The Horn Book » Lolly’s Classroom http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:45:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Books in Spanish: A problem of access? http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/books-spanish-problem-access/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/books-spanish-problem-access/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:01:56 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39384 When working as an elementary teacher in the United States, I found it hard to find original children’s literature in Spanish language — books originally published in Spanish, that is. As a fourth-grade public school teacher in a dual-immersion and bilingual transitional programs in Colorado and North Carolina, it was difficult to try to read […]

The post Books in Spanish: A problem of access? appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
When working as an elementary teacher in the United States, I found it hard to find original children’s literature in Spanish language — books originally published in Spanish, that is.

As a fourth-grade public school teacher in a dual-immersion and bilingual transitional programs in Colorado and North Carolina, it was difficult to try to read books originally written in English and translated into Spanish. Publishers had made the effort to translate some widely known, classic titles such as Where the Wild Things Are (Donde viven los monstruos) or Goodnight Night, Moon (Buenas Noches, Luna). It initially seemed like this could be a good thing because the children already had the background knowledge for making connections to these books. But the reverse happened when they were read in class.

The children didn’t much like the Spanish version for the same reason it’s hard to read a translation of a Pablo Neruda poem or a Mario Vargas Llosa novel in English. As a native Spanish speaker, even the children could hear the forced pace and tone in the Spanish version. “It sounds funny,” they’d say. In the end, I resorted to testing the limits of airline weight restrictions and carried books in my suitcase back from trips made to Latin America or Spain.

marquez siestadelmartes 214x300 Books in Spanish: A problem of access?There were several examples of in-class success, such as La siesta del martes by Gabriel García Márquez. Though not known as a children’s author, a Spanish-language editor made the short story available in a children’s edition. The text was unchanged and illustrations were added. It was a hit! The story takes place over the course of one day and was ideal for teaching the use of time in a writer’s workshop. Students were engaged and motivated and most importantly they used connectors and adjectives to establish time in their writing. Students in my classroom were fifty percent native English speakers and fifty percent Spanish speakers.

There is a rich children’s literature in Spanish-speaking countries and there are several large publishing houses in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia. Testament to this is the merger between Carmen Balcells, literary agent for many of the Spanish-language’s greatest writers over the past half-century, and the New York-based Andrew Wylie agency. There would be nothing better than using original literature to teach our kids instead of giving them translations or versions of literature in English.

Is this an issue of know-how — affecting demand for original literature in the United States — or an issue of access? After all, as I learned lugging books from Latin America and Spain, the problem of access was significant, as evidenced by the Balcells-Wylie merger. Then again, maybe the access wasn’t there because the demand wasn’t large enough to merit paying for the copyrights. I don’t know. Perhaps one day soon we will find out.

The post Books in Spanish: A problem of access? appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/books-spanish-problem-access/feed/ 0
Yaqui’s text set http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/yaquis-text-set/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/yaquis-text-set/#respond Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:01:13 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39411 Since I wrote recently about using a text set built around the idea of respect and the title Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, a few people have asked what other texts we used alongside it. Our* essential question was “What makes someone worthy of respect?” We were aiming for a […]

The post Yaqui’s text set appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
medina yaqui delgado1 Yaquis text set Since I wrote recently about using a text set built around the idea of respect and the title Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, a few people have asked what other texts we used alongside it. Our* essential question was “What makes someone worthy of respect?”

We were aiming for a set that spanned genres, and so the resulting set was both too big to use in our short time but also made of texts that weren’t only from the YA world. It included the some of the following:

  • Poems like “The Ballad of the Landlord” by Langston Hughes and “Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike
  • A series of quotes about respect from famous people
  • The short story ‘Chuckie’ by Victor LaValle
  • A couple of articles about bystanding and upstanding when bad things happen to others
  • Lou Holtz’s famous first locker room speech at Notre Dame
  • A couple of pieces from the This I Believe collection having to do with self-respect (thisibelieve.org)
  • Several anecdotes from the book Discovering Wes Moore about choices, misunderstandings, and facing adversity

This group of texts are all related to the idea of respect and who gets it and who doesn’t, and the different readings allowed us to consider respect from a variety of vantage points as we tried to put ourselves in the shoes of Piddy and Yaqui in the anchor novel.  They also gave us lots of time to dabble in writing different genres.

Text sets are such a fun way to really think hard about important stuff, and I’m excited to keep adding to this set about respect.

*This curriculum for the BGA/BU Summer Institute was developed in collaboration with my awesome friends Marisa Olivo and Lucia Mandelbaum from BGA and Scott Seider from BU. 

The post Yaqui’s text set appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/yaquis-text-set/feed/ 0
Using Dear Mr. Henshaw to encourage students to write http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/using-dear-mr-henshaw-encourage-students-write/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/using-dear-mr-henshaw-encourage-students-write/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:01:17 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39044 Dear Mr. Henshaw, a Newbery medal-winning book by Beverly Cleary, is a great way to get students to think about some of the therapeutic benefits of writing. Of course, you don’t have to mention how helpful writing can be when you need to sort out feelings but you can let students figure this out on […]

The post Using Dear Mr. Henshaw to encourage students to write appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
dearmrhenshaw 200x300 Using Dear Mr. Henshaw to encourage students to writeDear Mr. Henshaw, a Newbery medal-winning book by Beverly Cleary, is a great way to get students to think about some of the therapeutic benefits of writing. Of course, you don’t have to mention how helpful writing can be when you need to sort out feelings but you can let students figure this out on their own as they read the book.

Leigh Botts writes to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw, as part of a school assignment and when the author writes back and asks Lee questions, his mother says he has to respond. Through his correspondence with Mr. Henshaw Lee learns about accepting life’s difficulties and — with the encouragement of Mr. Henshaw — starts to keep a journal.

In addition to coping with his parents’ divorce and missing his father, Leigh also deals with moving, adjusting to a new school, and having his lunch continually stolen — certainly timeless topics.

While some children may not think of writing letters to an author, they may keep a journal or know someone who keeps one. There are a lot of projects that can be added to the study of this book, including writing letters or journal entries as one of the characters. Students could also write to offer advice to the characters. Introducing students to the basic format of a personal letter (or e-mail) will provide valuable experience.

Mr. Henshaw certainly proves to be more interesting (and interested) that Leigh probably imagined. Reading this book could also foster discussion about the kinds of people your students admire (authors, celebrities, athletes) and what makes a person worthy of admiration. Ask if there are any local, “hometown heroes” that your students admire in addition to people who are nationally or internationally famous.

One of the many takeaways from the book for adults is that adults encourage Leigh to write and while he is hesitant at first, it grows on him. Students who would not write on their own may learn to enjoy it more if a teacher or parent lays the groundwork for them to get comfortable first.

The post Using Dear Mr. Henshaw to encourage students to write appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/using-dear-mr-henshaw-encourage-students-write/feed/ 2
Third grade transitional books http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/third-grade-transitional-books/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/third-grade-transitional-books/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:01:58 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39038 Third grade is a funny transition period between picture books (“baby books”) and chapter books (“big kid books”).  Personally, I think there is much to say about a great picture book, but my students tend to balk at the idea of reading them; they want long books with as many chapters as possible. I think […]

The post Third grade transitional books appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
Third grade is a funny transition period between picture books (“baby books”) and chapter books (“big kid books”).  Personally, I think there is much to say about a great picture book, but my students tend to balk at the idea of reading them; they want long books with as many chapters as possible. I think what my students are really searching for is more challenging content, but not all students are ready to enter the realm of the chapter book or even a very complex picture book (meaning fonts, vocabulary, and overall visual structure). So I try to encourage students toward picture books that are meant to be more academic or informative, and relatively straightforward. Here are two of my many favorites.

michelle 233x300 Third grade transitional booksMichelle by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by AG Ford
When I was working for AmeriCorps, my nonprofit purchased this book as a Christmas gift to all its student participants. My students were enthralled by this book because of its subject, Michelle Obama. The book’s text was complex but straightforward enough that it was accessible. It narrated her story without over-fantasizing, and told my students that by working hard, anything was possible. The pictures helped with the comprehension but what shone was Michelle’s values and strength of character. Because of the population I was working with (low income, racially diverse community), I think Michelle continues to be a relevant role model and the reason why the book remained so dear to my students.

redwoods 199x300 Third grade transitional booksRedwoods written and illustrated by Jason Chin
Another great find while working for AmeriCorps, I wanted my students to grasp the height and girth of a redwood tree without ever visiting one. I read this book aloud because the text was sometimes too long and detailed, and needed summarizing or simplifying. This is probably more appropriate for an older grade, but my students enjoyed this nonfiction picture book nonetheless.  Jason Chin also wrote and illustrated two other nonfiction books (Coral Reefs and Island: Story of the Galapagos), but I found this one to be the simplest for 3rd grade.

I know what you’re thinking: what about graphic novels for 3rd grade? That’s another blog post in the making. Until then, what picture books have you found that are both engaging and academic?

The post Third grade transitional books appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/third-grade-transitional-books/feed/ 1
Batter up! http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/batter/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/batter/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:01:32 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39370 With baseball season in full swing, it is the perfect time to check out one of the many great picture books featuring baseball. Here are some of my favorites. Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy by Bill Wise with illustrations by Adam Gustavson (K-3) Today many baseball fans may not know […]

The post Batter up! appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
With baseball season in full swing, it is the perfect time to check out one of the many great picture books featuring baseball. Here are some of my favorites.

Wise SilentStar 219x300 Batter up!Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy by Bill Wise with illustrations by Adam Gustavson (K-3)
Today many baseball fans may not know this, but in the late 1800’s one of the best major league players was William Hoy, who also happened to be deaf. This book tells his story with wonderful oil painting illustrations that will help readers understand both the time period and Hoy’s life.

Perdomo Clemente 235x300 Batter up!Clemente! by Willie Perdomo with illustrations by Bryan Collier (K-3)
Told in English with scattered Spanish words, this book follows a young boy named Clemente as various family members tell him about his namesake, the great Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente. While the book details Roberto Clemente’s baseball career, it also includes other aspects of his life, including his charitable work. It is a great option, particularly for those looking for a book that incorporates Spanish language text.

Adler LouGehrig 300x247 Batter up!Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler with illustrations by Terry Widener (K-3)
Though he is perhaps best known now for the disease named for him, Lou Gehrig was an important figure in baseball well before he was diagnosed. In this book, readers learn about his early life, including his studies at Columbia University and his fourteen years in major league baseball, during which he played in a record number of consecutive games. While the book does not shy away from Gehrig’s illness, it tells the inspirational story of his life both before and during that period.

Winter SandyKoufax 247x300 Batter up!You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? by Jonah Winter with illustrations by Andre Carrilho (K-3)
In a striking departure from many sports biographies for children, this book focuses on Koufax’s struggles and early failures before recounting his rise to the top of the game. Readers also learn about the important role that Koufax’s Jewish faith played in his career, causing him to face discrimination and also leading to his refusal to play in the 1965 World Series because it fell on a high holy day. Though this book will appeal to all baseball fans, those who love baseball statistics will particularly enjoy the way that it integrates important stats into the illustrations at key points in the story.

Meshon Yakyu 300x249 Batter up!Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon (Preschool)
In this fun, brightly colored book, a young boy goes to baseball games in both the United States and Japan. Side-by-side pages show the differences between the experience in each country, both at the stadium and outside of it. The book integrates Japanese words in the text and unique details of baseball culture in each country into the illustrations.

Thayer CaseyattheBat 182x300 Batter up!Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer with illustrations by Joe Morse (K-3)
This entry in the Visions in Poetry series takes the classic poem “Casey at the Bat” and moves it to an urban setting. The poem is a classic for a reason, and a new generation of baseball fans can enjoy it with the modern, updated images that accompany it.

Bidner JoeDiMaggio 298x249 Batter up!The Unforgettable Season: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of ’41 by Phil Bildner with illustrations by S.D. Schindler (K-3)
Whether you are looking for a baseball book or an exciting glimpse into a period in history, this book won’t disappoint. It follows the separate paths of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams as they each chased baseball records over the course of the summer of 1941. The illustrations bring the time period to life and make this book a great way to make baseball fans into history fans — and vice versa.

The post Batter up! appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/batter/feed/ 1
Why we love Amos http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/love-amos/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/love-amos/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:01:00 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39033 Sometimes a children’s book is so heart-warming it needs no greater purpose for reading than just to enjoy it. And sometimes you get lucky and a book is not only sweet, but perfect for that lesson you want to teach about characters! A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated […]

The post Why we love Amos appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
stead sick day for amos mcgee Why we love AmosSometimes a children’s book is so heart-warming it needs no greater purpose for reading than just to enjoy it. And sometimes you get lucky and a book is not only sweet, but perfect for that lesson you want to teach about characters! A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead, is one such book.

Each day Amos McGee goes to his job at the zoo. While there, Amos the zookeeper faithfully races the tortoise, reads to the owl, and even keeps a shy penguin company. Then one day, Amos gets sick and can’t make it to the zoo. In the end, the kindness Amos has shown each day is repaid to him by his animal friends who decide to pay him a visit.

This book is perfect for lessons on character analysis. Through his daily actions, Amos demonstrates his kindness and selflessness. The author himself does not describe Amos; rather, students are forced to pull evidence from the text in order to prove their thinking. Erin Stead’s Caldecott-winning illustrations only serve to support this thinking. Through soft, detailed depictions of Amos and his animal friends, students are able to see — and almost feel — Amos’s actions, allowing for one more kernel of textual evidence that can be used to understand what kind of person Amos McGee is.

