Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Poetry Books for Black History Month

The other day I posted a list of poetry books I suggest sharing with children during Black History Month...or any time of the year. Here are some more poetry books I recommend.

Edited by Arnold Adoff
Dutton, 1994

In his introduction, Adoff states: “It is a book of Black poetry. Poems by Black American poets of our time. Poems that are old and young and in between. Poems that tell about being Black. Poems that tell about being.”

My Black Me includes poems by the following writers: Lucille Clifton, Sam Cornish, Nikki Giovanni, Kali Grosvenor, Langston Hughes, and Ray Patterson.

Written by Elizabeth Alexander & Marilyn Nelson
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Wordsong, 2007

This collection of poems “using the sonnet form with innovative style” is based on historical fact. The poems tell the story of a Quaker woman named Prudence Crandall who taught young African American women in a school in Canterbury, Connecticut from March of 1833 to September of 1834. Unfortunately, white residents of the town reacted in a racist manner. The school’s well was poisoned with cow dung, a cat—with its throat slit—was tethered to the school’s front gate, the building was set on fire and its windows smashed. Finally, Prudence realized she caouldn't protect her students from the prejudice of the townspeople. The book includes an Introduction and an Authors’ Note.

Illustrated by Tom Feelings
Dial, 1993

This gorgeously illustrated book contains thirteen poems—twelve of which were written specially for Soul Looks Back in Wonder. It also includes To You, a poem by Langston Hughes that was never before published. Other writers whose poems appear in this book include Maya Angelou, Lucille Clifton, and Walter Dean Myers.

Poems by Eloise Greenfield
Paintings by Mr. Amos Ferguson
Harper & Row, 1988

The poetry and paintings in this book give us a glimpse of life in the Bahamas. The poems speak of the inhabitants, tourists, plants, animals, and island life. There is a spare simplicity to both Ferguson’s colorful folk-art style paintings and Greenfield’s poetry.

Written by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1994

Friendship is the theme of this collection of thirteen poems about two girls who are best buddies—Danitra Brown and Zuri Jackson. The poems are written in Zuir’s voice, which is infused with a childlike quality. Cooper’s illustrations capture the spirit and warmth of the two friends and their close relationship.

From You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown

You oughta meet Danitra Brown,
the most splendiferous girl in town,
I oughta know, ‘cause she’s my friend.

She’s not afraid to take a dare.
If something’s hard, she doesn’t care.
She’ll try her best no matter what

Written by Monica Gunning
Paintings by Frane Lessac
Wordsong, 1993

Poems by Jamaican-born Gunning and folk-art style paintings by Lessac give readers a flavor of island life in the Caribbean. The poems tell about roadside peddlers, washing clothes in the river, milking cows, fetching plants with “velvet leaves” for washing dishes, a tropical hurricane, a Jamaican market bus, and a picnic at the seashore.

From Grandpa Milking Cows

I’m off to the paddock,
running in the dew
with my Grandpa.

Grandpa pulling on the udders
fills his pail
with foaming milk.

Selected by Dorothy S. Strickland & Michael R. Strickland
Illustrated by John Ward
Wordsong, 1994

This anthology includes a fine selection of twenty-three poems by some of America’s most well-known African American children’s poets, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Grimes, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, and Eloise Greenfield.

Written by Joyce Carol Thomas
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 1995

This picture book about African American pioneers is written in lyrical language and reads aloud like poetry. Thomas drew upon her own family history when writing this uplifting homage to the memory of a brave and hopeful group of people.

Excerpts from the book:

I have heard of a land
Where the earth is red with promises
Where the redbud trees catch the light
And throw it in a game of sunbeams and shadow
Back and forth to the cottonwood trees…

I have heard of a land where the flapjacks
Spread out big as wagon wheels
Where the butter is the color of melted sun
And the syrup is honey
Stirred thick by a thousand honeybees

The book includes an informative Author’s Note.

