Happy birthday, Paul B. Janeczko!
Former English teacher Paul Janeczko began compiling poem anthologies for his students in the 1970’s which led to more formal publication of many, many anthologies for teens and children, as well as poetry of his own in the years since. He has also written books for teachers on using poetry and poetry writing in the classroom and is now a frequent speaker and workshop leader. Janeczko’s work has been recognized with many awards and “best” list citations, including the American Library Association Books for Young Adults, American Library Association Notable Books, New York Public Library Best Books, School Library Journal Best Young Adult Books of the Year, among others.
Paul Janeczko has created many appealing anthologies of poetry for young people such as Dirty Laundry Pile: Poems in Different Voices (HarperCollins, 2001), Very Best (Almost) Friends: A Collection of Friendship Poetry (Candlewick, 1998), and Hey, You!: Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes, and Other Fun Things (HarperCollins, 2007), as well as authoring several of his own original poetry books such as That Sweet Diamond: Baseball Poems (Atheneum, 1998), Stardust otel (Scholastic, 1993), Brickyard Summer (Orchard, 1989) and the novel in verse Worlds Afire (Candlewick, 2004). In several of his anthologies for children gather poems based on unique themes particular to poetic form, from concrete poetry to haiku including:
Poetry from A to Z: A Guide to Young Writers (Bradbury, 1994)
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (Candlewick, 2005)
A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems (Candlewick, 2001)
Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku with J. Patrick Lewis (Little Brown, 2006)
Stone Bench in an Empty Park (Orchard Books, 2000)
As a response activity, children may enjoy discovering unusual forms of poetry or even trying their hands at writing them. Or working as a group, children can create their own alphabet book of poetry with each child responsible for a letter to build a poem upon. Other Janeczko anthologies that offer additional guidance to budding poets include Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspirations for Young Poets (Candlewick, 2002), The Place My Words Are Looking For: What Poets Say About And Through Their Work (Bradbury, 1990), and Poetspeak: In Their Work, About Their Work: A Selection (Bradbury, 1983).
For more information about Janeczko and his work, look for Poetry People; A Practical Guide to Children's Poets (Libraries Unlimited, 2007).
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