Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiti, Poor, Haiti

I am working on a chapbook of poems about Haiti begun before the earthquake.  See this poem published in the Post Gazette.     
Saturday Poem (for Haiti) / Piet Boit
Saturday, January 30, 2010

In Haiti the trees hold on to dust,
drink it in with roots
snake across an earth of stone
searching for a foot hold. The people of Haiti
with bruised and calloused feet
eat the dust in wafers of sun dried mud
sold in the market to stave off hunger.
This Flame tree smothered
by parasites, silver sprays
of cactus that live on stagnant air
in the crook of her boughs
splayed skyward in supplication.
This tree a playground for
Chameleons clad in camouflage
(like government soldiers)
circle the trunk and stand off
throats puffed out, hypnotic
posturing for sex and power
in the suffocating stillness.
They are startled by a sudden
rasping of the soul,
splintered choking like
the hacking of tuberculosis.
A scream slashes the silence,
the earth shudders
and this fallen Flamboyant
leaves a hole in the universe
where blood-red petals ruffled
and rimmed with orange sunlight
float through the space
and dust is all that is left
where there are no trees
for the coffin builder.

-- Karen Lynn Williams

Many have asked how to help.  I am suggesting that you make a donation to Hospital Albert Schweitzer.  Go to, read the blog and make a donation.  The hospital has been functioning through the disaster with surgeons working around the clock.  They have too many patients and not enough supplies.  Your donations will be well used and are much needed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Visit to Park School in Baltimore

 On January 5th I visited Park School in Baltimore.A welcoming school in a beautiful setting.   It was only the second day back after the winter break but students and teachers alike were enthusiastic and involved.   The day began with two assemblies, storytelling about my books and writing life.   As always galimotos stoled the show.

Then we moved on to a third grade writing project.  Note my inspiring funny face. :-)  

Writing from POV.  How does the gum feel, think when it is being opened stuck in the mouth and chewed? 

After school parents came to help build galimotos and sculptures from recycled items.

The day ended with a book signing at a local children's bookstore.  I remember when we used to have independent book stores too in Pittsburgh...sigh....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Old Year Out, New Year In

As always it was a hectic end of year, lots of work, N1H1, holiday prep and always some good things happening.

I did my first online classroom visit using Skype and it was great.  I did have to comb my hair and look presentable but I could do this visit from my office!  I could see the classroom and they could see me.  The students had been prepped and they had great questions.  We spent a little over a half hour.  Here is what their teacher had to say:

Hello Karen,

Thanks for a successful skype!  My students filled out a 

reflection sheet afterwards, and it was amazing how much 

they absorbed.  Your discussion on why you write 

children's literature really resonated with them.  Many 

students wrote that they would begin to write about their 

'childhoods'.  Your honest and meaningful explanation 

really affected them!

Take a look at the website and see Four Feet Two Sandals is still being recognized by thoughtful students, teachers and educators.

And on another front my story,  the Best Toys Ever first published in Chicken Soup for the Kids Soul was part of a creative family interactive advent calendar for this month of December.  See the website

These are only a few new things happening with my books and my writing life.  Much more to come in 2010.  And right off the bat I will start with a trip to Park School in Baltimore on January 4.  I am looking forward to sharing reading, my books and the writing life with students there.  More when I return.

Happy New Year!