#51 – Jabber-Walking with poet Juan Felipe Herrera

“And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came.”
Listen as poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera reads this famous Lewis Carroll line, explaining it is the yeast that made his book, Jabber-Walking, rise. Jabber-Walking (public library) is a way to observe the world, inspiring kids to write poetry. On this episode, Juan shares where his love of poetry came from, how he came up with Jabber-Walking, and how YOU can start Jabber-Walking too. It also features 4th grade student voices from Landmark Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona, who share their Jabber-Writing as they walked through the tulgey wood. Be sure to listen to the full interview with Juan Felipe Herrera and download our free coloring sheet, by artist Ann Pickard, inspired by this episode – both are linked below — now go write and walk and color…Jabber-Walk…Jabber-Write…Jabber-Color!

Enjoy our full conversation with poet Juan Felipe Herrera, author of “Jabber-Walking.” Learn about how Juan learned to love poetry, when he first discovered Lewis Carroll and the poem Jabberwocky and hear GREAT advice for how YOU can write by Jabber-Walking.


Download our free coloring page from artist Ann Pickard, inspired by Jabber-Writing by Fernanda


#49 – Poem Explosion with author Kyle Lukoff

For National Poetry Month, we’re sailing in a sieve to the land of poetry, with author Kyle Lukoff. Kyle just released a picture book titled, “Explosion at the Poem Factory” [public library] Kyle shares the story about the good bad poem that inspired his book, you’ll also learn about the Philolexian Society he belonged that each year hosts a bad poetry festival each year…and he shares the secret of what makes a bad poem..good. And as always, a few Buttons & Figs kids share their good bad poems to show us the way to wordplay…Now go write a poem!


#48 – Gorey Nonsense! with author Lori Mortensen

On this episode we sail in a sieve to the land of Edward Gorey, with author Lori Mortensen to show us the way. Ms. Mortensen just released a biography of Gorey titled, “Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey.” On this episode you’ll get to hear about Gorey’s life, his style and his love of anagrams! Join Buttons & Figs listeners, including the hosts of Book Power for Kids podcast, as they come up with silly names using the letters of their names, just like Edward Gorey did. You’ll also get to hear how Lori Mortensen does research for her biographies, along with some great advice for how YOU can write a biography too. Now go write!



#43 – Nonsense Play with Calef Brown

On this episode we’re sailing our sieve to the land of Nonsense with Calef Brown’s latest book, “Up Versus Down: Poems, Painting and Serious Nonsense.” Calef’s nonsense verse shook up our minds, inspiring us to gather wacky words and play. Buttons & Figs kids show you how we played with word associations in order to write nonsense verse of our own – we hope you’ll give it a try at home. Calef has great advice if you’d like to write too, be sure to listen to his whole interview. Read all Calef Brown’s books aloud (13 to be exact!) for a super, earlicious treat (not to mention reading 13 books would be a nifty little feat.) www.buttonsandfigs.com

Enjoy our full, fun interview with Calef Brown, author of “Up Verses Down: Poems, Paintings and Serious Nonsense”. Learn about Calef’s process for writing nonsense verse, advice for becoming a writer and hear him read some of his poems from his latest work. Be sure to listen to episode “#43 – Nonsense Play with Calef Brown” to hear the ways we played with nonsense. www.buttonsandfigs.com

Here is the Buttons & Figs kids nonsense verse in process. We played word association games to gather our list of words, then we arranged them to build nonsense verse. Listen to their pieces on Episode #43 – Nonsense Play with Calef Brown.


#42 – Audubon Poetry Play with David Chorlton

Sail in a sieve to the land of Audubon Poetry Play with poet laureate David Chorlton and his bird Maxi. On this episode David shares his poetry and inspires kids to write poetry in order to better understand their relationship with nature. The Buttons & Figs kids use acrostic poetry play to explore how they feel about the nature and birds and if families want to learn more, we share information about the Maricopa Audubon Society and Audubon.org. If you would like to have some acrostic poetry fun, visit ButtonsandFigs.com and download the free activity sheet that goes with this episode. Beware of the kingdom of the claw…Kakawwwww!

Poet David Chorlton & Maxi

Acrostic Poetry Play

More Acrostic Poem Play


#40 – Simile Play with Neon Words

On this episode we’re sailing our sieve to the land of Neon Words with some Simile Play! We were inspired by the new book, “Neon Words: 10 Brilliant Ways to Light Up Your Writing.” Our writing play comes from Chapter 1 of this book and we had a chance to interview authors Marge Pellegrino and Kay Sather from Tucson, Arizona, to ask them where they got all of their bright ideas! We hope you’ll play along as we share some of our favorite Neon Words! www.buttonsandfigs.com

Neon Words: 10 Brilliant Ways to Light up Your Writing by Marge Pellegrino and Kay Sather

Marge Pellegino’s Website

Kay Sather’s movie about her mud house – MUD

Lovely book review from Pirate Tree

Marge Pellegrino’s Wordplay
Simile play Quilt from a Workshop with Marge Pellegrino