This is based on something that actually happened when my father came home wounded from World War II. My mother, baby brother, and I lived with her parents for two and a half years (see also the book MIZ BERLIN WALKS and the short story “The Long Closet.”) When my father returned from London
A labor of love. What fun for someone who loves poetry to get to spend six months simply reading poetry in order to find the poems for an alphabet of animal rhymes. I needed poems that were not only wonderful in themselves–but easy enough
This book of adult poems about angels resulted from a three year correspondence Nancy Willard and I had, sending poems back and forth. Some of the poems–like “Angel in Winter” and “Angel in Summer” are easy to see paired. But others are
The fourteenth book that my photographer son Jason and I have done together, I think it is one of my favorites. The photographs—as always—are stunning and the design elements have matched the elegance of both Jason’s pictures and the bird itself. The poems are varied in kind (there’s
I wrote the first draft of this counting rhyme on the drive home from New York City. Normally a three hour drive, it took me over five hours as I kept pulling off the road to scribble stuff down. Revisions took another couple of days. Very rare for me to work so quickly. The repetitive verse, in which the
Based on a family story that has grown enormously over the years, this book is about the time the Yolens lived in the Ukraine and the oldest boy Lev (my Uncle Lou) was a troublemaker. Sent away to a military academy–an enormous decision for a Jewish family–he gambled away the gold
This is a book of nonsense poems, about made up animals. Like the Canterlope and the Raggit. As I am an incorrigible punster, I had a ball working on these rhymes. Obviously Janet Street enjoyed herself, too, as the ebullient pictures show.
I was asked (at a time when I was incredibly busy) by National Geographic too do a book of amazing (often heroic) animal stories. I said only if I could write it with my children, all of whom were well-published writers. They agreed. I made a list of fascinating animal stories, from the dog (& team)
I had written an early version of ANIMAL TRAIN called ALL ABOARD THE ANIMAL TRAIN which I tried to sell–unsuccessfully–for a number of years. It lacked something, but I wasn’t smart enough or alert enough to understand what it needed.
This is another long story. After having done a bunch of music books with my son Adam in the 80s and 90s, I made a list of other possible interesting collections, and Work Songs was high up on that list. I sent the ideas around to many of my publishers