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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Children’s Literary Salon: A Passel of Poets

That time of month again! Come on down if you’re able:

The Children’s Literary Salon at the Children’s Center at 42nd Street is pleased to announce our event on Saturday, February 5th at 2:00 p.m.

A Passel of Poets: Children’s Poetry in the Modern Age

Poets Stephanie Calmenson, Bobbi Katz, Marilyn Singer, and Charles R. Smith join us for a lively conversation on the state of modern children’s poetry today. Does poetry for kids ever truly get its due? Why is there no ALA accredited award for poetry for children? Our panelists will discuss the nitty-gritty behind writing a good poem for a younger audience.

Stephanie Calmenson, a former teacher and children’s book editor, has written dozens of books for children including poetry, prose, fiction and nonfiction.  Her poetry has been described as, “Joyously exuberant” (Kirkus);  ” whimsical and lively…sure to grab the attention of even the littlest listeners” (SLJ); “. ..a rainbow of sound….” (Kirkus).   Among her most popular titles in rhyme are Jazzmatazz!, Late for School!, Welcome, Baby!, Good for You!, and celebrating its 20th anniversary, the beloved Dinner at the Panda Palace.

Bobbi Katz feels lucky to have been a young child during a time when the radio brought great jazz right into her family’s living room. She particularly loved Fats Waller, who nurtured her love of rhythm and rhyme. Bobbi believes those elements can make kids fall in love with language. The author of countless poems and over 80 books, including 13 poetry collections, she’s currently writing a memoir interweaving poems and essays. Her working title is Ain’t Misbehavin.  Her most fun project of 2010 was an invitation to write lyrical poems about eclipses for M.I.T.’s Celebration of Science Festival, which composer Bruce Lazarus set to music.

Marilyn Singer has written over eighty books in many genres for children and young adults and is perhaps best known for her poetry.  Her latest poetry books are the widely-praised Mirror Mirror, published by Dutton and illustrated by Josee Masse, and the newly released Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom, published by Knopf and illustrated by Lee Wildish. Marilyn co-hosts the Poetry Blast at the annual American Library Association conference. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, CT with her husband and several pets.

Charles R. Smith Jr. combines his experiences in three areas–writing, photography, and sports –in his work with children’s books. Of the distinctive niche Charles R. Smith Jr. fills with his books, he notes, “I want to show students, particularly boys, that there are many ways to pursue their interests, no matter what they may be.” His books of poetry include Brown Sugar Babies, Hoop Kings, My People (winner of the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration) and many more.

This program will be held in the Children’s Center, Room 84.

The Children’s Literary Salon is a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature.   Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings.   The Literary Salon provides free Advanced Readers galleys, a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation.   This program is for adults only.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Ooohhh. Wish I could be there for that! Sounds amazing.
    You really do amazing things there in NY, Betsy!

  2. Sounds great! I will try to be there!

  3. Looking forward to the event! Count me in.

  4. I’m planning to be there, too.