Friday, December 04, 2009

2009 Trends and More

Thanks to all of you who read and commented in my Dear One contest. Congratulations, Marilyn Hollinshead, Mary Lee Hahn, Susan Taylor Brown, Dianne White, Jo Ann Macken, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Karla Schmidt, Linda Kulp, Steven Withrow, Kelly Fineman, Bruce Black, and Kristy Dempsey. (I need your mailing addresses, Mary Lee and Jo Ann. Just email me at svardell at twu dot edu) That project was such a labor of love. If you have a special person or occasion you want to celebrate, invite people to contribute a verse or poem and then compile them and “publish” them in a simple book. It is sure to be a hit-- I speak from experience!

I would also like to plug the organization that prompted this collection: the National Council of Teachers of English. You don’t have to be an English teacher to be a part of this group—it includes teachers at all levels and in many areas, as well as librarians, publishers, writers, and others. Literature is at the heart of this organization and I’ve found it a happy professional home for 30 years. I’ve had the opportunity to serve on many committees, including the NCTE Poetry Award committee and Orbis Pictus Award committee, and been involved in the Children’s Literature Assembly (a sub-group of NCTE) which decides the Notables list every year, hosts an author breakfast at every conference, and leads a post-conference workshop annually. So, there are many opportunities to serve and I urge you to seek them out. It’s one of the most accessible organizations I know. Come to the 100th NCTE anniversary conference next November in Orlando. It’s sure to be BIG! Consider submitting a proposal for a session—those proposals are due in January (2010).

Finally, I’m honored to be featured on poet David Harrison’s blog today. He invited me to write a short article for his blog, so I mused about the trends I observed looking back over this year’s poetry for young people. Check it out.

Perhaps the biggest trend that struck me this year was the notion of time passing as a unifying thread (or major focus) for many of this year’s poetry collections. In some books, like Joyce Sidman’s beautiful Red Sings From Treetops; A Year in Colors or J. Patrick Lewis's The House, it’s clearly explicit, day by day, season by season, as the poems are ABOUT the passing of time. In other collections, it’s the organizing framework, like the spring-to-winter motif of A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk by Deborah Ruddell or More Pocket Poems by Bobbi Katz or the day-to-night layout of Lee Bennett Hopkins’s Sky Magic or Laura Purdie Salas’s Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School.

Has this always been the case and I just missed it? I have a feeling that may be true… but whatever the case, I like it. It feels very satisfying to travel through time through poetry and I can imagine the school connections are very apparent to teachers and librarians who want a poem to fit the season or the moment. Very practical! And yet in each of these collections, it doesn’t feel obvious or pedantic. And what a great challenge for kids—to collaborate in creating their own anthology organized in some time-based way. Let’s see what they come up with! Meanwhile, here’s my list of the 2009 poetry for kids that is built upon the passing of time.

Time Passing Poems
  • Fehler, Gene. 2009. Change-up; Baseball Poems. Ill. by Donald Wu. New York: Clarion.
  • Harrison, David. 2009. Vacation, We’re Going to the Ocean! Ill. by Rob Shepperson. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  • Hoberman, Mary Ann and Winston, Linda. 2009. The Tree That Time Built; A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. City I Love. Ill. by Marcellus Hall. New York: Abrams.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. Sky Magic. Ill. by Mariusz Stawarski. New York: Dutton.
  • Katz, Bobbi. 2009. More Pocket Poems. Ill. by Deborah Zemke. New York: Dutton.
  • Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year. Ill. by Ethan Long. New York: Little Brown.
  • Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. The House. Illus. by Roberto Innocenti. Minneapolis, MN: Creative Editions.
  • Mordhorst, Heidi. 2009. Pumpkin Butterfly; Poems from the Other Side of Nature. Honesdale PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  • Ruddell, Deborah. 2009. A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Salas, Laura. 2009. Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School. New York: Clarion.
  • Shahan, Sherry. 2009. Fiesta!; A Celebration of Latino Festivals. Ill. by Paula Barragan. Atlanta, GA: August House.
  • Sidman, Joyce. 2009. Red Sings From Treetops; A Year in Colors. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2009. Steady Hands: Poems About Work. New York: Clarion.
Did I miss any?

Speaking of blog postings. Check out Susan Marie Swanson’s interview on a lovely parenting blog, The Artful Parent. It’s great to see poetry crossover into other places whenever possible. Enjoy!

Join the Poetry Friday crew hosted by Elaine Magliaro at Wild Rose Reader today.

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2009. All rights reserved.
Image credit:;;


diannewrites said...

I was so pleased to win a copy of Dear One: A Tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins. My copy arrived in the mail the other day. Thanks, again!!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Yay! I'm glad you got it and are enjoying it. It was a complete labor of love!

David Harrison said...


Thank you again for your insightful and practical article on my blog. I know that many readers are going to return repeatedly to your words of help and wisdom.