Children’s Poetry and Book Illustration Contest Offered in Honor of National Poetry Month; Contest Ends April 29, 2006

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Southfarm Press, publisher of The Macaroon Moon: A Book of Poems and Rhymes for Children is offering a poetry and cut paper book illustration contest for National Poetry Month open to all children in kindergarten, first, second and third grades. Contest rules require the entrant to submit a poem and a cut paper illustration for that poem. To make it easy for children to enter, the publisher has created The Macaroon Moon Poetry/Art Box which introduces children ages 4 to 8 to poetry by Wanda Haan, an award winning, former managing editor of Weekly Reader™ and to the world of book illustration.

Just in time for National Poetry Month in April, the publisher of The Macaroon Moon: A Book of Poems and Rhymes for Children is offering a poetry and cut paper book illustration contest. The contest is open to all American children in kindergarten, first, second and third grades. Contest rules require the entrant to submit a poem and a cut paper illustration for that poem.

Ten prizes will be awarded by the book’s publisher, Southfarm Press of Middletown, Connecticut. Winning entries will be selected by Southfarm Press based on the literary quality of the poems and creativity of the cut paper art submitted to illustrate the poems:

First Prize: $100

Second Prize: $75

Third Prize: $50

Fourth through Tenth Prizes: $25

In addition, copies of the children’s poetry book The Macaroon Moon (ISBN: 0-913337-51-X) will be provided to every child in each winner’s main school classroom.

To make it easy for children to enter, the publisher has created The Macaroon Moon Poetry/Art Box. The Macaroon Moon Poetry/Art Box introduces children ages 4 to 8 to poetry by Wanda Haan, an award winning, former managing editor of Weekly Reader™ and to the world of book illustration.

Each 12 ¼” x 9” x 2” high box contains The Macaroon Moon 32 page, full color, 7 ¼” x 10 ¼” hard cover book by Haan. In addition, the box includes 25 sheets of colored paper, a pair of children’s scissors, a glue stick and an instructional booklet on how to enter the contest, write a poem and make a cut paper illustration for the poem, just as illustrator Don Christensen did for the poems in The Macaroon Moon.

The Macaroon Moon Poetry/Art Box may be purchased online at http://www.wandahaan.com for $17.95, the same retail price that the book was sold, plus shipping. All poetry and book illustration contest entries must be postmarked no later than April 29, 2006 at the end of National Poetry Month and received by the publisher no later than May 6, 2006. Winners will be announced May 12, 2006. Complete contest rules and the company’s address may be found at http://www.wandahaan.com. Online entries are not allowed and all entries become the property of Southfarm Press, Publisher.

The Macaroon Moon Poetry/Art Box provides children the instructions and materials needed to write a short poem and to make cut paper illustrations. Parents and teachers may have to read the instructions to younger children.

William Emrich, general manager of Southfarm Press, says there are many reasons for this contest. One reason according to Emrich is to make young children aware that poems are written with as much care and thought as story books. Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) in “Come Hither” makes the point that "...like a carpenter who makes a table, a man who has written a poem has written it like that on purpose."

Another reason according to Emrich is that young children have the ability to create poetry and should be encouraged to do so. In The Art of Thinking (1928), writer and lecturer Ernest Dimnet stated that "All children under nine or ten years of age are poets and philosophers."

In other words according to Emrich, poetry by children draws on two natural tendencies of childhood: imagination and play. And poetry can be a good tool to use to teach reading.

Emrich also wants children to be aware of what thought goes into illustrating a book. For example, in Wanda Haan’s poem “A Storm is Coming Up” on page four of The Macaroon Moon, the poem mentions a bird.

“Though the illustrator needed to illustrate an approaching storm, he also needed to show the bird mentioned in the poem. Without the bird in the art, children would become distracted from the poem while looking for the bird,” according to Emrich.

Emrich added that he thought it important for children to realize that the art for a book could be simple and be created from simple things like colored paper and pencils, using glue and scissors to create a piece of art good enough to be used in a book.

“We’ve found that parents and teachers both appreciate that last point. No messy paints are needed to create art for a book. That makes clean up for this contest a cinch,” says Emrich.

Journalist and humorist Franklin Pierce Adams (1881-1960) wrote:

"I shot a poem into the air,

It was reprinted everywhere…"

With the Adams poem in mind, Emrich says that he hopes the poetry and cut paper illustrations that the children create for this contest will be widely read and shown. Winning and other selected entries will be shown on http://www.wandahaan.com beginning in mid-May.

“Young children are capable of literary criticism, if only at a very simple level. It is very important to recognize the valuable skill-building nature of such reflection and discussion,” adds Emrich.

Though The Macaroon Moon Poetry/Art Box suggested retail price is $24.95, it will be on sale for $17.95 on http://www.wandahaan.com until the end of National Poetry Month, April 30, 2006.

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William Emrich