Saturday, March 31, 2012

5Q Poet Interview Series for April

I’m lucky enough to teach a graduate course in poetry for children and young adults again this spring. It’s such fun to dig deep into all kinds of poetry published for young people and usually quite an eye-opening experience for my students. I also try to involve them in sharing their new knowledge with the world at large whenever possible. This year, I’ve arranged for them to interview poets via email with a focus on poets who have new books out in 2012. We’re using the "Five Question Interview" format based on the model that Roger Sutton, Editor of Horn Book Magazine, initiated in his many interviews with children's book authors and illustrators (many of them LIVE at ALA conferences). I wrote him for permission to use this format and he kindly agreed. I’m calling it our 5Q Poet Interview Series.

Since there are only 5 questions, I told my students that they need to be good ones-- not just "where do you get your ideas," etc. And they should focus specifically on the new poetry book out this year and not just on writing in general. However, in several cases the 2012 books are/were not available yet, so my resourceful students did all they could to find out as much as they could. What follows is the list of poets, 2012 poetry books, and student interviewers that we will be featuring on my blog every day throughout April, in honor of National Poetry Month.

A big Texas thank you to each of the poets for participating in this project with us and to my students for their hard work and enthusiasm (they were so excited to have this “intimate” contact with famous poets!). Thanks to the publisher’s reps who helped smooth the way and even shared ARCs and books when possible. What a great collaborative effort. Here we go in alphabetical order (hey, we’re in Library School—we alphabetize!):

April 1: Kate Coombs. Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems. Interviewed by Mary Virginia Meeks.
April 2: Jill Corcoran, Ed. Dare to Dream… Change the World. Interviewed by Lindsey Chesser.
April 3: Margarita Engle. The Wild Book. Interviewed by Rebekah Espinosa.
April 4: Sid Farrar. The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons. Interviewed by Katelyn Verrill.
April 5: Douglas Florian. Poem Runs; Baseball Poems and Paintings. Interviewed by Dori Pruzan.
April 6: Douglas Florian, the Sequel. Unbeelievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings. Also interviewed by Kristin Edstrom.
April 7: Helen Frost. Step Gently Out. Interviewed by Emily Felker.
April 8: David Harrison. Cowboys. Interviewed by Shandra Harrel.
April 9: Artist Dan Burr, illustrator for Cowboys. Interviewed by Jenny Davidson.
April 10: Georgia Heard. Ed. The Arrow Finds its Mark: A Book of Found Poems. Interviewed by Kori Parkinson.
April 11: Stephanie Hemphill. Sisters of Glass. Interviewed by Yours Truly.
April 12: Lee Bennett Hopkins, Ed. Nasty Bugs. Interviewed by Melissa Scholl.
April 13: Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer. Eds. And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems. Interviewed by Abby Hancock.
April 14: Dana Jensen. A Meal of the Stars; Poems Up and Down. Interviewed by Yours Truly.
April 15: J. Patrick Lewis. Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems. Interviewed by Dana Terrell.
April 16: J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen. Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs. Interviewed by Tammy Reed.
April 17: J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, Together Again. Take Two! A Celebration of Twins. Interviewed by Jerusha Hunt.
April 18: J. Patrick Lewis, Redux. If You Were a Chocolate Mustache. Interviewed by Kara Johnson.
April 19: Timothy McLaughlin. Ed. Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky; Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School. Interviewed by Stephanie Cacciavillani.
April 20: Lesléa Newman. October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard. Interviewed by Brittany Snyder.
April 21: Eric Ode. When You're a Pirate Dog and Other Pirate Poems. Interviewed by Melissa Quisenberry.
April 22: Caroline Starr Rose. May B. Interviewed by Brooke Adams.
April 23: Michael J. Rosen. Running with Trains, A Novel in Poetry and Two Voices. Interviewed by Chrissy Adkins.
April 24: Marilyn Singer. Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems. Interviewed by Liseth Martin.
April 25: Marilyn Singer, Part II. The Superheroes Employment Agency. Interviewed by Carrie Martin.
April 26: Amy E. Sklansky. Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space. Interviewed by Garra Ballinger.
April 27: Janet Wong. Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year. Interviewed by Jessica Pollock.
April 28: Jane Yolen. Bug Off! Creepy Crawly Poems. Interviewed by Lisa Cockrell.
PLUS: Reviews of these new 2012 poetry books:
April 29: Two new books perfect for sharing poetry aloud: Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart edited by Mary Ann Hoberman AND Poems to Learn by Heart edited by Caroline Kennedy
April 30: Two bilingual poetry books to celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros/ Children's day/Book Day: Con el sol en los ojos/ With the Sun in My Eyes by Jorge Luján AND Guacamole; Un poema para cocinar/ A Cooking Poem by Jorge Argueta.

Lots of poetry wonderfulness to look forward to every day in April. Stay tuned!

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My new book: The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists

I'm so excited to share the news that my latest book is out today-- The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists. This book has been in the works for 4 years, but took a back seat while I fulfilled my editorial duties for Bookbird, the international children's literature journal (which was wonderful, but all-consuming). I picked up the thread again last summer and just wrapped it up this spring-- just in time for National Poetry Month. I hope you'll help me spread the word. Here's the lowdown:

The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists is intended to be a comprehensive resource for teachers, librarians, and parents packed with poetry bibliographies and research-based strategies for selecting and sharing poetry with young people (ages 0-18). Need help finding the perfect poem for a holiday celebration or a science unit? A funny riddle poem or a bilingual poetry book? The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists contains 155 different lists featuring 1500 poetry books for children and teens in the following categories:

(1.) Poetry Awards and “Best” Lists,
(2.) Seasonal and Holiday Poetry Booklists,
(3.) Multicultural and International Poetry Booklists,
(4.) Thematic or Topical Poetry Booklists,
(5.) Poetry Booklists Across the Curriculum,
(6.) Booklists Highlighting the Form of Poetry,
(7.) Creating a Poetry-Friendly Environment,
(8.) Sharing and Responding to Poetry Out Loud,
(9.) Teaching Poetry Writing, and
(10.) General Poetry Teaching Resources.

You’ll find recommended lists of poetry books tied to calendar events throughout the year, poetry that targets the needs of students acquiring English as a new language, poetry to help children through worries, adjustments or difficult times, 20 lists of poetry to support the study of science, social studies, and language arts, lists organized by different poetic forms, question prompts to guide meaningful discussions, preparation and presentation pointers, display ideas, poetry quotes, lesson plan tips, poet birthdays, and a poetry scavenger hunt and treasure hunt for kids—all tools to help jumpstart a poetry program and keep it energized and fresh all year long. Click here to check it out!

Meanwhile, swing by poet Heidi Mordhorst's blog, My Juicy Little Universe, to join the Poetry Friday crew this week. See you there!

Last week's contest winner
For those of you who commented on my "election year" post last week, the winner of the free Janet Wong books is Elizabeth McBride. Thank you also, Mary Lee, Myra, Keri, Laura, Charles, and Mrs. Davis for reading and commenting. If you will each send me your mailing address, I'll send Elizabeth her prize and each of you one of the extra ARCs (advance copies) or poetry paperbacks I have. Just write me at svardell AT Gmail DOT com.

Coming soon: My 5Q Poet Interview Series-- a poet a day for April!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Patriotic Poetry

Have you noticed it’s an election year? Who could miss it, right? It got me thinking about what “patriotic” poetry I could find to recommend for young people. My friend and collaborator, the amazing Janet Wong has a new book of poetry out this year that’s particularly appropriate and available in both e-book and print form, entitled Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year. It’s a great addition to works that consider what it means to live in the USA, with a particular focus on our civic responsibilities and the democratic process. It contains one of my favorite poems, “Liberty,” an inspiring and clever riff on the “Pledge of Allegiance,” for a total of 20 poems on topics as timely as caucuses, political ads, ballots, and the Bill of Rights. The book even includes a “Voter’s Journal and Discussion Guide.”

I have a free copy to share (along with an autographed copy of her autobiography for kids, Before It Wriggles Away) to a commenter on today’s post (chosen at random).

Meanwhile, here’s my current list of patriotic poetry for kids. Please let me know any book titles I can add to my list. Thanks!

Patriotic Poetry for Young People

Poets have written about pride in homeland, about the search for a national identity, the value of one’s cultural heritage, and finding a place in an adopted country, among other patriotic topics, for many generations. How has this been expressed in poetry for young people? Here are a few outstanding examples.

  • Burg, Ann. 2009. All the Broken Pieces. New York: Scholastic.
  • Clinton, Catherine. 1998. I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Cohn, Amy L., comp. 1993. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic.
  • Greenberg, Jan. 2001. Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art. New York: Abrams.
  • Gunning, Monica. 2004. America, My New Home. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Ed. 1993. Beat the Drum, Independence Day has Come: Poems for the Fourth of July. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Ed. 1994. Hand in Hand: An American History through Poetry. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Ed. 1999. Lives: Poems about Famous Americans. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2000. My America: A Poetry Atlas of the U.S. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Ed. 2002. Home to Me: Poems Across America. New York: Orchard.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2008. America at War. New York: McElderry.
  • Izuki, Steven. 1994. Believers in America: Poems about Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander Descent. Chicago, IL: Children’s Press.
  • Lai, Thanhha. 2011. Inside Out and Back Again. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Lewis, J. Patrick. 2005. Good Mornin’, Miss America: The U.S.A. in Verse. School Specialty Publishing.
  • Lewis, J. Patrick. 2007. The Brothers' War: Civil War Voices in Verse. Washington, DC: National Geographic.
  • Littlechild, George. 1993. This Land Is My Land. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  • Meltzer, Milton. 2003. Hour of Freedom: American History in Poetry. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  • Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. We are America: A Tribute from the Heart. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Panzer, Nora, Ed. 1994. Celebrate America in Poetry and Art. New York: Hyperion.
  • Philip, Neil. (Ed). 1995. Singing America. New York: Viking.
  • Siebert, Diane. 2006. Tour America: A Journey through Poems and Art. San Francisco: Chronicle.
  • Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2003. I am America. New York: Scholastic.
  • Swamp, Chief Jake. 1995. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. New York: Lee & Low.
  • Testa, Maria. 2005. Something about America. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
  • Whipple, Laura, comp. 1994. Celebrating America: A Collection of Poems and Images of the American Spirit. New York: Philomel Books.
  • Wong, Janet. 2012. Declaration of Interdependence. Poems for an Election Year. PoetrySuitcase.
*****By the way, this is one of several hundred lists of poetry books organized around popular themes and topics that I have compiled for my upcoming book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists. More info to come very soon...

Join the rest of the gathering at Poetry Friday hosted by Greg at Gottabook. See you there!

Image credit: 

Janet Wong, Richard C Owen,

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

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]

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