Friday, September 11, 2020

A WORLD FULL OF POEMS: Sneak Peek

I hope you’ll indulge me in a bit more promotion of my forthcoming poetry anthology, A World Full of Poems, to be published by DK Books on October 6, 2020. It was such a privilege to have this project come my way at the beginning of the year and once the pandemic hit in March, it became such a therapeutic outlet. I read and read and read and pored over piles and piles of poetry books—and probably recommended five times as many poems as they were finally able to include in this anthology. Then I learned a TON working through the permission process—wishing we could afford to include a poem by Langston Hughes or Pablo Neruda, for example, but not able to afford them within the DK budget. But I learned HOW to get permission! And I lobbied hard for diverse voices and was fairly successful, although I would have loved to include even more. And it was fascinating to work with people in the London office and alert them to some of our new U.S. poets and also be educated about some of their most distinguished voices in the U.K.

In the end, A World Full of Poems features the work of 110 poets, including voices from the U.S., the U.K., and beyond, as well as a handful of classic poets from the past—all interpreted in clever ways by London illustrator Sonny Ross. Not only are there more than 80 wonderful poets from the US in this collection, but another 30+ poets from Canada, England, Ireland, Wales, Australia and the Netherlands are also represented, including: James Aitchison, Ros Asquith, Celia Berrell, Clare Bevan, Lewis Carroll, James Carter, Paul Cookson, Nicole Davies, Carol Ann Duffy, John Foster, Chrissie Gittins, Avis Harley, Steven Herrick, Tony Langham, JonArno Lawson, Tony Mitton, Cheryl Moskowitz, Sally Murphy, Julie O’Callaghan, Andrew Fusek Peters, J. R. Poulter, Christina Rossetti, Coral Rumble, Robert Louis Stevenson, Toon Tellegen, William Makepeace Thackeray, Philip Waddell, Celia Warren, Colin West, Brenda Williams, and Kate Williams.


The poems are gathered together in eight major sections:

  1. Family and Friends
  2. Feelings
  3. Animals and Nature
  4. Cities, Towns, and Travel
  5. Fun and Games
  6. Science and Art
  7. Body and Health
  8. A World of Learning
And the book closes with a variety of fun poetry activities for children and families that I created (and have used many, many times). 

Here is a sneak peek inside the book with sample poems for each section from these lovely poets: Virginia Euwer Wolff, Margarita Engle, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Christina Rossetti, Allan DeFina, Rachel Field, Peter Cole, James Carter, Steven Herrick, Irene Latham, Colin West, Tony Mitton, and JonArno Lawson. Thanks, y'all!

I’ll be sharing a few more wonderful sample poems as we countdown to the release date: October 6. 


Hope you’ll share A World Full of Poems with the children you care about! 



And be sure to join the gathering of Poetry Friday posts over at Kiesha's place, Whispers from the Ridge.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Countdown to A WORLD FULL OF POEMS

I'm excited to announce that I have a new book coming out on October 6, 2020. It's a poetry anthology to be published by DK books. A World Full of Poems. I am so honored to be part of this project-- seeking out poems, gathering permissions, and creating related activities for young readers. Although I didn't have final say on all the poems, I still think we gathered a wonderful, diverse family of more than 100 poets from the US and the UK on a variety of relevant topics and themes. More info to come!



Thursday, September 03, 2020

Guest Post: Carol Coven Grannick's REENI’S TURN

This week, I'm welcoming Carol Coven Grannick who is celebrating the release of her new novel in verse, Reeni's Turn. Here she shares her rationale for telling this story through verse and even shares her process and a sample poem. ENJOY!

Carol Coven Grannick’s debut novel in verse, REENI’S TURN, is available through Indiebound and other links at her website, https://carolcovengrannick.com. Reservations here for the online launch on 9/13 and on the home page! Carol’s short fiction and poetry have appeared and are forthcoming in Cricket, Ladybug, Babybug, Highlights, and Hello. She is a columnist for the SCBWI-IL Prairie Wind, Cynthia Leitich Smith’s award-winning Cynsations,and the GROG Blog, as well as a frequent guest blogger. Her poetry for adults has appeared in numerous online and print journals. Carol has received a Ragdale Foundation Writer’s Residency and an Illinois Arts Council Grant for past work on REENI’S TURN.



WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS IN VERSE?
by Carol Coven Grannick

Rhythms score my life, and always have. Music makes me dance or sing (my son would say that the smallest associations can get me singing a Broadway show tune). Reciting poetry moves my heart, spirit, facial expressions, and more. Long ago the percussive sound and rhythm of horses’ hooves trotting or cantering would propel me into a matching song. The swaying of a willow near water, slow opening dance of a lily, shapes of tree limbs, and resilient prairie grass are all poetry and music to me.

My lifelong love of poetry accompanied me from childhood, scribbling meaningful rhymes and reading Edna St. Vincent Millay and Robert Frost. I still have the old, marked up poetry anthology used for Poetry Reading competitions Illinois State Speech Contests.




In graduate school my thesis explored parallels of becoming a poet and becoming a social worker. Much of my writing, including my debut novel, REENI’S TURN, merges love of poetry and lyrical rhythms with my passion for the issue it addresses. Reeni’s story follows a tween dancer who struggles with lifelong fears and anxiety, body acceptance, and finding her own strong voice. The story’s context unfolds the diet culture’s negative impact on younger children.

It was only natural that I would write REENI’S TURN in verse.

But I didn’t. Not at first, anyway.

When the third draft sang and danced in my brain, I did the best I could to transfer it to the page. It was far from finished, and a well-published colleague told me the uncommon topic could make it difficult to publish. Occasionally, during years of revising, submitting, and putting away the manuscript for awhile, an editor or agent would ask me if I’d like to revise it in prose because “verse novels are a hard sell”. A turning point in my own journey occurred during a critique, when favorite author and mentor asked why I hadn’t written REENI’S TURN in verse.

The manuscript received some awards, went through multiple requested revisions that added content, but then hit some big bumps in the acquisitions road. My story came home to rest for again, but I couldn’t let it go. It was too important to me.

I revised REENI’S TURN repeatedly, carefully, until it became the story I wanted—an easy to read, emotionally intense, simply-plotted story of a complex experience. 



After the fact, it is easy to explain why REENI’S TURN is better told, read, and received in verse. It is intensely emotional. Reeni’s fears and strengths, despair and joy, beg for lyrical language and form. With snapshots of time, space, and emotion, and white space for respite, the reader can follow Reeni’s initially-misdirected journey from shy, fearful girl to self-accepting, self-reflective, and strong, clear-voiced Reeni.


The structure of the novel in verse alternates intensity and safety for the reader, and for the character, whose all-consuming experience of body discomfort and dieting, longings and fears, self-disparagement and self-acceptance, occur within a safety net of loving parents, a wise best friend, and the still, small voice that guides her.

These are all good reasons why the book works in verse.

But, really, I wrote REENI’S TURN in verse because the language danced in my brain, the music begged for words to be attached. Reeni hears music and must dance, and her story kept calling for verse.

And much like Reeni’s response to the discovery of the “still, small voice”, I had to listen.

The Still, Small Voice 

            Last fall on Yom Kippur,

            first time in adult services,

            I held the heavy prayer book instead of stapled pages,

 

            let my mind wander

            the way it does when I’m dancing, 

            swaying from a long time standing,

 

            swaying to familiar melodies of prayers. 

            Then these words:

            

            The great shofar is sounded,

            a still, small voice is heard.

 

            My body stilled,

            the words shivered into my heart

            and through my body—brain, heart, arms and legs,

 

            the way music does, 

            deep inside where it sings out,

            Dance!

 

            But instead of that,

            these words whispered to me,

 

            Listen!

 

            ©Carol Coven Grannick 2020


Now join the rest of the Poetry Friday crew over at Carol's place, BeyondLiteracyLink.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

SPI-KU by Leslie Bulion: Cover Reveal


Leslie Bulion is a writer with a definite fascination with science—and people. She has authored articles for print and internet magazines, and edited books for teachers. Her writing for young readers includes both novels for the middle grades like Fatuma’s New Cloth, Uncharted Waters, The Trouble with Rules, and The Universe of Fair. And she has several amazing science-themed collections of poetry including Hey There, Stinkbug, At the Sea Floor Café: Odd Ocean Critter Poems, Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse, Leaf Litter Critters, Superlative Birds, and her newest collection—Amphibian Acrobats


Leslie now has a new book of nature-themed poems coming out next spring and I'm excited to share a short interview with her and reveal the cover of that new book, Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs, illustrated by Robert Meganck, and to be published by Peachtree on March 1, 2021. And here's the fun new cover!


Here's the book blurb:

Meet spiders that spit silk, roll like wheels, scuba dive, hide under trap doors, strum tunes, and so much more. Watch as they find mates, find prey…or find mates that become prey!

Award-winning poet Leslie Bulion and illustrator Robert Meganck team up again for this clutter (a collective noun for spiders) of Haiku and other short poems and humorously accurate illustrations that celebrate the amazing attributes of Araneae.

The book is also packed with helpful sidebars, call-outs, and backmatter, including a glossary of science terms, notes about the poetic forms, a list of common and scientific names, a spider-hunting adventure how-to, resources for further study, and a relative-size chart. A feast for science and animal fans and a bonanza for teachers and students interested in cross-curricular studies!

Leslie was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book too:

Me: Spiders! Where did the interest in spiders come from? How did you decide on this topic for your next book? How did you decide which spiders to highlight? And what a fun and clever book title! 


Leslie: A few years ago while having a SUPERLATIVE BIRD hands-on adventure at Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, Dr. Linda Rayor invited me to visit her arachnology laboratory. Who’d say no to that?? There I met all kinds of fascinating arachnids including amblypygids (whip spiders who aren’t true spiders), tarantulas, and social Australian huntsman spiders that live in family groups—which I learned was not typical spider behavior. I left that lab with two gifts: Dr. Rayor’s infectious arachnid enthusiasm and my first cool spider science story. Once I began reading about the myriad ways our nearly fifty thousand different species perform activities of spider daily living—weaving webs, hunting, mating, caring for young…or not, etc.—I knew I’d want to highlight more than one example for each activity. So, lots of short poems, right? That’s when the title “Spi-ku”  popped into my rhyme brain!

Me: How did you decide on which short poem form to use for describing which spider? 


Leslie: At first I thought I’d write an entire book of haiku, but my subjects have their own ideas! Some have the stillness of a haiku. Some insist on rhyme. Some start singing. All develop and grow from words and ideas I’ve collected in my researchnotes. It wouldn’t be the first time I had to modify an organizing idea for a science poetry collection!


Me: The illustrations for this book are marvelous and full of detail and energy. Did you consult with the artist (Robert Meganck) to ensure scientific accuracy? Did you provide scientific drawings orsources? What images did you use as you were composing your poems? 


Leslie: Robert is so amazing, isn’t he? Spi-ku is our fourth book together, and we work as true collaborators. We share information and ideas back and forth. We’re both always editing, tweaking, and in Robert’s case, always adding to the fun. And wow, we get into such weeds when making these books. For Spi-ku, the “weeds” were spider eyes: how to choose which of the six or eight eyes in each species’ arrangement would be the best candidates for signature Meganck googlies. Serious science!

Me: Which spider in this book is now your favorite and why? Or if you were one of these spiders, which one would you be and why?  


Leslie: "Favorites" questions are always impossible for me, Sylvia. I do love the jumpers, though…so at least I’ve narrowed it down to six thousand species or so. If I were one of the spiders in Spi-ku? Let me say right off that while I do love smoothies, I’m not sure I’d ever want to make mine by stabbing, envenomating, and liquidating my living animal foodstuffs! If I can substitute photographic prey capture, I am a SCUBA diver, so the diving bell spider life just might be the spidey life for me! 


And just for fun: Here's Leslie spider hunting!

Thank you, Leslie and Peachtree, for this "sneak peek" into this new book. I'm looking at spiders with even more fascination and respect, thanks to you! 


Now, head on over to Pleasures on the Page where Ramona is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering!





Thursday, July 16, 2020

IMAGINE by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Maureen (Moe) McKeon-Phillips and her talented team have created another beautiful film of a poem-- this time for the poem, "Imagine" by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Rebecca is the author of many award-winning titles including poetry collections such as Lemonade Sun, In the Spin of Things, and Grumbles From The Forest: Fairy Tale Voices with a Twist (co-authored with Jane Yolen, as well as picture books such as What Can A Crane Pick Up? which received a *starred* review from Publishers Weekly, What is Science? (an AAAS Subaru SB&F prize finalist), and Bella and Bean (an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor), among many others. She gives poetry workshops, visits classrooms across the country, and speaks at conferences, retreats, libraries and schools to teachers, aspiring writers and students of all ages. Her work has been featured on Reading Rainbow and the PBS children’s show Between the Lions.

Savor this gorgeous, evocative interpretation of her poem here, then join the rest of the Poetry Friday crew over at Bookseedstudio.





Friday, June 26, 2020

Celebrating Kevin Henkes

I was so fortunate to chair the 2020 Children's Literature Legacy Award committee for ALSC and am so excited to see our recipient, Kevin Henkes, receive his award on Sunday. And at the exact same time, I am so disappointed that we can't gather in Chicago for the ALA convention and sit with that beautiful crowd of booklovers to hand Kevin his award in person and savor his acceptance speech. What a crazy time we find ourselves in! 

The convention is virtual this year and EVERYONE can join in hearing Kevin's speech for the first time on Sunday night (7pm Central) at the link here. (It will also be available for viewing there afterwards, as will all the acceptance speeches.) He will follow the Caldecott and Newbery Award acceptance speeches and I am so excited to hear them all! Big thanks to my lovely Legacy committee: Rob Bittner, Jessica Hilbun Schwartz, Louise Lareau, and Lucia Acosta. 

Meanwhile, I went a little crazy and created this "found" poem out of some of the book titles written and/or illustrated by Kevin Henkes just for fun. Enjoy!



Now head on over to Karen's Got a Blog for more Poetry Friday fun!



Friday, June 19, 2020

A poem for Juneteenth

I have been a longtime fan of poet Carole Boston Weatherford and her many works of poetry-- many historical, biographical, and fact-based, most in picture book form. I have learned so much from each of her books and always look forward to what she does next. This year? She has FOUR books out this year! That includes: 

  • Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2020. Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. Ill. by Michele Wood. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  • Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2020. By and By, Charles Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music. Ill. by Bryan Collier. New York: Atheneum. 
  • Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2020. Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  • Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2020. RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Ill. by Frank Morrison. New York: Atheneum.

But I also want to take a moment to highlight one of her poems in honor of today's celebration of Juneteenth, the day that enlsaved people in Texas (my home state) learned of their freedom, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This poem is from an older book, Remember the Bridge (Philomel Books, 2002) and captures a bit of history and a lot of conviction and never-ending hope! 


Carole has also published a book ABOUT Juneteenth, as well as many other books that uplift the Black experience and share Black history. She's won many awards for her work including a Sibert Honor, Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award, Coretta Scott Kind Awards and Honors, multiple NAACP Image Awards and SCBWI Golden Kite Honors, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honors, among many others. Here is just a sampling of her work.





For Black Music Month, Carole has been posting musical connections to her many music-themed poem picture books, too! Don't miss it! Now head on over to The Miss Rumphius Effect where Trish is hosting our Poetry Friday celebration. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Nikki Grimes x 2

Irene Latham is corralling our Poetry Friday posts all celebrating the work of Nikki Grimes! Be sure to check out all the posts at Irene's blog, Live Your Poem. I'm a big fan of Nikki's (and Irene's, for that matter) from way back! I co-chaired the NCTE Poetry Award committee (with the late Peggy Oxley) that selected Nikki for the award in 2006 and was there when she received her Legacy Award from ALSC. I created the teacher guide for her book, Garvey's Choice, hosted her for a poetry festival here in Texas and the Poetry Round Up at TLA, and just featured her new book, Southwest Sunrise, on my blog a few weeks ago. And her work just continues to be terrific and diverse: picture books, novels in verse, anthologies, and an incredible memoir. Plus, the awards keep piling up too! 

