Monthly Archives: October 2014

Clair de Lune Pique-nique Tune Poem by Vlatka Herzberg

CrescentMoonLikePaintingYoung Chloe hopped and skipped behind her mère.

“Salut, grand-mère Lune! Ca va?” she yelled.

“Shh!” whispered her mère, “Grand-mère Lune is sleeping.

You’ll wake her. Speak softly.”

“Excusez-moi?” whispered young Chloe.

CrescentMoonSunrise“Oui, mon chéri. Just so,” said her mère.

Chloe walked more quietly,

telling her feet to be silent, “Shh, se taire.”

Mère and Chloe tiptoed through the grass to just the right spot.

Mère spread out a blanket with moons and stars.

crescentmoonpixilated“Fantastique!” admired Chloe.

Mère set the picnic basket on top of it.

Chloe wanted to open it, “Bon! S’il vous plaît ?”

“Oui, mon chéri, you may have a bite,” nodded mère.

Chloe’s eyes were as big as la Luna.

crescentmoonshadows2She pulled out the moon cookies first,

and took a bite, “C’est délicieux!”

Chloe pulled out the moon pizza next.

It was big and round and as white as the moon,

with lots of cheesy-white hair.

crescentmoontrees“Un ange,” observed Chloe.

“Oui, mon chéri,

Grand-mère Lune is an angel,” mère agreed.

“Just like you!”

“J’ai faim,” said Chloe, rubbing her belly.

Mère looked up at Grand-mère Lune, waiting for a sign,

crescentmoontreesred“When is the right Clair de Lune pique-nique time?”

“Bon!” The coyotes deep in the forest howled.

The frogs croaked, the crickets chirped,

and a shooting star shot by la Luna’s face.

“Voir la lune!” Chloe pointed at grand-mère Lune.

Mère laughed, “She’s winking! Voila, a sign!”

Coyotes howling, frogs croaking, crickets chirping,

and a wink from grand-mère Lune.

crescentbigger“Voici the right time for the Clair de Lune Pique-nique tune!”

“Merci!” sang Chloe.

She and mère dined to their heart’s content,

under the silvery light of grand-mère Lune.

Bon appétit! And that’s the end of the Story.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Photos by Vlatka Herzberg


Abuela and the Rock Child Audio Sample

mother_and_rockchildThe story of Abuela and the Rock Child was actually inspired by a song and true story about a father and his two young daughters who did a remake of a popular song to raise awareness about the plight of not being able to bring their Mexican Mother/Grandmother into the U.S. I was struck by the love of the son and his daughters for their Mother and Grandmother and by the pain of separation. The song the children sang for their Grandmother was very touching. I couldn’t get their story out of my mind while I was working on writing the series of stories for Grandmother Moon and Other Mother Stories, so I decided to just write and see what story found me.

It was also a beautiful sunny day and my writing studio looks out onto a hillside with a garden and trees. Broccoli and collards had flowered and attracted bees and butterflies. Bluejay chattered, and the hummingbird whirred its wings as it peered at me through the window. The potpourri of colors, sounds, and images stirred my imagination and out of it all I wrote Abuela and the Rock Child.

The illustration is by my daughter, Natasha Tasiyana. Three of the four illustrations for book one and the cover illustration are by Natasha. I’m thrilled to have her participate. I have been making up stories for my daughter since she was a little girl, so to have her create drawings for my stories now is especially delightful.

I love the sounds of the wind and the birds that Becky added to the audio story. It immediately transported me into Abuela’s garden. I hope you will be transported their too. Have a listen.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Becky Parker Geist:

Illustration by Natasha Tasiyana Kolida:



Grandmother Moon’s Blanket by Vlatka Herzberg

LunarEclipse2Chester was almost in kindergarten and a big boy. He loved everything loud: loud music, loud talking, and loud playing. If it was loud, Chester loved it. Chester also loved to stay busy, from the moment he woke up to the moment he reluctantly went to bed, he was busy. Chester was busy stacking blocks and knocking them down with his trucks. He was busy building railroad tracks and tiny, faerie houses. Chester was busy reading books and playing monster tag with the older kids in the neighborhood. Chester loved being loud and busy so much that when his Mother told him it was quiet time and time for a nap, Chester hid. He hid behind the pile of storage boxes in the garage. Mother had to go to work, so Grandmother, the babysitter had to find Chester.

“Ready or not here I come!” Chester heard Grandma’s voice and came running out to greet her. He gave her a great, big hug:

“Hi Nana! Want to play?”

