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KILLER WRITING & KIDLIT RESOURCES okay‚ÄĒyou don‚Äôt have to go crazy‚Ķjust click on one

OY! YOU MEAN THERE ARE OTHER SITES TO EXPLORE?!?! (these have nothing to do with anything except they’re wonderful and you need to know about them)


INCREDIBLE INDIES–INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES how to find one close to you and why we must support them

leaping girl


Check out the fabulous¬†PoetryTagTime series, brainchild of¬†Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. ¬†This e-anthology (this GAME of poetry, really) includes (so far) a series of three poetry anthologies for three different age groups. ¬†Thirty poems by thirty different poets [including me :^) ], each of whom wrote a poem inspired by the one before. ¬†For just a little bit of money (the price may change, so I’m not quoting a price…but trust me, it’s CHEAP) you can download this book to your computer…or it you have one, your Kindle or other e-reader, and read the poems as well as brief descriptions of how each poet found a way to write from the words that came before. ¬†The third book in this brilliant series, Gift Tag,
is one of the best-selling children’s poetry eBooks on Amazon.com.
Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell’s Pomelo Books has come out with a FABULOUS line of Poetry Friday Anthologies which offer a poem-a-week for each grade, along with five ways to present each poem and extend the lesson, all with connections to the Common Core. [confession: I have poems in each of these books]

Here’s the Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School
which I apparently chewed the top off because it was so tasty):
xAnd here are just a few of the sites which geared up for Poetry Month, full of interviews, poetry prompts and poems:
  • I post one of my own poems every day in April (Poetry Month) each year.
  • Every Friday in the Kidlitosphere is Poetry Friday hosted by a different blog each week, with links to children’s writers and poets who have original poems and/or poetry-related posts that day.
  • Check out Lane Fredrickson‚Äės generous and hilarious site on ‚Äúeverything you need to know to write with rhyme and meter‚ÄĚ‚Äďit‚Äôs fabulous!¬† Here‚Äôs your class, folks.¬† Just hunker down and read what Lane is giving all of us for free.¬† (Thanks to poet and author Denise Doyne for pointing out Lane‚Äôs site!)
  • a 28-minute¬†cable TV interview in which I talk about poetry (and wish I’d cut my bangs that morning!)
  • Susan Taylor Brown always posts something interesting, often about poetry and dogs, and especially interesting during Poetry Month.
  • Tricia Stohr-Hunt posts a poetry prompt every Monday
  • Liz Garton Scanlon’s¬†a Haiku-a-Day
  • Jone MacCulloch’s¬†30 Days-30 Students: A poem a day from students
  • Gregory Pincus’ Gotta Book blog has lots of poetry throughout the year; during Poetry Month he hosts 30 Poets/30 Days -I’ve linked to his summary of the whole month of never-before-seen poems by a slew of poets¬†¬†[including me :^) ]¬†writing for kids.
  • Jama Rattigan often hosts a Poetry Potluck in April (an original poem and favorite recipe by guest bloggers)
  • Andromeda Jazmon¬†at A Wrung Sponge¬†gives us her haiga (original haiku + photos)
  • Author and fellow bloggette JoAnn Early Macken has a terrific¬†poetry page on her website which includes some of her own poetry and a terrific list of poetry books, poetry for young adults, and books about writing poetry.

AMAZING AUTHORS & ILLUSTRATORS Here are a few of my friends to get you started:

The Children’s Authors Network! (CAN!)

We are a community of acclaimed children’s book authors and illustrators. We promote literacy and the enjoyment of quality books.Through lively presentations we inspire children to read, write, and grow creatively.¬†CAN! members are fabulous authors and illustrators and stellar presenters:Joe Cepeda,¬†Tim Egan,¬†¬†Jeri Chase Ferris,¬†Mary Ann Fraser¬†Joan Bransfield Graham,Amy Goldman Koss, ¬†Michelle Markel,¬†Alexis O’Neill,Joanne Rocklin,¬†Barney Saltzberg,¬†April Halprin Wayland,¬†Mark London Williams, and¬†Janet Wong¬†

Teaching Authors a blog by six children’s authors who teach:

…and me! Our blog includes “writing workouts”‚ÄĒwriting exercises for you to try–and lots of resources.

Two of the authors in my writing critique group, which we call The Poetry Circle, have websites. They are exqusitely talented colleagues; they are dear friends. We meet in brilliant author Sonya Sones’ pink kitchen–wondrous illustrator/author Ruth Lercher Bornstein, poet Peg Leavitt and me.

How to pronounce my name and how to pronounce lots of other author and illustrators names.

St√©phane Jorisch‚ÄĒ The miracle illustrator of NEW YEAR AT THE PIER (be sure to click on the list of his awards…the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration–which he’s won several times–is the Canadian equivalent of our Caldecott award!)

Julia Halprin Jackson ‚ÄĒFabulous new writer.¬† Keep an eye on this one. (Confession: she’s my niece.)

