A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt Guests: Ken Slesarik and His Daughter Catherine

poetry friday buttonThanks to Jone at Check it Out for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon

Hello Friends! We’re back for more collaborations on my series, A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. Just In case you haven’t visited the series before, let me tell you a little about  it. My great nephew, Landon (now an eighth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and 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 sharing poetry and art in beautiful collaborations. 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.

I’m super excited that our first episode this fall (it’s almost fall 🙂 ) will feature return guests. Today it’s my pleasure to share another creative collaboration from . . .

Ken Slesarik and His Daughter Catherine

I love the story behind this collaboration.

From Ken: As far as the collaboration process, Catherine shared her work in progress with me and I looked at the tiny mermaid and thought how brave she must be to venture into the depths of the ocean. About this same time, I was considering changing schools but did not yet have the courage to apply. I had heard about an amazing staff and school that was really making a difference. They are known as the “Trailblazers” and eventually I was hired and I’m smitten with the school and staff that I have met thus far. Vista Peak is a unique school that serves students who may have difficulty in a typical school setting. With the poem, I wanted to capture in as few words as possible what I perceived as an important goal of the Vista staff and that being to produce thoughtful, calm, unfazable, courageous, trailblazing students.

When Catherine and I each completed our part, I was very pleased with the results and feel the art and poem complement each other much like an illustration in a book and it also is our personal “hello” to my new school and sort of celebrates my next venture as a teacher. We hope you enjoy our efforts.

The Collaboration:
Poem by Ken Slesarik
Art by Catherine Slesarik

The Collaborators

Ken and Catherine collaborated in 2016 too. You can view that episode HERE. Also, Ken collaborated with a group of 1st graders in his after school poetry club. You can view that episode HERE.

Many thanks to Ken and Catherine for sharing their talents with us today.


Catherine2Meet Catherine: Catherine Slesarik is an award-winning artist and college student from Arizona. She enjoys sharing her talents with people of all ages. An avid reader and science buff, Catherine plans to incorporate science in her work as a children’s illustrator to inspire girls and women everywhere.


Ken SlesarikMeet Ken: Ken Slesarik is a special education teacher and children’s poet from Phoenix, Arizona. His “Heroes and Poets” assembly program has been well received by teachers, students, parents and administrators. When not teaching or visiting schools Ken writes poetry for children with poems published in several world-wide anthologies and magazines. Ken’s mission is to empower students through the medium of poetry and he is a poetry advocate to children and teachers alike.

30 thoughts on “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt Guests: Ken Slesarik and His Daughter Catherine

  1. Seems as if that staff will welcome this trailblazing poem and art from you, Ken and Catherine. Beautiful sentiment of that lovely mermaid!

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  2. Wow. What a beautiful painting and a perfectly sweet poem. I never would have thought of a mermaid as a trailblazer. Great stuff. Thanks for the post.

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  3. Beautiful artwork. But I love how the poem completely disregards the skull – and focuses on that distant mermaid. A lovely combination! Thank-you both for sharing. And best wishes with the trailblazing!

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