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1. Celebrating Black History Month with Poetry

February-- Black History Month-- is a great opportunity to showcase all the wonderful poetry created by African American poets who write for young people and there are so many great choices! Of course, we include this poetry in our programs, lessons, and special celebrations all year long, but this is a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in these great writers. 

First, I want to give a shout-out to Curious City for featuring 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr. with audio versions of each excerpt free and accessible to all! Here's the link. Each poem is read by a range of professional narrators, complete with music and sound effects. Just listen to the first one and you'll be hooked! 


Poem Postcard

I featured a "theme" poem for Black History Month by Charles Waters from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations earlier. You'll find the poem postcard on Pinterest here


List of African American Poetry for Young People
There are so many wonderful African American poets writing for young people-- and who have been writing for years. In my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists, I provide a list to get you started. Here it is updated a bit and as usual I welcome any suggestions for additions.

  1. Adedjouma, D. Ed.. 1996. The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children. New York: Lee & Low.
  2. Adoff, Arnold, comp. 1974. My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry. New York: Dutton. Reprinted, 1994.
  3. Adoff, Arnold. 2010. Roots and Blues, A Celebration. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  4. Adoff, Jaime. 2005. Jimi & Me. New York: Hyperion.
  5. Adoff, Jaime. 2008. The Death of Jayson Porter. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion. 
  6. Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007.  Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
  7. Alexander, Kwame. 2014. The Crossover.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  8. Alexander, Kwame. 2016. Booked. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  9. Angelou, Maya. 1993. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. New York: Steward, Tabori, & Chang.
  10. Brooks, Gwendolyn. 1956/1984. Bronzeville Boys and Girls. New York: HarperCollins.
  11. Bryan, Ashley. 1997. Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry. New York: Atheneum.
  12. Bryan, Ashley. 2014. Ashley Bryan's Puppets: Making Something from Everything. New York: Atheneum.
  13. Clinton, Catherine. Ed. 1998. I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  14. Crisler, Curtis. 2007. Tough Boy Sonatas. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
  15. Dunbar, Paul Laurence. Reissued, 1999. Jump Back Honey. New York: Hyperion.
  16. Feelings. Tom. 1993. Soul Looks Back in Wonder. New York: Dial.
  17. Giovanni, Nikki. 1994. Knoxville, Tennessee. New York: Scholastic.
  18. Giovanni, Nikki. 1996. The Sun Is So Quiet. New York: Henry Holt.
  19. Giovanni, Nikki. 1997. It’s Raining Laughter. New York: Dial.
  20. Giovanni, Nikki. Coll. 2008. Hip Hop Speaks to Children. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
  21. Greenfield, Eloise. 2004. In the Land of Words. New York: HarperCollins. 
  22. Greenfield, Eloise. 2006. The Friendly Four. Ill. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: HarperCollins.
  23. Greenfield, Eloise. 2008. Brothers and Sisters: Family Poems. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins.
  24. Greenfield, Eloise. 2011. The Great Migration: Journey to the North. Ill. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Amistad/HarperCollins. 
  25. Grimes, Nikki. 1994. Meet Danitra Brown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  26. Grimes, Nikki. 1996. Come Sunday. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans.
  27. Grimes, Nikki. 1997. It’s Raining Laughter: Poems. New York: Dial.
  28. Grimes, Nikki. 1998. A Dime a Dozen. New York: Dial.
  29. Grimes, Nikki. 1998. Jazmin’s Notebook. New York: Dial.
  30. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. At Break of Day. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman.
  31. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. At Jerusalem’s gate. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman.
  32. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. Hopscotch Love: A Family Treasury of Love Poems. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  33. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. My Man Blue: Poems. New York: Dial.
  34. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Shoe Magic. New York: Orchard.
  35. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Is It Far to Zanzibar: Poems about Tanzania. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  36. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Stepping out with Grandma Mac. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  37. Grimes, Nikki. 2001. A Pocketful of Poems. New York: Clarion.
  38. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Bronx Masquerade. New York: Dial.
  39. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Danitra Brown Leaves Town. New York: HarperCollins.
  40. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. What is Goodbye? New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion.
  41. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. Tai Chi morning: Snapshots of China. Chicago: Cricket Books.
  42. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Danitra Brown, Class Clown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard.
  43. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Dark Sons. New York: Hyperion.
  44. Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a Million. New York: Amistad.
  45. Grimes, Nikki. 2007. When Gorilla Goes Walking. New York: Orchard.
  46. Grimes, Nikki. 2011. Planet Middle School. New York: Bloomsbury.
  47. Grimes, Nikki. 2013. Words with Wings.Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  48. Grimes, Nikki. 2015. Poems in the Attic. Ill. by Elizabeth Zunon. New York: Lee & Low. 
  49. Grimes, Nikki. 2016. Garvey’s Choice. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  50. Gunning, Monica. 2004. A Shelter In Our Car. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  51. Gunning, Monica. 2004. America, My New Home. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  52. Hudson, Wade. Ed. 1993. Pass It On:  African American Poetry for Children.  New York: Scholastic. 
  53. Hughes, Langston. (75th anniversary edition) 2007. The Dream Keeper (and seven additional poems). New York: Knopf.
  54. Hughes, Langston. 2012. I, Too, Am America. Ill. by Bryan Collier. Simon & Schuster.
  55. Hughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Ill. by Charles R Smith Jr. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  56. Hughes, Langston. 2009. The Negro Speaks of Rivers. Ill. by E. B. Lewis. New York: Disney-Hyperion.
  57. Iyengar, Malathi Michelle. 2009. Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown. Ill. by Jamel Akib. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  58. Johnson, Angela. 1998. The Other Side: Shorter Poems. New York: Orchard.
  59. Johnson, James Weldon. 1995. Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing. New York: Scholastic.
  60. McKissack, Patricia. 2011. Never Forgotten. Ill. by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Schwartz & Wade.
  61. McKissack, Patricia. 2008. Stitchin’ and Pullin’; A Gee’s Bend Quilt. Illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera. New York: Random House.
  62. Myers, Walter Dean. 1993. Brown Angels:  An Album of Pictures and Verse. New York: HarperCollins.  
  63. Myers, Walter Dean. 1995. Glorious Angels:  A Celebration of Children. New York: HarperCollins.  
  64. Myers, Walter Dean. 1997. Harlem: A Poem. New York: Scholastic.
  65. Myers, Walter Dean. 1998. Angel to Angel. New York: HarperCollins.
  66. Myers, Walter Dean. 2003. Blues Journey. New York: Holiday House.
  67. Myers, Walter Dean. 2004. Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices. New York: Holiday House.
  68. Myers, Walter Dean. 2006. Jazz. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday House.
  69. Myers, Walter Dean. 2009. Amiri and Odette: A Love Story. Ill. by Javaka Steptoe. New York: Scholastic.
  70. Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. We are America; A Tribute from the Heart. Ill. by Christopher Myers. HarperCollins.
  71. Nelson, Marilyn. 2001. Carver: A Life in Poems. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  72. Nelson, Marilyn. 2004. Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  73. Nelson, Marilyn. 2005. A Wreath for Emmett Till.Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  74. Nelson, Marilyn. 2008. The Freedom Business. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  75. Nelson, Marilyn. 2009. Sweethearts of Rhythm; The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Ill. by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Dial.
  76. Nelson, Marilyn. 1997. The Fields Of Praise: New and Selected Poems. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
  77. Nelson, Marilyn. 2015. My Seneca Village. Namelos.
  78. Nelson, Marilyn. 2014. How I Discovered Poetry. New York: Dial.
  79. Nelson, Marilyn. 2016. American Ace. Dial Books. 
  80. Neri, G. 2010. Yummy; The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. Ill. by Randy DuBurke. New York: Lee and Low.
  81. Neri, G. and Watson, Jesse Joshua. 2007. Chess Rumble. New York, NY: Lee & Low.
  82. Neri, Greg. 2014. Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. Ill. by A. G. Ford. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  83. Newsome, Effie Lee. 1999. Wonders: The Best Children’s Poems by Effie Lee Newsome. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills.
  84. Okutoro, L. O. 1999. Quiet Storm: Voices from Young Black Poets. New York: Hyperion.
  85. Pinkney, Andrea Davis. The Red Pencil.Ill. by Shane W. Evans. New York: Little, Brown.

  86. Shakur, Tupac. 1999. A Rose That Grew from Concrete. New York: Pocket Books.
  87. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2002. Perfect Harmony: A Musical Journey with the Boys Choir of Harlem. New York: Hyperion/Jump at the Sun.
  88. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2003. Hoop Queens. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  89. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2003. I am America. New York: Scholastic. 
  90. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2004. Hoop Kings. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  91. Smith, Charles R. Jr. Jr. 2007. Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  92. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2010. Black Jack; The Ballad of Jack Johnson. Roaring Brook.
  93. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2012. Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934. Ill. by Frank Morrison. Atheneum.
  94. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World. Ill. by Shane W. Evans. New York: Macmillan.
  95. Smith, Hope Anita. 2003. The Way a Door Closes. New York: Henry Holt.
  96. Smith, Hope Anita. 2008. Keeping the Night Watch. New York: Henry Holt.
  97. Smith, Hope Anita. 2009. Mother; Poems. New York: Henry Holt. 
  98. Smith, Jr., Charles R. 2004. Diamond Life: Baseball Sights, Sounds, and Swings. New York: Orchard.
  99. Steptoe, Javaka. Ed. 1997. In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers. New York: Lee & Low.
  100. Strickland, Dorothy S. and Michael R. Strickland. Eds. 1994. Families: Poems Celebrating the African-American Experience. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
  101. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1993. Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea: Poems. New York:  HarperCollins.
  102. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1995. Gingerbread Days. New York: HarperCollins.
  103. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2000. Hush Songs: African American Lullabies. New York: Hyperion. 
  104. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2001. A Mother’s Heart, A Daughter’s Love: Poems for Us to Share. New York: HarperCollins. 
  105. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2002. Crowning Glory. New York: HarperCollins. 
  106. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2007. Shouting! New York: Hyperion.
  107. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2008. The Blacker the Berry. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Amistad.
  108. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2000. The Sound that Jazz Makes. New York: Walker.
  109. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2001. Sidewalk Chalk; Poems of the City. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press. 
  110. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2002. Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People. New York: Philomel. 
  111. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2006. Dear Mr. Rosenwald. Ill. by R. Gregory Christie. New York: Scholastic. 
  112. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2007. Birmingham, 1963. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  113. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2008. Becoming Billie Holiday. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  114. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2008. I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer. Ill. by Eric Velasquez.
  115. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2014. Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. Ill. by Jamey Christoph. Chicago: Albert Whitman.
  116. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2014. Sugar Hill: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood. Ill. by R. Gregory Christie. Chicago: Whitman.
  117. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2015. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  118. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2016. You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. Simon & Schuster.
  119. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2003. Locomotion. New York: Putnam.
  120. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2014. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin.

