EASTHAMPTON — Janice Beetle of Janice Beetle Books will launch a 20-day series of free podcasts for children and families on her website, janicebeetlebooks.com, starting June 22.
Called Poem Pods, the homegrown broadcasts are narrated by Beetle and her feisty 11-year-old grandson Eli.
A blog that will post on June 22 will offer a complete Poem Pod schedule, outlining posting dates, the names of interviewees, conversation topics, and that day’s activities. The pods themselves will begin on June 23 and post daily through July 12.
“As Eli and I say in our homegrown broadcasts, Poem Pods are fun poems and fun stories for fun people,” Beetle said. “My hope is that they give children encouragement, entertainment, and inspiration to get them thinking creatively as a summer without camps and public swimming pools begins.”
Poem Pods are theme-based and explore concepts like family, friendship, inspiration, vulnerability, fears, and asking for help. When the day’s poem is about family, for instance, Beetle and her grandson discuss the importance of family, and they interview a family.
At the start of each segment, Beetle and Eli talk about Beetle’s writing inspirations and education, starting when she was 6 years old and her grandmother gave her a notebook.
The poems, written by Beetle years ago for her two daughters, are short and silly and cover topics from dogs and cats to family, raindrops, love, and friendship. They follow the introductory conversation and are in the middle of the podcast — “much like a pea is in the center of a pea pod,” she said.
After the day’s poems are read, Beetle and her grandson have lively and interesting conversations on that day’s theme and offer children an activity. In 11 of the pods, they bring on a guest, and Eli conducts an interview that extends the discussion.
The interviews also offer a closer look at the inspirations of others, along with an education into what it’s like to be a writer, a medical professional, or an air-traffic controller, for instance.
Along with each audio post, each episode will also feature a written transcript in the blog feed for those who would rather read than listen. Or, some could choose to listen while reading along.
To receive an e-mail when the Poem Pod schedule posts, and to receive each day’s new Poem Pod post, sign up for the blog at janicebeetlebooks.com.