Thursday, September 19, 2019

Poetry Friday - A DEFINING Moment

Hi Everyone, and welcome to Poetry Friday. Leave your links below and enjoy a special day of poetry!

         Irene Latham wrote me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd like to help reveal the cover of a new book coming in February 2020. Of course I shouted "YES!" and here we are, getting ready to welcome autumn on Monday and today a marvelous new book by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini.  


         All kinds of dictionaries come into the world. When I researched to find the first, I found that in 1604, the first book generally regarded as the first English dictionary was written as Robert Cawdrey, a schoolmaster and former Church of England clergyman. Yet, other sites give different names, ones you will recognize, like Webster. However you look at it, our world is filled with books that want us to learn and grow with words! And that's how poets do their thing, right, with words! 



Two I found at the bookstore where I volunteer!
         As for a second way of communicating a concept, a story, a feeling, artists make art with the medium of their choice. That is where Mehrdokht enters the collaboration with Charles and Irene. She painted their words, helping to create a new kind of dictionary for children from her palette. 

       Here's the publisher description:

How can we make the world a better place? This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a "try it" prompt for an activity.

This second poetic collaboration from Irene Latham and Charles Waters builds upon themes of diversity and inclusiveness from their previous book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. Illustrations from Iranian-British artist Mehrdokht Amini offer readers a rich visual experience.

         Sounds fabulous, doesn't it? Because the book is filled with inspiration to write and act, I asked Irene, Charles and Mehrdokht a question about their own actions. At the beginning, one might ask "What if?" as in "What if we do this?" or "What if this was added?" or "What if we did a _______?" When Mehrdokht began her work for the book, perhaps she asked: "What if I took each word and?" or "What if this time, using _______ would work?"
        

         from Irene and Charles:  Beginnings can be difficult to track down, and we are not entirely sure how the idea for the book came to be. But we can tell you when it came to be: on a snow-filled Friday morning after a school visit cancellation (due to the district calling a "snow day") we received a note from Carol Hinz with a rejection of a poetry proposal we submitted, along with a message to submit more manuscripts or proposals we might have. We had hours to kill before our respective planes were scheduled to depart, so we sat across from one another and started brainstorming. One of the ideas that made its way onto paper was this one. We knew we wanted to do something to extend the work of Can I Touch Your Hair?, we knew we wanted to challenge ourselves to write outside our comfort zones, and we knew we wanted to include quotes (because we both collect quotes).

and from Mehrdokht: The first feeling I had when I was commissioned to do the “Dictionary for a better world” was panic! Prior to that, I had only worked in the field of picture books and this was the first time I was doing a middle-grade book for an older audience. I was used to making pictures on a more conventional, linear narrative but in this book I had to find a way to turn more or less abstract ideas into pictures. When I sent the first few sketches to the Art directors and was waiting for their response I was very anxious and secretly thinking that they wouldn’t like my style because it was very different to what I had done before. The moment their email came with their very positive and encouraging comments was my best moment in doing this book and it was as though a heavy burden has been lifted from my shoulder! The feeling of panic was turning into joy and curiosity and I started to relish the rest of the process. It was a real privilege and complete joy to work with such a wonderful authors and publishing team who made this project into a great experience for me!

Seems like a lot of words when what I am supposed to be doing is to reveal this cover of this new book coming in February of 2020. It's a long wait for Dictionary for a Better World - Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z, but it looks beautiful, don't you agree? Plus, it's exciting to imagine beginning to read such a dictionary.





ONE ADDED BONUS: A brief VIDEO OF CHARLES talking about the book!







Congratulations to Irene, Charles, and Mehrdokht! And thank you for the privilege of sharing this coming new book!


54 comments:

  1. What a fantastic book, and great timing to talk about it on the eve of the #YouthClimateStrike tomorrow, Friday 9-20-2019. It sounds and looks Marvelous, thanks for your wonderful review Linda! I'm looking forward to reading and taking in all the art. Congratulations to Irene, Charles, and Mehrdokht! BTW I couldn't get the video to work maybe it's just at my end…

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    1. Thanks for telling me, Michelle. Fixing it now. I'm trying a new way, hoping it will work for everyone. Yes, this book is going to be wonderful to read and see!

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  2. LOVE the concept of this book! So excited to see it. Congrats to Irene, Charles, and Mehrdokht! Thanks for the cover real and for hosting this week, Linda. :)

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    1. You're welcome, Jama. It was fun to write and share about a new book!

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  3. Thank you for hosting and for sharing this FABULOUS news! I can't wait to dig into all the richness of your post! And I must own this book!!!

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    1. You're welcome, Mary Lee. It's going to be awesome to open it, isn't it?

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  4. Oh! I can't wait to get a peek inside this book! Thanks so much for revealing the cover today and for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

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    1. You're welcome, Molly, I'm glad you liked this sneak peek!

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  5. I've been hearing about this book, and I love the concept - so thanks for sharing more about it here. And thanks for hosting! (PS: my post goes live shortly after midnight)

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    1. You're welcome, Matt, it is a wonderful idea, I agree. Now, we wait!

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  6. Many thanks, Linda, for graciously not only hosting Poetry Friday, but for showcasing the cover reveal of myself and Irene's book!

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    1. You're welcome, Charles. it was exciting to be a little part of celebrating this wonderful book on its way! Glad it all came together!

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  7. Posting for April Halprin Wayland. Sometimes blogger just won't cooperate!

