For my humorous poetry book releasing in March 2020, 'A Hatful of Dragons: And More Than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems', I have been working on various iterations of the covers for the last year. Here is the current finalist for the front:
And here are some variations for the back. I made several different ones so we could accommodate varying amounts of back-cover text (such as blurbs and reviews). We won't actually know how much space we need for the text till very late in the game, so making lots of variations gives the book designer flexibility:
As you can see there is a ton of work that goes into the making of a book that is invisible to the reader.
I am excited to share the news that Boyds Mills Press has acquired the world rights to my upcoming poetry book titled A Hatful Of Dragons: And 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems. The book is scheduled to be released in Spring 2020 under their WordSong imprint.
Many thanks to my agent Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio for making this happen!
These days I am not producing much art because I am busy finishing up the manuscript, which I am also illustrating. As you can imagine, writing and illustrating 13.8 billion poems is quite a bit of work! :)
Boyds Mills Press, publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers. Established in 1990, Boyds Mills Press’s picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction focus on excellent storytelling, imaginative illustration, and strong characters. Our exceptionally crafted titles are designed to entertain, inform, and engage children of all ages.
WordSong is the only children’s imprint in the United States specifically dedicated to poetry. WordSong titles capture the vibrant, unexpected, and emotional connections between text and young readers. Some of the well-known poets who publish under the WordSong imprint include Nikki Grimes, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Marilyn Nelson, and Marilyn Singer.
I am so very excited to share with you the release of my SECOND Self-Illustrated book of funny poems titled LORD OF THE BUBBLES, a followup to my earlier award-winning collection THE BUBBLE COLLECTOR.
Read more here, watch a flip-through, and download a sample: LORD OF THE BUBBLES
As part of National Poetry month, I was invited to read a poem on KUOW 94.9 FM
The poem will be appearing in 'WA 129' published by Sage Hill Press. This collection, assembled by WA State Poet Laureate Todd Marshall features 129 poems celebrating WA State. Former WA State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen liked my poem enough to invite me to read it on air.
If you missed the broadcast, you can hear me reading it here:
Continuing my National Poetry Month school visits, I was honored to be invited to the Henry David Thoreau Elementary School in Kirkland, WA to present to a combination of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Once again I was delighted to be able to read poems to the kids and talk about the writing process.
Having an intimate setting in the school library made the kids more willing to ask lots of questions. Once again we did the exercise of illustrating a Shel Silverstein poem, which produced these wacky images:
I always tell the kids to compare the images we create with the one Shel Silverstein used to illustrate his poem, and then decide for themselves who has the better imagination. They all conclude that kids have the better imagination, so I am hopeful it inspires them to be freer with their creative talents.
(Note: To see similar images from other school visits, click the School Visits tag on the right and scroll through the school visit blog postings).
To quote the school librarian: "Vikram's presentation was humorous and inspiring for students. He encouraged students through his own stories, poetry and art to persevere as they pursue their unique dreams and aspirations. This important message cannot be repeated enough and Vikram did so eloquently and with grace."
So humbling. :)
If you would like to arrange a school visit to a middle or elementary school, please contact me.
April is National Poetry Month and I like to do my little bit to help spread excitement for poetry, This month I was delighted to visit Audobon Elementary School in Redmond to share poetry with all the forth and fifth graders (about 175 students). What a blast!
The school arranged two special assemblies, one for forth graders, and one for fifth graders, in which I was able to present to the kids, read poems from my book, talk to kids about the writing process (inspiration, practice, revision), do a Q&A and generally interact with all the wonderfully curious kids.
I usually follow up my presentation with an interactive exercise where I illustrate a poem for the kids based on their input, imagination and suggestions. The end result is usually pretty wacky and a big hit with the kids:
Last I heard the kids were still very excited about my visit. Humbling to be able to inspire at least some of them to write and draw more. If you know a elementary school that would like to arrange a visit, let me know.
I was recently invited by the teachers and librarian at Redmond Middle School (RMS) to make an 'Author Visit' and present my poetry and art to RMS 6th grade classes (all 11 of them - totaling about ~330 students).
RMS certainly rolled out the red carpet for me:
I conducted five 40-minute sessions meeting 2 to 3 6th grade classes at a time. I split each session between introducing myself, reading a few poems from my book (including talking about sources, inspiration, the writing process, rejected poems, alternate endings, forms, styles and intentional poetry construction), conducting an interactive poetry-plus-drawing exercise, showing and talking about some of my art, (for some classes) showing how to draw cartoon faces and expressions, and fielding questions.
Above: sharing one of my early formative experiences with the combination of poetry and cartooning, a 1954 MAD Magazine cartoon interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven by comic genius Will Elder. Since this comic is almost impossible to find, and well worth reading for any poetry or comic fan, here are links to the panels:
Above: Reading a poem (titled 'Curse of the Catchy Tune') from my book. Here the kids are raising their hands in response to my question: "How many of you have a song stuck in your head RIGHT NOW?!?"
Above: Interactive drawing exercise with the kids where I first read a poem to the kids ('The Yipiyuk' by Shel Silverstein), then ask them to imagine the creature and give me one-word descriptive adjectives. We collect a bunch of these adjectives and then I draw the cumulative creature for the kids. Yes, this is design by committee and the results are well worth it.
By the end of the sessions, many of the kids were excited (and, I like-to-think inspired - at least a couple came up to me and professed they love to write poems and draw and want to "do what you do")(My response: "Go for it and let nothing stop you!!!"). One class even took my business cards and insisted I autograph each and everyone of them. So touching and humbling! :)
Thank you RMS 6th graders for being such a wonderful and engaged audience. And many thanks to the School Librarian and Language Arts Teachers for inviting me.
I am looking forward to visiting RMS again in the future. Go Grizzlies! And never stop chasing bubbles!
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A long, long while ago I had started a poetry blog at www.1000Poems.com . That blog is now being merged with this blog. If you were looking for www.1000Poems.com, then most likely you landed on this blog.
To access the old poetry blog, which has original poetry, as well as humorous poetry from classic poets of yesteryears, you'll need to go to http://1000-poems.blogspot.com (and there's even a handy index here: http://1000-poems.blogspot.com/p/index-of-original-poems.html)
All new poetry entries will now happen on this blog at www.VikramMadan.com .
A few weeks ago I did my first in person school visit. This week I received a wonderful card from the class I visited with little thank you comments, a color version of the drawing I did in the class, and even a miniature replica of the book!
Some comments from the kids:
"You inspired me to create a poem!"
"Write more books!"
"We had tons of fun!"
I conducted a school author-visit to Spiritridge Elementary School (Bellevue WA) today where I spent an hour with a bunch of fourth graders. After reading poems from my book, talking about poetry, poetic forms, influences, and the poetry writing process, we decided to do a live spot drawing.
First I read them a poem by Shel Silverstein titled 'The Yippyuck' (about a thing called the Yippyuck which is not described in the poem). I then asked them to imagine, based on what they heard, what a Yippyuck would look like and drew it for them on the Smart Board as they described it, which turned out to be "big!", "fat!", "slimy!", "pointy nose!", "sharp ears!", "wings!", "fangs!", "evil smile!", "multiple eyes!", "five legs!", "duck tail!", "pig tail!", "antennas!". "tentacles!", "hair like medusa!", "halo!" .. needless to say we were all in splits by the end of this drawing session....! :)
If you ever wondered what a creature designed by a roomful of 4th graders would look like, well this is it: