From Sarah, With Joy

Writer of all things kid lit.

Here there be kid poems.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Neckless Giraffe

The Neckless Giraffe

All giraffe clans have a neckless giraffe
hanging somewhere on their family tree.
Unfortunately in this giraffe family
the neckless giraffe here is me.
I can’t reach the treetops,
the juiciest leaves,
so I have to eat grass with the zebras.
The baboons won’t talk
to me. Meerkat pups mock
even more than the laughing hyenas.
How would you feel if
you had to do full-on splits
just bending down for a drink?
Or not being able to see
hiding lions?
It’s scarier than you might think.
My great, great, great grandma,
the one other member of my fam
without a long neck,
was so sick of jerk fuss
she joined a big circus.
She’s a clown, but get’s clownish respect.

But what’s this? Oh see here,
the Old Gnu Express delivered
some mail to my bunk.
A penpal for me?
Could it possibly be?
Signed, an Elephant without a trunk!

-Sarah Allen

Monday, February 26, 2018

Car Wash

Image Source
Car Wash

Whoosh, thwump, squirsh, squee
wax and polish, shampoo eddy
weesh weesh weesh wee
hwomp hwomp squeegy
whurring rub and tires shiny
pastel pink blue bubbly
whoosha hula jalousie
off dust, dirt, and debris
off boot print, mud sprint, miles of me
back with more miles soon as can be
no more of my miles can you see
the road isn’t new, but am I?

Monday, February 19, 2018

If Mrs. Clause Was President

Image Source, Stephanie Lee

If Mrs. Clause was President
I think that'd be pretty great.
If Mrs. Clause was President
there'd be smiles in every state.
She'd take care of us 364 days a year
while her husband took care of the one.
She would make sure each kid has a warm place to sleep
and never stop till she was done.
If Mrs. Clause was president
she would know every child by name.
She would welcome the white folks and brown folks
and black folks and all kinds of folks just the same.
Whenever our country had problems,
like our mom she'd have thoughtful advice.
She'd see each of us as our very best selves
whether we had been naughty or nice.
There would be fewer people out hurting each other
'cause weapons would only be toys
and she'd care for all creatures from Blitzen to Vixen
from Oregon to Illinois.
If Mrs. Clause was president,
I think that'd be pretty great.
But maybe if we treated all people like she would
we'd make smiles in every state.

Monday, January 22, 2018

5 Places to Rake In Picture Book Ideas

1. Hidden History

Ever heard of Grace Hopper? Jean Jennings? I hadn't until very recently. Did you know they were instrumental in the development of the modern computer, coding and programming in particular? Our history is full of characters, women especially, who made insanely awesome contributions to our world that we don't know about. And picture book biographies are the bomb! Find the hidden stories and bring them to light. Keep asking questions and keep researching. Who was the first African-American woman in space? Who was the empress who smuggled silkworms out of China?

2. Old Diaries and Photo Albums

Your life has hidden gems too. Nobody grew up quite exactly the way you did. Maybe you were an only child who lived in a high-rise in New York. Maybe you grew up on a farm in Idaho. Maybe your parents immigrated to Canada from Syria when you were 4 years old. Maybe your brother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Whatever it is, find the richness and uniqueness from your own life and bring it to the page. Best of all you get to call it "fiction" so nobody can make fun of you for that purple underwear you wore every day of third grade. We know that was you.

3. Dreams and Nightmares

I once had a dream about sword-fighting a wolf in my old school's gym. There's something ethereal, childlike and whimsical about dreams, even scary ones, that might be a perfect match for the ethereal, childlike, and whimsical experience we want readers to have in our picture books. Its a good idea to have a notebook with you wherever you go, but for sure keep one by your bed and jot down the craziness that happens inside your brain while you're asleep.

4. Mythology and Folklore

I recently watched Myths and Monsters on Netflix and it was really fun! I learned a lot about western European mythology that I hadn't known before. It's a classic but excellent place to go digging for story ideas, especially if you look through areas that maybe haven't really been explored before. I'd be excited by some picture books featuring Ghanaian folk tales. I'd spend my grubby, hard-earned dollars on picture books about heroes from Korean mythology.

5. Other Picture Books

There aren't really very many "shoulds" when it comes to writing. Yeah there are wise suggestions that most likely it's a good idea to follow, but really we are free to blaze our own path. But one really solid "should", at least in my mind, is the idea that if you want to write something, you've got to read that something. I mean come on. Freddie Mercury only happened because the Beatles happened. We've gotta know what conversation we're joining otherwise we might get stuck playing in our own mess, thinking we're creating something new. So if you wanna write picture books, then read picture books. Let the ideas you love inspire you. Let the pictures you love best spark something in your own mind. And you'll have ideas coming out your ears as thick as Grandpa Norbert's wiry grey ear-hair.

Write on, everyone!

Sarah Allen
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