Writing-Related Holiday Pics

There were so many reasons to take pics on holidays.

  1. Stunning vistas.
  2. I want to remember this forever.
  3. There could be a story in this …
  4. Sick hubby in isolation is missing all this! (!!!)
  5. Kids at school will love this.
  6. won’t believe this.
  7. I can’t believe I’m doing this!!!!
  8. And many more…

Here are some I took because;

….9.  Books … Words … Writing.
………(I hope I’ve found them all! Be assured I will edit and add them if I haven’t, because… #justso)  Continue reading

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Collating an Anthology – with Kenn Nesbitt

oneminuteOne Minute Till Bedtime is an impressive collection of children’s poetry compiled by former American Children’s Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt. Whilst I wouldn’t encourage my students to drop off to sleep in the middle of class, we have been sneaking a few-more-than-a-few poems into our school days, and I speak from experience when I say this book is a brilliant classroom resource –  because it celebrates the FUN of poetry!

I had a few questions about the process of compiling a poetry collection, and I’m delighted to share Kenn’s insights with you…

Kenn, with One Minute Till Bedtime, you have put together an anthology that touches five countries. How did you know where to start – to draw poets from so far afield?

Kenn NesbittI’ve been writing children’s poetry for more than 20 years, and have met many, many poets during that time. Years ago I started keeping a list ofchildren’s poet I knew, and those I hadn’t met yet. When the opportunity to create this anthology came up, I was able to reach out to nearly 200 published children’s poets. I received submissions from over 160 of them.

What is the breakdown of poets/countries, as included in the book?

There are 132 poets in this collection. 100 of them are from the US, 15 are from Australia*, 13 from the UK, 3 from Canada, and 1 from Italy.

What sort of things (aside from being less than 60 seconds) were you looking for, when making your selections?

I was looking specifically for poems that would evoke an emotion. I am of the opinion that good poetry makes you feel something when you read it, so this was my key criterion in choosing the poems. Additionally, I was interested in poems that I felt were particularly well-written, regardless of style or form.

I love the diversity of the poems. There are some that could be considered almost a risk, going so far out on a limb … and that’s what makes you laugh out loud at the success of the poems. (Like April Haplin Wayland’s, ‘Rolling down the Hill’, and James Carter’s ‘What to Yell When You’re Trapped in the Belly of a Whale’. Delight!)

In addition to sharing the work of so many children’s poets from around the world, I wanted to show the diversity of poetry being written for kids today. That includes concrete poems like these, as well as poetic forms such as pantoums, haiku, abecedarian poems, free verse, humorous rhymes, and more.

How did you decide on the order of the poems, to balance length, type, themes?

With over 140 poems, I thought it would be a good idea to break the book up into sections, each with about 20-30 minutes of reading. This makes a book with seven sections, one for each day of the week, and each with a reading time of less than 30 minutes.

I also decided to begin each section with more realistic poems (e.g., poems about nature, seasons, etc.) and progress toward more imaginative and dreamlike poems, and poems about bedtime and sleeping. The idea here was to somewhat mimic the process of falling asleep.

With this in mind, I selected the actual order by printing out all of the poems and spreading them out on my kitchen table where I could easily see them and shuffle them around. I also wanted to pair poems together so that similar poems could share a common illustration on each two-page spread.

How super-talented and diverse is Christoph Niemann!? I love the quirky extra dimension his illustrations bring to each poem. Were there poems where Christoph submitted more than one possible illustration to consider? Can you give us a short insight into this collaborative process?

I agree. Christoph’s work is so clever and whimsical that you can spend as much time with the illustrations as you do with the poems. There were indeed a few poems where Christoph provided two illustrations for me and my editors to consider. For the most part, though, he worked with the publisher. I didn’t have any direct contact with him during the illustrating of the book, but I did get to see the early sketches and watch as the illustrations progressed.

You yourself have seven poems in the collection. Do you have a favourite amongst your own contributions?

If I had to select just one, it would be “Have I Told You?” I’m also fond of “Whew!,” “How to Fall Asleep,” and “What Do You Dream?”

And finally, what are some of your tips, to make bedtime reading a success?

I think the best thing a parent can do to make bedtime reading a success is to do it consistently as part of a child’s bedtime ritual, beginning at birth. Also, use it as an opportunity for discussion and learning. Children will have lots of questions as you read to them. It’s okay to stop and explain as you go along. This is a great way to expand a child’s vocabulary and their knowledge of the world.

Thank-you so much for the insights, Kenn, and congratulations on a job done exceptionally well!

