What a lovely birthday present! Introducing Carrotiger!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In honor of PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary, Cathy Mealey (who blogs at Bildebok) sent  us a photo of  a lovely tiger drawn by her 9-year-old daughter Grace. Grace’s  “Carrotiger” was inspired by her love of children’s poet laureate Jack Prelutsky’s  book Scranimals, illustrated by Peter Sis (Greenwillow Books, 2006).

We’re sailing to
Scranimal Island,
It doesn’t appear on
most maps….
Scranimal Island
is where you will find
the fragrant RHINOCEROSE,
the cunning BROCCOLIONS.
And if you are really, really lucky
and very, very quiet,
you will spot
the gentle, shy PANDAFFODIL.
(You may even hear it yawning
If the morning’s just begun,
Watch its petals slowly open
To embrace the rising sun.

Thank you so much for your lovely drawing,Grace!  With this submission,  Grace and her mom Cathy are entered in our 10th Anniversary give-away. The closing date for entries is midnight PST on Saturday Nov 10th with winners being announced here on the blog on Monday Nov 19th. There are 10 fabulous prizes to be won so don’t delay, get your entry in too. Click here for all the details!

Welcome to Poetry Friday!

Friday, June 29th, 2012



Everybody has a song,
be it short or be it long,
in the right or in the wrong key,
Like the hee-haw of a donkey,
Twitter, tweet, tu-whit, tu-whoo,
howl or growl or quack or moo.
Don’t be silent
nor afraid,
you must sing
as you’ve been made.

Translation by Stan Dragland of the South African poem “Elke outjie…” by Philip de Vos

Welcome, everybody, to this week’s Poetry Friday, which we are delighted to be hosting.  Please leave comments below with links to your “songs” and I’ll be updating this post throughout the day.

The above poem comes from the joyous anthology Under the Spell of the Moon: Art for Children from the World’s Great Illustrators.  This superb book, first published by Groundwood in Canada in 2004, then in the UK in 2006 by Frances Lincoln, is now available for the first time in paperback (Frances Lincoln, 2012). Produced by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the book is edited by erstwhile President of IBBY and founder of Groundwood Patsy Aldana, and has a thought-provoking Foreword by award-winning author Katherine Paterson.  It provides a fantastic showcase of 32 illustrators from across the globe, who have all donated their work to benefit IBBY – indeed 12.5% of the book’s proceeds go to IBBY.  Illustrators include Piet Grobler, who illustrated the poem cited above, as well as many others of my personal favorites such as Mitsumasa Anno (Japan), Peter Sís (Czech Republic/USA), Anthony Browne (UK), Isol (Argentina), Pulak Biswas (India), Luis Garay (Nicaragua) – and the book has also introduced me to many illustrators whose work I intend to explore further…

Each illustrator was asked to “illustrate a text of his or her own choosing, be it a poem, nursery rhyme, song, piece of prose, riddle or street game.”  The result is a wonderfully eclectic gathering of mostly verse that is given in its original language, sometimes incorporated into the artwork, and, where necessary, in English translation: and indeed a special shout-out must go to Stan Dragland’s virtuoso translations.  The quirkiness of the collection probably comes from this freedom of choice given to the global spread of illustrators: so each page turn brings a surprise, both in text and artistic style.  The one thing that links every page is the joie de vivre of the texts and the virtuosity each illustrator has brought to his or her contribution.

And now we turn to the eclecticism of the Poetry Friday gathering – what a joy it is to be hosting today!


Blythe revisits Peter Pan via Helen Marshall’s Skeleton Leaves.

Mary Lee has been as amazingly creative as ever: “I’m recycling words this week. I made a Wordle of some poems I wrote recently, then used only the words I found in the Wordle to create a new poem.”

Renee LaTulippe shares a video reading by Lori Degman (1 Zany Zoo) of her poem “A Snake Ate My Homework”, plus an interview with Lori and follow-up resources.

Liz Steinglass has four witty couplets animal couplets that I know will have me chuckling for the rest of the day.

Robyn Hood Black is “offering something hot and something cold from H. D. (Hilda Doolittle)” to help counter the heatwave in the US.

Joy has been posting poems all week based on her recent field trip to the Tambopata Research Center in the Amazonian rainforest – today she has A Room in the Jungle and challenges us to write a poem about “My Room”.

Tara brings sunshine to Poetry Friday with her focus today on Sunflowers, a poem by Mary Oliver, including a video reading.

Diane has a full platter of offerings – at Kurious Kitty’s Kurio Kabinet she has a very satisfying poem, “Perpetual Between” by Maggie Dietz; there’s a neat quotation from J. Patrick Lewis at Kurious K’s Kwotes; and an ekphrastic poem about “Degas’s Laundresses” by Eavan Boland at Random Noodlings.

Steven Withrow has a new poem, Cormorant that will have you grabbing the binoculars and heading for the sea, in your mind’s eye if you can’t manage it in reality.

Jama has a fabulous, lip-smacking feast today – oodles of brown-ness as well as a proposal for the UPS man… Excuse me while I go and raid my secret stash!

Heidi shares Denise Levertov’s What My House Would Be Like If It Were A Person as she reflects on her imminent move to a new home.

Irene Latham shares her favorite beach poem, along with her own poetic descriptions accompanying photographs of both of Florida’s coasts following a recent research trip.

Laura Shoven commemorates a very special meeting with Chu Chen Po’s Hedgehog: “I’ve been teaching the poem “Hedgehog” for years, but I met my first hedgehog last week. It was love.” Check out the beautiful photos too.

Carol shares Linda Pastan’s “To a Daughter Leaving Home” because her oldest son is moving to Phoenix to attend junior college today.

Jeff has a review of Out on the Prairie, a rhyming book set in South Dakota’s Badlands region.

Violet Nesdoly has an ode to a summer storm, “Lightning”, in a dramatic string of haiku format.

Linda Baie has a great review of our fellow-blogger Greg Pincus’ ebook The Late Bird, a collection of fifty of his witty, funny and thought-provoking poems first featured on his blog.  Go Buy!  (In her Poetry Friday post, Linda also asks us to take a look at her previous post – I’m glad she did – it’s a review plus giveaway of what looks set to becomg a very important book for teens feeling vulnerable because of their sexuality – The Letter Q.)

Andi at A Wrung Sponge has an original haiku with one of her equally beautiful photographs.

April Halprin Wayland says of her post over at Teaching Authors: “We teach you how to write a Hidden Words poem and give you a pretty stinky example of one I wrote. (We’re also announcing our latest book giveaway winner and talking about taking your writing to a different locale to refresh your creativity.)”  – And by the way, it’s not a “stinky” example at all!

Tabatha Yeatts focuses on James Flecker’s work today.

Iphigene continues Gathering Books’ focus on the Festival of Asian Literature and the Immigrant Experience with Emma Lazarus’ poem The New Colossus.

Janet Squires takes a look at Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes.

Karen Edmisten has “some rambling”! This post about posting about poetry will make you smile and nod!

Father Goose aka Charles Ghigna has some new snickersome snickers – “a few for the funny bone”.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has a wonderful original poem about an imaginary mechanic.

Donna has “written about farming the land this week to add to my Tugging of Tides poem…”

Betsy has been inspired by Mary Lee’s Wordle idea (see above) and Teachers Write Camp.

Kerry Aradhya highlights the rhyming picture book Subway by Anastasia Suen and Karen Katz.

Lorie Ann Grover has an original haiku “Puckered Pear” (such a great title!).

Julie Larios is on a Poetry Roller Coaster at Books Around the Table (her critique-group blog):  “I offer up some thoughts about the up-and-down nature of my love of poetry, and I post a poem by William Jay Smith titled “Moon” which is not about the moon at all.”

Ruth brings us extracts from Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey “in honor of the nature on our vacation”.

Jone has been inspired to write Summer Room by Joy Acey’s call at the beginning of the day to write a poem about “My Room” (see above).

Greg Pincus points to his interview on Katie Davis’ podcast  in which he talks “about poetry (and self-pubbing poetry, too). Ya… a self-reflexive Poetry Friday!”

What a wonderful Poetry Friday gathering – a veritable feast.  I know the day’s not over yet in some parts of the world so if any more links come in, I’ll update them on my morrow… in the meantime, happy reading!

IBBY Regional Conference: Peace the World Together with Children’s Books~ Oct 21 – 21, Fresno, CA, USA

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature is pleased to state that registrations are still being accepted  for the following conference:

“Peace the World Together with Children’s Books” is the theme of the International Board on Books for Young People regional conference hosted by California State University, Fresno this fall.

Co-sponsored by the Arne Nixon Center at Fresno State, IBBY’s 9th United States Regional Conference will be held at Fresno State on Oct. 21-23.

Conference chair Ellis Vance of Fresno said about 250 people – professors, librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers, collectors and fans – are expected. Registration so far includes participants from 48 states and every continent except Antarctica, Vance said.

The conference offers an opportunity to interact with authors and illustrators around the world, including Alma Flor Ada, Shirin Yim Bridges, F. Isabel Campoy, David Diaz, Margarita Engle, Kathleen Krull, Grace Lin, Roger Mello, Beverly Naidoo, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sis. Petunia’s Place Bookstore will sell books.

Activities will include exhibitions (including one by the International Youth Library), book discussion groups and tours. Optional activities are available to those who stay on beyond the conference closing at noon on Oct. 23. They include a tour of the Shinzen Japanese Garden in Fresno and a one-day bus trip to Yosemite National Park.

For information on the conference and registration visit www.usbby.org/conf_home.htm.

2011 Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Winners Announced

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

The Américas Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. The award, which is sponsored by the U.S. Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP), reaches beyond national borders to focus on the the diversity of cultural heritage throughout the continents of North and South America.

The award winners and commended titles are selected for their:

distinctive literary quality;
cultural contextualization;
exceptional integration of text, illustration and design;
potential for classroom use.

2011 Américas Award Winners

Clemente! by Willie Perdomo. Illustrated by Bryan Collier. Holt, 2010.
The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan, Illustrated by Peter Sis. Scholastic, 2010.

Américas Award Honorable Mention

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle. Holt, 2010.

The full commended list can be found here. The winning books will be honored at a ceremony during Hispanic Heritage Month (15 September – 15 October 2010) at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Reading the World Challenge – Update #2

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Well, we’ve finally started this year’s Reading the World Challenge in our household!

As our together-read, we’re “doing” Europe at the moment. We’re about half way through Dickens’ Oliver Twist, which I’m really enjoying, since it’s a good few years since I read it, and the boys are revelling in. I suggested it because I was getting a bit fed up with continued allusions to Oliver via the musical Oliver! and felt (poor kids, purist that I am!) that they needed to get back to grass roots here… Oliver Twist by Charles DickensI did wonder if we were biting off a bit more than we could chew but in fact they are completely caught up by the narrative and Dickens would be happy with his effect on their social consiousness/consciences! It’s definitely proving to be one of those books that they wouldn’t read on their own but that, with frequent, unobtrusive asides to gloss the meanings of words, they are more than able to enjoy having read to them. It’s just very long and now that term-time is back in full swing, it’s hard getting the sustained reading time all together that we would like.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John BoyneWe have also read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (David Fickling Books, 2006). This is an extraordinarily powerful book about a nine-year-old German boy, Bruno, who becomes an unwitting witness of the Holocaust when his father becomes the Commandant of “Outwith” concentration camp (as Bruno mistakenly calls it), and who makes friends with a Jewish boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the perimeter fence. If you have read this breath-taking, punch-in-the-stomach book, do take a look at the discussion that Janet got underway here on PaperTigers on the Tigers Bookshelf. Although it says on the back cover that despite being a book about nine-year-olds, “this is not a book for nine-year-olds”, and I therefore, again, had some reservations of reading it with the boys, I was glad we did. Because we were reading it together (and not at bedtime – this is definitely not a book to read just before you go to sleep), we couldn’t read it in one sitting as has been recommended – but we all mulled over it deeply and all brought our own ages to it. I know that Little Brother’s nine-year-old perspective was very different to mine (as, indeed was Older Brother’s), but it was still valid; and I hope they will both read it again independently when they are older.

Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter SísLittle Brother’s own read was also focused on Europe with Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sís – this is what he says about it:

I liked The Starry Messenger because you could always recognise Galileo in the pictures because there were always (more…)

A Conversation With Katia Novet Saint-Lot on her virtual book tour for Amadi’s Snowman

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008


PaperTigers: Your life has been a tapestry of living in many cultures—in France, Spain, England, the United States, Nigeria, India. How has this helped you as a writer?

Katia: This is an interesting question. How does life in general help and/or affect us as writers? I would say every experience shapes us, and what we are shows up inevitably in what we write. I could not have written Amadi’s story if I had not lived in Nigeria. On the other hand, it must be said that a life spent traveling or living in vastly different countries (even if I also find similarities from one to another) has made me slightly jaded. I’m so used to witnessing diverse ways of living, eating, dressing, even driving a car on the road (!) that it takes more and more to surprise me. I notice that particularly when we have guests. Some of the things that amaze them, I have come to view as part of my daily routine or panorama.

PaperTigers: It’s been said that writing a picture book is as demanding as writing a poem. Each word must be precise, the use of language must be economical, and the images evocative. Longer forms of fiction can be more forgiving. Why did you choose this difficult form for Amadi’s story? And would you choose it again?

Katia:I love the picture book format. I love the conversation between the art and the words on the page, how they are meant to complement each other. I think that writers who are also artists are very lucky to be able to experience this medium in its full beauty, and difficulty. Amadi came to me that way : it was a turning point in the life of a young boy, related to a particular instance, and something that needed to be resolved quickly. And yes, I have three other picture book manuscripts that I hope will find a home. Children love pictures. They love being able to suspend the flow of a story to examine an image, notice details, talk about the expression on the face of a character, the background, etc.

PaperTigers:As a mother of two girls, why did you decide to write about a boy? Is there a “real-life” Amadi? How did you manage to enter the heart and mind of a small “Igbo man of Nigeria” and give him such complete life on the page?

Katia:There is no “real-life” Amadi, but there are lots of boys just like him. The problem of these boys dropping out of school to earn quick money in the street is very real. As for entering the heart and mind of Amadi, I think it’s the reverse. Amadi entered my own mind and started telling me his story. I just had to write it down. (more…)