Mother/Daughter Writing Duo

Posted May 17, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

Yesterday we looked at books written by a father and a son, so today I thought I would inspire you with a mother-daughter duo. Unlike Paul and Sid Fleischman, who achieved individual fame in their writing lives, Traci & P.J. Lambrecht are a mother-daughter team that publishes jointly under the pseudonym P.J. Tracy. The two have written over 25 books and sold more than a million copies.

P.J., the mom, explains that she and her daughter have been collaborating on storytelling since Traci was a child. At bedtime they would create stories together, each of them contributing a paragraph. As adults, they work in tandem with little effort. They are so in synch with each other that neither says they can remember who wrote which parts of the finished novels.

Try this:
Create a tale tonight with a child. Take turns moving the story along!

by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools (WITS)

Father/Son Writing Duo

Posted May 16, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

WITS writers often turn to Paul Fleischman when they teach choral poetry. His book Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices has delightful, double-column poems about insects. The poems, which include everything from a love affair between lice to fireflies writing in the sky, are written for two readers alternating turns.

What I did not realize until recently is that Paul’s father Sid Fleischman was also an accomplished writer, who like his son, is a recipient of a Newbery Award. In addition to writing screenplays, Sid is the author of notable children’s books such as The Whipping Boy.

For anyone interested in knowing what it is like to be a writer (and a magician), Sid Fleischman’s book The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer’s Life offers one picture. The book is divided into 43 short chapters that begin with humorous excerpts from letters that Fleischman has received over the years from children. One child, after being asked by his teacher to write a thank-you letter to Fleischman, the visiting author at his school, wastes no time getting to his main point, “Please don’t come back to my school. I hate to write letters.”

Try this:
Go to your local library this week and check out some books by Paul and Sid Fleischman! Then, write a poem for two voices. Record your poem with a friend or parent!

by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools

Mouthful of Flowers

Posted April 29, 2009 & filed under Poem of the Day.

We are downtown, we made it.
This is it, like a
Mouthful of flowers.

Locked up
in a bright new year,
Hurricanes
Spidery highways
Where will we land?

Heavy traffic
Hot pavement
Engine motors and gears
Wood and metal, water and fire,
How do you sing your song?

Listen to our rebellion.
It is truth spilling like blood.

We are made of wood and metal
Cables inside our heads
Mouths full of flowers.

This is our revolution.
This is our song.

We have cables inside our heads
like the night train
going north, south, east, west.

If we can come together
we can clear the smoke
and put in air conditioning.

This world belongs to no one…
We can rise from the ashes
Trickle down, different, not dangerous—free fall.

Nothing comes between us, not even
love or brilliant blue, scarlet red trumpets.

The path is easy and wide.
Rally to the light.
We are owls.

We need one another
recycling our emotions.

Don’t skim the surface
Crack open the poem
under our skin.
Let us speak truth like wolveswallpaper-doodle-toes
wild, unkempt, loud and free.

We’re telling our story—do you remember fire?
The swimming sun shining on the salty sea,
The joy dripping off our tongues.

The damage done caused
our liquid happiness.

Night turning to day
Let’s focus on the present
Open up our souls so we can rest in heaven.

A crowd of individuals, nowhere for me to go.
Is there a way out or are we in a dark alley?

Who knows how it feels to get a kiss of rain?
Talking to strangers can leave your brain on fire.
Who can organize your shoes better than me!

Clouds of haze go round and round
Calm like the morning is a walk to the ends of the earth.

By Zhamere, Hector, Brianna, Darniece, Jared, Chesney, Leafollia , Charlie, and Marcia

Originally posted on 12/8/08.

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This poem is featured as part of the 2009 A Poem A Day campaign, a National Poetry Month celebration by WITS that features a different poem by a WITS student every day during April. Click on the logo to the left to learn more.