FYI: I have similar lists of poetry in The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists, including:
*Asian American Poetry for Young People
*Hispanic/Latino/Latina Poetry for Young People
*Native American Poetry For Young People
*International Poetry for Young People
*Bilingual Poetry for Young People
and many more...

Previously
And here is a list of previous blog posts that feature poetry for young people by African American writers:
1. For my post, "Happy birthday, Maya Angelou," click here and for a tribute to her poetry for young people, click here.
2. For two posts on The Great Migration by Eloise Greenfield, click here and here.
3. For my post on Roots and Blues by Arnold Adoff, click here.
4. For my post on Shouting! by Joyce Carol Thomas, click here
5. For my post on Rosa Parks Day, click here.
6. For my post on I Am the Darker Brother by Arnold Adoff, click here.
7. For my post on Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate, click here
8. For my post on Marilyn Nelson's contribution to Poetry Tag, click here.

Now head on over to Tricia's place, The Miss Rumphius Effect, for more Poetry Friday fellowship. See you there!


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2. Ready for Spring? Celebrating Groundhog Day

I can't believe January is almost over, can you? Now that I've gathered my list of forthcoming poetry for young people this year, I'm working on getting my hands on the actual BOOKS! Hope to post more about them, the poets, and poetry news soon. Meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to stop and celebrate the upcoming Groundhog Day (I love that Bill Murray movie). So, here we go. The lovely, talented Jane Yolen wrote a poem specifically for Groundhog Day especially for our Poetry Friday for Celebrations.

And here are the Take 5 activities from the Celebrations anthology for sharing Jane's Groundhog Day poem.


You'll also find these two "poem postcards" at Pinterest here, along with hundreds of other poems in digital postcard form to share with young people.

Now I'm guessing that winter will be hanging around a bit longer, although our temps in Texas keep going up and down-- mostly up. But, if you're ready to think about spring, here's a list of poetry books all about spring (from my Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists).

Poetry Books about Spring
People often think poetry is all about springtime and daffodils and tulips—and not in a good way—but poetry can be about so many different topics. Of course poetry can also be about springtime and related topics, as the following book titles demonstrate. 

Adoff, Arnold. 1991. In for Winter, Out for Spring. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
Alarcón, Francisco X. 1997. Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/Jitomates Risuenos y Otros Poemas de Primavera. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
Blackaby, Susan. 2010. Nest, Nook & Cranny. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. 
Booth, David. 1990. Voices on the Wind:  Poems for All Seasons. New York: Morrow.
Brenner, Barbara. Ed. 1994. The Earth is Painted Green:  A Garden of Poems about Our Planet. New York: Scholastic.
Bruchac, Joseph. 1992.  Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons. New York: Philomel Books.
Bruchac, Joseph. 1995. The Earth under Sky Bear's Feet: Native American Poems of the Land. New York: Philomel Books.
Esbensen, Barbara Juster. 1984. Cold Stars and Fireflies:  Poems of the Four Seasons. New York: Crowell. 
Fletcher, Ralph J. 1997. Ordinary Things: Poems from a Walk in Early Spring. New York: Atheneum.
Florian, Douglas. 2006. Handsprings. New York: Greenwillow.
George, Kristine O’Connell. 2004. Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems. New York: Harcourt.
Harley, Avis. 2008. The Monarch’s Progress: Poems with Wings. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills/Wordsong.
Havill, Juanita. 2006. I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Hopkins, Lee. Bennett. Ed. 2010. Sharing the Seasons. New York: Margaret McElderry.
Katz, Bobbi. Ed. 1992. Puddle-wonderful: Poems to Welcome Spring. New York: Random House.
Merriam, Eve. 1992. The Singing Green: New and Selected Poems for All Seasons. New York: HarperCollins.
Nicholls, Judith. 2003. The Sun in Me: Poems about the Planet. Somerville, MA:  Barefoot Books.
Oelschlager, Vanita. 2009. Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers of the Past. Ill. by Kristin Blackwood. Akron, OH: Vanitabooks.
Roemer, Heidi. 2009. Whose Nest is This? NorthWord.
Rosen, Michael J. 2009. The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems. Ill. by Stan Fellows. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
Schnur, Steven. 1999. Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic. New York: Clarion.
Shannon, George. Ed. 1996. Spring: A Haiku Story. New York: Greenwillow.
Sidman, Joyce. 2006. Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow. Ill. by Beth Krommes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 
Thomas, Patricia. 2008. Nature’s Paintbox: A Seasonal Gallery of Art and Verse. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press.
Wolf, Sallie. 2010. The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound. Charlesbridge.
Yolen, Jane. 2002. Ring of Earth: A Child’s Book of Seasons. San Diego: Harcourt. 
Yolen, Jane. 2009. A Mirror to Nature. Ill. by Jason Stemple. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press. 
Zolotow, Charlotte. 2002. Seasons; A Book of Poems. New York: HarperCollins. 


NBGS List 2016
We're also so pleased to announce that The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations was chosen for the 2016 list of Notable Books for a Global Society by the International Literacy Association! In fact, there were several books of poetry featured on their 2016 list, including: Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford, and Audacity by Melanie Crowder. For the complete list, click here.

***Now head on over to Reading to the Core where Catherine is hosting Poetry Friday.

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3. Celebrating Multicultural Children's Book Day



It's time to celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day. This is a celebration of diversity in literature for young people launched by children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom. You can find tons of links to many multicultural blog posts at their blogs too. At Pomelo Books, Janet (Wong) and I are so pleased to be sponsors of this great celebration. In fact, we're so pleased that diversity has been a hallmark of each of our Poetry Friday anthologies. We've featured diverse poets, diverse themes and topics, and even bilingual poetry in Spanish/English. 

This week, Janet is presenting along with poets Julie Larios, Charles Waters, and Carmen T. Bernier-Grand at Dearborn Park Elementary School in Seattle, a Title I school that educates children who are Asian American, African American, and Latino. Children even learn Mandarin or Spanish starting in kindergarten! 

I'm featuring poems by each of these lovely peeps today to celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day (officially January 27). Join the Twitter Party on Jan. 27 at 8pm with #ReadYourWorld. There will be great conversation and lots of giveaways too! 

Meanwhile, here are lovely gems by Charles Waters, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Julie Larios and Janet Wong. Enjoy!

Have you ever heard Charles Waters present? He's a hoot, a ham, and a force! This poem by him is from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations and is perfect for launching a celebration of Black History Month in February-- plus he has many other poems celebrating African Americans to use any time of the year! 

Are you familiar with the work of Carmen T. Bernier-Grand? I just love her poem biographies. This featured poem below is a bilingual (Spanish/English) poem from our science anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, as well as the student edition, The Poetry of Science. I just love the Spanish title "Compu-nerdo," don't you?

Julie Larios is the lovely lady behind the poetry of Yellow Elephant and Imaginary Menagerie, among others. Plus her blog, The Drift Record, is not-to-be-missed. Her lyrical poem, "Names" (below) from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School makes my mouth water!


Finally, you know how much I love Janet (Wong), her poetry, and her endless advocacy for diversity AND poetry. Her poem below, "Grandfather's Chopsticks" is from our first book together, The Poetry Friday Anthology K-5. 

Remember to check out all the resources at Multicultural Children's Book Day and join the Twitter gathering, too. It's so great to see diversity celebrated so widely by so many. Don't miss the party!


