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Category Archives: humorous verse

Opportunities – children’s magazines

A great source of ongoing opportunities is Hope Clark’s weekly/fortnightly newsletter: “FFW Small Markets”

The opportunities below, come from her newsletter for 15th April.

HOPSCOTCH MAGAZINE
http://funforkidzmagazines.com/hs_guidelines

HOPSCOTCH looks for articles, fiction, nonfiction, and
poetry that deal with timeless topics, such as pets,
nature, hobbies, science, games, sports, careers, simple
cooking, and anything else likely to interest a young girl.
We leave dating, romance, human sexuality, cosmetics, fashion,
and the like to other publications. Each issue revolves
around a theme. HOPSCOTCH is a magazine created for girls
from 6 to 13 years, with girls 8, 9, and 10 the specific
target age. Ideally prefers articles around 500 words.
We will pay a minimum of 5 cents a word for both fiction
and nonfiction, with additional payment given if the piece
is accompanied by appropriate photos or art. We will pay a
minimum of $10 per poem or puzzle, with variable rates
offered for games, crafts, cartoons, and the like.

=====

FUN FOR KIDZ
http://funforkidzmagazines.com/ffk_guidelines

Fun For Kidz is a magazine created for boys and girls from
6 to 13 years, with youngsters 8, 9, and 10 the specific
target age. The magazine is designed as an activity
publication to be enjoyed by both boys and girls on the
alternate months of Hopscotch and Boys’ Quest magazines.
We are looking for lively writing that involves an activity
that is both wholesome and unusual. We are looking for articles
around 500 words as well as puzzles, poems, cooking, carpentry
projects, jokes, riddles, crafts, and other activities that
complement the theme. Articles that are accompanied by good
photos are far more likely to be accepted than those that need
illustrations. We pay a minimum of five cents a word for both
fiction and nonfiction, with additional payment given if the
piece is accompanied by appropriate photos or art. We pay a
minimum of $10 per poem or puzzle, with variable rates offered
for games, carpentry projects, etc.

=====

CAT FANCY
http://www.catchannel.com/magazines/catfancy/writers_guidelines.aspx

CAT FANCY, the most widely read consumer magazine dedicated to
the love of cats. Length: 100-1,000 words. Query first.
Several columns to include profiles of people who champion cats
and rescue stories. 500 words for columns.

=====

YOUR CAT MAGAZINE
http://www.bournepublishinggroup.com/mag_yourcat.html
http://www.yourcat.co.uk/Contact-us/Your-Cat-contacts/

The magazine for caring cat owners, covering health and behaviour
issues, general care advice, breed information, and other practical
issues. Your Cat is also about the emotional pleasures of owning a
cat, with plenty of fantastic photographs of cats, readers’
letters and true cat tales.

=====

COLUMBIA KIDS
http://columbia.washingtonhistory.org/kids/fall2009/guidelines.aspx

COLUMBIAKids is a free online magazine that features
exciting, interesting, and informative articles and
stories based in Pacific Northwest history. Our target
readers are children up to age 14 who live in the states
of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, but we also
welcome subscribers from all over the world. Features
are 800-1,200 words and pays $200. Departments are 200-800
words and pay $100. NW HotSpot pays $100-$500 – This is an
illustration or photograph of a place or “thing” from the
Pacific Northwest. The illustration must include
approximately five “hotspots” (clickable areas) that
allow deeper investigation into the past of the subject.
For each hotspot, short explanations and historical sources
will be revealed, bringing up a magnified image of an
object, piece of ephemera, animal, plant, dialogue bubble,
photograph, etc., to help kids learn to look closer and
dig deeper when investigating images as “evidence.” Best
to query first.

Advertisements

Opportunities for writers, artists, poets –

NEW Opportunities!

http://nightwolfpress.yolasite.com/submissions.php

Novel competition and an anthology going. Submission guidelines for ms submission.

Cover to work to....

Triangulaton

Short Story Anthology – theme ‘Last Contact’ – flash up to 5,000 words, 31 March deadline. See website:

http://parsecink.org/staticpages/index.php/triangulation_11_guidelines

OPPORTUNITIES

1. Notes from the Gean (March 2011) featuring haiku, tanka, haiga, haibun, renga/renku. Writers are invited to submit their work for the June issue.

http://www.geantree.com/indexcover.html

2. Haibun Today (March 2011) featuring Haibun and Tanka Prose and the largest online collection of literary criticism of the haibun and tanka prose forms. Writers are now invited to submit haibun, tanka prose and articles for consideration in the June 2011 issue.

http://www.facebook.com/l/31a98MHsMap6v9MR4qVq06_Hw2w/haibuntoday.com

AND

Romance under a Waning Moon: Call for submissions. This is a poetry and image website focused on the ups and downs of later-in-life romance. This project has just been started and writers are invited to submit already published poems (preferable) or new work to Editor Ray Rasmussen.

http://raysweb.net/fallromance/index_introduction.html

WIN A VIDEO MONTAGE, closes 6th March

Sandie Muncaster is hosting a giveaway on her site:

Video Montage GIVEAWAY

Want more exposure for your blog, book or a service you offer? Perhaps you’re looking for a fun, family adventure captured to video? TattleTott Productions can help by making a video montage.

Montages are professionally done and posted on YouTube where it may be seen by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Once its uploaded onto YouTube, embed codes are available to use on your own blogs, social networks, newsletters or even emails. Think about how much more exposure that will create, plus it’s FUN to watch.

Montages may include any information, pictures and link backs you want – music is included.

TattleTott Productions normally charges $45.00 for a video montage, but you can win one FREE. How? Just leave a comment (and contact info) at; http://sandie-lee.blogspot.com

Giveaway ends March 6th and will be done by random drawing.

Enter today. Good Luck!

You can check out my work at; http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhumWriters:

OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS:

Basics of Life anthology open till 28th Feb – Austlit http://auslit.net/2010/11/27/australian-literature-anthology-basics-of-life/

Artists/Illustrators/Poets, Short story writers ++ :

Going Down Swinging taking submissions till 28th February – http://goingdownswinging.org.au/submissions/

Poets, Artists and Illustrators:

Haijinx still open for submissions till 1st March! Haiku, haiga, renku, sumi-e and haibun – http://www.haijinx.com/I-1/

Writers:

Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competition open -http://www.pcwc.org.au/index.php?p=1_10  Closes 1st May 2011.

Links for Writers – a growing resource

This series of links were included as part of an article I wrote for WQ Magazine,”Markets – from woe to go and getting a foot in overseas! ” [March issue 2011] . Sadly, the actual links had to be removed due to space restrictions so I have placed most of them here.

This list of resources, sources and publishing opportunities on the internet and elsewhere is far from exhaustive. Please do contact me if you have or know of a resource that can be included!

Review Blogs and sites

Book Review blogs

Review Sites

All genres:

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/

Children’s Literature:

The Reading Tub

Terry Doherty Reading Tub http://www.thereadingtub.com/

Reading Tub Blog http://readingtub.wordpress.com/

Marketing & Promotional Aids

Magazines that publish short stories and poetry

[I have submitted a list of online journals most on Facebook, some with links – http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150093435850908 and growing.] New additions

Leaf Garden Press http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/

http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/2009/01/submissions-open.html

Dash Literary Journal

Rose and Thorn http://www.roseandthornjournal.com/Home_Page.html

Cross genre:

Good Reading – http://www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au/


Children’s Writers & Illustrators:

Dream Chaser promotes children’s writers and illustrators globally. http://www.dreamchasersmagazine.webs.com/

Poetry Sites and Blogs:

Children’s Poetry

Publishers

Magazines

Interview with RebeccaNewman of “Alphabet Soup” and with Meredith Costain of  “Comet”, “Explore”, “Challenge “(Pearson education)

http://monthofpoetry.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/poetic-aside-publishing-poetry/

CHILDREN’S POETRY Blogs

Julie Larios – The Drift record http://julielarios.blogspot.com/

Children’s Writers’ Blogs :

Publisher’s blogs:

Writers blogs – tips n tricks

Jayme Ian Woode http://jaymesianwoode.wordpress.com/

Writers’ Organisations:

Writing cross genre:

Children’s/YA writing Organisations:

I-publishing – new players, new info

27.12.2010 Update:

I have found numbers of other interesting sites which I am actively investigating.

Story Chimes

Story Chimes has won the PTPA Media Inc. Seal of Approval.  This App Developer is in partnership with Raven Tree Press, producing their print books for iphone and ipad as well as new, never been in print, titles.

MCB

Interesting interview with Jean-Pierre Bousquet about his experience publishing his Children’s picture book , “Caroline , and the mysterious Christmas Tree” with Mobile Children’s Books [MCB].  Check out Wheezards interview LIVE radio show on 938Live The Living Room – Singapore podcast

Loud Crow

Read the AppModo.com review article, check out their site – http://loudcrow.com/ – I like the look of their pop-up books!

uTales

This is a brand new venture which may work well for those  not so techno flash or those with less in the way of spare cash. It is European based and the books have a definitely European look. Read about uTales and about becoming a ‘uTaler‘, publisher on this site.

The site, commendably, also support “Pencils of Promise” who built  15 schools in third world countries from donations last year.

Nook Kids

This site is doing some innovative things – take a look –

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nookcolor/kids/index.asp?cds2Pid=36139

 

Peter Taylor‘s update on i-publishing [thank you Peter]

Children’s Publishing Innovation Award

 

At last week’s NY Digital Book World Conference, this went to:

 

http://www.astorybeforebed.com/

 

This is marketed as the first and only service where consumers can create an app by recording a video of themselves reading as they turn the pages. Children can play back the story as often as they like.

 

You can give it a free trial, too.

 

There are over 200 books in their main selection http://www.astorybeforebed.com/books When you register, you create your own bookshelf to store your recorded downloads.

Many of their selection of books are published by Chronicle, Orca and Charlesbridge. They also ask for suggestions from accomplished children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers, as they’re always looking for more great books.

The publishers may also consider giving purchasers the option of having the book read by the author/illustrator.

This idea comes from creators at

 

http://www.jacksonfish.com

 

 

New writing contest coming up, an interview and more….

Watch this site –  http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com/2010/06/w-writing-contest-coming-soon.html

While you are there, have a peek at  the interview – http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com/search?q=Poulter  Check out the links too, including one to a FREE  press release posting site!

The interview features info on my new book, coming out with PicPocket Books on iphone in August. It was created in collaboration with Monica Rondino, Andrea Pucci and my youngest daughter, Estelle Poulter. Parents and others – do you have teething babies  or toddlers who bite and have older siblings who object to being bitten?  You might just find some help to be had reading this humorous story with a rhyming element!

E-Book Publishing – iphone/ipad/e-book – some notes

Children’s books on ipad and iphone

Thought I’d share some notes on e-publishing, especially with all the excitement generated by ipad. I have two picture books coming out myself on iphone and am looking forward to having picture books on ipad!

Iphone

Pros

Most of the iphone publishers pay better [some much better] royalties than book publishers.

Though the RRP cost of books is low, volume of sales is high compared to hard copy books.

Folk buying an e-book for iphone often buy the hardcopy too if the child likes the book.

If you are publishing with an iphone company who works with  the big publishers or with big children’s media companies, then it potentially brings your work to the attention of  some important networks/people. It puts you book into good company!

Cons

Starts with costing you the author.

There is a setup fee or the set up cost is taken out of your royalties.

You have to make your own audio and ensure it is of ‘professional’ quality or pay to have  the iphone publisher produce it for you. American iphone book producers like to use American accents [sorry Aussies].

If they format the text into the images for you that is a cost as well.

You have to submit the completed book upfront  [not such a hassle for the author/illustrator] as a pdf. For author working with illustrator  it means either you pay the illustrator upfront or they work with you with  royalties in mind. If it is accepted  you may find you have to then submit each frame [individual jpeg image] resized to iphone format . This can mean force sizing, which can distort the image slightly.  If you do not do this yourself, there is a cost for them to do it.

Like all publishers, they are selective.

I have books soon to come out with PicPocket Books and istorytime. [See my website for updates www.jenniferrpoulter.weebly.com ] For a preview of “Toofs!”, to come out with PicPocket Books, see the interview with Susan Whitfield [http://susanwhitfield.blogspot.com/search?q=Poulter ].

e-book

kindle

Pro

Good format for b&w and has growing audience.

Con

No colour.

e-book

ipad

Pro

Is all the buzz – is touted as new direction in children’s publishing [most recently at CAL seminar in Brisbane recently].  Not seen as replacing hard copy but as important new outlet.

Penguin are already there, are going for interactive stories on ipad. Exciting! [see UTube and http://www.engadget.com/…/penguins-ipad-formatted-books-shown-off-making- waves/ ] All the same pluses for iphone also apply here and more.

Con

Same companies doing iphone are now doing ipad as well so the cost  structure may still apply – may change too as ipad is much more flexible than iphone and is beautifully suited to picbooks. Because of this, there may not [note may not] be the same need for audio.

Ripple Reader

Pro

If your book is already in hardcopy, it is ‘free’ [yep that’s right] to load your book onto Ripple Reader and free to join the company.  Ripple Reader pays royalties! It is an exciting innovation that makes your published book accessible much, much more widely.

Con

Your book must exist in a published version first, so that the editing process it has gone through ensures production quality.

Recommended Reading

Latest SCBWI Newsletter [March/April 2010] page 22 – article by Elizabeth O. Dulemba titled, “My 1st iPhone Picture Book App”. Elizabeth was published with a company called Rhodesoft.com [“Reading Rhino”]. I don’t know as much about them, but they do also require a set up fee.

LINKS

www.jenniferrpoulter.weebly.com

http://www.picpocketbooks.com/

http://istorytimeapp.com/

www.ripplereader.com

rhodesoft.blogspot.com/

Book Safari – the Journey to Woodlands! Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature

Peter Taylor, the multi-talented SCWBI Coordinator , Queensland chapter, and the Book Safari Coordinator, the inimitable Jenny Stubbs roped me in to help with the Book Safari tents at Woodlands. This was a first for me and proved to be an excellent networking and promotional activity. Opportunity abounded to talk to lots of teachers, students and other writers, illustrators, publishers and editors.  In other words it was reading, hearing, viewing and doing STORIES, pretty much non stop!

Links: Another great blog on the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature –

http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/more-on-ipswich-festival-of-childrens-literature/#comment-569

Here is a pictorial overview from the days I was there – 2nd, 3rd and 5th of September.  PHOTOGRAPHS: 1-3 Woodlands;

Woodlands, Ipswich from the approach road

Woodlands, Ipswich from the approach road

The heritage listed Homestead with the Book Safari banner at the entrance

The heritage listed Homestead with the Book Safari banner at the entrance

Why it is called Woodlands.

Why it is called Woodlands.

4-6 Editors, Presenters, Writers and more…

Kristina Schulz, UQP, Leonie Tyle, Random House, Dr. Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Kristina Schulz, UQP, Leonie Tyle, Random House, Dr. Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Julie Nickerson, Cheryl Gwyther, Dee White

Julie Nickerson, Cheryl Gwyther, Dee White

justin D'Ath's very unique book launch

Justin D'Ath's very unique book launch

7-9 Illustrators and workshops…

Behaving like Wild Things at the mask making workshop with Lee Fullarton

Behaving like Wild Things at the mask making workshop with Lee Fullarton

Lucia Masciullo shows us her new books x 2

Lucia Masciullo shows us her new books x 2

Lachlan Creagh inspires us with his own brand of wild things

Lachlan Creagh inspires us with his own brand of wild things

10-13 The nomads at their tents…

Peter Taylor,writer, illustrator, calligrapher and SCWBI coordinator

Peter Taylor,writer, illustrator, calligrapher and SCWBI coordinator

Author/illustrators, Helen Ross of Miss Helen Books and Lynelle Z. Westlake

Author/illustrators, Helen Ross of Miss Helen Books and Lynelle Z. Westlake

Lynelle Z. Westlake using every spare minute to create!

Lynelle Z. Westlake using every spare minute to create!

J.R.Poulter + books, Peter Taylor not losing a moment in the background

J.R.Poulter + books, Peter Taylor not losing a moment in the background

Jenny Stubbs and Book Safari Coordinators in handpainted, South African t-shirts designed for the festival

Jenny Stubbs and Book Safari Coordinators in hand-painted, South African t-shirts designed for the festival

MS Readathon Tent

MS Readathon Tent

14 & 15 Jenny Stubbs and the Coordinating Team outside the Jacaranda Room; MS Readathon Tent

16 – 19 The people who keep the writers and illustrators viable – the amazing folk of the BOOK GARDEN!

Douglas Fussell, author and early childhood adviser

Douglas Fussell, author and early childhood adviser

John Moffatt, Book Garden troubleshooter

John Moffatt, Book Garden troubleshooter

Deb Zavelsky, owner and children's literature supporter

Deb Zavelsky, owner and children's literature supporter

The Book Garden logo

The Book Garden logo

Part II. Mattias Adolfsson the Illustrative Storyteller

Like all good illustrators, Matias is a storyteller with paint and ink. The joy of working with folk like Mattias, Angel Dominguez, Bernhard Oberdieck, Nick Harris, Sarah Davis and others, is that they can load layers of meaning into a single picture adding dimension to the text. They are also able to add illustrative subplots of their own that augment the main plot and add visual interest. The other joy, and I speak here as a writer, is that their very doodlated sketches and ‘just for me/ for fun’ works  speak, story positively oozing out the edges. I have episodes of  total right brain escapism let loose with Mattias’ tantalising takes on everything and anything and more. Many of the Wacky Wordages on my blog or available for teachers and students and others  via www.sharing-books.com, are the result of such episodes of  creative indulgence.

Characters

Beatnik Dragon [alias Mattias?]

Beatnik Dragon -alias Mattias?

Gnu with G[n]un

Gnu with un Gnun

Monster 4

Monster 4

Person carriage with mini-elephant

Person carriage with mini-elephant

and more characters…

Piggles

Piggles

Sky Dragon

Sky Dragon

The importance of flat sock ironing

The importance of flat sock ironing

Bertie in bath - character in "Improbable Adventures..." with J.R.Poulter

Bertie in bath - character in "Improbable Adventures..." with J.R.Poulter

Jennifer: The comic book element is present in many of your blog posts, you mentioned a course in comic writing/creation. What brought on that deviation? What are you ambitions in venturing into that genre?

Mattias:

I’m not a big comic reader (I used to be though) but I’d like to do some kind of comics/book soon. My priority has to be making a living though, so it’s hard finding time making something like books and comics on my own time without the monetary backing.

Jennifer: The sense of story in your works is strong. Do you have plans for your own children’s picturebook? What about a darkly humorous graphic novel? [You keep tantalizing us with hints of projects underway.]

Mattias: I have a problem with too many ideas at the moment, I need to focus on print and leaving the web perhaps, I spend far too much time doing internet things. Maybe a yearlong web sabbatical would do the trick.

