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!