During April I was involved with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival – which would have to be up there as one of the biggest children’s festivals on earth. SCRF2018 was a fantastical, fun and sometimes frenzied (in the best possible way) celebration of creativity in all forms, and it was an incredible experience to be involved with! No matter how I explain it, (or how many pics I collage) you won’t be able to imagine the enormity of it, or the complete and utter w-O-w factor … but here are a few pics that might convey something of the festive feeling … or at least, my little poetry-part of it. Continue reading
This week, of course… The Moon.
I’ve never actually set out to photograph the moon before – and will always see it differently, now.
I will be in Brisbane during February – doing the author thing; school and bookshop visits, catching up with writing peeps and publishers, writing … and all sorts of good things!
If you’re a principal/teacher/librarian interested in a school visit, I still have spaces available. More information here; Bookings Open 2018.
I will be conducting a workshop and Q&A session for teachers and teacher-librarians at Riverbend Books on Friday evening, 16th February, with specific activities to engage students across ages and curriculum areas. For more information, phone: 07 3899 8555, or email: email@example.com.
If you’re a budding young poet, you can join me for a poetry workshop at Where The Wild Things Are Bookshop on Saturday, 17th February. Make a plane that is powered by words. Use scissors and glue to create poetry, then hunt for treasure in the Avid Reader’s garden. Tickets are $15, which includes your own copy of Too Many Friends, and all workshop materials. For more information, or to make a Booking, click the link; Kids’ Poetry Workshop Event, or phone: (07) 3255 3987.
Looking forward to finding myself in yet another instalment of the Country Girl Meets City adventure series. Mayhaps you’ll join me. 😉
Last week Laura intrigued me with her gorgeous Jellyfish Dance. I’d not heard of a lai, and was keen to try it. Then I snapped this pic of two willie wagtail chicks, so thought I’d pair them. It’s not altogether successful – but it’s all I have for you this week! 🙂
Thanks to Diane at Random Noodling for hosting this week’s Poetry Friday round-up!
After being inundated with rain (we had 18 1/2 inches – almost 500mm – in 3 days) and being unexpectedly flood-bound (but not flooded!) – my week disappeared in a gush!
But I’m singing in the rain today (err… it’s actually fine and sunny…) because – what a shock! – my name and my words are currently up on billboards around Brisbane, with thanks to @qldwriters. I never ever dreamt of that happening! (For my overseas #PoetryFriday peeps, Brisbane is the capital of my home state, Queensland.)
I’m a long way from Brisbane, so can’t see any in real life, but (YaY!) they have goacam – so I can see it, in real time! (You can too, at; http://www.goacam.com.) Below are some screenshots I’ve snapped. I’d LOVE to see any pics that folks living in Brisbane might happen to catch!
Proof that no writing is ever wasted – my #8wordstory is a reworked haiku from my first ever Month of Poetry – which was in fact a Month of Haiku.
The last month, I’ve been alternating between polishing (and submitting) picture books, and writing poetry. I’m busily at work on my Antarctic historical verse novel – trying new poetic forms and realising all over again how beneficial poetry is for writing. Truly seriously, if you are a principal, literacy coach, or classroom teacher (if you value writing muscle and creativity), you NEED poetry in your classrooms. Regularly! I know I say it often – but after an extended period of time fashioning facts into strict poetic forms I’m going to say it again – nothing builds writing muscle better than poetry. Nothing sparks creativity, wordplay and experimentation with literary devices better than poetry. It’s a challenge. It’s invigorating and rewarding. It’s valuable. It’s FUN!
Why aren’t we encouraging and enabling more kids to write more poetry?
Why do we clutter their curriculum with so many persuasives that kids can’t even be persuaded to want to WRITE!? Everything feels so prescribed. Actually, I had a little rant about something similar on Twitter last week. So maybe I should just combine the two, and do the job properly! In the hope that someone who writes curriculum might one day stumble on my blog, I’m just going to include a couple of the tweets here…
To illustrate my point, about the muscle, creativity and economy of poetry, I’ll include a little snippet from my Antarctic WIP. And a picture. From Antarctica… (Any excuse to revisit Antarctica!!)
The poem is a tetractys, (or in this case, a double tetractys) and follows a specific syllable count.
Line 1 – 1 syllable
Line 2 – 2 syllables
Line 3 – 3 syllables
Line 4 – 4 syllables
Line 5 – 10 syllables
The double tetractys reverses the syllable count in the second half. A tetractys can rhyme. Often mine do – but in this one I was focused on the facts and wordplay. And so many details! (Read more about the tetractys.)
