Micklos, John, Jr. 1956-
Micklos, John, Jr. 1956-
(John J. Micklos, Jr.)
Born March 15, 1956, in Wilmington, DE; son of John J. (an engineer) and Shirley (a teacher; maiden name, Sipple) Micklos; married Deborah J. Amsden (an education consultant), June 1, 1985; children: Amy Lynn, John J. Micklos III. Education: Ohio University, B.A. (journalism), 1978. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, writing, golf.
Home—14 Eileen Dr., Newark, DE 19711. Office—International Reading Association, 800 Barksdale Rd., Newark, DE 19711. E-mail—[email protected].
Writer, editor, and lecturer. International Reading Association, Newark, DE, staff writer, 1978-84, editor-in-chief of Reading Today, 1984—. Writer-in-residence, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Newark, 2001. Member of Delaware Governor's Task Force on School Libraries, 2001-04, and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Project library selection committee, 2002—; judge of Letters about Literature Contest, beginning 2001.
Association of Educational Publishers (board member, 1993-98; president, 1998-2000), Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, National Writers Association, Education Writers Association.
Awards from Association of Educational Publishers, Association Trends, APEX, and Society of National Association Publications, all for Reading Today magazine.
Leonard Nimoy: A Star's Trek, Dillon Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1988.
(Compiler and contributor) Daddy Poems, illustrated by Robert Casilla, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2000.
(Compiler and contributor) Mommy Poems, illustrated by Lori McElrath-Eslick, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2001.
(Compiler and contributor) Grandparent Poems, illustrated by Layne Johnson, Wordsong (Honesdale, PA), 2004.
No Boys Allowed: Poems about Brothers and Sisters, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2006.
Unsolved: What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?, Enslow Publishers (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including Modern Bride, Cobblestone, Elks, Delaware Today, Reading Teacher, Education Digest, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Real Estate Today, and Wilmington News Journal.
Work in Progress
Family Ties: Poems about Families; a juvenile biography about Jerry Spinelli, for Enslow, forthcoming 2007; a series of elementary-level books about the American Revolution, for Enslow, forthcoming 2008.
Journalist John Micklos, Jr. shares his wide-ranging interests with young readers in books that include the poetry collections Daddy Poems, Grandparent Poems,Mommy Poems, and No Boys Allowed: Poems about Brothers and Sisters, in which poets such as Nikki Grimes, Eileen Spinelli, Arnold Adoff, Gary Sotto, and Mary Ann Hoberman recount the ups and downs of close relationships. In addition to editing these collections— as well as contributing a few poems of his own—Micklos has profiled actor Leonard Nimoy in the biography Leonard Nimoy: A Star's Trek and has produced biographies of inventor Alexander Graham Bell and aviatrix Amelia Earhart.
Daddy Poems, containing twenty-two illustrated verses by a variety of writers, showcases the relationship between father and child, while Mommy Poems treats the mother-child bond in the same fashion in its eighteen poems. Each title includes works by contemporary children's poets, and styles range from free verse to rhymed and metered works. Reviewing Daddy Poems, Booklist contributor Tim Arnold called the work a "welcome anthology" in which "dads will be reminded of the fundamental importance of their role." Despite remarking on the "uneven" quality of the poems collected in the companion volume, Booklist reviewer Stephanie Zvirin nonetheless wrote that some of the entries in Mommy Poems "are quite lovely, and all of the poems speak about moms in ways that sound familiar." Lauralyn Persson, writing in School Library Journal, judged some of the selections in Micklos's second collection to be "memorable, like Gary Soto's ‘Ode to Family Photographs.’"
Perhaps not surprisingly, Micklos's Daddy Poems and Mommy Poems have actually grown to include an extended family of their own. Grandparent Poems was praised by School Library Journal contributor Sally R. Dow as an "appealing" anthology that reveals the "cherished memories and … shared activities" binding each poet and his or her grandparent. Another related collection, No Boys Allowed, contains two dozen poems that explore the sometimes-complex relationships between siblings. Dubbing the work "appealing," Donna Cardon wrote in the same periodical that Micklos's collection draws from a range of forms, including "rhyming, free verse, and concrete," and added that the watercolor illustrations by Kathleen O'Malley are "well-executed" and "sweetly rendered."
Although best known for his role as the enigmatic Mr. Spock in the popular Star Trek television series and movies, Leonard Nimoy acted in and directed a number of feature films and made-for-television movies, has appeared in Broadway stage productions, and is also an artist. According to a Booklist reviewer, in Leonard Nimoy Micklos gives readers an "easily read introduction" to Nimoy's life and work, while School Library Journal, contributor Deirdre R. Murray complimented his "well-rounded … biography of a popular actor." Moving several generations further into the past, Micklos studies the inventor of the telephone, describing Bell's life against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution and U.S. society's shifting demographics. In Alexander Graham Bell Micklos is able to "convey a sense of what the man was like" through the use of a timeline, period photographs, and even a short interview with modern technology whiz Bill Gates.
Describing his career as a writer, Micklos told SATA: "My longtime employment with the International Reading Association has exposed me to lots of great children's literature and given me the opportunity to hear and meet many top children's authors. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I, too, wanted to write children's books, but it took me a while to find my special niche.
"I have always believed in the importance of fathers reading to their children—a belief that deepened upon the birth of my own two children. That was the genesis for Daddy Poems. My goal was to create a book of poems about dads and kids that fathers could share with their children. Fortunately, Boyds Mills Press saw the potential in the book and allowed a yet-unpublished poet to develop and contribute poems to a picture-book anthology on this topic. Furthermore, they then encouraged me to develop more family-related anthologies; by 2008 there will be five in all: Daddy Poems, Mommy Poems, Grandparent Poems, No Boys Allowed, and Family Ties: Poems about Families.
"Along with an interest in poetry, I have also had a longstanding interest in writing nonfiction, especially biographies and books about historical topics. I've re- cently had the opportunity to explore this area, doing juvenile biographies on Alexander Graham Bell, Amelia Earhart, and Jerry Spinelli. I enjoy doing the research involved in such projects, distilling a mountain of information in search of facts, anecdotes, and quotes that provide young readers with interesting, accurate, and readable insights into a person or historical event.
"I enjoy both the writing and editing processes. I like going through several drafts of a project in the elusive search for perfection. I also enjoy working with students in schools, helping them develop their own voices and helping them realize that writing can be fun."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, July, 1988, review of Leonard Nimoy: A Star's Trek, p. 1840; August, 2000, Tim Arnold, review of Daddy Poems, p. 2132; March 15, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Mommy Poems, p. 1395.
Childhood Education, winter, 2000, Jeanie Burnett, review of Daddy Poems, p. 107.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2006, review of Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor of the Telephone, p. 187.
Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, June 15, 2000, Linda DuVal, review of Daddy Poems, p. K200.
Publishers Weekly, January 15, 2001, review of Rhyme Time, p. 78.
School Library Journal, October, 1988, Deirdre R. Murray, review of Leonard Nimoy, p. 157; October, 2000, Nina Lindsay, review of Daddy Poems, p. 150; June, 2001, Lauralyn Persson, review of Mommy Poems, p. 139; March, 2004, Sally R. Dow, review of Grandparent Poems, p. 197; May, 2006, Donna Cardon, review of No Boys Allowed: Poems about Brothers and Sisters, p. 115.
Boyds Mills Press Web site,http://www.boydsmillspress.com/ (October 3, 2006), "John Micklos, Jr."
John Micklos, Jr. Home Page,http://www.johnmicklos.com (October 3, 2006).