Sunday, May 27, 2007

More Mary Ann Hoberman

I had been waiting with excitement for May 23rd to arrive—the date of the spring meeting of the Massachusetts PAS North Shore Council of IRA. I had invited Mary Ann Hoberman to be our guest speaker—and was really looking forward to seeing her again.

Mary Ann Hoberman

On Wednesday evening, the weather was perfect for our gathering at the gorgeous Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead. While most of our council members were sipping cocktails and basking in the sun on the club’s porch—which has a stunning view of the harbor—I was inside with my cell phone close at hand keeping my fingers crossed that Mary Ann would find her way to the club. She had called me earlier to tell me that she had gotten lost on her way to Marblehead—which is not easy to find. I was also worried because of the slow-moving traffic in this area—which can be a nightmare at rush hour. (It took Anna Alter and Mary Newell DePalma more than two hours to get to Marblehead from Boston—a distance of less than twenty miles!!!) And there was a DETOUR at the entrance to Marblehead Neck. There are just two main roads that split off from the causeway—and guess which one was blocked? Yep, the one that takes you directly to the yacht club.

Well…Mary Ann Hoberman arrived around 6:15—not at 5:00, as we had planned. After nearly seven grueling hours on the road trying to find her way to the Corinthian Yacht Club, Mary Ann changed, freshened up, and was the epitome of elegance and composure as she stepped up to the podium and began her presentation. I was the one who was frazzled—and I forgot to take out my notebook so I could jot down Mary Ann’s words of wisdom and some important points from her talk. Fortunately, my memory didn’t fail me completely…so I do have a few things to tell you about her presentation.

Mary Ann shared some poems from her first published book ALL MY SHOES COME IN TWOS, which was illustrated by her husband, and from other books. She spoke about literacy and children learning to read and how she knew from a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. She never thought, however, that she would write books for children. Mary Ann feels English is a wonderful and rich language that can be used in inventive and playful ways by a poet. She told us about a children’s novel that she has written and about how she decided to censor the story herself. (You can learn more about this at the PEN link below.) She also talked about her series of You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You books, which were written for two voices.

This series of books, which were written in verse, are very popular with teachers and parents. In fact, the first book in the series, YOU READ TO ME, I’LL READ TO YOU: VERY SHORT STORIES TO READ TOGETHER, was on the New York Times Best Seller List for fifteen weeks! Mary Ann said she loves the illustrations Michael Emberley did for this series—and explained that the fourth book in the series, YOU READ TO ME, I’LL READ TO YOU: VERY SHORT SCARY TALES TO READ TOGETHER, was Michael’s idea. This book will be released in August. Judging from the “scary tale” she and I read aloud to the audience from her advance copy—the fourth book in the series will be just as outstanding as the first three.

Find Out More about Mary Ann Hoberman and Her Poetry

Mary Ann Hoberman’s Website

A Poem Is a House for Words: NCTE Profiles Mary Ann Hoberman

Insights Beyond the Movie, an Author Program In-depth Interview with Mary Ann Hoberman at

In Mary Ann Hoberman: And Yet… , Mary Ann tells about a children’s novel she wrote recently, looks back on her childhood, and discusses self-censorship. This article can be found at the PEN American Center.

Portraits from the Spring Meeting of the PAS North Shore Council

Leslie & Sally

Leslie was one of the fabulous first grade teachers at my school. She will retire in June.
Sally was my outstanding Library Assistant.

Kathy & Anna Alter

Kathy is one of my oldest friends. She retired from teaching last June.

Mary Newell DePalma and Dr. Margaret (Peg) Voss Howard

Peg is the author of HIDDEN LITERACIES, which was published by Heinemann. Peg and I used to be in a writers group together.

Kate & Virginia

Kate was a student in my children's literature course. Viriginia is a past president of our council.

Carolyn & Kristen

Carolyn is my niece and Kristen is Kathy's daughter.


jone said...

I wish I could have been there to hear Mary Ann Hoberman. Wow.

HipWriterMama said...

I love Mary Ann Hoberman's work.

By the way,'re it! I tagged you for a meme.