Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good morning! No... GREAT Morning!

Welcome, Poetry Friday Peeps!

My Caldecott "family" including the artists seated in front! 
It’s been a fun summer for me thus far—traveling half the time and working on projects half the time. Celebrating “my” committee’s Caldecott at the ALA conference in New Orleans was a highlight—with my whole family along for the ride. 

And now Janet (Wong) and I are launching our latest project for a brand new audience: school principals (and other school leaders). It’s called GREAT Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud, a collection of poems for principals to read along with the morning announcements (or any time). You’ll find 75 poems by 50+ poets—including some new collaborators. Wish we’d had room in this book for even more poets and poems!


In this book, we’ve provided short opening and closing paragraphs to bookend each poem; reading the “Did You Know?” and “Follow Up” paragraphs aloud, with the poem in between, takes just a minute. This makes it easy for principals to jump in and share a poem without too much prep. Every poem has an additional linked poem that can be used by teachers or librarians with other nuggets such as “hidden language skills” for digging deeper into the poems during classroom instruction. 

Steve Wilfing & Vicki Alley

We were lucky enough to get a fabulous elementary school principal to “test drive” the collection this week. BIG THANKS to Steven Wilfing, principal of Stony Brook Elementary School in Pennington, New Jersey, for allowing us to crash his office during his summer break—and videotape him reading a poem from GREAT Morning!  (And to Vicki Ailey, awesome school secretary, who welcomed us warmly!) 

In this fun one minute video, Steve reads “To Our Front Office Staff: A Celebration” by Kay Winters.

Doesn't he do a GREAT job?! 
Readers of these morning announcement poems could also include other members of the office staff, the nurse, counselor, custodian, security guard or police officer, parent volunteers, guest readers from the community, and even student leaders. We hope that creating this poetry reading ritual on Poetry Fridays—or on any day—can help support a school culture of kindness, respect, and gratitude. 


As you may know, I’m also a big fan of “back matter,” so we included a ton of additional information we hope will be helpful: Poetry Performance Tips, Setting the Stage for Poetry, Poetry Across the Curriculum, Poetry Awards, Poetry Blogs & Websites, Poet Blogs, Nurturing Young Writers, Places for Students to Publish Poetry, A Letter to Parents, and Sharing Poetry at Home. And of course we have a list of “More Poetry Books for School Leaders” that includes titles such as:
  1. Bagert, Brod. 2008. School Fever. *Hilarious poems about school from the child's point of view
  2. Dakos, Kalli. 2003. Put Your Eyes Up Here: And Other School Poems. *Fun, lively poems that explore the world of one make-believe classroom 
  3. Derby, Sally. 2017. A New School Year. *Six children (K-5) share their worries, hopes, and successes on the first day of school
  4. Florian, Douglas. 2018. Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All. *Humorous and honest poems about the many facets of friendship 
  5. Franco, Betsy. 2009. Messing Around the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices. *Playful poems that capture life around the school from the playground to the library to the classroom
  6. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2018. School People. *An anthology that celebrates the grown-ups that children encounter throughout the school day
  7. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year. *Fun poetry full of wordplay on a variety of subjects and forms that counts down from the first day of school to the last 
  8. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2009. Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School! *An inventive poetry collection featuring first- and second-graders at school
  9. VanDerwater, Amy Ludwig. 2017. Read! Read! Read! *23 poems about the joy of reading everything from maps to sports news
  10. Winters, Kay. 2018. Did You Hear What I Heard? Poems about School. *35 poems about a variety of elementary school experiences
Anyhoo, we hope you’ll check it out and share it with principals and other school leaders! Learn more about GREAT MORNING! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud and books in The Poetry Friday Anthology series and Poetry Friday Power Book series at PomeloBooks.com. Find it on Amazon starting on July 25, or order now from QEPBooks.com: (800) 323-6787.

Let’s link up together for our lucky Friday the 13th Poetry Friday Round Up. 
Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, June 08, 2018

Poems + Picture Books (+ NY)

I had the chance to participate in the Annual Multicultural Book Fair organized by Jenice Mateo in Hastings, NY last week. What an amazing experience! The whole community turns out to buy books and hear authors speak-- all focused on building literacy, empathy, and a celebration of diversity. Janet (Wong) and I spoke to classes of students and then shared a workshop for teachers and parents on connecting picture books with poetry. 

Then I also got to spend several days exploring one of my favorite cities, New York! My husband joined me for some touring and we crammed in as many museums and plays as we could! Here are just a few highlights from the whole shebang!

Here's a glimpse of our talks and workshop:

Here are a few slides from our workshop on connecting picture books and poetry. Once again, I focused on "my" Caldecott books, showing 8 different ways to connect picture books with poetry!


Pair WOLF IN THE SNOW with poetry about snow, wolves, or kindness.

Pair CROWN with CROWNING GLORY, a whole book of poems about Black hair.

Turn a nonfiction passage (from GRAND CANYON) into a "found" poem.

And of course we had to share poems + picture book combinations linked to poems from our Poetry Friday Anthologies. Here's just one example. 

PLUS: a few poetry moments from our days as tourists in NYC. I found a poetry bookstore in Brooklyn (sadly it was not open at that moment), poem posters on the subway, readers depicted in subway mosaics, and a bit of poetry on a sewer cover too! 


Now head on over to Whispers from the Ridge where Kiesha is hosting Poetry Friday! See you there! 




Friday, May 04, 2018

Poetry for Star Wars Day

Surely you know by now that I am a big Star Wars fan! (I have my very own Aunt Beru costume for cosplay!) Since today is May 4 ("May the fourth [Force] be with you") and Star Wars Day, I would like to share a Star Wars spin on poetry!  I like to take poems that already exist and then place them against a Star Wars background or linked with Star Wars characters to give them a Star Wars-y interpretation. Yes, it's nutty, but it always reminds me of the power of visuals to influence our understanding of a poem. This is also a fun activity for students-- to choose a favorite poem and then illustrate it with their own art or with images from magazines or online resources. So.... here are three poems from our Poetry Friday anthologies paired with Star Wars images. Enjoy! 






Now head on over to Write Time where Linda is organizing the Poetry Friday universe today!