Nikki has been kind enough to collaborate with Janet (Wong) and me on several of our poetry anthologies, so I thought I might feature two of her poems from those books here. 


Thursday, June 04, 2020

Black Poetry Matters

As we look for ways to raise the voices of our Black sisters and brothers, I turn to poetry, of course. And there is a rich, long history of poetry by African American poets (see the list below), with new poets emerging all the time. In 2020 alone, I know of 10 books of poetry by Black poets-- offering powerful history and painful struggle, as well as celebrating identity, family, and everyday joy. And this is just a beginning!






Bibliography

  1. Brantley-Newton, Vanessa. 2020. Just Like Me. New York: Knopf.
  2. Browne, Mahogany L. 2020. Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice. New York: Roaring Brook Press.
  3. Elliott, Zetta. 2020. A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart. Ill. by Noa Denmon. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  4. Elliott, Zetta. 2020. Say Her Name. Ill. by Love is Wise. New York: Jump at the Sun.
  5. Grimes, Nikki. 2020. Southwest Sunrise. Ill. by Wendell Minor. New York: Bloomsbury
  6. James, Nancy Johnson. 2020. Brown. Ill. by Constance Moore. Cameron Kids.
  7. Johnson, Angela. 2020. A Girl Like Me. Ill. by Nina Crews. Brookfield, CT: Lerner/Millbrook.
  8. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2020. Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. Ill. by Michele Wood. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  9. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2020. By and By, Charles Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music. Ill. by Bryan Collier. New York: Atheneum.
  10. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2020. RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Ill. by Frank Morrison. New York: Atheneum.

Now, let's see what others are thinking about this Poetry Friday hosted by Margaret Simon at her blog, Reflections on the Teche. See you there!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

NCTE’s 2020 Notable Poetry List

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) strives to recognize and foster excellence in children’s poetry by encouraging its publication and by exploring ways to acquaint teachers and children with poetry through such means as publications, programs, and displays. A committee gives the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children to honor a poet for his or her aggregate work every two years and also publishes a list of "notable" poetry books each year chosen "for their use of language and poetic devices and their appropriateness for children ages three to 13." Their most recent list includes 28 outstanding books of poetry and 11 novels in verse, including a biography in lyrical verse, hybrid works of poetry and informational text, and innovative collections. In some cases, these are newly published poems, while other titles include works of classic or contemporary children’s poets that are newly illustrated or edited into a fresh collection. The 2020 NCTE Poetry Committee members included: Trish Bandré, Donna Friend, Ted Kesler, Judy Rowe Michaels, Heidi Mordhorst, Lisa Pinkerton, and Yoo Kyung Sung.

NCTE’s 2020 Notable Poetry List

Complete annotations can be found in this article in School Library Journal. Meanwhile, here's the list in brief. 

Notable Poetry
AHMADI, Ahmadreza. When I Colored in the World. illus. by Ehsan Abollahi. tr. by Azita Rassi from Arabic. Tiny Owl. ISBN 9781910328491.

ALEXANDER, Kwame. How To Read a Book. illus. by Melissa Sweet. Harper Collins/Harper. ISBN 9780062307811.

ALEXANDER, Kwame. The Undefeated. illus. by Kadir Nelson. HMH/Versify. ISBN 9781328780966.

BRAMER, Shannon. Climbing Shadows: Poems for Children. illus. by Cindy Derby. Groundwood. ISBN 9781773060958.

BULION, Leslie. Superlative Birds. illus. by Robert Meganck. Peachtree. ISBN 9781561459513.

COOPER, Susan. The Shortest Day. illus. by Carson Ellis. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763686987.

FOGLIANO, Julie. If I Was the Sunshine. illus. by Loren Long. S. & S./Atheneum. ISBN 9781481472432.

