Archive for March, 2010

Spotlight on Avril

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

AvrilTell us a bit about yourself
I’m a 5th grader from Omaha, Nebraska. I am originally from Thailand and moved to the United States. I like writing poems, both funny and serious.

What’s your passion? What makes you tick?
I love singing, dancing, writing, and math.

What’s your wildest dream for what we might accomplish through Project OpenBook?
I hope to raise enough money to help the children in Nepal. I come from Thailand where there is a lot of war and the Karen people are slaves to the Burmese people. I want to help others like my Karen people.

Avril’s Poems
End of School?

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Road Kill – It’s What’s For Dinner

Monday, March 29th, 2010


.
.
.
It’s on the table.
No warning label.
Is it a bear?
It’s done real rare.
With eyes that stare,
I saw it blink.
Was that a wink?
I want to hide
Beneath the sink.
Is it meat?
It’s still got feet.
It was, I think
Scraped off the street!

Please pass the taters and the beans
Oh you know how I love my greens!
And don’t we have some green sardines?
(I must delay by any means.)

But it’s too late.
It’s on my plate.
No more debate.
Mom sealed my fate.
It’s got a green
And oily sheen
And in between
Is that a spleen?

Dribbly on the outside…
Crunchy on the inside…
It looks like goo,
Smells like the loo.
Now what am I
Supposed to do?

“Eat it!”

Deep breath…
Slurp!
Burp!
Urp!

Here’s my advice to those who eat
Their Mom and Dad’s “Mystery Meat”:

If you feast
On wildebeest
Be sure to check
That it’s deceased.
Fox a-la-mode
With squished up toad
Peeled off the road
Is quite a load…

With half a pound
Of old bloodhound
That’s been well ground
And lightly browned,
Heaped in a mound.
Don’t make a sound;
Just wolf it down!

…because dessert
Is coming ‘round.

Alan ParrWritten by Alan Parr.
Illustrated by Brad Sneed.



This illustrated poem was created for Project OpenBook, an experiment in doing good.

To learn more and follow the journey, visit:
marblespark.com/project-openbook

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Why no art?

Friday, March 26th, 2010


When we started this journey, Brad Sneed and I (Phil here) envisioned a bunch of poets AND a bunch of illustrators building Project OpenBook. Here we are a few months later and we’ve got some momentum behind building a group of talented poets. But so far, Brad has created all of the amazing illustrations.

On the upside, that’s great because Brad’s work is utterly, shockingly amazing… But…there’s a downside.

Problem #1: Brad is a mere mortal
Brad Sneed is an amazingly talented artist. But he is human. He’s DONATING a lot of time to Project OpenBook. And he wants to keep doing that. But realistically, he can only create a couple of illustrations each week for Project OpenBook (on top of his other projects). Which leads to…

Problem #2: A growing backlog
There are about ~20 poems waiting in the wings. If we wait for illustrations and post ~2 poems per week, then we’re forcing people to wait several months to see their poems hit the site. That sort of turn-around is OK for government work, but it doesn’t exactly encourage folks to keep contributing here.

So our hope is to post more than two poems per week. Ideally, we’d love to post one poem every business day (let’s all take the weekends off, shall we?). We want this to be a site you can check once per day with your kids and count on seeing something new. We want language arts teachers to be able to come back once per day and read the poems to their classes. We want art teachers to come back once per day and check the artwork with their classes (and be able to contribute to un-illustrated poems).

So…here’s what we’re going to do about it. We’re going to start posting some poems without artwork. On those poems that don’t yet have artwork, we’re going to disable the ratings. That way we’re not unfairly putting those poems at a disadvantage for high ratings (remember your ratings determine what eventually goes into the book). Then once an artist submits artwork for the poem, we’ll repost it WITH ratings.

We hope this will:

  • allow us to post more poems, more often
  • show the work of more contributors
  • get more illustrators involved

We hope you’ll agree that this is a good idea.  But we’re very open to making adjustments as we go.  If you have thoughts (good or bad), let us know what you think in the comments below.  As always, thanks for writing and reading along!

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Shadow Puppets

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Flip the switch. Turn out the light.
I’ve got my lantern burning bright.

Meet my bird. His name is Moe.
I taught him how to squawk “hello”.

And who is this? It’s Bernie Bunny.
He steals Moe’s food. He thinks it’s funny.

But holy cow! Moe’s growing ears.
And from his beak a trunk appears.

And from this trunk a trumpet sounds.
Moe blasts the bunny and away he bounds.

But when I ask what just occurred,
Moe smiles and squawks, “Pretty bird.”

Phil HausslerWritten by Phil Haussler.

 

Project OpenBook is a community-built children’s book.

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Literalville

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

We need a good wash
After squashing the squash.

A straw for your strawberry?
‘Round here that’s ordinary.

Upon further inspection
We’re just following direction.

And that explains the reason
We have no chokecherry season.

Phil HausslerWritten by Phil Haussler.
Illustrated by Brad Sneed.



This illustrated poem was created for Project OpenBook, an experiment in doing good.

To learn more and follow the journey, visit:
marblespark.com/project-openbook

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Tom and Holly

Friday, March 19th, 2010


Tom Foolery, Tom Foolery.
He stole young Holly’s jewelry.

Hid her earrings in a hole…
Ran her necklace up a pole…

He thought it jolly but that was folly.
‘Cause he hadn’t seen the grand finale.

Little did he know, Tom had pranked a pro
And would soon learn how a prank should go.

Then we all heard her say, “Nope, not today…”
Which means a lot from Holly Horseplay.

In just two blinks, Tom’s hi-jinx
Earned him Holly’s revenge hoodwinks.

“Just juke and jive, jump and dive…
Trying to get your undies off the hive.”

Phil HausslerWritten by Phil Haussler.
Illustrated by Brad Sneed.



This illustrated poem was created for Project OpenBook, an experiment in doing good.

To learn more and follow the journey, visit:
marblespark.com/project-openbook

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Project OpenBook In The News

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

LancesJournal

Project OpenBook made the nightly news last night. Lance Schwartz features special interest stories in a series called “Lance’s Journal” for 10/11 News in Lincoln, Nebraska. His stories are uplifting and inspiring, a truly welcome break from many of the stories that violently force their way into the nightly news.

Lance did a terrific 2 minute video on Project OpenBook. He somehow found a few soundbites to make me sound halfway intelligent (not an easy task). This news piece also gave me a great excuse to meet Jaime Kubik and her sons. A huge thank-you to Jaime for contacting Lance (among others) and spreading the good word. It’s through the generous work and contribution from folks like Jaime that Project OpenBook will continue to grow toward its full potential.  We’re just waiting for Oprah to call back…

My only regret is that the footage of my son reciting Magic Tricks got clipped in the editing room. Thanks to Lance for creating such a terrific piece.

You can watch Lance’s Journal here or by clicking the image above.

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Spotlight on Chloe Ramirez

Monday, March 15th, 2010

ChloeI’m proud to introduce Chloe Ramirez, author of The Giant and fourth-grade extraordinaire. Chloe is our first young contributor.  (The rest of us can only claim to be young-at-heart.)  It’s awesome to read the storytelling of a 9 year old. My personal favorite nugget from Chloe: “He gives no wedgies / That very nice guy”  I see big things in Chloe’s future…

I hope Chloe is the first of many more young poets and artists to contribute.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Chloe and I’m in fourth grade. My favorite subject is science and I want to be a scientist when I grown up so I can make vaccines and help people that are sick. I also like history and learning fun facts so I can quiz people.

What’s your passion? What makes you tick?
My passions are (more…)

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Before You Came Along

Sunday, March 14th, 2010


Before you came along
‘Twas me and dad and mom.
Our life was just so simple
Before your dumb ol’ dimple.

With all your constant eating
We forgot trick-or-treating.
And when it seems you can’t get riper
Then you fill another diaper.

But then when I am waking
To the sounds that you are making,
I think about your hugging
And forget about your bugging.

Then I sing a little song
‘Cause together we belong.
And I know that it was wrong
Before you came along.

Phil HausslerWritten by Phil Haussler.
Illustrated by Brad Sneed.



This illustrated poem was created for Project OpenBook, an experiment in doing good.

To learn more and follow the journey, visit:
marblespark.com/project-openbook

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The Giant

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010


The giant is huge to the naked eye
He looks so mean
That very big guy
But he is so sweet
He can’t hurt a fly
He eats no meat
That big vegan guy
He eats only veggies
That very healthy guy
He gives no wedgies
That very nice guy
He listens to old songs
That very classical guy
He never does anything wrong
That very smart guy
You see this is all true
That giant guy can’t harm you.

Chloe_smallWritten by Chloe Ramirez, Age 9, New York
Illustrated by Brad Sneed.



This illustrated poem was created for Project OpenBook, an experiment in doing good.

To learn more and follow the journey, visit:
marblespark.com/project-openbook

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