Friday, November 18, 2022

Wibble Wobble Boom!---Skating Away with a Picture Book Giveaway

I'm experiencing unusual, winter-like weather here in November. I am writing with a fire in the fireplace, George Winston's Winter playing in the background, coffee mug at hand. What better way to celebrate the publication of my new picture book, Wibble Wobble Boom! (Peachtree Publishing), available November 29th?

As you might guess from the adorable cover by Holly Sterling, Wibble Wobble Boom! is about learning to ice skate. Claire arrives for her first lesson with high-flying dreams of leaping and spinning, like the skaters she's seen on TV. How disappointing that the first skill she's taught, is how to fall safely! 

If you're a long time follower of this blog, you know my daughter Lily was a competitive figure skater from kindergarten through high school graduation. She spent every single weekday at the ice rink. And by default, so did I. Every. Single. Day. 

Lily chanced into figure skating. A kindergarten classmate invited her to a birthday party at the local ice rink. A birthday party is not a good time to introduce kindergartners to ice skating. The whole class stood wobbling on rental skates, afraid to step on the ice. While her friends whined about falling and being cold and couldn't we just go eat cake, my daredevil daughter and a couple of boys stepped on the ice. Clutching the side rails, they inched their way around. The next thing I knew, Lily had let go of the rails and was baby-gliding away from the boys. 

Lily continued her cautious way around the rink, arms straight out to her sides. The other kids had flopped on the spectator bench, whining that their feet hurt, they were cold, they wanted cake. The birthday girl's mom kept checking her watch, knowing that the party room wouldn't be open for another half hour. 

"This is fun!" Lily called to me. And took another lap around, a bit faster time. By the time she had finished a second trip, the birthday mom announced it was time for cake and presents. 

"Do I have to eat cake?" Lily asked me. "I want to stay here and skate." 

I told her she had to go eat cake but after that, she could come back and skate. 

And she did. 

For four hours. At the end of the session, her legs were so sore, I had to carry her out to the car. As I buckled her into her car seat she asked, "When can I come back?" 

Lily's first competition--1st grade

 Lily became a skater. I froze my behind off in rinks for the next 12 years. I learned to write with frozen fingers, surrounded by hoards of skaters and their families, chattering, screaming, or having hockey stick wars. I watched Lily master the Bunny Hop, spin and Mohawk. By high school, she was teaching her own Snowplow (beginner) classes. 

My mom put me on double runner skate blades when I was two. I thought that the whole point of skating was falling! I would fall on purpose...on my bottom...and yell "Boom!" extremely pleased with myself.

That memory came back to me as Lily taught her own students how to fall. I watched their little feet in those brown, battle-scarred rental skates, ankles wibbling and wobbling. I listened to them complain "Miss Lily, this isn't skating. I want to twirl. Teach me that." "My feet are tired. I wanna sit down." "I'm cold."

Lily would patiently explain that safety is the very first lesson in skating. Then they could learn everything else. Yes, your feet do hurt and you do feel cold. That's what happens if you want to skate. 

I like alliteration. As I observed those little Snowplows, I remembered a song from kindergarten... crickle crackle crickle crackle creak creak creak, the sound of walking on ice. Then my mind followed with wibble wobble boom. Skaters learning to fall. I remembered Lily's first skating lessons. While she never  complained about being cold or tired, she didn't like learning to fall...because she never fell. Her balance was that good. She disliked being made to fall, just to learn how to land on your butt. 

What if Lily had gone to that birthday party, expecting to sail across the ice like an Olympic medalist? What if...?

Once again, my daughter sparked a story, just as she had for First Grade Stinks and My Best Friend and A Tree for Emmy. 

Lily's last competition--senior year.

Children. The gift that keeps on giving.

Speaking of gifts, we're giving away a copy of Wibble Wobble Boom! Keep reading for entry instructions.

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman


We are giving away ONE autographed copy of Mary Ann's soon-to-be-released picture book, Wibble Wobble Boom! (Peachtree Publishing), which received a Starred review from Booklist

To enter the giveaway drawing, use the Rafflecopter widget below. (Note: if the widget doesn't appear, click on the link at the end of this post that says "a Rafflecopter giveaway" to enter.)

For the first time ever, you may enter via up to 4 options. The more options you choose, the better your odds!

If you choose option 3, you MUST leave a comment on TODAY’S blog post or on our TeachingAuthors Facebook page. If you haven’t already “liked” our Facebook page, please do so today!

If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com.

Note: if you submit your comments via email or Facebook, YOU MUST STILL ENTER THE DRAWING VIA RAFFLECOPTER BELOW.  The giveaway ends December 1, 2022 and is open to US. Residents only.

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Friday, November 4, 2022

Celebrating a New Friendship-Themed Poetry Anthology

In honor of Poetry Friday, today I'm celebrating the recent release of What Is a Friend?, an anthology of ekphastic poems edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong and published by Pomelo Books.  I'm honored to have one of my poems, which I share below, in the collection. But first, a bit about this marvelous new book for ages 7 and up.

The fun sticker on the cover indicates the anthology is a Children's Book Council "Hot Off the Press" Selection for October 2022!

Here's the description of What Is a Friend? that appears on the Pomelo Books website:

To learn to be a good friend, kids need models of friendship. The 41 poems in this book guide us in reaching out, sharing ourselves, asking for help, giving support, and just having fun. These poems also show us that friends come in many forms; we can find them in our families, at school, on sports teams, through community service, on vacation, in pets, in nature - and even in ourselves.

The website also lists the contributors. I recognize many of their names, whether from Poetry Friday posts or other anthologies I've seen. But some of these poets are knew to me. I look forward to reading all their poems:

Many talented voices are represented in this book: Gail Aldous, Marcie Flinchum Atkins, Robyn Hood Black, Willeena Booker, Sandy Brehl, Carol Bullman, Kelly Conroy, Mary E. Cronin, Linda A. Dryfhout, Janet Clare Fagal, Karen Elise Finch, Nancy Bo Flood, Patricia J. Franz, Marilyn Garcia, Van G. Garrett, Theresa Gaughan, Sara Holbrook, Irene Latham, Rebecca Gardyn Levington, Molly Lorenz, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Carmela A. Martino, Guadalupe García McCall, Rochelle Melander, Heidi Mordhorst, Elisabeth Norton, Joan Riordan, Laura Purdie Salas, René Saldaña, Jr., Michael Salinger, Donna JT Smith, Anastasia Suen, Pamela Taylor, Linda Kulp Trout, Fernanda Valentino, Charles Waters, Vicki Wilke, Matthew Winter, Janet Wong, Helen Kemp Zax, and Sarah Ziman
As with the Pomelo Books "Things We . . ." series (Things We Do; Things We Eat; Things We Feel), 100% of the profits from sales of What Is a Friend? will be donated to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund ( You may recall that my poem "Amazed" appears in Things We Feel, so I now have two poems in publications from Pomelo Books. I am officially a "Pomelo Poet," and I have the logo to prove it! 😀 

My poem in What Is a Friend? is called "Sidekicks." You can see it below alongside the photo that inspired it. Special thanks to Janet Wong for creating this great graphic!

The students in the above photo are practicing tae kwon do. I have to confess that I knew nothing about this martial art before attempting the poem. My early drafts were based on online research. After sharing some drafts with my critique group, I learned fellow member and poet Eileen Meyer had actually studied tae kwon do herself. Eileen's feedback was especially helpful to my revision process! (If you don't know Eileen, she is one of three poets making up the "Rhyme Doctors" team--read more on their website.)

I hope you'll check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup hosted by Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe for links to more kidlit poetry. 

Happy Writing!