Friday, May 03, 2024

Cover Reveal: THE MISTAKES THAT MADE US by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Photo credit Eric Latham
I'm happy to share my blog space with good friends and amazing poets, Irene Latham and Charles Waters. They have stopped by for a cover reveal and to give us a sneak peek at their upcoming anthology, The Mistakes That Made Us: Confessions from Twenty Poets, illustrated by Mercè López and published by Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group. It's due out on October 1, 2024!

Here's a Q & A with Irene and Charles:

What was your inspiration for this project?
Our first book together was a book of poems titled Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (2018), which, like this book, was edited by the fabulous Carol Hinz, Associate Publisher at Lerner Publishing Group. 

With Carol’s support and encouragement, we’ve continued to explore our first book’s subject matter in other projects (such as Be A Bridge), and this time we decided to dive into the “mistakes” part of that subtitle. 

Can I Touch Your Hair? is part fiction and part autobiographical, and we thought it would be interesting and impactful to ask poets to go 100% autobiographical and share their real-life mistakes—rather than a more traditional (fictional) treatment of this topic. We also asked poets to share a prose passage about how the mistake in the poem impacted their lives, which gives the reader the experience of seeing how mistakes can ripple across a lifetime, shaping us in unexpected ways. 

Why an anthology instead of a collection written by you? 
We love anthologies, find them a vital tool in literacy, and want to share them with as many humans as possible! With an anthology, the reader experiences multiple voices writing on a theme, which can offer a more comprehensive look at a topic, and also yield surprises. Additionally, the wide variety of poetic styles in an anthology can provide more doorways for kids to connect with the words and the message of the book. With the passing of Lee Bennett Hopkins and Paul B. Janeczko there is a gaping hole in the anthologies market, and we’re excited to join others (like you, Sylvia!) in the children’s poetry community in helping to keep this extraordinary genre alive for many years to come. 

Can you share some behind-the-scenes information about working on this book
We’d be glad to! 

1. The book was originally titled OOPS: Poems About Mistakes. But that title turned out to be too flip for the wide variety of mistakes represented in the collection, which range from things like Allan Wolf’s poem about scoring a point for the wrong team to Margarita Engle’s poem about caving to peer pressure and cutting off her beloved braids. The poems we received humbled us to our core because of how deeply personal they are. These poems are heartfelt, tender, surprising, and sometimes deeply funny. We are so grateful to these contributors for their bravery in sharing their stories. 

2. We came up with the structure of the book first – it’s divided into four sections (Oopsie-Daisy; Stuff Happens; Blessings in Disguise; What Have I Done?). Then we built the collection poem by poem, poet by poet, as we worked to fill those categories. 

3. This book would not have been possible without the illustrations by Mercè López. Her work has dazzled us with its sensitivity, specificity and creativity. We asked the poets to send us childhood photos of themselves, we sent those to Carol, who sent them Mercè. One illustration, of many, you’ll see in the book that really captures a poet and their family is the spread for JaNay Brown-Wood’s poem “Birthday Breaths.” 

Poets in this anthology includes: 
Jaime Adoff
Jorge Argueta
Lacresha Berry
JaNay Brown-Wood
David Elliott
Margarita Engle
Matt Forrest Esenwine
Douglas Florian
Irene Latham
George Ella Lyon
Vikram Madan
Naomi Shihab Nye
Linda Sue Park
Kim Rogers
Darren Sardelli
Charles Waters
April Halprin Wayland
Allan Wolf
Tabatha Yeatts
Jane Yolen 

We hope you enjoy this anthology, and not only enjoy it, but share it with others! We hope it inspires everyone to have conversations and/or write about their own mistakes.

Me: Thank you, Irene and Charles, for sharing the cover of your new book and these insights into the background for this new anthology. I love the premise and can't wait to see this book and share it too! Now head on over to Buffy's blog for the Poetry Friday gathering! 

Monday, January 08, 2024

Sneak Peek List 2024

It's time again for my "sneak peek" list of the poetry collections, poetry picture books, poetry anthologies, and novels in verse that are set to be published in 2024. This is my initial list, but I will be adding to it all year, so if I have missed a book due to be published this year, please let me know. I hope this continues to be a useful resource for poets, critics, educators, and all who seek out new poetry for young people. So many wonderful new books to look forward to! 

Sneak Peek List of Poetry for Young People 2024

  1. Akhbari, Parisa. 2024. Just Another Epic Love Poem. Penguin/Dial.
  2. Alexander, Kwame. 2024. Black Star (The Door of No Return series Book 2). Little, Brown.
  3. Atkins, Marcie Flinchum. 2024. One Step Forward. Versify.
  4. Avery, Jaha Nailah. I Heard: An American Journey. Ill. by Steffi Walthall. Charlesbridge.
  5. Burg, Ann E. 2024. Force of Nature: A Novel of Rachel Carson. Ill. by Sophie Blackall. Scholastic.
  6. Burgess, Matthew. 2024. Fireworks. Ill. by Cátia Chien. HarperCollins. 
  7. Burgess, Matthew. Words with Wings and Magic Things. Ill. by Doug Salati. Tundra.
  8. Byas, Taylor; Martin, Erica and McBride, Amber. 2023. Poemhood: Our Black Revival. HarperCollins. 
  9. Cane, Tina. 2024. Are You Nobody Too? Random House/Make Me a World.
  10. Cheng, Charlotte. 2024. I Miss You Most. Ill. by Xindi Yan. Dial.
  11. Cline-Ransome, Lesa. 2024. One Big Open Sky. Holiday House.
  12. Crews, Nina. 2024. Extraordinary Magic: The Storytelling Life of Virginia Hamilton. Little, Brown.
  13. Crowder, Melanie and Benedict, Megan. 2024. Great Gusts: Poems About the Wind. Ill. by Khoa Le. Candlewick.
  14. Detlefsen, Lisl H. 2024. At the End of the Day. Ill. by Lynnor Bontigao. Knopf.
  15. Dickinson, Emily. 2024. Hope Is the Thing with Wings. Ill. by Tatyana Feeney. Abrams/Cameron Kids.
  16. Elliott, David and Elliott, E. M. 2024. Bonebag. Astra Books for Young Readers. 
  17. Elliott, David. 2024. Best in Show. Clarion. 
  18. Engle, Margarita. 2024. Wild Dreamers. Atheneum.
  19. Engle, Margarita. 2024. Eloisa’s Musical Window. Ill. by John Parra.
  20. Fipps, Lisa. 2024. And Then, Boom! Penguin/Paulsen. 
  21. Florian, Douglas. 2024. Windsongs: Poems About Weather. Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster.
  22. Frost, Helen. 2024. The Mighty Pollinators. Ill. by Rick Lieder. Candlewick.
  23. George, Kallie. 2024. Mushrooms Know: Wisdom from Our Friends the Fungi. Ill. by Sara Gillingham. Greystone Kids.
  24. Harrison, David L. 2024. Wild Bunch: How Animals Eat What They Eat. Ill. by Giles Laroche. Charlesbridge.
  25. Hemnani, Ritu. 2024. Three Colors of Hope. Balzer + Bray.
  26. Hernández, Karol. 2024. I Am La Chiva: The Colorful Bus of the Andes. Ill. by Lorena Alvarez Gómez. Dial.
  27. Ho, Joanna. 2024. We Who Produce Pearls: An Anthem for Asia America. Ill. by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya. Scholastic.
  28. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2024. Bless Our Pets: Poems of Gratitude for Our Animal Friends. Ill. by Lita Judge. Eerdmans.
  29. Keith, Tony, Jr. 2024. How the Boogeyman Became a Poet. HarperCollins/Tegen Books.
  30. Latham, Irene and Waters, Charles. 2024. If This Puddle Could Talk. Ill. by Olivia Sua. Candlewick. 
  31. Latham, Irene and Waters, Charles. 2024. The Mistakes That Made Us: Confessions from Twenty Poets. Ill. by Mercè López. Lerner/Carolrhoda.
  32. LaTulippe, Renée M. 2024. Limelight: Theater Poem to Perform. Ill. by Julian Peters. Charlesbridge. 
  33. Ling, Nancy Tupper and Cotner, June. 2024. Bless the Earth: A Collection of Poetry for Children to Celebrate and Care for Our World. Ill. by Keum Jin Song.  Penguin Random House.
  34. Lucianovic, Stephanie V. W. 2024. Hummingbird Season. Bloomsbury.
  35. Lucido, Aimee. 2024. Words Apart. Ill. by Philippa Corcutt and Rachael Corcutt. Versify.
  36. Ludwig, Sidura. 2024. Swan. Nimbus. 
  37. Madan, Vikram. 2024. Beware the Dragon and the Nozzlewock: A Funny Graphic Novel Poetry Collection Full of Surprising Characters. Astra/Wordsong.
  38. Moore, Katrina. 2024. The Star in You. Ill. by Amber Ren. Roaring Brook Press. 
  39. Nehanda, Walela. 2024. Bless the Blood: A Cancer Memoir. Penguin/Kokila.
  40. Pyron, Bobbie. 2024. Mermaids and Other Signs of Life. Penguin. 
  41. Rana, Sarah Mughal. 2024. Letters for My Brown Self. Wednesday Books. 
  42. Rashin, Kheiriyeh. 2024. Rumi—Poet of Joy and Love. NorthSouth.
  43. Riddiough, Lisa Frenkel. Pie-Rats! Ill. by David Mottram. Viking.
  44. Risbridger, Ella. 2024. She’ll Be the Sky: Poems by Women and Girls. Ill. by Anna Shepeta. Nosy Crow.
  45. Rose, Caroline Starr. 2024. Fire Finder. Penguin.
  46. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2024. Superhero Tryouts: Poems from Eyeglasses, Wheelchairs, and Other Helpers. Ill. by Meridth McKean Gimbel. Astra/Wordsong.
  47. Saltzberg, Barney. 2024. The Smell of Wet Dog: Poems About Dogs. Holiday House.
  48. Scanlon, Liz Garton. 2024. Bibsy Cross and the Bad Apple. Ill. by Dung Ho. Knopf.
  49. Schaub, Michelle. 2024. Leafy Landmarks: Travels With Trees. Ill. by Anne Lambelet. Sleeping Bear Press.
  50. Schu, John. 2024. Louder Than Hunger. Candlewick.
  51. Silverman, Buffy. 2024. Starlight Symphony. Millbrook Press. 
  52. Sumner, Jamie. 2024. Deep Water. Atheneum.
  53. Sumner, Jamie. 2024. Glory Be. Atheneum.
  54. Thompson, Holly. 2024. Listening to Trees: George Nakashima, Woodworker. Neal Porter Books.
  55. Van Cleave, Ryan G. Ed. 2024. Schoolapalooza: A Silly Symphony of Schooltime Rhymes. Moonshower.
  56. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2024. Clara’s Kooky Compendium of Thimblethoughts and Wonderfuzz. Ill. by Frank Ramspott. Pomelo Books. 
  57. Watson, Renée. 2024. Black Girls You Are Atlas. Ill. by Ekua Holmes. Penguin/Kokila.
  58. Wilson, Kip. 2024. All the Love Under the Vast Sky. Penguin.
  59. Wolf, Allan. 2024. How to Tantrum Like a Champion: Ten Small Ways to Temper Big Feelings. Ill. by Keisha Morris. Candlewick.
  60. Yasmin, Seema. 2024. The ABCs of Queer History. Ill. by Lucy Kirk. Workman.
  61. Yolen, Jane. 2024. Quiet as Mud. Ill. by Nicole Wong. APA/Magination.
  62. Yolen, Jane. 2024. In and Out the Window. Ill. by Cathrin Peterslund. Penguin/Philomel.
And don't forget to join the Poetry Friday round up for more good poetry info. Marcie Flinchum Atkins is hosting and kicking things off for the new year. Check it out! 

