Poetry Princess Project — August 2016

It’s time for another ekphrastic, my friends.
This month, with Sara Lewis Holmes at the helm, we wrote poems inspired by artist Jennifer Angus’ exhibit WONDER.

Sara gave us several images to choose from, and here’s the one I went with.
If only we’d all been able to take field trips to see this amazing work in person….


By Liz Garton Scanlon

What if everyday
were a cabinet of curiosities
(or actually everyday
is a cabinet of curiosities
but what if we acted
accordingly?) What if
we opened our eyes
each morning
like small sliding drawers
to all the surprises
of the world unspooling
before us – the shrunken
heads and antique spoons?
The fossils? What if we
ooohed and ahhhed?

See my friends’ fabulous efforts here:
Tricia’s poem
Sara’s poem
Kelly’s poem
Andi’s poem
Tanita’s poem


Page Through The Parks! (1)

Are you a book lover?
Do you love the parks as much as we do?
Do you hope to celebrate the parks with your own family or your school or classroom this year?
Let us help you kick it off with some give-aways!

First, here are our Goodreads giveaways:

In The Canyon (Liz Garton Scanlon and Ashley Wolff)
Faithful (Janet Fox)
The Camping Trip That Changed America (Barb Rosenstock)

And then, you all, do we have a GRAND (and I mean CANYON-sized) teacher-librarian give-away on rafflecopter. I’m talking signed books by all three of us, mini-Sequoia trees, Yellowstone totebag, etc etc etc — PLUS, this incredibly beautiful piece of canyon-inspired art by my own personal (and beloved) illustrator Ashley Wolff: rafflepaintingweb.

Which, I mean, seriously. We all want. A lot. Right????

So, here’s the link. ENTER!!!!
And that’s all for now, my friends.

PAGE THROUGH THE PARKS — Into the canyon

Several years ago, my agent asked if I’d ever thought about doing a picture book on the Grand Canyon. She knew that I’d spent a lot of my free time hiking and camping, and when I told her I’d actually hiked and camped there, in the canyon, I think we both thought, Yes, what a perfect fit.

My second trip into the canyon was metaphoric, creative, in rhyme. I’d hiked to the river and back in my 20s — this time I worked from photos, memories, an old topo map, and extensive lists of all the birds, mammals, flora and fauna found in the park. I ended up with fewer blisters on this journey, but it took me a lot longer.

Then, off my words went to the amazing illustrator Ashley Wolff, who first took her own trip into the canyon and then began the beautiful but arduous process of a linoleum block printing process that resulted in our book.


In celebration of the book and of the National Park Service’s centennial, Ashley’s shared her process here.

And then, after all was said and done, we brought one more creative partner into the mix. Debbie Gonzales, a friend and writer and educator, developed a truly wonderful teachers’ guide just chock-full of activities and discussion prompts and other ways for kids to explore the book and the canyon from their own classrooms and libraries!

sand in a jar

It’s here, ready and waiting for you and your students!

The three of us are so happy to share our love for the canyon with you this morning as we PAGE THROUGH THE PARKS. Enjoy, enter our give-away, and #readUSA

Page Through The Parks Kick-Off!

Welcome, August — you season of school shopping and diminishing vacation days.
Ugh, right?

But wait! This year, August ushers in something fresh and new but everlasting — a celebration of the National Parks. A centennial celebration, in fact! On August 25, the U.S. National Park Service turns 100 year old — 100 years of valued and protected wild spaces, 100 years of adventure and breathing space and wide-eyed wonderment.

My book IN THE CANYON, is set in a National Park (Grand Canyon National Park) and it follows a young girl and her family as they wind their way from the rim down to the river — a hike I’ve been lucky enough to do myself.

This month, I’m joining authors Janet Fox and Barb Rosenstock — both of whom also have books featuring National Parks — in a celebratory effort we’re calling Page Through The Parks.

Page Through The Parks! (1)

We’ve launched a facebook page and a Twitter hashtag (#readUSA) where you’ll be able to follow everything we’re up to.

We are doing Goodreads Give-Aways for all three books!
In The Canyon
Janet’s Faithful
Barb’s The Camping Trip That Changed America

We’ve launched a great big grand prize Rafflecopter giveaway especially for teachers and librarians. (Link coming as soon as I can figure out how to share it!)

We’ve compiled a book list nearly as long as the canyon is deep featuring National Parks to share with your children and students.

And we’ll be bouncing around blogs — our own and others — talking about the National Parks and the books they’ve inspired! This week (lucky me) we’re focusing on The Grand Canyon! I’ll be posting everyday and dear Janet Fox had me over to her place to talk too! (See that post here!) Thanks, Janet!

Now, like our facebook page, enter our give-aways and have a look around.
Then? Go for a swim or hike or something!
That’s what the National Park System would like you to do!

Poetry Princess Project — July 2016

Oh, my friends.
This was not an easy one for me.

I don’t know if I’m too distracted by the chaos that is teens plus work plus summer.
Or if I’m just intimated by Kay Ryan.

But this month’s “In the Style of” poems — sheesh!
If I had a fainting couch, I’d take to it!


So I tried a couple of different poems as my muse (aka, mentor text) and the one I came closest to not-hating is this one. It’s based on a poem of Ryan’s called Turtle that starts like this:

Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
she can ill afford the chances she must take
in rowing toward the grasses that she eats.

Mine is called Egg, and goes like this:

By Liz Garton Scanlon
After TURTLE, by Kay Ryan

Who would be an egg who could help it?
An off-kilter globe, wheel with a wacky rim,
tight-rope walker who can’t stand up for herself.
All soft-hearted on the inside but not on her sleeve –
there is no sleeve, no reach nor grasp nor opening –
nothing saying here’s who I am and how I feel.
Just this flattened wheel, matte gaze, blank slate,
hardened shell-like-stone sheer limestone cliff
of a face — strong, long and serious. Contained.
Until, from deep within, a knock like a heartbeat
only sharper, clearer. More pointed. And the illusion
cracks wide open, into cries and downy wings.


Read the fantastic poems by my pals here:


And it’s Poetry Friday here!
Happy summer, friends!