Friday, June 27, 2014

ALA Poetry Blast 2014

The next Poetry Blast will be held at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 29 (3:00-4:30pm) in the PopTop Stage of the Convention Center. It's a fantastic event hosted by Barbara Genco and Marilyn Singer and I have never missed it-- until now. :-(  Unfortunately/fortunately, I have a conflict this year (and am receiving an award at the same time), so I won't be able to report on it as I usually do. But I thought I might post a little plug here anyway featuring the names and works of the poets who will be presenting there. 

Joan Bransfield Graham
Nikki Grimes
Kenn Nesbitt
Kari Anne Holt
Marilyn Nelson
Emily Jiang
Jacqueline Woodson
Alan Katz
Margarita Engle
Marilyn Singer 

Selected books by the 2014 Poetry Blast poets
As I pulled together a list of poetry books by these ten poets, it totaled nearly 100 books! So, this list is just a partial listing of their works.

1. Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007. Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
2. Engle, Margaret. 2006. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano. New York: Holt.
3. Engle, Margarita. 2008. The Surrender Tree. New York: Holt.
4. Engle, Margarita. 2009. Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. New York: Holt.
5. Engle, Margarita. 2010. The Firefly Letters; A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba. New York: Henry Holt.
6. Engle, Margarita. 2011. Hurricane Dancers; The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. New York: Henry Holt. 
7. Engle, Margarita. 2012. The Wild Book. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
8. Engle, Margarita. 2014. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
9. Engle, Margarita. 2014. Tiny Rabbit's Big Wish. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
10. Graham, Joan B. 2014. The Poem That Will Not End: Fun With Poetic Forms and Voices. Two Lions.
11. Graham, Joan Bransfield. 1994. Splish Splash. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
12. Graham, Joan Bransfield. 1999. Flicker Flash. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
13. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Shoe Magic. New York: Orchard.
14. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Stepping out with Grandma Mac. New York: Simon & Schuster.
15. Grimes, Nikki. 2001. A Pocketful of Poems. New York: Clarion.
16. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Bronx Masquerade. New York: Dial.
17. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Danitra Brown Leaves Town. New York: HarperCollins.
18. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. What is Goodbye? New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion.
19. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Danitra Brown, Class Clown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard.
20. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Dark Sons. New York: Hyperion. 
21. Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a Million. New York: Amistad.
22. Grimes, Nikki. 2007. When Gorilla Goes Walking. New York: Orchard.
23. Grimes, Nikki. 2011. Planet Middle School. New York: Bloomsbury.
24. Grimes, Nikki. 2014. Poems in the Attic. New York: Lee & Low. 
25. Holt, K. A. 2014. Rhyme Schemer. San Francisco: Chronicle.
26. Jiang, Emily. 2014. Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments. Ill. by April Chu. New York: Shen's Books/Lee & Low.
27. Katz, Alan. 2001. Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs. New York: McElderry.
28. Katz, Alan. 2008. Oops. New York: McElderry.
29. Katz, Alan. 2008. Smelly Locker; Silly Dilly School Songs. New York: Simon & Schuster.
30. Katz, Alan. 2011. Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs. New York: McElderry.
31. Katz, Alan. 2011. Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking. Ill. by Ed Koren. New York: Simon & Schuster.
32. Nelson, Marilyn. 2001. Carver: A Life in Poems. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
33. Nelson, Marilyn. 2004. Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
34. Nelson, Marilyn. 2005. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
35. Nelson, Marilyn. 2008. The Freedom Business. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
36. Nelson, Marilyn. 2009. Sweethearts of Rhythm; The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Ill. by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Dial. 
37. Nelson, Marilyn. 2014. How I Discovered Poetry. Ill. by Hadley Hooper. New York: Dial.
38. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2004. When the Teacher Isn't Looking. Minnetonka, MN: Meadowbrook Press.
39. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2007.  Revenge of the Lunch Ladies. Minnetonka, MN: Meadowbrook Press.
40. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2009. My Hippo Has the Hiccups with CD: And Other Poems I Totally Made Up. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
41. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2010. The Tighty Whitey Spider: And More Wacky Animal Poems I Totally Made Up. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
42. Singer, Marilyn, 2012. Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems. New York: Dial.
43. Singer, Marilyn. 2001. Monster Museum. New York: Hyperion.
44. Singer, Marilyn. 2002. Footprints on the Roof: Poems about the Earth. New York: Knopf. 
45. Singer, Marilyn. 2003. Fireflies at Midnight. New York: Atheneum. 
46. Singer, Marilyn. 2003. How to Cross a Pond: Poems about Water. New York: Knopf. 
47. Singer, Marilyn. 2004. Creature Carnival. New York: Hyperion.
48. Singer, Marilyn. 2005. Central Heating: Poems about Fire and Warmth. New York: Knopf. 
49. Singer, Marilyn. 2005. Monday on the Mississippi. New York: Henry Holt.
50. Singer, Marilyn. 2008. First Food Fight This Fall. New York: Sterling.
51. Singer, Marilyn. 2010. Mirror, Mirror. New York: Dutton.
52. Singer, Marilyn. 2011. A Full Moon is Rising. Lee & Low.
53. Singer, Marilyn. 2011. A Stick Is an Excellent Thing. Ill. by LeUyen Pham. New York: Clarion. 
54. Singer, Marilyn. 2011. Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom. New York: Knopf.
55. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals That Call Them Home. San Francisco: Chronicle.
56. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. The Boy Who Cried Alien. Ill. by Brian Biggs. New York: Hyperion.
57. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. The Superheroes Employment Agency. Ill. by Noah Z. Jones. New York: Clarion.
58. Singer, Marilyn. 2013. Follow, Follow. New York: Dial.
59. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2003. Locomotion. New York: Putnam.
60. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2014. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Penguin.

Now let's join the group celebrating Poetry Friday over at Buffy's Blog!

Friday, June 20, 2014

First Day of Summer

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 21, is officially the first day of summer! 
Here's a poem to celebrate from The Poetry Friday Anthology.

Family Vacation
   by Allan Wolf

I started packing Monday
when I gathered up my shirts.
My sister packed away a blouse,
a hairbrush, and three skirts.

Daddy packed his razor
and his woolen dress-up slacks.
Mother packed her flowered dress
and a box of crunchy snacks.
We gathered up a couple lamps
and a box of dictionaries,
we even took Sir William
and Bernice, our pet canaries,

the sofa and the kitchen sink,
my old, stuffed Teddy Bear,
the television, bicycles,
Great Grandma’s rocking chair!

By Friday we had taken
all the things we had to take.
We even took some things
we really needed by mistake.

We’re ready for vacation now,
with all the stuff we’re towing.
The only problem is that we’ve 
forgotten where we’re going!

Take 5
(Here are the activities in The Poetry Friday Anthology that accompany this poem.)

1. As a poetry prop for sharing this poem, have a suitcase or backpack handy while you read the poem aloud.

2. Share the poem again and invite students to chime in on the last two lines of the poem (The only problem is that we’ve / forgotten where we’re going!). Read the rest of the poem aloud, starting slowly, accelerating speed as you go, and then pausing before the final stanza. 
The Texas Edition
3. For discussion: What is the one item you feel like you can’t leave behind when packing for a trip?
4. Poets give their poems shape in many ways. Here the poem is made up of four-line stanzas, or quatrains. Talk with students about each stanza and what it adds to the poem. What details tell you the poem is humorous?

5. Match this poem with the acrostic poem “Family Vacation” by Kathi Appelt (4th Grade, Week 35, page 221), the packing poem “By the Sea” by Lesléa Newman (1st Grade, Week 35, page 101), or selections from Vacation: We’re Going to the Ocean! by David L. Harrison.

Now head on over to Check it Out where Jone is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering!

Image credit:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Moon Poems

Another beautiful full moon to enjoy-- and on Friday the 13th! I put together a quick list of "moon" poetry books in honor of the day.  Enjoy!

Moon Poems
  1. Abeel, Samantha.1993. Reach for the Moon. Duluth, MN: Pfeifer-Hamilton.
  2. Agard, John and Nicholes, Grace. Eds. 2002. Under the Moon & Over the Sea; A Collection of Caribbean Poems. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  3. Alarcón, Francisco X. 1998. From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems/Del Ombligo de la Luna y Otros Poemas de Verano. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.
  4. Aldana, Patricia. Ed. 2004. Under the Spell of the Moon. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood.
  5. Bruchac, Joseph. 1992.  Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons. New York: Philomel Books.
  6. Crist-Evans, Craig. 1999. Moon Over Tennessee: A Boy’s Civil War Journal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  7. Durango, Julia. 2011. Under the Mambo Moon. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. 
  8. Florian, Douglas. 2007. comets, stars, the moon, and mars. San Diego: Harcourt.
  9. Harris, Jay M. 2007. The Moon Is La Luna: Silly Rhymes in English & Spanish. Ill. by Matthew Cordell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  10. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 1995. Blast Off: Poems about Space. New York: HarperCollins.
  11. Johnson, Lindsay Lee. 2002. Soul Moon Soup. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  12. Kuskin, Karla. 2003. Moon, Have You Met My Mother? The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin. New York: HarperCollins.
  13. Lawson, JonArno. The Man in the Moon-Fixer’s Mask. Toronto: Pedlar Press, 2004.
  14. Livingston, Myra Cohn. 1998. Space Songs. New York: Holiday House.
  15. Ryder, Joanne. 2002. Mouse Tail Moon. Ill. by Maggie Kneen. New York: Henry Holt.
  16. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2008. And Then There Were Eight: Poems About Space. Minneapolis, MN: Capstone.
  17. Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night. Ill. by Rick Allen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  18. Singer, Marilyn. 2011. A Full Moon is Rising. Lee & Low.
  19. Sklansky, Amy E. 2012. Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space. Ill. by Stacey Schuett. New York: Knopf.
  20. Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth. Ed. 2003. The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars: Poems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  21. Willard, Nancy. 2001. The Moon & Riddles Diner and the Sunnyside Cafe. San Diego: Harcourt.
  22. Wood, Nancy. 1995. Dancing Moons. New York: Doubleday.
  23. Yolen, Jane and Peters, Andrew Fusek. Comp. 2010. Switching on the Moon; A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
  24. Yolen, Jane. 1993. What Rhymes with Moon? New York: Philomel. 
  25. Zemach, Margot. 2001. Some from the Moon, Some from the Sun: Poems and Songs for Everyone. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
And I can't resist the opportunity to connect with a poem from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. Here's a moon poem from the 4th grade section, along with the "Take 5" mini lesson for sharing this poem with kids.

Queen of Night
By Terry Webb Harshman

I am the moon, Queen of Night,
riddle wrapped in borrowed light,

a silver spool where dreams unwind,
ancient orb as old as time.

I masquerade; I wax and wane . . .
forever changing yet the same;

I stir the tides with unseen hands;
they ebb and flow from sea to sand.

Father Sun may keep the day;
I ride along the Milky Way . . . 

holding court with owls and bats,
moles and voles and backstreet cats.

Within my tent the weary rest;
puppies doze and sparrows nest.

Children dream beneath my light . . .
I am the moon, Queen of Night.

Take 5
1. Before sharing this poem, alert students to listen for particular “moon vocabulary.” Then read the poem aloud and make a list of all the moon-specific language they can identify (e.g., night, light, ancient, orb, wax, wane, tides, ebb, flow, Milky Way).

2. Read the poem aloud again, and invite students to chime in on the first and last lines of the poem (I am the moon, Queen of Night), echoing the title of the poem). 

3. Connect this poem with a nonfiction book about the moon to compare the factual information you can glean from each source. One example is The Moon by Seymour Simon.

4. Use this poem to talk about what we know about the moon, beginning with attributes of the moon and then considering tides, seasons, and the observable appearance of the moon over time during its phases. Consult the NASA website at

5. Follow up with another poem about the moon, “I Like that Night Follows Day” by April Halprin Wayland (1st Grade, Week 24, page 92), and selections from A Full Moon Is Rising by Marilyn Singer and Dark Emperor by Joyce Sidman.

Happy Poetry Friday! Join the crew over at Catherine's place here.

Image source:, FR