Back to school.

Matthew at the institute

I hope your summer was great, that you swam a lot, hung out, maybe even read a book or two.

Wonder what writers do in the summer?

I don’t know what those other writers do, but I grew a lot of tomatoes, did projects with the kids in my neighborhood and hung out with the boy in the picture who seems to be inventing the universe. That’s my grandson, Matthew, and today is his first day of kindergarten.

And I sat at this desk and wrote. Writers don’t really get the whole summer off (but that’s okay, we like our jobs). I’m working on a new book–a ghost story, and getting ready to visit schools in Miami and St. Pete, so I guess I’m back at school too.

Teachers, please consider an author visit, either in person or virtual. An author visit makes books come to life. It proves that behind each book is a real person.

My specialty is getting kids excited about writing by doing innovative exercises either orally or in writing workshops.

Check out the details!

Higgledy Piggledy

Sister Spider Knows AllI bet you all know what a haiku poem is. Seventeen syllables in three lines divided 5-7-5.

But that is nowhere near as tricky as writing a Higgledy Piggledy. The rules are so complicated I won’t even share them with you. They will make you either: a. sleepy, or b. pull your hair out, and we can’t have that.

I would never attempt to write one and I am pretty sure you wouldn’t either, but Gary Crew, a librarian at the Leon County Public Library wrote one for me (I was doing an evening program).

And here it is!


Higgledy Piggledy…

Adrian Fogelin

Writes books with great kids who’re

People she sees…


My fav’rite book’s a look


Set at an int’resting

Market for fleas…


In case you can’t guess which book Gary is describing I’ve included a big hint.

The Front Porch Library blows out the candles!

6th birthday, giant cookie.Last Sunday we celebrated the 6th birthday of the Front Porch Library. As my partner in crime, Kary says, “It seems like longer than that, doesn’t it?”

Indeed it does–so many kids have come through the FPL, so much glue, craft paper, sidewalk chalk, reading aloud, shooting hoops, learning Greek mythology–and while cleaning for the party I came across the flash cards I’d made to teach Latin root words.

We’ve covered a lot of territory in those six years.

As always we spent several Sundays cooking for the event. This year we served dinner for 35, including two teachers who drove all the way from Jacksonville to be part of the festivities.

6th birthday--with hats.I can’t thank the volunteers enough–and the spontaneous acts of generosity, like Craig performing his famous Ydon the pirate magic trick and organizing a group poem.

Meg, who had just catered a wedding brought all the leftover flowers and put flowers anywhere that would hold a stem, like the door frame and the driveway umbrellas.

Kary did a photo booth. Mr. John supervised the kitchen. Tina and Maya helped get the library ready for the gathering. Donna, Meg, Penny, Heather and others did a heroic clean-up.

Between the arrival of the twins, screeching into the driveway and the last kid trailing off down the street we ate, messed with Play-Doh, shot hoops, tossed water balloons, built cities in the living room. It was a class-A celebration of a BIG community effort.

Want to see more photos from the party? Visit our website.

Press Release

The Front Porch

The last time the Front Porch Library reached out to the wider community, it was to ask for help finding an insurer to keep their doors open.

Tallahassee came through with suggestions, offers of help, and ultimately an insurance policy.

Now there is good news to share.  The Front Porch Library is a finalist for a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.  The award – given by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies — recognizes top arts and humanities-based programs which operate afterschool and out-of-school.

The Front Porch Library is one of 50 programs to achieve Certificate of Excellence status from hundreds of nominations from across the country. If chosen in the top ten, the library will receive $10,000 and an invitation to Washington, DC for the award conference in August.

Today the Front Porch Library continues to thrive as a book-and-project gathering spot for the children of Seminole Manor Neighborhood. Co-founded by neighbors Adrian Fogelin and Dr. Kary Kublin, the initial vision was to give ready access to books and educational materials to youth in this low income neighborhood.

“The library began with my father’s house, and kids who needed books,” says Adrian Fogelin. Not wanting to give up his house when her father died, she decided to establish a library on the porch—a library which quickly took over the whole house.

The collection now numbers over 3,000 cataloged books, all donated. But the library is more than just books. Every Sunday, a volunteer staff gathers to run programs that bring the wider world to kids who arrive on foot and by bicycle. Library volunteers come from the neighborhood and the community. Many are students from SAIL High School and Leon High’s Key Club. These high-achieving teen volunteers act as mentors and role models.

As the library gets ready to celebrate its sixth birthday, there are many past programs and shared memories to draw on: building a Rube Goldberg machine, jousting on the lawn with the Society for Creative Anachronism, quilting, cooking, studying Greek mythology, learning about modern China, conducting explosive science experiments and funding summer camp experiences from one generous donation.

“We’ve seen a lot of kids come to the library, growing up right before our eyes Sunday to Sunday,” says Co-Director Kary Kublin.  “If we want kids to read, we’ve got to read with them.  If we want them to ask questions and solve problems, we have to make sure the opportunities are there and that they are accessible.”

The Front Porch Library is proof that it takes a village. With this national recognition, the village continues to grow.

More information about The Front Porch Library as well as weekly updates and photographs can be found at