Friday, January 28, 2011

The Poetry Friday Roundup Is Here!

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Wild Rose Reader this week. Leave the URL of your poetry post in the comments. I'll be rounding up all the links throughout the day.

The Friday Morning Poetry Pack

Charles Ghigna—also known as Father Goose—says he’d like to “Open the door a little more with ONE at the Bald Ego blog. He’d also like to share a few SNICKERS with us.

Ruth has Pablo Neruda’s Ode to a Lizard at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town.

Toby Speed shares an original poem about a “famous shoe” at The Writer’s Armchair.

At the Poem Farm, Amy has poem #4 in her series of poems about reading and books—and poem #5 of sock week. (Amy's got original poems for us every day of the week--not just of Fridays.)

Mary Lee of A Year of Reading has an original acrostic about “balance” today. (She says she’s trying to get some in her own life.)

Irene Latham gives us Mary Oliver’s What Is the Greatest Gift? this Poetry Friday.

Poet Heidi Mordhorst shares an original poem by her daughter titled ask mom at My Juicy Little Universe.

At A Journey in Learning, Debbie Diller has a poem by Sallie Wolf titled Cardinals from Wolf's book The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound.

Over at The Stenhouse Blog, you’ll find the poem Teacher by Sharon Draper.

Diane Mayr says she’s looking at oatmeal poems this week at Random Noodling. And at Kurious K’s Kwotes, she’s got a quote by Mackenzie Conneellee. She’s also “remembering Reynolds Price at Kurious Kitty’s Kurio Kabinet.

David Elzey reexamines a puzzling moment of his youth called “job interview #1.”

Children’s poet Laura Salas shares a lovely original poem titled Wintry Warmth at Writing the World for Kids. She’s also in with her weekly 15 Words or Less Poems.

Jama Rattigan adds Tomatoes to the Friday feast over at Alphabet Soup—the poem Tomatoes by Stephen Dobyns, that is.

Dorraine Bennett has the winning poem from the regional Poetry Out Loud contest at DoriReads. It’s "Who Understands Me but Me" by Jimmy Santiago Baca.

At Semicolon, Sherry presents Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Tabatha Yeatts has Rattle for us this Poetry Friday.

Blythe Woodson gives us Figment: A Space for Poetry on Poetry Friday.

At Deo Writer, MsMac shares William Stafford’s Ask Me.

Ben at The Small Nouns has the latest in his Poetry Mix Tape series.

The Write Sisters are offering up Eleanor Lerman’s Starfish for our poetry reading pleasure.

In her post Stepping Toward the Brink—of Paper, author/poet Jeannine Atkins shares a poem she wrote about finding inspiration through her senses.

PaperTigers joins in the Poetry Friday fun with a post about Canadian poet P. K. Page.

I’m in at Wild Rose Reader with a first draft of an original poem titled It’s Snowing Again!which was inspired by all the winter storms we’ve had here recently.

The Literary Lunch Bunch

At Blue Rose Girls, I have an original fairy tale poem titled Dear Goldilocks that I wrote in the form of a letter.

Kelly Fineman is in with an excerpt from Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth—which relates to yesterday’s chapter of Pride and Prejudice at her blog Writing and Ruminating.

Janet Squires has a post about the book Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails, which was written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

Tara says that a random encounter with a lost pet sign made her think about a particular Mark Doty poem.

Carlie serves up Aztec Drink in January, an original poem, at her blog Twinkling Along.

Sheri Doyle is revisiting a favorite poem by Ezra Pound today.

Take a one-click trip over to The Drift Record where award-winning poet Julie Larios has Double Abecedarian, an original double abecedarian about how to write double abecedarians.
I think I'd need more than one lesson to write one of those poems!

Early Evening Poetry Tastings

Liz Scanlon is in this Poetry Friday with some librarian love…

At One Deep Drawer, you’ll find a poem by W. A. Mathieu about Bach dying on the day after Mozart’s birth.

The Late Edition

Rasco from RIF has a poem by Linda Hull related to the Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated on February 3rd.

You'll find a book spine poem over at Looking for the Write Words.

Saturday Morning Special

Sylvia Vardell has an interesting interview with award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins about the future of publishing poetry for children. Click here to read the interview.

