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You Make My Face Smile, Olivia Whitman

Kids often ask me, “How old do you have to be to write a book?” I tell them that if they can write or draw, it doesn’t matter how old they are. You don’t have to be a grown-up to get a book published.

I often point out best-selling child authors such as Alec Greven, the author of How to Talk to Girls, or Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon and the other books in the Inheritance Cycle.

Recently, though, I’ve been telling people about Olivia Whitman, a 9-year-old girl from Michigan who survived brain cancer and went on to publish her first book, a collection of her own poems and drawings called “You Make My Face Smile.” Watch the video below to see how Olivia got her wish and had her book published.

Olivia Whitman, author of You Make My Face Smile

Olivia Whitman, author of "You Make My Face Smile"

I you would like to order a copy of Olivia Whitman’s book, you can mail a check or money order for $12.00 per book (includes shipping & handling) to:

Liv Via Books
401 E. Main St
DeWitt, MI 48820

Or you can “Like” Liv Via Books on Facebook and order your copy at the Shop Now tab. You can also click here to read more about Olivia’s remarkable story.

New Videos Created by Readers

While poking around on YouTube this morning, I came across three new videos that readers had made of my poems. What struck me as most interested about these three videos is how different they all are from one another. I am always impressed at the creativity kids put into creating videos. Watch these and you’ll see what I mean.

This first one, using my poem Today I Wrote this Poem (from My Hippo Has the Hiccups), displays the poem one line at a time, while also showing lines from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to demonstrate the particular poetic technique mentioned in my poem.

The second video is a young girl rapping my poem Beavers in the Bathroom from my book The Tighty-Whitey Spider. She has apparently practiced quite a bit with this poem, as she recites it quickly and with no mistakes.

The final poem is an animation of the poem Gerbil, Gerbil, On the Run, also from The Tighty-Whitey Spider. I was so impressed with this animation. I’d love to find out how it was created because it has such fun text animation effects.

There are so many different ways to create videos from poems. If you happen to create a video of one of my poems, please drop me a line and let me know about it. I would love to see what you have done.


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Electronic Christmas

I asked for new gadgets for Christmas.
My list was a hundred lines long.
I figured I might as well try it.
Why not? I mean, what could go wrong?

My parents bought all that I wanted:
An iPod, a big-screen TV,
a camera, a laptop computer,
a Playstation, Xbox, and Wii.

I got a new Kindle, a smart phone,
an RF remote-controlled car,
a robot, a video camera,
a brand new electric guitar.

But those things were just the beginning.
This Christmas, I had such a haul,
it took me all morning, and then some,
to finish unwrapping it all.

A hundred new gadgets to play with.
I couldn’t be bothered to wait.
The moment I plugged them all in, though,
it blew every fuse in the state.

If you’re spending Christmas in darkness,
and can’t play your video game,
I’m sorry for all of the trouble;
it’s probably me who’s to blame.

I know now I shouldn’t be greedy,
so, next year, I think you’ll be fine.
Instead of a hundred new gadgets,
I’m asking for just ninety nine.

–Kenn Nesbitt

An Early Christmas Present for Poetry4kids Readers

This year, as my holiday gift to you, I have made a change to the website that I think you are going to like. Not only have I doubled the number of poems on the Poems page — giving you now over 100 funny poems for kids — but I have also brought back all of the most popular poems ever.

If you haven’t visited the Poems page of Poetry4kids.com lately, drop by to discover some old favorites, including My Teacher Took My iPod, My Puppy Punched Me in the Eye, All My Great Excuses, and many, many more.

Click here to visit the Poetry4kids.com Poems Page:

Happy Holidays!

Poetry Time is Quality Time

Poetry Time is Quality timeEven when the holidays arrive, it can be difficult to switch off the busy lifestyle that we’ve all become so used to. How do we learn to slow down, and really experience this special time of year?

I’m a firm believer in the power of poetry and prose, read aloud, to change the rhythm of our interactions with the children we teach, as well as the kids we live with. Good writing comes with its own built-in rhythm, and it just doesn’t work if you rush it. If you’re looking for a way to bring some of that holiday spirit into your world, and you’re not quite sure where to start, then look up some of these great resources. Take a few moments – heck, take a few hours! – and open up a classic holiday poem, or a short story.

Whether you’re sharing with little children who want you to repeat the funniest lines over and over again, or with older kids who can take turns being the ‘storyteller’, reading portions out loud, you’ll find your day has slowed down, and some of the magic of the holidays has come alive.


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A Reindeer for Christmas

Dear Santa, this Christmas my list is quite small.
In fact, I need practically nothing at all.
My list is so short and so easy to read
because there’s just one thing I actually need.

A reindeer for Christmas is all I require;
a reindeer, of course, who’s an excellent flier.
I really don’t care if it’s Dasher or Dancer.
I’m okay with Cupid or Comet or Prancer.

Please don’t think I’m greedy; I only want one.
You won’t even miss him, and I’ll have such fun.
I promise I’ll feed him and treat him just right,
and take him out flying around every night.

You see, I’m not selfish. So for my surprise
this Christmas, please bring me a reindeer that flies.
But if my request is a bit much for you,
I guess that an iPod will just have to do.

–Kenn Nesbitt


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Children's Author Janet Wong

Children’s Author Janet Wong

An Interview with Children’s Author Janet Wong

Last week I had the opportunity to speak with children’s author and poet Janet Wong about her writing, her books, and her current projects, including her new eBook project with Sylvia Vardell, the Poetry Tag Time series. The third book in the series, Gift Tag, is out just in time for the holidays, and is already one of the best-selling children’s poetry eBooks on Amazon.com.