Additionally, students are given the opportunity to explore character motivation and relationships between characters. Why does Amos do these things each day? Why do the animals come to visit him? How must they feel about each other?
As an added perk Amos McGee has not only become one of the most beloved characters in my class, but also a positive role model for students. Once during recess I overheard one child say to another, “Are you acting like Amos?” when a group was deciding who to play with.

This simple story of friendship has provided not only so many entrance points for classroom discussions on comprehension skills surrounding character, but also, opportunities to talk with students about their relationships and our own classroom culture. In the end though, this story is one that regardless of the lesson, I still love to pick up and just read for the simple pleasure of reading…and my students do too!

Editor’s note: for more about the Steads and their books, check out our interview with Erin Stead and Philip’s profile of Erin in our July/August 2011 Horn Book Magazine.

The post Why we love Amos appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/love-amos/feed/ 2
All about literature circles http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/literature-circles/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/literature-circles/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 02:01:27 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38941 I know it is summer, but I found (especially as a new teacher) that setting aside a good chunk of time to go Beast Mode* on a specific strategy truly helps in its implementation during the next school year. This summer, I’m planning to reflect on how our literature circles went this past year and […]

The post All about literature circles appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
I know it is summer, but I found (especially as a new teacher) that setting aside a good chunk of time to go Beast Mode* on a specific strategy truly helps in its implementation during the next school year.

This summer, I’m planning to reflect on how our literature circles went this past year and figure out how to weave it into new Common Core-aligned curriculum. In my previous post, I gave a lengthy explanation about how I introduced literature circles into my 8th grade classroom and gave three short book reviews. I recognize that there are areas of growth in my own facilitation, so for this post I’d like to open up the floor for you guys to shed some light, share experiences, or submit questions concerning this teaching strategy. I’m also going to share a few resources that helped me jumpstart this strategy in my classroom.

Why do I want to keep growing in this area? Simple!

  • It allows for specified differentiation among reading and interest levels.
  • It allows students to build their Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) through preparation, discussion, and various circle roles.
  • It builds metacognition as students reflect on their preparation and contributions.
  • Once students understand how it works, it practically runs itself!

So without further ado, here are a few websites that offer insight into the implementation of literature circles.

Do you have favorite resources, ideas, or anecdotes from your own experiences with this strategy?

* Beast Mode: Periods of intense concentrated effort as exemplified by former Cal running back (and Oakland native), Marshawn Lynch.

The post All about literature circles appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/literature-circles/feed/ 1
Using picture books to teach satire http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/using-picture-books-teach-satire/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/using-picture-books-teach-satire/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 10:01:14 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38811 It is important to expose children to a variety of genres of literature at young age and to do our best to explain the conventions of that genre in developmentally appropriate ways. One of the genres of literature that might not get as much emphasis in standardized tests but is important to be able to […]

The post Using picture books to teach satire appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
stinkycheeseman 239x300 Using picture books to teach satireIt is important to expose children to a variety of genres of literature at young age and to do our best to explain the conventions of that genre in developmentally appropriate ways. One of the genres of literature that might not get as much emphasis in standardized tests but is important to be able to comprehend and write is satire. (We have failed our students if they graduate from high school and post Onion articles on Twitter and Facebook thinking they are real). Fortunately, there are plenty of  great satirical picture books that are both entertaining and can help young children begin to understand the concept of literary satire.

Probably the best known satirical children’s book — and a good place to start  is Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Before reading The Stinky Cheese Man, make sure you have exposed the children to all the original stories it satirizes because we can’t assume that all five-year-olds are familiar with “Jack and the Bean Stalk,” “Chicken Little,” etc.

Another conundrum is how to explain the concept of satire to young children. I don’t know a perfect way to do this, but I usually explain to the children that a satire makes fun of other stories or something that happens in real life. Obviously, some children will understand the concept more than others and that is completely okay. If a child laughs and enjoys the satire, that’s good enough even if they can’t really explain it. There are also some easy ways to deepen understanding of the concept of satire if children show interest in it.

Here are a couple of simple ways to help children understand satire.

  • After reading satirical books, staple some paper into a booklet and challenge the children to illustrate and write their own satires.
  • Many satirical picture books start off with a straightforward storyline and then feature an ironic satirical twist in the plot. Two great examples of this are The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and That Is Not A Good Idea! by Mo Willems. With books like these, you can pause during story time before the twist and have children try to predict the ending. Then after finishing the story, you can start a discussion with the children about the satirical twist in the plot.

