Friday, March 23, 2018

Dreaming and Making with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit lovely Laura at Writing the World for Kids for Roundup.

In these parts, today marks the beginning of spring break. Woohooo! We have some adventures planned for the break -- and some relaxation, too.... calm before the storm that is National Poetry Month. :)

Today I am celebrating the lovely, generous and wise Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who has not one but TWO new books this month. Congratulations, Amy!!! I'm excited to share with all of you a bit from each.

First, DREAMING OF YOU by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illus. by Aaron DeWitt, brought to us by Boyds Mills Press. This is a sweet bedtime book, and it's earned a starred review from Kirkus!

Amy IS a star, and always has been, so this feels particularly fitting - and I know how validating critical acclaim can be... it helps make us feel like our work is valuable, that someone "gets" it. And it can be the shot in the arm we need to keep going in this oh-so-challenging children's book industry. So, yay!

The book features animals and what they are dreaming about... kittens, turtles, fireflies... and horses! I have to share with you the verse about horses:

Horses are dreaming of wild, windy rides.
Horses are dreaming of wide open spaces.
Horses are dreaming of you telling secrets
into long ears as you nuzzle their faces.

Isn't that lovely and sweet and exactly what horses are surely dreaming about? It makes me want to write verses about what other animals are dreaming... and maybe what Ruby (our dog) is dreaming! (A rubber chicken, perhaps? That squirrel that always always gets away? The sway of the breeze and the swell of the sun as she rides with us on the boat?) Fun.

And now, I've got to share with you about WITH MY HANDS: Poems about Making Things by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, picutres by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson, brought to us by Clarion Books. Amy is a maker, a do-er, so this book is like sharing an afternoon in Amy-land! I love it. Maybe because I am a maker and a do-er, too... my whole life I've been painting and doodling and stained-glassing and scrapbooking and collaging and quilting and stitching and baking and crafting. And there are poems in this book for many of these things! I'd like to share 2 of my favorites:
I am in love with the placement
of the text on the page!

by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

My grandma
                       taught me
how to knit
                       and when it's cold
I like to sit
                       with needles
and a ball of yarn.
                        I think of sheep
out in the barn
                        wearing wool
that soon will be 
                         knitted by
someone like me.
                         And as my fingers
                         each stitch into
a knit or purl
                         I watch my window
fill with snow.
                         I listen
as my needles go
to and fro
                          and watch
my knitting
and grow.

.... and the closing poem:

With My Hands
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

When I make something new
I am never the same.

I can never go back
to the person I was.

For the thing that I made
is a part of me now.

I changed it.
It changed me.

I am different

I brought a new something
to lie with my hands.

If you are a maker
then you understand.

I DO understand! I DO! Thank you, Amy. And here are a few of my latest creations...
a sign pointing the way (down)
to the lake!

...and here it is close-up, while the paint was still drying:

....and here is a garland of origami swans... my son has made and gifted these to me over the years, and I finally figured out a lovely way to display them!

....finally, here is a double-sided t-shirt quilt I've just made for our youngest son as a graduation gift (shh!). It includes t-shirts from all the concerts he's been to with his dad. :)

side "Rock"

side "Roll"
Happy making! Happy reading! Happy dreaming! xo


  1. YOU have made here so many lovebursts here, dear Irene.
    Will be eager to order each new titles by nourishing Amy LVL, who may be your poetry twin? Now I'm wondering what hummingbirds dream of, fireflies too, & ladybugs - it goes on & on, what Amy (& you) whirled up here.
    Smiles for "swell of the sun" - a new way for me to think solar, down here in the Sunshine State. Your double-sided quilty, the lake sign - your son's folded paper art - a star for Amy from Kirkus for Dreaming of You - so much wonderful here, thank you.

  2. Irene! Thank you! I am tickled to be here...and your arts make me swoon. So much love, friend. Thank you for this surprise today. xxxx

  3. Wow, I am dizzy with beautiful poetry and that Rock n Roll quilt. The amount of love and work! Congrats to Amy, with two books in one month. So exciting! Congrats!

  4. I love Amy's "dreaming" book, and am so looking forward to "With My Hands", feels like an important book for everyone, but especially for classrooms full of students ready to "make" something. I love all your own works, Irene, but maybe especially that you made a special sign for your lake. Lovely post!

  5. Beautiful books by Amy! And I love the origami swans.

  6. Love this post -- and both of Amy's new books. She is indeed quite a maker and do-er, as are you. Enjoyed seeing your most recent creations (the quilt is awesome!!!).

  7. Oh, you are such an artist! Love those origami swans from your son, too. I adore With My Hands, and I can't wait to pick up Dreaming of You! Thanks for the sneak peek:>)

  8. Irene, you revealed so much of you to me that I did not know. How wonderful that you are doer, a maker, and a friend. Amy's new books look fabulous. I love the format of Knitting. I announced the #NYEDChat / #WonderChat convo with you, Charles, and Laura on my blog today. Can't Wait!

  9. I'm very happy for Amy to see these books and all her success..."With My Hands" is definitely a book for my 4-year-old budding artist daughter!

  10. Thank you for sharing this peek into Amy's new books, and your own crafty self! Your son's t-shirt quilt is impressive! I'm a knitter, too, so of course I'm in love with "Knitting." One of my goals for the weekend is to choose just the right yarn for a baby blanket. Happy making, Irene!

  11. I read about With My Hands on Jama's post, and was delighted to see it again here and to enjoy an introduction to Dreaming of You. What treasures! Speaking of treasures, I was wowed by the evidence of your creative energy and talent. That quilt wins the "Best Graduation Gift" prize for sure!

  12. Thank you for sharing two delightful books! I can't wait to read them. And I love that you shared things you have made. What fun!

  13. My grandma taught me how to knit too. :) Thanks for sharing the Amy-love today and for sharing your own beautiful projects, Irene. I love your crane garland and man oh man, what a special gift for your son! Lucky young man. xo

  14. Thank you for sharing poems from both collections. I've added them to my to-read list. I just finished reading Can I Touch Your Hair? It's one of the most poignant truthful collections I've read. The separate but intertwined experiences of both you and Charles reminded me of my own elementary school experiences in the 80s. This is a very important book, and I'm grateful that the two of you wrote it.

  15. Thanks for this rich blog post Irene, Love all the poems from Amy's two new books! Dreaming horses, how much better can you get than that. Love the last line of "With My Hands, If you are a maker
    then you understand." And yes I do too. Thanks also for sharing all your treasures you've been creating, I love the sign, the rock and roll quilt, and your garland of swans–perhaps they are dreaming too…


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