Written by Carole Boston Weatherford
Wordsong, 2007

This book-length poem tells readers about one of the most ugly and hateful incidents in American history—the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The poem’s narrator, a fictional witness to the bombing, recalls for us the fateful event that took place on the day she turned ten years old. Illustrated with photographs, this book is the recipient of the 2008 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

An excerpt from the book:

The day I turned ten
Someone tucked a bundle of dynamite
Under the church steps, then lit the fuse of hate.

Written by Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Scholastic, 2006

This collection of poems takes us back to America of the 1920s and 1930s—and a time when a man named Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, was donating money to help finance schools for African American children. The poems tell of a community banding together to raise funds, secure land, and get white people to help in order to receive funds from Rosenwald’s foundation. The poems in this book are told in the voice of a ten-year-old girl.

Here’s an excerpt from the final poem, Dear Mr. Rosenwald:

Dear Sir,
I am ten. I like to read books.
My best subject is arithmetic.
My parents are counting on me
to learn all I can. This school
is the first new thing I ever had
to call my own. I’m going to stitch me
a dress in the sewing classroom.
One day, I’ll be a teacher like Miss Shaw.
Thank you, Mr. Rosenwald.
Yours truly,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poetry Books for Black History Month

In mid January—when I was still teaching in an elementary school or working as a school librarian—I’d start gathering all my poetry books, picture books, and biographies that I’d use in the classroom or recommend to teachers to use during Black History Month. For those of you looking for some poems to share with children during the month of February…or any other month, here is a sampling of poetry books from my personal collection that I recommend. I’ve listed them alphabetically by the authors’ last names.
Written by Arnold Adoff
Illustrated by John Steptoe
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1982

Adoff, the husband of the late Virginia Hamilton, speaks in the voice of a girl who is the child of an interracial couple in this collection of free verse poems.

Written by Arnold Adoff
Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
HarperCollins, 2002

First published in 1973, this edition has new illustrations in a large picture book format. This book tells of the everyday experiences of a happy interracial family.

Poems and pictures by Ashley Bryan
HarperCollins, 1992

Bryan’s bright, colorful primitive-style paintings enhance this collection of poems about a tropical island, the seashore, flowers, music, and people.

From Ancestry

Mom and Dad
Teaching us spirituals
Reading us African tales
Singing songs
Teling stories
Reminding us
Of our ancestry

On the beach
Other children
Dig to China
I dig
To Africa

SPIN A SOFT BLACK SONG, Revised edition
Written by Nikki Giovanni
Illustrated by George Martins
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1985

This collection includes poems about school, sports, friends, and family love.

by Eloise Greenfield
Illustrated by Carole Byard
HarperCollins, 1977

In this brief book-length poem, a young Black girl has a dream in which she travels back to Africa in time, shops in the marketplace, visits a village, dances, sings, and meets her “long-ago granddaddy.”

by Eloise Greenfield
Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon
Harper & Row, 1978

In this collection, the poems are told in the voice of a young Black girl. she speaks about everyday experiences and of people she knows and loves.
Written by Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Angelo
Orchard/Scholastic, 2001

Read my review of Stepping Out with Grandma Mac in this post about Nikki Grimes at Blue Rose Girls.

Written by Langston Hughes
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Scholastic, 1994

This newer edition of The Dream Keeper includes an introduction by Lee Bennett Hopkins. This classic poetry book, written by one of our country’s most well-known African-American poets, should be included in all school library collections!
Written by Angela Johnson
Orchard, 1998

In this collection of poems written for students in middle school and high school, Johnson expresses her thoughts and feelings about growing up in Shorter, Alabama. Illustrated with family photographs.

From Counters

My Uncle Fred has a slash
across his face from
some redneck
trying to
stop him from ordering
a lemonade from a lunch counter
in Montgomery.
When the weather changes, it
aches him, he says,
but smiles when
he says it, whenever he says it.

Written by Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by Christopher Myers
Scholastic, 1997

Christopher Myers’ striking collage illustrations are a fine complement to his father’s free verse poem about a famous American community, its music, its art, its history and life.

