Archives for posts with tag: Children’s books

Feather Floating on the Water: Poems for Our Children was funded through an Indiegogo campaign that described the book as “a unique and culturally diverse anthology of poetry for elementary-age children by San Francisco’s finest poets. The book offers children the opportunity to know the work of poets living among them — empowering young people to understand that poetry is a vibrant art form, and one vital to our humanity.”

A labor of love, the poetry contributions, editing, design, and other aspects of the project were donated. The book features the work of over 50 poets, including the first San Francisco Poet Laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti, current Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia, and celebrated poet A.D. Winans, whose poem “Rain” appears in the collection. The 225-page Feather Floating on the Water: Poems for Our Chidren was donated to every elementary and middle school in San Francisco, as well as to all public library branches.

Culturally diverse and multilingual (the collection includes poems in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Farsi — with English translations), the book is also illustrated throughout with black and white drawings by a range of fine artists. The universal appeal of this collection brings poetry into focus as humanity’s most heartfelt, insightful, and impactful mode of expression and inspiration.

Find Feather Floating on the Water: Poems for Our Children at The book received a 2014 Acker Award for excellence in children’s literature.


ABOUT THE EDITOR: Virginia Barrett is an influential poet, editor, and arts organizer, a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a student of Pulitzer and Bollingen Prize-winning poet Charles Wright, a Masters graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and a professional teaching-artist for over 25 years. She has written many books of poetry, including I Just Wear My Wings, served as coeditor of the acclaimed anthology Occupy SF, and is author of the travel memoir Mbira Maker Blues.


Silver Birch Press, under the umbrella of its new children’s book imprint Silver Starlight Books, is pleased to announce the May 2014 release of Honey Bear by Dixie Willson with full-color illustrations by Maginel Wright Barney, a reissue of the 1923 classic. This is the book that made Tom Wolfe decide to become a writer! This is the book that Joan Didion read to her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne.

“My mother used to read it to me at bedtime long before I knew one letter of the alphabet from another . . . Honey Bear’s main attraction was Dixie Willson’s rollicking, rolling rhythm . . . the Willson beat made me think writing must be not only magical but fun . . . I resolved then and there, lying illiterate on a little pillow in a tiny bed, to be a writer. In homage to Dixie Willson, I’ve slipped a phrase or two from Honey Bear into every book I’ve written.” TOM WOLFE , author of The Right Stuff


Long out of print, used copies of the 1923 edition of the book are selling high prices on ebay and Amazon – some at over $100, even for a badly worn copy. For the first time in decades, Honey Bear by Dixie Willson is available at a reasonable price. If you want to help foster a love of language in the young children in your life, Honey Bear is the answer!


Dixie Willson (1890-1974) was a poet, screenwriter, and author children’s books, novels, and short stories. She liked to gain first-hand experience when researching her stories, and performed as an elephant rider in the Ringling Bros. Circus and a chorus girl in the Ziegfeld Folliies, attended TWA Stewardess School, and worked as a taste tester at Betty Crocker. A prolific author, she wrote over 300 magazine stories, books, and screenplays, four of which were made into films.

Maginel Wright Barney (1881–1966) was a children’s book illustrator and graphic artist, younger sister of Frank Lloyd Wright. She illustrated 63 children’s books, sometimes working alone and sometimes with other artists. Her first job as book illustrator was on The Twinkle Tales, a set of six booklets for young children published by Reilly & Britton in 1906, and written by L. Frank Baum under the pseudonym Laura Bancroft. The books were successful, selling 40,000 copies the first year. Wright Barney also illustrated Baum’s Policeman Bluejay (1907), Johanna Spyri‘s Heidi (1921), and Mary Mapes Dodge‘s Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates (1918).

Depending on where you like to shop, Honey Bear by Dixie Willson is available at or

by Edward Lear

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
‘Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

‘Please give me a ride on your back!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
‘I would sit quite still, and say nothing but “Quack,”
The whole of the long day through!
And we’d go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land, and over the sea;—
Please take me a ride! O do!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
‘This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you’ll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!’ said the Kangaroo.

Said the Duck, ‘As I sate on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I’ve bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I’ll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo!’

Said the Kangaroo, ‘I’m ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!’
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy,—O who,
As the Duck and the Kangaroo?

SOURCE: Lear’s Nonsense Drolleries (1889), available free at

DRAWING: “Duck and Kangaroo” by William Foster from original text.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edward Lear (1812–1888) was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet, and is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularized. His principal areas of work as an artist were as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals, making colored drawings during his journeys, and as an illustrator of Alfred Tennyson’s poems. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense works, which use real and invented English words. His most famous poem is “The Owl and the Pussycat.”

by Rachel Field

If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more,
I’d hurry as fast as my legs would go
Straight to the animal store.

I wouldn’t say, “How much for this or that?”
“What kind of a dog is he?”
I’d buy as many as rolled an eye,
Or wagged a tail at me!

I’d take the hound with the drooping ears
That sits by himself alone;
Cockers and Cairns and wobbly pups
For to be my very own.

I might buy a parrot all red and green,
And the monkey I saw before,
If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more.

SOURCE: “The Animal Store”appears in Rachel Field‘s collection from Taxis and Toadstools (Doubleday, 1926) and The Golden Book of Poetry (1947).

IMAGE: “Antique Cutout of Animals” by American School. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Field (1894-1942) was born in New York and attended Radcliffe College. Field’s novels for adults include Time Out of Mind (1935) and All This and Heaven Too (1938), which was turned into a movie starring Bette Davis and Charles Boyer. She is the author of Fear Is the Thorn (1936) as well as several poetry collections for children, including Taxis and Toadstools (1926), An Alphabet for Boys and Girls (1926), and A Circus Garland: Poems (1930). Her books for young adults include the Newbery Medal winner Hitty: Her First Hundred Years (1929), Calico Bush (1931), and God’s Pocket (1934).  Field was also a noted lyricist and playwright, penning the English lyrics for Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria included in the Disney film Fantasia. Her plays include Cinderella Married (1924), The Bad Penny (1931), and First Class Matter (1936).

by Maurice Sendak

In April
I will go away
to far-off Spain
or old Bombay
and dream about
hot soup all day.
Oh my oh once
oh my oh twice
oh my oh
chicken soup
with rice.

SOURCE: “April” appears in Maurice Sendak’s book Chicken Soup with Rice (HarperCollins, 1991), available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) is the author of  Where the Wild Things Are (1963), In the Night Kitchen (1970), and many other books for children. He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, the 1970 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the 1983 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and a 1996 National Medal of Arts for his contribution to the arts in America. In 2003, he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children’s literature established by the Swedish government.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

PHOTO: A “supermoon“– closer to the Earth than normal and appearing 14% larger — rises behind roadside plants growing in Prattville, Ala., Saturday, June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

by Shel Silverstein

Birds are flyin’ south for winter.
Here’s the Weird-Bird headin’ north,
Wings a-flappin’, beak a-chatterin’,
Cold head bobbin’ back ‘n’ forth.
He says, “It’s not that I like ice
Or freezin’ winds and snowy ground.
It’s just sometimes it’s kind of nice
To be the only bird in town.”
“Weird-Bird” appears in Shel Silverstein‘s collection Falling Up.

by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

Joe yelled, “Happy New Year.”

The cow yelled, “Happy Moo Year.”

The ghost yelled, “Happy Boo Year.”

The doctor yelled, “Happy Flu Year.”

The penguin sneezed, “Happy Ah-choo Year.”

The skunk yelled, “Happy Pee-yoo Year.”

The owl hooted, “Happy Too-woo Year.”

The cowboy yelled, “Happy Yahoo Year.”

The trainman yelled, “Happy Choo-choo year.”

The clock man yelled, “Happy Cuckoo Year.”

The barefoot man yelled, “Happy Shoe Year.”

The hungry man said, “Happy Chew Year.”

There were more “Happy Ooo-Years”

Than you ever heard

At our New Year’s party…

Last June twenty-third.
“Happy New” appears in Shel Silverstein‘s posthumous collection Everything on It (HarperCollins, 2011), available at


If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ALBERT EINSTEIN

Photo: Model Twiggy reads to daughter Carly (born 1978).

by Shel Silverstein

Oh this shiny new computer–
There just isn’t nothin’ cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don’t need no writin’ tutor,
‘Cause there ain’t a single thing that it can’t do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file and underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct,
So I’ll have a whole book written by tonight
(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).

“Writer Waiting” appears in Falling Up, poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein (HarperCollins, 1996), available at (And I recommend that everyone have a personal copy of this delightful book.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chicago native Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) was a poet, songwriter, singer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author. Other notable books include The Giving Tree (1964), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), and the song “A Boy Named Sue,”  made famous by Johnny Cash.