Once again, I attended the IBBY Regional conference hosted by USBBY in Austin, Texas. Every two years, USBBY (United States Board on Books for Young People) organizes a 3 day conference at different places around the country and I try never to miss it. (I've been going for over 20 years!) I love many things about this conference-- it's focus on introducing authors, illustrators, and poets from outside the United States, the way visiting authors stay and chat and mingle with everyone, how meals are included so we stay and chat together--- and so much more!
And once again, I tried to include a focus on international POETRY-- always a challenge. I was lucky enough to co-host a "poetry jam" with guest poet and speaker Adolfo Cordova, a scholar and poet from Mexico. We had such a good time sharing poetry from Mexico and inviting people to read spontaneously from poetry books by other poet speakers at the conference too (there were more than a dozen poets represented!).
As I prepared for this event, I was so pleased and surprised to see that this year's poetry output (for 2019) includes TEN POETRY BOOKS featuring poets and stories from outside the U.S. Isn't that wonderful?! Here's that list of 10-- with annotations courtesy of Amazon.
10 International Books of Poetry
Beauvais, Clementine. 2019. In Paris with You. Translated from the French by Sam Taylor. Wednesday.
Eugene and Tatiana could have fallen in love, if things had gone differently. If they had tried to really know each other, if it had just been them, and not the others. But that was years ago and time has found them far apart, leading separate lives.
Until they meet again in Paris.
What really happened back then? And now? Could they ever be together again after everything?
Bramer, Shannon. 2019. Climbing Shadows: Poems for Children. Ill. by Cindy Derby. Toronto: Groundwood.
The poems in Climbing Shadows were inspired by a class of kindergarten children whom Canadian poet and playwright Shannon Bramer came to know over the course of a school year. She set out to write a poem for each child, sharing her love of poetry with them, and made an anthology of the poems for Valentine’s Day.
___________. 2019. I See the Moon: Rhymes for Bedtime. Ill. by Rosalind Beardshaw. Somerville, MA: Nosy Crow.
A beautifully illustrated collection of favorite rhymes for little ones preparing for bedtime. Rosalind Beardshaw’s artwork features wonderful natural scenes, with adorable sleepy animals and babies ready to be lulled to sleep.
Kaur, Jasmin. 2019. When You Ask Me Where I’m Going. New York: HarperCollins.
The six sections of the book explore what it means to be a young woman living in a world that doesn’t always hear her and tell the story of Kiran as she flees a history of trauma and raises her daughter, Sahaara, while living undocumented in North America.
___________. 2019. My First Book of Haiku Poems: A Picture, a Poem, a Dream. Translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen. Ill. by Tracy Gallup. Tuttle Publishing.
My First Book of Haiku Poems introduces children to this ancient poetry form that's still a favorite among teachers, parents and children. These concise poems are easy for readers of all ages to understand and appreciate.
Nagai, Mariko. 2019. Under the Broken Sky. New York: Macmillan.
Twelve-year-old Natsu and her family live a quiet farm life in Manchuria, near the border of the Soviet Union. But the life they've known begins to unravel when her father is recruited to the Japanese army, and Natsu and her little sister, Asa, are left orphaned and destitute.
In a desperate move to keep her sister alive, Natsu sells Asa to a Russian family following the 1945 Soviet occupation. The journey to redemption for Natsu's broken family is rife with struggles, but Natsu is tenacious and will stop at nothing to get her little sister back.
___________. Origami and Poetry Inspired by Nature. Ill. by Clover Robin. Somerville, MA: Nosy Crow.
This stunning book features nature-inspired poems and origami. For each animal or object, children will be able to read a poem and then make a corresponding origami figure! With clear, simple directions and links to helpful videos for how to make thirteen animals or objects and fifty sheets of origami paper, this is the perfect introduction to the art of paper folding.
Russell, Ching Yeung. 2019. House Without Walls. Yellow Jacket.
Eleven-year-old Lam escapes from Vietnam with Dee Dee during the Vietnamese Boat People Exodus in 1979, when people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia fled their homelands for safety. For a refugee, the trip is a long and perilous one, filled with dangerous encounters with pirates and greedy sailors, a lack of food and water, and even the stench of a dead body onboard. When they finally arrive at a refugee camp, Lam befriends Dao, a girl her age who becomes like a sister-a welcome glimmer of happiness after a terrifying journey.
van de Vendel, Edward. 2019. I’ll Root for You and Other Poems. Ill. by Wolf Erlbruch. Translated by David Colmer. Eerdmans.
This delightful poetry collection is the perfect cheerleader for young athletes . . . especially ones who may not be the most athletic. (Dutch poet) Edward van de Vendel introduces readers to a world where elephants figure skate, frogs win the Diversity Olympics, and a pig quits the football team for gymnastics, even though everyone laughs at his leotard. Paired with winsome illustra¬tions, the poems—sometimes silly, sometimes sincere—encourage young readers to pursue their goals, try their best, and take pride in themselves, whether they win or lose.
Vecchione, Patrice and Raymond, Alysa. Eds. 2019. Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience. Triangle Square.
This collection of sixty-four poems by poets who come from all over the world shares the experience of first- and second-generation young adult immigrants and refugees. Whether it’s cultural and language differences, homesickness, social exclusion, racism, stereotyping, or questions of identity, the Dreamers, immigrants, and refugee poets included here encourage readers to honor their roots as well as explore new paths, offering empathy and hope. Many of the struggles described are faced by young people everywhere: isolation, self-doubt, confusion, and emotional dislocation. But also joy, discovery, safety, and family.
This is a hopeful, beautiful, and meaningful book for any reader.