Special Edition Sunday

Over at TeachingAuthors they're talking about organizing your writing...and your life. April Halprin Wayland has an interview with Clutter Buster Brooks Palmer about his book . She also offers an original poem (and two drawings) about cleaning out the clutter.

It's Snowing Again!: An Original Poem

Well, we had yet another big snowstorm here yesterday! There is NO place to put any more shoveled snow. Here’s the first draft of a “snow” poem that I was inspired to write this week.

It’s Snowing Again!

It’s snowing again.
It’s blowing again.
It’s snowing and blowing.
The traffic is slowing.
The drifts keep on growing and growing and growing.
It just keeps on snowing
and snowing and snowing.
I don’t think it’s
to end.

I'm doing the Poetry Friday Roundup at Wild Rose Reader this week.

NOTE: Click here for the link to my ROUNDUP post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Icicle Shape Poem

I'd been trying to write an icicle poem for about a week. I thought it had some good images and creative language--but I just couldn't get it matter how much I worked on it. This morning, I thought I'd attempt writing a different kind of icicle poem. This time, I wrote one in the shape of an icicle. (I rarely write shape/concrete poetry.)

Here's the rough draft of my icicle shape poem--and two icicle pictures that I've taken in the past week.
Tears of snow
held suspended
in winter’s
icy grasp
drop by


Note: Barbara Juster Esbensen wrote one of my favorite icicle poems. It was originally published in her poetry collection about the four seasons titled Cold Stars and Fireflies. Unfortunately, the book is now out of print. The poem is also included in Weather: Poems for All Seasons (An I Can Read Book), which was compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Fortunately, that book is still in print.

Here's how Esbensen's icicle poem begins:

Have you ever tasted icicles
fresh from the edge
of the roof?

Have you let the sharp ice
in your mouth
like cold swords?

In the poem, Esbensen also compares icicles to a glass xylophone and to a crystal harp being played by the sun.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To Catch a Setting Sun: Rough Draft of an Original Poem

I've been taking a lot of pictures lately--and hoping some of them might inspire me to write poetry. Here's a photo I took a few days ago from my bedroom window at sunset.

And here's the rough draft of a poem I just wrote for the picture. I haven't used any punctuation. I just used line breaks.

Trees stretch their bony fingers
weave them into a dark net
try to catch
the setting sun
before it slips away
before it steals the light of day

Monday, January 24, 2011

Under the Snow: A Nonfiction Picture Book Review

Under the Snow
Written by
Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by Constance R. Bergum
Peachtree, 2009

When it’s cold outside and snow blankets the ground, it may appear that there’s little animal life around. But appearances can be deceiving! Just because we can’t see something, it's not proof that “something” isn’t there. Because…under the snow—tucked into gaps in stone walls and in underground burrows and inside rotting logs and beneath layers of fallen leaves and buried in the mud at the bottoms of ponds—many animals spend the winter unseen by human eyes.

Melissa Stewart’s nonfiction picture book is about the animals that are resting/sleeping/living somewhere “under the snow” hidden from view during the coldest months of the year.

This large format book with spare text and realistic watercolor illustrations is lovely in its simplicity. It is an excellent book to read to young children as an introduction to hibernation.

Here’s how Stewart begins the book:

You spend your days sledding and skating
and having snowball fights.

But under the snow lies a hidden world.

Then author Stewart takes us on a tour of a field, the forest, a pond, a wetland, and tells us what animals are hidden there “under the snow” in those four different habitats. And illustrator Bergum shows us those animals, which include the following:
  • Ladybugs clustered together in a gap in an old stone wall
  • A vole tunneling through the snow
  • A centipede and bumblebee queen inside a rotting log
  • A wood frog nestled beneath a layer of fallen leaves
  • Bluegills swimming slowly in chilly pond water
  • A turtle buried in mud at the bottom of a pond
  • A beaver family huddles together in their cozy lodge

Art and text work perfectly together to “show-and-tell” young readers about the many forms of animal life that lie in a hidden world “under the snow.”

Under the Snow was designated an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010 and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. It was cited by the 2010 Charlotte Zolotow Award Committee as a highly commended book. It was also a Massachusetts Book Award Finalist and a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Book Extension Resources

Under the Snow: Curriculum Guide
Under the Snow: Readers Theater

The Nonfiction Monday Roundup is at Great Kid Books.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Here & There: January 22, 2011

From School Library Journal

Back at Home with Newbery, Caldecott Winners

'Today Show' Snubs 2011 Caldecott, Newbery Winners

Facebook Users Demand Caldecott, Newbery Winners Appear On Today Show
(Click here for the link to the Campaign to bring 2011 Newbery and Caldecott winners to the Today Show Facebook page.

2011 Alex Awards (A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy)

Immigration: Coming to America by Kristin Anderson


The Horn Book: Starred Books (January/February 2011)

NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children Announced

Cronin, Bliss 'Diary' Series Heading to Stage and Screen (Publishers Weekly)
Excerpt: Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss’s bestselling series of diary-style picture books—Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Fly, and Diary of a Spider—is jumping from the page to the small screen and the stage. HIT Entertainment has acquired rights to develop the series into an animated TV program, in a deal brokered by Holly McGhee of Pippin Properties and Jason Dravis of Monteiro Rose Dravis Agency.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Snowstorm Poem Three Ways

I'm living in a world of white. We've had a lot of snow here recently. I took these pictures during our snow/rain/sleet storm on Tuesday and this morning.

I was inspired to write a poem about the snow/a snowstorm on Wednesday. Then I remembered the beginning of a snowstorm poem that I had written decades ago. I composed a new poem in my head using what I could recall of the old poem while I was taking a shower that morning. Later, I looked through my folders and found Lion in Winter, the poem that I had written so many years ago. In that poem, I compared a winter storm to the king of beasts. Here it is:

Lion in Winter

The winter storm will
rage and roar,
scratch its cold claws on the door,
race around on frosty feet,
snap at autos in the street,
shake its snowy mane and growl--

A silver lion on the prowl
that bites your face with bitter chill
and preys upon the land until
the last of autumn's blazing gold
is quelled beneath its icy hold.

And here is the poem that I wrote on Wednesday morning:

This Winter Storm (I)

This winter storm will rage a roar,
Scratch its cold claws on our door,
Race around on frosty feet,
Howl at autos in the street,
Prowl around outside all day.
I’ll have to stay inside and play.

But I won’t have to go to school.
This winter storm is REALLY cool!

Question: Which version of my snow poem do you like better?


It's snowing here again I decided to write another version of This Winter Storm.

This Winter Storm (II)

This winter storm will rage and roar,
Pile up snow drifts by our door,
Howl and growl with all its might,
Bury everything in white,
Bend the branches of our trees,
Snap electric lines with ease,
Slow car traffic,
Close all schools.
Hip, hip, hooray!
This snowstorm rules!!!
Tara has the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Teaching Life.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have an original fairy tale poem titled For Sale.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Best Children's Books of 2010

Association for Library Service to Children: 2011 ALSC Award Winners

ALSC: 2011 Notable Children’s Books

Booklist Editor’s Choice: Books for Youth, 2010

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books: 2010 Blue Ribbons

Kirkus Reviews: 2010 Best Books for Children

Kirkus Reviews: 2010 Best Books for Teens

Horn Book Fanfare: Best Books of 2010

New York Public Library: Children’s Books 2010—100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

New York Times: Notable Children’s Books of 2010

Publishers Weekly: Best Children’s Books 2010

School Library Journal: Best Picture Books 2010

School Library Journal: Best Nonfiction Books 2010

School Library Journal: Best Fiction Books 2010

Book Links: Lasting Connections of 2010

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jack Attack: An Original Fairy Tale Poem

Here’s another poem about Jack and the Beanstalk from my unpublished collection Excerpts from the Fairy tale Files. I posted a different poem about Jack last month. You can read it here.


Jack traded Milky White for beans.
His mother went ballistic.
She scolded him, “You numbskull,
Magic beans? Be realistic!
There’s no such thing as magic beans…
Or broccoli or peas!
Now all we have to eat tonight
Is this last ounce of cheese.

And don’t start spreading stories
Of a giant ten feet high
Who lives in some grand castle
In a kingdom in the sky.
Jack, go to bed without your meal…
And stop all this pretending.
You’d better pray this fairy tale
Will have a happy ending.”


At Blue Rose Girls, I have Winter Wonderland: Original Snow Poems & Pictures

Laura Salas has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Writing the World for Kids.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Pocketful of 2010 Children's Poetry Books

Hip, hip, hooray! A children’s poetry book received a Newbery Honor Award this year!!!
The book was Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Welcoming her readers into the “wild, enchanted park” that is the night, Joyce Sidman has elegantly crafted twelve poems rich in content and varied in format. Companion prose pieces about nocturnal flora and fauna are as tuneful and graceful as the poems. This collection is “a feast of sound and spark.”

You can read my review of Dark Emperor here.


The Association for Library Service to Children has announced its 2011 Notable Children’s Books.

Here are the poetry books that made the list this year:

In the Wild. By David Elliott. Illus. By Holly Meade. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763644970).
A joyful collection of brief poems paired with dynamic woodblock prints celebrates favorite animals from every continent.

Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. By Salley Mavor. Houghton, $21.99 (9780618737406).
Familiar and lesser known nursery rhymes, illustrated with superb needlework and appliqué, create a charming dollhouse of a book.

Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. By Bob Raczka. Illus. by Peter H. Reynolds. Houghton, $14.99 (9780547240039).
Six haiku for each season of the year, celebrating the interaction of boys and nature, combine with loose, expressive cartoons to make a winning combination.

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. By Joyce Sidman. Illus. By Beckie Prange. Houghton, $17.00 (9780618717194).
Three books in one! This amazing book of poetry is also a beautiful picture book and a nonfiction tribute to the adaptability of life on earth.
(You can read my review of Ubiquitous here.)

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night. By Joyce Sidman. Illus. by Rick Allen. Houghton, $16.99 (9780547152288).
Twelve elegantly crafted poems celebrating the night are accompanied by prose pieces about nocturnal flora and fauna. Newbery Honor Book

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. By Marilyn Singer. Illus. by Josee Masse. Dutton, $16.99 (97870525479017).
What fun! Read the poem in one direction and it tells the folktale from one point of view. Read it in the opposite direction and the point of view is reversed.


I must admit that I was surprised and disappointed that Jeannine Atkins’s wonderful Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters didn’t make the list. I loved that book!

There were two stellar poetry anthologies published last year.

Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems

selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by David Diaz


Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems

collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by G. Brian Karas.

I am happy that these last three books are all 2010 Cybils Poetry Finalists--as are Dark Emperor, Ubiquitous, and Mirror, Mirror.

There were other fine children's poetry books published in 2010. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to writing reviews of most of them. I hope to write more reviews this year.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grace Lin's LING & TING Wins Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award!

Grace Lin

I listened to the ALA Youth Media Awards podcast earlier today. I was SOOOOOO happy when I heard that my good friend Grace Lin had won a (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Honor Award for her first early reader--Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! It's a wonderful book!

Congratulations, Grace!!!

Ling & Ting Book Trailer

Other Awards and Starred Reviews for Ting & Ting
•Junior Library Guild Selection
•starred Booklist review
•starred Kirkus review
•starred Horn Book review
•starred School Library Journal review
•NY Times Sunday Book Review
•2010 Kirkus Best Children's Books
•2010 Booklist Editor's Choice
•PW's Best of Books of 2010

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Dear Little Red: An Original Fairy Tale Letter Poem

I was away for several days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We had no Internet access in the timeshare where we were staying. I spent my time cooking, eating, reading, and talking with old friends. It was a great vacation…and a wonderful way to start off the New Year!

Here is another fairy tale poem from my unpublished collection Excerpts from the Fairy Tale Files. The poem was written in the form of a letter to Little Red Riding Hood from her grandmother.

My Dear Little Red,

Thanks for the basket of biscuits and bread,
Warm cinnamon buns and the buttery brie,
The thermos of piping hot peppermint tea.
And thanks for the visit. I’m sorry that you
Were swallowed, like me, by that nasty wolf too.
Why, he had been skulking around some time
Before he committed his dastardly crime.
Thanks heavens the huntsman, so nimble with knives,
Arrived just in time and saved both our lives.
Last week I installed a new cottage alarm.
Now that should ensure that I come to no harm.
Please come for a visit again very soon.
The food was delish!

All my love,
Grandma June

Click here to read Dear Goldilocks and some other letter poems.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Live. Love. Explore! this week.