Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Painted Dreams Finally in Haitian Creole

 As it should be!

Look what just came in the mail.  The Haitian Creole translation of Painted Dreams.

I always hoped that my books about Haiti would someday be published in Creole.

Painted Dreams went out of print and I got the rights back.

EducaVision Inc. made it happen.

Here is a sneak preview or two.

To order books or see what else Educa Vision publishers have to off go to:


Painted Dreams in Haitian Creole will soon be available on amazon as well.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Four Feet Two Sandals On Stage

Lovely for an author to know when her book inspires:

Portland Stage's Theater for Kids would like to read the book Four Feet Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams during our "Play Me a Story" reading & workshop series. The "Play Me a Story" series is running on Saturday mornings from January through April at Portland Stage, a professional non-profit theater in Portland Maine. We would like to read Four Feet Two Sandals on one Saturday morning during our April program as part of our Stories from Around the World series.

"Play Me a Story" is an interactive reader’s theater workshop for children between the ages of 4-10. To set the scene, our affiliate actors have a staged reading of the books. Following the performance, the audience is asked to participate in a workshop relating to the story that has just been read. The workshop will focus on a particular character, place or situation that the story illuminates. 
Authors who have participated in Theater for Kids at Portland Stage include Tomie dePaola, Jon Scieszka, Melinda Long, Judy Schachner, Kevin Henkes, Jan Brett, William Steig, Helen Lester, Peter Brown, Doreen Cronin plus many others. You can see our recent programs online at http://www.portlandstage.org/Page.128.Past+Programs

Four Feet Two Sandals 
would be fantastic additions to our April Stories from Around the World series - our actors would love to bring it to life for the children in our community!
What great company!  Stay tuned for more about this program and the prodcution of Four Feet Two Sandals.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Technology and Adapting: Galimoto

I recently had a short email from an astute reader. I do not know if he was a teacher or librarian or student but he referred to my teacher's guide on my website for galimoto.  He suggested that I left out a major connections between the book, the children who build these amazing toys out of wire and how it all applies to technology and adaptation.

I guess when I first wrote the book, I was not technologically savvy.  I am still a bit of a troglodyte.  But I can see that connecting my little book to the work of technology would be another important use in the classroom or for reading at home.  We all have to adapt to a world or technology and technology will help the human race adapt to an ever changing world.

As a writer I learned that in a changing world the meaning of your book changes.   This is a lesson I will take to heart and hope to apply to my work published and not yet published.

And check out what this blog posted on Facebook has to say about Galimoto.  Check out this thoughtful blogger for other posts too.:

Galimoto Connects Students to the World

Submitted by Trevor Barton on February 7, 2013
Blogs and Articles: Wealth and Poverty
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Last Christmas, I received a galimoto, a toy vehicle made by children from sticks, cornstalks, wire or other materials. Mine is a bicycle made of wire and ridden by a wire child wearing colorful clothing. The rider’s legs pedal as the wheels move. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, astonishing in its complexity. Mine was made in Kenya. I love it.

I brought my galimoto to school and showed it to my third-grade students. They too marveled at its design and pushed it around the classroom. "A kid made this?" Matthew asked. "Amazing!"

I really want to help my students connect to the world in real ways. I hoped some might find inspiration in the toy vehicle.

We located South Carolina on the globe and traveled with our fingers to Kenya. We imagined what it would be like to live there. What would the weather be like? What foods would we eat? What kind of house would we live in? What clothes would we wear? What would our school be like? What toys would we play with?

We read the book Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams and illustrated by Catherine Stock.

"What do you notice when you look at the cover of the book?" I asked my students. "It looks like the little boy is poor," answered Zaniya. "He's wearing a torn tank top and shorts."

I explained that I’d lived in a country called Mali in West Africa for three years.  "Most of the children in my village had one set of clothes. Their parents didn't have money to buy a lot of clothes. They had to use their money to buy food, shelter and medicine. So maybe this boy is like the children in my village."