FROST, Helen. Hello, I’m Here! illus. by Rick Lieder. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763698584.

HEARD, Georgia. Boom! Bellow! Bleat! Animal Poems for Two or More Voices. illus. by Aaron DeWitt. Boyds Mills/Wordsong. ISBN 9781620915202.

HEGEDUS, Bethany. Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou. illus. by Tonya Engel. Lee & Low. ISBN 9781620145876.

HOBERMAN, Mary Ann. The Sun Shines Everywhere. illus. by Luciano Lozano. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316523844.

JANECZKO, Paul B., ed. The Proper Way To Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems. illus. by Richard Jones. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763681685.

MAILLARD, Kevin Noble. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story. illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781626727465.

OWENS, Mary Beth. Hawksbill Promise: A Sea Turtle’s Journey.illus. by author. Tilbury House. ISBN 9780884484301.

My First Book of Haiku Poems: A Picture, a Poem and a Dream. tr. by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen. illus. by Tracy Gallup. Tuttle. ISBN 9784805315156.

RANSOME, James E. The Bell Rangillus. by author. S. & S./Atheneum. ISBN 9781442421134.

RASCHKA, Chris. Mother Goose of Pudding Lane: A Small Tall Tale. illus. by Vladimir Radunsky. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763675233.

ROSSETTI, Christina. Blooming Beneath the Sun. illus. by Ashley Bryan. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. ISBN 9781534440920.

SALAS, Laura Purdie. In the Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House. illus. by Angela Matteson. Boyds Mills/Wordsong. ISBN 9781620916308.

SALAS, Laura Purdie. Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons. illus. by Mercè López. Lerner/Millbrook. ISBN 9781512498097.

SALAS, Laura Purdie. Snowman-Cold=Puddle: Spring Equations.illus. by Micha Archer. Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781580897983.

SCHAUB, Michelle. Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections.illus. by Carmen Saldaña. Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781580898751.

SINGER, Marilyn. I’m the Big One Now: Poems About Growing Up. illus. by Jana Christy. Boyds Mills/Wordsong. ISBN 9781629791692.

STEINGLASS, Elizabeth. Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer. illus. by Edson Ike. Boyds Mills/Wordsong. ISBN 9781629792491.

TURK, Evan. You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks. illus. by author. S. & S./Atheneum. ISBN 9781534432826.

VECCHIONE, Patrice & Alyssa Raymond, eds. Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience. Seven Stories. ISBN 9781609809072.

WOLF, Allan. The Day the Universe Exploded My Head. illus. by Anna Raff. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763680251.

WONG, Janet. A Suitcase of Seaweed & More. Pomelo. ISBN 9781937057336.

Notable Verse Novels
ARGUETA, Jorge. Caravan to the North: Misael’s Long Walk. illus. by Manuel Monroy. Groundwood. ISBN 9781773063294.

BARON, Chris. All of Me. Feiwel & Friends. ISBN 9781250305992.

ELLIOTT, David. Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc. HMH. ISBN 9781328987594.

HEMPHILL, Stephanie. The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. ISBN 9780062490117.

HOLT, K.A. Redwood and Ponytail. Chronicle. ISBN 9781452172880.

LUCIDO, Aimee. Emmy in the Key of Code. HMH/Versify. ISBN 9780358040828.

MOSKOWITZ-SWEET, Gloria & Hope Anita Smith. It Rained Warm Bread: Moishe Moskowitz’s Story of Hope. illus. by Lea Lyon. Holt/Christy Ottaviano Bks. ISBN 9781250165725.

NAGAI, Mariko. Under the Broken Sky. Holt/Christy Ottaviano Bks. ISBN 9781250159212.

SALAZAR, Aida. The Moon Within. illus. by Joe Cepeda. Arthur A. Levine Bks. ISBN 9781338283372.

WARGA, Jasmine. Other Words for Home. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. ISBN 9780062747808.

WILSON, Kip. White Rose. HMH/Versify. ISBN 9781328594433.

Now head on over to A Year of Reading where the Grande Dame of Poetry Friday, Mary Lee is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Remembering Peggy Oxley


I learned that my colleague Peggy Oxley passed away recently and I wanted to take a moment to honor her memory. 

