Thursday, March 28, 2013

Amy, TLA, and IRA-- lots of A's

What's the deal with this Amy Ludwig VanDerwater?

Just kidding!

I am so excited to join the throng celebrating the release of Amy's first book of poetry for children, Forest Has a Song. It's a beautifully designed picture book in which the gentle watercolor paintings (by Robbin Gourley), the layout of poem and painting on each page, and even the spidery font of the text work together to create a poetry collection that is inviting and comforting at the same time. Kirkus Reviews called it "fresh and original" and I agree. It's a quiet book, perfect for sharing at laptime or with a whole class as you pause to look out the window or examine a leaf.

The natural world has been the topic of poetry for young people for ages-- and for good reason-- and Amy really taps into the child's connection with the simplest details-- pinecones and sticks, footprints and birds flying. Her poetry offers many tactile details that will invite children to touch, smell, and see the world outside their iPads in tangible ways.

I also appreciate how she offers a variety of poetic forms and layouts so children (and teachers) can see how poets use the words and space on the page (a Common Core element, too). I particularly love Amy's use of rhyme-- making it look so natural, too-- as if we all spoke in lyrical language when captured by the beauty of the forest. I live in the city and don't spend much time in woodsy woods, but I felt more alert to the wind this morning and to the cardinal in the tree outside my house because this book was on my mind. Don't miss this debut work by a promising poet.

My favorite poem in the book?

The last one:

by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Forest breathes
a spicy breeze.
It blows
into my ear.

When you go home
do not forget
my leaves
my song
my deer.
I am Forest.
I am here. 

Full disclosure: Amy is also one of the poets featured in The Poetry Friday Anthology (both for K-5 and for grades 6-8), so I am already a big fan of her work. Her first stand-alone book is something very special to celebrate! And be sure to check out her very meaty website and blog, too.

I am also thrilled to announce that in my prescience I arranged to have Amy on two of my presentation panels this spring. Am I psychic (and lucky!) or what? I am presenting with Amy at the International Reading Association on Monday, April 22 (11:00am-12:00pm) along with Joyce Sidman and Janet Wong. What a wonderful group, don't you think? Our topic is "Celebrating Poetry and Common Core Curriculum Connections." We'll show how subversive poets can be about inspiring readers while covering standards. 

THEN, Amy will be one of the poets coming to the Texas Library Association conference and will be presenting in my annual Poetry Round Up (Friday, April 26, 4:00-4:50pm), as well as be part of the poet panel at P*CON, the post-conference poetry institute (Saturday, April 27, 10:00-1:30). Other participating poets (also wonderful people, of course!) include: Sara Holbrook, Michael Salinger, Charles Waters, Jane Yolen, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Robert Paul Weston, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. What a line up, right?

April is going to be busy, but it always is for us poetry-lovers. Let's revel in National Poetry Month-- and see if we can't convert a few others to join us!

Image credit:;IRA;TLA

Post by Sylvia M. Vardell c 2013. All rights reserved.


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

Sylvia, Thank you many times over for welcoming my first book so warmly. It's an honor to be here at Poetry for Children, and I am so happy that you like FOREST. I very much look forward to seeing you at IRA and TLA! Much gratitude. xo, a.

Janet Wong said...

Another YAY for Amy LV! Anyone reading the poetry blogs this week knows that she is the Jennifer Lawrence of the poetry world.

As for IRA: I am going to be giving away little party favors at our session. Not even YOU know what they are, Dr. Vardell! (These are not the fragrant fun things that we created, but they are, like those ff things, both beautiful and useful.) Be one of the first 50 people at our session and you'll get one. (Early birds get the best choice.)

Linda at teacherdance said...

Sorry to miss all of you wonderful poets at the IRA, but I hope to be at the NCTE convetnion in the fall-hope to see you there. Sylvia, it's a beautiful review of Amy's book. I have read it and it is divine, especially good for outdoor play! I'll be talking about it soon!

Rosi said...

That is a charming poem. I can't wait to read more.