Friday, March 27, 2020

Put on Your Red Shoes and... WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit beautiful Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for Roundup.

It's been a quiet-ish week around here, filled with a number of home improvement projects like putting in some azaleas, touching up the paint on the outdoor furniture, wiping away the pollen, wiping away the pollen, wiping away the pollen...
Today I am thrilled to welcome one of the dearest children's poets ever Amy Ludwig VanDerwater in celebration of her new book WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!, illus. by Ryan O'Rourke, published by Boyds Mills and Kane. Is there any more generous poet among us than AmyLV? She has such a wonderful way of speaking directly to children exactly on their level, so all her books are musts for me. And now, please welcome Amy, who was kind enough to come on over and respond to a few simple prompts as they relate to this latest project. Welcome, Amy!

The delicious: 
AmyLV: It is delicious to have a second book with the same illustrator. I adore Ryan O’Rourke’s art: his child expressions and textures and small details and bright colors and the way he plays with light on the page. Those pen and pencil butterflies and dragonflies delight me. I love that we have two books together, and I think of them as brother and sister books.

Beautiful Amy!
The difficult: 
AmyLV: This is the last book that my friend and mentor, Lee Bennett Hopkins, will ever see of mine. His death last August still surprises me, and I will always be grateful to him for his generosity. I hear Lee’s voice when I revise, and I hope I always will.

The unexpected:
AmyLV: Sometimes people share their favorite poem in a newly released book. I have read several such comments about Write! Write! Write!, and I have been tickled to find there are many different favorites. It is my hope that many people will find a poem in this book that matches their experience of writing.
Anything else:
AmyLV: Here is the book trailer I commissioned film student Patrick Krum to make. When I watch this, I imagine each of the book characters  jumping off the page!
Thank you, Amy! Want to know my favorite poem in the book? It's "The Pen."

The Pen
In a town, there is a house.
In the house, there is a room.

And in the room, there is a boy.
And in his hand, he holds a pen.

And in the pen swirl drops of ink.
They lead the boy to write and think.

And when he reads, the boy can see,
the pen has set his stories free.

It could be you.
It could be me.

(Pens are magical, you see.)

- Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Magical, indeed! And now... because Amy inspires me, I, too, will write about writing for my latest ArtSpeak! RED poem. Enjoy!

When I write to you,
I put on my red shoes

Instead of I am fine,
I write:
                  I am divine!

Instead of I miss you,
I confess:
                  you are my bliss.

When you read my letter,
do you
                put on your red shoes, 

- Irene Latham


  1. Your joy is contagious! (maybe not for wiping pollen away) but joy over Write! Write! Write! is...and the red shoes. Oh, my goodness. Your talent for making a turn on a dime in a poem is exceptional. I love the poem with the portrait!

  2. I love Amy's book, will share it soon, & love your sharing, Irene. Amy's work most recently is to be celebrated. The videos she is making for everyone, but especially kids are so inspiring. The girls are keeping journals & I've urged them to watch Amy for more ideas. And, I love this latest poem and the art, simple portrait, much to love in it as you make it come alive with your words. Enjoy your lake & all its beauty!

  3. Oh, red shoes! Love your poem. So enjoyed hearing from Amy about her new book. Can't wait to see it!

  4. Oh, those red shoes can take us places... LOVE this little visit, with you both! Congratulations, Amy - can't wait to read it through. (& also LOVE the writing fort in the trailer...) XOXO

  5. I'm enchanted by your "red shoes" poem Irene, I'd love to slip them on, and slip into the painting–Gabrielle Munter's painting matches perfectly! Thanks for inviting Amy and her new book! There's magic in your favorite poem that you shared, "The Pen," I'm looking forward to reading it!

  6. These are both glorious! I can't wait to read Amy's newest. Her READ! READ! READ! is a favorite. And I love how your red shoes make you bolder...braver. Lovely.

  7. Thank you for sharing Irene! I like the red shoe poem and the content from Amy. The creative experience and process of other writers is always so interesting to me.

  8. Thank you, Irene, for sharing W!W!W!, and for your brave, beautiful, love poem. I want me some red shoes now... But I'll wait. Thank you, friends, for your kind words. I feel lucky and grateful. xxxx

    1. Amy LV ~ I'm so behind on your world! What a joy it is to begin to catch up 🌞💕

  9. Oh Irene, what a wonderful post. I share the same (as many I am sure) view of Amy as a person, a poet, a writer, a sharer, a teacher. I adore her book and honestly when I pick it up to read it can move me to tears of joy. Honest. And your poem well it just to me is perfect. I love that idea of putting on your red shoes just for the love of your life (could be a partner or a child or a parent or a dear friend, right?) to whom you write.
    I always love your posts, Irene. Janet Clare F.

  10. Oh, I love the red shoes. There's something about putting on red shoes... And Amy's new book - divine bliss and perfect to have brother sister books about reading and writing. She's a gift to us for sure and so are you! Keep those red poems coming, they cheer me up!

  11. You both make me so very happy! If I had red shoes, I'd DEFINITELY put them on for the pair of you!

  12. Such a joy-filled post! Makes me want to click my ruby heels and doing a happy dance. :)

  13. I'm glad I get to read another favorite poem from Amy's book. I can't wait to read the rest of them! I love your red shoes poem. It may inspire me as I send more letters and poems to my lil sis since I can't see her right now.

  14. Oh, the red shoes! In kindergarten we had a song we would sing: Brand new shoes, brand new shoes... So long ago I don't remember much except there was something about red shoes, and I've wanted red shoes ever since. This book review is charming, as is your poem... and I thank you! Divine indeed!

  15. Thank you for sharing Amy's book and The Pen - I see why it is a favorite! Whether it is red shoes or something else, I think we can all use something to give us strength.

  16. What a sweet picture of Amy! I love the conversation of your poems. (Hmmm...where did my red shoes go?) xo

  17. I love your conversation with Amy, who is dear to me as you are. I am so crazy about this line, "Instead of I am fine, I write I am divine." Divine in this world of poetry bliss, I can pretend our world is peaceful and happy.

  18. I just worship Amy. Thank you for this joy....

  19. Irene ~ what a FABULOUS way to interview someone...what freedom you offer them! As a result, your post offers a bright morning ~ both from sunny, creative Amy and your own original, shining artspeak. Thank you both for this gift before I go to sleep...


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