|Michelle Schaub's latest picture book!|
I first thought about writing a poetry book about things people collect when I was participating in Tara Lazar’s STORY STORM a few years ago. In this challenge, writers come up with a new picture book idea each day for a month.
One day, when I was short on ideas, I was perusing the items on my bookshelf, and my eyes landed on my grandmother’s seashell collection. I started brainstorming different items that other family and friends collected. My mom collected buttons. (I loved rummaging through her button box when I was little.) My father-in-law collected trains. My husband collected baseball cards as a child. The neighbor around the corner had a birdhouse collection that filled his entire front porch. Each of these topics ended up becoming a poem in the book. But I still needed something to hold the poems together. So, I came up with the idea of adding a protagonist who needs to bring in a collection for a class assignment. This gave the book an arc: a hunt for the perfect collection!
|Poem featured in Michelle's new book|
Which poem from the collection is your favorite and why?
I had so much fun playing with different forms in this collection, and each presented its own challenges and triumphs. I think my favorite of the lot is “Auntie Kate’s Vanity PL8S” because I thought “outside the box” or more accurately “inside the license plate rectangle” for this poem. Each line of this poem is a vanity plate puzzle that must be decoded. The challenge with this format was maintaining a rhyme and meter within the constraint of each line being no more than 6 or 7 characters long (including spaces), which is the standard for vanity plates.
Are you a collector yourself, and if so, what do you collect?
My grandmother was a collector. She had an amazing giraffe figurine collection and a butterfly-themed collection. She also collected teapots and cups. I used to spend hours studying all her different pieces. As a result, I’ve always loved the idea of collecting.
|Michelle and one of her collectibles: tea cups|
Over the years, I’ve started several collections: a blue teacup collection, a blue Santa collection (I really like the color blue), but then my attention and interests change. The only collection I’ve managed to sustain is my collection of children’s poetry books. I just had to buy a bigger bookshelf recently to hold all of the wonderful poetry collections written by my fellow children’s poets. I’m also really drawn to the idea of collecting non-tangible things like smiles or words or poems.
Something folks might not know about you…
I also “collect” visits to farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets are my happy place. This statement, written on a tea towel my neighbor gave me, is absolutely true.
|Farmers' Markets & Michelle|
The first thing I do when I travel to a new place is find the farmers’ market and see what local fruit and veggies treasures I can spy. I’ve even been known to plan vacations around farmers’ markets that are rumored to be spectacular. Walking down a row of tents at a market, taking in the bright rainbow of fresh produce and listening to chatting neighbors and lively musicians, fills me with joy.
I channeled that joy into the poems I wrote for my last collection, FRESH-PICKED POETRY: A DAY AT THE FARMERS’ MARKET.
|Michelle's debut picture book|
Michelle, I know that you have some other exciting news to share ...
I just launched a blog called POETRY BOOST. I’ll be sharing lesson plans, mentor text, and ideas for using poetry to boost literacy across the curriculum.
Here’s the address: https://michelleschaub.blogspot.com/
GIVEAWAY: For those who leave a comment on the blog post, we'll pick a lucky winner of Michelle's new book on Sept. 23rd! Stay tuned!
Find Michelle here on social media:
Twitter and Instagram: @schaubwrites