With the arrival of autumn a few weeks ago, the air started to cool here in Florida.
On my pre-dawn walks each morning, I can feel a fresh sea breeze clearing out the hot, humid air of summer, replacing it with the promise of cooler days to come.
With autumn, too, came the start of the book award season.
The Cybils--a fresh, new award combining literary quality with kid appeal and bringing together children's book bloggers and readers from across the internet--are open again.
And guess what?
I have the good fortune of serving on this year's poetry panel with four remarkable writers--Kelly Fineman, Laura Purdie Salas, Julie Danielson, and Elaine Magliaro.
Already--only a few days into nominations--their enthusiasm for children's books and poetry feels as inspiring as the fresh breeze blowing across the sea.
If you're looking for a cure to the doldrums of summer, or a way to sail through pre-winter blues, try reading a poem from one of the nominated titles. (http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/2008/10/2008-nominati-4.html)
And, of course, if you have any favorite children's poetry books (published this past year), why not take a moment and add them to the list of titles under consideration for this year's Cybils Award?
Many writers immerse themselves in poetry before beginning work each day because it helps them re-connect with the power and mystery of words and language.
You never know, after all, when a poem's unexpected rhyme or surprising image may be the fresh sea breeze that you need to inspire you to take that next step and write the next sentence or imagine the next scene in your story.
Breaking away from prose to write your own poems can also serve as a refreshing interlude, a way to remind yourself of the beauty and music (and playfulness) sometimes hidden in our words.
If you're interested in writing poetry for children, here's a collection of inspiring links to help you:
And if you'd like to read more about my fellow poetry panelists, stop by their blogs when you get a chance:
Kelly Fineman (http://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com/)
Laura Purdie Salas (http://laurasalas.livejournal.com/)
Julie Danielson (http://www.blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/)
Elaine Magliaro (http://wildrosereader.blogspot.com/)
You may find just the inspiration you need to keep swimming.
For more information about the Cybils Awards, visit: http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/