Friday, January 22, 2010

Poetry 2010 Sneak Peek List

Here’s the scoop!
After scanning the recent publisher catalogs and web sites and talking with reps at the ALA Midwinter conference, here’s the list of poetry books for young people that we can be on the lookout for in 2010. Please let me know of any others I can add.

Looks like another interesting crop, with more topical anthologies, intriguing verse novels, updated classics, new voices, fun favorites, science connections, sequels and more. There was lots of buzz at ALA about Stephanie Hemphill’s new Wicked Girls and Marilyn Singer’s Mirror, Mirror and Douglas Florian’s Poetrees and Pat Mora’s Dizzy in Your Eyes and I got a quick look at many of the titles on the list. I can’t wait to get them all, read them, and share them with you. Check back here from time to time and I’ll update this posting with new additions, rather than posting new lists. Happy new year in poetry!

  1. Ada, Alma Flor and Campoy, Isabel. 2010. Muu, Moo! Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes. Rayo/HarperCollins.
  2. Adoff, Arnold. 2010. Roots and Blues, A Celebration. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  3. Ahlberg, Allan and Ingram, Bruce. 2010. Everybody Was a Baby Once. Candlewick.
  4. Alexander, Cecil. 2010. All Things Bright and Beautiful. Ill. by Ashley Bryan. Atheneum.
  5. Archer, Peggy. 2010. Name that Dog. Dial.
  6. Atkins, Jeannine. 2010. Borrowed Names; Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters. Henry Holt.
  7. Brisson, Pat. 2010. The Best and Hardest Thing. Viking.
  8. Blackaby, Susan. 2010. Nest, Nook & Cranny. Charlesbridge.
  9. Brown, Calef. 2010. Hallowilloween; Nefarious Silliness. Houghton Mifflin.
  10. Cooling, Wendy. (Comp.) 2010. All the Wild Wonders; Poems of Our Earth. Frances Lincoln Children's Books.
  11. Crawley, Dave. 2010. Reading, Rhyming, and ‘Rithmetic. Boyds Mills Press.
  12. Cullinan, Bernice and Wooten, Deborah. Eds. 2010. Another Jar of Tiny Stars; Poems by More NCTE Award Winning Poets. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  13. Denton, Graham. (Comp.) 2010. My Cat Is in Love with the Goldfish. A & C Black.
  14. Ehlert, Lois. 2010. Lots of Spots. Beach Lane Books.
  15. Elliott, David. 2010. In the Wild. Ill. by Holly Meade. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
  16. Engle, Margarita. 2010. The Firefly Letters; A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba. Henry Holt.
  17. Florian, Douglas. 2010. Poetrees. Simon & Schuster.
  18. George, Kristine O’Connell. 2010. Emma’s Dilemma. Clarion.
  19. Gottfried, Maya. 2010. Our Farm; By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary. Knopf.
  20. Hemphill, Stephanie. 2010. Wicked Girls; A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials. HarperCollins.
  21. Holbrook, Sara. 2010. Zombies! Evacuate the School! Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  22. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. (Ed). 2010. Amazing Faces. Ill. By Chris Soentpiet. Lee and Low.
  23. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. (Ed.) 2010. Give Me Wings. Holiday House.
  24. Hopkins, Lee. Bennett. (Ed.) 2010. Sharing the Seasons. Margaret McElderry.
  25. Houle, Michelle M. (Comp.) 2010. Poetry Rocks: Modern British Poetry; “The World is Never the Same.” Enslow.
  26. Hubbell, Patricia. 2010. Snow Happy! Tricycle Press.
  27. Jackson, Rob. 2010. Weekend Mischief. Boyds Mills Press.
  28. Johanson, Paula. (Comp.) 2010. Poetry Rocks: World Poetry; “Evidence of Life.” Enslow.
  29. Katz, Alan. 2010. Too Much Kissing; And Other Silly Dilly Songs About Parents. Simon & Schuster.
  30. Koertge, Ron. 2010. Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs. Candlewick.
  31. Lawson, JonArno. 2010. Think Again. Kids Can Press.
  32. Levy, Debbie. 2010. Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight. Sterling.
  33. Levy, Debbie. 2010. The Year of Goodbyes; A True Story of Friendship, Family and Farewells. Hyperion.
  34. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2010. The Fantastic 5 & 10 Cent Store. Schwartz & Wade/Random House.
  35. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2010. Skywriting: Poems in Flight. Creative Editions.
  36. Llanas, Sheila Griffin. (Comp.) 2010. Poetry Rocks: Contemporary American Poetry; “Not the End, But the Beginning.” Enslow.
  37. Luján, Jorge. 2010. Brunhilda and the Ring. Translated by Hugh Hazelton. Groundwood.
  38. Mavor, Sally. (Comp.) 2010. Pocketful of Posies; A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. Houghton Mifflin.
  39. Mora, Pat. 2010. Dizzy in Your Eyes; Poems About Love. Knopf.
  40. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2010. The Tighty Whitey Spider. Sourcebooks.
  41. Nye, Naomi Shihab (Comp.) 2010. Time You Let Me In; 25 Poets Under 25. Greenwillow.
  42. Paschen, Elise and Raccah, Dominique. (Comp.) 2010. Poetry Speaks; Who I Am. Sourcebooks.
  43. Peters, Lisa Westberg. 2010. Volcano Wakes Up! Henry Holt.
  44. Prelutsky, Jack. (Comp.) 2010. There’s No Place Like School. HarperCollins.
  45. Raczka, Bob. 2010. Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. Ill. by Peter Reynolds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  46. Richards, Jame. 2010. Three Rivers Rising. Knopf.
  47. Rockwell, Thomas. 2010. Emily Stew with Some Side Dishes. Roaring Brook Press.
  48. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. 2010. The Wonder Book. Ill. by Paul Schmid. HarperCollins.
  49. Saltzberg, Barney. 2010. All Around the Seasons. Candlewick.
  50. Shannon, George and Brunelle, Lynn. Chicken Scratches; Poultry Poetry and Rooster Rhymes. Chronicle.
  51. Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Ubiquitous; Celebrating Nature's Survivors. Houghton Mifflin.
  52. Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night. Houghton Mifflin.
  53. Singer, Marilyn. 2010. Mirror, Mirror. Dutton.
  54. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2010. Black Jack; The Ballad of Jack Johnson. Roaring Brook Press.
  55. Spinelli, Eileen. 2010. The Dancing Pancake. Knopf.
  56. Stevenson, Robert Louis. 2010. A Child’s Garden of Verses. Ill. by Barbara McClintock. HarperCollins.
  57. Swaim, Jessica. 2010. Scarum Fair. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  58. Swinburne, Stephen. 2010. Ocean Soup; Tide-Pool Poems. Charlesbridge.
  59. Trapani, Iza. 2010. Rufus and Friends School Days. Charlesbridge.
  60. Watson, Renee. 2010. A Place Where Hurricanes Happen. Random House.
  61. Weinstock, Robert. 2010. Can You Dig It? Disney-Hyperion.
  62. Williams, Carol Lynch. 2010. Glimpse. Simon & Schuster.
  63. Wolf, Sallie. 2010. The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound. Charlesbridge.
  64. Yolen, Jane and Peters, Andrew Fusek. 2010. Switching on the Moon; A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems. Candlewick.
  65. Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2010. Cousins of Clouds; Elephant Poems. Clarion.


