Thursday, July 17, 2014

Painting the Poetry Landscape

During my recent trip to Las Vegas for the American Library Association conference, I stopped by the ALA Bookstore to look for the latest installment of The Newbery & Caldecott Awards: A Guide to the Medal and Honor Books (2014 Edition) just published by ALA. Why?
Because I wrote the opening essay for this guide! 

I was so honored to be invited to contribute that essay-- the only such piece in a book that focuses on thoroughly describing each of the award and honor books for these two prestigious awards. It's been 25 years since Paul Fleischman's book Joyful Noise won that Newbery award, so I focused on what has been happening in the publishing of poetry for children since then. Here are selected excerpts from that essay:


Painting the Poetry Landscape: Twenty-Five Years of Poetry for Young People
By Sylvia M. Vardell

It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since Paul Fleischman’s book, Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices was published and then won the Newbery medal in 1989. Kirkus Reviews called it, “A splendid collection of poems in many moods…. (noting) Vivid language, strong images, and the masterful use of two voices in musical duet make this an excellent choice for reading aloud.” This gem of poems for choral reading went on to be included in School Library Journal’s list of “100 Best Books of the Century,” too. It seems like a good moment to pause and examine where poetry for young people has been in the intervening years.

The last 25 years have given us a whole new generation of poets writing for young people including Douglas Florian, Bobbi Katz, Joyce Sidman, J. Patrick Lewis, Kristine O’Connell George, Janet Wong, Pat Mora, David L. Harrison, Helen Frost, Nikki Grimes, Margarita Engle, Jen Bryant, Laura Purdie Salas, and many more who have emerged since the publication of Joyful Noise. We have seen the addition of new awards for poetry for children established by Lee Bennett Hopkins for poetry books in 1993 and for new poets in 1995, by Bank Street College (the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award in 1998), and by the Poetry Foundation (the Children’s Poet Laureate in 2006). The Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) began featuring the annual Poetry Blast with poets reading from their works at the ALA annual conference in 2004 and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) initiated the annual “Poetry Notables for Children” list in 2006 The celebration of National Poetry Month (in April) has caught on in schools and libraries across the country since it was initiated in 1996. We have seen the rise of the novel in verse and the fall of the multi-poet anthology. Now poets have websites full of kid-friendly resources, many blogs and books showcase weekly “Poetry Friday” sharing, and the CYBILS award celebrates poetry (among other categories) selected by children’s literature-focused bloggers. Plus poetry for children now makes its appearance as downloadable audiofiles and as e-books and apps for cell phones and e-tablets.

But first, let’s examine our poetry past. (For a “Timeline of the History of Children’s Poetry” look for The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.) .... The works of these great names are still worth reading and sharing. In fact, these poets are new names for any child who has not yet encountered their poetry. In fact, poetry has a special advantage in achieving timelessness—consider “A Visit from St. Nicholas” also known as "The Night Before Christmas" first published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clark Moore. It is widely considered the best-known American poem of all time. Poetry has “legs” and can often maintain its appeal across several generations. Let’s consider some of the major poetry milestones along the way over the last 25 years. 

Humorous poetry
Humor found a home in the poetry of newcomer Douglas Florian with the publication of his first book of poems for children, Monster Motel in 1993. Like Karla Kuskin or Shel Silverstein, Florian created the illustrations that accompany his poems, via paintings and collages. Many excellent and popular Florian picture book poetry collections followed about animals and the natural world, as well as his longer collections of pun-filled humorous poetry, Bing Bang Boing (1994) and Laugheteria (1999), illustrated with pen and ink sketches.... Both poets excel in the use of puns and wordplay, like Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein before them, and laid the groundwork for other humorous poets that followed later such as Adam Rex, Robert Weinstock, Jon Agee, Bob Raczca, Brod Bagert, Alan Katz, Susan Katz, Carol Diggory Shields, and Kalli Dakos.  

