(& Kids at Heart)
I’ve always loved picture books—first as a young child, years later as a preschool teacher, and now as I practice the craft of picture book writing. I’m in my sixth year as a participant in the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge founded by Julie Hedlund. My participation in this knowledgeable and supportive group has helped me create a number of picture book manuscripts.
I started reading and writing poetry around the age of eight. I loved rhyme and lyrical language and capturing a slice of life in a verse or two. I still do and I’ve been writing poetry for adult readers for many years.
I began writing poetry for children in a workshop taught by children’s author Catherine Ipcizade in the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension Online. In 2015, I entered several of those poems in a poetry contest held by the Institute for Children’s Literature and was delighted to be a third place winner.
Since that time, I’ve been writing and polishing poems for submission to children’s magazines, anthologies, and for my themed poetry collections in picture book format.
“My Town Library” is a prose poem I wrote for the Community Collection 23: The Library with Lee Bennett Hopkins at Renée LaTulippe’s blog NO WATER RIVER—the children’s poetry place.
I still remember my excitement on my first visit to a library.
“My Town Library”
My mom brought me to our town’s library for the very first time today. The building looked old, like my Grandma Joan, as we climbed the granite stairs. Once inside, the librarian showed me the rows and rows of books—they took my breath away!
Hundreds of books, just for kids, and all for free in one place. I sat on the floor, pulled a book from the shelf, and carefully turned each page. I whispered the words, just to myself, and traced some letter’s shapes—first an A, then an O, then a K.
My mom said to choose three books to take home with my very own library card. So, I peeked inside another book’s cover, then another, and another—while my mom patiently waited, and waited—I just couldn’t decide! Until she explained that the next time we came, I could trade today’s books for three more!
“Mom,” I asked, “Can we please come back the very first thing in the morning?”
“Or should we just move in instead?”
~ Linda J Thomas