June 2011

CWG to Participate in Green Fair 6/26

Join CWG this Sunday, June 26th at the Green Fair celebration from 1:00 until 5:00 pm at Court Street Park (behind the old white courthouse) in Flemington Borough. Over 65 vendors will be participating in this special “green” event and children’s activities will be included. Our Booth is #51 near the Gazebo.

We hope that you will drop by and say hello! For more information, please visit: injersey.com

On Monday evening June 13th, my mother Flossie Mae (Mimms) Benton passed away at age eighty-five. Her family and friends surrounded her with love as she peacefully left this world behind. She had been a child of the Depression born to a minister and his wife, and raised in a small mill village in Georgia called Bibb City. It was a lovely community of caring, hard-working people.

Her life never attained the kind of fame that commands headlines or the attention of news anchors or talk show hosts, but it was a singular life that, like many unsung lives, accomplished more good than many that catch our attention.

Most of her adult life was spent nursing patients who oftentimes others avoided. She was especially passionate about the rights of children and the elderly and was a champion for both. For me she was my mother, and I am honored and privileged to call her so. But, she was also my friend and first teacher. She taught me to read. Her love of storytelling, poetry, and song inspired my appreciation, and to this day, I can recite a playful little poem (please see below) that she composed for my enjoyment as a seven-year-old. It’s funny how certain things stick with you, and shape your destiny.

Her poetry, however, was not limited to my amusement. As a non-traditional student who worked full-time, she enrolled in English classes at the College of Marin (Indian Valley Campus) in California where one of her favorite professors challenged her class to write a one-line poem. Her offering was: “The arts and I are in love.” That was the same year that the college started its own poetry journal. Her poem inspired the title for the IVC publication The Arts and I, and her work was presented as the introductory poem to the compilation. She went on to earn her degree in English (and three more to boot), giving the commencement speech for her graduating class!

Words were important to Mother. She knew that they were the building blocks of ideas, and ideas represented possibilities. Reading was an investment in those possibilities and through education, doors could be opened that might otherwise be locked. She valued learning.

To honor my mother’s life and her love of children and literature, the new literacy outreach program for children planned by The Children’s Writer’s Guild, will be known as “Miss Flossie’s Gift”. My mom, “Miss Flossie” as she was affectionately called in her later years, was a true southern belle–a real charmer. But, her real beauty came from within. She would love knowing that children who cannot afford to buy quality books of their own will benefit from a program inspired by her life. I am deeply thankful for her gift of reading to me, and for her loving care as my mother. Already sorely missed by family and friends, may she live now in the blessings of God.

I love you, Mom!


Flossie’s family has asked that anyone wishing to express condolences, please donate to The Children’s Writer’s Guild literacy program rather than sending flowers. “Miss Flossie” gathered her flowers while living, and would have enjoyed knowing that young minds will bloom as the result of a program dedicated to her. Donations can be sent to: CWG, c/o Sheila Wright, PO Box 272, Pennington, NJ 08534. Telephone number for the Guild: 908-788-7777 or you can contact us at wright@childrenswritersguild.org. Thank you!

Following poem written for seven-year-old Sheila and inspired by her black and white cat and frequent childhood companion:

I Have a Cat Named Domino

I have a cat named Domino
With a fluffy tail and a button nose.
He follows me wherever I go,
But now and then he stops to doze.
Sometimes he goes across the street,
But hurries home when it’s time to eat!
After he eats, he takes a nap,
All curled up in someone’s lap.

By Flossie Mae Benton
(In loving memory of a brave life well lived:
January 10, 1926- June 13, 2011)

Come meet CWG
story teller Kathi Kurz

The NJ Chapter of The Children’s Writer’s Guild along with Twice Told Tales Bookstore will be host to a Children’s “Story Hour” every Thursday from 10 - 11 AM followed by a craft. Starting June 23rd. For ages 3 - 6. Twice Told Tales Bookstore is located at 14 Bloomfield Ave., Flemington, New Jersey. Bloomfield Ave. is the 1st right after the Union Hotel. Come join us for an hour of fun with your little ones. Looking forward to seeing you.

North Coast Limited 1 / George M. Weister

CWG member Tony Siniscalco asked if I would forward information to you concerning the upcoming 4-H Train Show scheduled for June 11th and 12th.

One of our online members wrote an article about trains not so long ago and had it published, so if you’ve been dreaming of writing a story about these American symbols of progress and expansion, you might find a lot of inspiration at this worthwhile event. Tony would also like for you to know that there will be a lot of old train magazines for you to peruse.

June 11 - 12, 2011
10:00am - 5:00pm
4-H Center
310 Milltown Road
Bridgewater, New Jersey

$4.00 adult / $2.00 children under 12

Best wishes!

~ Sheila

Information and Registration

For the third year, guild member Danielle Ray, of BookRemarks, is generously sponsoring a writing contest for fellow members. The winner will receive a financial gift from Danielle to be invested in the writing workshop, conference, or seminar of the winner’s choice.

This year’s challenge is . . . horrifying! Muhahahaha!

Danielle has identified an under-reached audience with a “hunger for horror”: middle grade boys. Concerns about the reading behaviors of this population have been expressed by a number of researchers. Danielle’s goal is to provide this group with material that is fun and exciting for them, and has been a proven winner.

Specifically, participants will be writing in the “horror” genre. It is important to note, of course, that age-appropriateness is vital. You’ll probably want to shoot for generating a story that falls somewhere between Scooby Doo and Stephen King – leaning much more closely to good ‘ol Scooby if you’re writing in the younger portion of the intended age range.

“The golden rule of writing is to write what you care about.”
— Jerry Spinelli