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  • Writer's pictureCharles Waters


Updated: Aug 7, 2022

Greetings and salutations my poetic people of the universe!

Happy Book Birthday myself and Irene Latham's next collaboration.

BE A BRIDGE was released on August 2nd from Lerner Publishing Group with lovely illustrations by Nabila Adani.

Here are some book ordering links from Little Shop of Stories and Amazon.

Synopsis: Rhyming verse describes different ways in which readers can "be a bridge," from welcoming a new student and listening respectfully when someone else is talking to standing up to a bully and comforting a classmate who is upset.

Nabila Adani's cheerful illustrations depict a diverse group of students, including young versions of Charles and Irene. Scan a Page Plus QR code at the end of the book to download a Bridge Builder Pledge. An ideal book to share with students in the fall to set the tone for the whole school year!

Happy that Kirkus Reviews called BE A BRIDGE "A charming and welcome read bound to help cultivate a kinder next generation." You can read the review here.

Thrilled that Oprah Daily chose AFRICAN TOWN from Penguin Random House as part of a group of 15 Best Historical Books to Read in 2022.

Honored that AFRICAN TOWN made the state list in Alabama as part of the nation's annual Great Reads from Great Places 2022 Reading List.

Shout out to NPR for naming AFRICAN TOWN as one of their "Books We Love" Summer reading recommendations. Scroll about halfway down on this article and you'll see the book there by clicking here.

Had a lovely series of solo virtual presentations with Hindley Elementary School in Darien, CT. Thank you, Melissa Davidson, Jackie Heyde, and Keri Snowden; as well as Yorkville Middle School in Yorkville, IL. Good looking out, Wamecca Rodriguez.

In-person author presentations included: a return visit to Carolina Day School in Asheville, NC. You rock Sandra Pyeatt! Addtional thanks to my former Poetry Alive! boss Bob Falls, and his wife Holly Jones, for hosting me at your home with food, walks and great convo. Always important to catch up with friends. :-) Another return visit to the University School of Milwaukee. Many thanks to Cheryl Bair, Margy Stratton, and Elaine Griffin for treating me so kindly. Red Bank Borough Public Schools in Red Bank, NJ. Praise be to Kate Mills and Cheryl Cuddihy.

Irene and myself did a joint presentation about the creation of our book, AFRICAN TOWN, at the Monroeville Literary Festival in Monroeville, AL. This is the birthplace of Harper Lee and childhood town of Truman Capote who moved there when he was two. We spoke at the famed Old Courthouse Museum, which was the setting of the courtroom scenes in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I also spoke separately at the museum with former Alabama Poet Laureate, Jennifer Horne. Many thanks to the staff for such great southern hospitality!

Also, if you're so inclined, please check out an interview done of myself and Irene at the Old Courthouse Museum by Otis G. Sanders of 7thSon Productions. Thanks for the invite, Otis! The interview can be found by clicking here.

In additon Irene and I had a series for lovely joint author presentations: South Knoll Elementary School in College Station, TX. Thank you, Marina Rodriguez, for the invitation. Friends Seminary in NYC. Appreciate you, Paula Zamora Gonzalez and Khairah Klein. A virtual residency at Fox Meadow Elementary in Scarsdale, NY, Thanks for reaching out, Jan Schoor. Heathcote Elementary in Scarsdale, NY. Thanks so much, Catherine Soza and Maria Stile. Super grateful to Sheila A. Brandt and her colleagues at The University of Montevallo in Montevallo, AL for such a poetic, inspiring time.

We also participated in the 53rd Annual Georgia Conference on Children's Literature at the University of Georgia. Our presentation was called "Discovering African Town: Lessons Learned From The Survivors of the Last Slave Ship." Many thanks to Dr. Petros Panaou, Nancy Heiss, Melanie Baer at the rest of the dedicated staff for the invitation.

Both of us had a fine time speaking to educators and historians about AFRICAN TOWN at the Alabama Library Association in Montgomery, AL. Many thanks to Wendy Stephens for asking us to be a part of it.

We did a virtual presentation again on "Discovering African Town: Lessons Learned From The Survivors of the Last Slave Ship." at the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival which is held annually at The University of Southern Mississippi. Thank you to Karen Rowell and Tony Lewis for their kindness.

We were honored to be invited to speak here:

The chat centered around the creation of our book AFRICAN TOWN as well as myself and Irene's professional, poetic partnership. Many thanks to our moderator Kristyn Dorfman, Lower and Middle School Librarian, Friends Academy (NY) and to Rebecca Jozwiak, Summer Ogata, Venessa Carson from Penguin Random House for the invite!

Irene and I were honored to virtually speak at this event sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic chapter of SCBWI - Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Many thanks to Marcie Flinchum Atkins for the hospitality.

I'm thrilled to be part of my former Highlights Foundation novels-in-verse retreat buddy, Kip Wison's new verse novel anthology, which you can read all about below.

The Poetry Time Foundation or as teacher/children's poet Heidi Mordhorst calls it, the PTFoundation, continues to give back by helping raise money in donating to young people four anthologies I've had poems appear in: THE PROPER WAY TO MEET A HEDGEHOG, NO VOICE TOO SMALL, AMAZING PLACES, and the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY -- and doing outreach work with our countries youth, as part of a program with the DeKalb County Public Library- Decatur Branch. Appreciate you, Lauren Tennyson, Jillian Girardeau, and Mia Manekofsky. Librarians are magical people!

Zoobean Reading Challenge is sponsored by Beanstack and my publisher for multiple books, Lerner Publishing Group to promote the joys of reading through an event called Read For A Better World, which gave away prizes to schools for devouring books. The Grand Prize was a free virtual school visit. The winner was Arbor Ridge K-8 in Orlando, FL. I was voted by the students as the author they'd like to have a vitual visit with! Super honored. Tonja Doering, Media Specialist at Arbor Ridge helped make this all happen, so thank you to her and the students! This visit was also made courtesy —in part —by the Poetry Time Foundation.

Read-a-Poem or R.A.P. My rallying cry to bring children’s poetry to every human being in the world continues rolling along. Not every book I mention has to be about children’s poetry, but that’s the main thrust. I have read:

TODAY IS DIFFERENT by Doua Moua. Illustrated by Kim Holt.

IT FELL FROM THE SKY by the Fan Brothers.

SAM & DAVE DIG A HOLE by Mac Bennett. Illustrated by Jon Klassen.

THE GREAT STINK: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London's Poop Pollution Problem by Colleen Paeff. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

GEORGE CRUM AND THE SARATOGA CHIP by Gaylia Taylor. Illustrated by Frank Morrison.

SAVING THE DAY: Garrett Morgan's Life-Changing Invention of the Traffic Signal by Karyn Parsons. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

THE SLAVE WHO WENT TO CONGRESS by Marti Rosner and Frye Gaillard. Illustrated by Jordana Haggard.

BRING ME SOME APPLES AND I'LL MAKE YOU A PIE: A Story of Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley.

NO SMALL POTATOES: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom of Kansas by Tonya Bolden. Illustrated by Don Tate.

LEAVING GEE'S BEND by Irene Latham.

SNAIL'S ARK by Irene Latham. Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.

A WOMAN'S PLACE: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists, and Single Moms Who Change The World with Food by Stef Ferrari and Deepi Ahluwalia. Illustrated by Jessica Olah

WHERE IS BINA BEAR? by Mike Curato

HELLO RAIN! by Kyo Maclear. Illustrated by Chris Turnham.

EYES THAT SPEAK TO THE STARS by Joanna Ho. Illustrated by Dung Ho.

MY NEXT SHOT GOES IN! Ten Sacred Characteristics of NBA Plays That Lead to Success by Mike "Stinger" Glenn.

MEL FELL written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor.

MCTOAD MOWS TINY ISLAND by Tom Angleberger. Pictures by John Hendrix.

I LOVE MY BODY BECAUSE by Shelly Anand and Nomi Ellenson. Illustrated by Erika Rodriguez Medina.

ONE SUN AND COUNTLESS STARS by Hena Khan. Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.

I leave you with a poem from memories of walking passed the magisterial splendor of cathedrals.


I’m gliding inside a rainbow

as stain-glassed kaleidoscopes of light

beam from the universes multi-colored heart

into my own.

© Charles Waters, 2022 all rights reserved.

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