hotTEAS of Children’s Poetry: David L. Harrison and Charles Waters

Is it just me, or is it hotter than blue blazes around here?

David L. Harrison is the Christopher Award winning author of more than 70 books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry that have sold over 15 million copies and earned numerous honors. David’s work has been presented on national television and radio, produced on cassette and CD-ROM, widely anthologized in books, and published in many magazines and professional journals. (photo taken by David’s wife Sandy at their home in Springfield, MO)


☕ Cuppa of Choice: “I’m strictly a Lipton’s man.”

☕ Hot Off the Press: Cowboys: Voices in the Western Wind (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, 2012), illustrated by Dan Burr.

☕ Visit David L. Harrison’s Official Website

☕☕ Sip this poem David wrote just for us:



I took my Folgers
To my chair
In hopes my muse
Would meet me there.

Alas the date
Was not to be,
My muse preferred
Her Lipton’s tea.

I’m brilliant now,
Don’t wish to brag,
The secret was in
The Lipton’s bag.

~ Copyright © 2015 David L. Harrison. All rights reserved.


Charles Waters is a NYC-based poet, actor and educator whose work has been featured in several anthologies. Charles conducts his one man show POETRY TIME, as well as poetry performance workshops for elementary and middle school audiences all over the nation, while seamlessly incorporating the Common Core Curriculum. He has performed in more than 30 states from Alaska to Louisiana to New York. He has also worked with several theatre touring companies and has appeared in television commercials.
(photos by Carlos Vizcaino/GustOrganics)


☕ Cuppa of Choice: “One of my favorite kinds of tea is Green Tea. Power packed and good for you. Sometimes I may put almond milk in it as well as agave. The restaurant where I bought the tea is GustOrganics, which is located in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. They serve organic vegan cuisines. I don’t go there often, but when I do, it’s happy time. Don’t get me started on their Tiramisu! Happy Tea Drinking, Everyone!”

☕ Hot Off the Press: Poems in Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems, edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte (CreateSpace, 2015), and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (Pomelo Books, 2015). 

☕ Visit Charles Waters’s Official Website and Blog. You can also find him at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

☕☕ Lap up this poem Charles wrote just for us:


Sipping tea, you and me,

Gazing at the sparkling sea

We are now a family,

Holding hands, breath to breath,

There’s no place I’d rather be.

Copyright © 2015 Charles Waters. All rights reserved.


Be still my heart. I need to go lie down and cool off.

Cabana boys, fan me with palm fronds.

♥ More hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry here.


Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

friday feast: cracking open a few more nuts

You know what they say. It takes one to know one. And I know you’re nuts nuts nuts!

Nuts about peanut butter, that is. You look hungry. Please help yourself to one of these beautiful Buckeyes, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.

(click for SK Buckeyes recipe)

That’s it, wrap your lips around that perfect little ball of cream cheese, butter, smoother than smooth peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs and deep, dark chocolate. *swoons*

Now, where was I?

Feel free to slather yourself all over with reckless abandon.

Oh, yes, back to the party! We’ve got four more Peanut Butter Poets on today’s menu: Douglas Florian, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Irene Latham and Charles Waters.  Nothing finer than having grown men go gaga for goobers with such purty poems of praise! And leave it to the ladies to serve up a giggle and a growl! Never know what you’ll get when you crack these nuts wide open.

Spread it again, Sam!

* * * * *

Continue reading

charles waters heats things up

#10 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2012.

Charles and Heidi ham it up.

Holy Soup Spoon!  Mr. Excitement is here!

Can you feel the joy and the love?  I’m tickled pink that actor and children’s poet Charles Waters agreed to join our Potluck this year. I’m sure whoever coined the phrase, “life of the party,” must have had him in mind.

I first “met” Charles at one of GottaBook’s 30 Poets/30 Days events. Immediately loved his positivity, sense of humor and offbeat child-centric take on life. He’s a veritable wellspring of creative energy who, interestingly enough, discovered his love for children’s poetry while touring for 3 seasons with Poetry Alive!®.  Performing poetry for kids all over the country inspired him to write his own and eventually develop his one man show, Poetry Time with Uncle Charles.

Charles’s poem and recipe prove that his favorite dish is indeed hot stuff. Sounds like this special chili has helped him write and perform awesome poems and get people of all ages fired up about poetry. Never underestimate the power of a good chipotle!



My friend Isabel’s
Santa Fe Chili
Compels me to act
Downright silly.

My taste buds soar,
I click both heels,
A top confection
Out of all her meals.

Black beans mixed with
Canary rice,
Combined aromas
Made to entice.

Chipotle peppers,
Sour cream,
Like Coltrane’s album

Feel a bit crummy?
Life’s not going well?
Then try Santa Fe Chili
Made by Isabel.

© Charles Waters. All rights reserved.


Charles: Somehow I lucked out and have a friend named Isabel Garcia who cooks for me. She became a vegan a few years ago and cooks the most nourishing, delicious meals you can imagine. Every meal she makes is a favorite of mine, but her Santa Fe Chili rocks my planet. It’s a perfect meal for lunch or dinner; make a side salad, pour yourself a cold beverage and enjoy! By the way, this poem is totally autobiographical because if I’m feeling low (or not) and have this meal, I’m dancing around like Bill Cosby in “The Cosby Show.”

Take that, Jello pudding!

Santa Fe Black Bean Chili

What you’ll need:

2 large stew pots
Medium bowl


-3 cups dried black beans (a 1-lb. bag yields about 2+ cups dried beans — so you’ll need a 2-lb. bag) to produce 9 cups soaked/cooked black beans (or simply use six 15-oz cans, NOT DRAINED)
-1-1/2 inch piece dried brown chipotle (dried jalapeño chiles), soaked in 1/2 cup hot water (use more or less chipotle for desired spiciness)
– 2 teaspoons olive oil
-2 cups diced yellow onion (about 2 onions)
-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
-15-oz can stewed tomatoes, pureed (NOT DRAINED)
-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
-1 tablespoon molasses
-1 aji dulce pepper (any color), seeded, pureed (use more or less for desired spiciness)
-15-oz can crushed tomatoes
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon ground coriander
-1-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon turmeric
-1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
-1 teaspoon veggie base
-2 teaspoons salt
-Pepper to taste


-Cooked brown rice
-Chopped green onions
-Vegan sour cream
-Sliced green or black olives


1. Soak 3 cups of examined, sorted and rinsed black beans in a pot with 9 cups of water for 8 hours, covered.

After the overnight soak, drain the beans and discard the water.

Put the cleaned black beans back in the pot.

Add 9 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the beans, stir gently.

Bring the beans to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer with lid tilted, checking for tenderness after 90 minutes. If required, cook for additional 30 minutes.

Once desired tenderness is reached, remove from heat, keep the lid on and set aside.

1 a. If serving with brown rice, begin cooking it now before you continue with the recipe.

1 b. If using canned black beans, DO NOT DRAIN! In step #8, simply measure 1 cup of canned beans.

In step #9, add 1 cup of water to the pot along with the remaining cans of beans.

2. Heat ½ cup of water (I use a ceramic cup and heat water in the microwave for 30-45 seconds). Cut piece of dried brown chipotle and place it in the hot water to soak. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

3. While the chipotle soaks, mince the garlic and finely dice the onions.

4. Heat oil in a separate large stew pot.

5. Add minced garlic and diced onions to heated oil, stirring often. Turn heat down to allow to soften but not to brown.

6. Meanwhile, puree in a blender, the stewed tomatoes, cilantro, aji dulce and molasses. Pour into the blender the soaked chipotle along with the ½ cup of water in which it has been soaking. Puree until completely smooth with no visible chunks.

7. Pour the blender contents into the pot and stir, mixing the softened onions and garlic well. Raise heat slightly.

8. Measure 1 cup of the cooked black beans into a separate bowl, using a ladle to ensure enough of the black beans liquid is collected. Mash the beans well to create a thick paste and then mix the mashed beans into the pot.

9. Pour the remaining cooked beans (and its liquid) into the pot and stir.

10. Add the remaining ingredients – crushed tomatoes, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, turmeric, fresh lime juice, veggie base and salt and stir well.

11. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

12. After 20 minutes, remove from heat and stir. Cover and set aside for additional 10 minutes.

13. Serve with rice or any combination of optional ingredients.

*Please see more tips and recipes at



Charles Waters has performed professionally in theatres across the country since 1997. He also dedicated 3 years of service to Poetry Alive!, a performance and teaching theatre troupe that reaches an estimated 600,000 students nationwide each year and where he performed in 38 of the 50 states.

His poems will appear in the upcoming anthologies AMAZING PLACES edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY edited by J. Patrick Lewis (Children’s Poet Laureate of the United States), THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK: FOUND POEMS edited by Georgia Heard and AND THE CROWD GOES WILD: A GLOBAL GATHERING OF SPORTS POEMS edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer.

He performs his one man show POETRY TIME WITH UNCLE CHARLES to elementary and middle school audiences.

Please check out his website at and his YouTube channel at


Previously: Menu/Giveaway/Door PrizesApril Pulley SayreMary QuattlebaumHelen FrostLinda AshmanGail Gerwin, Martha Calderaro, Kathi Appelt, Robyn Hood Black.


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.