Friday, September 08, 2023

New anthology: WHAT IS HOPE?

Please indulge a bit of self-promotion-- I'm so happy to "toot the horn" for a new poetry anthology for middle grades that features new and established poets writing about the theme of HOPE. Janet (Wong) and I created a summer workshop called "Think Poetry" especially for educators who wanted to learn more about writing and teaching poetry. We created 10 instructional videos, provided individualized feedback on poem drafts, and collaborated with 40 poets on creating this new book, What Is Hope? You can learn a bit more about "Think Poetry" here. Our 10 instructional videos focused on:


Stanzas & structure
Similes & metaphors
List poems
Mask poems
Syllabic poetry
Free verse

In each video, Janet modeled poem writing and shared strategies she uses to compose and revise poems and we both suggested a variety of tips for teaching each poetry element. Plus, we had a lot of fun and laughter! 

Our 40 poets featured in What Is Hope? include: 

Each poet chose a photo prompt from a selection of black and white photos that we provided and then drafted a poem tied to the photo and to the theme of hope. We LOVE all the different directions that poets took that important theme! Don't we all need a little more HOPE in our daily lives? Here are just a few sample poems:

We are also so thrilled that What Is Hope? was selected as a Children's Book Council "Hot Off the Press" selection! We hope you'll check it out. As with other books in the "WHAT IS" series (What Is a Friend?, What Is a Family?, as well as our books in the "THINGS WE" series (Things We Do, Things We Eat, Things We Feel, Things We Wear) for young readers, 100% of the profits are donated to the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund that helps get books to children around the world in the most difficult circumstances (like the war in Ukraine, after the earthquake in Turkey). 

We hope to offer our "Think Poetry" online workshop (with mentoring and feedback) again in January, 2024, with a new theme, new photo prompts, and new poets. Make a resolution now to grow your own poetry writing next year and reach out to us when you're ready! 

Next up: Go check out Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's blog, The Poem Farm, where she is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering this week. See you there!