Written by Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by Christopher Myers
Holiday House, 2006

Winner of the 2007 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, this collection of poems about jazz, jazz singers and musicians, and musical instruments reverberates with the beat and rhythm of this improvisational American music.

From Twenty-Finger Jack

Well, the walls are shaking,
and the ceiling’s coming down
‘Cause twenty-finger Jack
has come back to town
The keyboard’s jumping,
and the music’s going round…

Written by Walter Dean Myers
HarperCollins, 1993

Myers wrote the poems in this book for a selection of antique and vintage photographs of African-American children that he had collected over the years. The faces of the children in the wonderful sepia-toned pictures speak out to readers from the pages—and through the years.

Written by Marilyn Nelson
Front Street, 2001

This collection of biographical poems about one of the most famous African-Americans is a Newbery Honor Book. (Middle School and High School)

Written by Isaac Olaleye
Paintings by Frane Lessac
Wordsong, 1995

Olalaye, a native of Nigeria who now lives in the United States, writes about life in a Nigerian farming village. The book includes poems about a storyteller, a classroom, a grinding stone, village weavers, and a tropical rainstorm.

From The Grinding Stone

On a big brown stone
Set in the heart of the hut
My mother and sisters grind.

They grind soaked black-eyed peas
To make pea donuts that whine
In deep, hot palm oil.

Written by Joyce Carol Thomas
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
HarperCollins, 1993

This is a touching collection of poems about family relationships, individuality, and feeling proud of one’s roots. Cooper’s illustrations exude a tenderness and warmth that complements Thomas’s heartfelt poetry.

From Cherish Me

I sprang from mother earth
She clothed me in her own colors
I was nourished by father sun
He glazed the pottery of my skin
I am beautiful by design

Written by Joyce Carol Thomas
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, 1995

This book of poems takes us through a year with a young African-American boy and his family. Poem titles include A Gingerbread January, Crawdads in July, and December’s Song.

From December’s Song (in which the boy talks about his father)

His chapped hands are brave
With work
Rough with knowing
How to keep a family from freezing
How to keep a young mind growing

Friday, January 25, 2008

Poetry Friday: A Sledding Poem

Although I grew up on a main street in a city, there were acres of open land across the street from my house. There were hills where my friends and I sledded and ponds where we skated in winter. The property was owned by a large corporation. The company never put up “No Trespassing” signs. A half century has passed since that time and children and parents are still allowed on the property today.

I loved sledding outside in winter until my face and hands and feet had nearly turned to ice. I loved whooshing down the hillsides—the cold wind in my face as the sled runners cut through the snow. This poem is about sledding and childhood and imagination.

I’m sorry I can’t type the end of the poem on Blogger the way it’s supposed to be. That’s okay. I think you’ll get the point that the final lines should be read more slowly as the sled reaches the bottom of the hill.

by Elaine Magliaro

Whooshing down the hillside fast
Trees and people blurring past
Runners carving out the snow
Like an astronaut I go
Blasting into outer space
Rocketing at record pace
Through the stratosphere I fly
I’m commander of the sky
Won’t return to Earth until . . .

I reach

the bottom

of the hill.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Mentor Texts, Read Alouds & More.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Picture Book Review: Bringing In the New Year

Here is a new book written and illustrated by my good friend and fellow Blue Rose Girl Grace Lin that’s hot off the press—and just in time for the 2008 Lunar New Year, whose celebration begins on February 7th.
Written & illustrated by Grace Lin
Knopf, 2008

Bringing In the New Year, a picture book for preschool and kindergarten age children, provides a brief introduction to this holiday and to a number of traditions observed by people who celebrate it. Like Dim Sum for Everyone! and Kite Flying, two of Lin’s previous picture books, Bringing In the New Year has a spare text and bright, exuberant illustrations replete with Lin’s trademark use of intricate patterns and background swirls. The book’s colorful endpapers illustrate many of the objects (spring couplets, firecrackers, a good luck sign, a spring lantern) and foods (a whole fish, oranges, dumplings) that are integral elements of the New Year celebration.

In this story, a family with three daughters prepares for the holiday. One of the daughters, the narrator, explains what the family does to make ready for the New Year. Jie-Jie sweeps out the house, Ba-Ba (the father) hangs the spring-happiness poems, and Ma-Ma (the mother) makes get-rich dumplings.

The narrator wonders when the New Year will arrive. Will it come when she puts on her qi pao dress for the feast? When she hears the firecrackers popping? After the lions scare away the old year’s bad luck? When the children carry lanterns to light its way? No…it’s not until her Auntie paints the dragon’s eyes open and the dragon awakes that the young girl knows that the New Year has arrived at last!

About the Illustrations: In the two-page spread that includes the book’s title page, Lin foreshadows the coming New Year. We see a red dragon—a stream of snowflakes swirling from its mouth—flying across a wintry blue sky above a snow-covered countryside toward the family’s house. Outside their home the world is cold and white and blue…until Ba-Ba and the girls hang the red lanterns, the good luck sign, and the spring-happiness poems. Inside warm yellows and reds abound.

It is with her art that Lin captures the excitement and flavor of this Chinese holiday. In the pictures, we see platters of traditional Chinese New Year foods, children dressed in special holiday attire, fireworks bursting in the sky, the multi-colored lions brought in to scare away bad luck, children marching along in line with lanterns of different shapes. The dynamic three-page spread at the story’s end is a riot of colors and patterns and smiling children—a multicultural cast of children welcoming the New Year in as they parade with a huge golden dragon, drums, cymbals, and horns. What a festive way to “bring in” a New Year—and what a dynamite way to end a picture book about the holiday!

At the back of the book, Lin includes information about the symbolism of the Lunar New Year foods and traditions. Bringing In the New Year would be a fine book to introduce young children to a holiday that is celebrated by many people in the United States and by many millions of people in other parts of the world.

(Check out this post at Grace Lin’s old blog to see a preview of the book’s three-page spread.)

For older children: Grace Lin’s first novel The Year of the Dog also touches on many of the traditions observed by families who celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Announcement: Grace’s new novel, The Year of the Rat has just been published and is available now. It’s a terrific sequel to The Year of the Dog!

Lunar New Year Links

Happy Lunar New Year from

Books for Children about Chinese New Year from the North of Boston Library Exchange

Crafts and Activities for Chinese New Year from Enchanted Learning

Chinese New Year Resource from Kiddy House

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Grace & Alvina: On the Road

For more than a week, two of my friends and fellow Blue Rose Girls, Grace Lin and Alvina Ling, have been on vacation in China. They've been blogging about their travels to a silk-making factory, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and other fascinating places. They also blogged about some of their adventures and the tasty foods they've eaten on the other side of the world. Why not visit their blogs and see what they've been up to?

A Solitary Grace


Friday, January 18, 2008

Poetry Friday: Two Centos

I decided to do a little literary exercise this week. I thought I’d try writing a modified cento using book titles as suggested by Tricia in her Monday Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect. I’ve written two centos using the titles of children’s poetry books that I have in my personal collection.

Read Tricia’s Book Title Cento and Laura Purdie Salas’s cento, Why I’m Crazy. Laura also used the titles of poetry books.

by Elaine Magliaro

Hear the Joyful Noise
Our Fine Feathered Friends
Are Whistling the Morning In!


1. Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman
2. Fine Feathered Friends by Jane Yolen
3. Whistling the Morning In by Lillian Morrison

by Elaine Magliaro

Hey, You!
Come with Me
Down Rhythm Road.
Dance with Me
To the Street Music
Under a Lemonade Sun
Past Sam’s Place
Past The Ice Cream Store
Past the Worlds I Know
To Where the Sidewalk Ends.
We’ll go Tap Dancing on the Roof
And Knee-Deep in Blazing Snow.

Hey, You!
Come with Me
Out in the Dark and Daylight.
Dance with Me.
I’ve been Waiting to Waltz
In the Middle of the Trees
Under the Sunday Tree

Through Shades of Green
Through The Singing Green
Into the Night Garden.

Hey, You!
Come with Me.

Listen to your Inner Chimes
To Voices on the Wind
To Sweet Dreams of the Wild.
Dance with Me
Where Everything Glistens and Everything Sings
Where The Night Rainbow shimmers in the air.

Hey, You!
Come with Me
To the Moon and Back.
Dance with Me
To The Sound of Poetry
‘Til All the Stars Have Fallen.

The Sky Is Not So Far Away.
Come with Me!


1. Hey, You! selected by Paul Janeczko
2. Come with Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
3. Rhythm Road selected by Lillian Morrison
4. Dance with Me by Barbara Juster Esbensen
5. Street Music by Arnold Adoff
6. Lemonade Sun by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
7. Sam’s Place by Lilian Moore
8. The Ice Cream Store by Dennis Lee
9. Worlds I Know by Myra Cohn Livingston
10. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
11. Tap Dancing on the Roof by Linda Sue Park
12. And Knee-Deep in Blazing Snow by James Hayford (Chosen by X. J. & Dorothy Kennedy)

13. Hey, You! selected by Paul Janeczko
14. Come with Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
15. Out in the Dark and Daylight by Aileen Fisher
16. Dance with Me by Barbara Juster Esbensen
17. Waiting to Waltz by Cynthia Rylant
18. In the Middle of the Trees by Karla Kuskin
19. Under the Sunday Tree by Eloise Greenfield
20. Through Shades of Green compiled by Anne Harvey
21. The Singing Green by Eve Merriam
22. Night Garden by Janet Wong

23. Hey, You! selected by Paul Janeczko
24. Come with Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
25. Inner Chimes selected by Bobbye Goldstein
26. Voices on the Wind selected by david Booth
27. Sweet Dreams of the Wild by Rebecca kai Dotlich
28. Dance with Me by Barbara Juster Esbensen
29. Everything Glistens and Everything Sings by Charlotte Zolotow
30. Night Rainbow by Barbara Juster Esbensen

31. Hey, You! selected by Paul Janeczko
32. Come with Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
33. To the Moon and Back compiled by Nancy Larrick
34. Dance with Me by Barbara Juster Esbensen
35. The Sound of Poetry compiled by Mary C. Austin and Queenie B. Mills
36. ‘Til All the Stars Have Fallen selected by David Booth

37. The Sky Is Not So Far Away by Margaret Hillert
38. Come with Me by Naomi Shihab Nye

Becky has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Farm School this week.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

And the Winners Are...

2008 Newbery Medal

2008 Caldecott Medal

2008 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

2008 Mildred L. Batchelder Winner

2008 Coretta Scott King Awards

2008 Pura Belpre Award Winners

2008 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

2008 Printz Award

What I think is especially exciting, from my point of view, is that two of the books our Cybils poetry-nominating panel selected as 2007 Cybils Poetry Finalists, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village and Your Own, Sylvia, are included among the award-winning books announced today by the Association for Library Service to Children and the Young Adult Library Services Association of ALA Yippee!!!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Out & About: January 12, 2008

Tricia of The Miss Rumphius Effect has a new blog called Open Wide, Look Inside. It’s a blog about using poetry and children’s literature across the curriculum. It looks to be an outstanding resource for elementary teachers and school librarians. Read this post at The Miss Rumphius Effect in which Tricia explains what you’ll find at her new blog.

Laura Purdie Salas, a fellow Cybils poetry panelist and a children’s poet, has news about a series of concept poetry books she wrote for Capstone Press. Read her posts My Capstone Poetry Books! and And Then There Were Eight: Poems About Space to find out more. (Note: Laura posted three of her poems from And Then There Were Eight.)

Read Jen Robinson’s article, The Power and Wonder of Children’s Books, at PBS Parents.

Jen also has an outstanding post, Helping Kids Learn to Enjoy Reading, at her blog Jen Robinson’s Book Page.

Thanks to Anne of Book Buds for news about the announcement of the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Awards.

The January Carnival of Children’s Literature: Book Awards Edition will be hosted by Wizards Wireless. Read all about the carnival here. The deadline for submissions is January 18th.

From The Horn Book

The January Book List has titles recommended for “Reluctant Readers.”

A List of New Recommended Paperbacks

GLBTQ Fiction—a list of recommended books that received a rating of 3 or more in the Horn Book Guide

From the Children’s Book Council

An article about Jon Scieszka, our new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Bimonthly Showcase for January/February: Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, and Fantasy

An Annotated List of Election-Related Books in pdf format

Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday Potpourri: Winter Poems

I was looking through my files for some old poems about winter to post for Poetry Friday. Here are four poems, including a haiku and an acrostic.

Poems by Elaine Magliaro

Pond in Winter

The meadow pond lies silent, still…
Sealed in tight by winter’s chill.
A downy quilt of fallen snow
Hides a cold, dark world below.
I wonder all the winter through”
“What do fish and turtles do?”

Bedtime in Winter

Dark comes early.
Night is long.
Mommy sings
A bedtime song.
I am snuggled
Down and deep
Beneath soft covers.
While I sleep,
I have my teddy bear
To hold.
He keeps me warm
When nights are cold.

With frosty feet
little mouse prints a message
in the snow: Hello!

Ferns of ice
On windowpanes, their
Silver fronds growing in the frigid night
Then melting in the morning light.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Book Mine Set this week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Funny Video: An Update on Global Warming from the President

I’m not in the habit of posting videos at Wild Rose Reader—but this one is a riot! My husband showed it to me about a month ago. We watch it any time we need a good laugh.

In the video, a young man mimics George Bush talking about global warming.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

2007 Cybils Finalists

All of the Cybils finalists have now been posted. Check out the short lists in each category. (Click here for a printable pdf version of all the 2007 Cybils Finalists.)

Fiction Picture Book Finalists

Nonfiction Picture Books Finalists

MG/YA Nonfiction Finalists

Middle Grade Fiction Finalists

Young Adult Fiction Finalists

Science Fiction & Fantasy Finalists

Graphic Novel Finalists

Poetry Finalists (See below.)

I was happy to serve once again on the poetry-nominating panel along with four other poetry lovers. I think we sent on a list of fine poetry books to the judges. Here are the seven poetry books we selected from the forty-one titles that were nominated.

Animal Poems

written by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Farrar, Strauss & Giroux

The poems about twenty-three different animals (some common and some very unusual) are told using free verse--not a typical choice in collections for children these days (at least not when it's the sole type of verse). And these poems are spectacular in their use of imagery and metaphor. One of the standout solo collections of the year.
Buy From Amazon Buy from BookSense

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village
written by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd
Candlewick Press
This book is distinctive, with its echoes of Canterbury Tales, a bit of Shakespeare, and Catherine Called Birdy all rolled into one. Besides being rich in history, language, and voice, it is understandable and accessible to middle grade kids. Plus, it lends itself to oral reading and performance.
Buy From Amazon Buy from BookSense

Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
edited by Jane Yolen & Andrew Fusek Peters, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Candlewick Press
A true delight. There is a real freshness to this volume in that many of the poems include in it won't be found in other anthologies. The selected poems speak to the exuberance of childhood and the simple, everyday things that little children often think about.
Buy From Amazon Buy from BookSense

written and illustrated by Kate Miller
Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press
The premise behind Kate Miller's collection of poems and art is simple: all are about objects that are black and white (cows, a comet in the night sky, etc.). The poems range from funny to melancholy, and are all marked by a keen observation of life. Each poem reads as if the poet froze a moment and recorded it with great clarity and insight in the best possible words.
Buy From Amazon Buy from BookSense

This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin
Joyce Sidman has imagined a teacher, Mrs. Merz, and a classroom full of sixth graders from different backgrounds, all of whom write poems of apology to someone or some thing they've wronged; in the second half, forgiveness or explanation is returned to the students. The individual poems in the book are excellent, but cumulatively this book is a killer, in the best possible sense. It moves on as a finalist because of its emotional impact and poetic virtuosity.
Buy From Amazon Buy from BookSense

written by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Twist gets high marks for innovation and freshness and for the insights it provides into yoga, which is a new topic for a poetry collections. The poems are evocative and really speak to both the physical and Zen nature of the yoga poses included.
Buy From Amazon Buy from BookSense

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath
written by Stephanie Hemphill
Random House Children's Books
Hemphill's collection of poems about Sylvia Plath convey emotion through imagery. The use of period verse attributed to a variety of people who knew Plath in order to convey both the facts and emotional content of her life and work is extraordinary.
Buy From Amazon Buy from BookSense

Click here to read Children’s Poetry & The 2007 Cybils, which I posted last July. It has links to my reviews of Animal Poems, Here’s a Little Poem, This Is Just to Say, and Twist: Yoga Poems.

The Poetry Panels
Category Organizer:
Kelly Fineman (Writing and Ruminating)
Nominating Panel:
Kelly Fineman (Writing and Ruminating)
Laura Purdie Salas (Writing the World for Kids)
Elaine Magliaro (Wild Rose Reader)
Sylvia Vardell (Poetry for Children)

Judging Panel:
Gregory K. (Gotta Book)
Jone Rush MacCulloch (Check It Out)
Sara Lewis Holmes (Read Write Believe)
Cloudscome (A Wrung Sponge)
Franki Sibberson (A Year of Reading)


Monday, January 7, 2008

Things to Do

I am becoming a blog sluggard. I just haven't had the time--or the inclination--to post four or five times a week lately. I have a list with so many "things to do" on it that I just can't decide which thing to do first.

Grace Lin came to my house yesterday. She read through some of my poems--and ordered me to send out a certain manuscript today! I worked on my letter to the publisher this morning. I've promised myself that I WILL put that poetry collection, entitled Things to Do, in the mail this week. In addition, I began working again yesterday on another poetry book suggested by Grace and Janet Wong last fall. I really appreciate all their advice. I owe them both a debt of gratitude.

I have my work cut out for me this week. I also have to prepare a flier for the March event of the PAS North Shore Council of Massachusetts, order books written and illustrated by our March speaker, finish writing a book review that I was supposed to submit in early December, update my children's literature course syllabus, put away all the Christmas decorations...and on and on and on. I still haven't thrown away all the stuff I collected during my thirty-four years of teaching. I promised my husband I would do that last year. Now I must attend to it in early 2008. I retired in June of 2004. I think I've had plenty of time to clean house. Don't you?

I had plans to blog quite a bit right after the holidays--but I have to attend to the things that MUST be done by week's end. I doubt I'll get outside much in the next few days.

I decided to look through some of my old poems so I could post an original for you today. Here's a haiku for you:

Sleet tap-dances on
my roof, clicks its icy heels
on my windowpane

Now I must be going. I have "things to do."

Friday, January 4, 2008

Poetry Friday: A List Poem

I haven’t done much blogging in the past few weeks. I had to take time off to cook and bake and celebrate the holidays with family and friends. Last Saturday, my husband and I left for the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We spent several days with two of our closest friends—and didn’t return until yesterday.

For Poetry Friday, I’m giving you a link to the Spring 2008 Catalog of Roaring Brook Press. A poem, Things to Do If You Are a Pencil, appears on page 13 of the catalog. The poem is included in an anthology of list poems written by contemporary poets entitled Falling Down the Page. The book was edited by Georgia Heard and will be released in March.
Happy Cybils! I served on the poetry-nominating panel. We selected seven fine poetry books as our 2007 finalists. Click here if you’d like to see the list of nominated poetry books.

Happy New Year!!!

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at A Year of Reading this week.