Poems from TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

Poetry Friday Is Here Today!

It’s been a while since I last hosted, so … welcome, welcome, welcome! Please add your links to the Mister Linky thingy at the end of the post so we can all come visit. (If you have any trouble, leave your links in the comments and I’ll take care of it.) Thank you!

Before we get started, I wanted to bring your attention to KidlitWomen, a new Facebook page started by author Grace Lin. Starting March 1, the group is celebrating Women’s History Month with 31 days of posts focused on improving the climate for social and gender equality in the children’s and teens’ literature industry. I encourage you all to join this important conversation on the FB page or on Twitter at #kidlitwomen.

Now for some poetry!

Today I’m excited not only to add a new poetry video to the library, but also to dedicate this space to someone who has done so much for the children’s poetry community over the last few years. Of course you know I’m talking about our own…

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes!

As I say in the video, Michelle is one of children’s poetry’s very best friends, always going full steam ahead to highlight the latest books and bring us month after month of in-depth interviews with poets and editors. And of course the pièce de résistance is that monthly writing challenge, which unfailingly produces some stellar work from our Poetry Friday community and beyond.

It was no surprise, then, when a couple of years ago Michelle told me about her idea to put together her first book, The Best of Today’s Little Ditty 2014-2015. Indefatigable as ever, she plowed through an immense amount of poetry to bring us a well curated anthology featuring poems by over fifty poets.


Cover art © 2016 Michelle Kogan


Then of course she did it all again, bringing us another volume of challenge poems. The Best of Today’s Little Ditty 2016 hit shelves this past November, and just like its predecessor, it’s chock full of poetic goodness by dozens of poets. (And you can purchase BOTH of these great collections just by clicking the links on the titles or the book covers! Isn’t that neat?)

Cover art © 2017 Teresa Robeson

Michelle is tireless in her efforts to highlight and uplift other poets and make us all write, write, write, which is why I’m especially happy to shine the light on her today. Besides being an extraordinary blogger and people-bringer-togetherer and dear friend, Michelle is a talented, thoughtful, and dedicated poet. So let’s go out to the playground and have a listen while she shares two of her own poems from her Today’s Little Ditty anthologies.


Here are the poems for your reading pleasure (click to enlarge).

First we have this “sizzling” cicada love song, full of buzzing language and surprising images (“unzips his skin”!!!). Who knew they were such romantics?

And then, just in time for Women’s History Month, comes this chin-up, get-outta-my-way clerihew about the infinitely inspiring Amelia Earhart. I love how Michelle captures her spirit and determination in these four short lines.

My thanks to Michelle for stopping by to share her talents! To find out more about Michelle and her monthly blogging challenges, visit her at Today’s Little Ditty.

I hope you all have a sizzling day!

Leave your poetry links here!


AW, SHUCKS! You’d like to receive my weekly posts in your inbox, you say? Well, just sign up in the sidebar then!

See more poems in my poetry video library.
Poems © Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.
Post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.


You may also like...


  1. Good morning from Washington DC where I could be sleeping in….but the screaming wind of a nor’easter has me awake and listening to March roaring in like a whole pride of lions. Thanks for hosting today, Renee.

    I couldn’t agree more with the total love Michelle has given the kidlit poetry world. Only in the past five years or so have I started to seek out the community of kidlit poets and Michelle is like one of the greeters at the door. I love her enthusiasm, encouragement and overall energy. Her poems are full of all of that too. Thank you so much for highlighting her today.

    I have spent the last month in Laura Shovan’s 6th annual poetry challenge and have loved it. Rather than focus on quality writing….I’ve used the time for quantity….just producing as much as I can in the month. It’s been great! Now, for some time to go back into those drafts and revise. I’m sharing a few lessons learned from my time last month at https://awordedgewiselindamitchell.blogspot.com/

  2. I was thrilled to see that you’re highlighting Michelle and Today’s Little Ditty. I plan to come back later and fully enjoy your post and her poetry when I have time to linger. Thanks so much for hosting this week.

  3. Thank you for hosting and sharing, Renee! I am in awe of Michelle’s work. Her poems are such a gift to us all! I can’t wait to go visit her blog this week to thank and praise her for her incredible contributions to the poetry world.

  4. Oh Renée, I’m so happy to be part of your wondrous library of poetry videos at No Water River! Thank you for this beautiful post and for bringing attention to The Best of Today’s Little Ditty (which, I might add, would not have come into existence without your encouragement and editing expertise!) Your friendship is a warm hug across the miles. xo

  5. Brava! You were both born with the poetry-generosity gene. Great to see you, Renée, and thank you for hosting.
    Michelle – has it been a whole year since we got to play in person? Love these selections from your wonderful anthologies – “clickety buzzes” is perfect. (Honored to be one of ‘your’ now-and-then poets!) :0)

  6. Renee — Thanks for hosting the party today and brightening my Poetry Friday as I hunker down in a crazy late-winter nor’easter in Boston. Loving this celebration of all things Michelle Barnes. She and her delightful gems are giving me much to smile about today. Happy Poetry Friday, all!

  7. Those were two of my favorites from Michelle’s books…especially loved the ‘unzips his skin’ line, as well. Thanks for spotlighting our friend, Renee! Michelle is a wonderful asset to our children’s poetry family and I appreciate all the support she has given me and so many others.

