Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Slice of Life: Charles Waters, Visiting Poet!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

You'll be happy to know that I've broken my two week streak of writing about the weather. This past week was brightened by a visit from Charles Waters at IMS, the school where I used to teach. I still stay in touch with teacher friends and notified the librarian when I learned via Irene Latham that Charles would be in our area. I was delighted that the librarian arranged for him to speak to our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

When I learned that the presentation fell on one of the days that I babysit grandson Jack, I knew I wanted to be there and so the babysitter got a babysitter. I slipped in before the 6th grade assembly to meet Charles and to have my book autographed. 
Ms. Cifu introduces Charles Waters
Even though the day was rainy and gray (as they've all been lately), Charles brought a spot of sunshine, humor, and poetry to an otherwise mundane Friday morning. He shared his journey to becoming a writer and his journey to writing Can I Touch Your Hair? with Irene Latham. Irene visited our middle school in the fall of 2016. How lucky we are to have heard from both of these authors  at IMS!

Here are a few of the nuggets I managed to jot down on my phone. I really prefer to take notes on paper, but somehow showed up without my notebook.
  • Poetry is all about putting your own spin on an idea.
  • You'll never know when it's time for you to perform a poem (good reason to memorize a few).
  • Poetry is all about making the ordinary extraordinary.
  • All you need is pen, paper, and your imagination.
  • When you have a poetry emergency, go to 811 (in the library).
Charles encouraged us to follow the lead of
Irene and Charles from Can I Touch Your Hair?
 and start the conversation.

To learn more about the book, check  out this Q&A on the Lerner blog from a recent Hornbook webcast with Irene Latham, Charles Waters, illustrator Selina Alko, and moderated by Roger Sutton. You can also find a link to the webcast on the Lerner blog post.

Facts learned about Charles during the Q&A with students:
    • Favorite poets - Valerie Worth, Nikki Grimes, and Jack Prelutsky
    • Favorite food - breakfast 
    • "Breakfast for dinner, Is always a winner." 
    • And his closing words: "You all are covered in awesome sauce."             
      Charles shows off his poetry themed clothing.


  1. Charles Waters is one of poetry's rising stars--so proud to have his work represented in The Poetry Friday Anthology series!! (I especially love his poem about learning how to shave in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School)

  2. What a great day for you! A little Jack-time and then a poet to inspire.

  3. So much to love about this. Lucky, lucky you to connect with Charles! And I'm loving that poetry is 811! Will never forget that. P.S. I've always loved breakfast for dinner! :-)

  4. Very cool! I am inspired by this. And I'm glad you could get a babysitter!

  5. Great - looks like a great day. So glad you could be there!

  6. Sunshine, humor and poetry... that's Charles Waters!! AND Ramona Behnke. Thanks to both. xo

  7. Love this guy. Thank you for sharing the nuggets and the pictures.

  8. How fabulous, Ramona! I do love Charles' work, what a gift he is to those of us who love poetry and kids!

  9. So wonderful that you got to "repeat" with Charles after Irene. I'd love to see his presentations. I think we'll see more and more of his work. He was lovely to work with at Highlights these past two years.

  10. What a treat. I am green with envy and so happy you got to meet him.