I am traveling today, but I had to share this: I've just finished reading TOO MANY FRIENDS by our resident Aussie Poetry Friday friend Kathryn Apel. Such a a fun verse novel! Be sure to visit Michelle's interview of Kat (and book giveaway!) over at Today's Little Ditty. And it's got me thinking bout friendship and friendship books, as mine and Charles Waters' book CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship is also (obviously!) about friendship. For more on this project (and other thoughts on poetry), please join me at Poetry Tea Time!
Is it possible to have too many friends?
Yes, I do know the feeling of being spread too thin, not able to spend as much time as I'd like with the friends I'm so fortunate to know and love...
Kat gives us a clear picture of narrator Tahnee's take on each child in a group of friends -- each one distinct, from Roxanne who is "like a wind-up toy/ coiled too tight/ fit to bust!" to Lucy who's "too busy/ looking at the hole in the toe/ of her shoe/ to notice."
When the group experiences friendship problems, Tahnee comes up with a course of action that is inspiring! Her kindness creates ripples that transform this community of friends... we should all leave "
Back to me and Charles, who became friends through the experience of writing a book together, and often refer to each other ourselves as "Forever Friends." Here is Kat's poem by the same title:
You are a good friend because
you have been my friend
and I like being
with you. (Roxie)
Doesn't it make you want to share your own "You are a good friend because" notes?
There's also a snail in this book! It's one of several shape poems. It's so adorable, I have to share it here:
And now, please welcome Kat, who has responded to a few prompts:
The Delicious: The warmth of memories this story sparked. Whilst it was inspired by a friend’s mother-comment, it was very much written from my teacher-heart, spanning 20 years of classroom experiences and memories. I am very thankful for the beautiful kids and classes who have shaped my life, and it was a joy to have all those memories resurface.
The Difficult: At first I couldn’t think of anything… and then I remembered! The difficult was the fact that we had an unexpected trip come up at short notice, so that the manuscript had to be ready to go to typesetters a month earlier than initially planned, and when I was supposed to be in a frenzy of packing/organisation, I was instead buried in my MS, and vice-versa. The MS was due at the publishers the same day we flew out of the country for 4 weeks cruising South America and Antarctica. (A whole other story!)
I started back at work the day after we arrived home (a new school year) and that afternoon collected our pile of accumulated mail to find a thick wad of first page proofs - for a 10-day turnaround. Just a wee-bit of a stressful start to the year. But the holiday was definitely worth it! And so is the book! :)
The Unexpected: I’d written a shape poem for ‘Duck, Dad’, with the head of a duck, and body/legs of a man… I was so proud of it! (The level of accomplishment is weighed against my level of inability as an artist.) First pages came back and my poor duck/dad was chopped in half at the waist… I’d got my page width right… but didn’t factor in double-line spacing. (And I had loved him so!) He's now a rubber-duckie and a waterdrop… Cute - but I'm still so proud of my original duck/dad.
Anything Else You'd Like Readers to Know: Be kind. Be yourself. Be unique.
Friends are like lollies - so be sweet!
[note from Irene: Kat told me that in Australia, "candy" is very specific to hard lollies, like candy canes and candy message hearts. "Lollies" is the generic name for all sweets - not including desserts, etc.. Take a look at the Lolly Warehouse.]
Thank you, Kat! You are a good friend because... you sent me your book all the way from Australia! :)