Poets from many cultures
A new wave of poets from parallel cultures within the United States began writing and publishing poetry for young people in the 1990s. Although poetry by the likes of Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton and others had been available to young readers for many years, this decade brought an emergence of a rainbow of names whose entire writing careers now focused on a young audience....
These beautiful and groundbreaking works heralded the arrival of many more distinctive poetic voices from the cultures in the U.S. and beyond including Charles R. Smith Jr., Carole Boston Weatherford, Hope Anita Smith, Joyce Lee Wong, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Margarita Engle burst onto the scene only seven years ago and has already garnered multiple Pura Belpre recognitions and a Newbery honor distinction for her novel in verse, The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom. Her work is a unique amalgamation of spare and powerful free verse, unheralded historical subjects, vividly realized settings, and multiple points of view. She fuses history, poetry, and biography to tell authentic stories taken from Cuba’s rich past. 

Novels in verse
The novel in verse form emerged as a very strong poetry trend with great appeal to young readers during the 1990s. Although it had been around for awhile (some say as far back as Homer’s Odyssey), one could argue that Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust (1997) put the verse novel on the poetry map in a big way as it won the Newbery medal. At the time, Publishers’ Weekly called it a “novel, written in stanza form,” School Library Journal described it as “prose-poetry,” and Kirkus labeled it a “poem/novel” as Hesse paints a heart-breaking picture of life during the Dust Bowl years.... One might even argue that the 2013 Newbery winner, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, was a work of poetry. Either way, it’s a tender story beautifully rendered, spare and thoughtful, written by a gorilla of a writer. Other poets who have created novels in verse well suited to the tween audience include Jen Bryant, Andrea Cheng, Helen Frost, Nikki Grimes, Eileen Spinelli, Robert Paul Weston, and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. The best verse novels are built on poems that are often lovely stand-alone works of art. A narrative unfolds poem by poem, frequently with multiple points of view and in colloquial language. This format is wooing many middle grade children both to poetry and to reading in general—a promising trend.

The 2000s
During this first decade of the 2000s, Joyce Sidman entered the poetry scene garnering many awards for her work culminating in a Newbery honor for the third in her eco-poetry trilogy, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night (2010), which followed Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (2005) and Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (2006). Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman noted that Sidman “combines lyrical poetry and compelling art with science concepts” and Margaret Bush (School Library Journal) observed that Sidman’s work “invites lingering enjoyment for nature and poetry fans.” Joyce Sidman is also the most recent recipient of the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award for her entire body of work.

Poetry awards
Most of the major awards that recognize poetry for young people were also established within the last 25 years. One exception: The National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry was first founded in 1977 and presented to 17 poets thus far, many of whom are profiled at NoWaterRiver.com. Next, an award for an emerging poet, the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poet Award was established in 1995 and recipients have included Deborah Chandra, Kristine O’Connell George, Craig Crist-Evans, Lindsay Lee Johnson, Joyce Lee Wong, Gregory Neri, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall.
            In addition, a single book of poetry is recognized by three separate awards: the Lee Bennett Hopkins/Pennsylvania State University Award established in 1993, the Bank Street College of Education/Claudia Lewis Award established in 1998, and The Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry established in 2005, each with a slightly different focus. 
            In 2006, the Poetry Foundation established the Children’s Poet Laureate to raise awareness of the fact that children have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them. Recipients thus far are Jack Prelutsky, 2006; Mary Ann Hoberman, 2008; J. Patrick Lewis, 2011 and Kenn Nesbitt, 2013.
           
Conclusion
In just 25 years, the field of poetry for children has been transformed by new voices, new styles, and new formats. But those established names haven’t stopped creating either.... Lee Bennett Hopkins, 2009 NCTE Poetry Award winner, continues to produce award-winning works of poetry such as his own City I Love (2009), as well as nearly 40 anthologies in the last 20 years, including Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More (2005) and Sharing the Seasons (2010). He is even in the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the most children’s poetry anthologies ever!
Poetry as a form of literature has particular crossover appeal with poems easily readable for the young child, but still meaningful to us as we grow older. Poems like “The Night Before Christmas,” “Jabberwocky,” and “Dreams,” for example, speak to both children and teens and to all of us throughout our lives. Many of the first books published for children in English were works of poetry including John Newbery’s collection of English rhymes, Mother Goose's Melody, or, Sonnets for the Cradle (circa 1765). And various Mother Goose collections have received Caldecott distinctions multiple times. In contemporary children’s book publishing, three of Shel Silverstein’s poetry collections are among the top 100 bestselling children’s book of all time: Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up. Clearly, poetry has an important place in the world of literature for young people. 
It’s exciting to see the genre of poetry grow and expand in all these different directions, exploring possibilities of poetic form, hybrids with other genres, and a creative use of design, visuals, and media. The key is in keeping our poetry collections varied, current, and in use. As Wilson and Kutiper reported (1994, 278), “one elementary school library media specialist noted an increase in poetry circulation after sharing a single poem with students each week as they entered the library.” With well-stocked shelves brimming with the poetry gems of the last 25 years and a bit of poetry promotion (in April and beyond), young people will find something to enjoy and cherish for a lifetime. 

PLUS:
The bibliography for this essay includes 85 books of poetry for young people! 

I'm so glad I got this opportunity to showcase the power of poetry for young readers and I hope they'll keep poetry on the radar the next time committees make decisions about Newbery and Caldecott awards!  

Don't forget to visit Tabatha's place at The Opposite of Indifference for the rest of this week's Poetry Friday posts! 

And please come back here next week when Janet Wong and I will be hosting the Poetry Friday gathering. We have a big announcement to make!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Walter Dean Myers, Poet

Poetry by Walter Dean Myers
"Summer" from Brown Angels
As you've probably heard, the great Walter Dean Myers passed away recently and his impressive and significant body of work has been recognized far and wide-- as it should be. His mastery of every genre was amazing and I would like to take a moment to highlight his POETRY for young people, in particular. I was fortunate enough to feature him in my "Poetry Round Up" at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in 2005. Hearing a poet read his/her own work aloud is the ultimate treat and Walter's reading was such a perfect example. His deep, resonant voice sticks with you. Perhaps because of his own struggle with spoken speech, his pacing in his poetry is so thoughtful and meaningful. Just look at these many, wonderful examples. 

POETRY + PHOTOGRAPHY
Although much of Walter's work is poetic and rhythmic, I believe his poetry first emerged in Brown Angels which paired his words with his collection of antique photographs of children. More followed with Glorious Angels and Angel to Angel, a beautiful trilogy.

Then, Here in Harlem built on this photo-poem format to create a multi-voice poetry collection-- perfect for YA. (Do NOT miss the audiobook adaptation of this book, but more on that later!)
Glorious Angels

Then came the stunning picture poetry books that showcase Walter's poetry alongside the powerful art created by his son, Christopher Myers, especially Harlem, Jazz, and We Are America.

POETRY BY WALTER DEAN MYERS 
Myers, Walter Dean. 1993. Brown Angels:  An Album of Pictures and Verse. New York: HarperCollins.  
Myers, Walter Dean. 1995. Glorious Angels:  A Celebration of Children. New York: HarperCollins.  
Here in Harlem
Myers, Walter Dean. 1997. Harlem: A Poem. New York: Scholastic.
Myers, Walter Dean. 1998. Angel to Angel. New York: HarperCollins.
Myers, Walter Dean. 2003. Blues Journey. New York: Holiday House.
Myers, Walter Dean. 2004. Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices. New York: Holiday House.
Myers, Walter Dean. 2006. Jazz. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday House.
Myers, Walter Dean. 2009. Amiri and Odette: A Love Story. Ill. by Javaka Steptoe. New York: Scholastic.
We Are America
Myers, Walter Dean. 2009. Looking Like Me. Ill. by Chrisopher Myers. New York: Egmont.
Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. We are America: A Tribute from the Heart. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: HarperCollins.

Here, Walter and his son, Christopher, talk about the creation of his last work of poetry, We are America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDQXjG0hjLQ

POETRY AUDIOBOOKS
And I absolutely must mention the audiobook adaptations of several of these books, all brilliantly produced by Live Oak Media (often with multiple narrators and original music):
Blues Journey
Harlem
Here in Harlem
Jazz
Looking Like Me
We Are America

I was honored to serve on the very first committee to select the Odyssey Award for excellence in audiobook production and the first winner was… Jazz by Walter Dean Myers. Here's just a clip: 
http://www.liveoakmedia.com/client/MP3s/00218.mp3

GOOD-BYE TO WALTER DEAN MYERS
I think a fitting tribute to the wonderful Walter Dean Myers can be found in his own work. Here's "Good-bye to Old Bob Johnson" from Jazz, based on the traditional New Orleans funeral parade. Find the Odyssey winning audiobook adaptation of this book and listen to this heartbreakingly beautiful version of this poem, complete with musical soundtrack.
RIP, Walter Dean Myers. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us. 


from Jazz by Walter Dean Myers
For more poetry moments this Poetry Friday, head over to Linda's place at WriteTime.



Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Poetry for the 4th of July


Celebrating the 4th of July evokes thoughts of summer vacation, family time, fireflies and fireworks, etc. Here is a sampling of poetry books on these topics and more (taken from my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists).

Poetry Books for the Fourth of July
Ada, Alma Flor. 1997. Gathering the Sun. New York: Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard.
Alarcón, Francisco X. 1998. From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems/Del Ombligo de la Luna y Otros Poemas de Verano. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.
Appelt, Kathi. 2004. My Father’s Summers: A Daughter’s Memoirs. New York: Henry Holt.
Argueta, Jorge. 2012. Guacamole; Un poema para cocinar/ A Cooking Poem. Ill. by Margarita Sada. Toronto: Groundwood.
Bates, Katharine Lee. 2003. America the Beautiful. Ill. by Wendell Minor. New York: Putnam.
Borden, Louise. 2002. America Is—New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Bryan, Ashley. 1992. Sing to the Sun. New York: HarperCollins.
Bulion, Leslie. 2006. Hey There, Stink Bug! Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
Carlson, Lori M. Ed. 1998. Sol a Sol: Bilingual Poems. New York: Henry Holt.
Coombs, Kate. 2012. Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems. Ill. by Meilo So. San Francisco: Chronicle.
Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. 1998. Lemonade Sun and Other Summer Poems. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
Esbensen, Barbara Juster. 1984. Cold Stars and Fireflies:  Poems of the Four Seasons. New York: Crowell.
New in 2014!
Florian, Douglas. 2002. Summersaults: Poems and Paintings. New York: Greenwillow.
Frank, John. 2007. How to Catch a Fish. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook.
George, Kristine O’Connell. 2001. Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems. New York: Clarion.
Giovanni, Nikki. 1981. Vacation Time: Poems for Children. New York: Morrow.
Graham, Joan Bransfield. 1994. Splish Splash. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Graham, Joan Bransfield. 1999. Flicker Flash. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Greenfield, Eloise. 1988. Under the Sunday Tree. New York: Harper & Row.
Harrison, David. 2009. Vacation, We’re Going to the Ocean! Ill. by Rob Shepperson. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 1993. Beat the Drum, Independence Day has Come: Poems for the Fourth of July. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2012. Nasty Bugs. Ill. by Will Terry. New York: Dial.
Holub, Joan. 2003. Fourth of July Sparkly Sky. New York: Little Simon.
Janeczko, Paul. Ed. 2014. Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems. Ill. by Melissa Sweet. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
Katz, Alan. 2011. Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs. New York: McElderry.
Knowlton, Laurie Lazzaro. 2002. Red, White, and Blue. Grenta, LA: Pelican Publishing.
Lessac, Frane. Ed. 2003. Camp Granada: Sing-Along Camp Songs. New York: Henry Holt.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 1994. July is a Mad Mosquito. New York: Atheneum.
New in 2014!
Michelson, Richard. 2014. S is for Sea Glass: A Beach Alphabet. Ill. by Doris Ettlinger. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press. 
Moore, Lilian. Ed. 1992. Sunflakes: Poems for Children. New York: Clarion.
Mora, Pat. 1998. This Big Sky. New York: Scholastic.
Nicholls, Judith. 2003. The Sun in Me: Poems about the Planet. Somerville, MA:  Barefoot Books.
Schnur, Steven. 2001. Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic. New York: Clarion.
Siebert, Diane. 2006. Tour America: A Journey through Poems and Art. San Francisco: Chronicle.
Singer, Marilyn. 1989. Turtle in July. New York: Macmillan.
Singer, Marilyn. 1994. Family Reunion. New York: Atheneum.
Singer, Marilyn. 2003. Fireflies at Midnight. New York: Atheneum.
Spinelli, Eileen. 2007. Summerhouse Time. New York: Knopf.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2001. Sidewalk Chalk; Poems of the City. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
Wong, Janet. 2008. Minn and Jake’s Almost Terrible Summer. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2005. Sketches from a Spy Tree. New York: Clarion.

Friday, June 27, 2014

ALA Poetry Blast 2014

The next Poetry Blast will be held at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 29 (3:00-4:30pm) in the PopTop Stage of the Convention Center. It's a fantastic event hosted by Barbara Genco and Marilyn Singer and I have never missed it-- until now. :-(  Unfortunately/fortunately, I have a conflict this year (and am receiving an award at the same time), so I won't be able to report on it as I usually do. But I thought I might post a little plug here anyway featuring the names and works of the poets who will be presenting there. 

Poets:
Joan Bransfield Graham
Nikki Grimes
Kenn Nesbitt
Kari Anne Holt
Marilyn Nelson
Emily Jiang
Jacqueline Woodson
Alan Katz
Margarita Engle
Marilyn Singer 

Selected books by the 2014 Poetry Blast poets
As I pulled together a list of poetry books by these ten poets, it totaled nearly 100 books! So, this list is just a partial listing of their works.

1. Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007. Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
2. Engle, Margaret. 2006. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano. New York: Holt.
3. Engle, Margarita. 2008. The Surrender Tree. New York: Holt.
4. Engle, Margarita. 2009. Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. New York: Holt.
5. Engle, Margarita. 2010. The Firefly Letters; A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba. New York: Henry Holt.
6. Engle, Margarita. 2011. Hurricane Dancers; The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. New York: Henry Holt. 
7. Engle, Margarita. 2012. The Wild Book. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
8. Engle, Margarita. 2014. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
9. Engle, Margarita. 2014. Tiny Rabbit's Big Wish. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
10. Graham, Joan B. 2014. The Poem That Will Not End: Fun With Poetic Forms and Voices. Two Lions.
11. Graham, Joan Bransfield. 1994. Splish Splash. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
12. Graham, Joan Bransfield. 1999. Flicker Flash. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
13. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Shoe Magic. New York: Orchard.
14. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Stepping out with Grandma Mac. New York: Simon & Schuster.
15. Grimes, Nikki. 2001. A Pocketful of Poems. New York: Clarion.
16. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Bronx Masquerade. New York: Dial.
17. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Danitra Brown Leaves Town. New York: HarperCollins.
18. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. What is Goodbye? New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion.
19. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Danitra Brown, Class Clown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard.
20. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Dark Sons. New York: Hyperion. 
21. Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a Million. New York: Amistad.
22. Grimes, Nikki. 2007. When Gorilla Goes Walking. New York: Orchard.
23. Grimes, Nikki. 2011. Planet Middle School. New York: Bloomsbury.
24. Grimes, Nikki. 2014. Poems in the Attic. New York: Lee & Low. 
25. Holt, K. A. 2014. Rhyme Schemer. San Francisco: Chronicle.
26. Jiang, Emily. 2014. Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments. Ill. by April Chu. New York: Shen's Books/Lee & Low.
27. Katz, Alan. 2001. Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs. New York: McElderry.
28. Katz, Alan. 2008. Oops. New York: McElderry.
29. Katz, Alan. 2008. Smelly Locker; Silly Dilly School Songs. New York: Simon & Schuster.
30. Katz, Alan. 2011. Mosquitoes Are Ruining My Summer! And Other Silly Dilly Camp Songs. New York: McElderry.
31. Katz, Alan. 2011. Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking. Ill. by Ed Koren. New York: Simon & Schuster.
32. Nelson, Marilyn. 2001. Carver: A Life in Poems. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
33. Nelson, Marilyn. 2004. Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
34. Nelson, Marilyn. 2005. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
35. Nelson, Marilyn. 2008. The Freedom Business. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
36. Nelson, Marilyn. 2009. Sweethearts of Rhythm; The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Ill. by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Dial. 
37. Nelson, Marilyn. 2014. How I Discovered Poetry. Ill. by Hadley Hooper. New York: Dial.
38. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2004. When the Teacher Isn't Looking. Minnetonka, MN: Meadowbrook Press.
39. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2007.  Revenge of the Lunch Ladies. Minnetonka, MN: Meadowbrook Press.
40. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2009. My Hippo Has the Hiccups with CD: And Other Poems I Totally Made Up. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
41. Nesbitt, Kenn. 2010. The Tighty Whitey Spider: And More Wacky Animal Poems I Totally Made Up. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
42. Singer, Marilyn, 2012. Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems. New York: Dial.
43. Singer, Marilyn. 2001. Monster Museum. New York: Hyperion.
44. Singer, Marilyn. 2002. Footprints on the Roof: Poems about the Earth. New York: Knopf. 
45. Singer, Marilyn. 2003. Fireflies at Midnight. New York: Atheneum. 
46. Singer, Marilyn. 2003. How to Cross a Pond: Poems about Water. New York: Knopf. 
47. Singer, Marilyn. 2004. Creature Carnival. New York: Hyperion.
48. Singer, Marilyn. 2005. Central Heating: Poems about Fire and Warmth. New York: Knopf. 
49. Singer, Marilyn. 2005. Monday on the Mississippi. New York: Henry Holt.
50. Singer, Marilyn. 2008. First Food Fight This Fall. New York: Sterling.
51. Singer, Marilyn. 2010. Mirror, Mirror. New York: Dutton.
52. Singer, Marilyn. 2011. A Full Moon is Rising. Lee & Low.
53. Singer, Marilyn. 2011. A Stick Is an Excellent Thing. Ill. by LeUyen Pham. New York: Clarion. 
54. Singer, Marilyn. 2011. Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom. New York: Knopf.
55. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals That Call Them Home. San Francisco: Chronicle.
56. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. The Boy Who Cried Alien. Ill. by Brian Biggs. New York: Hyperion.
57. Singer, Marilyn. 2012. The Superheroes Employment Agency. Ill. by Noah Z. Jones. New York: Clarion.
58. Singer, Marilyn. 2013. Follow, Follow. New York: Dial.
59. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2003. Locomotion. New York: Putnam.
60. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2014. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Penguin.

Now let's join the group celebrating Poetry Friday over at Buffy's Blog!

Friday, June 20, 2014

First Day of Summer


Tomorrow, Saturday, June 21, is officially the first day of summer! 
Here's a poem to celebrate from The Poetry Friday Anthology.

Family Vacation
   by Allan Wolf

I started packing Monday
when I gathered up my shirts.
My sister packed away a blouse,
a hairbrush, and three skirts.

Daddy packed his razor
and his woolen dress-up slacks.
Mother packed her flowered dress
and a box of crunchy snacks.
  
We gathered up a couple lamps
and a box of dictionaries,
we even took Sir William
and Bernice, our pet canaries,

the sofa and the kitchen sink,
my old, stuffed Teddy Bear,
the television, bicycles,
Great Grandma’s rocking chair!

By Friday we had taken
all the things we had to take.
We even took some things
we really needed by mistake.

We’re ready for vacation now,
with all the stuff we’re towing.
The only problem is that we’ve 
forgotten where we’re going!

Take 5
(Here are the activities in The Poetry Friday Anthology that accompany this poem.)

1. As a poetry prop for sharing this poem, have a suitcase or backpack handy while you read the poem aloud.

2. Share the poem again and invite students to chime in on the last two lines of the poem (The only problem is that we’ve / forgotten where we’re going!). Read the rest of the poem aloud, starting slowly, accelerating speed as you go, and then pausing before the final stanza. 
The Texas Edition
3. For discussion: What is the one item you feel like you can’t leave behind when packing for a trip?
4. Poets give their poems shape in many ways. Here the poem is made up of four-line stanzas, or quatrains. Talk with students about each stanza and what it adds to the poem. What details tell you the poem is humorous?

5. Match this poem with the acrostic poem “Family Vacation” by Kathi Appelt (4th Grade, Week 35, page 221), the packing poem “By the Sea” by Lesléa Newman (1st Grade, Week 35, page 101), or selections from Vacation: We’re Going to the Ocean! by David L. Harrison.


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


Image credit: Middle-state.com