Betsy Franco, Children's Book Author/Actor

You Hear Me?
poems and writing by teenage boys
Things I Have to Tell You, poems and writing by teenage girls

Compelling, uncensored poems and essays by teenage boys and girls


He Shaved His Head


He shaved his head to release his imagination.

He did it to get a tattoo on his shiny head.

He did it to lose his normality.

He did it to become a freak.

He did it because he was angry.

He did it to make people angry.

He did it for himself.


--Rene Ruiz"
age 13




New Honesty (excerpt)

Can I find a balance
between me and
the box I call my family?
I want equilibrium.
I want change.
I want to tell the Truth,
not the truth of the woman
who snapped on a collar
and named me alive.
Like a plastic ball,
I toss between myself
and the various identities
I have been assigned.
Look outóI fell in the mud.
Look outóI opened my mouth,
and out came ideas
you donít think are pretty.
I suppose it would be scary
to be a ventriloquist who found out
her dummy can talk,
to find the doll had a brain
and opinions that will bite
when provoked.
I suppose it would be scary
if I opened my coat
and showed you all my secrets.
Would you call me a flasher
and file charges?
Would you gaze blindly
refusing to see the Truth:
Iím sorry to tell you
that Iím not sorry anymore.
I can only run for so long
and so far.
Iím done,
and I'm throwing up my Truth
like a marathon runner
at the end
of a 16-year race.
--Jessie Childress
age 16



ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2001
ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults, 2001
New York Public Library Book for the Teenage
Booklist Top Ten Poetry Books for Young Adults


To purchase call 1-800-788-6262or visit www.booksense.com

Selected Books

1.YA novel
Forthcoming: illustrated by Tom Franco, audio version by James and Dave Franco
2. poetry
"An amazing collection...cover(s) all things cat."
--Booklife
4. teen-written anthology
"The vertigo-inducing realm of romantic love is captured in this unforgettable collection..."
3. Picture book
"Franco's spirited poems...Jenkins' masterful collage work."
--Booklist, starred review
6. picture book
"Celebrate the free concert that birds perform..."
--Publisher's Weekly, starred review
7. picture book
"Word lovers might stand a better chance of becoming math lovers..."
-Horn Book, starred review
8. children's poetry
"the bouncy, humorous poems include an amazing variety of math concepts ...delivered with a light touch"
--Kirkus Review
5. teen-written poetry anthologies
"...honest, raw and sometimes tender selections..."
-School Library Journal