  8. Michelle is a generous, bringer-together and talented poet as well. I am honored to have my poetry bumping elbows with hers in the anthologies. It’s a different kind of pleasure to write at direction than to write what one wants. I enjoy having some of both in my life. I can’t wait to watch the video/ I’ll save it as a treat for later.

  9. Thanks so much for hosting today and featuring Michelle and Today’s Little Ditty! Loved hearing her read in the video. Don’t know how she manages to do all she does with her awesome interviews, challenges, and anthologies. And I love her poetry!!

  10. Thanks so much for featuring Michelle who is quite the proud book-mama in that picture! What a feeling it must be for Michelle to know her efforts have resulted in so many words, and so much joy… there are many ways to change the world, and this is certainly one of them! Always a pleasure to visit you here at No Water River, Renee… you, too, are a gift to all of us. And yes, wowza, on that “unzips”! Beautiful!! xo

  11. These are new to me, so thank you! As part of an aviation-loving family, I’m especially fond of the Earhart poem. Zoooooom!

    I’m in today with my Poetry Sisters writing to a photo from the amazing Garden of the Gods.

  12. It’s lovely to see Michelle visiting here, and celebrating all that she’s done for poetry these recent years. I am grateful and amazed at her accomplishments, honored to have a few poems in her books. Thanks, Renée, lovely to see you here!

  13. Thank you for hosting today, Renée, and for shining the spotlight on Michelle. She is so generous and supportive to this community. love both poems, and what a treat to have Michelle read them to us!

  14. Where to begin Renee? You two are a dynamic duo always, especially today. Appreciations for sharing Michelle’s poetry, which I love reading & hear about again & again. Brava! for her caring, teaching, encouraging all the many days. (I meet with children’s writers on Monday, with her Ditty books in hand.)

  15. So refreshing to begin my morning and the month of March spotlighting Michelle, her Ditty blog, and the “Today’s Little Ditty” anthologies, thank you Michelle for all the treasures you have released to all of us–and they keep on coming! Thanks Renée for this special spring review–loved the swinging video, flying and “Chit-Chit-Chit poems!

  16. Oh, Renee, this is such a lovely way to begin my day. I must come back to linger a bit longer when I’ve a bit more time this weekend. I’ve noticed mentions of “Today’s Little Ditty” challenge but haven’t checked it out. Now I must! Michelle, “Love Song” is beautiful. It stirred memories of years we lived in Texas. One summer the cicada were so numerous, my boys collected their “shells” in coffee tins. Then they lined them up on our patio like massive ancient armies and played war.

  17. So glad to see you highlighting Michelle’s work! She’s such a wonderful resource and inspiration for children’s poetry and poets!

  18. NC has the nor’easter too. Freezing temps. I am so in love with this blog post. And I love Michelle. She indeed is a friend to poetry. She goes that extra mile to help. After I recovered, she was one of the first people I wanted to reconnect with. I know I don’t have to thank you, Renee (also a friend to poets everywhere) for having her here, but I do. (Because I can hear you saying, no thanks necessary.) This post comes from your heart and your soul. And I get that. Our community is so lovely and so filled with love. It is a place to rest. Thanks to the both of you. My heart is filled. XOXOXO

  19. That Michelle–she’s a gem. AND I realized that as much as I think of Michelle as a dear friend, I had never heard her voice before! How is that possible?!

    Thanks for highlighting Michelle’s wonderful contributions to kids’ poetry and poets, and for featuring her fun poems. And for hosting!

    1. Whaaaa? That’s crazy, Buffy! It’s kind of like the first time I saw Kermit the Frog riding a bicycle (he has legs??)! Well, it’s a good thing we finally got her in the video library. Now the world will no longer be robbed of her mellifluous tones. 🙂

  20. Thank you for hosting and especially thank you for shining a spotlight on Michelle! She has done SO much to promote poetry and to lift up members (points at self) of the Poetry Friday Community!

  21. Thank you for hosting. I enjoyed reading about Michelle’s tireless efforts. She was actually who I reached out to last summer to find out more about Poetry Friday. So, in a way, it was her encouragement and kindness that brought me into this community!

  22. Thank you, Renée and Michelle, for bringing you “poetry-generositiy gene” (thank you, Robyn HB…perfect words!) to Poetry Friday. You are both gifts. I loved this video, loved hearing Michelle’s voice reading her well-crafted and such-fun poems. I wanted to climb right onto that swing next to her! Joy! xxxx

  23. Have now flown back to watch the video Renee & Michelle! It’s a delight to see& hear you, Renee, way across the pond with your tall walls of books. So fun to hear Michelle read her poems, with swing, swing, swing! Michelle, you are the creative performer your great theater background prepared you for. And your poetry sings, too.

  24. Michelle, what a treat to hear (and watch) you read!! And two of your gems for sure, at that. You’ve sidled up there beside Renee for so long to add wonder and dare and joy to this kid poetry commune. These two anthologies are treasures. Thanks Renee for hosting this “friend in verse.”

  25. Renee, your interview with Michelle is a great tribute to her and well-deserved. Michelle’s poems are a rich mix of information and fun with a rhyming pattern that I am trying to study and emulate. There is so much richness in this PF post today. Thank you for hosting.

  26. Stopping in for one more quick comment to thank everyone for such effusive praise. I think my head has swollen to three times its normal size… but I guess that’s okay since my heart has as well. Balances things out. 🙂 Thank you everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *