Poetry Month

*This was originally posted on Writer's Rumpus, here.
I’ve always loved poetry.  Robert Frost’s STOPPING BY THE WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING and Emily Dickinson’s I’M NOBODY are permanently seared into my memory from childhood recitations.  My first published poem in the elementary school newsletter still makes me smile: “…he howled and yowled all through the town, which made the sheriff frown.  And that is why my dog’s in jail and that’s the end of my tale”.  
I still memorize poetry with my children.  We can recite IF and DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT and O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN.  I read  Jane Yolen’s poems daily. If you sign uphere, one of her phenomenal poems will come to your inbox every day. But until recently, I hadn’t written poetry for about 20 years.  I just finished taking Renee LaTulip’s Lyrical Language Lab.  (Thanks Kidlit411 for the amazing prize!)  What a wonderful way to get me writing poetry again!  I’d forgotten how much fun it is to puzzle out a meter and rhyme!  This month I’m also participating in Angie Karcher’s Rhyming Picture Book Month challenge.  Every day I read 2 rhyming picture books and a blog post about writing rhyme well.  I love the idea of a full month of focusing on the power of poetry!  
Here’s a poem triggered by an assignment from Renee.
Daddy Long Legs
I see your shadow–
Eight angled knees looming over my journal–
An anorexic octopus sans ink.

Delicate as a bird’s wings–
Ravenous for my words,
The things of my heart…

But I wonder about you–
A spider, confider, an object of beauty…
A creature unruly, unchecked by your duty.

I’m grateful for poetry and here’s my challenge for you:  Take a moment to read or write a poem this month.
What is your favorite poem?  Please share your favorite or share something that you’ve written this month in celebration of poetry!

3 Kids' Reviews of Newbury Honor Book, Echo

Echo by by Pam Muñoz Ryan, is one of those books you can't put down. Ryan masterfully interweaves magic, pain, and hope with historical fiction in a way that resonates deeply with . The book is an incredible tribute to the power of music and how it spreads hope and healing. My 3 oldest kids devoured this book after I told them how good it was.  Their thoughts are below: 

James Call, 14 years

 by Pam Munoz Ryan is an incredible book. It starts out with a very intriguing prologue that makes you wonder whether the book is fantasy or realistic fiction. There are three parts to this book, and each part has it's own story and main character. All of those characters have one thing in common. They all love music and play the same harmonica, a harmonica that has a special ability to make them and others feel happiness and hope. The first character finds it in an abandoned attic, and because he works at the harmonica factory in Germany, he ships it to the Americas. The second character buys it from a music store, and later gives it to charity. The third character has a teacher that gives everyone in the class harmonicas, and she gets the special one. Overall, Echo has very good character development and a great plot. I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who can read. (It won a Newbury Honor Award).

Naomi Call, 12 Years

Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan, is an enjoyable book. It is well written, and very unique. Echo is all about the power of music. I love music, and that was something that I really liked about this book. The harmonica helps each of the characters with something different. One character that resonated with me was Mike. Mike plays the piano and takes good care of his little brother Frankie. I also play the piano, and have three younger siblings.  This is a lot of sorrow in this book, but it’s also hopeful. As an avid reader, I would highly recommend Echo to anyone. 

Sydney Call, 10 years

Echo is a great book that has three different people in it: Friedrich, Mike and Ivy. Each person has the same magic harmonica and all of the stories are happening around a war but in the end all of the characters get together. Ivy is my favorite character. I like the part when she says: "Your fate is not yet sealed. Even in the darkest night, a star will shine, a bell will chime, a path will be revealed." I really loved this book. I highly recommend that you read it.  

We all give this book 5 stars!  If you haven't already read it, now's the time to go to the library or your local bookstore and check it out!  What have you read lately that resonated with you? 
*this post was originally on Children' Book Academy, here.

Interview with Anna Staniszewski talented author of Finders Reapers

Anna Staniszewski
I first discovered Anna Staniszewski when my kids and I read her Dirt Diary series.  We adored them and quickly devoured herUnfairy Tale Life series.  Anna’s books are fast paced, clever and adorable!  I expected my girls to love these books, but even my 14 year old son reads them and was excited when he heard about Finders Reapers.  I’m thrilled to have Anna on Writer’s Rumpus today!
Kirsti Call: Finders Reapers is a clever, fun, fast paced read.  How did you come up with the idea?

Anna Staniszewski: The idea for the first book in the series, I’m With Cupid, came from a brief mention of a play in the British classic The Children of Green Knowe in which Cupid and Death accidentally swap powers. I loved that idea and wondered what would happen if those mythical characters were average middle school kids. For the sequel, Finders Reapers, I wanted to throw my characters into the midst of more magical mayhem and see how they dealt with it.:)
KC: What is your process and how long did it take you to complete the book?
AS: These days I sell most of my books on proposal which means that I send my editor a few sample chapters and a detailed synopsis, and then I have to complete the book by a specific date. That means that from the time I start writing a book to the time it hits shelves, it’s usually about a year. I guess you could say my process is a bit stressful, but I seem to work best when there’s a little adrenaline involved!
KC: Do you have a writing schedule?i'm with cupid final cover
AS: I used to! Then my daughter was born and that all went out the window! These days, I sneak in writing time whenever I can. If I don’t have time to write every day, I try to still check in with my current project every day or two (even if it’s just five minutes of brainstorming while I’m in the shower) so I don’t get too far away from it.
KC: How do you choose what to write about?
AS: When I get a story idea, I usually write it down and then go back to it later to see if I still like it. If I do, I’ll see if I can come up with some concrete scenes that would happen in the story. If those scenes start playing out in my head like a movie, that usually means there’s something there worth pursuing. If there’s no movie then I often put the project aside and let it stew for a bit longer.
To read more go to Writer's Rumpus, here.