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4. Sneak Peek list for 2016

It's time again to post my annual "sneak peek" list of all the poetry for young people that will be published in the coming year (that I know about, thus far). This includes poetry collections,  anthologies and novels in verse. I talked with publishers at the ALA Midwinter conference, attended previews, combed publisher websites, looked for forthcoming titles at Books in Print, and made notes based on PW Children's Bookshelf and other venues, and this is what I know so far. If you know about other poetry for young readers set to be published this year (or have changes to suggest about these titles below), please let me know (in the comments). I'll be updating this list all year long, so it becomes a resource as you look for the latest poetry books for young people. There's a quick link to this post in the menu on the right-hand side of this blog, too. As always, I'm so excited to find, get, and read all of these books! Congrats poets and yay for poetry readers!
  1. Alarcón, Francisco X. 2016. Family Poems/ Poemas familiares. Ill. by Maya Christina Gonzalez. Lee & Low. 
  2. Alexander, Kwame. 2016. Booked. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  3. Atkins, Jeannine. 2016. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.
  4. Bint Mahmood, Ayesha. 2016. Thank You O Allah! Kube Publishing.
  5. Brown, Skila. 2016. To Stay Alive. Candlewick.
  6. Burg, Ann. 2016. Unbound. Scholastic.
  7. Caswell, Deanna. 2016. Guess Who Haiku. Abrams.
  8. Cleary, Brian P. 2016. I Saw an Invisible Lion Today: Quatrains. Lerner/Millbrook.
  9. Dolby, Karen. 2016. Oranges and Lemons: Rhymes from Past Times. Michael O’Mara Books.
  10. Donaldson, Julia. 2016. Songbook Treasury. Ill. by Axel Scheffler. Pan Macmillan. 
  11. Donwerth-Chikamatsu, Annie. 2016. Somewhere Among. Simon & Schuster.
  12. Elya, Susan Middleton. 2016. ¡Celebración! Ill. by Ana Aranda. 
  13. Elya, Susan Middleton. 2016. La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Niños. Ill. by Juana Martinez-Neal. Penguin Random House/Putnam. 
  14. Engle, Margarita. 2016. Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words. Atheneum.
  15. Engle, Margarita. 2016. Morning Star Horse/ El Caballo Lucero. Translated by Alexis Romay. HBE Publishers (available in English bilingual [Spanish/English] editions)
  16. Fogliano, Julie. 2016. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons. Ill. by Julie Morstad. Macmillan/Roaring Brook/Porter.
  17. Frost, Helen. 2016. Among a Thousand Fireflies. Ill. by Rick Lieder. Candlewick.
  18. Frost, Helen. 2016. Applesauce Weather. Ill. by Amy June Bates. Candlewick.
  19. Grimes, Nikki. 2016. Garvey’s Choice. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  20. Harrington, Janice L. 2016. Catching a Storyfish. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  21. Harrison, David L. 2016. Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Poems About Creatures that Hide. Ill. by Giles Laroche. Charlesbridge.
  22. Hepperman, Christine. 2016. Ask Me How I Got Here. HarperCollins.
  23. Herrington, Janice. 2016. Catching a Storyfish. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  24. Koyczan, Shane. 2016. To This Day. Annick Press.
  25. Latham, Irene. 2016. Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmers' Market. Ill. by Mique Moriuchi. Highlights/Wordsong.
  26. Latham, Irene. 2016. When the Sun Shines on Antarctica: And Other Poems About the Frozen Continent. Ill. by Anna Wadham. Millbrook Press. 
  27. Lea, Synne. 2016. Night Guard. Ill. by Stian Hole. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. 
  28. Lewis, Jan. 2016. My Mother Goose Collection: Playtime Rhymes. Anness Publishing.
  29. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2016. Kooky Crumbs: Poems in Praise of Dizzy Days. Ill. by Mary Uhles. Kane-Miller. 
  30. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2016. The Navajo Code Talkers. Ill. by Gary Kelley. Creative Editions. 
  31. Lin, Grace and McKneally, Ranida T. 2016. Our Food. Ill. by Grace Zong. Charlesbridge.
  32. Luján, Jorge. 2016. Trunk to Trunklet. Ill. by Mandana Sadat. Brooklyn, NY: Enchanted Lion Books. 
  33. Lowitz, Leza. 2016. Up From the Sea. Crown/Random House.
  34. Magliaro, Elaine. 2016. Things to Do. Chronicle.
  35. Marks, Alan. Ed. 2016. The People of the Town: Nursery Rhyme Friends for You and Me. Charlesbridge.
  36. McNally, Janet. 2016. Girls in the Moon. HarperTeen.
  37. Moser, Lisa. 2016. Stories from Bug Garden. Candlewick.
  38. Nelson, Marilyn. 2016. American Ace. Dial Books. 
  39. Nesbitt, Kenn. Ed. 2016. One Minute Till Bedtime. Little Brown.
  40. Norris, Charles M. Ed. 2016. Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains. Ill. by Minnie Adkins. University Press of Kentucky.
  41. Orgill, Roxane. 2016. Jazz Day. Ill. by Francis Vallejo. Candlewick.
  42. Powell, Patricia Hruby. 2016. Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case. Ill. by Shadra Strickland. Chronicle
  43. Raczka, Bob. 2016. Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems. Roaring Brook Press. 
  44. Redgate, Riley. 2016. Seven Ways We Lie. Amulet/Abrams.
  45. Shovan, Laura. 2016. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Random House.
  46. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. Echo, Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths. Ill. by Josée Masse. Dial.
  47. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. Miss Muffet, or What Came After? Ill. by David Litchfield. Clarion.
  48. Snively, Susan. 2016. Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson. Ill. by Christine Davenier. MoonDancePress. (Quarto)
  49. Steig, Jeanne and Steig, William. 2016. Divine Comedies: The Old Testament Made Easy and a Gift from Zeus. Simon & Schuster.
  50. Steig, Jeanne and Steig, William. 2016. Consider the Lemming (reissue). Simon & Schuster.
  51. Steig, Jeanne and Steig, William. 2016. Alpha Beta Chowder (reissue). Simon & Schuster.
  52. Stoop, Naoko. 2016. Sing with Me! Action Songs Every Child Should Know. Henry Holt.
  53. Stroud, Bettye. 2016. The World’s Wide Open. Ill. by Pat Cummings. Simon & Schuster.
  54. Thompson, Holly. 2016. Falling Into the Dragon’s Mouth. New York: Henry Holt.
  55. Trillin, Calvin. 2016. No Fair! No Fair! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood. Ill. by Roz Chast. Scholastic/Orchard. 
  56. Viorst, Judith. 2016. What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem. Ill. by Lee White. Simon & Schuster.
  57. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2016. You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. Simon & Schuster.
  58. Withrow, Steven and Stevens, Roger. 2016 It's Not My Fault. Bloomsbury UK/A&C Black.
  59. Yolen, Jane. 2016. The Alligator’s Smile and Other Poems. Lerner.
  60. Yolen, Jane and Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. 2016. Grumbles from the Town: Mother Goose Voices with a Twist. Ill. by Angela Matteson. Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
(P.S. Within minutes I already made revisions, thanks to Laura Shovan's post at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes's blog, Today's Little Ditty!) BTW, this list includes books that have SOME poetry, but may not be entirely poetry. And I'll keep updating this list as I hear of new titles to add.

Rhyming/Poem Picture Books
Since posting my original list, I've discovered that some of these titles are rhyming picture books-- also lovely-- but I'm trying to focus specifically on poetry titles (including novels in verse). So, I'm starting a separate list below of poets' rhyming picture books. If someone else is already keeping such a list, please let me know and I can direct people there.
  1. Sidman, Joyce. 2016. Before Morning. Ill. by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. What's an Apple? Ill. by Greg Pizzoli. Abrams.
  3. Singer, Marilyn. 2016. What's a Banana? Ill. by Greg Pizzoli. Abrams.
  4. Swinburne, Stephen. 2016. Safe in a Storm. Ill. by Jennifer A. Bell. Scholastic.
  5. VanDerwater, Amy. 2016. Every Day Birds. Ill. by Dylan Metrano. Orchard.
  6. Wing, Natasha. 2016. The Night Before the New Pet. Ill. by Amy Wummer. Penguin/Grosset & Dunlap.
  7. Wissinger, Tamera Will. 2016. There Was an Old Lady Who Gobbled a Skink. Ill. by Ana Bermejo. Sky Pony Press.
  8. Yolen, Jane. 2016. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends? Ill. by Mark Teague. Scholastic.
  9. Yolen, Jane. 2016. On Bird Hill. Ill. by Bob Marstall. Cornell Lab Publishing Group.
  10. Yolen, Jane. 2016. What to Do with a Box. Ill. by Chris Shiban. Creative Editions.
Meanwhile, head over to Tara's blog, A Teaching Life, to see what else is going on this Poetry Friday!

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5. ALA Awards + Poetry

Just a week ago I was in Boston for the midwinter conference of the American Library Association. I was lucky enough to co-chair the Morris Seminar alongside the amazing Deb Taylor and we had a great day spent with a dozen leaders in our field engaging 32 participants (new-ish librarians) in talking about children's literature in deep, thoughtful ways. Of course, I started the day by sharing a poem with the group! Then on Monday, I attended the YMA (youth media awards) press conference where all the major ALA (ALSC, and YALSA) awards were announced. Such an exciting time for a book nerd like me! There were so many wonderful surprises among the awards, but I am always looking for any and all POETRY books that are getting recognized in this way. So, here's the round up of the poetry titles that received ALA awards this year.

Hurray for author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, published by Candlewick Press. It received HEAPS of lovely recognition-- for the art and for the informative poetic content! It won:
  • Caldecott honor (for illustration)
  • Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award honor
There's a great blog post at A Rep Reading about the book here.

Congratulations to author and poet Margarita Engle and illustrator Rafael López who also garnered several awards for the poetic picture book, Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It won the Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.

Interestingly, it also was selected as a Picture Book Honor book for the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (APALA) because this story is based upon the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who challenged Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers.  

You can read more about this beautiful book at Latinos in Kid Lit here and at Rhapsody in Books here.

Margarita Engle's poem memoir, Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division also received dual recognitions. 
  • Pura Belpré (Author) Award
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honor book
Poet and author Holly Thompson interviewed Margarita Engle about Enchanted Air previously on my blog here:

Kudos to author and poet Marilyn Hilton for receiving the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (APALA) in the "Children’s" category for her novel in verse, Full Cicada Moon published by Dial Books/Penguin Random House.

You can find an interview with Marilyn Hilton over at The Hiding Spot here.

Finally, Jacqueline Woodson was chosen to deliver the 2017 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizes an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site. Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. The author of more than two dozen books for young readers, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

Congratulations to each of these authors, poets, and illustrators for these wonderful books and worthy awards. These are some of MY favorite poetry books of the year, too and I'm so glad to see these poetry contributions receive additional recognition. You may also notice that each of these books also reflects the distinctive experiences and rich language that comes from diverse authors and stories. In addition, these works won "multicultural" awards as well as awards for art and text given across the spectrum. I've said it before and I'll say it again (over and over), some of the best poetry being published for young people today reflects the beautiful diversity of our nation and the awards that target diverse literature are often the first ones to recognize poetry specifically. That's also something to celebrate! 

Now head on over to Keri Recommends for more poetry goodness on this Poetry Friday!

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6. A Christmas Poem

Can you believe that Christmas is next week? If you celebrate, do you decorate a Christmas tree? I love the tree tradition and I have several different ones in my house (including an aluminum tree with Star Wars ornaments!). But this poem by Joseph Bruchac from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations captures the simple beauty of a live tree. 


And if you'd like to use the Take 5 activities from the book that accompany this poem, here you go:
1. If possible, set the stage with the smell of a Christmas tree—with live branches, scented air freshener, or a pine-scented candle (if allowed). Then read the poem slowly with a pause after each stanza.
2. Read the poem aloud again and invite children to chime in on the repeated and crucial word "tree."
3. Work together to draw a picture or create a collage of a Christmas tree based on the details in this poem (green branches, colored balls, lights, star). Then read the poem aloud again together.  
4. Pair this poem with the picture book Christmas Tree! by Florence and Wendell Minor (HarperCollins, 2005) and identify all the different kinds of Christmas trees pictured in the illustrations.
5.  Match this poem with “Oh Summer Books” by Diana Murray (June, pages 162-163) because of the tune connection (“O Tannenbaum”), “Tree Day Celebration” by Ibtisam Barakat (April, pages 104-105), and poems from Winter Trees by Carole Gerber (Charlesbridge, 2008), or link to Christmas poems with Manger edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (Eerdmans, 2014).

