Friday, August 3, 2012

Mystery Guest TeachingAuthor And Book Giveaway for Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers!  And...surprise!  Following the success of our first Mystery Guest TeachingAuthor which Carmela Martino posted last Friday, here's our second ever Mystery Guest TeachingAuthor (MGTA)—complete with his/her Writing Workout and a fabulous Book Giveaway! OMG.  I'll bet you can barely stand the excitement. The details about the giveaway are below, but DO NOT GO THERE YET.  If you do, you'll find out who our MGTA is and blow the whole deal.
Here's how we play the MGTA game: I'll share our MGTA's bio before giving you his/her Writing Workout [listen...this his/her thing is getting awkward...I'll give this to you: it's a her]. You try to guess who our guest author is before I reveal the MGTA's identity at the end of the post. (And even though it's going to kill you, no fair clicking on the MGTA's book links to find out the author's name!) 

Then let us know if you figured out who this most amazing lady is, either by commenting below, or an email.

Ready?  Okay, let's go!

Today's MGTA is a Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University and has taught graduate courses in children's and young adult literature at various universities since 1981. She has published extensively, including five books on literature for children [including—remember, no clicky-clicky—Poetry Aloud Here! Sharing Poetry with Children in the Library (ALA, 2006), Poetry People: A Practical Guide to Children's Poets (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), and Children'sLiterature in Action: A Librarians Guide (Libraries Unlimited, 2008)], as well as over 20 book chapters and 100 journal articles; she's recently co-edited several ground-breaking e-anthologies of poetry for children. In addition, she edits for Librarians' Choice. Is this woman is making you tired, just reading about her?  And there's more: her blog is full of tips and news (and poems) that help spread enthusiasm for poetry, and it has become a touchstone—the go-to blog in the field of poetry for children.

Have you guessed our guest yet?  No?  Well, let's let her tell us how she became a TeachingAuthor:

What a treat to be featured on Teaching Authors!

My mom tells me I started teaching neighbor kids when I was about 6, but it could be I was mainly bossing them around! My first paid gig was teaching sixth grade. Then I went to graduate school, loved it, and started teaching adults. I really enjoy working with both educators AND kids and have been doing it for 30+ years now.

I enjoy academic writing and lean toward the more pedagogical type rather than pure research. Helping teachers keep up with the latest trends and techniques is very rewarding. My focus has always been on children’s literature, sometimes generally (in my textbook, Children’s Literature in Action) and sometimes on specific genres—like poetry, my primary passion. I’ve written several books about poetry for children in hopes of giving those who feel uncertain about (or resistant to) poetry the tools they need to enjoy and share it in fun ways with kids.

This has led me to blogging; I am also the regular “Everyday Poetry” columnist for ALA’s Book Links magazine and serve as a consultant to the Poetry Foundation.

Poet and friend Janet Wong and I launched a biggie last year with the first digital e-books of poetry for young people, our Poetry Tag Time trio.  I’m so proud of those—particularly since they are traveling around the world and are a bit hit in Australia and Kenya, in particular. 

Before I reveal this author's name (if you've come here via Poetry Friday, chances are you've already guessed who our mystery star is because you're a poetry genius), here's our MGTA's terrific Writing Workout in her own words:

Here’s a Writing Workout that has helped me more times than I can count:

  • Write, write, write.
  • Then let it simmer,
  • come back and try cutting out the first sentence or first paragraph.
  • Let the next sentence (or paragraph) be the beginning. How does it sound? I find that I am often a bit wooden and cumbersome in the “set up” and cutting that off, leaves a fresh, more energetic sentence. The same is often true at the end. I say what I need to say, but then ramble.
  • Chop it off.
  • Read it again. Have I ended with what is most important and stopped with a fresh image or turn of phrase? Then stop. And my final tip?
  • Even after that, I sometimes flip those two pieces—moving the end to the beginning and the beginning to the end. How does that feel? I sometimes find that it took me awhile to figure out my point (and say it well), but I really need to have that strong statement at the beginning, rather than at the end.
  • So, flip it.
These are not absolute, of course. But it can help me look at my work with fresh eyes and see those words and sentences as more malleable than I thought at first.
*   *   *
Thanks for this Writing Workout, MGTA!  Campers, we'd like to know if you try this exercise—please comment below or or email us!  Now, finally, it's time for the big reveal. 
Today's Mystery Guest TeachingAuthor is (drum roll please):
I met Sylvia many years ago at a conference through Janet Wong and I've been a friend and admirer of her ever since.  Readers, how'd you do? Did you guess who our MGTA was?  We'd love to hear what you think of our new feature. 

Appropriately enough, Sylvia would like to share a poem today from The Poetry Friday Anthology (edited with poet Janet Wong) (available Sept. 1).  
Isn't this a great cover?  

This book is a new anthology of 218 original poems for children in kindergarten through fifth grade by 75 popular poets from J. Patrick Lewis and Jack Prelutsky to Jane Yolen, Margarita Engle, Nikki Grimes, April Halprin Wayland, and many more. [Sylvia wrote this...I swear I didn't pay her to include my name in this blurb!]  Here is a sample poem to whet your appetite:

The Do Kind by Janet Wong

When my ball flies over the wall,
you run and get it back.

