Thursday, September 19, 2019


It's time for another installment of my "EXTRA! EXTRA!" series. I love this "extra" glimpse into books of poetry that I've enjoyed. It's like the "Director's Cut" of a movie with "behind-the-scenes" nuggets that just extend the experience even further. 'Cause I always want MORE of any book I like! 

This time, it's Elizabeth (Liz) Steinglass who is giving us this glimpse. Her Soccerverse is a big hit this year and I hope you've checked it out. It's so timely with the USA women's soccer team emerging as world champions and with children everywhere playing more and more soccer. Plus, even if you're not a big fan of soccer, her poems really capture the authentic feelings of childhood. The backstory she shares with us below is really insightful. Check it out!

Liz writes:

Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2019) includes 22 poems about all things soccer—the ball, the field, the goal, uniforms, red cards, positions, fans, coaches, etc. Still, there were a few poems in the draft I first sent editor Rebecca Davis that didn’t make it into the final version. Here’s one:   

Is like the second someone hands you
An ice cream cone
And you’re just about to take
Your first

Is like dropping your ice cream
In the dirt
And all you can do
Is watch it

I still like this poem, and Rebecca did too, but in her feedback she said she wanted the collection to focus less on winning and losing and more on the emotional complexity of playing and being on a team. So while this poem came out, new poems about teammates, the coach, and opponents went in. One of my favorite quotes about Soccerversewas from a friend who said, “This is a book about social-emotional learning disguised as a book about soccer.” She had no idea how good that made me feel. I’m not sure about the word disguised, but yes! This is a book about soccer and about feelings.

Thank you, Liz. I feel like I'm in on a secret! And I love that your "sports poetry" is not only about sports after all! 

Now, gather around for the Poetry Friday happenings at Teacher Dance where Linda is hosting us all. 


  1. Ohhh, that melting feeling! Yes, what a wonderful poem. Thank you both for sharing it here... ice cream cones for all! xo

  2. I love what your friend said!
    Learning how to handle watching your ice cream melt is a valuable skill...sometimes, for one reason or another, you just don't get to eat the ice cream! :-)

  3. So much to love in this collection! Love the ice cream poem, too.

  4. Liz's book brings so many memories to me, too, as my son played soccer for years & years! And yes, also about the learning to handle life's downs, and its ups with grace. It's fun to see a peek of what did not go into the book. Thanks, Sylvia!

  5. Love the idea of "extra" or behind-the-scene glimpses into books. My own copy of SoccerVerse is in a prime spot on my bookshelf of children's poetry, and I agree with the quote that it is “a book about social-emotional learning disguised as a book about soccer.”
    What a winner!

  6. Oh yes! This book is about SO much more than soccer. I remember having a similar thought when I read Kwame Alexander's THE CROSSOVER. I was expecting a book about basketball, but got a book about life and relationships. I also appreciate the insight into why this poem, as good as it is, was left on the cutting room floor! Thanks for sharing, Liz and Sylvia!

  7. Thank you all for visiting and commenting. I'm so glad you enjoyed what got left out!

  8. So interesting to read what got left out, and why...And I'm glad you shared that poem with us!

  9. Excellent stuff here--and it makes me think about how I keep having to remind myself and others that we are never only teaching "reading" and "math" by themselves. The reading has to be ABOUT something, the math has to be ABOUT something meaningful or the learning doesn't stick. Similarly, when we're reading a book ABOUT soccer or spaghetti or stalactites--if it's any good--we're also reading about the social-emotional aspects of playing on a team, cooking with family, or exploring the earth. If not, then the book probably isn't compelling. Which Soccerverse IS, and now my little essay is done!

  10. Thanks for sharing this poem about winning and losing.
    When I was still teaching I used to tell students that the team that had the most fun was the real winner. I still need to find and read a copy of this book. I'm even more determined now!

  11. Ha! I love the Winning/Losing poem. But I also loved every poem in this wonderful book. So glad to see it featured here. Thanks for the post.

  12. Our first Poetry Friday is always J. Patrick Lewis. Our second is always Douglas Florian. I think our next one will have to be books by my PF Peeps so I can get this one into their hands!

  13. I'm also glad that you shared "Winning and Loosing" it's oozing with emotions, and very sad ones as it closes. I appreciate hearing about the backstory for the poems… often a story in itself. Hope it continues to draw attention Liz! Thanks Sylvia for sharing more about Liz's book.