This is just one of a dozen December holiday poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Of course we also have poems for Chanukah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve, too, among other special occasions this month. And of course we have even more poems for a dozen holidays in EVERY month of the year, January through December. Get your copy now and be ready for 2016!
 

Meanwhile, join the Poetry Friday fray over at Random Noodling where Diane is hosting the festivities! 

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7. National Cocoa Day

Various sources claim that either December 12 or December 13 is National Cocoa Day. Here in Texas it's warm again (near 80 degrees!), so it's not exactly ideal cocoa drinking weather, but I am going for it anyway. I love hot cocoa, so I was happy to see this "holiday" exists and we thought it would be a fun one to include in our anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Read it now or save it for a chilly day!


And if you want to use the "Take 5" activities that accompany this poem in the book, here you go:
  1. As your poetry prop, hold a mug as if it were full of hot cocoa and read this National Cocoa Day poem aloud with enthusiasm.
  2. Share the poem again and invite children to chime in on the repeated phrase It’s cocoa, it’s cocoa while you read the rest of the poem aloud. Hold up your mug to cue them.
  3. Use details from the poem to work together and make a list of things that contain cocoa. Another resource is TheStoryofChocolate.com.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart (Charlesbridge, 2013). Talk about where cocoa comes from and how the interdependence of rain forest plants and animals is essential to its growth.
  5. Connect with “On the Day of the Dead” by René Saldaña, Jr. (November, pages 292-293) and with selections from ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: America's Sproutingsby Pat Mora (Lee & Low, 2007) and The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell (McElderry, 2015).

Now check out the Poetry Friday fun over at A Teaching Life where Tara is hosting the party!

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8. Launching the "remix" of science poetry for KIDS

Janet (Wong) and I are so excited to announce the launch of our latest venture! (Yes, that is Janet being excited!) It's The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for KIDS.
This new book features 248 poems by 78 poets, along with illustrations by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang. It's arranged thematically by science topics such as what scientists do, the science fair, classroom science, kitchen science, matter, earth & sun, space & sky, water, weather, surviving disasters, land & soil, ecology & conservation, endangered & extinct, the human body, engineering, computers, math, and the future. 

This is the companion volume to The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for teachers published last year (2014) which includes "Take 5" activities for each poem. The new "remix" features ONLY THE POEMS and not the "Take 5" teaching activities. Plus, it offers 30 "bonus" poems not featured in the teacher's edition. Here's a sample double-page spread.

You can find more sample poems from the book at Pinterest here.

Below is the cover of the "Teacher Edition" of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for teachers (2014) which includes "Take 5" activities for each poem aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (as well as the CCSS and TEKS). 


And just for fun, did you notice that the robots on the cover of the new book look a tiny bit like Janet and me? 
And don't forget our "celebrations" anthology with perfect poems for many December holidays including a December birthday poem for people like me who have birthdays during this holiday time! 

Now, head over to Buffy's place for our Poetry Friday celebration! Buffy (Silverman) also happens to be one of the featured poets in our science poetry anthologies, too! Here's a list of all those fabulous science poets who contributed:
What an amazing group, right? 

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9. Thankful

Time again to pause and think about the many things we are grateful for in our lives-- like this online community of poetry lovers, for example. Thank YOU for continuing to support my little blog and the field of poetry for young people all around. What a privilege it is. But I always like to balance the serious with some silliness too. So, I hope you'll indulge my sharing this nutty Thanksgiving-themed poem from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (with thanks to Brod Bagert, too). The "artistic" interpretation, however, is mine (with thanks to Matt Groening).

I'll be sharing this poem this afternoon at my NCTE presentation (with Janet Wong, Laura Purdie Salas, and Susan Marie). If I had any cheerleading experience, I think it would be a hoot to choreograph this as a cheer with the staccato motions and gestures that cheerleaders use. But, I'm just going to rely on my "Take 5" activities from the Celebrations book:

Take 5
  1. Before reading the poem aloud, ask children to close their eyes and envision a Thanksgiving gathering and meal. Then read the poem aloud with enthusiasm.
  2. Read the poem aloud again and invite children to chime in on the second line of each three-line stanza (echoing you and the first line) and then on the final word, YOU!
  3. As a group, talk about favorite Thanksgiving foods and traditions.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules (Albert Whitman, 2009) and discuss the many “right ways” to celebrate Thanksgiving.
  5. Connect this poem with “‘Break-Fast’ at Night” by Ibtisam Barakat (June, pages 180-181) and with selections from Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young by Nancy White Carlstrom (Aladdin, 2002) and Holiday Stew: A Kid’s Portion of Holiday and Seasonal Poems by Jenny Whitehead (Henry Holt, 2007).
If you're looking for more holiday poems for November and December, we have a wonderful assortment to share in classrooms, libraries, and at family gatherings. Here's a select list from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations:


And don't forget to check out the rest of the Poetry Friday fun over at Miss Rumphius where Tricia has a bit of Robert Frost to share!

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10. Science + Poetry + Movement

I just presented a session at an area conference of the National Science Teachers Association in Philadelphia (along with Janet Wong) and what a great crowd we had! Plus, walking the exhibit hall I learned about Science Friday, a weekly radio program (now with podcasts and more) that's been around for 25 years. We talked with them about linking POETRY Friday with SCIENCE Friday! I'll keep you posted on how that develops. We also ran into "Ben Franklin" and shared a poem about him from one of our books-- that was a hoot. He seemed to genuinely enjoy that moment too. He even asked to have our picture taken with HIS camera! We talked about how poets are like scientists in their careful observations, focus on details, and sharing of their "findings!" And of course, we shared tons of poems (and Take 5 activities).  One of the most popular was this one (along with the Take 5 activities):

And of course we had to share this 13 second video of Jane Goodall herself making the chimp call!
 
Also this poem offers a perfect transition to NEXT week's presentation at the annual conference of the National Council of Teacher's of English. Next week, Janet and I shift gears at join forces with poets and authors Susan Marie Swanson (who wrote the "Jane Goodall Begins a Speech" poem above) and Laura Purdie Salas to talk about poetry and movement, "Into the Poem: Active Strategies for Engaging Kinesthetic Learning." More on that next week! Meanwhile, head on over to Wee Words for Wee Ones for the rest of the Poetry Friday fun and enjoy our closing slide from our presentation, "How is a Scientist Like a Poet: Connecting Literacy and Science."
 

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11. Book Links: Playing Tag with Science Poets

I just got my copy of the November issue of Book Links and I was so tickled to see that my usual poetry column was a featured article this time! Woo hoo! Thanks to the 15 poets who graciously collaborated with me to share favorite science poetry books. The title is Playing Tag with Science Poets" and these poets participated: Joyce Sidman, J. Patrick Lewis, Margarita Engle, Leslie Bulion, Jane Yolen, Marilyn Singer, Betsy Franco, Douglas Florian, Carole Gerber, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Michael J. Rosen.

Here's how the article begins:
<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> I’ve made the case for connecting science and poetry many times in the last few years, focusing on how scientists and poets both observe the world closely and describe their observations in distinctive ways. I’ve pointed out the long poetry tradition of capturing the natural world through lyrical language. So this time I’m turning to the poets themselves. I asked 15 poets who write science-themed poetry to recommend one of their favorite recent collections of science-themed poetry by another poet. And none of them knew who was participating and which book others were choosing, so it was fun to see the tag team connections that emerged.

Poetry and science may seem at first glance to be strange companions, but they offer interesting connections for children who view all the world with wonder. They need both information and inspiration to understand what they see, hear, touch, and learn. As the great novelist Victor Hugo observed, “science is a ladder... poetry is a winged flight.” Surely we can provide both to the children we reach.

And then the poets get rolling:

Avis Harley tags J. Patrick Lewis
Avis Harley explores the natural world through collections such as Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems; The Monarch’s Progress: Poems with Wings, and African Acrostics; A Word in Edgeways, among others and she explores the natural world with a knack for crafting poems in distinctive forms, some of which she has invented herself! Here, Avis Harley salutesThe National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis: “National Geographic’s Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis, is a superb collection of 200 classic and contemporary poems, each paired with a spectacular photograph illustrating the beauty, wonder, and strangeness of the animal world.  There is a section on the writing of such poems, plus valuable resources, and four indexes to guide you to a favorite animal.  Poems and photos are humorous, serious, poignant, reflective, full of surprises: a truly gorgeous addition to your poetry shelf."

J. Patrick Lewis tags Leslie Bulion
Former Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis has produced many cross-curricular collections of poetry including several science-centric works like the insect poems in Face Bug: Poems as well as serving as anthologist for the two collections cited by others here. J. Patrick Lewis applauds Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion: “If what you’re after is a salmagundi of delightful poetry pieces, look no further than Leslie Bulion’s tour de force, an inventive mix of riddles, Shakespeare, and various verse forms. Elegant riddles are evoked in a limerick, a ballad stanza, a triolet, a double dactyl and more. Playfully fashioned from shades of Shakespeare, each riddle is accompanied by an explanation of the body part as a helpful clue. And all the verse forms are deftly described in End Notes. Random Body Parts is sure to challenge anatomy buffs of all ages.”

Leslie Bulion tags Laura Purdie Salas
Leslie Bulion studied oceanography and her science background comes through her poetry, including At the Sea Floor Café; Odd Ocean Critter Poems and Hey There, Stink Bug!, as well as this year’s Random Body Parts.When asked for her recommendation, she chose Water Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas: “I love the way the brilliant imagery in Laura Purdie Salas’s Water Can Be… invites me to linger on every single page. For example, “Picture catcher” transports my mind to wonderful water reflections I’ve seen, and when I read “Woodchuck warmer,” I wonder about those woodchucks tucked snug under snow in winter. Laura uses accessible, developmentally appropriate language to explain the science concepts behind each lyrical, rhythmic phrase in the back matter--perfect for young science poets!”


and it goes on...
(As soon as I see it online, I'll post the link, but it's currently only available to Booklist subscribers.)

And I end with suggestions of activities to consider (along with CCSS connections). Here's that chunk:

1. Play science poetry tag! Gather a selection of science-themed poetry books and encourage children to browse through them, sharing poems spontaneously with one another. Then, choose one poem to begin. Read it aloud and talk about it together. Then find another poem to link to it based on some connection between the two poems: another poem by the same the poet, another poem on the same topic (animals, nature, planets, etc.), or another poem from the same area of science (biology, astronomy, etc.). Share that poem aloud and discuss and compare. If time allows, keep going by “tagging” another poem.

