As I have mentioned before, I was privileged to co-chair the previous NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Committee that presents the Excellence in Poetry for Children Award. That committee has the responsibility for selecting the recipient of the award for the most outstanding children’s poet every three years. We were thrilled to be able to choose Nikki Grimes as the 2006 recipient of this award. However, the committee is also charged with “exploring ways to acquaint teachers and children with poetry.” One way of doing that is to highlight the wonderful poetry being published for children each year, calling attention to new titles and new poets that children are sure to enjoy. Thus, our committee decided to highlight some of the best poetry books published during our committee’s three-year tenure, 2003-2006. We worked together to select the 10 best poetry books published during each of those three years, based on the criteria for excellence for the award itself: literary merit, imagination, authenticity of voice, evidence of a strong persona, universality and timelessness, and appeal to children.
The complete and annotated list of these 30 poetry books is now available in the July issue of the NCTE journal, Language Arts. The full text version is accessible online to subscribers here.
Or look for:
Vardell, S.M., Oxley, P., Heard, G., Kristo, J., Spivey, G.W., Wong, J., and Woolsey, D. (2007). Best poetry books for children 2003-2006. Language Arts. 84, (6), 552-557.
The committee included:
Peggy Oxley, Co-Chair, Teacher, Grade 2 at St. Paul School in Westerville OH
Georgia Heard, Poet, Palm Beach Gardens FL
Jan Kristo, Professor, University of Maine
Gail Wesson Spivey, Librarian, PS 198 in Brooklyn NY
Janet Wong, Poet, Hopewell, NJ
Dan Woolsey, Professor, Houghton College in NY
Picture credit: http://www.ncte.org/pubs/journals/la/contents/123470.htm