Robert Hoyman is a graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa. His journey as a classroom teacher spanned 41 years teaching in private and public schools in Florida, California, and Virginia. Limerick Comics is his debut book. He is a member of SCBWI.
Born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, Robert grew up on the Space Coast of Florida. During his childhood, he was a witness to a host of historic launches from the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. He and wife Robin have two grown sons and share their home in Melbourne, Florida with a precious pug named Gus.
SIX MINUTES WITH ROBERT HOYMAN:
Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author is Robert Hoyman, author of the award-winning book Limerick Comics, an educational and entertaining book filled with poetry, science, and social studies.
If you’re a teacher or librarian, the start of a new school year is the perfect time to pick up a copy of Limerick Comics.
“It’d be great for teachers to share in class when they introduce students to limericks for the first time. I think blending comics with limericks helps motivate kids to take an interest in poetry and shows how reading or writing our own poems doesn’t have to feel scary.” -LitPick Student Book Reviewer
Limerick Comics has received the LitPick Five-Star Book Review Award and the LitPick Top Choice Book Review Award.
***How did you get started writing?
My writing evolved from my background as an elementary classroom teacher. During my 41 years of teaching, I read aloud to my students each day from a variety of genres. An extensive list of books that the students favored quickly emerged. As a writing teacher, I was responsible for preparing 4th and 5th-grade students to take state-mandated tests. I began writing out of necessity putting forth model essays in narrative and expository writing for my students. Modeling reading and writing for the students was essential.
The idea for creating Limerick Comics was born of necessity. In the early 90s, I brought from home a book that my own two sons found particularly entertaining. It was A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear, the superb form of limericks that he popularized. As expected, my students were delighted by the humor and downright silliness. When the book was completed and we had run out of limericks, the kids pleaded for more.
Eager to advance their enthusiasm for learning, I headed for the public library and local bookstore. Surprisingly, I could find no books featuring limericks for children. At the time, in my experience, it appeared that the genre was underrepresented. As a result, I began writing my own. But my personal interest was to write about meaningful topics we encountered along the way in Science and Social Studies. The students enjoyed supplying the illustrations.
In the succeeding years, I routinely shared my limericks with my students. In school districts from California to Florida, the reaction was consistent. The students were enchanted by the humor, captivating stories, and goofy illustrations. It became clear that upon retirement I would polish my old limericks, write new ones, provide a fascinating accompaniment of fun facts to inspire discourse between teachers or parents and kids, and find a brilliant illustrator to create evocative comics. The result was my debut book Limerick Comics.
***Who influenced you?
Initially, I was influenced by my students to model narrative and expository writing. I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the process, so I began saving my writing along with other random story ideas. However, the strongest influence and inspiration for Limerick Comics was certainly Edward Lear. He was masterful and known as the quintessential creator of limericks.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
In children's literature, my favorite authors wrote books that were the most fun to read aloud with my middle-grade students. I loved starting the academic day sharing a humorous poem by Shel Silverstein. Kate DiCamillo and Louis Sachar also provided many favorite books. My all-time favorite was the character Bradley Chalkers, the lovable eccentric problem child from There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
My advice for future authors is to write about what you like. The ideas will come from a place of honesty and authenticity. If you feel good about your offerings, so will many others because we all share common needs and interests. Keep an idea box or drawer. Write down your ideas as they occur, no matter how trivial or insignificant they may seem. When revisited later, you may be surprised to find ones that may result in a springboard for greater development later.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
My favorite place to write is my home office. Occasionally, I take an idea I'm working on outdoors to a quiet bench by the Indian River. When I was writing Limerick Comics, I'd work for days pondering just a couple of lines of a limerick because of the challenges presented by the limitations of word choice, story clarity, accent, rhyme, and anapest meter. Since I try to swim each day at our community pool, several times, I finally figured out the right lines for a given limerick while swimming at the pool. Consequently, I had to jump on my bike and frantically pedal home to write them down before they were forgotten!
***What else would you like to tell us?
Finally, each page in Limerick Comics introduces a new topic of history and science. The book has endless cross-curricular applications. I worked with an experienced curriculum designer to provide instructional lesson plans to augment the use of each topic. Each lesson plan offers high interest, engaging activities aligned with Common Core Standards in grades 3-5. The lessons highlight the fun literary style of limericks to spark interest in reading, writing, science, and social studies content. Additionally, the lessons provide connections to art, games, and music to extend and excite student learning. The plans provide a valuable resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and home-school parent-teachers. The instructional lesson plans are available with the book at www.limerickcomics.com. Also, check out illustrator Steve Feldman's portfolio at www.stevefeldman.com
Robert, thank you for joining us for an author interview. Your experience as a teacher is the perfect springboard into becoming an author who writes valuable books for teachers to use and students to enjoy. We can’t wait to hear about what you’re working on next.