Friday, February 26, 2021

"Poetry for Everyone" Panel + "Dear Poet" Project for Kids

"Poetry for Everyone" Panel

Earlier this month I was honored to be part of a panel sponsored by the Irving (TX) Public Library as part of their Big Read celebration. This "Poetry for Everyone" panel included an amazing line up: Naomi Shihab Nye, Padma Venkatraman, Joaquin Zihuatenejo, Karla K. Morton and was moderated by Samantha Mabry. It was recorded and is now available for the public. It's a fun mix of personal sharing, poem readings, and advice for writers. Check it out!

"Dear Poet" Project
The Academy of American Poets sponsors a "Dear Poet" writing contest for children and young adults in grades 5 through 12 in celebration of upcoming National Poetry Month. Here are the details:

"Teachers and librarians, every National Poetry Month we present Dear Poet, a multimedia education project that invites young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response to poems written and read by award-winning poets, including poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors and who have received our Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships.

Students are encouraged to watch the 21 newly-released "Dear Poet" videos, write letters in response to the poems, and send their letters to by April 30. Selected letters will be published on, one of the most visited sites for poetry on the web, and shared on social media during the twenty-fifth anniversary of National Poetry Month this April.

“As we’ve seen from the response to Amanda Gorman's recitation at the Presidential Inauguration, poets are important figures in contemporary culture. The Dear Poet project provides students with an opportunity to learn about some of the leading poets writing today, to read their work and respond to their work through letter writing. Selected students will even receive a personal response from their poet! As many students continue their studies at home for the next few months, we encourage them to be a part of this great project,” said Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, the Academy of American Poets Educator in Residence.

For additional resources to assist with the project, read an essay about Dear Poet and check out one high school’s past participation in the project. For some examples of student letters, visit last year’s Dear Poet page."

Now, head on over to Karen Edmisten's blog where she is hosting all our Poetry Friday posts this week here.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Black Poetry 2021

In celebration of Black History Month, I'd like to lift up new poetry books for young readers due to be or already published in 2021 and written by Black poets including Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman. Covers were not yet available for all these titles, but I can't wait to get my hands on all these books. Some of these titles were projected for 2021, but may be pushed back to next year. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, it's exciting to see nearly 20 titles by Black poets in this year's crop-- novels in verse, anthologies, poem biographies, and poem picture books. And it's exciting to see established names like John Agard, Zetta Elliott, Nikki Grimes and Marilyn Nelson alongside newer names like Safia Elhillo and Amber McBride. Kudos to Carole Boston Weatherford who has multiple books in verse coming in 2021-- as she often does. Works by Black poets continue to represent a substantial portion of new poetry books published for young readers every year-- and often get recognized for their outstanding quality with Coretta Scott King Awards and Honors. I'm predicting now that one or more of the books listed below will be on that CSK list next January! Add them to your list to buy, read, and share now.

1. Agard, John. 2021. Coyote’s Soundbite: A Poem for the Planet. Ill. by Piet Grobler. Oxford: Lantana. 
2. Barnes, Derrick. 2021. [Bio of Muhammad Ali] Ill. by Gordon James. Boston: HMH/Versify.
3. Browne, Mahogany L. 2021. Chlorine Sky. New York: Crown. 
4. Charles, Tami. 2021. Muted. New York: Scholastic.
5. Elhillo, Safia. 2021. Home is Not a Country. New York: PRH/Make Me a World.
6. Elliott, Zetta and Miller-Lachmann, Lyn. 2021. Moonwalking. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 
7. Giovanni, Nikki. 2021. A Library. Ill. by Erin Robinson. Boston: HMH/Versify.
8. Gorman, Amanda. 2021. Change Sings: A Children's Anthem. Ill. by Loren Long. New York: Penguin Random House.
9. Gorman, Amanda. 2021. The Hill We Climb. Ill. by Loren Long. New York: Penguin Random House.
10. Grimes, Nikki. 2021. Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance. Ill. by Ekua Holmes and 17 other artists. New York: Bloomsbury. 
11. McBride, Amber. 2021. Me (Moth). New York: Feiwel & Friends. 
12. Nelson, Marilyn and Lawson, Tammi. 2021. Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculptor's Life. New York: Macmillan/Ottaviano.
13. Shepard, Ray Anthony. 2021. Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge. Ill. by Keith Mallett. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
14. Tallie, Mariahadessa Ekere. 2021. Karma's Footsteps. Flipped Eye Publishing.
15. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2021. Dreams for a Daughter. Ill. by Brian Pinkney. New York: Atheneum.
16. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2021. Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi. Ill. by Chris Hsu. New York: Little Bee Books.
17. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2021. The Faith of Elijah Cummings: Champion of Truth, Justice & Equality. Ill. by Laura Freeman. New York: Random House Studio.
18. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2021. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre. Ill. By Floyd Cooper. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner/Carolrhoda. 