Characters in current book project, “Improbable Adventures…” :

Elery takes off

Henry takes off

Elery

Elery

Henry & ice-cream truck

Henry & ice-cream truck

Jennifer: I find your work inspiring in a dangerously right brain way!

Do you find the drawings evolve themselves from the end of your pen and do their own thing or do you try to control them?

Mattias: I often say that the drawing kind of evolves rather than being planned, but when I look at the drawings I do, or rather, I can see certain themes, I guess that my right brain does know what it wants to draw…

Some of Mattias’ ‘right brain inspired’ series :

Rocket series: Goth Spear Tower Rocket

Rocket series: Goth Spear Tower Rocket

Robot sea creature series: Magnetic Fish 3

Robot sea creature series: Magnetic Fish 3

Domestic Monster series: The Manual Clothesline

Domestic Monster series: The Manual Clothesline

The House Flower Series - House Flower 1

The House Flower Series - House Flower 1

Jennifer: Do you get many approaches from the corporate world? I mean if I were Mojo, I’d want you to design my logo! What are some of the more oddball commissions you have had?

Which commissions do you enjoy the most?

Mattias: I get some approaches but not enough and far too few are oddball, I’d love to do textiles or pottery (not sure about the right name for this). The strangest was doing fashion Illustrations for an English magazine (I’m totally uninterested in fashion). The best commissions I’ve done are when I get a free hand (surprise)!

A variety of  output….

New Ideas in Vacuum cleaners

New Ideas in Vacuum cleaners

This is the back of the book "Till mitt barnbarn" Mattias had been working on, it's all the objects from the first page neatly packed.

This is the back of the book "Till mitt barnbarn" Mattias had been working on, it's all the objects from the first page neatly packed.

Jennifer: There is a great ‘new’ interview with Mattias on Design Taxi for the curious. So, Mattias, having barraged you with questions, which one that you DESPERATLEY wanted me to ask, have I left out? Now is your turn!

Mattias: Do you sometimes fret over if you are too much of an illustrators’ Illustrator and may be not have a very commercial style?  The thought has occurred to me lately. I’m trying to get commission work and maybe an art sales rep, but it’s hard and very time consuming.

Jennifer notes: The mechanics of earning a living with art and literature require,  especially in in the early stages of ‘breaking in’,  other work which  seems constantly to threaten to rob that precious and closely guarded creative element, ‘time’, and yet the  art/literature is the raison d’être and the other, the ‘intrusive’ work, merely essential if the writer/artist is  to do something as mundane as eat.

More variations of Mattias’ output:

Parade: on a roll - Some additional drawing to the book Mattias is doing (Bonnier & Carlsen) with his sister as a designer.

Parade: on a roll - Some additional drawing to the book Mattias is doing (Bonnier & Carlsen) with his sister as a designer.

Cooking utensils series - done whilst commuting on the train

Cooking utensils series - done whilst commuting on the train

57 birds and one owl

57 birds and one owl

Early adopters adopting their adaptations

Early adopters adopting their adaptations

Lonely Chinese Tree

Lonely Chinese Tree

A rose is a rose is a rose

A rose is a rose is a rose

And, just to show Mattias does not just do humorous work, but very delicate and detailed pieces as well, I have included the flowers at the end of the interview.

Those of you hungry for more – go to :  http://www.mattiasadolfsson.se/  http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/

Interview with Marek Wysoczyński, inspirational initiator and director of Project Smile

Update: Project Smile goes to France – http://smilesprojectfrance.wordpress.com/#comment-16

All about Project Smile – the international goodwill outreach to children and their families.

Jennifer: Hi All! I am interviewing Marek Wysoczyński, Director of the Bureau for the Promotion of Culture, Gdansk, Poland. Marek, would you tell my readers something about yourself and your background, your experience with large scale exhibitions leading up to Project Smile?

Marek:

I studied law at the University of Gdansk where I received my Master of Arts in History degree. I was an actor in the German language Theatre Logos and also a teacher of German. I was a history guide in the Central Maritime Museum, an archivist, teacher of history and a manager for special events. At that time, I created a series of concerts entitled “Music on Water” which have been presented by me on a regular basis since then. I was the director of the Baltic Centre of Culture. I organized the Millennial Concert for Emma Kirkby. I was awarded a Gdansk Millennial Medal. I created the Franciscan Centre of Culture in Gdansk and organized music festivals called “Musica Mariana”.

Marek Wysoczynski generating smiles globally!

Marek Wysoczynski generating smiles globally!

As for now, I am  director of the Culture Promotion Office and organize various concerts and novel exhibitions all over the World. I was a co-organizer of the Festival of Culture of Europe in Georgia and organized an Opera festival in Dubrovnik. Every year I organize special carol concerts in Palestine and Jerusalem and, last year, I organized one in a Turkish bath in Skopje. The Office, together with the Goethe Institute, organized a series of Polish song concerts sung in German in Paris and Alexandria. My artists performed Ave Maria concerts in various languages (including Arabic) in the Cathedral in Cairo and also in churches in Turkey, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia. They also sang for SFOR soldiers in Bosnia and NATO soldiers in Kosovo. There was also a concert for the Jordanian princess and a Russian song concert organized by the Russian Embassy and the Polish Embassy in Tunisia. The Office promotes musicians, actors and international co-operation in the field of culture.

I organized an exhibition of 1000 autographs as a part of the Millennial Anniversary of the City of Gdansk. That was the start of the idea to collect autographed smiles for Children’s Hospitals and also for other Institutions.

Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, creating a Smile for Marek's Project Smile

Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, creating a Smile for Marek's Project Smile

The exhibition presented annually during the Polish Films Festival in Gdynia and in Perpignan, in the Institute of Polish Culture in Budapest and during the Festival of Good Mood in Gdansk. The exhibition was also presented in Chelmno in the Town Hall. In May, 2008 the exhibition was presented in Insurgentes Gallery in Mexico and in June in the Children’s Hospital named after Maria Curie Sklodowska in Romania and in Children’s Museums in Italy and in Poland.

Jennifer: In the midst of a very busy position, you have managed to inspire others with a ’brainwave’, the simple but wonderful, empowering concept of an exhibition of ’smiles’ from celebrities of all ilks from all over the world! What started it all? How did you come up with Project Smile?

The Prime Minister's Smile!

The Prime Minister's Smile!

Marek:

When, in 1980, I received my first autograph, that of Kalina Jedrusik, I never thought I would have over 1000 of these footprints of human existence – small pieces of art, as I call autographs, because people often draw something near their signature.

Whilst collecting autographs, I was also thinking about sharing my joy of life with the community and comparing it with the transient keepsake that comes from contact with personalities. The first time I managed to show them was at the Millennial Anniversary of Gdansk, when they were shown at the exhibition entitled “1000 autographs for the Millennial Anniversary”. I observed the people visiting the exhibition and saw their joy and surprise. Generations – grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren, all together, explaining to each other who was who. Young people did not know older actresses and the older generations had no idea about rock musicians.

Smiles & autographs

Smiles & autographs

After the Gdansk exhibition I began to dream about sharing my passion, about sharing my joy with others. Then I got the idea of collecting autographs accompanied by the picture of a smile. The first idea was to show “Project Smile’ in children’s hospitals, but it soon appeared that smiles drawn by the Jordanian Queen, Krzysztof Penderecki or Liza Minelli pleased adults too. What is more important, adding a smile also pleased the people whom I ask to draw them. A smile is possible to create in a moment, even in the most difficult times. When we look at a child’s smile, even if we are in mourning, are ill or in trouble, we smile instinctively.

An autograph itself is calm and quite like a fresh painting, as it  “reveals the mortal hand” not only in the poetical dimension but also in the dimension of common, fleeting life. At least it is the visible sign of our having passed by.

Smiles joined with autographs are something to introduce joy into our lives and into hospitals both for children and adults.

When I started collecting smiles I wrote:

A Smile, it is a drop of crystallized Joy
When a child smiles at us we smile, everyone, everywhere!
A child’s smile is pure holiness, a gift of life
Not to be sullied by the evil of unhappiness
When giving sick children our warm smiles
We return their own smiles to them
And remind ourselves of the smiles of our own youth!

A child's Smile

A child's Smile

We received from archdiocese Honiara a smile from the Archbishop of the Solomon Islands and his poetic quote:

Smile and the World smiles with you,
Cry and you cry alone.

Jennifer: At a time when the world is in the grip of an economic crisis with all its hideous far reaching effects for individuals and families globally, we needed this project. It is inspiring! Would you share with us some of the reactions you have received to the project?

Marek: A Smile is good at all times, for any kind of situation, even the ‘commercial’ smile of the stewardess in a plane, a smile puts people at ease, it welcomes.

As for a drawing smile for the project , all kinds are good and sometime the drawing of the smile brings the person to remembering deep into their past, sometimes with tears as they remember the bad and good times of childhood.

Children in hospital react very, very well. In Macedonia, in a Rehabilitation centre, a girl who was very seriously ill, drew a smile with her legs and told me : “the miracle is that I can do this before I die soon, to help other children …”

In other city, in Poland, I prepared that smile-performance with children. The Mayor of that city and his co-workers thanked me because he …was smiling himself, for the first time in 20 years.

Infectious Smiles!

Infectious Smiles!

Crisis is bad, but it will seem shorter, be alleviated somewhat when we all start to smile – I tell this to children in hospital : “children should start every day with a smile and finish the day with a smile”.  Smile, and the trouble will do not have time to become a problem, the same can be done in the world of politics and economics. Smile and the future will be better – the trouble will be smaller. A smile is the best sort of help because it is financially very good to receive….its costs only 1 second of your time to make and of course its “cost” =  a good tooth-brushing , LOL !

Jennifer: The collection is growing by the day. How many smiles have you received to date? On average, how many arrive daily?

Marek: Its depends , sometimes I get a whole package from  various countries, sometimes one envelope but with 20 smiles from a school of design where the professor set an examination task for students to create a smile.

Sometimes there is a day without a smile in the postbox , but there is a smile on my face ….to make that  “empty” day a better one!

The Smile that grew in to GRIN!

The Smile that grew in to GRIN!

My friends like to talk with me about the project. I sometimes think the exhibition idea is my wonderful life sentence. I have ambassadors of the smile-exhibition around the world.

I like also to collect smiles in person – as I organize cultural events. It provides me a good entrance to different meetings and, somehow, I can nearly always put myself behind the scenes.

What I try not to do is not to ask for a smile in restaurant venue…but then I eat slowly as does  the ‘star’, the evening’s special guest, and I hope to obtain a smile from them outside the venue when they finish…

Getting Polanski's autograph and the actress, Szykulska, and the children's hospital

Getting Polanski's autograph and the actress, Szykulska, and the children's hospital

Jennifer: You have not one but a number of ‘smile’ exhibitions planned. Tell us about them and what is involved in setting up such an exhibition in such far flung places?

Marek: The number of smiles is not limited; I think that it is already a part of my life. I hope very much to create a Smile Museum or Smile Gallery.

The idea is ongoing, one pilgrimage of smiles, because the plan has always involved the drawing of smiles by children in Poland for children in other countries and so on

The idea is to show this exhibition in children’s centres of all kinds, not only hospitals but also as a temporary exhibition in various institutions.

Smiles that lift the spirits!

Smiles that lift the spirits!

Jennifer: I understand you are hoping to produce a special catalogue/book of the exhibition to help raise funds for children’s hospitals in Poland. Can you tell us more about that?

Marek: That is good question, there are many organizations which help children in a financial way, our goal is “only” to make them smile ….

As the reports of doctors, psychologists and parents indicate, the exhibition is like a medicine, a tonic. It shows people all over the world care about sick children, children in pain. The children know they are not forgotten!

Also, what is very important, the exhibition of smiles helps “normal” people working in hospitals, not only doctors, but also cleaning teams and last but not least the parents visiting their children. It lifts their spirits!

The exhibition is also a good thing for festivals  and for other events.

Marek's Smile!

Marek's Smile!

The idea of a catalogue is always there, and we produced one as a booklet for the Polish Festival of the Good Mood, and when we visited children in hospital with a leading actress, the children were given one each.

In collaboration with Children’s Organisation, KIWANIS, we also produced a booklet in Polish and English. (You can see that catalogue on that website, where you can also find my smile.)

Jennifer: What is the most unusual ‘smile’ you have received so far? Are there limitations on the type, size or presentation of the smile and what happens to each submission to prepare it for exhibition?

Marek: The smiles have no limitations ever. We have made a smile

*    in a children’s garden in Lodz

The variations and varieties are endless as imagination!

The variations and varieties are endless as imagination!

*      on paper on whole floor area,

*     the sportsmen put their smile on t-shirts,

*      but also on a boxer’s hand,

*      we got a sculpture of smile and

*      a smile on glass –

Each and every smile is very unusual … very individual!

But maybe the most touching was a smile by a child in Macedonia …with her mother drawn without face because she was left by her mother

Very different smiles – maybe I would mention the autoportrait  by  regisseurs Jerzy Skolimowski and Roman Polanski  or a Bishop’s smile-picture which reminds of one  of Picasso’s works….

The Picasso-style Smile

The Picasso-style Smile

Jennifer: There must be all sorts of stories of how you met celebrities like Polanski and other AMAZING people! How did you persuade them to give you ‘a smile’?

Marek: When I started the collection, I asked people in person for ‘a smile’. I still do if the opportunity presents. The meetings with notable folk can sometimes be very funny but sometimes very short!

In the case of Jose Cura, I was at the opera in Berlin and, after the show, I got to the backstage door and knocked on the garderobe. He answered himself and told me “come in”.  He was under the shower. So I backed out and waited.  After some minutes, he came out and, with a big smile on his face, he drew a ‘Pagliacci’ ….he had sung Pagliaci in the opera that night.

In Berlin I had also a “tragic” meeting….can you imagine, I was in the same restaurant as Lauren Bacall…but it was a very prestigious restaurant such that if I had asked for a smile/autograph they would have made a security photo of me and then I would have been blacklisted there and in other such places as well!

Smiles layered on Smiles

Smiles layered on Smiles

As for Roman Polanski – he was opening a sculpture in Sopot – he was on the redcarpet. Nobody was allowed to put a foot on that carpet, but I did! That is how I got a selfportrait of him!

At the same festival Faye Dunaway was also a special guest, but by then I was 1000 km away. However, my wonderful mother is also very supportive of the smile project. She asked, in her broken English, and, yes, I have the smile drawn by Faye Dunaway!

The security guards of First Lady of Poland, Maria Kaczynska, were very “unhappy” that I asked her to draw a smile. But she told the strong men, to stop and let me be, “it is for a good goal”.

All the time the people, when I ask them to draw a smile, I get the answer, ‘oops I am not good at drawing’. My answer is always, ‘it’s for children and children are not judging the art’.

The Polish MP, Iwona Guzowska, is a former boxer. She liked the smile project so much that she even created a parliamentary group in the Polish Sejm – Parliament “smile group”. She collected smiles on sports items.

It's the SMILE not its artistic style, that matters! Winning Grinners!

It's the SMILE not its artistic style, that matters! Winning Grinners!

The smile project – the collection – it is growing into a very special collection – one of a kind in the world. It is also unique, because smiles are made using a variety of methods, and they are not only on paper, but also as pictures, on music programs, on film posters, on books, cd or on very curious paper types. Children from round the world send me smiles for the project. This is very special because of the very different types of smiles from children, for example, from India or Moldavia. Yet, amazingly, these same smiles sometimes match up, the same exactly, the same type of smile as if it was made by one and the same hand, even though it is a smile from a Polish child or from Mexico. As for Mexico, the smiles are made there by children with Downs Syndrome who are taught by Professors of Art Academy from Mexico City.

Smiles, inspiring more smiles!

Smiles, inspiring even more smiles!

The collection is for children, especially sick children, to make them smile and so help them heal!

Jennifer : Marek, tell us what the Smile project is achieving and continues to achieve:

Marek: I hope very much to be involved in a number of a smile exchange exhibitions, a pilgrimage of smiles.

I think there is a good idea to connect smiles made by celebrities and those by children  – the children are encouraged and inspired by the  interest and support for the project by the celebrities.

For children in “western” countries creating smiles  for a poorer part of world bring them closer to those with less advantages, fewer opportunities than they have and fosters  a caring attitude and brings knowledge.

For poor children, it is maybe their first possibility to give somebody something – this brings dignity and feeling of being able to contribute; this is empowering.

And for children from harsh, very problematic parts of world this also provides a very interesting way to help others, help, in return,  a part of world from where the help is coming to them; it brings a sense of reciprocity that might not come any other way. It brings a sense again of dignity and achievement.

Smiles from East and West!

Smiles from East and West!

I think such exhibitions – such exhibitions exchange is a very unusual project for helping and informing people about the plight of sick children worldwide, for bringing artists, writers, musician together with also opportunity for promotion of their work and for sponsors to bring their product before the public in a way that promotes them as a company that cares and is involved in more than just making money, but also in giving back to those in need – the use of a company logo could be connected with a ‘smile’ by being  included in a special promotional logo.

Jennifer: Marek, what are you plans for the future, what is your next big project?

Marek: Dear Jennifer ….of course asking you to help me to show that exhibition in your city ….my very simple dream, which is an ever evolving, growing plan, ….to show the smile exhibition and to draw smiles around the world!

Jennifer: Finally, how can people get in touch with you to find out more about the project and give support?

Marek: I would like to be in touch with people, the more the merrier! They can talk to me and learn more about project smile at www.promocjakultury.pl

The best way to support project smile is to draw a smile and send us, to ask famous and /or interesting people to draw a smile and, last but not least, to invite our exhibition to their place – to the smallest children’s school, to the farming community, or to a big children’s hospital, to a film or other festival or to Sydney Opera House…..

Smiles to encompass the globe!

Smiles to encompass the globe!

Jennifer: Charles George Walker wrote a poem inspired by that famous old proverb, quoted by the Archbishop of the Solomon Islands,  and used it for the title. I think it reflects your belief in the joyous spreadability of a Smile:

Smile and the World smiles with you, Cry and you cry alone.

Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu.

When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner, and someone saw my grin.

When he smiled I realised, I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile, then I realised its worth.

A single smile just like mine, could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.

Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!

May your smile project spread like the sunshine it brings into others’ lives!

You can find my own smile in the exhibition and here on Sharing Books for free download.

Jennifer    :))

“Pandamonium” free teacher, librarian, home-schooling resource

Pandamonium by J.R.Poulter, illustration by Joy Streuerwald

Pandamonium by J.R.Poulter, illustration by Joy Streuerwald

“Pandamonium” is available to download free from http://www.sharing-books.com.

Topics include :
weight loss, diet, healthy eating, exercise, group activity, nutrition

This poem poster features a poem that is part of  a collection called “Of Catalumphs and Hippograffes” written by J.R.Poulter and illustrated by Joy Steuerwald which will soon be available to download from Sharing Books.

ENJOY!!!!.