(Poem/fiction hybrids, autobiographies of poets, picture books about poets and poetry, novels with poem-writing characters and poems interspersed, fiction works by notable poets, etc.)

  1. Czekaj, Jef. 2010. Hip & Hop, Don't Stop. Disney-Hyperion.
  2. Flake, Sharon. 2010. You Don’t Even Know Me; Stories and Poems about Boys. Hyperion.
  3. Glaser, Linda. 2010. Emma’s Poem; The Voice of the Statue of Liberty. Houghton Mifflin.
  4. Grimes, Nikki. 2010. Nikki Grimes: Out of the Dark. Richard C. Owen.
  5. Kooser, Ted. 2010. Bag in the Wind. Candlewick.
  6. Kumin, Maxine. 2010. What Color is Caesar? Candlewick.
  7. Nelson, Jandy. 2010. The Sky is Everywhere. Dial.
  8. Perdomo, Willie. Clemente. Henry Holt.
  9. Ryan, Pam Munoz. 2010. The Dreamer. Ill. By Peter Sis. Scholastic.
  10. Watson, Renee. 2010. What Momma Left Me. Bloomsbury.
  11. Yolen, Jane. 2010. Jane Yolen: On the Slant. Richard C. Owen.
For more Poetry Friday fun, go to Liz in Ink hosted by Caldecott honor and Notables winning author Liz Scanlon. (Congratulations again, Liz!)

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.
Image credit:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ALA Poetry Notables

The ALSC Notables Committee has just issued their list of “best books” of 2009 for kids ages birth-14. Good news, there are several poetry titles among their picks, including:

  • Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman
  • Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
  • Federico Garcia Lorca by Georgina Lazaro
  • A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk; A Forest Poems by Deborah Ruddell
  • Mother Poems by Hope Anita Smith
  • Sweethearts of Rhythm; The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Band in the World by Marilyn Nelson
  • tofu quilt by Ching Yeung Russell
  • My People by Langston Hughes

I’m so glad to see a few more 2009 poetry gems get this recognition. Congratulations to all these poets!

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.
Image credit: ALA

Monday, January 18, 2010

ALA Awards; Poetry Nuggets

The ALA, ALSC, and YALSA awards were announced this morning and you can get the full report here. I was lucky to serve on the Arbuthnot Committee (we chose Lois Lowry to deliver the next lecture) and we had front row seats at the press conference! As we celebrated each new announcement, I noted which of the winners and honor books were poetry books, of course. There were several (although not as many as I would have liked, given how many terrific poetry books were published this year, IMO). Here’s the list:

Once again, the Coretta Scott King Award committees selected poetry books for several distinctions. Langston Hughes was the big winner here!
CSK Illustrator Award
Charles R. Smith, Jr. for his dramatic photo-illustrations for Langston Hughes’ classic poem, My People

CSK Illustrator Honor
E. B. Lewis won an honor distinction (and only one Honor book was selected) for his evocative watercolor illustrations for another classic Langston Hughes’ poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Once again, the Pura Belpre Award committee included poetry books in its final list.
Diego, Bigger Than Life written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and illustrated by David Diaz won BOTH an Author Honor distinction AND an Illustrator Honor distinction.

TWO of Pat Mora’s poetic picture books were also recognized. Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El dia de lost ninos/El dia de los libros won the Illustrator Award for the art of Rafael Lopez and Gracias/Thanks won an Illustrator Honor distinction for the art of John Parra.

Finally, Federico García Lorca, by Georgina Lázaro, received Author Honors for Lázaro’s lyrical picture book biography-- entirely in Spanish.

(Isn’t it interesting that these two awards focusing on the cultural richness of the books, as well as their literary and artistic merit continue to recognize poetry as the best of the year?)

Finally, Caldecott honors went to another Joyce Sidman poetry collection! Pamela Zagarenski won for her illustrations for Joyce’s book, Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors.

Congratulations all around!

Next up: My list of poetry books to look for in 2010…

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.
Image credit: ala

Friday, January 15, 2010

Awards time

I’ve taken a nice break (and had fun holiday gatherings with various friend and family groups, plus a fantastic trip to Ireland with family) and am ready to jump back into my blog. First—the awards. It’s that time of the year when various groups look back over 2009 and try to choose the best in a variety of categories. Of course I always comb the lists for any POETRY entries. You can be sure I’ll be tooting the poetry horn next week after the American Library Association announces its awards. In fact, I’m on my way to Boston for their conference later today!

In the mean time, I was honored once again to serve on the Cybils panel for poetry awards, along with:

Bruce Black, Wordswimmer
Kristy Dempsey, Reverie, Abstract Musings on a Hopeful Life
Kelly Fineman, Writing and Ruminating
Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Miss Rumphius Effect

We had such fun considering all the poetry of 2009 and came to the consensus that it was a great year for both variety and quality. We were charged with coming up with a short list of the best and after much dialogue, here’s what we decided:
  • The Monsterologist; A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz

  • The Tree That Time Built; A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination collected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston
  • African Acrostics; A Word in Edgeways by Avis Harley
  • The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry collected by Bill Martin, Jr. and Michael Sampson
  • Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman
My fellow judges have also blogged about this, but we each want to promote this unique award, especially since it singles out poetry—woo hoo! You can find out more here, but I’ll reiterate the summaries of each of our finalist books here:

Martin Jr., Bill with Sampson, Michael, 2009. The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of Poetry. ill. by varied. New York, Simon and Schuster.

