Thursday, October 15, 2020


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. 


Author Amok said...

Congratulations, Sylvia and Janet. This book has the joyful energy we all need right now. I'm excited to meet all of the new poets through their poems.

Margaret Simon said...

You and Janet are an amazing team. You gathered an awesome group of poems that are so teacher friendly that I think my year is planned already. Thanks for making me a part of your project. I am thrilled to be included.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

What a fun book - and fun concept. Best wishes with it.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

This colorful post with its beautiful graphics is just plain happy-making, Sylvia. (I've been having fun making my own graphic for "All Tied, Bases Loaded" that I think you're going to like. :) Thanks for continuing your trend of being timely, fun, and making a difference in the lives of children and teachers through POETRY!

jama said...

Congratulations to you and Janet!! You two have done it again. LOVE the concept -- so fun and upbeat, precisely what we need right now. Enjoyed all the sample poems, Zetta's reading, and seeing that awesome list of poets (fun pics too). Looking forward to checking out all the stops on the blog tour. Thanks for all you do, you two!!

Janice Scully said...

Congratulations to Sylvia and Janet! I love how you have made each poem even more accessible to teachers and parents, too. Lovely and useful work!

Fran Haley said...

So bright, energetic, and fun! In addition to the poetry I love how much interesting scientific information is included in the book. "Backmatter" is a word I just adore along with the fact that there's lots for kids to do there also - more fun learning.

Many congratulations on this exciting venture!

Janet Wong said...

Had to LAUGH at Sylvia's line: "we also love making connections between poems and teaching and learning. (It’s kinda our THING!)" KINDA?!! 1000%!! Thank you to everyone here for your generous praise and beautiful comments. The poetry community is an A++ kind of place.

Ruth said...

This looks so great! And I've been loving using my PFAMS during our hybrid school experience.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, poetry friends! I love all the support this community gives one another. Hope you'll love our HOP! ;-)

Linda B said...

Congratulations, Sylvia and Janet. This new anthology is sure to be a hit with kids and of course, their teachers. It's a trying time for everyone in education so "extra' help in fun activities, "moving" poems will be wonderful.

Sally Murphy said...

Congratulations Sylvia and Janet. I look forward to learning more about the book and the poets over the course of the tour.

laurasalas said...

Woohoo! Congratulations, Sylvia and Janet and all the poets! I am sad that I missed the open call, but I'm thrilled to see so many poetry friends in here. Can't wait to read this--it looks like a wonderful mix of poems!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

The poems are good, great, wonderful--but it's all that bubbly extra side and back matter that always makes your books so special. Thank you, thank you, Sylvia and Janet, for being a force for poetry in the lives of children (and the support that brings to the adults who write for them).