Monday, December 31, 2007

My favorite poetry books of 2007

It’s the last day of the year and time for me to pause and ponder all the wonderful poetry books published for young people this year. So much variety! Anthologies, biographical poetry, picture book collections, novels in verse, edgy YA work, playful verses for very young children, and more. New voices and new works by old favorites. Great curricular connections in science, social studies, and beyond. Fun experimentation with poetic form and voice. Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated. Serious, humorous, and everything in between. After much deliberation, here’s my list of not-to-be-missed poetry for kids in 2007. Be sure your library has multiple copies of each!

1. Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007. Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Wordsong.
*Powerful sonnets tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her school for African American women in the early 1800’s

2. Crisler, Curtis. 2007. Tough Boy Sonatas. Wordsong.
*Gripping, edgy poems about growing up as a young black man in the city

3. Fisher, Aileen. 2007. Do Rabbits Have Christmas? Henry Holt.
*Lovely, fresh gathering of older poems by Fisher about Christmas in nature

4. Florian, Douglas. 2007. comets, stars, the moon, and mars. Harcourt.
*Florian’s dynamic illustrations and clever, descriptive poetry take us to outer space

5. Frank, John. 2007. How to Catch a Fish. Roaring Brook.
*Evocative oil paintings and lyrical poetry introduce fishing around the world

6. Grandits, John. 2007. Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems. Clarion.
*Musings of a teenage girl in often unorthodox poetic forms

7. Hemphill, Stephanie. 2007. Your Own, Sylvia. Knopf.
*Semi-biographical verse novel written in the style of Sylvia Plath’s poetry

8. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2007. Behind the Museum Door. Abrams.
*Fun collection of field trip poems that make museum artifacts come alive

9. Issa, Kobayashi. 2007. Today and Today. Scholastic.
*Classic haiku by Issa are arranged to create a lovely chronological story

10. Janeczko, Paul. Comp. 2007. Hey, You! Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes, and Other Fun Things. HarperCollins.
*These “apostrophe” poems of address give a variety of objects a voice

11. Miller, Kate. 2007. Poems in Black and White. Front Street.
*Striking illustrations and lyrical poems address objects that are black and/or white

12. Mora, Pat. 2007. Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!: America's Sproutings. Lee & Low.
*Vibrant illustrations and pungent haiku (along with fun facts) introduce the origins of foods from across the Americas

13. Park, Linda Sue. 2007. Tap Dancing on the Roof; Sijo Poems. Clarion.
*Park brings the Korean form of sijo poetry to the forefront with clever rhymes and helpful background information

14. Prelutsky, Jack. 2007. Good Sports; Rhymes About Running, Jumping, Throwing, and More. Knopf.
*Participating as well as winning and losing in sports is highlighted in playful rhymes and illustrations

15. Sandell, Lisa Ann. 2007. Song of the Sparrow. Scholastic.
*Verse novel re-envisions a feminist telling of the “Lady of Shallott” classic

16. Schlitz, Laura Amy. 2007. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village. Candlewick.
*Poem portraits of a variety of interconnected characters in a medieval village

17. Sidman, Joyce. 2007. This is Just to Say. Houghton Mifflin.
*Poems of apology and forgiveness in the voices of a classroom of children

18. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2007. Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali. Candlewick.
*A poem biography about boxer Ali told in a shout-out cadence

19. Spinelli, Eileen. 2007. Where I Live. Dial.
*Delicate poems and drawings capture the difficulties of moving and making life transitions

20. Vecchione, Patrice. 2007. Faith and Doubt; An Anthology of Poems. Henry Holt.
*Powerful poems about belief pack this rich anthology

21. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2007. Birmingham, 1963. Wordsong.
*Photographs and poems trace the sad events of the church bombing in 1963

22. Wong, Janet. 2007. Twist: Yoga Poems. McElderry.
*Color-rich illustrations and metaphorical poems make yoga fun

23. Worth, Valerie. 2007. Animal Poems. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
*Worth’s descriptive poems and Steve Jenkins’ collage art create vivid animal portraits

24. Yolen, Jane. Comp. 2007. Here’s a Little Poem. Candlewick.
*Fun collection of poems perfectly placed and illustrated for very “little” children

25. Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2007. Reaching for Sun. Bloomsbury.
*Accessible verse novel about a girl growing up with cerebral palsy

PLUS: Hughes, Langston. (75th anniversary edition 2007). The Dream Keeper (and seven additional poems). Knopf.

Please indulge one last book plug, my own: Poetry People; A Practical Guide to Children’s Poets (Libraries Unlimited, 2007). It’s a resource guide for people who work with children and offers biographical information as well as ideas for sharing the poetry of 62 major poets writing for young people.

Happy 2008 in poetry!

Picture credit:


laurasalas said...

Thanks for this list, Sylvia. Most of these I really enjoyed, too, both the verse novels (Song of the Sparrow, Reaching for Sun...just lovely) and the collections. What a great starting place, along with your book Poetry People, for teachers and librarians.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for stopping by, Laura, and thanks for your kind words. I enjoyed working with you on the Poetry Cybils, too!

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