Friday, February 7, 2014

Better than Cotton Candy

I've been teaching a unit on poetry to my fifth grade class here at Morrison Academy, and my students have enjoyed writing poems in a number of different styles.  Now that we're finished, I've chosen some of the best (at least one from each student) to put together into a poetry anthology.  The class is very excited that this has now been published as a Kindle eBook and is available for sale on!

The book only costs US$2.99, and the class voted to donate all proceeds to a nonprofit organization called Taiwan Sunshine (more information below).  This is a great ministry that our students have worked with on several occasions.

I chose a few possible titles from lines in various poems that I felt presented vivid and interesting word pictures: "Once in a Blue Moon", "Gleaming Goodies", "The Most Beautiful Blanket in the World", "Like a Piece of Gold", and of course "Better than Cotton Candy".  The final title was chosen in a vote by my fifth graders and others.

Then I held an optional cover-designing contest among my students.  There were six different entries, some created individually and others in pairs or groups.  I showed the students all the entries on the big screen, and once again they voted for their favorites.  (Sorry, these aren't the best quality photographs; they're just pictures I took of the artwork lying on the carpet.) 

Below is the final version of the winning cover design.  I scanned it on the school's color scanner, and then our computer teacher graciously volunteered to touch up the colors a little in Photoshop and add the black border.  You can see the difference!

Here's the "product description" (like the blurb on the back of a paper book) that I wrote about our anthology.  I tried to use tidbits from as many students' poems as possible:

Are you ready for a world tour?  Within these pages you can watch a Chinese New Year dragon dance, go snowboarding at Mountain High in California, experience Christmas in the Philippines, spend money on fun in a video game center in Odaiba, Japan; catch shrimp in Australia, and play soccer at Sacramento’s Don Nottoli Park.  Step into the Amazon rainforest to hear a croaking frog as loud as a car engine and onto the streets of Taiwan to be serenaded by a putrid-smelling trash truck that plays Beethoven’s “Für Elise”. 

You’ll have the opportunity to sample such delicacies as spiky giant crabs, milk tea, tiramisu, spicy curry, dried squid, and fizzy melon soda.  Here you can visit a garden to meet zombie-fighting plants and see for yourself how war can be like a broken ATM.  Take a break by an icy lake that reflects the stars’ smiles like a sheet of glass.  While you’re waiting for the morning sun, wrap yourself in the night, the most beautiful blanket in the world; but don’t let your dad’s raucous snoring ruin your sleep.  Finally, beware of insubordinate monkeys, the horrors that lurk in a messy desk, and that house-crushing hailstorm.  See the journey through to the end and you’ll discover the one substance on earth that is better than cotton candy!

Proceeds from the sale of Better than Cotton Candy will benefit Taiwan Sunshine, a nonprofit organization that provides support and encouragement for families of disabled children in Taiwan.  Learn more at

Better than Cotton Candy has been available less than 48 hours and already has four 5-star reviews!  In addition, as of earlier this morning it was ranked twelfth on Amazon's bestseller list for children's poetry!

The book is available on your Kindle or any device with a Kindle application.  The app can be downloaded for free from Amazon for the iPad, iTouch, iPhone, Android, PC or Mac, Windows 7 Phone, etc.  

Click here to view or purchase our poetry anthology on Amazon or download the Kindle application.  Morrison's fifth grade students and Taiwan Sunshine appreciate your support!

Click here to read about Sunshine Leaking, the anthology written by my last year's class.

Click here to read about A Boom in the Room, the anthology written by my class two years ago.

Interested in putting together your own anthology (or other eBook)?  Click here to see the step-by-step instructions I put together on how to go through the process.  It isn't what I'd call a simple process, but it's free and very doable for those willing to put in the time and effort.

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