Poetry Friday — Hope

I’ve shared this poem before, one I penned a couple of years ago as my own take on hope after reflecting on Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”. It seems that the euphoria *and* the pain of hope are recurring themes in my life, and sharing this poem again only serves to echo that cycle. Perhaps you can relate?


Hope refuses to perch
as if she had arrived for only a visit,
like so many flitting wings
on the branches of a bloodwood tree,
weaving instead feathers from her breast
into the fabric of my soul.

Her fussing brings pain,
reminding me of a presence I’ve tried
to ignore, preferring instead

            a familiar landscape of barren desert,
averting my eyes from the want within,
growing as if shielded from sun, protected

from possibilities until they would

weigh my branches with promise.

But hope, feathered hope, is already here,
nestled so sweetly for laying,

and I await with the pain
of expectation.

–Kristy Dempsey (2007, all rights reserved)

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ETA: Oh! I forgot to say that ME WITH YOU is the Poetry Friday Picture Book of the Day over at Anastasia Suen’s six traits blog!

Some pics

I’ve had a really rough night and day with some crazy stomach virus going on. Not feeling much better, but wanted you to see these pics that brought me joy on a not so joyous day. There’s still time to enter the contest if you find ME WITH YOU on your bookstore shelves!

Sweet friend Laura; you can see *   *  Hanging out with Tim McGraw and *   *   Friend and Critique Partner Becky Gomez
Mouse was Mad and Two Boys Have                       Brooke Shields in
the Best Week Ever and several                                      Auburn, AL
other friend’s books

Two dear friends in GA In Borders* * * * * * * * * at Mall of GA * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** Pam Ross in Long Island!
Ed and Carol Hogan

The Cute Little Display that Penguin Putnam
sold to some stores. If you have a Wegman’s,
it’s there! This one was at Quail Ridge Books in NC.

Thanks to Laura Flynt Clum, Mom and Tim, Ed and Carol Hogan, Pamela Ross, Becky Gomez, and Kelly Starling Lyons for the pics!

In other news, I blogged today at the Author’s Now website about what being 6,000 miles away from my first book’s debut has taught me about writing for children. Click here to read it. And please leave me a comment!
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was at Barnes and Noble last night in Charlottesville and look what she found!

Okay, and do you see that woman in the background with a stroller? (You can’t see her face so I feel okay about posting her picture without her consent.) saw THAT WOMAN, someone we don’t even know, BUY A COPY of ME WITH YOU! She just picked it up off the shelf and read it and then bought it! Whoo-hoo!

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Seven Impossible Things

ME WITH YOU’s esteemed illustrator, Christopher Denise, is the guest for breakfast over at Jules’ and Eisha’s Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog. And let me tell you, you are in for a treat. Not only can you study the beauty of spreads from ME WITH YOU (and some of the text), you can also study Chris’s process for other books, to the tune of 84 (!!!!) images.

The amount of work Jules puts into her interviews is amazing and you seriously will not want to miss her conversation with Chris. My favorite quote: "Suffering as an artist is vastly overrated." Considering what a joy it has been to work with Chris, I couldn’t agree more. 🙂

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In with Team Raving Pen

I truly can’t believe I caved to the peer pressure. 🙂

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater… debuts August 1. Preorder today!

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Sounding the Horn

In honor of the release date of ME WITH YOU, a picture book tailor-made for cuddling in an arm chair for a read-aloud fest, I wanted to talk a bit about reading aloud to kids. Jen Robinson at Jen Robinson’s Bookpage said this far more eloquently back in January than I could ever hope to, but it’s an important enough issue that more of us need to jump on the bandwagon. Jen called for an international initiative to encourage reading aloud to kids. How can we make this happen? I don’t know that I have the answers but I think I can echo her call and perhaps together we can all come up with some ideas.

My own three children are growing up in a household where we speak English, but a school system where they speak Portuguese. All three have learned to read "officially" in Portuguese first because of the efforts of their 4 year old kindergarten teachers. But all three have learned to read English informally because of our efforts at reading aloud to them. I would even say that we did not do enough. We did not read out loud every day. But they’ve grown to love books and words and have incredible vocabularies in English simply because they were read to. They feel at home with books and settle down easily to read a story, on their own or out loud. Perhaps they love to read the books we have in our home so much simply because they were not required to read them. It’s all been purely for pleasure, a free choice free-for-all. No homework assignments, no grammar lessons, no requirements. Their reading has allowed them to experience worlds different from their own, emotional experiences they haven’t yet gone through, and to begin to make the emotional connections they will need when they later face these or similar situations in the real world.

Not only this, but we bond as a family over literature. Mem Fox mentions this in her book, Reading Magic, in which she advocates reading out aloud daily:

"As we share the words and pictures, the ideas and viewpoints, the rhythms and rhymes, the pain and comfort, and the hopes and fears and big issues of life that we encounter together in the pages of a book, we connect through minds and hearts with our children and bond closely in a secret society associated with the books we have shared. The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading."
Did you get that? The "fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks . . ." It’s those positive early reading experiences, often before the child is even able to identify words on their own, that lead to a love for books and reading. It’s all about the emotional connection. And not only does reading aloud to a child foster the child’s love for books, it fosters your own emotional connection to that child too, and the child’s connection to you.

That’s what ME WITH YOU is all about. Emotional connections. I hope you’ll cozy up to your nearest loved one, be it a child or a child at heart, and read aloud for a bit today. And if you’re looking to celebrate an emotional connection, may I suggest ME WITH YOU, whose words metaphorically apply to just about any relationship you could imagine. 🙂

For a peek into the book and an adorable teddy bear tea-party, check out Jama Rattigan’s Soup of the Day post celebrating ME WITH YOU here.

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My incredible family, volume 2

This is my older sister, Diana. Get this. She had already ordered ME WITH YOU and is waiting for it to arrive but when she went to the bookstore today in Florence, SC, and found it there too, she paid FULL PRICE just to be able to buy it and photo document the whole thing for me. She took pictures. Her with the book. The sales clerk with the book. The book on the shelf. The credit card machine as it said "please wait". The credit card machine as it lit up with the total. Can you believe her? She shared every step of the process with me. I cried!

Also, I’m the guinea pig interview guest today at Rebecca’s Writing Journey. For deets on how ME WITH YOU came to be, check it out!

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