National Poetry Month 2012
Today the sun sets on National Poetry Month 2012. Here a few recent reads and favorite verse offerings from last year to keep you celebrating the power of poetry for many months to come:
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems
by Kristine O'Connell George
Emma Dilemma is a charming collection of 34 poems that explores the many emotions felt by a big sister - annoyance, jealousy, anger, love, loyalty. The book is aimed at elementary students, but readers of all ages can easily relate to the highs and lows experienced in a close family relationship. I am a big fan of Kristine O'Connell George and look forward to her next poetic adventure!
Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
by Lee Wardlaw
Won Ton is one of my favorite picture books of 2011. The story of an adopted cat is told completely in haiku verse. Eugene Yelchin's expressive illustrations are a delightful accompaniment to the clever verse and capture the personality and peculiarities of all that is cat! Pet-lovers and beyond will be drawn into this touching story and the unique format.
The Arrow Finds its Mark: A Book of Found Poems
Edited by Georgia Heard
"Found poems" are created from words found in everyday text - on a slip of paper, in a magazine, on Facebook pages, in an advertisement, on Twitter, on a traffic sign ... everywhere! An all-star poet line-up has transformed found words into a fun collection of new poems, celebrating language and creativity. This unique poetic form will encourage young (and old!) poets to seek out writing in everyday life and try their hand at the fun of creating found poems!
Under the Mesquite
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
This novel-in-verse has earned many awards and accolades, deservedly so. The lovely poems tell the story of Lupita, a Mexican-American immigrant and budding actress. Lupita is facing the typical challenges of growing up as well as struggling with her mother's battle with cancer. In addition to worrying about and caring for her mother, Lupita also works to care for and provide for her many younger siblings. This beautifully written novel celebrates the love of family and the excitement of self-discovery.
Sisters of Glass
by Stephanie Hemphill
Murano is an island off the coast of Italy and has been the home of Venetian glassblowers for centuries; travel there in Sisters of Glass. This verse novel takes place in the 14th century but the happenings and themes are those of a modern story - sibling rivalry, complicated family ties, promises, grief, a desire for independence, the beauty of art, and love. Sisters of Glass takes readers on a lyrical, romantic ride they will not soon forget.
Sorta Like a Rock Star
by Matthew Quick
Sorta Like a Rock Star is a 2010 book, but immediately came to mind when thinking of poetry. Amber Appleton is an almost homeless teen struggling to keep her life together and to take care of her mother. In spite of this, Amber makes the effort to invest in the lives of those around her, always positive and hopeful. I mention it in this line-up because of a memorable character who uses haiku verse as a way of searching for hope, beauty in the world, and healing. Sorta Like a Rock Star is a powerful novel featuring unforgettable characters and is one of my all-time favorite YA reads. It's also excellent on audio.
Dr. Sylvia Vardell's new book The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists is an outstanding resource to help teachers and librarians easily find poems to use with students of all ages. It includes 155 lists organized in categories allowing educators to locate poems on a particular topic or in a specific poetic form. Use this guide to incorporate more poetry in the classroom and to encourage young writers to explore this exciting genre.