Lots of school visits during April - poetry month! Feel free to contact me for a poetry romp to your elementary classroom.
Millbrook Literary Festival
Hope you'll come see me at the Millbrook Literary Festival Saturday, May 19th where I'll be chatting and signing books! millbrookliteraryfestival.org
Hudson Children's Book Festival
I'll be signing and selling my books at the Hudson Children's Book Festival May 5th from 10:00 AM —3:00 PM.
Hudson Children's Book Festival
215 Harry Howard Avenue; Hudson, NY
Shimmer:Songs of Night
This book delights with every page! I tried to pick a thought, settle on one to share, but it was impossible. Having grown up in a house filled with poetry and song, Howell has managed to capture the essence of life and sprinkle it on every page. Imagination awakens as the day’s eyes grow heavy and night springs to life. There is not enough space allotted to tell you of all the treasured thoughts tucked so brightly illustrated into this book. So I encourage you to find a copy and share the giggles and joys with your children. Let their minds wander and explore all the fancies and wonders of a simple world. They will never outgrow this book, or the creativity it can bring.
— Darleen Wohlfeil, Story Monsters Ink
A prolific children’s poet offers an eclectic collection of nighttime pieces.
Opossums, space creatures, the Sandman, dream catchers, and Halloween trick-or-treaters—this inviting book of poems for ages 6 to 12 celebrates dusk to dawn as a world of possibility where nature and flights of fancy coexist. Using different forms (haiku, free verse, couplets, quatrains, and more), Howell (Gibber, 2016, etc.) shapes her rhythms and rhymes with a keen appreciation for the subjects and wordplay most likely to engage her target audience. They are matched on every page by debut illustrator Povarchik’s fluid watercolor-and-ink images (of wildlife, imaginary beasts, and white siblings), employing a bright, varied palette. The poet’s lyrical universe is a place where back-to-back haiku (“5 P.M.” and “5 A.M.”) contrast whispered secrets as “the wind scrambles by” with the view of “tall and patient” sunflowers anticipating the coming day; where fireflies “skitter” and “flitter” and the Sandman “slippers into the night”; where “Beehives of buildings /...Glow honey-yellow,” where dusk can be “as thick / As chocolate cake”; and where, when bats fly, “The silver of moon / Glistens a bit / On the black on black, / On the flitter and flit.” From a child’s thoughts about the cosmos and fairy rings to campfire ponderings, shooting stars, and pillow fights, Howell’s witty and wise visions of night flow along until “The skillet sky / Warms up / To a pale buttery yellow.”
This verbal and visual treat portrays the evening as a lively and thought-provoking place of wonder.
— Kirkus Review
A Star Full of Sky
A Star Full of Sky by Raven Howell is an illustrated collection of twenty-five poems intended for young children and early independent readers. Each poem is relatively short, typically no more than two concise stanzas, and none take up more than half a page. Further, illustrations by Caryn Schafer appear intermittently throughout the collection. Themes found throughout the poems revolve around space and scientific facts. These poems can be used as a teaching tool as well as for straight entertainment.
The author utilizes rhythm and rhyme in each poem; in fact, the poems are much more enjoyable when read out loud. The author’s rhyming added significantly to the melodic tone of each poem, and words that were rhymed together never felt forced. Additionally, the author imbues her prose with a magical, almost effervescent feel. This collection is truly written just as much for adults to enjoy as it is for children.
I was most impressed with the subject matter of this book. The poems focus on space, planets and the universe, and they include historical and scientific terms that will definitely get children and adults thinking. Galileo, UFOs, the galaxy, comets and what they are made of, Pluto and it’s demotion from planet status, constellations, the horizon, cumulous clouds, and black holes are just some of the topics introduced in this collection of poems. Not only will these subjects spark conversation between children and parents, they will also get children thinking about topics they might have no previous knowledge of. This book provides a fun way for children to begin learning about science and gain excitement about the topic.
The illustrations are simple images drawn in black and white. At first, I’d hoped for more from the images since the cover of the book is bright and intricately drawn. However, as I read through the collection of poems, I found the illustrations perfectly complement the author’s words. The simplicity of the drawings ensures they do not distract from the lyrical prose and intriguing content of each poem. Further, the poems are quite short, so the basic drawings are just enough to capture the attention of a young reader without distracting them from the words on the page.
As an adult, I found these poems incredibly enjoyable. Although they are short, they pack a lot of information and curiosity into their words. I found myself considering each poem and analyzing them in-depth. I can see how curiously fun each of these poems would be for a young child. However, I do recommend these poems be read with a parent or adult because children will surely have questions about the meaning of some of the terms used throughout the poetry. A Star Full of Sky earns a full 4 out of 4 stars, and I applaud the author for finding a unique and fun way to introduce young children to the joys of scientific exploration!
— Marisa Rose, On Line Book Club
A Star Full of Sky is a delightful book of 25 short poems that will light up the imaginations of young readers and their adults. The poems mainly focus on topics related to the sky or things in space. This premise helps to tie the poems together in a cosmic theme that will keep readers engaged as they enthusiastically bounce through the pages.
Each poem is penned with a playful rhyme and a clever twist. The freshness is demonstrated in passages such as:
“In 2006 they voted
And Pluto was demoted.”
Rhymes like these can introduce children to poetry in a way that fosters interest and demonstrates the ease with which a writer can craft a meaningful message through the use of just a few well-placed words. The words jump out to ignite wonder among young readers and to amuse adult readers. Each page demonstrates the joy that can be found in poetic imagery and the author’s ability to spark discussion, with topics such as:
“I relish when a strong wind blows
And gladly welcome UFOs!”
This warm and imaginative book of poems would be suitable for children and adults of all ages, and would especially appeal to those with an interest in space, or those with a literary sense of humor. The book would also be ideal for children that love to hear the rhythmic cadences of stories. And last but not least, the book would be wonderful for adults hoping to inspire young readers’ questions, or just instill a love of poetry that will stretch out into the stars.