Current version (after three days of tweaks) – which I can’t guarantee won’t change… but I’m feeling pretty chuffed with!
slick, too-smooth ice,
frozen obstacle course and push-pull squalls.
Do not snuff the lantern! Record results.
Face and fingers
Tetractys © Kathryn Apel 2017 – All rights reserved
There are so many different forms of poetry – something for every reader, writer and situation. Some forms have ‘rules’, like the tetractys, while others offer freedom. Poetry is a wealth of creativity just waiting to be unleashed!
Irene will help you Live Your Poem (Yay!) as she collects the links for the #PoetryFriday round-up today. Thanks, Irene. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, an educator or a student, (anyone, really) I’m sure you’ll find good stuff there!
A little child shall lead them – up the garden path!
I toyed with posting these poems for last week’s play-based learning post… until I remembered my dress-ups poem and Soapy Sid. But these were too cute to keep – so why not share them this week, instead? Poems inspired by gorgeous things my boys have said.
Sowing Seeds to Bake Buns
A four year-old was castigating Mother on her waste,
when throwing out the sesame seeds, in her clean-up haste.
He grabbed the bread roll packet and retrieved it from the bin,
still scolding, as he hunted for a pot to put them in.
His mother patiently explained, “We cannot plant these seeds.”
But laddie was intent upon his propagation deeds.
“Well how will we get more buns then?” the boy wanted to know.
“We won’t have more fresh buns if we don’t plant the seeds to grow!”
Toadstool in a Tutu
The little girl up on the stage, all dressed in glossy white,
was twirling on her slippered toes and prancing with delight.
Her tutu wasn’t made of tulle, all ruched with gathering,
but satin, stretched across a hoop – a flat and skinny thing.
A young boy in the audience was clearly quite entranced,
but baffled by the rigid skirt that quivered as she danced.
This mystery he had to solve, before it drove him mad…
“Is she a mushroom, or a toadstool?” asked the puzzled lad.
I like shopping trips with my son.
He turns mundane chores into fun!
When buying tinned tuna
that featured a schooner
he cried, “There’s a boat in this one!”
my boy edits
the cubby house
a construction project
and a poem
he edits everything
that needs fixing
because mum is
Poetry © Kathryn Apel
All rights reserved
Matt Forrest Esenwine will be shining a flashlight on Poetry Friday this week, so click across to https://mattforrest.wordpress.com to share your links and light up your night (and day) with poetry. 🙂
Welcome to the Poetry Friday Round-up. This is my first time hosting the Poetry Friday crew – and using a linky widget – so I sure am hoping it’s going to work first go!
Last week I posted some pics and collages from my experiences of Book Week in Australia. I mentioned that I was off to enjoy Boating Under the Bridge on the Saturday, so I’ll kickstart today’s blog with a collage from that day, because it was brilliant! So much free play stemming from a picture book that I’ve loved as both a mum and teacher, ‘Who Sank the Boat?’, by Pamela Allen.
A whole crowd of kids and carers spent a busy morning creating their own fun with simple and effective resources. It was just like #thegoodolddays #wheniwasakid and #kidswerekids. (Actually, it brought back more memories from when my boys were little, and building countless cubby houses, in trees, and from tin – and anything else they could find. And so much play!)
If you are a parent, carer or early-years educator in the Bundaberg region, get involved with the First Five Forever program, link in with Wide Bay Kids, and get yourself into your local library, because these three organisations, with the support of a whole lot of other community groups, are going to make a HUGE difference in the literacy and creativity of our up-and-coming generations! I was super impressed! Play matters – and these groups foster the fun of play-based learning, and recognise the crucial role of parents in that play. You can find more information on the Wide Bay Kids website – or ask at the Bundaberg Library. And get ready to have a whole lot of FUN with your kids!
I’d been planning to share a poem about my little nook of the world, but I’m realising it’s probably the perfect post to follow with a poem about creativity and play…
If I Dress-up.
When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.
With my stripy shirt in tatters
and my faded denim shorts,
I could wear a pirate’s eye patch
as I swish a sword of sorts.
If I stuff Mum’s old brown stockings
and make goggle ping-pong eyes,
I could go and scare Miss Muffet
in my spidery disguise.