Peggy was a long-time classroom teacher and a lover of literature and poetry for young people. She and I served as co-chairs of the NCTE Poetry Award committee that chose Nikki Grimes as the recipient back in 2006. Peggy was such a wonderful collaborator--the kindest, gentlest soul. She taught second grade at St. Paul Catholic School in Westerville, Ohio for her entire 43-year teaching career, not retiring until age 86. Isn't that incredible? And she is everyone's dream of the perfect second grade teacher-- endlessly patient and positive. She brought authors, illustrators, and poets into her classroom long before that was a cool trend and helped parents and colleagues see the value in providing children with this special experience. 
Peggy also invested in ongoing professional development, founding The Literacy Connection (and serving as its longtime President), a well-regarded teacher support group and was an active presenter at conferences and author of scholarly publications like Reading and Writing, Where It All Begins: Helping your Children at Home (1991), receiving many awards throughout her career.  

Franki Sibberson, literacy leader and a fellow Ohioan like Peggy, wrote a lovely tribute at the blog she maintains with Mary Lee Hahn, A Year of Reading.

Janet Wong served on the NCTE Poetry Award committee along with Peggy and me and was kind enough to write a new poem honoring our friend, Peggy. I think it perfectly captures Peggy's love for nature, children, and poetry. 


Friday, May 15, 2020

Rita Dove, Barack Obama & Poetry Love


I recently ran across this video of a poetry reading with Rita Dove that President Obama held in the White House back in 2011. I had never seen it before and I thought it was so lovely-- especially hearing Barack Obama talk about what poetry meant to him and hearing Rita Dove (one of my favorites) reading two of her poems aloud. I particularly loved this comment from the former President:














Now head on over to Jama's Alphabet Soup for a wonderful Poetry Friday gathering! She throws an awesome party! 

Friday, May 08, 2020

The Greatest Hits of Lee Bennett Hopkins

One of the silver linings of the terrible coronavirus is the greater access we are getting to digital resources that are usually only available to subscribers. For example, BOOKLIST and BOOK LINKS are providing access to all current issues for anyone who wants it. And as it happens, I have an article in the April issue of BOOK LINKS. It features the poetry legacy of the late Lee Bennett Hopkins-- with tributes from 23 poets who each chose a favorite from his amazing repertoire of poetry anthologies. That includes: Susan Blackaby, Leslie Bulion, Isabel Campoy, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Margarita Engle, Charles Ghigna, Joan Bransfield Graham, Nikki Grimes, David L. Harrison, Georgia Heard, Irene Latham, Renée M. LaTulippe, Jone MacCulloch, Elaine Magliaro, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Naomi Shihab Nye, Heidi Bee Roemer, Laura Purdie Salas, Marilyn Singer, Ludwig VanDerwater, Charles Waters, Carole Boston Weatherford, and Janet Wong. And these are SOME of the poets who collaborated with Lee during his many years of creating poetry anthologies and only SOME of the 100+ anthologies he created.

There's a downloadable pdf of the whole article here.

Now head on over to Today's Little Ditty where the lovely Michelle is hosting our Poetry Friday get-together.

Friday, May 01, 2020

"Poetry Friday" by Janet Wong

National Poetry Month may be over, but every day is a good day for sharing poetry-- especially Poetry Friday! And when you have a poem ABOUT poetry Friday, it's a MUST. Here's one more mini movie created by one of my lovely graduate students Carly B. featuring the poem "Poetry Friday" by Janet Wong from Great Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Enjoy! 


Thursday, April 30, 2020

"All Kinds of Kids" by Elizabeth Steinglass


Here's another in my mini movie series-- this one created by Ashley M. featuring the poem "All Kinds of Kids" by Elizabeth Steinglass from Great Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

"The Library" by Sara Holbrook

Here's another installment in my poetry mini movie series. This one is created by Kayla P. featuring the poem "The Library" by Sara Holbrook from The Poetry Friday Anthology (Pomelo Books, 2012). Enjoy! Don't forget that you can still use many resources from your local library ONLINE! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

"Stop! Let's Read" by Kristy Dempsey

Here's another installment in my poetry mini movie series. This one is created by Kristina W. featuring the poem "Stop! Let's Read" by Kristy Dempsey from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015). Enjoy! There's plenty of time to read right now and just what we need to ESCAPE! 