2. Start with science photos. There are so many excellent sources of images for science study, from those in print books, of course, to online sources such as National Geographic (e.g., Animals.NationalGeographic.com; Photography.NationalGeographic.com; Kids.NationalGeographic.com). Choose a subject that is of current relevance and interest (e.g., Mars, chimpanzees, bacteria) and peruse the available images (in print or online sources). Then, search through available poetry anthologies and see if you can find a poem to go with the image. It might be an explicit connection— a poem about the sun to go with an image of the sun—or it might be a more abstract connection, such as a poem about summer fun, day vs. night, or warmth and caring. Work together to create your own collaborative anthology of images and matching poems. 

3. Many of the science-themed poetry books mentioned here weave together poetry, prose, and art. Challenge children to work in trios to research a science topic of their choice. Then allow them to choose their role for the next step: who will write the explanatory prose paragraph? Who will write the poem? Who will create the accompanying illustration? Afterward, talk about each role and discuss which they find easiest or hardest and why. Invite them to challenge themselves by taking on one of the OTHER roles next time and talk about how each information source is valuable and unique: prose, poetry and art. 

Finally, the article also includes a comprehensive bibliography of science poetry books, too including all the books by these poets and "tagged" by them too. 

Science Poetry Scoop
And I have a science poetry project of my own (that includes many of these poets, of course) that I'm very excited about and will share more news about that on Dec. 1. Stay tuned! 

Meanwhile, join the Poetry Friday crew over at Write. Sketch. Repeat. hosted by Katya Czaja. See you there!

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12. Celebrating Day of the Dead

I love Halloween! I love making costumes and trick or treaters and candy and skeletons and pumpkins! Living in Texas, I also enjoyed discovering the tradition of the Day of the Dead-- a time to remember those we love who are no longer with us (thinking of you, Dad, Oma, Opa, Julia, Izell, Monte, Lettie). So, I was happy that we featured a poem about the Day of the Dead by our very own Texas author, René Saldaña, Jr., in this year's Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015). On top of that, my talented collaborator, Janet Wong, tried her hand at making a poem video for this poem which you can view by clicking HERE.

Here is the poem in English AND Spanish along with the Take 5 activities to guide you in sharing this poem. Enjoy!



Now head on over to Check it Out where Jone is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering here.

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13. Teen Read Week: Poem #7 "Dracula" by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand

Here's the final poem in my series for Teen Read Week on the theme "Get Away @ the library" to spotlight all the great resources and activities available to help teens build literacy skills while reading for the fun to it. It's also a great poem for celebrating Halloween next week! It's "Dracula" by Carmen T. Bernier Grand from The Poetry Friday Anthology® for Middle School (Pomelo Books, 2013). You can also find it at Pinterest here


And here are the "Take 5" activities for sharing this poem also available at Pinterest here.


If you haven't gotten your copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology® for Middle School, it's not too late! It includes 110 poems by 71 poets along with "Take 5" mini-lessons for each and every poem tied to the Common Core skills (and/or TEKS in Texas) for each grade level, grades 6, 7, 8. 

Now head on over to Jama's place to celebrate Poetry Friday. She always has a yummy treat for us!

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14. Teen Read Week: Poem #6 "Texas, Out Driving" by Naomi Shihab Nye

Teen Read Week continues with the theme "Get Away @ the library" to spotlight all the great resources and activities available to help teens build literacy skills while reading for the fun to it. Today, I'm sharing "Texas, Out Driving" by Naomi Shihab Nye. Yes, I live in Texas, so of course I love this poem, but I think you will too. Who doesn't love Naomi's lovely, lyrical, intelligent, compassionate poems? I'm so proud that this one is featured in The Poetry Friday Anthology® for Middle School (Pomelo Books, 2013). You can also find this poem graphic at Pinterest here

If you'd like ideas about how to share this poem with teens and tweens, try these "Take 5" activities from The Poetry Friday Anthology® for Middle School. This graphic is also available at Pinterest here.


One more poem coming tomorrow (and perfect for Halloween)...

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15. Teen Read Week: Poem #4 "Racing the Clouds" by Jacqueline Jules

Here's the fourth poem in my series for Teen Read Week on the theme "Get Away @ the library" to spotlight all the great resources and activities available to help teens build literacy skills while reading for the fun to it. It's "Racing the Clouds" by Jacqueline Jules from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (Pomelo Books, 2013). You can also find it at Pinterest here.


And here are the Take 5 activities that accompany this poem. The Pinterest link is here.

More to come...

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16. Teen Read Week: Poem #4 "Spiral Glide" by Mary Lee Hahn

Here's the fourth poem in celebration of Teen Read Week and the theme "Get Away @ the library" which is intended to spotlight all the great resources and activities available to help teens build literacy skills while reading for the fun to it. Share this thoughtful poem, "Spiral Glide" by Mary Lee Hahn from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (Pomelo Books, 2013). You can also find it at Pinterest here


And here are the Take 5 activities that accompany the poem. The Pinterest link for the Take 5 activities is here.



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17. Teen Read Week: Poem #3 "How Romantic Can You Get?" by George Ella Lyon

Here's the third poem in my series for Teen Read Week on the theme "Get Away @ the library" to spotlight all the great resources and activities available to help teens build literacy skills while reading for the fun to it. It's "How Romantic Can You Get?" by George Ella Lyon from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (Pomelo Books, 2013). You can also find it at Pinterest here



And here are the Take 5 activities from the book also available at Pinterest here


More to come!

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18. Teen Read Week: Poem #2 "Future Hoopsters" by Avis Harley

It's time for our second installment in our poems for Teen Read Week and the theme "Get Away @ the library" to spotlight all the great resources and activities available to help teens build literacy skills while reading for the fun of it. Here's "Future Hoopsters" by Avis Harley from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School.  It is also available at Pinterest here.


And here are the "Take 5" activities that accompany the poem, also at Pinterest here.



More to come...

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19. Celebrate POET

In a wonderful confluence of variables, author and illustrator Don Tate was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as part of his book tour for his new picture book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, and since my daughter lives in Chapel Hill, I mentioned this to her and she attended his presentation. She took photos, made video clips, and even got a book autographed for me! So lovely! You can see all about Don't launch week complete with photos at his blog here. There were even descendants of poet George Moses Horton in the audience! So cool!

I'm sharing a few nuggets here because I think this book (and this author/illustrator) is really special: Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton published by Peachtree Press. It's Don's first book as BOTH author and illustrator and I was so pleased that Don spoke at the Poetry Round Up at the Texas Library Association conference this last spring and even read one of Horton's poems aloud. There's a wonderful video at Don's website here and you can learn more about his Freedom Tour, too.


I was already somewhat familiar with the book and the story, but when I received galleys this summer (along with a quill pen and powdered ink!), I was really captivated by this book. First, it's an engaging, true account beautifully illustrated in muted colors with a compelling story-like pull. It reads well out loud, so it's a natural for story time. It's fact-based, so it provides a slice of history and fits with Common Core objectives, too-- incorporating bits of song, scripture, and poetry alongside the facts. There's even a teacher's guide with lots of great activities (and skill connections) here at Don's website and another video nugget here and a thorough review hereGeorge Moses Horton was the first African American in the south to be published and his journey is such an inspiring one. 

Kids will enjoy that George is SO resourceful and independent, especially given the constraints of his life as an enslaved person who is separated from his family, too. They will relate to his steps in becoming a reader-- learning letters, plodding through a spelling book, figuring out how to spell and write, getting his first book. They'll be intrigued that he wrote poems in his mind first and then made money writing poems for other people. And they'll bristle at all the obstacles he had to overcome-- being owned by a master who refused to sell him even when George mustered the resources. 

Poet celebrates literacy, poetry, and the human spirit-- a terrific combination-- in an accessible way through story and art. And Horton's poetry is available online at the Poetry Foundation's website, too, for students who might want to follow up. Here are a few slides from Don's presentation about his research for the book and his early sketches. 
And the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina where Don delivered this talk (and where he did some of his research for the book) created a special exhibit of some of the related materials about George Moses Horton. There's a short UNC interview with Don here.

Here's Horton's  second published book, His Poetical Works and a draft of a handwritten poem.

Kirkus gave Poet a starred review: "... a new perspective with remarkable clarity"

School Library Journal also gave it a starred review: "A lovely introduction to an inspirational American poet." 

Don't miss this book for a true story, a beautiful picture book, a celebration of literacy, an African American hero, a slice of history, and an invitation to poetry. 

Now head on over to Robyn's place, Life on the Deckle Edge, for our Poetry Friday fun. 

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20. Reverse engineering: Picture book + poetry pairings

Eight years ago, I published an article in Book Links magazine that matched picture books with parallel poems, so that teachers and librarians who read the picture book aloud could have a poem on the same topic (or with the same theme) to follow up or introduce or extend the book experience. It was entitled: "Linking picture books and poetry; A celebration of Black History Month." Book Links. 2007. 16, (3), 44-47. (Sorry, but I can't find it online anymore.) Anyhoo... that got such a great response and really got me thinking about that potential in pairing two genres and formats. 

Flash forward and Janet (Wong) and I decided to do the same thing with our latest book, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015). Yes, it's a poetry anthology with 156 poems by 115 poets. Yes, the poems are tied to all kinds of celebrations, holidays, and historic events. Yes, all the poems appear in both English and Spanish. BUT... every poem is also paired with a picture book. And it occurred to me that one could "reverse engineer" this book, ignore the "holidays" component, and use the book to find poems to match with 156 of your favorite contemporary picture books that you share in story times and lessons. (We even provide an index listing all the picture books along with the page numbers for the matching poems.) So, if you like picture books, read them aloud to kids, and would like to START there, here is a complete list of all the picture books we link with poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. 

PICTURE BOOKS CITED (all with matching poems)
365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental (Abrams, 2006)
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee (HMH, 2008) 
A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey (Philomel, 2014)
A Dollar, a Penny, How Much and How Many by Brian P. Cleary (Millbrook, 2014)  
A Piñata in a Pine Tree by Pat Mora (Clarion, 2009)
A Sick Day for Amos Magee by Philip C. Stead (Roaring Brook, 2010) 
A Sweet Passover by Lesléa Newman (Abrams, 2012)
All Different Now: Juneteenth by Angela Johnson (Simon & Schuster, 2014)
All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant (Abrams, 2009) 
All in Just One Cookie by Susan E. Goodman (Greenwillow, 2006) 
All of Baby, Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler (Dial, 2009) 
All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon (Atheneum, 2011) 
An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston (Chronicle, 2006) 
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano (Roaring Brook, 2012)
At the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin (Chronicle, 2014) 
Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo (Lee & Low, 2012)
Baby’s First Laugh by Jessie Eve Ruffenach (Salina Bookshelf, 2003) 
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead (Roaring Brook, 2012) 
Bella & Bean by Rebecca Kai Dotlich (Atheneum, 2009)
Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter (Simon & Schuster, 2010) 
Big, Bigger, Biggest! by Nancy Coffelt (Holt, 2009) 
Blackout by John Rocco (Disney-Hyperion, 2011) 
Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day by Pat Mora (Rayo, 2009)
Bringing Asha Home by Uma Krishnaswami (Lee & Low, 2006) 
Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby (Sterling, 2011) 
Can We Save the Tiger by Martin Jenkins (Candlewick, 2011) 
Carl’s Summer Vacation by Alexandra Day (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008) 
Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown (Little, Brown, 2010) 
Christmas Tree! By Florence Minor (HarperCollins, 2005) 
Clara and Davie by Patricia Polacco (Scholastic, 2014)
Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett (Disney-Hyperion, 2013) 
Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers & Stepfathers by Kelly Bennett (Candlewick, 2010)
Dale, Dale, Dale: Hit It, Hit It, Hit It by René Saldaña, Jr. (Piñata Books, 2014)
Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams, 2010) 
Desert Elephants by Helen Cowcher (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011) 
Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates (Knopf, 2010)
Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) 
Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules (Albert Whitman, 2009) 
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (Chronicle, 2009)
Earth Day, Birthday by Maureen Wright (Two Lions, 2012) 
Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino (Holt, 2007) 
Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka (Schwartz & Wade, 2013) 
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (Balzer & Bray, 2012)
Fireboy to the Rescue! by Edward Miller (Holiday House, 2010) 
Flip, Float, Fly!: Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Early Macken (Holiday House, 2008)
Follow Me by Tricia Tusa (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) 
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes (Chronicle, 2012) 
Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng (Lee & Low, 2000) 
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook, 2012) 
H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers (Egmont, 2012)
Hands around the Library by Susan L. Roth and Karen Leggett Abouraya (Dial, 2012) 
Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel (Holiday House, 2013)
Helen’s Big World by Doreen Rappaport (Disney-Hyperion, 2012) 
Henry's First-Moon Birthday by Lenore Look (Atheneum, 2001) 
Hide-and-Seek Science: Animal Camouflage by Emma Stevenson (Holiday House, 2013)
Holidays Around the World: Diwali by Deborah Heiligman (National Geographic, 2008) 
Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014) 
How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham (Candlewick, 2008) 
I Call My Grandpa Papa; I Call My Grandma Nana by Ashley Wolff (Tricycle, 2009)
I Have a Dream by Kadir Nelson (Schwartz & Wade, 2012)
I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada (Atheneum, 2002) 
I Pledge Allegiance by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez (Knopf, 2014) 
I Remember Abuelito by Janie Levy (Albert Whitman, 2007)
Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sís (Scholastic, 2015)
If the World Were a Village (2nd edition) by David J. Smith (Kids Can Press, 2011) 
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Candlewick, 2010)
Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith (HarperCollins, 2000) 
Jurassic Poop by Jacob Berkowitz (Kids Can Press, 2006) 
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt, 2005) 
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington (HarperCollins, 2010) 
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen (Candlewick, 2006)
Ling & Ting: Share a Birthday by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2013) 
Littlebat’s Halloween Story by Diane Mayr (Whitman, 2009) 
Little Roja Riding Hood by Susan Middleton Elya (Putnam, 2014) 
Mama Loves by Rebecca Kai Dotlich (HarperCollins, 2004)
Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully (2006)
Mind Your Manners, B. B. Wolf by Judy Sierra (Knopf, 2007)
Miss Fox’s Class Shapes Up by Eileen Spinelli (Albert Whitman, 2011) 
Moonshot by Brian Floca (Atheneum, 2009) 
Mother to Tigers by George Ella Lyon (Atheneum, 2003)  
My Teacher by James Ransome (Dial, 2012) 
Neville by Norton Juster (Schwartz & Wade, 2011) 
New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland (Dial, 2009) 
Night of the Moon by Hena Khan (Chronicle, 2008) 
No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart (Charlesbridge, 2013)
Noah Webster & His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) 
Now & Ben by Gene Barretta (Square Fish, 2008) 
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman (Feiwel & Sons, 2006)
Oscar’s Half Birthday by Bob Graham (Candlewick, 2005)
Our Grandparents: A Global Album by Maya Ajmera (Charlesbridge, 2010)
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean (HarperCollins, 2012)
Picture Day Perfection by Deborah Diesen (Abrams, 2013)
Pirate vs. Pirate by Mary Quattlebaum (Hyperion, 2011)
Planes Fly! by George Ella Lyon (Atheneum, 2013)
Polar Bears by Mark Newman (Holt, 2010)
Popcorn by Elaine Landau (Charlesbridge, 2003)
President’s Day by Anne Rockwell (HarperCollins, 2007)
Press Here by Hervé Tullet (Chronicle, 2011) 
Red, White, and Boom! by Lee Wardlaw (Holt, 2012) 
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Abrams, 2013) 
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (Scholastic, 2014) 
Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora (Putnam, 2010)
Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin (Dial, 2013) 
Sequoia by Tony Johnston (Roaring Brook, 2014) 
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton (Little, Brown, 2010)
Sick Simon by Dan Krall (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George (Philomel, 2004) 
Spaghetti Smiles by Margo Sorenson (Pelican, 2014) 
Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon (Atheneum, 2013)
Ten Days and Nine Nights by Yumi Heo (Schwartz & Wade, 2009) 
Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin (Knopf, 2010)
That Is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems  (Balzer & Bray, 2013) 
The Birthday Cake by Sven Nordqvist (NorthSouth, 2015)
The Book Boat’s In by Cynthia Cotten (Holiday House, 2013) 
The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak (Dial, 2014)
The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock (Dial, 2012) 
The Carnival of the Animals by Jack Prelutsky (Knopf, 2010) 
The Christmas Coat by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Holiday House, 2011) 
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Philomel, 2013) 
The Dumpster Diver by Janet Wong (Candlewick, 2007)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (Atheneum, 2012)
The Flag Maker by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (HMH, 2004) 
The Greatest Game Ever Played by Phil Bildner (Putnam, 2006)
The Impossible Patriotism Project by Linda Skeers (Dial, 2007) 
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel, 2007) 
The Kindhearted Crocodile by Lucia Panzieri (Holiday House, 2013) 
The Last Day of Kindergarten by Nancy Loewen (Two Lions, 2011) 
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown, 2009) 
The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer (Dutton, 2010)
The Mangrove Tree by Susan L. Roth (Lee & Low, 2011) 
The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett (Simon & Schuster, 2009) 
The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon (Atheneum, 2010) 
The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan (Disney-Hyperion, 2010) 
The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer (Dutton, 2003) 
The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2011)
The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin (Charlesbridge, 1999) 
The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson (Shen’s/Lee & Low, 2007) 
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli (Disney-Hyperion, 2013) 
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman (Magination, 2014) 
This Next New Year by Janet Wong (Korean/English edition, Pomelo, 2014) 
This Old Band by Tamera Will Wissinger (Sky Pony, 2014) 
This School Year Will Be the Best by Kay Winters (Dutton, 2010) 
Tillie the Terrible Swede by Sue Stauffacher (Knopf, 2011) 
To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure (Abrams, 2011) 
Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo (Lee & Low, 2014) 
Vote! by Eileen Christelow (Clarion, 2003) 
We March by Shane Evans (Roaring Brook, 2012)
What a Party! by Sandy Asher (Philomel, 2007) 
What Did You Put in Your Pocket? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (HarperCollins, 2003) 
When Otis Courted Mama by Kathi Appelt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015)
When We Go Walking by Cari Best (Two Lions, 2013) 
When You Wander: A Search-and-Rescue Dog Story by Margarita Engle (Henry Holt, 2013) 
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone (Holt, 2013) 
Why the Chicken Crossed the Road by Tedd Arnold and others (Dial, 2006) 
Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2013) 
Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth (Tanglewood Press, 2013) 
Yo-Yo Man by Daniel Pinkwater (HarperCollins, 2007)
Zoopa: An Animal Alphabet by Gianna Marino (Chronicle, 2005)
 
Yes, there really is a poem for each one of these picture books in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (and in English AND Spanish). So, for example, if you have a picture book about spaghetti like Spaghetti Smiles by Margo Sorenson (or another favorite spaghetti book), and you regularly share that book with kids (who generally love spaghetti), there is a poem waiting for you to match with that book. Here it is:


And if you want to share this book and poem on National Pasta Day, October 17, you're all set! But you can certainly share both the book and poem on ANY day, right? 

Now head on over to Today's Little Ditty where the lovely Michelle H-B is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering.

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21. Let’s Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

We’re devoting this post to National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) celebrated in the poem, "I Can Ask and I Can Learn" by Janet Wong from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books). Please join me as we chat with Janet about National Hispanic Heritage Month resources, diversity in children’s literature, insider/outsider perspectives, and more.


SV: We have many wonderful Hispanic poets in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations—Alma Flor Ada, Francisco X. Alarcón, Jorge Argueta, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, F. Isabel Campoy, Margarita Engle, Pat Mora, Libby Martinez, and René Saldaña, Jr.—so please share with us: Janet, why did you write the poem celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month?

JW: Originally, as you know, I didn’t plan to write it. I hoped that Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy would collaborate on it. They helped us with so much of the book—from connecting us with a translator to vetting poems to writing poems on being bilingual, all in just a few months—but then they went on a long vacation in Australia and I felt sheepish about asking for yet another thing. At the same time I started thinking: why does it need to be written by a Hispanic poet? Shouldn’t we ALL want to learn about Hispanic history and culture?

