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.
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