With wonderfully-varied art from an impressive array of illustrators, BILL MARTIN JR’S BIG BOOK OF POETRY is the modern must-have poetry anthology for children’s bookshelves. The poetry is grouped thematically (Animals, Nature, Me and My Feelings, Mother Goose, among others), but is just as easily enjoyed by skipping from page to page, backwards and forwards, being surprised by new favorites and reveling in the comfort of those perfect old standbys. For parents and children alike, this is the way to fall in love with poetry.

Katz, Bobbi. 2009. The Monsterologist; A Memoir in Rhyme. New York: Sterling.

In a collection of somewhere between 23 and 28 poems (depending on whether you count some things as independent poems or as part of a greater whole), Bobbi Katz has created a playful, interesting and clever exploration of the world of monsters that range from the real (a computer virus) to the imaginary (zombies, vampires) to the in-betweenities (ghosts, the yeti, the Loch Ness monster) that may or may not be real. The individual poems about monsters are imaginatively framed with additional rhymes from the Monsterologist to whom the book is credited, Katz being only a "ghostwriter" per the cover. 
Katz provided poems about some of the more "traditional" monsters (werewolf, ghosts, Count Dracula, Godzilla, and Frankenstein's monster, for instance), but she also includes lesser-known varieties, such as Grendel (from Beowulf), the golem, Bluebeard and the kraken. Fresh, engaging, and fun, these poems will have you coming back time and again to study the monsters inside; it will have you thinking of monsters in new ways and hoping to meet – or become – a monsterologist.

Sidman, Joyce. 2009. Red Sings From Treetops; A Year in Colors. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Sidman personifies the seasons of the year focusing on colors and color words in elegant, evocative poetry. Strong in imagery and sensory connections, the free verse poems capture unexpected color connections (the pink of winter) using multiple metaphors and color labels (turquoise, azure, cerulean). Zagarenski’s stylized art as well as clever book design (with color words in colors) add dimension and appeal.

Harley, Avis. 2009. African Acrostics; A Word in Edgeways. Ill. by Deborah Noyes. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.

In this collection of 18 poems, each accompanied by a gorgeous photograph of the subject, Harley takes the form of the acrostic to new heights. The poems are deftly created and move well beyond the single-word acrostic to include phrases, double acrostics, quintuple acrostic (yes, that's FIVE words), concrete acrostic and more. The patterns that exist within each piece never get in the way of the poem itself, and finding them is a wonderful surprise. When you finish this book you’ll have a new appreciation for the form that uses "words in edgeways."

Hoberman, Mary Ann and Winston, Linda. 2009. The Tree That Time Built; A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.

In much the same way naturalists go about collecting things, Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston have selected more than 100 poems in The Tree That Time Built to celebrate nature, science, and imagination. "Science and art have often been cast as opposites, but the division is an artificial one," they write in the introduction. "Scientists, like poets, depend on imagination for many of their core insights. And poets, like scientists, observe and explore connections within the natural world."

This collection is their ambitious attempt to explore these connections. Hoberman, the U.S. Children's Poet Laureate, and Winston, a cultural anthropologist and teacher, have taken great care to arrange the poems to give young readers a chance to explore many of the "roots and limbs of Darwin's Tree, the branching tree that shows the connections among all forms of life."
It's that rare collection of poems that will wake readers up-really capture their attention on every page -- and often startle readers (in good ways), helping them see some things -- rocks, sand, mountains, crickets, bees, and more -- that they've never seen before, even though they may have looked at them a million times. In short, The Tree That Time Built is a collection to treasure, the poems in its pages like shells that you hold in your hand and lift to your ear (again and again) to hear the mystery of life.

FYI: Cybils is an acronym for the “Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards” and this is the fourth year the bloggers have gathered to choose the best books in several categories, including poetry.

The Judges for Round II who select the single winner are:
Sara Lewis Holmes, Read, Write, Believe
Elaine Magliaro, Wild Rose Reader
Greg Pincus, Gottabook
Jama Rattigan, Alphabet Soup
Stacey Shubitz, Two Writing Teachers

They’ll be announcing their #1 choice from our shortlist in the near future.

In the mean time, for a comprehensive look at all the different award lists of the year, check out Susan’s “encyclopedia of awards” at Chicken Spaghetti. She calls it the big “list of lists” and I’m honored to be on it!

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.
Image credit: cybils