Reading to the Core has the Poetry Friday round-up for today. And I have lads home at intervals over the weekend, and a plan to enjoy our short time together again. But I will look to catching up with your posts, even if I don’t get to comment much this week. Whatever your weekend involves, I hope it is wonderful!