With my parka and Dad’s helmet,
winter gloves and sunnies too,
I would safely look quite speedy
just like racing drivers do.
If I use a bit of face paint,
make a wand and glitter wings,
I can flutter as a fairy
as I sprinkle joy on things.
If I grab my board, and swimmers,
and then smear my lips with zinc
I would only need a wave to
be a surfer, don’t you think?
When I let my thoughts go crazy
then I can be anyone!
There’s no need to buy a costume,
just dress-up and have some fun.
© Kathryn Apel
First published in Comet Magazine; Issue 4 2006
All rights reserved.
And I know I’ve shared Soapy Sid before on Poetry Friday, but… #play #creativity #imagination #hereheisagain And there were pirates Boating Under the Bridge.
Maybe you, too, have a poem to share about creative play? Or a particular play-based memory from your childhood – or special moments with your children? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Now, let’s see how I go with creating and inserting this widget (child’s play! 😉 ) so you can share the links to your inspiring poetry posts. Have a great weekend, and enjoy the wordplay!
Inspired by National Science Week, I’m sharing a found poem, taken from the picture book, ‘Mr Ferris and His Wheel’ – a book that I borrowed as much for my late-teenaged sons as for myself. They’re both so busy with studies at the moment that a picture book is about all they have time for! (And we have always loved a good scientific picture book.)
“Before TV and the internet, people from around the globe gathered at World’s Fairs to share their different ways of life and new technologies.”
What grand events the World’s Fairs must have been! It made me a little envious of the days…
Mr Ferris Wheel World’s Fair; America to impress the world. Mechanical engineer George Ferris had an idea a dazzle an invention. Construction chief: “It would collapse.” George: “You are an architect, sir. I am an engineer.” Dynamite. Quicksand. Digging. Solid ground deep into the earth. Trains chugged 100,000 parts. Monster wheel had to spin; elegant passenger cars the size of a living room. Two thousand tons of steel up, up, UP. Glimpses of faraway states! Perfect escape was fifty cents. Magical. Ferris Wheel.
This was a fascinating read into the skepticism that surrounded the birth of the Ferris wheel. And the success anyway! Without any financial assistance from fair organisers (convinced of its failure, but finding no better alternatives) and bankers (who ‘laughed him into the street’), 34 year-old George Ferris used his own savings, and with the support of a few wealthy investors, financed the monstrosity himself.
I could share all sorts of interesting snippets with you, but where would I start… and where would I finish!? Instead I will say that you should just read the book yourself! And absorb the varied coloured pallets of the illustrations, that take you back to another time and magical place…
My son’s favourite line of the book?
“You are an architect, sir. I am an engineer.”
(There may be some bias in son’s preference. 😉 )
I have missed (in more ways than one!) Poetry Friday for some weeks now. It’s good to be back and posting! I’ll be checking out the links shared on Kay’s blog; http://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org. You can too!
TItile: Mr Ferris and His Wheel
Author: Kathryn Gibbs Davis
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PS Did I mention that I’m scared of heights? The slow and steady, creaky-freaky Ferris wheel is my least-favourite ride of the Show!
I was scrolling through the Instagram feed yesterday when this brightly colourful post by imagination.mama caught my eye;
A home for Little Gnome 🛏🏠✨ If I take too long to take the recycling pile on the counter out to the bin outside, little hands help themselves.. like this bed for Little Gnome made out of a tea bag box #imagination #reuse #recycle #creativity #creativekids #imaginativekids #101usesforacardboardbox #sparkimagination #kidsactivities #kidssewing #felt #craft #gnome #bed #teabagbox #happykidshappymama
Cue the memories! Because I might know a think about that… In fact, I may have even written a poem or two when my boys were in preschool.
For my international Poetry Friday friends, bowerbirds are endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea. There are a number of varieties, but I’ll link you to Graeme Chapman‘s page of photos – where you can see pics of the male Satin Bowerbird and his collection of blue treasures. And David Attenborough’s BBC video, showing the elaborate bower created. (It’s astonishing!)
A lot of years have passed since that poem was written… but not much has changed. The bowerbirds still make something out of nothing – and I can’t regret it! Having seen the benefits of creativity and problem-solving throughout the years, and the complexity of the projects they now undertake, I am quick to extol the virtues of creative play and recycled projects at a very young age. If there is one thing I did well as a mother, it was to feed my bowerbirds! And I’m thrilled that kids are starting to be inspired to play and be creative, through my author visits.