Friday, October 21, 2016


A young artist encourages others to do like she does and make their unique mark with vibrant handprints that tell the world who they really are, for all time.

A young artist puts her handprints everywhere to immortalize her unique self and tell the world who she is and what she likes. She encourages others to do it, too, and use rainbow colors, make bold designs, and leave their own creative mark on the world that tells others all about who they are. Juliana urges us to keep making our handprints, so we’ll have an eternal record that displays how our handprints, and our hearts are almost the same, just a little bigger with time, in a gallery of never-ending ageless art.

Twelve-year-old Juliana Nelsen is an artist who puts her handprints on the walls, thumbprints on the ceiling, and footprints on the floor. She thinks her prints reveal who she is, where she’s been, what she’s done, and what she gives to the world. She also frames a baked red clay sculpture of her handprints to make the statement: “I was here.” She wants to be remembered by people far and near. When someone else looks at her unique handprints, Juliana thinks they can tell she likes rhyme, reason, Mathematics, and Michelangelo, and she enjoys ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate soda floats, symphonies, ballet, and sophisticated quotes, as well as sunrises, blue skies, fields of yellow daisies, dancing, dreaming, and doodling.

Juliana’s parents are artists who work in paint and clay. Her interest in handprints of each shape and tiny size started with her own hands. Now she’s also interested in making other people’s handprints, so when friends and family see them, they will remember who the person is like a silver shooting star. Juliana asks the reader to make a first impression with their hands into clay and write their name at the bottom to claim the prints. Then, everyone will know the person is a masterpiece of fine art, of which there is no clone. The world can know the person’s likes, dislikes, favorites, and yikes.

If a person really wants the world to notice a unique style, they can leave a trail of handprints in the colors of the rainbow. Using fingers, toes, and elbows to leave marks is also a good idea. To make a larger painting, a string of hearts or flowers made from handprints can be entertaining. Handprints can be used to make wings of an angel taking flight, turtles with their shells, butterflies that soar, or the sun in the heavens. They can also be used to make leaves on a tall tree, a fish in the sea, a giraffe that stretches his neck, or a flamingo with feathers. Making a stamp from a handprint, or prints for the squares on a quilt, or a T-shirt design for pajamas are other possibilities. When someone looks at handprints, a larger meaning comes forth, like a picture with a purpose. Handprints are always growing, just like someone’s life story. Juliana says to be proud of handprints in all their wonderful glory. It’s like they are on display in a gallery of never-ending ageless art. When Juliana is 101 years old, she says she will have her handprints from age 12, and she will remember being young. Her framed handprints, like her heart, will almost be the same, just a little bigger with time.

Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters

Piano House: The Story of a Lady Who Lived in a Song

This is the story of a lady who lived in a song.
Wherever she went, she heard music all night long.
The melody was a door to a world of singing.
She always kept the front doorbell ringing.
Then, the windows were each verses of their own;
The staircase, a chorus, as the house had grown.
As the lady reached the second floor and the attic,
The roof became a high point, not-at-all static.
With the highest note in the song, the roof blew off!
Off its hinges! Off its screws! Now, please don’t scoff.
By the time the song ended, the lady curled up in bed,
Dreaming of a new lyric that drifted through her head.
She slept under her grand piano in the living room,
And she could see her rose garden always in bloom.
She never ever wanted to move from her Piano House.
It was black and white and matched her latest blouse.
So, before you decide to live in a simple, brick home,
You might want to consider a Piano House with chrome.
There’s never a moment without music in the day!
The lady in the story would have it no other way.

Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters

Glass Armonica: The Story of Ben Franklin's Musical Invention

Galileo was first to notice:
Wet your finger on a wine glass
And a note rings ‘round the world
With extra sparkle and class!
Tuned glasses play a song,
Like a guitar with strings,
But the glass itself vibrates
And makes a note that rings.
Now, Ben Franklin was a musician,
And he wrote a string quartet.
Of course, he had other inventions,
But people oftentimes forget
His creation, the glass armonica.
It is special, and it is brilliant,
But not a regular harmonica.
No, it is more resilient.
At first called the glassychord,
No more wineglasses to play.
Bowls mounted on iron spindle
With wet fingers make hay!
Colorful rims according to pitch
And fingers covered in chalk!
Today, it seems so old-fashioned,
But I don’t want you to balk.
The glass must speak itself
Without a muffled sound.
Adding a keyboard to the rims
Helped everything all-around.
Violin bows improved the mood
Of romantic music from the glass.
Great composers used the technique!
It had such uniqueness and sass.
Mozart and Beethoven used
The brilliant music maker.
Musicians composed a tune
As a very special caretaker.
The bowl organ caused notes
That came from friction.
It was quite unlike the piano
Which used more restriction.
So musicians of this century,
Discover a Franklin named Ben.
He was a scientist and a musician
Who might make you sing: “Amen!”

Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters

Monday, October 10, 2016


Like the professor who bought a monkey with a tuba for a nickel, sometimes you get more than you bargained for, but if you think creatively, you can often find more than one good solution to a problem.

A professor buys a circus monkey for a nickel, thinking he’ll inspire his English students. But the monkey comes with a tuba, which he sleeps with, and snores into, sending out a long loud monotone that disturbs the neighbors and even brings the fire truck. Finding they can’t return the monkey, the professor has a great idea. Monotone the monkey can sleep at the fire station with a mute in his tuba and help keep the fire truck polished; in the daytime he’ll help the professor in his classes. Everybody wins, except now and then when the mute falls out of Monotone’s tuba. 

Old Professor Tumnus bought Monotone the monkey at the Grantville Circus from a retiring organ grinder for a nickel, thinking the monkey will be inspiration for his English students. The organ grinder warns him the monkey plays the tuba. He packs up Monotone’s things, hands the professor the tuba, and tells him the monkey can’t sleep without his tuba, and bananas are his favorite fruit. On the way home the monkey sits on the professor’s shoulders, laughing and pinching his ears for fun. The professor tells the monkey he can sleep on the couch for now and gathers pillows and a blanket, placing the tuba on the floor. Monotone curls his tail around his fingers and jumps on the couch. The professor heads upstairs, yawning.

As the monkey cuddles his tuba like a teddy bear, he falls fast asleep and blows right into the tuba’s mouthpiece—one very long monotone note that carries out into the neighborhood. Half-asleep, the professor runs down the stairs and grabs the tuba from the monkey. Monotone sits straight up and bounces on the professor’s shoulders, grabbing the tuba. He assumes his original position on the couch with the tuba. The professor tries to feed the monkey a banana, but he puts the tuba right back and snores with one long note. The professor hears banging on his front door and finds a crowd gathering on his porch, including George Parker wearing earmuffs and Bettie Jane Brown with her hair in curlers. She called the fire department, thinking the professor’s fire alarm was going off. A red fire truck with the siren blazing pulls up. The firemen jump from the truck with their hoses and run through the front door spraying water. The fire chief sprays Monotone with the fire hose until he stops playing the tuba. Monotone shakes the water from himself, giggling, and jumps on the shoulders of the fire chief.

Professor Tumnus and the neighbors march down to the circus tent to find that the organ grinder has gone. When they return to Monotone, he sits on the firemen’s truck. The professor suggests the fire department adopt Monotone for overnights, and the monkey can help him with his students during the days. Professor Tumnus grows banana trees like bonkers in his backyard and in every room of the house. Monotone has a night job with the fire department and sleeps in the fire truck with a mute in his tuba. He loves to wash the fire truck and polishes the fire pole by sliding up and down it. Monotone even befriends Spots, the old Dalmatian. He also becomes known as the best literature assistant in academia. And no one misses a wink of sleep in Grantville, except when the mute falls off the tuba.

Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Beanstalk: The Story of Castles in the Sky

Jack once went up the Beanstalk
To find a castle in the sky.
From magic beans at the market,
The Beanstalk grew so high.
He traded his cow for the beans,
And his mother was distraught.
She thought he lost his mind,
After all the good she taught.
But Jack and his mom were poor,
And they needed a dime or two.
The Giant up the Beanstalk
Had a certain point of view.
He had a bag of golden coins
That Jack decided to steal.
He wanted to give his mom
An extra special meal.
A goose that laid a golden egg
And a harp that played by itself
Were other nifty treasures
That Jack acquired for his shelf.
When the Giant chased Jack
Down the Beanstalk in might,
Jack cut the creature down
And put an end to the fight.
The Giant fell to his death.
Jack and his mom were pleased.
Now Jack was never poor.
His mom would not be teased.
The downfall of the Giant
From his castle might be small,
But the Beanstalk wasn’t forgotten,
It held a mansion after all.
I wonder if I had magic beans,
If a tall Beanstalk would grow.
What I might find at the top,
You just never ever know!
Maybe I’ll meet Jack,
And he saved a magic bean.
Things down here on Earth
Are getting kind of lean.
A world could await above,
But maybe not what it seems.
What if meadows cover the horizon?
Like a cloud of lovely dreams.
One day, I’ll have a mansion
Up in the bluest atmosphere.
Until then I must be wise
With a sincere heart of cheer!
I don’t want a Giant to chase me
‘Cause he might grab me good!
He could eat me up for lunch.
Oh, yes, oh, yes, he could!
One day, I’ll climb the Beanstalk
Up to the heavens above.
Instead, I’ll send down magic
And every kind of love,
And I’ll give some to Jack,
And even the Giant troll,
Who might still be alive,
But he never told a soul.
Oh, I’ll brave the Beanstalk!
Yes, who knows what I’ll find?
Whatever awaits me up there  
Is like nothing from humankind.

Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters