Showing posts with label best list. Show all posts
Showing posts with label best list. Show all posts

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Librarians’ Choices 2011: POETRY

In my quest to keep you posted on all the poetry titles that are garnering special recognition, please allow me to “toot my own horn” about my Librarians’ Choices book review project, now in its 8th year.

The Librarians’ Choices project involves volunteer teachers, librarians, and library professionals in the Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) area who spend the calendar year reading and discussing hundreds of new books for children and young adults provided by major publishers. Participants determine which titles are most outstanding based on literary quality, appeal to children and young adults, the typical needs of a school or community library, and a comparative study of other professional review sources.

In the end, we focus on developing a list of 100 titles, with approximately half of the list being designated for picture books or books for children and half of the list designated for novels or works for young adults. Poetry and nonfiction titles are also incorporated as appropriate and we also actively seek out works with multicultural content. Then each participant reviews a subset of books including compiling a complete bibliography of each title with a description and analysis of the book, as well as connections for sharing the book with child/teen audiences and recommendations for related books to combine or compare with the featured title. You’ll find all seven years of our recommendations and guides here.

The goals of the proposed session are twofold, to develop knowledge about current books for children and young adults and to think critically about these books and to share a professional resource for anyone interested in keeping up with the outstanding and intriguing books being published for the young people they serve. I’m pleased to showcase our recent 2011 selections and especially proud that our list includes these 17 poetry books.

1. Frost, Helen. 2011. HIDDEN. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. ISBN 9780374382216 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
2. George, Kristine O’Connell. EMMA DILEMMA: BIG SISTER POEMS. Ill. by Nancy Carpenter. New York: Clarion. ISBN 978-0618428427 [Suggested Grade Levels K-5]
3. Henderson, Kathy. HUSH, BABY, HUSH!: LULLABIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD. New York: Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-1845079673 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
4. Hopkins, Lee Bennett (Ed.) I AM THE BOOK. Ill. by Yayo. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 978-0823421190 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-5]
5. Janeczko, Paul B. 2011. REQUIEM: POEMS OF THE TEREZIN GHETTO. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763647278 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-10]
6. Lai, Thanhha. 2011. INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0061962783 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
7. Marcus, Kimberly. 2011. EXPOSED. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375966934 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
8. McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. 2011. UNDER THE MESQUITE. New York: Lee & Low. ISBN 978-1600604294 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
9. McKissack, Patricia C. 2011. NEVER FORGOTTEN. Ill. by Leo & Diane Dillon. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375843846 [Suggested Grade Levels K-8]
10. Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. WE ARE AMERICA: A TRIBUTE FROM THE HEART. New York: Collins. ISBN 978-0060523084 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-10]
11. Ostlere, Cathy. 2011. KARMA. New York: Penguin. ISBN 9781595143389 [Suggested Grade Levels 8-11]
12. Raczka, Bob. 2011. LEMONADE AND OTHER POEMS SQUEEZED FROM A SINGLE WORD. Ill. by Nancy Doniger. New York: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 9721596435414 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-10]
13. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2011. BOOKSPEAK!: POEMS ABOUT BOOKS. Ill. by Josee Bisaillon. New York: Clarion. ISBN 978-0547223001 [Suggested Grade Levels K-6]
14. Thompson, Holly. 2011. ORCHARDS. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385739771 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
15. Wardlaw, Lee. 2011. WON TON: A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0805089950 [Suggested Grade Levels K-5]
16. Wolf, Allan. 2011.THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT: VOICES FROM THE TITANIC. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 978-0763637033 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
17. Zimmer, Tracy Vaughn. 2011. COUSINS OF CLOUDS: ELEPHANT POEMS. Ill. by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy. New York: Clarion. ISBN 978-0618903498 [Suggested Grade Levels K-7]

Image credit: 


Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2012. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Sneak Peek

It’s sneak peek time!
 The ALA Midwinter conference was in my backyard this weekend (so fun!) and I was there for the awards announcement yesterday morning. There were a few poetry titles scattered amongst the prizes: Thanhha Lai’s National Book Award winning Inside Out and Back Again received a Newbery honor, the Coretta Scott King Author Award included honor books The Great Migration by Eloise Greenfield and Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack, and the Pura Belpre Award went to Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, with honors to Margarita Engle for Hurricane Dancers. (Interesting that multicultural poetry is getting such recognition—so worthy!)

I also had the opportunity to chat with the publishers, peruse new books, pore over catalogs, attend previews, and gather my annual “sneak peek” list of the poetry titles that are scheduled to be published in 2012. Of course this is subject to change with additional titles possible as the year rolls along. (I revised and updated this list on Sept. 20, 2012.)

Please let me know of any others I can add. I’ll be coming back to this posting throughout the year and adding titles, hoping to offer a one-stop spot here for referencing a 2012 list of poetry for kids throughout the year (and beyond). Meanwhile, I am THRILLED to share 50 (now 75!) titles of poetry for young people (including novels in verse) coming soon…

  1. Andrews, Julie and Hamilton, Emma Walton. Eds. 2012. Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year. Ill. by Marjorie Priceman. New York: Little, Brown.
  2. Applegate, Katherine. 2012. The One and Only Ivan. Harper.
  3. Argueta, Jorge. 2012. Guacamole; Un poema para cocinar/ A Cooking Poem. Ill. by Margarita Sada. Groundwood.
  4. Brownlee, Liz. 2012. Animal Magic. Ill. by Rose Sanderson. London: Iron Press.
  5. Cabrera, Jane. Adapter. 2012. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. New York: Holiday House. 
  6. Calhoun, Dia. 2012. Eva of the Farm. Atheneum.
  7. Clayton, Dallas. 2012. Make Magic! Do Good!. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  8. Coombs, Kate. 2012. Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems. Ill. by Meilo So. Chronicle.
  9. Corcoran, Jill. Ed. 2012. Dare to Dream… Change the World. Kane Miller.
  10. Cushman, Doug. 2012. Pigmares. Charlesbridge.
  11. Davies, Nicola. 2012. Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature. Ill. by Mark Hearld. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  12. Dean, Carolee. 2012. Forget Me Not. New York: Simon Pulse.
  13. Elliott, David. 2012. In the Sea. Ill. by Holly Meade. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  14. Engle, Margarita. 2012. The Wild Book. Houghton Mifflin.
  15. Farish, Terry. 2012. The Good Braider: A Novel. Marshall Cavendish.
  16. Farrar, Sid. 2012. The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons. Ill. by Ilse Plume. Whitman.
  17. Florian, Douglas. 2012. Poem Runs; Baseball Poems and Paintings. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  18. Florian, Douglas. 2012. Unbeelievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings. Beach Lane.
  19. Florian, Douglas. 2012. Shiver Me Timbers! Ill. by Robert Neubecker. New York: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster.
  20. Frost, Helen. 2012. Step Gently Out. Ill. by Rick Lieder. Candlewick.
  21. Fyleman, Rose. 2012. Mice. Ill. by Lois Ehlert. Simon & Schuster. 
  22. Grady, Cynthia. 2012. I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery. Ill. by Michele Wood. Eerdmans.
  23. Hale, Christy. 2012. Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building. Lee & Low.
  24. Harrison, David. 2012. Cowboys. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  25. Heard, Georgia. Ed. 2012. The Arrow Finds its Mark: A Book of Found Poems. Macmillan.
  26. Heidbreder, Robert. 2012. Noisy Poems for a Busy Day. Ill. by Lori Joy Smith. Toronto: Kids Can Press.
  27. Hemphill, Stephanie. 2012. Sisters of Glass. Knopf.
  28. Hoberman, Mary Ann. Ed. Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart. Ill. by Michael Emberley. Little, Brown.
  29. Hopkins, Ellen. 2012. Tilt. New York: Margaret K. McElderry. 
  30. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2012. Nasty Bugs. Ill. by Will Terry. Dial.
  31. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2012. Mary’s Song. Ill. by Stephen Alcorn. Eerdmans.
  32. Hoyte, Carol-Ann and Roemer, Heidi Bee. Eds. 2012. And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems. Ill. by Kevin Sylvester. Friesens Press.
  33. Hughes, Langston. 2012. I, Too, Am America. Ill. by Bryan Collier. Simon & Schuster.
  34. Jensen, Dana. 2012. A Meal of the Stars; Poems Up and Down. Houghton Mifflin.
  35. Katz, Susan. 2012. The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About U.S. Presidents. Clarion.
  36. Kimmel, Eric A. Adapter. Moby Dick: Chasing the Great White Whale. Ill. by Andrew Glass. Feiwel & Friends.
  37. Koertge, Ron. 2012. Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses. Ill. by Andrea Dezsö. Candlewick.
  38. Lawson, JonArno. 2012. Down in the Bottom of the Bottom of the Box. Ill. by Alec Dempster. Erin, Ontario: Porcupine Quill's Press. 
  39. Leavitt, Martine. 2012. My Book of Life by Angel.  New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  40. Lesynki, Loris. 2012. Crazy About Soccer. Toronto: Annick Press.
  41. Levine, Gail Carson. 2012. Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems. Ill. by Matthew Cordell. HarperCollins.
  42. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2012. Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems. Ill. by Michael Slack. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  43. Lewis, J. Patrick and Yolen, Jane. 2012. Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs. Ill. by Jeffrey Timmins. Charlesbridge.
  44. Lewis, J. Patrick and Yolen, Jane. 2012. Take Two! A Celebration of Twins. Ill. by Sophie Blackall. Candlewick.
  45. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2012. When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders. Chronicle.
  46. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2012. If You Were a Chocolate Mustache: Poems. Ill. by Matt Cordell. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  47. Lewis, J. Patrick. (Ed.) 2012. Book of Animal Poetry. National Geographic.
  48. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2012. What’s Looking at You Kid? Ill. by Renee Graef. Sleeping Bear Press.
  49. Luján, Jorge. 2012. Con el sol en los ojos/ With the Sun in My Eyes. Ill. by Morteza Zahedi. Groundwood.
  50. Lurie, Susan. 2012. Frisky Brisky Hippity Hop by Alexina B. White. Ill. by Murray Head. Holiday House.
  51. Marsalis, Wynton. 2012. Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! Ill. by Paul Rogers. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  52. Mathers, Petra. Ed. 2012. The McElderry Book of Mother Goose: Revered and Rare Rhymes Compiled and Illustrated by Petra Mathers. Margaret K. McElderry Books.
  53. McLaughlin, Timothy. Ed. 2012. Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky; Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School. Abrams.
  54. Merchant, Natalie. Ed. 2012. Leave Your Sleep. Ill. by Barbara McClintock. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  55. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2012. The Armpit of Doom: Poems for Giftedly Mental Children. Ill. by Rafael Domingos. CreateSpace.
  56. Newman, Leslea. 2012. October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard. Candlewick.
  57. Ode, Eric. 2012. When You're a Pirate Dog and Other Pirate Poems. Ill. by Jim Harris. Pelican.
  58. Opie, Iona and Peter Opie. Eds. 1992/2012. I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild's Pocket Book. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. (Reissued)
  59. A Poem as Big as New York City: Little Kids Write About the Big Apple. Ill. by Masha D’yans. New York: Teachers Writers Collaborative.
  60. Prelutsky, Jack. 2012. I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus. Ill. by Jackie Urbanovic. Greenwillow.
  61. Rose, Caroline Starr. 2012. May B. Random House.
  62. Rosen, Michael J. 2012. Running with Trains, A Novel in Poetry and Two Voices. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  63. Rosen, Michael. 2012. Bananas in My Ears: A Collection of Nonsense Stories, Poems, Riddles, & Rhymes. Ill. by Quentin Blake. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  64. Rosenthal, Betsy. 2012. Looking for Me. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  65. Ross, Gary. 2012. Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind. Ill. by Matthew Myers. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  66. Shange, Ntozake. 2012. Freedom's a-Callin Me. Ill. by Rod Brown. Amistad/Collins.
  67. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. The Boy Who Cried Alien. Ill. by Brian Biggs. Hyperion.
  68. Singer, Marilyn, 2012. Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems. Dial.
  69. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals That Call Them Home. Ill. by Ed Young. Chronicle.
  70. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. The Superheroes Employment Agency. Ill. by Noah Z. Jones. Clarion.
  71. Sklansky, Amy E. 2012. Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space. Knopf.
  72. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2012. Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934. Ill. by Frank Morrison. Atheneum.
  73. Swain, Gwenyth. 2012. Hope and Tears: Ellis Island Voices. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press/Calkins Creek.
  74. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2012. In the Land of Milk and Honey. Ill. by Floyd Cooper. New York: HarperCollins.
  75. Tregay, Sarah. 2012. Love & Leftovers. Katherine Tegen Books.
  76. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2012. The Poetry Friday Anthology. Princeton, NJ: Pomelo Books.
  77. Weston, Robert Paul. 2012. Prince Pugly. Razorbill.
  78. Wilson, Jacqueline. Ed. 2012. Green Glass Beads. Pan Macmillan Children's.
  79. Wong, Janet. 2012. Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year. PoetrySuitcase.
  80. Yolen, Jane. 2012. Bug Off! Creepy Crawly Poems. Ill. by Jason Stemple. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  81. Yolen, Jane. 2012. Ekaterinoslav: One Family's Passage to America, a Memoir in Verse. Duluth, MN: HolyCow! Press.
  82. Yolen, Jane. 2012. The Emily Sonnets. Ill. by Gary Kelley. Creative Editions. 

Also... for adults, but with appeal to teens:
Petras, Kathryn & Ross. 2012. The Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry: Timeless Poems By Snooki, John Boehner, Kanye West and Other Well-Versed Celebrities. Workman.
*a hilarious tongue-in-cheek book of "found" poetry with poems made from the actual comments of various celebrities

Also a poetry-related work:
Burak, Kate. 2012. Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things. New York: Roaring Brook.

Image credit:

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2012. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Favorite poetry of 2011

I’ve been quiet for a bit, celebrating the holidays and taking a much needed end-of-semester break. I’ve also wrapped up several poetry-related projects including two forthcoming articles for the March 2012 issue of Book Links (an article on awards for children’s poetry and an “almanac-like” piece offering 100 poetry books linked to historic or celebration occasions for each day in April). Our annual Librarians’ Choices group also finalized its deliberations on the best 100 books for children and YA and we’ll share those results next month. Of course there are several poetry titles on that list! And I had the honor of serving on a Cybils Awards committee—this time the brand new “App” committee reviewing some 50 book-based apps for children and selecting our shortlist of favorites. That was quite an education and I’ll post more about that next week. There were no poetry-focused apps on our list (beyond rhyming works like Dr. Seuss), but it has inspired me to explore creating some! Stay tuned on that topic.

Meanwhile, as the year is drawing to a close and as usual, I’d like to offer my annual list of favorite poetry books of the year. I think it’s been another great year for poetry for young people. I wrote about ten trends I observed this year on the PACYA blog (featured last week). It begins:

In examining the nearly one hundred books of poetry published for young people in 2011, I’ve found there’s quite a variety in style, tone, content, and format available. In fact, I noticed ten mini-trends (if 2-3 books constitute a trend) that are worth exploring: animals, humor, music, culture, novels in verse, stories in verse, emerging new voices, poetic innovation, ebooks, and book poetry. Some titles feature tried-and-true “formulas” for creating appealing poetry for young people (using the connecting theme of “animals,” for example), and others venture into brand new territory (such as creating poems using only the letters from a single word, as in Bob Raczka’s Lemonade). Once again, the variety and quality offer an intriguing snapshot of the state of poetry for young people today. [Read the rest of the piece here.]

Today, I’ll offer my own list of 20 of the most distinctive, most appealing books of poetry of 2011. As a group, they offer a mini-library of what’s new and great about poetry for kids: in style, in format, in look, in impact, in emotional power, etc. I’ve blogged about most of these previously, as well as many, many other terrific titles of the nearly 80 poetry works published this year and I’d love to hear about other people’s favorites. Here you go…

1. Engle, Margarita. 2011. Hurricane Dancers; The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Henry Holt.
*a powerful novel in verse set in the early 1500’s about a slave named Quebrado, a Spanish pirate named Bernardo de Talavera, and a hostage named Alonso de Ojeda and their intertwining fates when all three are stranded on an island after a hurricane destroys their ship.

2. Frost, Helen. 2011. Hidden. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
*an inventive verse novel told from two different perspectives—one girl is inadvertently kidnapped during a robbery and get-a-way. The daughter of the kidnapper quietly helps her, but when her father is arrested neither of their lives will ever be the same. Several years later the two girls attend the same summer camp and must confront the past, their feelings, and the repercussions.

3. George, Kristine O’Connell. 2011. Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems. Ill. by Nancy Carpenter. Clarion.
*a picture book story-in-poems that introduces the unique relationship between sisters as allies, playmates, and even enemies with a focus on two particular sisters and a crisis of too much togetherness

4. Henderson, Kathy. 2011. Hush, Baby, Hush! Lullabies from Around the World. Ill. by Pam Smy. Seattle: Frances Lincoln.
*a book of traditional lullabies gathered from all over the world with words in the original language plus the English version, together with a melody line and engaging illustrations

5. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2011. I am the Book. Holiday House.
*a collection of thirteen poems written by various top poets all on the subject of books and celebrating the joy of reading

6. Janeczko, Paul B. 2011. Requiem; Poems of the Terezín Ghetto. Candlewick.
*a haunting look into the lives of those imprisoned in the Terezin Concentration Camp during World War II, proudly hailed by Hitler as a sanctuary for artistic Jews

7. Lai, Thanhha. 2011. Inside Out and Back Again. HarperCollins.
*powerful debut work from a new voice, a loosely autobiographical work about her own experience as a refugee from Vietnam and as a new immigrant to the U.S. in the 1970s

8. Lewis, J. Patrick and Yolen, Jane. 2011. Self Portrait with Seven Fingers: A Life of Marc Chagall in Verse. Creative Editions.
*an art-filled biography in poems that combines glimpses into Chagall’s art with factual details and evocative poetry exploring the distinctive life path of an artist

9. Marcus, Kimberly. 2011. exposed. Random House.
*in this debut novel in verse for teens Marcus pens a heartbreaking tale of how one act of violence can tear apart a friendship, a family, and a community.

10. McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. 2011. Under the Mesquite. Lee & Low.
*another debut novel in verse featuring a young Latina girl with artistic aspirations in a close-knit family coping with the mother’s struggle with cancer

11. Nursery Rhyme Comics; 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists. First Second.
*a clever and comprehensive collection of classic nursery rhymes all freshly interpreted by a variety of top cartoonists

12. Ostlere, Cathy. 2011. Karma. New York: Razorbill.
*Maya and her Sikh father travel from Canada to India with her Hindu mother’s ashes on the eve of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. In the chaos that ensues, they are separated and this powerful debut verse novel becomes a story of survival, sacrifice, culture clash, and ultimately love.

13. Raczka, Bob. 2011. Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word. Roaring Brook.
*a clever book filled with puzzle poems built from the letters of a single word; solve the word patterns then enjoy the simple childhood themes

14. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2011. BookSpeak!. Ill. by Josee Bisaillon. Clarion.
*the rhyme, rhythm, and voice of each poem told from the point of view of a book, will not only will this inspire children to read THIS book, but will inspire them to read period.

15. Thompson, Holly. 2011. Orchards. Random House.
*when a young girl takes her life and her circle of peers is complicit, Kana is sent to her mother’s childhood home, a small village in Japan, to visit with her family, and reflect on her role and her own identity

16. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2011. P*TAG.
*in this first ever digital anthology of new poetry for young adults, 31 poets speak to the complicated lives of today's teens, with new, quirky, reflective, and soulful poems about love and longing, war and worry, tattoos, piercings, watching people, being watched, broken lives, and more (I know it’s a bit self-serving to highlight my own project, but I think these poems are really special and I didn’t write ANY of them!)

17. Wardlaw, Lee. 2011. Won Ton; A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. Ill. by Eugene Yelchin. Henry Holt.
*the sweet story of a shelter cat as he settles into his new home told in senryu, a form of Japanese poetry, capturing the fickle nature of the feline creature

18. Wheeler, Lisa. 2011. Spinster Goose; Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children. Ill. by Sophie Blackall. Atheneum.
*a clever, satirical twist on classic Mother Goose rhymes in the “Lemony Snicket” tradition

19. Wolf, Allan. 2011. The Watch That Ends the Night; Voices from the Titanic. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
*this massive, compelling novel in verse captures this historic and tragic event through multiple perspectives (including the iceberg itself) and varying poetry formats

20. Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2011. Cousins of Clouds; Elephant Poems. Houghton Mifflin.
*through combined poetry, informative paragraphs, and evocative illustrations, the power and myth of the world's largest land animal is revealed in a variety of poetic forms

As award committees deliberate about their choices, as teachers select books to read aloud with kids, as librarians develop their book collections, as parents and grandparents shop for their children, I hope they’ll all include POETRY on their wishlists. There are so many wonderful works worthy of consideration and sure to hold up in repeated readings over and over again.

I’m now working on my “sneak peek” list of forthcoming poetry for 2012. I already have 22 titles to highlight, but I’m sure there are many more in the works. If you know of any, please let me know. I’ll post that list in early January and keep updating it throughout the year.

It's not too late to join the last Poetry Friday for the year hosted by poet Julie Larios at The Drift Record. Happy new year!

Image credits:;;;

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2011. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Poetry of 2010

Better late, than never, here are my picks for my favorite poetry books of the year 2010. For me, it is all about the poetry “package,” if you will. The poems, of course, are number one, and they should be interesting, thoughtful, distinctive, and rhythmic. I also value poetry that reads well out loud since I believe that is so crucial in connecting with children. But I also value the design and illustration of each book, since the presentation of the poems as a set provides an essential context for entering, enjoying, and remembering the poems. So many of today’s poetry works do this so well—creating inviting visuals, well-designed layouts, and a distinct combination of art and language.

I also seek out poetry for a range of ages and sophistication levels-- for the very youngest listeners to historical novels in verse for older readers. I look for anthologies that showcase many poets (old and new), as well as collections featuring the works of a single poet. I like picture book compilations, as well as longer anthologies (as scarce as hens teeth nowadays!). I'm also intrigued by bilingual collections of poetry and poetry by writers outside the U.S. and wish there were WAY more of those (in many languages). Finally, I'm also intrigued by the art and illustration within works of poetry and what impact those images have in perceiving the imagery evoked by the language. All in all, I'm pleased to offer you a smorgasbord of my 20 favorites from the year along with brief annotations and connections. Enjoy!

1. Ada, Alma Flor and Campoy, Isabel. 2010. Muu, Moo! Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes. Rayo/HarperCollins.
*A bilingual (Spanish/English) collection of 16 playful nursery rhymes taken from Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Spain together with some original verses, with Zubizarreta (the translator) retaining the musicality of the originals. Simple, rhythmic poems vary in length and featuring not cows, but a conejito (rabbit), a burro (donkey) and una lechuza (an owl), among other appealing animal characters.

2. Argueta, Jorge. 2010. Arroz con leche/Rice Pudding: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem. Ill. By Fernando Vilela. Groundwood.
* Remember Argueta’s Bean Soup (Sopa de frijoles) last year? Here’s a follow up recipe poem picture book for dessert! This time, the lyrical language introduces us to one of the world’s staples (rice) and how to prepare this popular and delicious dish. Argueta’s fresh phrasing and Vilela’s multi-media illustrations are the perfect pairing for this bilingual food-focused poem book in both Spanish and English.

3. Atkins, Jeannine. 2010. Borrowed Names; Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters. Henry Holt.
*Three contemporaneous women from history (Wilder, Walker and Curie) and their relationships with their daughters are showcased in this remarkable collection of poems that weave together like a novel-in-verse. Well researched, lyrical and compelling, these women, their daughters, and their times come to life in unique ways that connect and cross over.

4. Brown, Calef. 2010. Hallowilloween; Nefarious Silliness. Houghton Mifflin.
*This is classic Calef with his usual interplay of wordplay and artplay in this fun collection of poems perfect for Halloween and beyond. His clever use of point of view and relentless rhyme create irresistible poem portraits about mummies, witches, and “vumpires.” Stylized, full-color art creates the perfect stage for his poems, full of details kids will notice and enjoy. Read these aloud together; the humor is completely infectious.

5. Elliott, David. 2010. In the Wild. Ill. by Holly Meade. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
*In the Wild is a perfect companion to Elliott and Meade’s previous work, On the Farm. This time the expansive, double-page spreads feature 14 wild cousins such as the lion, elephant, giraffe, zebra, etc. Elliott’s short rhymes offer a musical and succinct blend of facts and feelings, with a riddle-like wrinkle spread across Meade’s beautiful painted woodblock prints.

6. Engle, Margarita. 2010. The Firefly Letters; A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba. Henry Holt.
*In Engle’s fourth historical work in verse, she brings together three memorable female characters from different strata of society as they grapple with issues of freedom and choice. Based on primary sources from Swedish suffragist Fredrika Bremer and set in Cuba in 1851, Engle once again offers multiple overlapping dramatic points of view captured in the most lyrical imagery and language.

7. Florian, Douglas. 2010. Poetrees. Simon & Schuster.
*As a former Girl Scout and leader, I confess I love trees and identifying various species, so I thoroughly enjoyed the art and wordplay in another engaging Florian picture book collection, Poetrees. Once again, he is so clever in both his creation and arrangement of art AND words in depicting 18 trees from around the world. And don’t forget to check out the “glossatree!”

8. Hemphill, Stephanie. 2010. Wicked Girls; A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials. HarperCollins.
*Hemphill has created a tour de force poetic slice of history with Wicked Girls, a totally compelling multi-point of view depiction of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Using the varying perspectives of the girls themselves and a formal language that evokes the period, she manages to deftly suggest The Crucible meets “Mean Girls,” revealing the ageless conflicts and group dynamics that underlie interactions and relationships between girls (and others) across time.

9. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. (Ed). 2010. Amazing Faces. Ill. by Chris Soentpiet. Lee and Low.
*This appealing new collection of 16 “portrait” poems by an assortment of largely contemporary poets celebrates diversity in our population with details and examples that will resonate with children and readers of all ages and backgrounds. Sumptuously illustrated by Chris Soentpiet, it’s the perfect ice-breaker for reading aloud, getting acquainted, and prompting further sharing and writing.

10. Hopkins, Lee. Bennett. (Ed.) 2010. Sharing the Seasons. Margaret McElderry.
*Illustrated with David Diaz’s vivid color palette, this expansive and generous anthology of 48 poems (12 for each of 4 seasons) gives one time to soak up each poem, a selection and blending of poems and voices. This notion of poems throughout the calendar year has such appeal to adults who want to infuse poetry into daily life, yet the poems rise above the mere curricular connection (fall = pumpkins, for example) with fresh language and images (e.g., “one brew of wind”).

11. Lawson, JonArno. 2010. Think Again. Kids Can Press.
*A slim volume of poetry destined for many middle school (and high school) library shelves and surreptitious boy-girl sharing, it’s built upon a series of 48 quatrain poems, almost story-like, in revealing the tenderness, angst, confusion, and exhilaration of fledgling first love. Black and white ink drawings by Julie Morstad “people” the book, suggesting the tentative sketching of a young artist doodling and journaling. Lawson’s clever wordplay and sometimes syncopated rhythms keep the poems from veering into sentimentality and make them open-ended enough to stand on their own as thoughtful and contemplative.

12. Levy, Debbie. 2010. The Year of Goodbyes; A True Story of Friendship, Family and Farewells. Hyperion.
*Based on her own mother’s childhood sharing of 1938 autograph-style/sticker albums in WWII Germany, Levy has created a graphic novel in verse with a childlike look and voice with a strong narrative pull. Be sure to also visit the book’s interactive companion web site, The Poesiealbum Project.

13. Mora, Pat. 2010. Dizzy in Your Eyes; Poems About Love. Knopf.
*The inter-generational points of view provide a powerful frame for the topic of love for young readers—and readers of all ages. There is clearly a youthful point of view and voice, but the poems reference love of parents, friends, family, pets—acknowledging the depth of feeling in many relationships and at many stages of life. Plus, it’s chock full of many poetic forms (and notes about form) which teachers will enjoy.

14. Paschen, Elise and Raccah, Dominique. (Comp.) 2010. Poetry Speaks; Who I Am. Sourcebooks.
*The anthology is filled with more than 100 remarkable selections for ages 12–14 from a wide variety of poets. From Dickinson to Collins to Clifton and beyond, this anthology features both classic and contemporary selections and includes an audio CD (be sure to listen to the CD) with poets reading their own work. A journey of discovery through remarkable poets in a graphic teen-friendly format that looks deceptively like a journal of doodlings.

15. Raczka, Bob. 2010. Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. Ill. by Peter Reynolds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
*This book really surprised me with its blending of the haiku form (often more formal and prescriptive) and the informal cartoon style of the art and hand-lettered look of the type. That juxtaposition, played out against a clean white background, creates a focused simplicity that is appealing and almost lyrical. The poems themselves are also clever, personal, and loose in feeling, but tightly structured with the clearest of phrasing. In a first person voice, they move us through the year in universal vignettes of boyhood. This book manages to be boy-friendly poetry, while being an engaging example of contemporary nature haiku, too.

16. Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Ubiquitous; Celebrating Nature's Survivors. Houghton Mifflin.
*Another powerful blending of poetry (and prose paragraphs) and art with the double-page spreads of Beckie Prange’s hand-colored linocut prints and Sidman’s distinctive information-rich, yet always evocative poems. You can open to any page and have a poster-like introduction to one of nature’s “ubiquitous” phenomenon presented in 3 ways—poem, explanation, and visualization—each complementing the other. “Ubiquitous” is a word that kids will love learning and saying and then the poems (and amazing art and endpapers) will guide them in conceptualizing that construct and give them a window into the natural world that is understandable and uplifting.

17. Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night. Houghton Mifflin.
*This collection of poems about the forest at night—owls, moths, porcupines-- is the last in the trio of “ecosystem poetry books” that began with Song of the Water Boatman (pond) and continued with Butterfly Eyes (meadow). It also offers a parallel layout with beautiful linoleum prints in a double-page spread for each of 12 poems, alongside an accompanying prose paragraph. This marriage of lyrical poetry, science-focused topics, and beautifully executed art has become a Sidman (and collaborating illustrator) trademark!

18. Singer, Marilyn. 2010. Mirror, Mirror. Dutton.
*This picture book collection of clever "reverso" poems reinvents familiar fairy tales in clever, puzzle like fashion. Each tale/poem is two poems, read down the page for one point of view, then up the page for another; such as Red Riding Hood or the Wolf, for example, or Snow White vs. the Wicked Queen, etc. Witty and irreverent, these pithy poems read well out loud and challenge children to imitate the formula, complete with an author's endnote for guidance.

19. Weinstock, Robert. 2010. Can You Dig It? Disney-Hyperion.
*Weinstock is a relative newcomer to creating poetry books for children and has an excellent sensibility for the wild and wacky. Here he once again creates both the dense and cartoon-like art, as well as the clever and quirky poetry, all focused on dinosaurs and paleontology, always a popular topic. He incorporates “big words” and well as sometimes gross humor in strong and rhythmic rhyming poems.

20. Yolen, Jane and Peters, Andrew Fusek. 2010. Switching on the Moon; A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems. Candlewick.
*A companion to Here’s a Little Poem, Yolen and Peters have created a wonderful early years anthology of poems for bedtime, nap time, and other moments for quiet contemplation. With 60+ poems, the range of voices and styles adds richness and the illustrations by Brian Karas (along with the book’s overall design) invite repeated browsing and sharing. 

+More of the best
I was also honored to serve on the Cybils nominating committee for poetry and our shortlist included these gems:
  • Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors by Joyce Sidman
  • Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems ed. by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and their Daughters by Jeannine Atkins
  • Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer
  • Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems, ed. by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters
  • Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman
  • Scarum Fair by Jessica Swaim
Our panel also included: Bruce Black, Elaine Magliaro, Gina Ruiz, Laura Purdie Salas and organizer extraordinaire, Kelly Fineman. Thanks, all! The next round of judges will select a single poetry title as "best of the year" and they will post those selections on Valentine's Day (Feb. 14). Stay tuned...

The ALA (ALSC, YALSA) Awards will be announced shortly (Jan. 10) and I'll be combing those lists and plugging the poetry selections soon.

Also, I'm assembling my usual "sneak peek" list of poetry books to anticipate in 2011. I have 20 titles on my list so far and plan to post that list shortly, too.

So, best wishes for plenty of poetry in 2011!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Poetry scores more awards

Although I served on the initial “shortlist” poetry panel for the bloggers’ Cybils award, I lost track of when the final decision was made. Oops! You’ve probably read it elsewhere, but I have to mention that Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (Houghton Mifflin, 2009) by Joyce Sidman was the winner.

The Claudia Lewis Award for Poetry was presented this week to Joyce Sidman for Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (Houghton Mifflin, 2009). This award is presented by the Bank Street College of Education in New York. This award is given for the best poetry book of the year for young readers. Claudia Lewis was an esteemed poet, author, teacher of children's literature and a faculty member at Bank Street College of Education.

The Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts list
was also recently announced. This list is selected by the Children's Literature Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English. The Notables list includes SEVERAL poetry selections:
*Florian, Douglas. (2009). Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings.
 New York: Simon & Schuster.

*Heard, Georgia. (2009). Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems. New
 York: Roaring Brook Press.

*Hoberman, Mary Ann and Winston, Linda. (2009). The Tree that Time Built. 
Illustrated by Barbara Fortin. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.

*Hughes, Langston. (2009). My People. Illustrated by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
 New York: Simon & Schuster.

*Myers, Walter Dean. (2009). Looking Like Me. Illustrated by Chris Myers. New
York: Egmont.

*Nelson, Marilyn. (2009). Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest 
All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. New York:

*Ruddell, Deborah. (2009). A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of
 Poems. Illustrated by Joan Rankin. New York: Simon & Schuster.

*Sidman, Joyce. (2009). Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors.
 Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

The United States Board on Books for Young People recently announced its annual USBBY Outstanding International Books list of books that promote global understanding. There are two poetry titles on that list, both from authors outside the U.S. They are:
*Argueta, Jorge. Sopa de frijoles: Un poema para cocinar/Bean Soup: A Cooking Poem. Illus. by Rafael Yockteng. Groundwood. $18.95. ISBN 978-0- 88899-881-1. Canada.
This bilingual poem about making black bean soup offers a warm, culturally authentic portrayal of cooking and eating as a family affair. The Salvadoran poet’s lyrical language, in both Spanish and English, makes this book a great read-aloud.
*Herrick, Steven. Cold Skin. Front St. $18.95. ISbN 978-1-59078-572-0. Australia.
In a poor, post-World War II Australian town where nothing ever happens, Eddie and his father are at odds about working in the coal mines. When a classmate is murdered, everyone comes under suspicion. Multiple narrators guide readers through a series of twists and turns, keeping suspense high in this novel-in-verse.

Speaking of international children’s literature, the International Board on Books for Young People announced the shortlist for the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Awards this week. The prestigious biennial awards honors "a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made lasting contributions to children's literature." The shortlisted authors include THREE POETS: Ahmad Reza Ahmadi of Iran, Bartolomeu Campos de Queiros of Brazil, and Lennart Hellsing of Sweden. Other author nominees are David Almond of the U.K. and and Louis Jensen of Denmark. (I’ll be blogging more about this next Friday.) The illustrator shortlist consists of: Jutta Bauer of Germany, Carll Cneut of Belgium, Etienne Delessert of Switzerland, Svjetlan Junakovic of Croatia, and Roger Mello of Brazil. The winners will be announced on March 23 during the Bologna Children's Book Fair. I am on my way there now and will be sharing more news soon.

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2010. All rights reserved.

Image credit:;;;cybils

Friday, December 11, 2009

Favorites of 2009

The year is drawing to a close and although I’m scrambling to finish my semester, I thought I’d pause to gather a list of some of my favorite poetry books of the year. I think it’s been a great year for poetry for young people with a tremendous variety of subject matter and format and heaps of quality and innovation. I wrote about trends I observed this year on David Harrison’s blog (featured last week), and about the organizing thread of TIME in many poetry books this year. Today, I’ll offer my list of 18 of my favorite poetry books for young people this year-- the most unique, most distinctive, most appealing books of poetry, in my opinion. As a group, they offer a mini-library of what’s new and great about poetry for kids: in form, in format, in look, in impact, in humor, in emotional power, etc. I’ve blogged about most of these previously, as well as many other terrific titles and I’d love to hear about other people’s favorites. Here you go…

Argueta, Jorge. 2009. Sopa de frijoles/ Bean Soup. Ill. by Rafael Yockteng. Toronto, ON: Groundwood.
*It’s bilingual (Spanish/English), it’s a recipe, it’s poetry plus cooking full of metaphors and similes and beans

Burg, Ann. 2009. All the Broken Pieces. Scholastic.
*Spare, moving verse novel about a boy wrestling with his identity as a Vietnamese child growing up in the US post war

Florian, Douglas. 2009. Dinothesaurus. New York: Simon & Schuster.
*Classic Florian wordplay and information-rich poems about dinosaurs and delectable dinosaur names

Franco, Betsy. 2009. Curious Collection of Cats. Ill. by Michael Wertz. San Francisco, CA: Tricycle Press.
*Clever concrete poems about cats and their idiosyncrasies envisioned in popsicle colored art

Frost, Helen. 2009. Crossing Stones. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
*Four teens’ lives interweave against a backdrop of WWI, influenza, and women’s emerging roles and rights

Hoberman, Mary Ann and Winston, Linda. 2009. The Tree That Time Built; A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
*Fascinating exploration of the parallel ways scientists and poets observe and understand the natural world

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. City I Love. Ill. by Marcellus Hall. New York: Abrams.
*Poems can be about cities, too, and here is a playful cityscape of sights, sounds, and smells from cities around the world

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. Sky Magic. Ill. by Mariusz Stawarski. New York: Dutton.
*Color-drenched collection of day-to-night poems perfect for breakfast table or bedtime sharing or in between

Hughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Ill. by Charles R Smith Jr. New York: Simon & Schuster.
*A nearly theatrical re-interpretation of the classic Langston Hughes poem through Smith’s bold sepia-toned photography

Katz, Bobbi. 2009. The Monsterologist; A Memoir in Rhyme. New York: Sterling.
*Ingenious scrapbook design and moveable art showcase clever poems about monsters and the evil genius who knows them best

Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. The House. Illus. by Roberto Innocenti. Minneapolis, MN: Creative Editions.
*Brilliant combination of sensitive, insightful poetry and exquisite fine art tells the story of one house across the centuries

Mordhorst, Heidi. 2009. Pumpkin Butterfly; Poems from the Other Side of Nature. Honesdale PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
*Subtle, lilting nature poems from Fall to Summer full of metaphor and imagery

Rosen, Michael J. 2009. The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems. Ill. by Stan Fellows. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
*Who knew haiku could be so gorgeous, informative and inspiring? Birds, seasons, and illustrations all come together beautifully.

Ruddell, Deborah. 2009. A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk. New York: Simon & Schuster.
*Forest life across the seasons in funny-to-contemplative poems

Salas, Laura. 2009. Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School! New York: Clarion.
*Life at school portrayed through children personified as wild animals, a perfect parallel

Schertle, Alice. 2009. Button Up! Wrinkled Rhymes. Ill. by Petra Mathers. New York: Harcourt.
*Smart, engaging “mask” poems personify articles of clothing

Sidman, Joyce. 2009. Red Sings From Treetops; A Year in Colors. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
*Personified colors and color words lead us through the seasons of nature in elegant, evocative poetry

Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2009. Steady Hands: Poems About Work. New York: Clarion.
*Thoughtful, descriptive poems about jobs and careers, from the usual to the unique

As award committees deliberate about their choices, as teachers select books to read aloud with kids, as librarians develop their book collections, as parents and grandparents shop for their children, I hope they’ll all include POETRY on their wishlists. There are so many wonderful works worthy of consideration and sure to hold up in repeated readings over and over again. Just $200 (app.) would buy this entire collection of my recommended list (for example) of the best poetry of 2009, a fabulous year’s worth of reading for all ages—adults included!

Join the rest of the Poetry Friday crowd hosted by Random Noodling.

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2009. All rights reserved.

Image credit: gh3dda

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Best Blog List

I recently got word that a list of "Top 100 Poetry Blogs" had been compiled. And of course I was thrilled to be on it. (Check out #85-- which claims that I am a "published poet" which I am not, nor do I aspire to be. I'm just a big fan!) Lists like these are almost as interesting for what they leave OFF, as for what they INCLUDE, so please share your thoughts and opinions. Here's the overview.

Top 100 Poetry Blogs
By L. Fabry
No longer relegated to textbooks, libraries, and anthologies, poets now have an array of options for reading poetry, posting, the latest in news, and more, thanks to the internet. Below are 100 blogs and sites for every poet, from a seasoned professional to a child reading their first poem. The 100 blogs are divided up into the following interesting categories:

Collected Works
Visit the below sites for works of various authors, the latest in poetry news, interviews, and more.

Original Work
These poets use their blogs to display their work, post appearance dates, along with advice, tips, and musings.

For Children
Kids and their parents will enjoy visiting the below sites for original work, writing help, along with loads of fun.

Video and Audio Poetry
Sometimes poetry is just better when read by a professional. Visit the below sites for hundreds of poems with sound, and occasionally pictures and video.

So, check it out:
Top 100 Poetry Blogs

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2009. All rights reserved.

Image credit:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Poetry from around the world

I’m posting from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where I have been immersed in the amazing literature for children being published in countries all across the world. I thought I was a bit of an expert in this area—until I came here! How humbling it is to mix with publishers, promoters, authors, illustrators, and others who create and support this field of literature for kids in Korea (a featured country), Italy (our gracious host), Spain (in four languages no less) and beyond. And of course, there is poetry in every place, too.

I was representing Bookbird, the journal of international children’s literature at the IBBY booth (the International Board on Books for Young People) and I met many, many people who share the same goals as we do (literacy and literature for all). The booth next door featured the International Youth Library based in Munich, the site founded by Jella Lepman (creator of IBBY too) and they were showcasing their recently announced “White Ravens” list, their selection of the best 250 books from over 48 countries (in 32 languages) published in the last year or so. This may be the ultimate “best children’s books in the world” list!

And what is the best children’s poetry in the world? Here’s the list of nearly a dozen books gleaned from their roster. (Although I examined each one, I couldn’t read them all, of course, since only 4 are in English. How I wish I could!)

Wright, Danielle (Ed). 2008. My Village; Rhymes from Around the World. Wellington, NZ: Gecko Press
*Bilingual rhymes presented in various languages and English in a colorful, inviting, multicultural context

Sayer, Viv (Ed). 2008. Poems of Love and Longing. Llandysul: Pont Books.
*Perfect small teen-friendly size with a range of mostly serious poems by ten British poets

Cheng, Andrea. 2008. Where the Steps Are. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
*Verse novel for younger readers about a class and their yearlong efforts to save their school

Weston, Robert Paul. 2008. Zorgamazoo. New York: Little, Brown.
*A new kind of zany novel-in-verse featuring Lemony Snicket-type adventures in Dr. Seuss-like rhyming stanzas

Rimbaud, Arthur. 2008. Les poings dans mes poches crevees. Choix de poemes. (My hands in my torn coat pockets. Anthology of poems) Paris: Gallimard Jeunesse,
*Excerpts from classic Rimbaud poems grouped in helpful categories and illustrated with delicate color sketches

Giarratana, Sbrina. 2008. Amica terra. (Friend earth). Firenze:Fatatrac.
*Gorgeous, deep colors saturate double-page spreads with an earth poem on the right hand side

Tognolini, Bruno. 2008. Tiritere. (Twitter). Modena: Panini.
*Sturdy and colorful board book of verses for the very young child

Colasanti, Marina. 2008. Poesia em 4 tempos. (Poetry in four time). Sao Paolo: Global.
*Delicate watercolor illustrations accompany short poems in this paperback collection.

Lujan, Jorge. 2007. Oh, los colores! (Oh, the colors!). Mexico, DF: Ed. SM.
*Inviting picture book collection of one-color-per-poem works ala Hailstones & Halibut Bones.
P.S. I just found out that Groundwood has published a bilingual (English/Spanish) edition of this book: Lujan, Jorge. 2008. Colors! Colores! Illustrated by Piet Grobler. Translated by John Oliver Simion and Rebecca Parfitt. Groundwood Books / Libros Tigrillo. ISBN 0-88899-863-5

Tuwim, Julian. 2007. Wiersze dla dzieci. (Poems for children). Warszawa:Wytwornia.
*Amazing, poster-sized book of selected poems by noted Polish poet juxtaposed against wild, surrealistic art

Neydim, Necdet. 2008. Sen islik calmayi bilir misin? Siirler. (Can you whistle? Poems). Istanbul: Gunisigi Kitapligi.
*What a fun paperback collection of everyday poems in big print with just-right pen and ink and watercolor sketches

(Please forgive the absence of proper diacritical marks—or ignorant errors—as I am posting without all my usual tools handy.)

And of course I must share a sample poem. This one, in particular, touched me. It’s from the British collection, Poems of Love and Longing and is the final entry in a mini-group of poems that conclude the book.

by Susan Richardson

Spirit, use me today,
not in some miracle

that would make others marvel

and would make me proud.

Not in the word of wisdom

that would stay in the mind

and make me always remembered.

Not in the heroic act

that would change the world for the better

and me for the worse.

But in the mundane miracles

of honesty and truth

that keep the sky from falling

In the unremembered quiet words

that keep a soul on the path

And in the unnoticed acts

that keep the world moving

slowly closer to the light.

Sayer, Viv (Ed). 2008. Poems of Love and Longing. Llandysul: Pont Books, p. 66.

The complete annotated list of these and all the 250 titles is (or will soon be) available on the IYL Web site ( Read more about this amazing repository of 600,000 of the world’s children’s books in a historic castle in Germany. (They also offer fellowships for scholars who want to study there!)

This week’s Poetry Friday gathering is hosted by poet Julie Larios at The Drift Record. Thanks, Julie!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Magic and Luck for Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a good day to focus on poetry about magic, luck, superstitions and beliefs, dreams and nightmares. I gathered just a few poetry books on these topics for my list below. And brand new this year is another gem from—guess who?—Lee Bennett Hopkins. (He is having a very good year!)

Sky Magic is a new 2009 anthology due out next week with 14 poems about the sky, sun, moon, and stars illustrated by Mariusz Stawarski. It’s a gorgeous book, another perfect pairing of artist and anthologist. Every single poem gets its own full color, double page spread with a color drenched landscape showcasing each poem. Poets include new names and old, such as Sarah Hansen, Lyn Littlefield Hoopes, Ashley Bryan, Alice Schertle, Ann Whitford Paul, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Tony Johnston, Georgia Heard, David McCord, James Guthrie, Carl Sandburg, and even Tennessee Williams. Here’s one sampling of the lyrical language of these selections:

by Avis Harley

In the language of stars
lie stories of old
brilliant legends

Spelling out sagas,
spilling out light,
a mythical manuscript
filling the night.

From: Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. Sky Magic. Ill. by Mariusz Stawarski. New York: Dutton, p. 22.

Beautiful! What a great read aloud collection, for breakfast table or bedtime sharing, as the poems begin with sunrise and end with sunset, in suitable-for-framing scenes in deep blues and violets, vibrant orange and gold.

Poetry about Superstitions, Beliefs, Luck, Magic, Dreams, and Nightmares
Berry, James. 1991.
Isn’t My Name Magical?: Sister and Brother Poems. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Field, Edward. 1998. Magic Words: Poems. San Diego, CA: Gulliver Books/Harcourt Brace.
Grimes, Nikki. 2000.
Shoe Magic. New York: Orchard.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009.
Sky Magic. Ill. by Mariusz Stawarski. New York: Dutton.
Kennedy, X.J. 1989.
Ghastlies, Goops, & Pincushions: Nonsense Verse. New York: McElderry.
Larios, Julie. 2008.
Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Mado, Michio. 1998.
The Magic Pocket. New York: McElderry.
Prelutsky, Jack. 1976. Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep. New York: Greenwillow. Reprinted, New York: Mulberry Books, 1993.
Schertle, Alice. 1999. A Lucky Thing. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
Schwartz, Alvin. 1992.
And the Green Grass Grew All Around: Folk Poetry from Everyone. New York: HarperCollins.
Wong, Janet S. 1994.
Good Luck Gold and Other Poems. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Wong, Janet S. 2003.
Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Wong, Janet S. 2000.
Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams. New York: Margaret K. McElderry
Yolen, Jane. 1996. Sacred Places. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.

I’m happy to note a fun addition to my list of poems about superstitions with a new voice from Britain: Graham Denton, a writer, anthologist and small press publisher of poetry for children in the UK who has authored the poetry collection, Silly Superstitions (Macmillan Children's Books). Check it out!

Join the Poetry Friday gang at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks, Tricia!

Image credits: