Poetry Friday Is Here–and So Is Oskar!

Poetry Friday logo by Linda Mitchell

Welcome to Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.) I’m so happy you’re here! Also, thank you to everyone who commented last week. I appreciate the hugs and reading suggestions :>)

This week, my first 2024 picture book came out. Whee! Oskar’s Voyage is running around loose in the world now. Like Oskar near the start of the book, I have no idea where this will go. Each book is an adventure with an uncertain future. I’m hoping this story, which is about the amazing freighters of the Great Lakes and also about the comfort of coming back home, resonates with readers.

Reminder: Illustrator Kayla Harren and I have two events you’re (and your students, if you’re an educator) invited to. Just click that link on the book title to learn more.

For Poetry Friday, I thought I’d share a bit about how this book transformed from prose to rhyme over the course of many drafts. Here you go–enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed that peek into my writing process :>) And now, please enter your link in Mr. Linky for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be around soon to read all of your posts!

51 Responses

  1. I can’t imagine what this fast, wee fur streak Oskar will get into — but the creativity path process is fun to follow.
    Once a couple we know. took a freighter trip to South America.
    I think this is perfect for them & he has a birthday coming up.
    Must have it 🙂

    1. Oh, cool!!! I remember reading in one of Madeleine L’Engle’s memoirs about she and her husband journeying on working ships like that. Sounds absolutely fascinating!

  2. You are the champion of graphics! Enjoyed seeing how Oskar went from prose to verse. Congrats again on publishing this wonderful picture book (I love chipmunks)! Thanks for hosting this week. 🙂

  3. Always a great feeling when your words get launched. Congratulations, Laura. It’s a great feeling to experience an idea come to fruition. I like the fact you are sharing an insight into your personal writing process. Such disclosures are invaluable-the writer’s life made visible. Thank also for hosting, Laura, much appreciated.

    1. Thanks, Alan! It’s always kind of a hassle to do–gather all the disparate info and try to make it somewhat coherent for other writers. But I love seeing other writers’ processes!

  4. Oooh, I enjoyed reading about the evolution of this book! Congrats on Oskar, and may he go here, there, and everywhere! 😀
    Thanks for hosting, Laura!

  5. Congratulations, Laura! I am so happy that Oskar is here! Thank you so much for the peek into your writing process. I always find the author’s journey fascinating, especially when it ends in rhyme!

    1. Thanks, Tracey–and it’s so funny looking back, because now I can’t imagine it NOT rhyming :>)

  6. Your verses are wonderful, full of excitement and adventure, I’m looking forward to reading more—All the best with this new book! Thanks for sharing your process and for hosting us this week Laura!
    From Michelle K

    1. Thanks, Michelle! We’ll see where Oskar’s adventures take him (and this book).

  7. Congratulations to you and Oskar, Laura! I find it so interesting how a story will demand to be in one form or another, and just won’t work any other way. Thanks for sharing the behind-the-scenes process, and thank you also for hosting!

  8. Laura, it was very fun reading this post, seeing the progression from prose to terse verse to longer couplets. Thanks for sharing the process, and for hosting today. I hope you are having a great week.

  9. Yay Oskar! Yay Laura! Yay Kayla! Thanks for the sneak peek into your process — you are a master! And thanks for hosting. 🙂

  10. Yay, Oskar! Those cute whiskers…that mischievous, curious grin. That desire to learn! Thank you for sharing Oskar with us. I look forward to reading and joining the great adventure.

  11. I love seeing Oskar’s journey to the page…and how this demonstrates how flexible and nimble writers need to be! There will always be another way to tell the story…words are so versatile! Congratulations, Laura. xo

    1. “There will always be another way to tell the story…” So very true. Thanks, Irene!

  12. Laura, your process reminds me that patience is required in this work. I love that Oskar’s journey began at least five years ago and that you explored so many variations to find the right form for his story. I’ll look forward to reading it! And thank you for hosting this week.

    1. Thanks, Patricia–and I HATE the patience requirement, but you’re absolutely right :>D

      1. This is beautiful Laura. The illustrations are amazing and the children will love the rhymes. I like the worksheets as well. For some reason when I read this, the song Fix You by Coldplay came to mind. Hope lights will guide Oskar home. Eqlima

  13. Thanks for this insight into your process, Laura. I think poets have to be very fluid! Congratulations on this Great Lakes adventure! Thanks for hosting today.

  14. The story sounds wonderful and having a peek into the process is such a gift for those of us working on our own stories. Thank you for sharing this.

  15. Go, Oskar! And you are (always) so generous, Laura, sharing in graspable form the transformations in your creative process over time. So much work into a story that ends up sounding “effortless.” Congrats to all involved with the launch of this latest amazing book. :0)

    1. Thank you, Robyn :>) I knew if I wrote it all out, the post would be intimidatingly long. Forcing myself to fit it (okay, squeeze it) onto a graphic was a good choice for me.

  16. I love the behind-the-scenes peek at your writing process. I just got my copy of Oskar, but it’s in my TBR pile. I’m looking forward to reading it myself and then bringing it into my classroom. (Unfortunately the Zoom time doesn’t work with our schedule 🙁 )I also wanted to tell you that I did recently buy and share “Finding Family” with my students, and we all absolutely loved it! Thanks so much for hosting this week!

  17. The look at your process was so great Laura! Thank you for sharing and hosting. Happy Poetry Friday!

    1. Erm– I forgot to log in, so “anonymous” here is me! Sarah Grace Tuttle. Also, congrats on the book! Looking forward to checking it out. 🙂

  18. Oskar looks like a delight. I am looking forward to reading it after reading your behind the scenes.

  19. Laura, I have now read your blog 3 times. I am intrigued by Oskar and the research you did. I am sure that it will get good reviews. Did you ask for book reviews by the PF writers? I would love to join in, if you like. I am a fan of historical research. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much, Carol! This publisher doesn’t do ARCs or Netgalley, so nobody’s (well, outside of review journals, hopefully) gotten copies for reviews. But I’d love to send you a copy–who would you like it signed to?

      1. Laura, my 6‑year-old grandgirls is so into reading that she has started chap books and plays Wordscapes just to broaden her vocabulary. Sierra would be dazzled to accept your book! What a generous offer. We can write a review for social media. You’re sweet to send us a copy. Many thanks.

  20. Laura, thank you for sharing a peek into your writing process from prose to terse verse, to longer verse including your timeline; it is fascinating and valuable to me. I’ On your website, I love Oskar’s Voyage videos, photos, your downloadable activities, (Love how your maze is a challenge for young children not easy as many other mazes are.) your paragraph about how the book got started, and your relatable poems. I’m sure teachers, students, parents…will enjoy Oskar’s and your adventure. Of course, I had to read all your info and activities on almost all of your books even though I’ve read some before. It’s wonderful how you offer so much for teachers and parents on your website! I enjoy spending time on your website and sometimes go back to poetry lessons you taught to children from your blog. I have learned a tremendous amount about poetry, writing, books, … from your website and blog posts. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into all of it. I am looking forward to reading Oskar’s Voyage. Thank you for generosity, inspiration, and enthusiasm.

    PS I love to watch chipmunks in my backyard and in the wild.

    1. Gail, you are so encouraging and affirming, and remarks like these are why I keep putting stuff out there–on my site, blog, etc. Thank you! And I love seeing chipmunks in the wild, too. Growing up in Florida, I never/rarely saw chipmunks. Then when we moved to Minnesota, I saw them regularly! I love watching them, too. I considered other animals to get trapped on the boat, but a chipmunk felt “Minnesotan” to me, even though I know they have a pretty large range. Since the book is published by Minnesota Historical Society Press and is about a boat on the Great Lakes, I wanted a “northwoods” kind of creature. I’m in love with Oskar–Kayla Harren created magic with him. (She also made that maze!) Thanks again, Gail.

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