…oooOOOooo…

* Links to Australian poets in One Minute Till Bedtime

One Minute Till… NOW!

oneminuteThis week saw the release of One Minute Till Bedtime, a poetry collection compiled by Kenn Nesbitt, which includes two of my poems. That was exciting… but it got even more exciting when my pre-ordered book arrived, yesterday, in the middle of a crazy-busy 24hours. I haven’t had a chance to read it cover-to-cover yet, but I’ve been dipping and diving into it at every chance I get, and am loving the variety and unexpectedness of the poems. And the gorgeous, whimsical, simply clever illustrations by Christoph Niemann. It really is a joy of words.

And it’s a thrill to be sharing the pages with friends and poets from Australia, and amongst the Poetry Friday crew. A huge thank-you to Kenn for including my poems in the amazingly versatile collection. What a wonderful way to spread a love of poetry through homes and generations around the world.

Here is one of my poems… Continue reading

Book Week 2016

KatApel_Anywhere

Wise words in this haiku-like poem from my eldest, when he was a young lad. Because a book can take YOU places, just as you can take a book places. #versatile 🙂

It’s Book Week in Australia; book character costumes, author visits, library visits and celebrations of all things bookish.

Day One was the costume parade. I dressed up as Tiddalick the frog – and was thrilled to see Brette from my chapter book, ‘Fencing with Fear’ also put in a surprise appearance.

Tiddalick with Brette from 'Fencing with Fear'

Tiddalick with Brette from ‘Fencing with Fear’

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How to Host an Author or Illustrator at Your School

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  • Read their books before the visit.
  • Talk about what makes this book different from other books you’ve read … and what makes this book special.
  • Talk about how the book makes you feel … and techniques the author and/or illustrator has used to achieve this.
  • Talk about the shape and placement of the words on the page.
  • Talk about what the illustrations bring to the story.
  • Do activities inspired by the book.
  • Write and illustrate your own text innovation.
  • Experiment with the style and medium that you think the illustrator may have used.
  • Create a book or a banner, to showcase student work.
  • Have your camera ready to take photos of your amazing kids with these very appreciative visitors.

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Picture Books Pulse

School holidays means, no; school lunches, early mornings, pressures and routines. Creativity uncoils and my brain has space to explore possibilities and see the bigger picture of writing…

My July ‘holidays’ in a nutshell…

Three tweets set the scene.

Son sets the bar… high.

Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking

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Australian Stories Threatened

KatApel_KoalaPostcardIt seems like it wasn’t that long ago, we were fighting to protect Australian stories, and our vibrant Australian publishing industry… and yet here we are again! The Australian Government is again looking to remove Parallal Import Restrictions on books, ripping the heart out of the Australian publishing industry. Continue reading

How to Storybird

Last week I posted about my discovery of Storybird. (You can read more here.) Storybird has been around since 2010, so I was feeling a little late to the party… but it soon became apparent that I wasn’t the only late arrival. So… for those of you who’ve never flown the nest, here’s a little peek into the process of creating a poem in Storybird. (You can also write picture books and chapter books, without the word ‘tags’ but I love the immediacy of the poetry – and haven’t yet spread my wings much in the other areas. And besides, this is Poetry Friday. 😉 )

First, you choose a photo (1) as inspiration. There are so many illustrations to choose from, generously shared by incredibly talented artists. There are vibrant pieces with an abundance of colour, or simpler black and white illustrations – or muted colours in between. (Something for every mood and preference!) For this example, I chose bright rain by thedreamygiraffe

Storybird Collage01 Sm
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Ipswich Story Arts Festival

Every kidlit festival I have attended has been a lot of fun – and each of them special in their own way. The first week of Ipswich Story Arts Festival was this year held in the Ipswich CBD, with authors staying at the Metro Motel, and sessions spread around venues in close proximity, in the city centre. My first day’s sessions were held in the Metro conference rooms, and the second day I popped over the road where I had a lovely auditorium at the library. Whichever venue I was presenting in, I had one requirement; I had to have a microphone! I’d lost my voice at a school visit the week before, and you have NO idea how hard it is to find a lost voice!

From a presenter’s view, the Story Arts Festival shines because of the relaxed environment that the close proximity fostered – which enabled friendships and fun with other presenters, both in breaks, and during the after-school events, whilst still being accessible to the kids. (And THEY were the reason we were there!)

One of my favourite images from the event is this – slightly blurry, but catching the movement of a stream of students passing in (and out) of the Metro Motel’s main entrances, enroute to the conference rooms, where talks were held. Because that’s what kids do!

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Ritzy Kids

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