Thursday, November 16, 2017

Swimming in Poetry

Oh, it’s good to be home.

I’ve been conferencing. While I was learning and speaking about librarianship, poetry surrounded me. I love how poetry is a part of all that I do as a person. 

Jump into Poetry Friday with me and this week’s host, Jane, at her blog, Rain City Librarian. She’s a poetry person too!

As I was packing bags between conferences these beauties showed up at my door. Some were ordered, some were won in giveaways….it was painful to set them aside until I could get back to enjoy them.

While at the National Association of School Librarians Conference in Phoenix, I had an opportunity to visit with a group of incredible authors and illustrators including Jack Gantos, Molly Idle, Mike Venezia, Juana Martinez-Neal, Wendy Watson, Lynn Avril.
It's always a good idea to sit next to
Lynne Avril, illustrator of Amelia Bedelia

We met at the home of librarian and kidlit bibliophile, Mary Wong. Every inch of Mary’s house is covered in original illustrator art--including the walls of her dining room where she invites kid-lit luminaries to illustrate and sign. She has shelves and shelves of first-edition kid-lit books, many autographed. To enjoy the company of so many creatives at once was beyond my wildest dreams.

Jack Gantos illustrating/signing Mary's Dining Room

You will be thrilled to know that there were sessions on reading and writing poetry for and with kids at conferences at my state and our national level.

Kwame Alexander caused an entire Shush of Virginian Librarians to swoon when he shared poems with us and a peek at his Newberry Medal. Although Kwame is famous for his most recent works, he’s been at poetry for a while. Our young people are in good hands with Kwame’s words.
Kwame Alexander with Newberry

Charles, Irene and me....yeah, we're friends!
In Phoenix, I was thrilled to meet and speak with Irene Latham and Charles Waters. They were sitting shoulder to shoulder writing something new….but graciously allowed me a selfie.

I also attended an author panel that included Irene and Charles. They brought an entire room of Librarians to tears with a reading from their forthcoming book, Can I Touch Your Hair?  And, did I mention that the panel was led by Carole Boston Weatherford? Poetry heaven!

I could not make every poetry session at AASL in Phoenix. However, I did attend a fantastic presentation by Jill Work, Media Specialist at Stuart Country Day School in NJ who shared how she uses poetry in her library teaching. She invited her audience to create right on the spot.

My little ditty from this session has a real-life connection!

But wait--there’s more! As I meandered through the exhibit hall, publishers and book vendors gave out ARCs of soon to be published works. These beauties were just calling to me and I snapped them up fast.

With so much poetry lacing my conferences I truly felt like I was happily swimming in poetry. I’m delighted that winter is fast approaching with dark chilly days and nights to snuggle up with so many beautiful works to read.

Update early Friday morning: I'm thrilled to add that I've been included in The Best of Today's Little Ditty 2016. This is a work of love by Michelle Barns and you can find out more about the collection at her blog, Today's Little Ditty

Writing Radar by Gantos is not an's out in the world and great!


  1. Wow, Linda, what a fine time you had! Thanks for sharing so many wonderful moments. Mary Wong's house sounds amazing, and it was great to see you with Irene and Charles. Hooray for PF people!

  2. Next best seat in the house here today. Appreciations dear Linda. I feel your excitement & see your joy in this post of words & photo windows into these conference worlds.
    I have been wondering about poems on the gun violence subject & glommed onto the BULLETS into BELLS. I've been tapped by a gun safety group to visit this topic. I will research the title.

    All the photographs are great but the one of you, Charles & Irene is ex-tra velvety, to me.

    Your students are so fortunate that you will be using the magic of these moments in your library & teaching.

    Wafting warm family Thanksgiving wishes to you.

  3. Yea for swimming in poetry and being immersed in learning with lots of poetry people. I'm so glad you shared so many good moments from your trip. It all sounds amazing. And congratulations on your inclusion in the best of ditties. I can't wait to see more of the collection.

  4. That is a lot of goodness. I love the photo of you with Irene and Charles. And those books! Yay for the inclusion of your poem in Michelle's book!

  5. What a thoroughly amazing time you must have had jumping from place to place, poem to poem, moment to moment, book to book... and all without a water bottle. :( Okay, maybe the thirsty part wasn't so amazing, but still, you know I appreciate a good ditty when I read one. :) In fact, I seem to recall a wonderful ditty poem in a certain book that was just released. :D You're such an inspiration, Linda, the way you soak up life. Oh, and that selfie is pretty awesome too.

  6. I saw many of your posts on FB, Linda, but oh, what an amazing time in Phoenix. I am so envious of your time with so much poetry, "swimming" in it as you say! Glad to see you back and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. WOW Linda, what an exciting conference you had, I almost feel like I was there from your post! Isn't Jack Gantos spectacular, I heard him speak a few years ago at the Zena Sutherland Lecture that they give at the Chicago Public Library and he was FANTASTIC. But getting to see him sketch–what fun! A rich collection of illustrators too–the photo with Irene and Charles is perfect. Hope you continue to bathe it all in, thanks for all, and Happy Thanks Giving!

  8. Thanks for sharing your special moments. I am doing my best not to feel jealous when you have been so generous with sharing.

  9. Love seeing all this poetry excitement and joy, Linda! A "shush" of librarians :-) You, Irene, and Charles :-) An illustrated house -- wow, I would love to see her walls! Looking forward to seeing reappearances of some of those books later.

  10. Can't wait to read Carole Boston Weatherford's upcoming book about Amazing Grace!!!

  11. Sounds like an amazing event. I love the selfie and the joy between the lines. Enjoy your dessert of poetry in the after math.

  12. Wow. What an exciting week you've had, Linda. I would have loved to be in your pocket! Thank-you for sharing so much detail. Love your poem - and your pic! :) (And your Shush!)


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!