Friday, May 11, 2012

What's up in BOOK LINKS

Although April is over and we're almost halfway through May, I'm catching up on loose ends now that my semester is almost done. Phew!

April Book Links
I wanted to be sure to plug BOOK LINKS, the magazine supplement to BOOKLIST which includes a regular "Everyday Poetry" column written by yours truly. The April issue was particularly poetry-rich with an article about "Poetry Writing with Novels in Verse" by Dean Schneider, my article providing 100 poems/poetry books for the 30 days of April tied to various events throughout the month, plus my column featuring four of the biggest awards for children's poetry (the NCTE award, LBH Promising Poet award, LBH award, and Claudia Lewis award). Space was limited, so mention of the Lion and Unicorn award was cut. Let me rectify that here:

The Lion and the Unicorn's Award for Excellence in North American Poetry
The Lion and the Unicorn Award focuses on North American poetry for young people and carries on the prior tradition begun by the British journal, Signal, to “instigate, provoke, and sustain a conversation about poetry published for children.” Recipients are now from both the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the Lion and the Unicorn Award includes an essay which discusses the award winners as well as speculates on issues unique to writing and publishing poetry for children, “painting a picture of that year in children’s poetry.” The essays can be found here: and for a toolbox with teaching ideas:

The Lion and the Unicorn Award Recipients
2011 Susan Blackaby, Nest, Nook & Cranny
2010 No award given
2009 JonArno Lawson, A Voweller’s Bestiary, from Aardvark to Guineafowl (and H)
2008 Linda Sue Park, Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)
2007 JonArno Lawson, Black Stars in a White Night Sky
2006 Wynton Marsalis, Jazz A·B·Z: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits
2005 Marilyn Nelson, Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem

As usual, the column also featured a new, unpublished poem for teachers to reproduce (for noncommercial educational purposes). It's a beautiful invitational poem by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater entitled, "Fire." (Thank you, Amy!)

May Book Links
The May issue of Book Links looks at science literature and my column shares my analysis of the lists of "Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12" from 2001-2012-- looking for poetry titles selected, of course. (I did a similar thing with the Notable Social Studies lists and poetry "hits" last Fall.) Here are a few nuggets from my science findings:

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is an organization of science education professionals and has as its purpose the “stimulation, improvement, and coordination of science teaching and learning.” An annual book review panel selects a list of titles from a variety of genres providing detailed annotations for each of the 40-50 books selected annually along with the designation of which curricular National Science Content Standard the book matches. These standards include the following eight areas:

National Science Content Standards
I Unifying Concepts and Processes

II Science as Inquiry

III Physical Science Perspectives

IV Life Science
V Earth and Space Science

VI Science and Technology

VII Science in Personal and Social

VIII History and Nature of Science

As I examined the “Outstanding Science Trade Books” lists since 2001, I was pleased to see 24 works of poetry on the combined lists, with an average of 2 poetry titles per year. Nature poems dominate the selections with a focus on animals, including birds, bees, and insects. Earth ecosystems, the ocean, and trees, in particular, are also featured in the highlighted poetry books. You’ll also note that Joyce Sidman is frequently recognized for her beautiful science-themed poetry.

The article includes a list of all 24 poetry titles and discusses which science standards are most often represented.

This article also includes a new, previously unpublished poem-- this one is "The Acrobatic Bat" by the wonderful Avis Harley. It is an example of her own original poem form, the "intravista," in which words within words, arranged downward, make a poem within a poem. It's very cool! (Thanks so much for sharing your work, Avis!)

Check 'em out!


Robyn Hood Black said...

I have no idea when you sleep, Sylvia, but thanks for everything you do! These issues sound terrific.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks, Robyn. I do love my poetry projects-- and working with all you great poets!