Poet, Author and Educator Extraordinaire and all around fun guy, Paul B. Janeczko (check out his “Ask a Poet” page!)

Elaine Clayton ‚ÄĒThe perfect illustrator of GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING and the author and illustrator of many, many wonderful books. I believe she may be my spiritual sister….(in fact, here’s her other, spiritual site, well worth exploring)

John Ritter ‚ÄĒ A friend and a terrific young adult author. His novels center on baseball…and so much more.

Pam Munoz Ryan‚ÄĒ An amazing writer with a big heart. The author of PAINT THE WIND (which I just listened to on CD and which is fabulous), ESPERANZA RISING, RIDING FREEDOM, ECHO and many more novels and picture books.

Barney Saltzberg‚ÄĒ A talented picture book writer-and-illustrator and marvelous singer/songwriter who has written and illustrated more than 50 books! Want to learn to draw? Wanna have fun? Check out Barney’s site!

Mim Eichler Rivas is another incredibly prolific friend. She co-wrote THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, swimmer Michael Phelp’s mother’s autobiography, an amazing book about the most intelligent horse on record called BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY and more. Her husband, Victor Rivers, is a writer, an advocate against domestic violence, and an actor.

Another amazing friend, Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, author of the marvelous POEMCRAZY and other books about freeing your life with words, will come your way if you can gather enough friends for a workshop.

And here is Katie Davis’s site…author/illustrator/blogger/radio and TV woman…a total energizer bunny!

More friend authors/illustrators/magnificent human beings and their blogs:
Greg Pincus, Mary Ann Fraser, Erica Silverman,  Anastasia Suen, Edna Cabcabin Moran, Gwen Dandridge, Jason Lethcoe, Lisa Yee, Tina Nichols Coury, Greg Trine

And still more wonderful writers and illustrators!
Amy Timberlake
April Halprin Wayland
April Pulley Sayre
Ashley Formento
Alvina Ling
Anne Broyles
Anne Ylvisaker
Barbara Garrison
Betsy James
Bill Crider
Christine Taylor Butler
Carmen Bernier Grand
Diane Greenseid
Debby Dahl Edwardson
Elizabeth Winthrop
Elizabeth Raum
Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Erin Eitter Kono
Hope Vestergaard
Joy Allen
Jennifer J. Stewart
Janie Bynum
Jane Naliboff
Katie Davis
Kim Norman
Karen Romano Young
Lee Wardlaw
Lisa Harkrader
Laya Steinberg
Louise Hawes

Marsha Skrypuch
Mary dePalma

Nancy Bo Flood

Nikki Grimes

Philomena O’Neill
Peni Griffin
Phillis Gershator
Rebecca Thornburgh
Ruth McNally Barshaw
Sarah Dillard
Sarah Darer Littman
Sharon Vargo
Sheila Bailey
Tanya Lee Stone
Wendy Lichtman

writing in my journal at night

KILLER WRITING AND KIDLIT RESOURCES–In no particular order. (I know, it makes me crazy, too. Just close your eyes and pick one link. Don‚Äôt over do it.)

Want to write and/or illustrate children’s books? Check out the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators– that’s how I learned how to be a professional in this field.

Here, hidden on this very website, you’ll find Where Can A Young Writer Get Published?

Check out Harold Underdown’s Purple Crayon– he’s a children’s book editor with an informative site about the children’s book publishing industry and answers to ALL the questions aspiring writers need to know. Really. All of them.

My friend, Professor Sylvia Vardell, writes a not-to-be-missed poetry blog (it’s listed in the Top 100 Poetry Blogs)

Bookology Magazine¬†~ If you want to stay up-to-date on children’s literature, sign-up for the¬†free, classy, fun and highly visual online magazine Bookology,¬†run by the brilliant Steve and Vicki Palmquist.¬† Delivered each week to your inbox, staying informed has never been easier. Read the latest news, learn about important new books, get advice from foremost teachers and librarians, benefit from the Pick of the Blogs … everything you need to work, and read, smarter.

Easy Teaching Worksheets ~ this site offers hundreds of free worksheets in the categories of: Math, Science, English Language Arts, Teaching Printables, Graphics Organizers, Holidays, Social Studies, and Foreign Language. Quite a resource!

During National Poetry Month (which is the month of April, of course), Greg K. Pincus posts an unpublished poem from a different well-known children’s poet every day on his poetry blog, Gottabook. Here‚Äôs mine from his 30 Poets/30 Days 2009.

Canadians Andrea Ross and Mark Blevis run Just One More Book, a blog with great warmth which includes podcast interviews with hundreds of children’s authors and illustrators (here’s his interview with me)–another not-to-be-missed planet on the web. (Okay, I’m guilting you, I know. Maybe you should take a break and…write?)

My very smart friend Heidi Estrin runs the fabulous The Book of Life…”A podcast about Jewish people and the books we read”…marvelous. Check it out.

Another incredibly warm and articulate friend is Esme Raji Codell, who runs Planet Esme–oh, my! She’s turned a second apartment into a…well, yes, a kidlit planet; her mission is to equalize education in American through children’s books.

How about a journalist who has an archive of authors she has interviewed (including me, in 1995)?

USA Writes 4 Kids includes a map of the USA on which you click to find more than 150 children’s authors and playwrights. Reviews by kids, stories by young authors and more.

Los Angeles Public Library ‚Äď To find recommended reading for all ages, click on Kid’s Path, then on the colorful bookmark called Great Books.

Authors for Libraries‚Äď and speaking of libraries, author members of this group (including me) support libraries and speak in libraries.

Learn a new word each day, and receive a daily quote as well (for free!) with A-Word-A-Day

1,000 Pieces of Peace is poet Judy Lucas’s site to gather poems, prose, and “prose pictures about peace” for a book to benefit “the world’s first silly hospital” (based on the work of the real Patch Adams) in West Virginia. If you read this after her deadline has passed, you can still do good–contact Judy through her site.

Listen to Halfway Down the Stairs, a marvelous weekly half-hour children’s radio program. Ruth Buell, aka Uncle Ruthie, weaves children’s books and music seamlessly on one theme each week. It’s one of the longest running children’s radio shows in the country. If you search for the Sept. 12,2009 Rosh Hashanah-themed program, she reads New Year at the Pier–A Rosh Hashanah Story!

CALIFORNIA READERS ~ a marvelous organization whose goal it is to connect authors and artists with students and staff in California

looking through a frame

Never seen the Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard ? At least watch the first seven minutes. Really. You will never be the same.

Speaking of too much stuff, check out my friend Brooks Palmer‚Äôs website. He has helped free me of clutter so I can truly live my life. Beg, steal, or borrow his life-changing book, Clutterbusting–Letting Go of What’s Holding Your Back.

Walk through the galleries of the amazing Bread Art Project, where you can burn your own creation onto a piece of sourdough or rye!




Enjoy folk music? Next time you’re near Los Angeles on the first Saturday of the month, come to a meeting of the Santa Monica Traditional Folk Music Club.

Looking for a local library?  Check ou LibraryUnion to find one of hundreds of thousands in the U.S!

Speaking of music…did you like what you heard in the background of the New Year at the Pier book trailer? There’s more klezmer music where that came from! Check out the Red Hot Chachkas.

Like Rabbits? Visit the Bunny Museum! This is an interesting museum which includes in its collection copies of both the hardcover and soft cover book To Rabbittown, signed by the illustrator, Robin Spowart, and me.

Is overeating or undereating a problem? Try Overeaters Anonymous If you click on ‚Äúmeetings‚ÄĚ, you‚Äôll find the ones near you‚ÄĒand also phone meetings.

Like to paint? Have a great time here.

Ever feel like you want to give up? Before you do, click here for some inspiring quotes about not giving up.

But don’t give up! Here is a political group of authors and illustrators determined to make this a better world.


Authors and Illustrators for Children ~ founded in 2004 by authors Bruce Balan and April Halprin Wayland, AIC includes over 1,000 authors, illustrators, and others involved in children’s book publishing (including librarians, teachers, editors, publishers, agents, reviewers). We are united in creating a free, truthful, and safe America for¬†all¬†children, and are committed to vote, campaign, and speak out for candidates and policies which support a safe, healthy, and inspired future for children everywhere. Join us¬†(membership is free).¬†

Help alleviate hunger worldwide with Mazon–and be sure to take their hunger and poverty quiz!

Sponsor a child as I do through Plan, an international, child-centered organization which strengthens communities through projects as diverse as building new schools, micro financing small buisnesses, combating HIV/AIDS and more. (I sponsor Shida in Kenya and Abudat in Ethiopia.) I discovered Plan through my very smart author friend Barbara Bottner.

Peace Action West is a true grass roots organization that’s 98% individual donor funded. The folks at Peace Action West work tirelessly to create a world free of nuclear weapons; to protect human rights by controlling the global trade in lethal weapons; to resolve international conflicts through cooperation and diplomacy, and more. I love these guys.



Here is a link to our country’s independent bookstores SHOP INDEPENDENT!

And here‚Äôs a great site to locate independent children’s bookstores across the country.

And here’s my favorite children’s-only independent bookstore.¬† My mentor, Myra Cohn Livingston helped them develop their poetry section.¬† All I need is a sleeping bag and I could live in this store.

And here’s a cozy, wonderful independent bookstore by the beach.¬† {pages} has a great selection of children’s picture books and more.

And here’s my favorite independent mystery bookstore.

Why shop Indie? (from the Indybound site)
When you shop at an independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy

The Environment

The Community

Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the IndieBound mission supporting local businesses and celebrating independents.

My out-of-print books are available through abebooks.com, among other sites. I also sell hardcover copies of GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING. Questions? e-me!

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