Tiffany Stone’s pants burst with poetry in rectangles of mauve, purple and pale pink.
Each colourful patch tells a tale, just like the heels of her shoes, painted in rainbow hues.
“You can tell I like dressing up,” says Stone, with a grin, her ensemble complete with flowery, fuzzy purple-pink socks and a swish of blue in her bangs.
When she dons the jazzy trousers and psychedelic shoes, she can’t help but chase away the blues.
“I can be really goofy and as long as it has it’s own sense within the nonsense, kids are very accepting of that,” says Stone, an accomplished poet whose just published her third collection of children’s poems with Tradewind Books.
Hard-bound and beautifully illustrated by Stefan Czernecki, Rainbow Shoes is book about colours and clothes – two things that Stone and pre-schoolers adore.
There’s an ode to her purple pants, orange socks, a tale about what pirates where at night and a chance to learn six new words for blue.
“I love playing with words,” says Stone, who fell in love with poetry in grade 6, sparked by her teacher’s love for verse.
The ideas come to her when she’s driving or late at night. She always has a notebook and pen to scribble them down. To make sure the poems have a groovy rhythm, she read them aloud.
Stone completed a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing and playwriting at the University of British Columbia, where she rediscovered writing for kids.
“It’s hard to be a published poet and it’s really, really hard to be a published children’s poet,” she says, explaining how she gained the confidence to pursue a career she loves after one of her poems was published in a children’s anthology while at university.
Her professors – accomplished children’s authors Sue Ann Alderson and Florence McNeil – were an added inspiration.
Stone now works as an editor with Tradewinds and has edited several award-winning publications including The King Has Goat Ears (Tradewind Books), and more recently Roll On: Rick Hansen Wheels Around the World (Greystone).
“It’s such joy to work with others who speak poetry because not a lot of people do,” she says.
In addition to books, she write poetry for children’s magazines and will have a poem in the March 2013 issue of Chirp.
Writing for kids gives her a large canvas and wide scope.
“Kids aren’t as bound by reality as grownups are. Kids are newer to language and they enjoy it more,” says Stone.
“I think we take it for granted as we get older. So you can put in a crazy word and it’s really exciting to them or make things rhyme that you wouldn’t think of.”
And there is an unlimited source of inspiration – from colours and clothes to pirates and naughty animals.
The poems in Rainbow Shoes were written during a family RV trip to the Northwest Territories in the summer of 2010.
“There was a lot of time spent on the road and since my husband, Carman Easton, was driving and the kids were buckled into their seats, this left me a lot of time for thinking up poems.”
Stone’s three children – Emory, 13, Jewell, 9 and Kaslo, 7 – inspire her creativity but are also her harshest critics.
“They are pretty savvy,” says Stone, who tests her rhymes and rhythms on them.
“And they are not kind with mom’s work.”
Rainbow Shoes is available locally at Black Bond Books and online through amazon.ca and Indigo. It will be released in the US and UK spring 2013. To learn more, visit tiffanystone.ca.