Laughter in Poetry

An interview with
Diane Shore
Diane Z. Shore is a children’s author and storyteller from Marietta, GA, who says her favorite thing about writing for children is meeting the kids. Her work includes picture books, early-reader chapter books, poetry, short stories, games/puzzle pages, and nonfiction. Some of Diane’s poetry appears in My Teacher's In Detention, Rolling in the Aisles, If Kids Ruled the School, and Miles of Smiles.

Q: What first got you interested in poetry?

DS: My grandmother loved poetry, especially humorous poetry, and read it to me and my sisters often.

Q: When did you start writing poetry?

DS:The first poem I remember writing was in seventh grade. I lived in Illinois and had to write a poem about the state bird, the cardinal. The first few lines went something like this: “The cardinal is a bird that’s red, his wings, his tail and also his head.” Luckily, red is an easy word to rhyme. Thank goodness the cardinal isn’t orange!

Q: Of all the poems you’ve written, what’s your favorite?

DS: “Another Note from Mom,” which is included in Rolling in the Aisles. That mom really fools her daughter!

Q: Who are your favorite poets?

DS: Shel Silverstein, J. Patrick Lewis, Jack Prelutsky, and Edward Lear, who is the Father of the Limerick.

Q: Why do you write poems for kids?

DS: It’s a lot of fun to write a poem that makes kids laugh!

Q: Where do you get ideas for poems?

DS:I like to tell the kids during my school presentations that ideas are everywhere—cereal boxes, road signs, school, family, and pets. I substitute-teach for elementary schools and get a lot of ideas from the kids. I also play the “What if…?” game. I ask a funny question such as “What if a teacher had twenty-three students all named Alex?” or “What if kids had to go to school on Saturday and Sunday?” Yikes! That would definitely NOT be funny!

Q: What are you working on now?

DS:I am putting the finishing touches on a picture book I have coming out this summer called Look Both Ways. It’s about a squirrel named Filbert who has to run an errand for his mama, and he forgets to look both ways before crossing the street. The idea came to me when I noticed several squirrels in our neighborhood didn’t quite make it across the street. I guess they didn’t look both ways before crossing. Don’t worry—my story has a happy ending!

Q: What question do kids ask you the most?

DS:“How old are you?” (I tell them I’m 2,344 years old because when I was 10 years old I made a wish on my birthday cake that my birthday would come once a week. And I blew out all the candles, so my wish came true!)

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