• Braiding the Verse Novel: Carol Fisher Saller

    “Braiding the Verse Novel”  is a series of interviews I did with writers of novels –  and one biography  – in verse.  We had our conversations over the summer of 2012. I’ve written articles about verse novels for School Library Journal and NH Writer which draw on these conversations in different ways.  Here, I’m posting the full responses from each of the writers who allowed me to ask them questions.  Nearly everyone who has read my novel, The Good Braider, asked me why I wrote in the spare lines of verse.  My readers’ questions have caused me to explore my own craft and then to explore the question with these articulate, generous writers. Each week I will feature a new novelist.

    Edide’s War by Carol Fisher Saller is a novel in poems.  Each of Carol’s poems could  stand alone as a character portrait or vignette.  “A poignant look at boyhood before and during the long years of World War II,” writes Kirkus in a starred review.


  • The Way We Write


    Pugs, Merengue, Dolce & Gabbana

      By Terry Farish     

    In a first draft, the one that makes me cry over some truth I’ve finally seen, for a flashing moment, I am sun god.

    I am sloppy and haphazard in my journal keeping, but my journals are invaluable to me when I go to write that first draft. I have no idea how I will use a line. All I know is that when I gather details in my journal, I am writing from my best self, the self who is trolling the world, slightly amused, curious, often awed.


  • The Story of a Pumpkin, a tale from Bhutan

    The Story of a Pumpkin, a folktale in Nepali and English, has just been published by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  The photo is from our  Folktale Festival celebrating the tale told by Hari Tiwari who now lives in Laconia, NH.   This book is the fruit of the work of many: new neighbors from Bhutan, folklorist Jo Radner, artist Susan Gaylord, and me, in my job as literacy director at the NH Humanities Council.   The story was told to us by Hari Tiwari whose father told her the tale when she was a small girl in Bhutan. You can read about the steps we took, from collecting folktales in ESOL classes to proofreading in Nepali and English. The book is distributed by the University Press of New England.  Soon we will have a teacher’s guide.

  • International Reading Association Conference – April 30, 2012

    Anne Sibley O’Brien’s book about a family from Cambodia was just published by Charlesbridge. Annie, Kirsten Cappy, and I are presenting a symposium at the International Reading Association Conference in April. Our topic – New Neighbors: Using Children’s and YA Books as a Bridge Between Cultures. I have spent hours journeying through Annie’s blog: Coloring Between the Lines: Reflections on Race, Culture, and Children’s Books. Chicago, here we come!

    Update!!  Here’s a link to a story about our presentation in Chicago and the back story to I’m Your Neighbor.  And here’s a link to  the I’m Your Neighbor blog.

  • The Good Braider

    “In this free verse novel for young adults and adults, Viola’s strikingly original voice sings out the story of her family’s journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and finally to Portland, Maine. Selected as a Best Book of the Year by the American Library Association, Bank Street College of Education,  & School Library Journal; winner of the  Boston Authors’s Club Award and Maine’s Lupine Award.”  Here is a link to Discussion Guides.


    South Sudanese-American rapper OD Bonny performs a tribute he wrote for The Good Braider, “A Girl From Juba.”