lee wardlaw’s pawsome catku

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

Lee with Mai Tai, the shelter cat who inspired her award-winning picture book.


Please help me welcome the purrr-fect  guest to top off our Poetry Potluck: Lee Wardlaw, winner of the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Henry Holt, 2011)!!


*cheers, wild applause, Scharffen Berger 70% bittersweet chocolate for everyone*

Lee’s favorite!
Lee (age 6) with her first kitty, Pit-a-Pat.

We’re thrilled to congratulate Lee on receiving this prestigious award, the most recent in a steady stream of honors and flat out love for this touching story of an adopted shelter cat (2011 NYPL Best Books of the Year (Poetry), 2012 CCBC Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2012 ALSC Notable Children’s Books, 2011 SLJ and Washington Post Best Books of the Year, 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion (Children’s Books), 2012 Bank Street Best Books of the Year (Star for Outstanding Merit), and more). Totally pawsome!

You probably know that Won Ton is written in a series of senryu, which are similar in form to haiku, but focus on human (or in this case, feline) foibles. Lee’s “petku”capture the very essence of catness: regal, in-the-moment, independent yet loving. Seems that Lee, a card-carrying cat lover since childhood, was always fated to pen this yowly gem. I’m sure Mai Tai wouldn’t have had it any other way, and I’m happy to report a Won Ton sequel is in the works! ☺

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