SV: True, but how does that fit in with the current thinking of many people on insider/outsider perspectives and diversity—the question of “who owns this story?”

JW: I think it’s shortsighted to define “insiders” merely in biological terms. If we want all children to learn about each other, then we need to allow all writers to write about everything, as long as they approach their subjects with passion, research, and respect. And the corollary is that kids need to be encouraged to read everything that interests them. If you have a white kid who is fascinated with Hispanic culture—great! An Asian student who loves reading about black history? Outstanding! This is the way we’ll achieve cross-cultural understanding and end racism.

SV: And here is Janet's poem (in English AND in Spanish):


SV: Do you have recommendations for further reading for teachers interested in using your poem to spark a discussion for National Hispanic Heritage Month?

JW: Yes! One book that I was reading while I wrote this poem—for my work as last year’s chair of the Notable Books for a Global Society—was Larry Dane Brimner’s Strike! The Farm Workers’ Fight for Their Rights (Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills), one of our NBGS selections. Some additional books on the subject of Hispanic contributions to labor reform on farms are:

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren, illus. by Robert Casilla (Cavendish, 2012) 
Side by Side/Lado a lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown, illustrated by Joe Cepeda 

César: Sí, Se Puede! Yes, We Can! by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by David Diaz (Cavendish, 2004) 

You can find some background discussion about the role that the song “De colores” played in the farmworkers’ movement here

“Kathy Murguía: I remember singing De Colores at the weekly Friday night strike meetings that were held in Delano . . . Every meeting ended with us joining hands and singing De Colores, which enhanced a sense of community, of being connected in a struggle for justice. We continued to sing it in the decades following those early meetings, during Union events and other gatherings, often as a closing. The rooster, the hen, the chicks that sing, the great loves of many colors—these images brought such joy, such pleasure and lastly for those who sang it, such hope . . . While the lyrics don't speak of social justice, it is a song of the season of springtime and beauty, of life and colors—and we were all kinds of different colors. I believe as we sang, our hearts were longing for the beauty that comes with gentle love and justice.” 
There are many versions of “De colores” on YouTube, but here is one favorite, sung by Joan Baez (with lyrics). 

SV: How can we make sure that students appreciate the wide variety of Hispanic and Latino experiences, and not just those of farmworkers? 

JW: I would share Yes! We Are Latinos! by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by David Diaz (Charlesbridge, 2013). Tie into this theme by starting with a poem and a nonfiction piece on farmworkers (“My Name Is Julio”  in a section on Migrant Farmworkers, pages 50-57), but then follow it with a read-aloud of pieces about a Dominican boy who wants to be a doctor, a granddaughter of Spanish Civil War exiles, and more.

SV: I’m tickled pink by all these resources that you’ve shared and I’m sure you have heaps more . . . but it’s time to wrap up. 

JW: Time’s up? So that’s why you’re shaking your bracelet!

SV: Would you like to end with another favorite poem to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, perhaps “I Will Be a Chemist: Mario José Molina" by Alma Flor Ada, from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science? 

JW: Perfect choice, Dr. Vardell! 



SV: Thanks for sharing your perspective AND your poetry, Janet. Readers can find more resources on Hispanic/Latino/Latina poetry for young people here and lots more poems in English and Spanish from the Celebrations anthology over at Pinterest-- here's the link.

And now it's time to gather all our poetry friends for Poetry Friday. Please use Mr. Linky below, "In Other Words," to add your blog link and make it easy for everyone to access one another's blogs. Thanks! 


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22. The Poetry of Place: Celebrating Geography in Poetry

I just got a copy of the new anthology, Amazing Places, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and I was tickled pink to see that the State Fair of Texas was included in the 14 landmarks across the U.S. highlighted in poetry. So.... of course I had to take the book with me on my annual visit to the state fair this year and get my photo taken with Big Tex himself! 

    The arrow points to the image of Big Tex that is included in the illustration!
Big Tex as featured in the book illustration
The accompanying poem is "Midway Magic" by Rebecca Kai Dotlich-- a wonderful poem to read aloud-- nice and LOUD! 

Lee is having a great year with three books of poetry out in 2015 and each one is a treat:
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2015. Amazing Places. New York: Lee & Low.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Sel. 2015. Jumping Off Library Shelves: A Book of Poems. Ill. by Jane Manning. 
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Sel. 2015. Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby. Ill. by Alyssa Nassner. New York: Abrams.
And because I love to travel, it was fun to browse through each of the sites featured in Amazing Places and savor each of the poet perspectives, too. That got me thinking-- are there other works of poetry that particularly showcase the importance of place? Of course there are! So, I pulled a list together to share with you here-- and I welcome additional suggestions, of course. 

The Poetry of Place: Poems and Geography
  1. _______. 2012. A Poem as Big as New York City: Little Kids Write About the Big Apple. Ill. by Masha D’yans. New York: Teachers Writers Collaborative.
  2. Asch, Frank. 1996. Sawgrass Poems:  A View of the Everglades. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
  3. Asch, Frank. 1998. Cactus Poems. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
  4. Asch, Frank. 1999. Song of the North. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
  5. Begay, Shonto. 1995. Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa. New York:  Scholastic.
  6. Brown, Skila. 2014. Caminar. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  7. Bruchac, Joseph. 1995. The Earth under Sky Bear's Feet: Native American Poems of the Land. New York: Philomel Books.
  8. Bruchac, Joseph. 1996. Between Earth and Sky:  Legends of Native American Sacred Places. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
  9. Coombs, Kate. 2012. Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems. Ill. by Meilo So. San Francisco: Chronicle.
  10. Dotlich, Rebecca Kai and Lewis, J. Patrick. 2006. Castles: Old Stone Poems. Ill. by Dan Burr. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press. 
  11. Engle, Margarita. 2008. The Surrender Tree. New York: Holt.
  12. Engle, Margarita. 2011. Hurricane Dancers; The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. New York: Henry Holt. 
  13. Engle, Margarita. 2014. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  14. Engle, Margarita. 2015. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. New York: Atheneum.
  15. Greenfield, Eloise. 2011. The Great Migration: Journey to the North. Ill. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins. 
  16. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Is It Far to Zanzibar: Poems about Tanzania. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  17. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. Tai Chi morning: Snapshots of China. Chicago: Cricket Books.
  18. Gunning, Monica. 1998. Under The Breadfruit Tree: Island Poems. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
  19. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2000. My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  20. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. City I Love. Ill. by Marcellus Hall. New York: Abrams. 
  21. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2002. Home to Me: Poems Across America. New York: Orchard.
  22. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2006. Got Geography! Poems. New York: Greenwillow.
  23. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2015. Amazing Places. New York: Lee & Low.
  24. Johnston, Tony. 1996. My Mexico-Mexico Mio. New York: Putnam.
  25. Katz, Bobbi. 2007. Trailblazers; Poems of Exploration. New York: Greenwillow. 
  26. Kurtz, Jane. 2000. River Friendly, River Wild. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  27. Lai, Thanhha. 2011. Inside Out and Back Again. New York: HarperCollins.
  28. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2002. A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme. New York: Dial.
  29. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2005. Good Mornin’, Miss America: The U.S.A. in Verse. School Specialty Publishing. 
  30. Lewis, J. Patrick. 2005. Monumental Verses. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.
  31. Lewis, J. Patrick. Ed. 2015. The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry. Washington DC: National Geographic.
  32. Littlechild, George. 1993. This Land Is My Land. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  33. Mora, Pat. 1994. The Desert is My Mother/El Desierto es Mi Madre. Houston, TX: Pinata Books.
  34. Myers, Walter Dean. 1997. Harlem: A Poem. New York: Scholastic.
  35. Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. We are America; A Tribute from the Heart. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: HarperCollins.
  36. Prelutsky, Jack. 2002. The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders. New York: Greenwillow.
  37. Salas, Laura Purdie. 2008. Tiny Dreams, Sprouting Tall: Poems About the United States. Minneapolis, MN: Capstone.
  38. Siebert, Diane. 1988. Mojave. New York: Crowell.
  39. Siebert, Diane. 1989. Heartland. New York: Crowell.
  40. Siebert, Diane. 1991. Sierra. New York: HarperCollins.
  41. Siebert, Diane. 2000. Cave. New York: HarperCollins.
  42. Siebert, Diane. 2001. Mississippi. Ill. by Greg Harlin. New York: HarperCollins.
  43. Siebert, Diane. 2006. Tour America: A Journey through Poems and Art. San Francisco: Chronicle.
  44. Singer, Marilyn. 2005. Monday on the Mississippi. New York: Henry Holt.
  45. Thompson, Holly. 2011. Orchards. New York: Random House.
  46. Wassenhove, Sue Van. 2008. The Seldom-Ever-Shady Glades. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills/Wordsong.
  47. Wolf, Allan. 2004. New Found Land; Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  48. Yolen, Jane. 1996. Sacred Places. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace.
Meanwhile, head on over to Heidi's place, My Juicy Little Universe, for the Poetry Friday gathering. See you there!




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23. Celebrate Star Wars Reads Day with POETRY

I may have mentioned before that I'm a big Star Wars nerd! I have loved the movies, characters, and lore since 1977 and even attend the conventions or Star Wars "Celebrations" with my family. So I was tickled that there is now a "Star Wars Reads" Day to promote reading being held for the 4th year-- on October 10. You'll find activities and reproducibles here and they have a Facebook page, too, of course. For kids and families who already enjoy the world of Star Wars, it's a chance for them to shine and to promote reading too (and there are lots of Star Wars-themed reading materials). And with the launch of a 7th Star Wars movie in December, it's a fun time to welcome new fans and celebrate science (and sci fi and mythology too). 


And of course I want to make a POETRY connection, in particular. There are heaps of science-themed poems to share and I've written about that before. In fact, I have an article about this topic coming out in BOOK LINKS in November with science poetry recommendations from 15 poets themselves. And Janet (Wong) and I will be announcing a new science poetry project ourselves very soon too! More on all that later.

Meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to take a few poems and "Star Wars-ify" them! To reinterpret them through the lens of Star Wars. So, if you're familiar with Darth Vader (the dark villain of the series), Yoda (the wise guru), and C3PO (a robot dedicated to languages and etiquette), you might enjoy the three following poems filtered from THEIR perspectives! 

For example, I have featured "Poem for a Bully" by Eileen Spinelli from The Poetry Friday Anthology previously over at Pinterest here. But what if we put that "Poem for a Bully" against an image of Darth Vader, a bully with a secret himself?


Or consider the wise Yoda character who teaches young Luke Skywalker to control his emotions and fears in order to face his enemy (and himself).  What if Yoda is the backdrop for the poem "Fear Factor" by Sara Holbrook from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School? You'll find a more traditional interpretation of the poem at Pinterest here and the Yoda interpretation below. 


Or finally, if you're familiar with the droid (or robot) character, C3PO, you know he is a prissy individual proud of his ability to speak multiple languages and know the rules of etiquette and behavior in many cultures. What if he is sharing a poem about making friends using greetings in several languages? Here's a more traditional interpretation of the poem, "How to Make a Friend" by Jane Heitman Healy from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations and below is the same poem shared by C3PO.


If you're working with children and families who love Star Wars like I do, challenge them to find a poem from a book on the shelves that fits a Star Wars character and then read it from the point of view of that character. It's a fun way to approach poetry and celebrate our Star Wars knowledge too! 

Now, join the rest of the crew over at Laura's site, Writing the World for Kids, where we're celebrating Poetry Friday. 

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24. Audio Poetry

I'll be at the biennial IBBY regional conference hosted by USBBY this weekend-- in New York! I'm presenting along with the lovely Rose Brock on "Through the Looking and Listening Glass: How Audiobooks Channel Culture and Impact Literacy." My focus? Poetry, of course! So, here's the scoop for those of you who can't be there!


Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.
Jorge Luis Borges

There are several places to find audio adaptations of poetry for young people. Many are available as CDs (formerly cassettes) accompanying print books or as downloadable audio files. If you want to hear how poetry should sound, there is no better resource than hearing the poets themselves read their poems aloud or professional narrators bring poetry to life. And we’re fortunate to have more and more access to recorded poetry through iTunes, audioclips, CDs and tapes, downloadable audio from web sites, audio stores, and more. 

Audio Poetry Activities
1. Children can tape record themselves reading a favorite poem aloud, copy the poem in their best handwriting, illustrate it, and present their poem performance as a gift to a loved one. 

2. Children can collect examples of favorite poems on audio- or videotape and explore neighborhood, cultural, and linguistic variations. They can translate their English favorites into other languages represented in their community. 

3. If audio or public address announcements are made on a regular basis, include the oral reading of a poem (by a child or other volunteer) on a daily or weekly basis. Challenge children to work with a partner to incorporate multiple voices, sound effects, or musical instruments.

4. Books and poems in the public domain can be read and recorded by anyone at Librivox.org and then made available world-wide. Tools like SoundCloud enable children to create their own audio anthologies or podcast recordings of favorite poems.
Audio/Video Poetry Online
Multimedia area includes audio, video, podcasts, slideshows

Audio and video clips of individual poems and poets

Videos of average citizens reading favorite poems

Archive of audio recordings of poets reading their work, including a children’s poetry area

Poet biographies, sample poems, audio archives, National Poetry Month celebrations

Info  about the Poet Laureates of the U.S., national prizes in poetry, special poetry events, and audio archives

The Poetry Foundation offers a dedicated area for “Children’s Poetry” featuring several hundred poems for children searchable and organized by topic, some with audio links

*No Water River.com (by Renée M. LaTulippe)
Video of children’s poets reading from their work along with extensive teaching connections, plus features on each of the NCTE Poetry Award winners

My own sites (with Janet Wong) featuring the Poetry Friday teaching anthologies with downloadables and audio and video poetry

*Poet Websites
Some poets feature video and audio on their personal websites. Michael Rosen, for example, has 49 videos of himself reciting poems from an out of print book. Others with audio links include Kristine O’Connell George, Janet Wong, Nikki Grimes, Joyce Sidman.
Audio Awards 

*Odyssey Audiobook Award
*ALSC Notable Children’s Recordings 
*YALSA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults 
*Grammy Awards for Spoken Word 
*Audio Publishers Association’s Audie Awards 

Poetry Apps 
iF Poems (Clickworks Ltd., 2011) Read, listen to, record and share your favorite poems from a collection of more than 200 classic (largely British) poems narrated by actors Helena Bonham Carter and Bill Nighy.
The Grim Granary: Poems for Kids Big and Small (Tusitala Pte. Ltd., 2011), a collection of darkly humorous illustrated poems with audio renditions of each poem available in three languages” 
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: The Experience (FlyingWord, 2011), the classic poem features the illustrations of Michael Hague, accessible in 9 languages.

Audio Poetry for Young People: A Select Bibliography
Alexander, Kwame. The Crossover (Recorded Books, 2014)
Andrews, Julie and Hamilton, Emma Walton. Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies (Hachette Audio, 2009)
Brown, Calef. Flamingos on the Roof (Recorded Books, 2009)
Creech, Sharon. Hate that Cat (Harper Children’s Audio, 2008)
Creech, Sharon. Heartbeat (Recorded Books, 2004)
Creech, Sharon. Love that Dog (Harper Children’s Audio, 2002)
Dakos, Kalli. If You’re Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand (Recorded Books, 2009)
Engle, Margarita. The Poet Slave of Cuba (Listening Library, 2009)
Engle, Margarita. The Surrender Tree (Listening Library, 2009)
Engle, Margarita. Tropical Secrets (Listening Library, 2009)
Fleischman, Paul. Joyful Noise/I Am Phoenix (Audio Bookshelf, 2001)
Franco, Betsy. Metamorphosis: Junior Year (Brilliance, 2010)
Frost, Helen. Crossing Stones (Recorded Books, 2010)
Frost, Helen. Keesha’s House (Recorded Books, 2004)
Frost, Helen. Diamond Willow (Recorded Books, 2009)
Giovanni, Nikki. Hip Hop Speaks to Children (Sourcebooks, 2008)
Grimes, Nikki. Bronx Masquerade (Recorded Books, 2006)
Grimes, Nikki. Dark Sons (Zondervan, 2010)
Grimes, Nikki. Jazmin’s Notebook (Penguin, 2008)
Hemphill, Stephanie. Your Own, Sylvia (Listening Library, 2009)
Hesse, Karen. Aleutian Sparrow (Listening Library, 2003)
Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust (Listening Library, 2006)
Hesse, Karen. Witness (Listening Library, 2006)
Hoberman, Mary Ann and Wilson, Linda. The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination (Sourcebooks, 2009)
Lewis, J. Patrick. The Brothers’ War: Civil War Voices in Verse (Recorded Books, 2007)
Lithgow, John. The Poets' Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family (Hachette, 2007)
Milne, A.A. When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six (Harper Children’s Audio, 2004)
Myers, Walter Dean. Blues Journey (Live Oak Media, 2003)
Myers, Walter Dean. Harlem: A Poem (Spoken Arts, 1998)
Myers, Walter Dean. Here in Harlem (Live Oak Media, 2010)
Myers, Walter Dean. Jazz (Live Oak Media, 2007)
Myers, Walter Dean. Looking Like Me (Live Oak Media, 2010)
Nesbitt, Kenn. My Hippo Has the Hiccups and Other Poems I Totally Made Up (Sourcebooks, 2009)
Paschen, Elise and Raccah, Dominque. Poetry Speaks to Children (Sourcebooks, 2005)
Paschen, Elise and Raccah, Dominque. Poetry Speaks; Who I Am (Sourcebooks, 2010)
Prelutsky, Jac. A Pizza the Size of the Sun (Harper Audio, 2007)
Prelutsky, Jack. Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems: Some of the Best of Jack Prelutsky (Greenwillow, 2008)
Prelutsky, Jack. Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant (Harper Audio, 2006)
Prelutsky, Jack. In Aunt Giraffe’s Green Garden (Harper Audio, 2007)
Prelutsky, Jack. It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles (Harper Audio, 2008)
Prelutsky, Jack. Monday’s Troll (Listening Library, 1996)
Prelutsky, Jack. My Dog May Be a Genius (Harper Audio, 2008)
Prelutsky, Jack. Scranimals (Harper Audio, 2007)
Prelutsky, Jack. Something Big Has Been Here (Harper Audio, 2007)
Prelutsky, Jack. The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders (Harper Audio, 2005)
Prelutsky, Jack. The Jack Prelutsky Holiday CD Audio Collection (Greenwillow, 2005)
Prelutsky, Jack. The New Kid on the Block (Harper Audio, 2007)
Raschka, Chris. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (Live Oak Media, 2003)
Sidman, Joyce. Dark Emperor. (Recorded Books, 2010)
Silverstein, Shel. A Light in the Attic (20th Anniversary Edition) (HarperCollins, 2001)
Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends (25th Anniversary Edition) (HarperCollins, 2000)
Singer, Marilyn. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse (Live Oak Media, 2011)
Sones, Sonya. What My Mother Doesn’t Know (Brilliance, 2008)
Steptoe, Javaka. In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall (Live Oak Media, 2003)
The Caedmon Poetry Collection: A Century of Poets Reading their Work (Caedmon, 2000)
Thomas, Joyce Carol. Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea (Spoken Arts, 1998)
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Birmingham 1963 (Recorded Books, 2007)
Williams, Vera B. Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart (Live Oak Media, 2003)
Wolf, Allan. The Watch that Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic (Candlewick, 2011)
Woodson, Jacqueline. Locomotion (Recorded Books, 2012)
Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming (Listening Library, 2014)
Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night (Weston Woods, 2005)

From: Vardell, S. The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists (2012)

Join us for more Poetry Friday sharing over at Amy's Poem Farm. See you online there!

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25. Teen Read Week: Poem #1 "Restless" by Joyce Sidman

Teen Read Week starts today and in honor of this year's theme, "Get Away @ your library," I'm posting a poem a day from The PFA for Middle School. Here's the first installment by the lovely Joyce Sidman:



It can also be found at Pinterest here.

And here are the Take 5 activities that accompany this poem in the book, also found at Pinterest here


And here's some background info about Teen Read Week (#TRW15) from the ning:

Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually in October the same week as Columbus Day. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.  
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) encourages libraries to use the Get Away theme during Teen Read Week™, October 18 - 24, 2015, to spotlight all the great resources and activities available to help teens build literacy skills while reading for the fun of it. An annual celebration, this year’s theme encourages libraries to help teens escape from the day to day grind of school, homework, family responsibilities, part time jobs and so on by picking up something to read. 

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