Monday, April 27, 2020

"Let's Pledge Between Us" by Janet Wong

Here's another mini poem movie--this one is created by Elaine A. featuring the poem "Let's Pledge Between Us" by Janet Wong from Great Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Click on the link below.

"Let's Pledge Between Us" by Janet Wong

Sunday, April 26, 2020

"Food Fest" by Heidi Bee Roemer

Here's another mini movie created by my lovely graduate students in bringing poetry to life. This one is made by Felicia T. featuring the poem "Food Fest" by Heidi Bee Roemer from Great Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Enjoy! 

"Food Fest" by Heidi Bee Roemer

Saturday, April 25, 2020

"A Phone is Not a Friend" by Carole Boston Weatherford


Here's another mini movie in my series of poetry videos made by my amazing graduate students. This one is created by Mary R. featuring the poem "A Phone is Not a Friend" by Carole Boston Weatherford from Great Morning: Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud (Pomelo Books, 2018). Enjoy! Right now, our phones are a great way to CONNECT with our friends! 

Friday, April 24, 2020

"I Wish" by Toon Tellegen



I'd like to pause to feature a very interesting collection of poetry and art that came my way this spring: I Wish by Toon Tellegen, illustrated with portraits by Ingrid Godon, published by Elsewhere Editions. This is one of those rare birds: an international book of poetry translated from Dutch by David Colmer that is accessible and fascinating for readers here in the U.S. (and other English-speaking countries).

Elsewhere Editions, a publisher of international, translated picture books from around the world, notes: "An art object as much as a delightful picture book, with laid and vellum pages I Wish uncovers a gallery of portraits inspired by old-fashioned photographs – faces staring out at us with the serious, veiled expressions of a bygone time. Paintings of earnest children, solemn men and women, and persnickety babes speak through Toon Tellegen’s peculiarly affecting poetry. The poems present a glittering kaleidoscope of wishes, from imagined feats of heroism to reciprocated love."


Award-winning Dutch children's author Toon Tellegen offers 33 imaginative prose-poems opening with the statement "I wish" inspired by the luminous, old-fashioned portraits created by Ingrid Godon in this beautiful volume for thoughtful young readers. An exhibit of these portraits by Godon was set to appear at a gallery in New York this spring. "Like dozens of confessions poured from the page, the writing presents a glittering kaleidoscope of wishes, from imagined feats of heroism to reciprocated human love." 


About the author: Toon Tellegen is a Dutch writer and poet who published his first collection of stories for children in 1984 and has published more than twenty collections of poetry to date. In 2001, his book Raptors (Raafvogels), translated into English by Judith Wilkinson, won the British Poetry Society's Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation. Tellegen was also awarded the Theo Thijssen Prize and the Constantijn Huygens Prize for his entire body of work. 

About the translator: David Colmer translates Dutch literature and is a four-time winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize. He received the 2009 Biennial NSW Premier, a PEN Translation Prize, and an International Dublin Literary Award. 

About the artist: Ingrid Godon is a Dutch children's book illustrator and artist. Her first illustrated book, Wachten op Matroos, was published in 2000 accompanying André Sollie's poetry. Her illustrations stand out for their poetic, sensitive depictions of people and places. When Ik Wou (I Wish) was launched in 2011, it was nominated for the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis award. 

This book is such a fascinating combination of art and ekphrastic poetry with a weird, yet child-like sensibility. Here's one of my favorite poems from this collection. See what you think!

Kirkus noted: "This Dutch import pairs portraits with poetry to articulate wrenching individualism, yearning, humor, desires, and pathos... This probing psychological journey makes for an exciting exploration in empathy." 

Now head on over to Wondering and Wandering where Christie is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering. See you there!