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Welcome Friends! Here is a place for teachers, parents, librarians and writers to learn what's going on in the world of book author Karma Wilson.

Giveaway #4 and some book news…

Well, well–it’s time for my next giveaway.  Hmmmm… I’m still thinking about this one.  What book and what contest? Something about Thanksgiving perhaps?  Ideas people.  I need ideas!  My mind is as blank as an uninspired author’s word processor.  Help! I need to think of my next contest.  Something fun.

In other news I got some fantastic sketches in the mail for my upcoming poetry book  What’s the Weather Inside (a collection of over 100 poems for kids ages 9-11).  The illustrator is hilarious comic artist Barry Blitt and it’s going to be a great book, and very different for me.

Do you know who my favorite poet is?  Shel Silverstein! Most people think of him as some “fart, booger” kids’ poet, but he had some very serious and even philosophical poems.  So many of his poems were, well, real.  The Little Boy and the Old Man brings tears to my eyes.

In my poetry book I cover various just plain silly topics like not eating yellow snow and Miss Muffet squishing spiders.  But I do try to cover some philosophical ground and even insert some humor that requires thought.  Let’s face it–kids (or most of them anyway) aren’t born with a sense of humor.  We are responsible for helping them learn what’s really funny and what’s actually just really…dumb.  I still remember when my son’s idea of a good joke was repeating the word poop until I broke down and yelled.  Ha ha…very funny.  For a child what’s funny is mostly what’s forbidden . Actually for a lot of adults this pattern holds–it’s just that forbidden topics for adults (sex, drugs, and race/culture) are a little more edgy than what’s forbidden to children (poop, farts, and underwear). 

But the truly great comedians, at least in my mind, are the ones that shoot the arrow past the simply forbidden and aim straight for my heart. I like to laugh at myself–my flaws, my weaknesses, my ineptitude,  my fears, my pettiness–you know, the things that make me human.  When a comedian unveils those dirty little secrets in him/herself it allows me to laugh at my own flaws. It’s almost like I’m laughing in relief. “Phew, I’m not the only mental case!”

Shel does that for kids (and adults–I for one don’t think his best work is limited to children).  I hope to do that too.  I also have a few poems that I hope will point out to kids the other parts of their character that make them human–curiosity, joy, love, etc…

My son (thankfully) has grown past his love of screaming, “Poop!” and is even pretty funny at times. He loves Shel’s work.  I like to think that Shel’s poems simultaneously celebrated that undeveloped humor and helped him grow beyond it.