Congratulations to Joyce Sidman who has won the Cybils award for poetry for young people, for This Is Just To Say; Poems Of Apology And Forgiveness (Hougton Mifflin). It is a collection of poems of apology and forgiveness in the voices of a classroom of children. (I wrote about it earlier since I chose it as one of the best of 2007: It’s funny, poignant, and true, with Sidman’s trademark gift for the craft of poetry in an amazing variety of poetic forms.) It is also an honor book for this year’s Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children’s Poetry. Sidman won the Hopkins award two years ago for Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (Houghton Mifflin). Sidman also won last year’s first ever Cybils Bloggers’ prize for children’s poetry for Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (Houghton Mifflin) which was also one of my picks for the best of 2006. She is piling up the prizes fast!
FYI: The Cybils, a loose acronym for Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards, began with nominations open to absolutely anyone. Then five nominating committee members (including yours truly) read the nominated books (with different committees in ten categories, from poetry to fiction to nonfiction to graphic novels). This is the second year of the administration of the award.
Sidman is one of my favorites, so I’ve posted about her work often—about her wonderful dog poetry [The World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) and Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)], about her reading at the ALSC Poetry Jam in June (in DC) and the NCTE Poetry Blast in November (in New York), and about her downloadable bookmark book poem, “This Book," for National Children’s Book Week.
Here’s a brief excerpt about her from my own resource book on children’s poets, Poetry People:
“Joyce Sidman was born on born June 4, 1956, in Hartford, Connecticut. She is the middle sister of three, and spent summers at camp in Maine. From an early age, she felt motivated to write, and started writing as far back as elementary school. She discovered poetry in high school, encouraged by a sympathetic teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree in German from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and a teaching certificate at Macalester College in Minnesota. Joyce lives in Wayzata, Minnesota, with her husband and two sons, near the edge of a large woodland. When she isn't writing, she enjoys teaching via week-long poetry-writing residences in the schools. Her hobbies include gardening, identifying birds, insects and frogs, and reading and baking cookies."
This year’s prize winner, This is to Say, is a gem for reading aloud with multiple voices, much like this year’s Newbery winner (Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!)-- only set in a modern classroom “village.” Here is just a taste:
Some Reasons Why
Why must we work so hard,
and always be the best?
hard work builds character.
too much hard work means no laughter.
only the best get ahead.
everyone’s good at something.
daydreaming is just an excuse for laziness.
they just never learned how to write a poem.
(writing for Anthony’s mother, who said he was being ridiculous)
Follow up with more poem collections about kids in classrooms like:
Cheng, Andrea. 2008. Where the Steps Were. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
Frost, Helen. 2004. Spinning Through the Universe. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Paraskevas, Betty. 1995. Gracie Graves and the Kids from Room 402. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
Singer, Marilyn. 1996. All We Needed to Say: Poems about School from Tanya and Sophie. New York: Atheneum.
And for YA:
Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007. Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Wordsong.
Glenn, Mel. 1982. Class Dismissed! High School Poems. New York: Clarion Books.
___. 1997. The Taking of Room 114: A Hostage Drama in Poems. New York: Lodestar Books/Dutton.
___. 1996. Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? New York: Lodestar Books/Dutton.
Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Bronx Masquerade. New York: Dial Books.
Koertge, Ron. 2001. The Brimstone Journals. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
Catch the rest of the Poetry Friday round up at Big A, little a.
Picture credit: barnesandnoble.com