Thursday, 15 February 2018

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Jone at Check It Out. She’s got big news about the Cybil Award for Poetry!

Happy Poetry Friday! Thanks for visiting the Poe House with me last week. I pulled a random name from the comments and Jama Rattigan is the winner of the Poe Keepsake Journal. Congratulations, Jama!

Before I get to this week’s post, I want to thank Arnold Adoff and the Virginia Hamilton Conference. Last week, I learned that my debut novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was named the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices honor book. “Surprised” is an understatement! It is a huge honor and I’m so grateful for the recognition. Please do visit the full list of award-winners. There are some phenomenal books among the 2018 awardees.

It’s been over a year since I started keeping a personal bullet journal. (If you’re not familiar with bullet journals, start with this post.)

Inspired by my educator friends, one of the new things I’m trying with my 2018 journal is tracking my reading. I’ve kept track via Goodreads before, but charting books is allowing me to take a close look at my genre preferences and how many children’s novels I read, versus YA or adult.

So far, it looks like this:

I am very excited about my most recent read.

Wendy McLeod MacKnight’s The Frame-up is about  boy who — spending the summer with his art-gallery-director father — discovers a great secret. Paintings are alive!

Let’s say you are a portrait. You keep all of the memories of your living person (the subject of the portrait) until the moment the painting is finished.

From that point on, you become your own entity, keeping quiet and still during the day, so museum goers won’t guess the truth. At night, you visit friends and neighbors in other paintings. And by visit, I mean going into a painting of a pub to drink and dance with your buddies or, if you’re a child, hopping into a seascape with a soothing pier for you to walk around. If that seascape is so soothing that you fall asleep in the painting — the wrong painting — no worries … as long as you’re back in your own picture by the time the museum opens.

But let’s say the gallery director’s son, Sargent Singer, happens to come along to the gallery one night and notice that your portrait frame is empty. And then what if he spots you, fast asleep on a pier, in the wrong painting?

This middle grade contemporary fantasy will be available in June. Pre-order now from Indiebound.

This is how The Frame-up opens. The painting that Sargent catches is that of a girl about his age, Mona Dunn. (You can view William Orpen’s Mona Dunn here.) The two of them spark a secret friendship, chock-full of adventures and mishaps.

How serendipitous that I’d have a chance to read the ARC right now, when our February Poetry Project is in the midst of writing in response to art! I know that members of this group are going to love how vividly MacKnight imagines the personalities of several paintings — all found at the real-life Beaverbrook Art Gallery in New Brunswick, Canada.

It’s also a super fun book. The climax (involving nefarious goings-on at the gallery) is exciting, both in our world, and in the world of the paintings. And the resolution? It totally tugged at my art-strings. (Get it?)

I went back to the first February Poetry Project, looking for a poem to pair with Wendy’s book. The theme that year was vintage post cards.

Many of those poems were portraits of the people pictured on the cards, but only one imagined that the people in the image are awake, thinking beings.

Luckily, this poem is a good fit for Valentine’s Week.

Cartoon Boy Meets Cartoon Girl
By Laura Shovan

You have no lips to kiss or speak.
I have no ears to listen.
Let me lean on this picket fence,
watch you hover
over a loop of jump rope,
your braids drawn up
by bat-winged ribbons.
You cannot see my baseball cap
or read my cautious expression.
Your lashes fell a moment before
the cartoonist imagined us.
But I will wait. The next panel,
with your fluttering lids, must come.
The artist — would he leave us
forever like this?

Sadly, these two are frozen in their art, unable to move or communicate. They’d much prefer being in the wonderful world of The Frame-up. Find the original post with this postcard and poem at Author Amok.

15 responses to “Laura’s Bookshelf: The Frame-up”

  1. Irene Latham says:

    Laura! So many congratulations on this latest award. Wonderful! THE FRAME UP reminds me of a series done by Lin Oliver called THE FANTASTIC FRAME. What fun to hop into art… there are painting in which I would like to live… but only for a little while. I don’t do Facebook, so I am enjoying the glimpses of your poetry project I’m seeing in the PF Roundups… what a gift you are to this community. Thank you! xo

  2. Tabatha says:

    “art-strings” — nice! THE FRAME UP sounds ekphrastically fantastic. Thanks for the tip, and congrats on (another) award!

  3. Joyce Ray says:

    First, Congratulations on your book winning an honor award! It is a sweet affirmation. I seem to have missed the whole Bullet Journaling idea, so I followed some of the links you offered. It sounds like something I need to try! Thank you!

  4. Linda Baie says:

    Congrats again on the award, Laura. Books continuing to be honored are very special, like yours! I remember this poem from the postcard, so fun, and a bit plaintive! Too bad that this new book is so far from being out & that I can’t run across town to borrow yours! I’ve bookmarked it!

  5. Congratulations one the Poetry Award for the “Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary,” I’m so happy for you! I skimmed over a bit on your bullet journal post, I do like the idea of having an index and I’ve been trying to keep up index’s in my writing notebooks–when I do it really helps!
    “The Frame-Up” sounds like a fun book, thanks for the review on it. I liked your poem also, and the ending especially, “The artist — would he leave us
    forever like this?” Thanks!

  6. Diane Mayr says:

    Laura, I just found out about a postcard site that may be a treasure chest of poetry prompts in the future. It is designed for genealogical searches, but, you can put any name into the search and view scanned messages sent long ago. The poet/writer can fill in the backstory!

  7. Mary Lee Hahn says:

    Congrats! You and your book are most deserving!! It was our first read aloud again this year and kids continue to refer to it — it has staying power in their imaginations!

  8. Wooohooo, congratulations on the award!!!! Well done, and deserved. 🙂

  9. Linda Mitchell says:

    Many congratulations! I am finally reading The Last Fifth Grade….and holy cow…how did you ever map this book out?! It’s a beautiful story. I’m in the beginning so I’m catching up but I can see why it’s an award winner already.
    I wish I had been part of the vintage postcards celebration. How fun! I do love a good post card….especially the old ones that play with ideas that are considered “quaint” today. I like how you leave us with imaginations of the next panel.

  10. Alice Nine says:

    I love the bullet journal. I’ve been keeping one … off and on … for about a year. I’m still finding what works for me, what I want in it. how to manage everything.

  11. Congratulations on the award for your book! That is awesome. And The Frame Up sounds like such fun–and a perfect fit for this month’s poetry challenge.

  12. jama says:

    The Frame-Up sounds so good — adding it to my TBR list! Enjoyed your Valentine’s Day poem, too — wonderful whimsical quality that made me smile.

    Congrats on the Arnold Adoff Honor Award, too — well deserved. And thanks again for picking my name for the Poe journal :).

  13. Molly Hogan says:

    Congratulations on your reward and thanks for introducing me to The Frame Up. I love the premise and your review has me itching to get my fingers on it. Adding it to the TBR list!

  14. jone says:

    Congrats on the award. It’s so deserved. I look forward to reading The Frame Up. Loved seeing a vintage postcard with a poem.

  15. Brenda says:

    You are so good at voice and at book reviews. I am rooting for that artist to animate once again.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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