When my books fall down the stairs,
you help me pick them up.

Some friends are see friends,
me me me friends.

You are the do kind,
the me and you kind.

April says: Be a "do kind" of FOP (a friend-of-poetry)—or an FOTOP (a friend-of-teachers-of-poetry)and arrange for your PTA or school district to buy a copy in September for every K-5 teacher!

Thank you, Sylvia, for being our second Mystery Guest TeachingAuthor, for sharing such a terrific Writing Workout with us, AND for offering a Book Giveaway to our readers!

The book Sylvia's giving away to one of our lucky readers is:

The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists is jam-packed with poetry bibliographies and research-based strategies for selecting and sharing poetry with young people (ages 0-18). Need help finding the perfect poem for a holiday celebration or a science unit? A funny riddle poem or a bilingual poetry book? This book contains 155 different poetry bibliographies and lists of research-based strategies featuring 1500 poetry books for children and teens (ages 0-18).  Pretty cool, huh?  For more info, check out the dedicated blog.

Is your mouth watering yet?  Do you want to win this book?  
Here's how to enter THE POETRY TEACHER’S BOOK OF LISTS Book Giveaway:
1. Comment on today's post or enter by sending an email to us at teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com with "Book Giveaway" in the subject line. Tell us why you'd like to be the lucky winner.  Will you be keeping it for yourself or sharing it with a colleague or friend?
2.  You must include contact information in your comment.  If you are not a blogger or your email address is not accessible from your online profile, you must send us a valid email address in your comment.  Entries without contact information will be disqualified.  Note:  The TeachingAuthors cannot prevent spammers from accessing e-mail addresses posted within the comments, so feel free to disguise your address by spelling out portions such as "dot" and "at."
3.  You must send us your post by 11 pm (CST), Thursday, August 16th. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, August 17th.  Note:  Winners automatically grant us permission to post their names here on the
TeachingAuthors website.
4.  You must have a mailing address in the United States.
5.  You must respond to the notification e-mail and provide a mailing address within 72 hours, or the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner chosen.

And, hey! Thanks to Rena from
for hosting Poetry Friday this week!

poem (c) 2012 Janet Wong all rights reserved                                                
TTFN! ~ April Halprin Wayland


Donna Smith said...

I loved the friend poem! So true. And the writing tips were great. Will have to try them. I'd love to be entered in the contest! Thanks!

Robyn Hood Black said...

(Waving hand wildly) I know! I know!

Sylvia Vardell is amazing. Can't wait for the new anthology, and I'm beyond thrilled to be in it with the likes of YOU, April!

The POETRY TEACHER'S BOOK OF LISTS is a treasure, too - whoever wins it will love it.

Thanks to both of you for a great post! One more question for Sylvia - what kind of vitamins does she take?!

Carmela Martino said...

Wow, reading Sylvia's credits does make me tired! Thanks for sharing a terrific Writing Workout, Sylvia!

Mary Lee said...

HA! I knew who it was before you'd finished the first sentence. Sylvia raises the TEACHING AUTHOR bar to a whole new level, doesn't she?!?

Great poem, Janet. That's the kind of friend I want to be.

I, too, am proud to join in with a poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology!! Can't wait to see the whole thing!!

And I would LOVE for you to reward my procrastination by picking me for the Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists! I've been enjoying Sylvia's snippets on her blog, but haven't gotten around to ordering it yet!


rena traxel said...

Letting a ms simmer is excellent advice. I love the poem. It's adorable and true. I would love to win a copy but I live in Canada so I will just pay a copy instead! :)

Carl Scott said...

What a great resource this book would be to so many of us.
Imagine having the whole world of poetry indexed for your convenience.
Please enter my name in the draw for the chance to win this available copy.
Thank you.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for hosting me and for the lovely comments. What fun to connect with old friends and make new ones-- through poetry!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Donna, yes--a great friend poem. And Robyn--I don't think it's vitamins...I think that Sylvia is not a Muggle...

Hey, Mary Lee--you're entered--g'luck!

Rena--if you have a USA mailing address (a friend, perhaps?), then you're eligible to enter...

And Carl--you're in the drawing... good luck to you, too!

Linda B said...

I'm late commenting, but I did guess it was Sylvia because of the wonderful Poetry Tag books. Thanks for the poem by Janet, too, a good one for the beginning of the year conversations.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Linda a teacherdance ~ you're right--Janet's poem is perfect for beginning of the year conversations! Have a beautiful weekend ~

Marjorie said...

Oooo yes, I knew it was Sylvia straight away too :-) I love your new feature - thank you so much. I'm looking forward to Sylvia and Janet's new anthology - their books are dynamite!

April Halprin Wayland said...

You are a Poet Brainiac, Marjorie--and now you're in the drawing! Thanks for stopping by ~