Thursday, October 15, 2020

HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING

It’s here! HOP TO IT: Poems to Get You Moving has arrived! 
Janet (Wong) and I are so excited to see this poetry anthology full of 100 poems to get you moving, thinking, and standing up ready for readers! A big thank you to the 90 poets who shared their poems with us!
For the first time, we held an open call for poems posted here back on February 13 and received hundreds of submissions—we wish we could have accepted them all. One of the special treats of this project was getting to know some brand-new poets and we think you’ll enjoy their poems as much as we do!

 We asked the poets to hop along with us and we love how ready they were! 





Initially, we were focused exclusively on helping young readers and listeners get up off their chairs and moving to the words of an inviting poem because multiple research studies have found we are all becoming way too sedentary. Some have even said that “sitting is the new smoking.” EEK!  And MOVING is STILL a big part of this book! But then as we continued to work on the book, our entire way of life shifted a bit and we were all dealing with a global pandemic, quarantining, and schooling from home, and at the same time, experiencing a national awakening to the social justice issues that we are still grappling with as a nation. Well, we HAD to incorporate those issues into this book, too. So, you’ll find fun, participatory hopping, jumping, tapping, and waving poems in HOP TO IT, but you’ll also find poems about wearing masks, Zooming with teachers, friends and family, AND poems about standing up for what you believe in. Here are just a few examples. 


Look for poems to move to like this (by Ann Ingalls):



Look for poems about living through a pandemic like this (by Janet Wong):



Poems that inspire us to speak out and stand up like this (by Zetta Elliott):



As usual, we also love making connections between poems and teaching and learning. (It’s kinda our THING!) So, every poem is accompanied by five connected “bubbles” with 

(1) a tip on performing the poem with young people, 

(2) a scientific or social studies fact related to the poem,

(3) a tiny "spot" illustration, 

(4) a language arts/poetry skills connection, and 

(5) a recommended related picture book for a cross-genre extension. 



We also have extensive backmatter with ready-to-go activities for kids like a poem hunt, poetry tic tac toe, a poetry month calendar activity, and tips for acting out poems, sharing poetry at home, poetry websites to know, a glossary of poetic forms, and booklists of other movement poetry books and poetry books about social justice.


We’ve been gathering our poets for Zoom poetry parties and they’ve been kind enough to let us record and share their poem readings. You are in for a major treat as we roll those out in the coming weeks. Here is just one fun sampling (with big thanks to poet Zetta Elliott for reading "Everyday Use" also presented in the poem graphic above):



Other bloggers and poets will be posting about HOP TO IT in the coming weeks offering their perspectives—for which we truly thank them—and we hope you’ll check out their posts and their poems!  Here’s the current schedule with more serendipitous blog posts hopping up all the time! 



If you’re looking for a book full of poems that speak to this moment we’re living through AND make teaching and learning connections AND help us take a “brain break” and stretch and breathe, we hope you’ll check out HOP TO IT! You can find it here at QEPBooks and at Amazon, of course. It should be available from Ingram soon, too. 

Now, don’t forget to check out the rest of the Poetry Friday goodness hosted by Janice at Salt City Verse. 


Thursday, October 01, 2020

THIS POEM IS A NEST by Irene Latham


I’m so happy to feature Irene Latham today in celebration of her new book, This Poem is a Nest, illustrated by Joanna Wright and published by Boyds Mills & Kane. It’s a wonder: a collection of 161 “found” or “blackout” poems she has created all drawn from one central poem. Amazing! 

Irene was kind enough to create a short video with a bit of background about this book and featuring three (of the eight) 3-word poems in the book: "Mad," "The Story of the Egg in Three Parts," and "Last Poem." Enjoy! 


Irene Latham is the author of novels, picture books, and poetry books and winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award. Her poetry books include: 

Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole.
Ill. by Anna Wadham (Millbrook/Lerner, 2014) 
Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmer’s Market. Ill. by Mique Moriuchi (Highlights/Wordsong, 2016) 
When the Sun Shines on Antarctica: And Other Poems About the Frozen Continent. Ill. by Anna Wadham (Millbrook Press, 2016) 
Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems. Ill. by Amy Huntington (Charlesbridge, 2020) 

And her collaborations with Charles Waters: 
Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (Millbrook Press, 2017)
Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z (Carolrhoda Books, 2020) 

This Poem is a Nest 
is rooted in one original “nest” poem which features four parts: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter—each written in three stanzas of three-lines (or tercets). It begins (and ends) with:

“This poem has twigs in it, and little bits of feather-fluff.”

It envisions a nest in a tree that houses young robins, weathers the seasons, and is then adopted by a mouse for its own young, coming full circle. Then, Latham harvests more poems from this poem and gathers them along the themes of 
  • Time 
  • Color my world 
  • Animals among us 
  • Only human 
  • For the love of words 
  • Places seen and unseen 
  • (Out) of time 
She also provides “Tips from a Nest-Builder” in the back for the budding poet. It’s a beautiful model of what is possible with poetry and how one poem can lead to another and another and another. One of my favorite pages features “alphabet poems” complete with a note from the writer: 


Now head on over to The Opposite of Indifference where Tabatha Yeatts is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering.