Friday, August 17, 2012

The Poetry Friday Anthology

I've taken a bit of a blogging break, but am back to promote the project that has been absorbing so much of my time over the last two months. It's another collaboration with friend and poet Janet Wong: THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY!

Coming just in time for the 2012-2013 school year, The Poetry Friday Anthology is available now. It's a new anthology of 218 original poems for children in kindergarten through fifth grade by 75 popular poets including J. Patrick Lewis, Jack Prelutsky, Jane Yolen, Margarita Engle, X. J. Kennedy, Kathi Appelt, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Georgia Heard and Nikki Grimes and many more.

The book includes a poem a week for the whole school year (K-5) with curriculum connections provided for each poem, each week, each grade level. Just five minutes every “Poetry Friday” will reinforce key skills in reading and language arts such as rhyme, repetition, rhythm, alliteration, etc.

Thanks to the lovely blog world of the "kidlitosphere," I've been a fan of "Poetry Friday" since the beginning (in 2006). The idea of pausing for poetry every Friday is so appealing to me, maybe because Friday has always been my favorite day of the week. I think it is a natural fit for busy teachers and librarians who can build on that Poetry Friday tradition by incorporating a weekly poetry break into their regular routines. That's the first "hook" in our book-- the idea of sharing a poem every Friday! (More often is even better, but Friday is the hook!)

The other hook is the call for connecting with the new Common Core standards (and in Texas where the Common Core was not adopted-- don't get me started-- connecting with the TEKS, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). We've always had curricular standards of one kind or another, but poetry hasn't always been an explicit component. It is now! Of course this worries me a bit as poetry may also be abused and butchered in the name of test preparation. But the challenge is to provide guidance in sharing poetry that respects the integrity of the poem, celebrating the pleasures of language, while reinforcing the necessary skills. That's the second book "hook"-- we've tied every poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology to the Common Core standards (and TEKS standards in Texas) for poetry.

This book is first and foremost a quality anthology of 218 original poems for children written by 75 of today’s most popular poets. Children in any state (or country) can enjoy, explore, and respond to these poems. However, we have also come to realize that educators, librarians, and parents are looking for guidance in how to share poetry with children and teach the skills within the curriculum as well. Thus, this book offers both. It's part poetry collection and part professional resource guide-- quality poetry plus curriculum-based suggestions for helping children enjoy and understand poetry more deeply.

You'll find more information about the book at the PoetryFridayAnthology blog here. Our official launch date is Sept. 1 when we hope to offer an e-book version of the book as well-- projectable and searchable! But the print version of the book is available NOW to help jumpstart the school year with poetry. I'll also be posting a few nuggets from the book here in the near future-- as well as more about our new joint publishing venture, Pomelo Books. Meanwhile, Janet and I hope you'll give the book a look and help us spread the word.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Poetry Friday sharing this week at Mary Lee's A YEAR OF READING and Andi's A WRUNG SPONGE.

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


Janet Wong said...

Two months ago I was seriously worried: were we really going to finish this book in time for the start of the school year? Well . . . two dozen bags of potato chips and 3 dozen gray hairs later: The PFA is here! I know that teachers and kids will have so much fun with your curriculum connections. And I predict we'll see parents tweeting: What on earth is Poetry Friday?

Jeannine Atkins said...

What a lot of wonderful poems I've just begun to read, and such helpful questions for teachers. Congratulations, Sylvia and Janet, on making Fridays so much fun!

Charles Waters said...

Cannot wait! Vardell and Wong strike again!

Renee LaTulippe said...

Congrats, Janet and Sylvia! I placed my order on Amazon Italia about an hour ago and will have this in my hands in a couple days. I cannot wait to read it (kudos on the lovely design, too). The book has another benefit for me, as I will be teaching English at home to my bilingual kids, making poetry a huge part of that effort. Looking forward to having you and the book on NWR, and to learning more about the publishing venture. Now lay off the chips!

Janet Wong said...

Renee: now I know who to thank for the sale that showed up today in our Amazon Europe account! Amazon Italy will have delivery in a couple of days? Pretty neat!! As for the potato chips, we still are working on re-formatting for the e-book . . . and that is at least a 5-bag job.

Sylvia Vardell said...

I know what you mean, Janet. I had my anxieties too and am kinda proud that we pulled it off! I used nearly ALL our cell phone minutes (for all our conference calls) for the first time in nearly 20 years!

It helps to have 200+ marvelous poems to work with-- including YOU, Janet. Thanks also, Jeannine and Charles (and ALL our poets) for your wonderful words!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Renee, I absolutely LOVE the idea of our book being in Italy with you and your kids! Bellissimo! Thanks for your support!

Carol said...

I have a son in college and am really trying NOT to buy books but this sounds like one I HAVE to have! Off to place my order on Amazon now! Can't wait to get hold of what sounds like a super valuable resource! Middle school anthology next?

Kerry Aradhya said...

Congratulations. Looks like a wonderful book! I'm finding that my oldest daughter is gravitating toward poetry more than chapter books, so it is nice to hear about this collaboration of yours!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Hats off to you, Sylvia, and to you, Janet, for such an amazing project. I kept thinking of you two all summer wondering if you were getting a wink of sleep?

So honored and thrilled to be even a small part of this endeavor - I'm recommending this book to every teacher I see. Moved my elementary ed-major daughter back to college this weekend, so I'm already starting on the next generation in the classroom, too.

Go, Potato Chip Power!

laurasalas said...

This is a fantastic book! I love it! It's even more than I expected it to be. Am in the final stages of my own first e-book, and, lordy, it's a lot to do. And that was a simple one with the content almost all already done! Holy moly. Can't imagine the effort that went into this, and I am so excited to read the whole thing front to back this coming week.

Joy said...

Sylvia and Janet,
Thank you sooooo much for a great book for sharing poetry with children. Every poem in the book is a winner and the "Take 5" is brilliant.
Each page provides me with new poem ideas. It is just so much fun to read and enjoy and the perfect start for a poetry party.
You've done a great job with THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY. said...

Well what a great way to kick off the new school year!!! Congrats Sylvia and Janet on your new book which I'm sure will be as great and inspiring as p*tag! We just posted about The Poetry Friday Anthology on our blog today in honor of Poetry Friday.

Dwight said...


I would love to buy the anthology, but Amazon says it's out of print! Is that a hiccup on Amazon's part or have you had a fire sale?



Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks, Corinne, for the plug on PaperTigers! You know how much we love your site!

Dwight-- yes, that is an Amazon hiccup. Please look again. (The "revised" version is "retired," but the "real" book is there for sale!) Thanks!