“How about we read a story in your room with the lights out?” suggested Grandma.

Chester frowned. Grandma’s voice lifted with excitement. “You’ll want to be rested so you can get up early for a special surprise.”

“Surprise?” asked Chester. He was eager to find out what it was. Grandma smiled her big, warm smile.

“Yes. We are going to get up very early to watch a lunar eclipse. Your Mother will be with us too.”

“What’s a lunar lip?”

“Lunar eclipse. When the moon passes through the earth’s shadow. Do you want me to read you a story about it?” Chester nodded. Grandma started to read. Usually the rhythm of her voice lulled Chester to sleep, but not today. Chester was too excited to sleep.

“Let’s make some moon cookies, quietly,” suggested Grandma. Chester was happy with that, as long as he didn’t have to nap. By the time Mother came home after dinner, Chester was yawning and ready for bed. He made Grandma promise that she would wake him early so he could see the lunar eclipse. She promised.

Grandma didn’t have to wake up Chester. He woke up right at 4:30am, like he had a built-in alarm clock. He bumped into Grandma in the hallway. She was on her way to wake him.

“Surprise!” he shouted. “Shh!” whispered Grandma. Mother yawned as she met them in the hallway. Dad was still sleeping, so the three of them had to tiptoe outside. Behind their house was a small hill. Chester, Mother and Grandma walked halfway to the top. Grandma spread out a blanket and the three of them sat down. It was very exciting for Chester because it was still dark out. He could see the stars,

“Look! The Big Dipper!” He knew the Big Dipper because it was in his star book. “Look!” “There’s the Moon! It’s wearing a blanket!” shouted Chester.

Mother and Grandmother both said: “Shh!” and smiled. Grandma poured hot chocolate out of a thermos and the three of them huddled together under a big, comfy blanket.

“Tell a story Grandma,” insisted Chester.

“Once upon a time Moon was young.” began Grandma.

“Is she young now Grandma?” asked Chester.

“Oh no, she is a Grandmother like me. Once she was but a young moon, and she loved more than anything to shine brightly.”

“Like the top of her is right now?” asked Chester.

“Yes. The trouble is she wanted to shine, shine, shine all the time.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Chester wanted to know.

“Well, you see, the moon needs to rest just like children otherwise she gets very tired.” Chester frowned. Grandmother continued:

LunarEclipse“Now Moon had a Mother, and that Mother knew that Moon needed to shine some of the time, and rest some of the time, so she came up with a plan. Moon’s Mother asked the earth to throw a blanket over Moon when she wasn’t looking. The earth agreed. So one night when Moon was shining especially bright, the earth moved in front of her and threw a blanket on top of her.

“Like the one she has right now?” asked Chester as he stared at Moon half covered by a shadowy blanket.

“Yes, like the one she has now. No sooner had the blanket covered her, then Moon began to get verrry sleepy. She yawned a big yawn. Her Mother sang her a song, and Moon’s great big eyes began to droop, she pulled the blanket right over her head and fell fast asleep. And that is how Moon learned that sometimes you need to rest so you have energy to shine brightly.”

Chester didn’t hear Grandma’s last words, “Goodnight Grandmother Moon,” because he was busy dreaming of moons and blankets while curled up in his Mother’s arms.

The very next day Chester was playing with his toy dog, and frog. Frog wanted to play jump frog but Dog wanted to nap, so Chester told them the story of Grandmother Moon’s Blanket. He snuggled next to them, and pulled the blanket right over their heads, just like Grandmother Moon they were soon fast asleep.

And that’s the end of the Story.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Photo: Copyright © 2014, Theodore Herzberg

Grandmother Moon and the Homeless Child Audio Clip

GrandmotherMoonfinishedcoverWhen I first wrote Grandmother Moon and the Homeless Child I wrote it for this blog. An author friend suggested I start a blog with free short stories  for families. At the time I didn’t consider that it could eventually be on an audio book.

Working with an audio book actor and producer for me is very similar to writing commercials in radio. When writing radio commercials I often had a particular announcer in mind, and character voices as well as sound effects and music, so I would add all of that information to the instructions on the script.

When you are writing a story that you know is going to be an audio book it is helpful to give the actor/producer instructions, but they also have their own knowledge and expertise that brings a story to life. Such is the case with Becky Parker Geist’s talent. I am very pleased with the way that Grandmother Moon and the Homeless Child turned out. Have a listen:

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Becky Parker Geist:

Illustration by Natasha Tasiyana Kolida:

Design by Andy Parker: