Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to see sketches and make comments on two of my books that will be out in 2016, SUPERHERO INSTRUCTION MANUAL (Knopf), illustrated by Mark Fearing, and A HOP IS UP (Bloomsbury), illustrated by Lori Richmond.

You guys, I’m pretty sure I’ve won the luck lottery. These illustrators are fantastic. These books are going to be amazing. I am so anxious to share these books with children. I wish 2016 were NOW! And here’s a secret: both books have a dog! And no spoilers or anything, but NEITHER book is the kind of book where the dog dies. Whew!

So since my brain has been so dog-focused lately because of the adorableness (Is that a word? It should be a word.) of the dogs in these two forthcoming picture books, I thought I’d share one of my favorite dog-centric poetry books.


Once I Ate a Pie
by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest

In this book you will meet 13 dogs with distinct personalities. Puppy is new and worried. Mr. Beefy is always hungry. (Once he even ate a whole pie.) Sugar just loves to sleep. (Unless the cat is around and then she loves to chase.)

These are just some of the sweet faces you’ll meet in ONCE I ATE A PIE. And maybe you’ll be inspired to write some dog poetry of your own. I know I was:

Outside Dog at Suppertime
by Kristy Dempsey


if I scrunch my nose
a bit more
against this glass door,

you’ll hear my whimper.

            Must I wail?

Maybe a knock with my tail?

No need for a plate.

I’d settle for scraps.



I just returned from Rio where I presented for two days at the American School of Rio de Janeiro. It was excellent.


We celebrated both National Poetry Month and International Children’s Book Day with poetry workshops and Writer’s Life presentations. It was a full two days, but full of fun and learning and celebration. Those EARJ students know how to throw a celebration! Also, they figured out how old I am. (I think this was planned because one kid asked me how old I was when I published my first book and another asked me how long it had been since I published my first book. 33 and 12, respectively. 🙂

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved visiting these smart kids and their superstar teachers. Can I go back soon?

And now, I’m a few days late but I’ll kick off National Poetry Month with “Recipe for a Poem” which was originally published in the Poetry Friday Anthology put out by Pomelo Books. Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong at Pomelo are putting out some of the most fun and exciting poetry anthologies for children of late and are making them very accessible to teachers with activities and hands-on tips. Be sure to check out their site.

Recipe for A Poem

by Kristy Dempsey

Fill a pot
with red-hot thought.
Boil a bit,
Let sit.
Wait . . .
some more.
Open a drawer,
pick a spoon,
a hammer,
a kite,
anything might
be of use.
Weigh the contents.
Stir the depths.
Season with truth and
a dash of laughter.
Stretch like taffy,
Slice into bites.
Throw to the wind
and listen.