    "Dear Linda ~ thank you for hosting today and for writing and researching another illuminating Teacher Dance! Your mini interviews of Irene, Charles and Mehrdokht give us a peek at their beginnings. What a marvelous concept! And as Michelle says, it's great timing, posted on the day of the first Global Climate Strike."

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    1. Sorry for the problems, cannot figure out why blogger won't allow some to comment. Anyway, thanks for the lovely words. It was fun to do & to hear from Irene, Charles & Mehrdokht about this terrific book coming!

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    2. Now even stranger. How did you manage this time? Anyway, glad to see you here, April!

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  8. Looks like another gorgeous collaboration! So looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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    1. You're welcome, Laura. I imagine we'll enjoy it very much.

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  9. Thanks for hosting! Happy almost Friday!

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  10. What a wonderful topic and collaborative piece - congrats to Charles, Irene, and Mehrdokht! Thank you Linda! I can’t wait to see it.

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    1. Me, either, Vicki. It's going to be a terrific book to read and to inspire! You're welcome!

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  11. The cover looks fantastic! The colors and kids (and dog) are so inviting. Thanks for hosting us, Linda!

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  12. I can't wait to see Irene's and Charles's book. Thanks for posting about it (wonderful to hear about the bad case of nerves the illustrator had) and thanks for hosting, Linda. It's been so long since I joined in on Poetry Friday, but I hope to be back consistently now.

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    1. I'm happy to see you, Julie, a great Friday to be here to celebrate this new book! Welcome back!

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  13. Linda, running out the door for an early morning teaching opportunity- I will circle back later.

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  14. Thanks for hosting and for sharing this book! Another one I can't wait to read!

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    1. You're welcome, Liz. Yes, it will be a wonderful one to have in February, for some a cozy winter read!

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  15. Dear Linda, thank you so much for hosting and for saying YES! "Yes" is in fact one of the words in our DICTIONARY... and I loved reading about Mehrdokht's nerves. Makes my own nerves about various creative projects feel okay, like everything will turn out, if I just hang in there. We were so wow-ed by her work, and continue to be! Appreciate you, my friend. xo

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    1. Oh my, that "YES!" is serendipity for sure, Irene. I enjoyed sharing the book, especially hearing from you, Charles, & Mehrdokht. You are very welcome!

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  16. Post for Jan Godown Annino, & trying to problem-solve why some can't comment!

    "Appreciations dear Linda for hosting & conducing this illuminating interview about creative beginnings. I can't wait to buy DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD! Brava!& Yay! & Cheer! to dear authors Charles & Irene & new-to-me but also dear Mehrdokht Amini, for transforming their words into images that will stay in student minds as they create our Better World. (as the middle grade to high school students are campaigning for beginning today & onto a week of Climate Change action...) #oneworld #betterworld

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    1. Thank you, Jan. It is a perfect day to share about this book, I agree.

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  17. Oh, this book sounds wonderful! And that cover! Love it.
    Thanks for hosting this week, Linda, and for sharing this defining moment. :) :)

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    1. You're welcome, Karen. It was fun to write about and share this upcoming book!

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  18. I loved Can I Touch Your Hair so I am excitedly looking forward to this book!

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    1. I agree, Cheriee. It's going to be wonderful to read!

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  19. I love having this peek at Irene and Charles' newest book. Thank you for sharing all the news, Linda. I am going to pre-order! I think it is going to be another winner and a book I will love to share with kids. It was fun to hear about how it came to be, too! (PS We all love snow days ! But I hope the school got to re-schedule!)
    Janet Clare F.

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    1. It would have been the worst time for a snow day, right? Yes, this book is going to be a winner, I agree. Thanks, Janet!

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  20. Wow, Irene and Charles are such a dynamic duo! I cannot wait for DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD to enter the world. What a powerful tool to put in the hands of middle grade students!

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    1. I keep imagining all the great ways the book will be used, Michelle. Glad you think so, too!

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  21. Linda, you colored my world with bright images on a cover that will surely bring attention to words. Thank you for showcasing Irene and Charles' new book. I hope to hear then speak at NCTE and pick up the book there. Thank you also for hosting today's Poetry Friday.

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    1. You're welcome, Carol. Oh I do envy you seeing Irene & Charles present. I've seen others say they're going. It sounds as if it's going to be a great convention. Happy that you like the cover, Carol. It is special!

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  22. This book looks amazing--what a terrific concept! Thanks for whetting our appetites, Linda!

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    1. You're welcome, Buffy, what a pleasure to share this coming wonderful book!

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  23. This book does indeed look wonderful--can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing it and for hosting, too.

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    1. You're welcome, Susan! I was excited to do it!

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  24. Ha-a "defining moment"! This is a wonderful introduction, and what I'd like to know is whether the piece that Charles speaks in the video is one of the poems included. And it's always fun to hear the creative backstory. Can't wait!

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    1. Thanks, Heidi. If you play the video, you'll hear Charles say at the beginning that it is a poem from the book. Listen carefully, I believe it is an acrostic, from A to Z, & I don't know, but perhaps the intro?

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  25. I really look forward to getting my hands on this new collaboration...the interviews and video inspire...this book will grow hearts! Happy week ahead and thank you for hosting and interviewing. xx

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    1. You're welcome, Amy. It's going to be terrific to read and be inspired!

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  26. Wonderful to debut this must-read on your blog, Linda! Can't think of a better place to do it. =)

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