I’ll end this post with a couple of questions:

  • What are some of your favorite satirical picture books?
  • How did you learn about the concept of satire? Was it at school or through “Bugs Bunny” and “The Simpsons” like me?

 

Editor’s note: In the same vein, watch for an article by Jonathan Hunt in the September Horn Book Magazine on using picture books to teach older students about inference.

The post Using picture books to teach satire appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/using-picture-books-teach-satire/feed/ 2
Two Arthurs http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/two-arthurs/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/two-arthurs/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:59:04 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39138 Here in Boston we are getting ready for a sideswipe by Hurricane Arthur. They’ve even moved the Boston Pops and fireworks festivities to tonight instead of tomorrow. Meanwhile, Arthur is headed for the southeast coast here in the US today. It’s pretty rare for that first storm of the season — the one named with […]

The post Two Arthurs appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
Here in Boston we are getting ready for a sideswipe by Hurricane Arthur. They’ve even moved the Boston Pops and fireworks festivities to tonight instead of tomorrow. Meanwhile, Arthur is headed for the southeast coast here in the US today. It’s pretty rare for that first storm of the season — the one named with an A — to do much damage, but still one worries. I hope everyone stays safe.

Thinking about this hurricane’s name reminded me of the most famous children’s lit Arthur, Marc Brown’s aardvark. I admit to never watching one of the cartoons all the way through, in part because I don’t like how the character’s face was made so generic for the cartoon version. It’s as if Arthur’s makeover role model was Michael Jackson: lighter skin tone (or is it fur?) and smaller features. I never did understand the color change, but regarding the nose, it’s probably difficult to animate a character with a large droopy nose and short arms. How would he carry anything?

Still, when you compare the first book — which is about Arthur learning to come to terms with having a very large nose — to the present incarnation, I have to wonder what children make of this change.

arthursnose Two Arthurs       arthurnow Two Arthurs

Has anyone had a conversation with a child about the different physiognomies? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

The post Two Arthurs appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/two-arthurs/feed/ 1
Books that feature poets http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/books-feature-poets/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/books-feature-poets/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:01:25 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38003 Recently some friends of mine from Brookline High — Mary Burchenal and Ric Calleja — were interviewed in the Boston Globe about whether poetry is starting to disappear from schools. I don’t really know, but I sure hope not. In lots of classrooms I visit, poetry is certainly a part of the curriculum. But I […]

The post Books that feature poets appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
Recently some friends of mine from Brookline High — Mary Burchenal and Ric Calleja — were interviewed in the Boston Globe about whether poetry is starting to disappear from schools. I don’t really know, but I sure hope not. In lots of classrooms I visit, poetry is certainly a part of the curriculum.

But I had a thought recently, that as a teacher, I rarely showed my students many real or fictional modern poets, even though we read poems. I didn’t realize until recently that my classroom collection has been woefully short on characters and authors who choose to write and read poetry. I have lots of journalers, some journalists, and the occasional fiction writer, but not enough poets. Lucky for me, a spate of great options have appeared lately to add to classroom libraries or stashes of text samples for minilessons.

hattemer vigilantepoets 200x300 Books that feature poets      roskos drbird 200x300 Books that feature poets      nelson how i discovered poetry Books that feature poets

On the fiction side, two very different options:

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, by Kate Hattemer
In order to protest a reality-TV show being filmed at their prestigious art school, Ethan and his friends (and his gerbil, a bit of a hero himself) decide to save their school. In order to do so, they decide to write a vigilante poem a la Ezra Pound to get the student body on board. I like to think Pound would have loved to be just this sort of inspiration.

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, by Evan Roskos
James Whitman, a teen who struggles with anxiety and depression, loves Walt Whitman, and so tries to adopt Whitman’s spirit in his own life. Threaded throughout with Walt’s words and James’s poetry-esque descriptions of his experiences, this book has many elements, including family struggles, a crush on a girl, and a protagonist who doesn’t always connect.

On the nonfiction side, a book I doubt I’ll forget:

how i discovered poetry, by Marilyn Nelson; illus. by Hadley Hooper
This verse memoir, consisting of sonnets that don’t rhyme, paints the story of Nelson’s military family moving around America during the 1950s. Personal experiences and connections to civil rights news of the day combine to tell a powerful and somehow also quiet story about using words to tell stories.

I can’t wait to use these titles in a variety of ways with students and teachers, and I’d love to hear other ideas of texts that feature poetry or writing generally as a central theme!

The post Books that feature poets appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/lollys-classroom/books-feature-poets/feed/ 1