Welcome to A Children’s Poem a Day, my 50-day challenge to write (as you might have guessed) a children’s poem a day for 50 days.
- Write an original children’s poem every day for the next 50 days
- Post a poem by midnight (EST) on this blog every day for the next 50 days
- Poems can be in any format, style, and on any topic
Besides the obvious challenge of not only writing something creative every day but actually publishing it, I have an additional challenge: I am due to have my first child in less than 2 months (45 days to go, according to my estimated delivery date)! What will this mean to my creative process? I have no idea, but I do know that creating is a priority of mine. My hope is that I can keep this going despite the obvious changes that my life is about to undergo.
The End Goal:
My end goal (as I see it now) is to collect these poems, illustrate them, and publish a children’s poetry book.
Why did I decide to do this? I have a few reasons:
- I really enjoy writing things for kids.
- I believe that writing makes you a better writer.
- I want to create free, fun content that parents, teachers, and others can use with children.
- I’m always up for a challenge!
As an author: I have written over 50 children’s songs, a chapter book of 31,000+ words for 4th-5th graders called Adios, Cusco, I’m about halfway done with another chapter book for 8-10 year-olds entitled Friends, Enemies, and Something In Between, I just started a series of little-kid books about a character I call Samurai Sam, and now this poetry challenge. Outside of the children’s arena, I also blog about prenatal exercise (see Expectercising). Writing poetry is something I only started to do recently. Songwriting, however, has been a joy and practice of mine for over 17 years.
As an educator: My teaching career started in 2001 when I began working at a learning center in NYC. Since then, I have been supporting myself as a private tutor for students of all ages. In Spring of 2011 I earned my M.Ed. from Antioch University. My degree is in Elementary Education with a concentration in Arts and Humanities, and it was through this program and with the help of a truly inspiring teacher, Jane Miller, that I realized my passion for writing extended beyond writing songs.
As a musician: I have been singing pretty much since I could talk, though I have been told I started singing gibberish even earlier. When I was 13 I picked up a guitar I found in a closet and taught myself how to play. Since then, I have written over 600 songs that span multiple genres (check out www.jaymiegerard.com or look me up in iTunes to hear some). My favorite aspect of songwriting has always been story-telling, and I think that my love for writing children’s stories and poems is simply an extension of that.
As an artist: I have to admit that this one feels like the biggest challenge for me, despite the fact that that I have been drawing and painting for almost as long as I’ve been singing. I hope to someday illustrate my own books, but for now, I’m concentrating on writing them!
As a prenatal exercise specialist: I have been a regular exerciser for many years now and have continued to exercise throughout my pregnancy. The problem I came across is that very few birth professionals had any real (as in scientifically proven) information about what is or isn’t safe to do when you are pregnant. I began researching fiercely, and after learning enough to create guidelines for myself, I decided that I should help other pregnant women do the same. Thus, Expectercising was born!
As a wife and future mother: My husband, Geb Zurburg, is by far my biggest supporter. Also a musician (singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist) and a teacher (high school social studies), he encourages my wide range of interests and insists that I follow my dreams. Our son, Samuel, who will be here in a few short weeks has already inspired me tremendously. I am sure that motherhood will certainly influence my work – we shall see!