Please let me know of any other new titles for young readers by Black poets that I should add to this list. Thanks! Now head on over to There Is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town (LOVE that blog name!) where Ruth is gathering all the Poetry Friday posts that you won't want to miss! 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Asian Pacific American Poetry

Happy Lunar New Year! 
Let's celebrate by seeking out poetry for young people by Asian and Asian Pacific American writers! Here's a beginning list; please let me know of any great titles I may have missed. 

Asian Pacific American Poetry for Young People
Asian and Asian American poetry for young people is not just haiku (and haiku is wonderful to share with young people), but there are many lovely, ancient and contemporary works to share with children. Here is a sampling of poetry for young people by Asian and Asian Pacific American poets.
  • Chang, Victoria. 2020. Love, Love. New York: Sterling. 
  • Chau, Alina. 2021. In the Spirit of a Dream. New York: Orchard.
  • Ho, Minfong. 1996. Maples in the Mist: Poems for Children from the Tang Dynasty. New York: Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard.
  • Issa, Kobayashi. 2007. Today and Today. New York: Scholastic.
  • Izuki, Steven. 1994. Believers in America: Poems about Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander Descent. Chicago, IL: Children’s Press.
  • Jiang, Emily. 2014. Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments. Ill. by April Chu. New York: Shen's Books/Lee & Low.
  • Lai, Thanhha. 2011. Inside Out and Back Again. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Lin, Grace and McKneally, Ranida T. 2007. Our Seasons. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
  • Lin, Grace and McKneally, Ranida T. 2016. Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
  • Mak, Kam. 2001. My Chinatown: One Year in Poems. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Nagai, Mariko. 2014. Dust of Eden. Chicago: Whitman. 
  • Nagai, Mariko. 2019. Under the Broken Sky. New York: Macmillan. 
  • Park, Linda Sue. 2007. Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo Poems. New York : Clarion.
  • Park, Linda Sue. 2021. The One Thing You’d Save. Ill. by Robert Sae-Heng. Boston: HMH/Clarion.
  • Russell, Ching Yeung. 2019. House Without Walls. Yellow Jacket.
  • Sze, Gillian. 2021. My Love for You is Always. Ill. by Michelle Lee. New York: Philomel.
  • Sze, Gillian. 2021. The Night is Deep and Wide. Ill. by Sue Todd. Custer, WA: Orca.
  • Wong, Janet S. 1994. Good Luck Gold and Other Poems. New York: McElderry.
  • Wong, Janet S. 1996/2008. A Suitcase of Seaweed, and Other Poems. New York: McElderry.
  • Wong, Janet S. 1999. Behind the Wheel: Poems about Driving. New York: McElderry.
  • Wong, Janet S. 1999. The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children. New York: McElderry.
  • Wong, Janet S. 2000. Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams. New York: McElderry.
  • Wong, Janet S. 2003. Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions. New York: McElderry.
  • Wong, Janet S. 2003. Minn and Jake. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  • Wong, Janet S. 2007. Twist: Yoga Poems. New York: McElderry.
  • Wong, Janet. 2008. Minn and Jake’s Almost Terrible Summer. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 
  • Wong, Janet. 2011. Once Upon A Tiger; New Beginnings for Endangered Animals.
  • Wong, Janet. 2012. Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year. PoetrySuitcase.
  • Wong, Janet. 2019. A Suitcase of Seaweed and MORE. Princeton, NJ: Pomelo Books.
  • Wong, Joyce Lee. 2006. Seeing Emily. New York: Abrams.
  • Yep, Laurence, ed. 1993. American Dragons: Twenty-five Asian American Voices. New York: HarperCollins.
  • Yoon, JooHee. 2015. Beastly Verse. New York: Enchanted Lion Books.
  • Yu, Chin. 2005. Little Green; Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster.
PLUS: These poetry books feature Asian and Asian Pacific American characters and content, but the authors are not from these cultures themselves. 
  • Cheng, Andrea. 2005. Shanghai Messenger. New York: Lee & Low.
  • Demi, comp. 1994. In the Eyes of the Cat: Japanese Poetry for All Seasons. Translated by Tze-Si Huang. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Donwerth-Chikamatsu, Annie. 2016. Somewhere Among. Simon & Schuster.
  • Gollub, Matthew. 1998. Cool Melons Turn to Frogs: The Life and Poems of Issa. New York: Lee & Low Books.
  • Jacobson, David; Ito, Sally and Tsuboi, Michiko. 2016. Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko. Ill. by Toshikado Hajiri. Chin Music.
  • Ling, Nancy Tupper. 2015. Double Happiness. San Francisco: Chronicle.
  • Thompson, Holly. 2011. Orchards. New York: Random House.
  • Thompson, Holly. 2013. The Language Inside. New York: Delacorte.
  • Thompson, Holly. 2016. Falling into the Dragon's Mouth. New York: Holt.
Author and artist Grace Lin shares directions for making your own paper art of an ox for the Year of the Ox in her awesome newsletter here.

And finally, my favorite Asian Pacific American poet, Janet Wong, wrote a brand new poem, "Steady" to celebrate the new year of the ox and is allowing me to share it here. Enjoy!

Now, head on over to Nix the Comfort Zone where Molly is gathering all our Poetry Friday posts!