Friday, June 21, 2019

Coretta Scott King Award & Honor POETRY BOOKS

As you may know, this is the year we celebrate FIFTY YEARS of the Coretta Scott King Award, given annually to "outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values." In addition, the award "commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood." (You can find our more about this important award at the CSK Blog here.) We'll be celebrating all weekend long at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Washington DC-- at a gala, the annual breakfast, and at multiple sessions. 

I follow this award closely because it showcases new and favorite names of creators of books I admire and enjoy. BUT, I especially love this award because it consistently honors quite a lot of poetry for young people, too. I'm sure the award committee members are not necessarily singling out poetry for the award, but that's how it often turns out. What does that say? Does the African American community have a big heart for poetry? YES! Do African American writers have a gift for writing poetry? YES! Should we all be grateful for their contributions and leadership in giving young audiences more and more wonderful, powerful poetry on a regular basis? YES! YES! YES! 

So, I thought it might be meaningful to pause and highlight the poetry selections from the last fifty years of CSK awards here. There are 35 books of poetry to note! (As a point of comparison, only 14 books of poetry have been recognized in 100 years of the Newbery award (including honor books). And this amazing CSK selection of poetry includes anthologies, single poet collections, picture book collections, novels in verse, biographies in verse, and more. And look at the names!  Jacqueline Woodson, Marilyn Nelson, Nikki Grimes, Eloise Greenfield, Joyce Carol Thomas, Angela Johnson, Lucille Clifton, and others-- each winning multiple CSK awards, as well as Newbery, Printz and other awards and honors, too. It's a "who's who" of poetry and during the last 20 years, in particular, we're seeing poetry garner more and more awards. Happy dance!  So, without further ado, here is the list of works of poetry that have earned the Coretta Scott King Author Award or Author Honor recognition. Do yourself a favor, and please keep the Coretta Scott King Award on your radar in the future, particularly if you seek out quality poetry for young people. You won't be disappointed. 

Coretta Scott King Author Award and Honor Books of POETRY
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds 
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan illustrated and written by Ashley Bryan
brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson 
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson
Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes
Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America by Andrea Davis Pinkney 
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
The Great Migration: Journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield
Never Forgotten by Patricia C. McKissack
Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith
The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas
Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford
Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali by Charles R. Smith
Dark Sons by Nikki Grimes
A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem by Marilyn Nelson
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes 
Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes
Jazmin’s Notebook  by Nikki Grimes
The Other Side: Shorter Poems by Angela Johnson
Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea by Joyce Carol Thomas
Night on Neighborhood Street by Eloise Greenfield
When I Am Old with You by Angela Johnson
Nathaniel Talking by Eloise Greenfield
Everett Anderson’s Goodbye by Lucille Clifton 
Don’t Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday by Alexis De Veaux
Africa Dream by Eloise Greenfield
Everett Anderson's Friend by Lucille Clifton
I Am a Black Woman by Mari Evans
Every Man Heart Lay Down by Lorenz Graham
The Voice of the Children by June Jordan and Terri Bush

For more Poetry Friday adventures, go to A Word Edgewise where Linda is hosting this week. 


Thursday, June 06, 2019

Wichita Falls Workshop

Janet (Wong) and I ended the school year with an all-day workshop for the teachers of Region 9 in collaboration with Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. All the teachers had finished the school year with their students, so I expected them to be exhausted and ready to rest. But we had a wonderful audience of enthusiastic and articulate teachers who were fully engaged! And we covered a wide range of topics:

Session 1: Creating a Positive School Culture with Poetry
Successful educators build regular “touch points” into their routines to create a safe and engaging learning environment. Poetry can be a powerful tool for offering a shared literary experience in just a few minutes, providing both curricular benefits and emotional connections.

Session 2: Poetry, TEKS, and Take 5!
The Take 5! approach featured in The Poetry Friday Anthology series allows teachers to share poetry—as well as connections to the TEKS and the details and patterns specific to poetry—in simple and meaningful ways. Step-by-step instructions and a wide variety of examples across grade levels will give teachers confidence in using these mini-lessons right away.

Session 3: Building Basic Language Skills with Poetry 
The Poetry Friday Power Book series provides easy-to-implement mini-lessons in prewriting, writing, and basic language skills such as spelling and punctuation. We’ll demonstrate creative strategies to engage students in reading and writing poetry while integrating these basic skills.

Session 4: Poetry Across the Curriculum
We will show how infusing poetry across the curriculum can serve to jump-start or introduce a topic, present examples of terminology or concepts, provide closure that is concept-rich, or extend a topic further. The brevity of poetry is less intimidating to children who may be overwhelmed by streams of new vocabulary, especially students acquiring English as a new language. 

Session 5: Thinking Deeply with Poetry Collage

Taking the time to “unpack” a poem, think about it deeply, and represent it visually is a way to integrate reading and thinking, and develop skills AND creativity. In this final session, we’ll engage in a collage activity that helps students think visually, expand their imaginations, and develop higher level skills of interpretation and critical thinking.

We demonstrated tons of strategies and activities and shared poetry from many different sources. We had crazy prizes to give away and challenged people to find a poem that would go with the prize and they would win it! this included a baseball bat, toy cars, bubbles, etc. That was such fun! And getting crafty with poetry was a great way to end the day-- taking poems apart and then visualizing them with images, color, lettering, etc. 

It just goes to show you that poetry can be a great way to start the year, but it's not a bad way to end it either! 
Now head over to Reflections on the Teche where Margaret is hosting our Poetry Friday summer fun! 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Poet X

One last poetry video to close out our digital celebration of National Poetry Month, but this time it's highlighting a novel in verse, rather than the text of a single poem. This one was also created by one of my graduate students, Rose B., and also used with her permission. I think she captures the spirit of Elizabeth Acevedo's powerful and award-winning book, The Poet X (Harper, 2018). Check it out!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Freedom Over Me

National Poetry Month is coming to a close, but it's not too late to highlight one more powerful poetry video. This one was created by Itunu S. and is a trailer for a picture book, rather than featuring a single poem. It's a powerful introduction to Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum, 2016), told through narrative poetry and amazing art. Check it out!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Summer Reading

Spring is in full swing and we're thinking about the end of the school year and the summer ahead. Here's the perfect poem video to send the students into the summer. 
It's "Summer Reading" by Janet Wong from GREAT Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). This video was created by Michele H. and is so fun and engaging!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Field Day Fun

April means National Poetry Month, but for many children it also brings field day fun outdoors. 

Here's a poem that captures that special event, "Field Day Fun" by Elizabeth Steinglass from GREAT Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Amy W. has created a fun digital poem video for Liz's poem complete with authentic photos of kids having fun at a real field day!

Click this link to watch.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Gym Teachers

Ready to get up and stretch?
Watch this video of the poem, "Gym Teachers" by Darren Sardelli from GREAT Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Tiffany W. has created a fun poem video full of active kids and with a lovely nod to the gym teachers who guide them. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

What Does a Reading Specialist Do? (2.0)

Double your fun with this second interpretation of the poem, "What Does a Reading Specialist Do?" by Linda Kulp Trout from GREAT Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Here, Kelsea R. uses a clever dog to show the way! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Time for one more pet-themed poem!

This time, poet Helen Frost's poem, "Disappointed" is brought to life in this video created by Amy T. and cleverly narrated by kids! You'll find this poem in Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book (Pomelo Books, 2017). 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Please, Mommy, Please

Ready for something fun and playful? 

Check out this poem video for the poem, "Please, Mommy, Please" by Janice Harrington from the book Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book (Pomelo Books, 2017). 

Sally S. created this appealing video featuring that poem.