Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Because Good Manners Can Change the World

When CharlesWaters and I created the words for CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship, we had no idea that we would eventually collaborate on other books as well. Next up, an ambitious middle grade difficult-to-categorize book: DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD: Poems, Quotes and Anecdotes from A to Z coming February 4, 2020, from Lerner, with illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini. The heart of this book is a list of words – like ally, compassion, empathy, zest – that we think can help us all make improvements to ourselves and to our spaces.
What Charles and I discovered, and what kept coming back to us while we wrote and revised this book, was how the most basic thing anyone can do to improve the world is to use good manners. Be polite, respectful. Say thank you. It's that simple.
One of the entries in our DICTIONARY is “Netiquette,” because where else in the world do we see people of all ages NOT using good manners? Where do things so easily go terribly wrong? Yep, on ye ol' internet.

We are so excited to deliver this book to the world... and wow, wait until you see the art... A-MA-ZING! For those of you who will be at NCTE, Lerner will be offering free copies, and we will be signing... hope to see you there!
Irene Latham lives on a lake in rural Alabama where she tries to live her poem each and every day. She is the author of a wide variety of books for kids, including fiction and nonfiction picture books, poetry and novels. 


  1. I can't wait to see you and this new book at NCTE. Do you need a roommate?

  2. Is this the same NCTE that will be held on 9-21 here in Tabernacle NJ? Will I get to meet you in person?

  3. O, what an excellent book! I can wait to read this book!