"He might be poor, but look at how smart he is. Look at the truck he's making out of wire!" exclaimed Luis. Luis’ family moved to South Carolina from El Salvador a few years ago. His family works hard to meet their basic needs and make a better life here than they had in their country. Luis works slowly, speaks quietly and usually keeps his writing covered so we can't see him struggle to put his thoughts and feelings onto paper. He is very observant and thoughtful.

We continued the exploration by watching a Reading Rainbow episode about galimotos. My students journeyed with a boy named Kondi as he collected wire to make a galimoto. He encountered challenges. His brother tells him that making a truck is much too hard for someone as young a Kondi. "His brother shouldn't tell him he can't do it," said Chris. "He should help him."

I gave students a journal assignment to write a paragraph about a toy they would like to make. I asked: What toy would you choose? How would you make it? Who would help you make it? Would someone play with it with you? I modeled a paragraph on the Promethean Board.

Zaniya wrote about making a toy puppy. Chris wrote about creating a video game system. Luis wrote about designing an instrument.

Luis brought his paragraph to me for revisions. He wrote:

I would make an instrument. I would need wood and wire to make an instrument like a cello. It might be small and broken looking, but it would make beautiful music. I would play it for my friends. I would play it for Mr. Barton.

Luis and all my students are, like the galimoto, astonishingly complex. Despite their economic circumstances, they are capable of sharing amazing insights and creating beauty. They are all beautiful gifts to me and to the world. As their teacher, I can help them develop that beauty and find beauty in others.

Barton is an elementary school teacher in South Carolina.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

The Perfect Ten In Truchas NM

I needed a way to kick start my poetry, writing from the Navajo reservation in the southwest.  The landscapes can be beautiful and yet I have had trouble relating.

When a bum knee(and another story) made it look like a planned trip to Telluride for skiing was not going to work well for me, I jumped on board for the Perfect Ten Poetry Conference offered by Tupelo Press with editor Jeffrey Levine.

Slight problem.  We needed 20 poems.  I signed up late and had to write at least 10-15 poems in 5 days.   I knew I had a few others I could use for padding but I wanted this to push me to explore life in the west, force me to immerse myself in poetry and place.

So for 5 days...don't talk to me, don't look at me...no noise, please.  The poems were rough and raw but I had not even been to the conference yet and The Perfect Ten in Truchas had already helped me to reach my goal.  I was writing deeply, entrenched in place.

Truchas is a small Spanish village located on the high road to Taos NM.

In the foot hills of the Truchas Peaks.  I cannot think of a more remote, lovely inspiring and rejuvenating environ to write and explore the inward self and the beauty outdoors.

Truchas Peaks Place with a library that took up one entire floor, complete with ladders to access books from floor to chandeliered ceiling was magnificent.    With all the bright nooks and secluded spaces it was difficult to choose which space would be most inspiring to write, read and reflect.  The library of course was usually the choice for group meetings.
Unless we dallied over meals in the dinning room where we were served three creative, savory and unique meals created with fresh ingredients, spices and herbs.  Dinner was always preceded by wine, beer and appetizers... very civilized and writerly.  

Prepared by friendly, enthusiastic caterers.  This is a life I could get used to.

Add to that spacious, plush rooms and a gas fireplace in every space and yes three nights were not enough.

But the real joy at The Perfect Ten of course were the other poets.

Each with their own unique life stories from teaching, the arts, travel and more to inspire and share.

And of course the instructors Jeffrey Levine and Veronica Golos the perfect team, complemented each other in generous, gracious, giving.  They shared their knowledge of poetry and offered critiques with thoughtful care.

I look forward to the next Perfect Ten and many more such conferences from Tupelo Press rumored to be not only in Truchas but possibly in France or Morocco or... the world is open to poetry anywhere.

I may not yet have ten perfect poems but I am off to a confident start with a few favorite lines:

From Learning Home:

You draw my blood with goat heads and I marvel
at their star shape, the sharp night sky in evening
I know your skin smoky with cottonwood and blue corn and tamales.

I am lost in your musk green sage, stark quiet moods, clear and deep subtle turnings.
You: as angry as the slice of a steer's horn in flesh.

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