Thanks to Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting Poetry Friday. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.
Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a seventh-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on one Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests. I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.
Today it’s my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .
Betsy Devany and her Grandson, Landon (5 years old)
Before you hear from Betsy I wanted to say that this collaboration touched my heart like none before. It’s sweet and sad and happy all rolled into one which I believe are some of the emotions we feel as we move through grief when we lose someone so very close.
From Betsy: My grandson Landon has been train-obsessed since his Pop Pop introduced him to the world of model trains. Landon wasn’t even one at the time. So when Landon and I talked about this project, it didn’t surprise me when he drew a train, inspiring a poem with lots of fun train sounds.
That wasn’t what Landon wanted.
“I drew this train for Pop Pop and I want the poem to be for Pop Pop, too.”
Landon, who is five, is still grieving Pop Pop. (My husband died on June 1, 2016, five months after being diagnosed with ALS.)
Wanting to write the poem on his own, Landon wasn’t sure where to begin. “Who did you draw the picture for?” I asked. “I drew the train for Pop Pop,” he said. So he started there, asking for my help along the way.
Through this collaborative process I was reminded how art can heal us. It’s how we find our voices after we’ve lost our way. And sometimes art helps a young child express their grief and discover the world is still a safe place. And that there will always be trains and memories of Pop Pop.
by Landon and Betsy (last stanza is Betsy’s)
Landon at work on another drawing.
Landon and Pop Pop.Landon giving Pop Pop an Eskimo kiss.The collaborators: Betsy and Landon.
Many thanks to Betsy and Landon for sharing their talents with us today.
Meet Betsy: Betsy writes for all ages of children, and is the author of Lucy’s Lovey, illustrated by Christopher Denise, and published by Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books. When not writing, she explores the natural world with her camera, entertains her three grandkids, and is honing her Legos and model train skills. She also works part-time at an old-fashioned toy store where she delights in hand-selling children’s books. She has a blog series (#WhosYourLovey) where guests share their childhood lovey stories. Betsy lives near Mystic, CT with her rescue dog, Buddy and her rescue cat, Terrapin. You can connect with Betsy online: