Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Check it out!

Are you a lover of lists like I am? I’m guessing you are and I hope you find my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists, helpful in providing a rich variety of bibliographies, tips, and strategies for selecting and sharing poetry with the young people in your life. This book is intended for teachers, librarians, and parents who are looking for input on selecting poetry for young people ages 0-18. It contains 155 different lists and cites nearly 1500 poetry books—in a variety of categories:

1. Poetry Awards and “Best” Lists
2. Seasonal and Holiday Poetry Booklists
3. Multicultural and International Poetry Booklists
4. Thematic or Topical Poetry Booklists
5. Poetry Booklists Across the Curriculum
6. Booklists Highlighting the Form of Poetry
7. Creating a Poetry-Friendly Environment
8. Sharing and Responding to Poetry Out Loud
9. Teaching Poetry Writing
10. General Poetry Teaching Resources

You’ll find recommended lists of poetry books tied to calendar events throughout the year, poetry that targets the needs of students acquiring English as a new language, poetry to help children through worries, adjustments or difficult times, 20 lists of poetry to support the study of science, social studies, and language arts, lists organized by different poetic forms, question prompts to guide meaningful discussions, preparation and presentation pointers, display ideas, poetry quotes, lesson plan tips, poet birthdays, and a poetry scavenger hunt and treasure hunt for kids—all tools to help jumpstart a poetry program and keep it energized and fresh all year long. Check it out!

In this blog, you'll find one posting for each of the 155 lists featured in the book. Each posting gives a "taste" of the list to whet your appetite. They appear in the same order as they appear in the book. Just click on the "April" links in the sidebar to see individual postings or use the "Search" function to hunt for topics. Plus, you have the opportunity to suggest additional poetry books for any of the lists in the "Comments" area for each posting. Input welcome! -->

The NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children

The National Council of Teachers of English established its Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1977 to honor a living American poet for his or her lifetime achievement in works for children ages 3–13. The award was given annually until 1982, at which time it was decided that the award would be given every three years. In 2008 the Poetry Committee updated the criteria and changed the time frame to every other year.


Recent recipient:


2011 J. Patrick Lewis


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Children’s Poet Laureate

The Children’s Poet Laureate was established by the Poetry Foundation in 2006 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. The Children’s Poet Laureate receives a $25,000 cash prize and a medallion that includes the inscription “Permit a child to join,” taken from an Emily Dickinson poem. The Children’s Poet Laureate serves as a consultant to the Foundation for a two-year period and gives at least two major public readings for children and their families, teachers, and librarians during his/her term. He/She will also serve as an advisor to the Poetry Foundation on children’s literature, and may engage in a variety of projects and events to help instill a love of poetry among the nation’s youngest readers.


Recent recipient:


2011 J. Patrick Lewis


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Poetry for Children

The Lee Bennett Hopkins award established in 1993 is presented annually to an American poet or anthologist for the most outstanding new book of children's poetry published in the previous calendar year. For activities and ideas for promoting award and honor books, go to the Lee B. Hopkins Poetry Award Teaching Toolbox here: http://leebennetthopkinsaward.blogspot.com.


Recent recipient:


Wardlaw, Lee. 2011. Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. Ill. by Eugene Yelchin. New York: Henry Holt.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

The Claudia Lewis Award for Poetry

The Claudia Lewis Award is given by Bank Street College in New York and was established in 1998. The award is given annually for the best poetry book of the year in honor of the late Claudia Lewis, a distinguished children's book expert and longtime member of the Bank Street College faculty and Children's Book Committee. For a toolbox with teaching ideas: http://claudialewispoetryaward.blogspot.com/

Recent recipients:
2012 Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O'Connell George (Clarion, 2011) and The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf (Candlewick, 2011)

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award

The Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award was established by Hopkins along with the International Reading Association in 1995 to encourage new poets in their writing. These poets have only published two books (to qualify for the award), but their work has already been judged to be of high quality. The award is given every three years.


Recent recipient:
Gregory Neri
Neri, Gregory. 2009. Chess Rumble. New York: Lee & Low Books.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

The Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry

The Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry focuses on North American poetry for young people and carries on the prior tradition begun by the British journal, Signal, to “instigate, provoke, and sustain a conversation about poetry published for children.” Recipients are now from both the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the Lion and the Unicorn Award includes an essay which discusses the award winners as well as speculates on issues unique to writing and publishing poetry for children, “painting a picture of that year in children’s poetry.” For a toolbox with teaching ideas for the award books: http://lionandunicornpoetryaward.blogspot.com.


Recent recipient:


Susan Blackaby. Nest, Nook & Cranny. Ill. by Jamie Hogan. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2010.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

NCTE Poetry Notables

The National Council of Teachers of English Committee on Excellence in Poetry Award selects the recipient of the award for the most outstanding children’s poet and is also charged with “exploring ways to acquaint teachers and children with poetry” including establishing an issuing a regular list of “poetry notables” for young people. What follows is the first list compiled in 2003-2006 and featuring the 10 best poetry books published during each of those three years, based on the criteria for excellence for the award itself: literary merit, imagination, authenticity of voice, evidence of a strong persona, universality and timelessness, and appeal to children. The committee included Sylvia M. Vardell, Peggy Oxley, Georgia Heard, Jan Kristo, Gail Wesson Spivey, Janet Wong, Poet, and Dan Woolsey. Check the NCTE.org site for current “poetry notables” lists.


The list begins:
  1. Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. 2004. Over in the Pink House: New Jump Rope Rhymes. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
  2.  Frost, Helen. 2004. Spinning through the Universe. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  3. George, Kristine O’Connell. 2004. Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems. New York: Harcourt.
For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Cybils Award for Poetry

The “Cybils” award was established in 2006 to recognize the role of bloggers in the “kidlitosphere,” the online children’s literature world. “Cybils,” an acronym for the “Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards,” are given in a variety of genre and format categories, including poetry. For more information go to: http://www.cybils.com/


Recent recipient:


Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto
by Paul B. Janeczko
Candlewick Press


“’I am a watcher/sitting with those about to die.’ These are the words of Elisha Schorr/25565 as imagined by poet Paul Janeczko. In Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto, we all become watchers, viewing snapshots of the Holocaust, one after the other, each one deepening the grief and raising questions to which there are no answers. We watch, but we also hear the story of Terezin, voice by voice, insistent and haunting, so that the effect by the end of the collection is almost choral. For each song of despair, there is a concordant and essential song of anger, tenderness or resignation; like a recurring melodic theme, the voice of one child appears and fades and appears again. We hear the violin of one victim playing ‘as only the heartbroken can play.’”


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Children’s Choices Poetry Picks

Here you’ll find recommendations of books that children themselves have chosen as some of their favorites based on the nation-wide Children’s Choices project cosponsored annually by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council. Each year, approximately 10,000 children ages 5 to 13 from different regions of the United States choose 100 favorites. Here are the POETRY titles children chose as their favorites for 2001-2011 (in the age/grade categories that appear on the lists).


The list begins:


Advanced Readers (Grades 5-6)
Seibold, J. Otto. 2010. Other Goose: Re-Nurseried!! and Re-Rhymed!! Children’s Classics. San Francisco: Chronicle.


Young Readers (Grades 3-4)
Shange, Ntozake, 2009. Coretta Scott. Ill. by Kadir Nelson. New York: HarperCollins.


Beginning Readers (Grades K-2)
Bateman, Donna. 2007. Deep in the Swamp. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Poetry and the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Young People

Since 1973, the Children’s Book Council has collaborated with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to produce an annual list of “Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12” with an eye for books that “convey the thrill of science” and provide the “the perfect way for students to build literacy skills while learning science content.” Here is a list of the poetry books that have been included in each year’s list since 2001 with a total of 24 works of poetry on the combined lists and an average of 2 poetry titles per year. (Complete annotated bibliographies are available on the NSTA and CBC web sites.)


The list begins:
  1. Bulion, Leslie. 2011. At the Sea Floor Café; Odd Ocean Critter Poems. Ill. by Leslie Evans. Peachtree.
  2. Arnosky, Jim. 2011. At This Very Moment. New York: Dutton.
  3. Hauth, Katherine. 2011. What’s for Dinner? Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World. Charlesbridge.
For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Poetry and the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

Since 1972, each year the National Council for the Social Studies in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council selects a list of “Notable” children’s books (K-12) looking for books that emphasize human relations, represent a diversity of groups and are sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences, present an original theme or a fresh slant on a traditional topic, are easily readable and of high literary quality, have a pleasing format, and, where appropriate, include illustrations that enrich the text. Here is a list of the poetry books that have been included in each year’s list since 2001 with a total of 55 works of poetry on the combined lists and an average of 5 poetry titles per year. (Complete annotated bibliographies are available on the NCSS and CBC web sites.)


The list begins:
  1. Richards, Jame. 2010. Three Rivers Rising. New York: Knopf.
  2. Hill, Laban Carrick. 2010. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. Ill. by Bryan Collier. New York: Little, Brown.
  3. Adoff, Arnold. 2010. Roots and Blues, A Celebration. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  4. Engle, Margarita. 2010. The Firefly Letters; A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba. New York: Henry Holt.
For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Joseph Thomas’s Canon of U.S. Children’s Poetry

In his seminal work, Poetry's Playground: The Culture of Contemporary American Children's Poetry (Wayne State University Press, 2007, p. 109), Joseph Thomas identifies eight key anthologies he suggests are children’s poetry essentials. He notes he chose anthologies with editors from “differing ideological standpoints” and from a variety of “historical moments,” hoping to be “descriptive, not prescriptive” and lay the groundwork for “future inquiry.” They are listed here in chronological order.


The list begins:


Untermeyer, Louis, comp. 1959. The Golden Treasury of Poetry. New York: Golden Press.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Poetry for the Common Core

The newly developed Common Core State Standards Initiative offers English Language Arts standards that include a substantial poetry component. Individual poems are identified as study source material across the grade levels in terms of “complexity, quality, and range.” Most are from the public domain and thus are largely classic poems by poets of the past. But a sprinkling of contemporary and even multicultural poems is also included. It’s an interesting list to consider, but by no means exclusive—indeed the Standards home page (corestandards.org) notes, “They expressly do not represent a partial or complete reading list.” Here is a list of the suggested poems for your consideration.


The list begins:

K–1 Poetry Text Exemplars


Anonymous. “As I Was Going to St. Ives”
Rossetti, Christina. “Mix a Pancake”
Fyleman, Rose. “Singing-Time”
Milne, A. A. “Halfway Down”
Chute, Marchette. “Drinking Fountain”
Hughes, Langston. “Poem”


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

A Canon of Classic Poems for Young People

Here is a list of classic poems still popular with young people. The subject matter, language, rhythm, and imagery of these poems are still inviting for today’s readers and listeners. Most of these selections continue to be included in current anthologies of popular children’s poetry and many are available online as well.


The list begins:


Hilaire Belloc, “The Vulture”
William Blake, “The Tyger”
Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool”
Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Emily Dickinson, Poem: 288, “I'm Nobody! Who are You?”


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Best Multi-Poet Anthologies for Young People

There are many, many wonderful poetry anthologies published for children, full of poems by different poets. In addition, new poets often appear FIRST in anthologies before publishing their own individual collections of poetry. Here is a beginning list of some of the most popular and acclaimed poetry anthologies that include quality works by a variety of poets gathered around many interesting themes and topics.


The list begins:
  1. Brenner, Barbara. Ed. 1994. The Earth is Painted Green: A Garden of Poems about Our Planet. New York: Scholastic.
  2. Brenner, Barbara. Ed. 2000. Voices: Poetry and Art from Around the World. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.
  3. Clinton, Catherine. Ed. 1993/1998. I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  4. Cohn, Amy L. Ed. 1993. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic.
  5. Cullinan, Bernice and Wooten, Deborah. Eds. 2009. Another Jar of Tiny Stars; Poems by NCTE Award-winning Poets. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Most Anthologized Poets for Young People

In his seminal work, Poetry's Playground: The Culture of Contemporary American Children's Poetry (Wayne State University Press, 2007, p. 117-119), Joseph Thomas identifies the poets listed below as the most frequently anthologized within a selection of key anthologies he suggests are children’s poetry essentials. The following poets appeared in at least half of the “canon” anthologies and are listed in descending order of frequency.


The list begins:


Frost, Robert
Sandburg, Carl
cummings, e e
Roethke, Theodore
Coatsworth, Elizabeth
Dickinson, Emily
Hughes, Langston


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

50 Poetry Books for the Very Young Child (Ages 0-5)

From birth—if not before—children respond to the rhythm and rhyme of poetry. Indeed, children’s book author and literacy expert Mem Fox claims, "Rhymers will be readers; it's that simple. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they're four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they're eight" (Reading Magic; Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, 2001, p. 85). Here are 50 recommended titles of poetry written with our youngest listeners in mind.


The list begins:


1. Ada, Alma Flor and Campoy, Isabel, Comp. 2010. Muu, Moo! Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes. Rayo/HarperCollins.


2. Ada, Alma Flor, and Isabel Campoy, Comp. 2003. Pio Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes. New York: HarperCollins.


3. Ahlberg, Allan and Ingram, Bruce. 2010. Everybody Was a Baby Once. Candlewick.


4. Anholt, Catherine and Laurence Anholt. 1998. Big Book of Families. Cambridge: Candlewick.


5. Archer, Peggy. 2007. From Dawn to Dreams; Poems for Busy Babies. Ill. by Hanako Wakiyama. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.




For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

100 Poetry Books for Children (Ages 6-12)

Sharing poetry during these pivotal years of childhood is an important component in developing their literacy skills, as well as broadening their appreciation of literature in all forms. In fact, research commissioned by the Poetry Foundation found that “most poetry readers (80 percent) first encounter poetry as children, at home or in school.” Fortunately, there are many, many excellent works available for sharing with this age group. Here are 100 exemplary titles to get you started.


The list begins:

  1. Adoff, Arnold. 2010. Roots and Blues, A Celebration. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Agee, Jon. 2009. Orangutan Tongs; Poems to Tangle Your Tongue. New York: Disney-Hyperion.
  3. Alarcón, Francisco X. 2005. Poems to Dream Together/ Poemas para Sonar Juntos. New York: Lee & Low.
  4. Andrews, Julie and Hamilton, Emma Watson. 2009. Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies. Ill. by James McMullan. New York: Little, Brown.
  5. Argueta, Jorge. 2001. A Movie in My Pillow/Una película en mi almohada. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

100 Poetry Books for Young Adults (Ages 13-18)

As young adults move toward reading and responding to classic poetry for adults, let’s not forget there are many rich collections of poetry published just for them. ‘Tweens and teens will find many fascinating options here in poetry about young love, culturally rich poems, absorbing novels in verse, and even poetic works written by other young people. This list is only a beginning.

The list begins:

  1. Adoff, Arnold. 2010. Roots and Blues, A Celebration. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Aguado, Bill, comp. 2003. Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems from WritersCorps. New York: HarperTeen.
  3. Appelt, Kathi. 2004. My Father’s Summers. New York: Henry Holt.
  4. Atkins, Jeannine. 2010. Borrowed Names; Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters. Henry Holt.
  5.  Begay, Shonto. 1995. Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa. New York: Scholastic.


For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2011

In examining the nearly one hundred books of poetry published for young people in 2011, I found there was quite a variety in style, tone, content, and format available. In fact, I noticed ten mini-trends (if 2-3 books constitute a trend) that are worth exploring: animals, humor, music, culture, novels in verse, stories in verse, emerging new voices, poetic innovation, ebooks, and book poetry. Some titles feature tried-and-true “formulas” for creating appealing poetry for young people (using the connecting theme of “animals,” for example), and others venture into brand new territory (such as creating poems using only the letters from a single word, as in Bob Raczka’s Lemonade). Once again, it’s heartening to see the field of poetry for young people offer such a bounty of choices and voices. With titles by poetry “fixtures” like Shel Silverstein, as well as National Book Award-winning new writers like Thanhha Lai, we can stock our shelves with gems that will hold up for years and look forward to what’s next in poetry for kids and teens.

The list begins:

Engle, Margarita. 2011. Hurricane Dancers; The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Henry Holt.
*A powerful novel in verse set in the early 1500’s about a slave named Quebrado, a Spanish pirate named Bernardo de Talavera, and a hostage named Alonso de Ojeda and their intertwining fates when all three are stranded on an island after a hurricane destroys their ship.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2010

Here are my picks for my favorite poetry books of the year. For me, it is all about the poetry “package,” if you will. The poems, of course, are number one, and they should be interesting, thoughtful, distinctive, and rhythmic. I also value poetry that reads well out loud since I believe that is so crucial in connecting with children. But I also value the design and illustration of each book, since the presentation of the poems as a set provides an essential context for entering, enjoying, and remembering the poems. So many of today’s poetry works do this so well—creating inviting visuals, well-designed layouts, and a distinct combination of art and language. Consider these contributions to the world of poetry for young people this year.

The list begins:

Ada, Alma Flor and Campoy, Isabel. 2010. Muu, Moo! Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes. New York: Rayo/HarperCollins.

*A blilingual (Spanish/English) collection of 16 playful nursery rhymes taken from Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Spain together with some original verses, with Zubizarreta (the translator) retaining the musicality of the originals. Simple, rhythmic poems vary in length and featuring not cows, but a conejito (rabbit), a burro (donkey) and una lechuza (an owl), among other appealing animal characters.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2009

I think it was a great year for poetry for young people with a tremendous variety of subject matter and format and heaps of quality and innovation. I wrote earlier about trends I observed this year and about the organizing thread of TIME in many poetry books this year, in particular. As a group, all the titles below offer a mini-library of what’s new and great about poetry for kids: in form, in format, in look, in impact, in humor, in emotional power, etc. There are so many wonderful works worthy of consideration and sure to hold up in repeated readings over and over again. Just $200 (app.) would buy this entire collection of my recommended list (for example) of some of the best poetry of 2009, a fabulous year’s worth of reading for all ages—adults included.

The list begins:

Argueta, Jorge. 2009. Sopa de frijoles/ Bean Soup. Ill. by Rafael Yockteng. Toronto, ON: Groundwood.
*It’s bilingual (Spanish/English), it’s a recipe, it’s poetry plus cooking full of metaphors and similes and beans.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2008

The year included an interesting variety, with picture book collections dominating, and new trends in poetry morphed with biography growing strong. There was also more experimentation with poetic form/topic and book layout which is fun for those of us who like to provide diverse models for aspiring writers and artists. This year’s list showcases a variety of categories, including poetry written by kids, novels in verse, and even nonfiction works about poets and poetry. I did a bit of research and found that you could purchase hard cover copies of this whole list for only $382-- and have a wonderful mini-library of 2008 poetry for young people that runs the gamut from the hilarious (Frankenstein monster parodies) to the transcendent (Billie Holiday's lyrical life). What a bargain!

The list begins:

Alarcón, Francisco X. 2008. Animal Poems of the Iguazú / Animalario del Iguazú. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.

*Animal spirits, Spanish/English, vivid, energetic art

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2007

My favorite children’s poetry of 2007 included a great deal of variety: anthologies, biographical poetry, picture book collections, novels in verse, edgy YA work, playful verses for very young children, and more. New voices and new works by old favorites. Great curricular connections in science, social studies, and beyond. Fun experimentation with poetic form and voice. Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated. Serious, humorous, and everything in between. After much deliberation, here’s my list of not-to-be-missed poetry for kids in 2007. Be sure your library has multiple copies of each!

The list begins:

Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007. Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.

*Powerful sonnets tell the story of Prudence Crandall and her school for African American women in the early 1800’s

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2006

Once again, 2006 included a variety of works by new and favorite poets-- picture book collections, nature themes, humorous verse, historical poem-stories, a poem biography, poems for the very young, all accompanied by the work of many distinctive illustrators. Stock up with new titles, double up with multiple copies, and speak up sharing poems with kids you care about every day.

            The list begins:

            Brown, Calef. 2006. Flamingos on the Roof. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

*Zany, syncopated story-poems are accompanied by crazy, cock-eyed story-paintings about all kinds of make-believe creatures.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2005

Nature, history, and the art of poetry itself are some of the dominant themes in this year’s poetry. Several of the big names are represented this year (such as Prelutsky, Silverstein) as well as poets of color (such as Alarcon and Soto). The illustrations in many of these collections are also quite striking and add even more interest for young readers. And some collections even invite interaction, including origami and drawing or painting murals. Check ‘em all out.

The list begins:



            Alarcón, Francisco X. 2005. Poems to Dream Together/ Poemas para Sonar Juntos. New York: Lee & Low.

*Alarcon focuses on family and community through bilingual poems about dreams and goals.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Favorite Poetry for Young People 2004

Some of the strongest poetry this year was written for ‘tweens and teens, including a memoir by Kathi Appelt, concrete poetry by John Grandits, and gripping verse novels by Paul Janeczko, Walter Dean Myers, and Sonya Sones. There were also lovely picture book poetry collections for young readers, including a very contemporary Mother Goose and haiku by Jack Prelutsky. Look these risky ventures over and enjoy every one.

            The list begins:



            Appelt, Kathi. 2004. My Father’s Summers: A Daughter’s Memoir. New York: Holt.

*This memoir, told in prose poems, offers a movingly descriptive story set in Houston, Texas beginning in 1965. It is a coming of age story as well as a story about family ties that offers one girl’s perspective and experience of universal themes.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Poetry Books about the Seasons

The natural world is a natural focus for much poetry written for all ages. Two poets, in fact, Francisco X. Alarcón and Douglas Florian, have created a poetry book for each of the four seasons noted below. Other writers have considered the seasons across the year from a variety of perspective and poetic forms. A selection of those are presented here.

The list begins:

            Esbensen, Barbara Juster. 1984. Cold Stars and Fireflies: Poems of the Four Seasons. New York: Crowell.

Farrar, Sid. 2012. The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons. Ill. by Ilse Plume. Chicago: Whitman.

Franco, Betsy. 2003. Mathematickles! New York: McElderry.

Adoff, Arnold. 1991. In for Winter, Out for Spring. San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Alderson, Sue Ann. 1997. Pond Seasons. Toronto: Groundwood.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Poetry Books for Valentine’s Day

Just giving a poem—any poem-- is a lovely Valentine gesture, but if you’re looking for poetry for young people specifically ABOUT Valentine’s and all kinds of love, you won’t have much trouble. Poets have been pouring out their hearts for centuries. Young readers feel this same longing and often gravitate to very emotional “love” poetry—both in their reading and in their writing. You might even be surprised how popular these can be with adolescent readers (both boys and girls). Here’s a beginning list.

The list begins:

Adoff, Arnold. 1997. Love Letters. New York: Scholastic.

Greenfield, Eloise. 2003. Honey, I Love. New York: HarperCollins.

Grimes, Nikki. 1999. Hopscotch Love: A Family Treasury of Love Poems. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2005. Valentine Hearts: Holiday Poetry. New York: HarperCollins.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2005. Days to Celebrate: A Full Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating Facts, and More. New York: Greenwillow.

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And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!

Poetry Books for Presidents Day

When it’s time to remember our government’s leaders, reading a poem aloud is a time-honored tradition. Below, is a selection of appropriate and relevant books for young people from which to choose.

The list begins:

            Bates, Katharine Lee. 1994. O Beautiful for Spacious Skies. New York: Chronicle.

            Chandra, Deborah and Madeleine Comora. 2003. George Washington’s Teeth. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Cohn, Amy L. Ed. 1993. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic.

Corcoran, Jill. Ed. 2012. Dare to Dream… Change the World. San Diego, CA: Kane Miller.

Gunning, Monica. 2004. America, My New Home. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.

For more details, get your copy of The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.
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Poetry Books about Women’s History

Here is a select list of poetry books that celebrate the unique qualities of girls and women. Some take an historical approach, others consider the roles of girls and women and their place in the world. They offer food for thought for girl readers—and boys—who are growing in their sense of identity and voice.

            The list begins:

            Adoff, Arnold. 1979. I Am the Running Girl. New York: Harper & Row.

Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007. Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.

Atkins, Jeannine. 2010. Borrowed Names; Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters. Henry Holt.

Bernier-Grand, Carmen T. 2007. Frida: ¡Viva la vida! Long Live Life! New York: Marshall Cavendish.

Bush, Timothy. 2000. Ferocious Girls, Steamroller Boys, and Other Poems in Between. New York: Orchard Books.

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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.

            The list begins:

            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.

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And if you already have the book, but would like to suggest additions, corrections, or offer other input, please do so in the COMMENTS area. Thanks!