MARCH brings bugs — NASTY BUGS – the official publication is March l5 (Dial Books).  Reviews have been wonderfully nasty including the lastest PUBLISHERS WEEKLY which ends:  “A squirm-inducing tribute to our blood-sucking, garbage-eating insect friends.”  All the poems in the collection were especially commissioned.

The Lee Bennett Hopkins/Penn State Poetry Award was announced.  The 2012 winner is WON TON: A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU (Holt) by Lee Wardlaw; one Honor Book: HIDDEN by Helen Frost (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).


Norma Farber (1909-1984) and I enjoyed years of correspondence.  I have in my files many of her unpublished poems as well as a treasure of other mementoes she sent me.  I was thrilled to hear from her son, Tom, who sent me her adult work – YEAR OF REVERSIBLE LOSS – Norma’s journal written after the death of her husband, Sidney.  Sidney Farber, a pioneer in chemotherapy of cancer, died in l973.

Norma published many extraordinary children’s books.  After reading …LOSS, I would suggest you hold your breath — fast and hard. If you do not, Farber’s writing will take your breath away.  It did mine.  For more on this beautiful, visceral work see

Another heart-wrenching memoir is Jane Yolen’s THINGS TO SAY TO A DEAD MAN: POEMS AT THE END OF A MARRIAGE AND AFTER – – detailing her husband, David – and his five-year battle with cancer.  After reading both works one can only treasure relationships we are still fortunate to have – to hold onto.  Every day with a loved one is so welcomed.


What a happy sight to see William Joyce accept his Academy Award for THE FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSERMORE.  The film is dedicated to two of my dear-gone – but never forgotten – friends, Bill Morris and Coleen Salley.  Bill was one of the most professional and beloved publicists within the children’s book community who worked at HarperCollins until his death.  The first book to be dedicated to him was my first I CAN READ POETRY BOOK – SURPRISES – published in 1984, illustrated by Megan Lloyd, and still in print (HarperCollins).  My editor was the beloved Charlotte Zolotow.  SURPISES — 28 years in print.  What a SURPRISE!


I am obsessed – lovingly obsessed — with work I’m doing on my second adult novel.  I am now working on the third draft, near completion.  What a trip.  And what a joy to be writing a comedy.  It isn’t proper to laugh at one’s own words – or is it?


Here in the Fort Myers, Florida community we are all a-buzz at Gregory Maguire (WICKED) being the featured author at the 4th Lee Bennett Hopkins/Edison State College Writer’s Institute to be held on October 27th. It is is only March 1st – and calls are coming in for tickets to be limited to just a few hundred. For further information see at EDISON STATE COLLEGE.