Thursday, April 29, 2021


Howdy, Campers ~ Happy Poetry Friday AND Last Day of Poetry MonthMy poem and the link to today's PF host are below.

In honor of TeachingAuthors' 12th year on earth (is the internet technically earth?), we are each choosing one post from the past 12 years (just one?!?!) to share.  Esther shares a poem I wrote (!) and a photo of us surprising Carmela at TeachingAuthors' birthday celebration, Mary Ann shares JoAnn's 2011 inspiring review of Paul Janeczko's Seeing the Blue Between, Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets, and Carmela shares Esther's 2011 post about a specific kind of haiku which Esther called Thankus, while adding her own thanku and a #HaikuFromTwo.

The truth is, I love the writing of every TA, but I knew from the start that I would be rifling through Mary Ann's posts. I love her storytelling, I love her show-us-her-scars honesty. Her authenticity, forces me (maybe inspires me is better) to be more honest, too.

So today, enjoy Mary Ann's 2010 post about Charles Schulz' s PEANUTS gang...aka her muses.

from Apollo Magazine; no copyright infringement is intended 

I wrote about my own muse in 2013:

inspired by a poem with the same title by William Stafford
by April Halprin Wayland


I was lounging against the back of a napping kangaroo

when this little boy with a large crayon drew near.

Said his name was Harold.


I sat up to study the scruffy kid—

a baby, really, in p.j.s that must have been

as suffocating as meat in a sausage skin.


His wide eyes disarmed me,

as if he were that butterfly in the antidepressant commercial,

flying around a garden party and leaving everyone feeling better.


Harold stepped around the kangaroo to draw a big house

with a wide porch

and shutters on every window.


There were a boatload of windows.

He added two rocking chairs and three hanging baskets of geraniums.

When he framed the front doorway, we went in.


The floors were oak; the house felt comfortable, like a favorite old sofa.

He drew stairs; we walked up to four bedrooms

and a greenhouse room with walls of glass.


"I'll be living up here," he said, pulling down steps from the ceiling.

He climbed into the attic and peeked out.

"I'll hand you down stuff I find here," he said.


I supposed I'd be responsible for feeding him. 

I wondered if he ate real grilled cheese sandwiches

or if I had to draw them with his crayon.


The kangaroo

was still sleeping in the front yard,

which was probably for the best.

From Wikipedia; no copyright infringement is intended


Before I say g'bye, I have Poetry Month news! 

My next 3-hour, one day Writing Poetry for Children class through the UCLA Extension Writers' Program will be on July 17, 2021. Registration is now open, but hurry, enrollment is limited to 25 students.

I'm thrilled that three of my poems are on the Poetry Foundation site

I'm happy to be among nine poets who are on a fascinating education website in England called TWINKL (no E at the end). The poets are: Jaclyn Desforges, Miriam Sagan, Liz Garton Scanlon, Irina Moga, Lauren Camp, D. S. Martin, Allan Wolf, Charles Ghigna and me.

And I'm honored to have been included in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' video of 13 poets, each reading a poem. (Note: the video lasts 17:30 minutes; my poem is at the 11 minute mark).

The poets are: Nikki Grimes, Lesléa Newman, Joseph Bruchac, Jane Yolen, Tami Charles, Lin Oliver, Hope Anita Smith, Sonya Sones, Carole Boston Weatherford, April Halprin Wayland, Margarita Engle, Ellen Hopkins, and Linda Sue Park.


Who is your  muse? Please tell us in the comments--we want to know...we really do!

Thank you, Matt, for hosting Poetry Friday

this last day of Poetry Month, 2021 

on Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme !

posted by April Halprin Wayland, with the help of Eli, Kitty, and Monkey, who were sure THEY were my muses before I broke the news...

Friday, April 23, 2021

12 Years! A Thanku and Another #HaikuFromTwo

Happy Poetry Friday! This post includes a Thanku and a #HaikuFromTwo.

As Esther shared in her post kicking off our current series, this month we're celebrating our TWELFTH Blogiversary! I can hardly believe it's been that long. This blogging journey has been filled with wonderful surprises and blessings. One of those surprises was the TeachingAuthors' virtual meeting Esther shared a photo of in her post. I thought that meeting was to learn some great new Zoom teaching tips from the amazing April Halprin Wayland. Instead, it was a party to celebrate our blog and my efforts to keep it running all these years. My fellow TeachingAuthors showered me with thanks that day. But I am just as grateful for all of them and what they've contributed to this blog over these dozen years. And I'm grateful to you, our readers, for traveling along with us. 

Esther didn't mention in her post the lovely gift my fellow TeachingAuthors sent me that day, as if the surprise meeting wasn't enough:

I smile every time I see these lovely plants (which are still blooming).   

This month, each of us are sharing a favorite post written by one of our fellow TeachingAuthors. My heart is so filled with gratitude for our blogiversary milestone that if felt appropriate to remind you all of Esther's terrific post introducing us to the Thanku: a haiku expressing gratitude. Esther inspired us to feature thankus often over these twelve years. You'll find many of those posts here. I'd like to add one more to that collection:

For my fellow TeachingAuthors and All Our Readers:
       My heart overflows
       like a basket of flowers,
       still growing. Thank you.

©2021 Carmela A. Martino. All rights reserved.

Speaking of haiku, this week I wrote another #HaikuFromTwo. I shared last month about Amanda Davis's #HaikuFromTwo challenge: you randomly pick two words from a book you're reading and create a haiku using them. After Beverly Cleary's recent death, I thought it would be fitting to read one of her books. Unlike most writers I know, I never read any of Cleary's work until I was an adult, and that book was Ramona Quimby, Age 8. A few weeks ago, I finally read the first Ramona book: Beezus and Ramona.  Today's #HaikuFromTwo includes two random words from that book: drawing (page 45) and pretend (page 159):

Be sure to check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup by Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core.

Happy writing!

PS: Congratulations to Linda M, winner of our giveaway of JoAnn Early Macken's new book, Grow!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Blogiversary Blast from the Past: Encouraging Words

 Happy Blogiversary!

Hard to believe that we Teaching Authors have been together a dozen years!  I've known Carmela, and former members Jean Marie and JoAnn since our Vermont College days, but I've made so many new writing friends as others joined the blog. I especially can't imagine life with out our original and "still present" members Esther and April.

To celebrate, we are looking back at our favorite posts by fellow TA's. Difficult to select just one post to "remember' here. However, as I continue to struggle to "find the writing me" again, JoAnn's post of August 5, 2011 jumped out and said "Pick me! Pick me!" Encouraging Words reviewed Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets by Paul B. Janezcko. I am always looking for author interviews, secretly hoping that one of them will have the answer to writer's block. Based on JoAnn's recommendation, I bought Seeing the Blue Between. The subtitle says it all; lots of good advice and inspiration. (However, no one has a magic formula to banish writer's block.)

Speaking of "seeing the blue," this is the current writing view from my writing porch, Ocean Isle Beach, NC. If that sort of blue doesn't inspire, I don't know what will!

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman

Friday, April 9, 2021

YAY! and HOORAY! It’s our 12th Blogiversary!

 According to my trusty calendar, come April 22, my fellow 

TeachingAuthors and I have been posting for TWELVE years!


My opening sentence deserves 11 more exclamation points, plus 

one for Good Luck.

Traditionally, anything silk celebrates a 12th anniversary.

Here’s a photo of several of us raising our voices in thanks 

to our trusty and trusted incomparable Administrator and Founder, 

Carmela Martino, who continues to make sure our weekly posts 

unfold as smooth as silk.

To celebrate, for the next 4 weeks, each TeachingAuthor will share 

another TeachingAuthor’s post she especially holds dear.

It goes without saying: all of my fellow bloggers en-courage-ed me 

to raise my voice and share my Writer’s Life and Truths with our 


I’ve always been in awe of both April’s oh, so poetic posts and her

fearlessly-and-fiercely-acquired illustration skills.

Her October 23, 2020 post, however – “Hop to it!” -  had me printing 

her fortifying words pronto and keeping them nearby in case my voice 


Here’s April’s original poem “Exercising My Voice” from Sylvia Vardell’s 


Thank you, Readers, for twelve glorious years!

And thanks to Tabatha Yeatts for hosting today’s Poetry Friday.

Esther Hershenhorn

Thursday, April 1, 2021

National Poetry Month, Poetry Friday, and a Book Giveaway!

Happy National Poetry Month! Happy Poetry Friday! You might remember me as a former Teaching Author. Today, I'm back to visit and celebrate.

Happy spring! Here in Wisconsin, spring weather means alternating between basking in delicious sunlight and piling on warmer clothes.



spring bounces


gallops through gardens

leaving green footprints

Signs of spring are popping up all over! We have lots to celebrate today—including a giveaway of my new picture book Grow, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman and published by Boyds Mills & Kane. With a multicultural cast of characters and STEAM-related content, Grow is a celebration of the wondrous ways young animals and people grow into unique individuals. 

Inspired by encounters with wildlife in woods and ponds and our own backyard, Grow began long ago as a message of hope for our two young sons, who are now grown and on their own. Never give up!

Poetry Friday!

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading has today's Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!

Book Giveaway!

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of Grow! The giveaway ends April 16, 2021 and is open to U.S. residents only.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. (If the widget doesn't appear, click on the link at the end of this post that says "a Rafflecopter giveaway" to enter.) You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options. Here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address

If you choose option 2, you must leave a comment on TODAY'S blog post, on the TeachingAuthors Facebook page, or in an email to teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com. If you submit your comment via email or Facebook, you must still enter the drawing via Rafflecopter. 

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway