Five questions for Nikki Grimes

nikki grimes

April is National Poetry Month, and what better way to celebrate than by talking with acclaimed poet Nikki Grimes? Her many books include narratives in verse, prose fiction, poetry collections, and nonfiction, frequently featuring African American characters and culture. In Grimes’s latest picture book, Poems in the Attic (illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon; Lee & Low, […]

Versatile verse

wardlaw_won ton and chopstick

National Poetry Month (better known as April) celebrates a form that can be used in myriad ways to explore any topic imaginable. Here are two collections of poems with themes in common, and two books that use poetry to help tell a larger story. A kitty named Won Ton makes his second appearance in Lee […]

Review of Please Excuse This Poem

lauer_please excuse this poem

Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick High School   Viking   289 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01479-8   $16.99   g “Most poets begin writing poetry in secret.” Poet Carolyn Forché opens her introduction to this anthology of contemporary American poetry with a shout-out to young or burgeoning […]

Field Notes: “This Is Too Much!” Why Verse Novels Work for Reluctant Readers

raybuck_heartbeat

Novels in verse have earned their place in the mainstream of children’s and young adult literature — Exhibit A: Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover winning the Newbery Medal — and this is good news for reluctant readers, especially reluctant middle-grade and middle-school readers. Compared to a conventional novel, a novel in verse has perhaps half the […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, 2015

Folklore and poetry

For our class on April 2, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]

Poetrees | Class #5, 2015

Poetrees

As you know if you’ve read Susan Lempke’s article, there are lots and lots of books with poems about a particular subject — enough to read one every day of the school year. As she says, some work better than others as poems. What do you think of this one? Florian has several volumes of […]

A Kick in the Head | Class #5, 2015

A Kick in the Head

This is one of those books for kids that tends to be an eye-opener for most adults, too. Who knew there were this many poetry forms out there?! Notice how the book could be enjoyed by just reading the poems. OR, if you want to learn more, you can see what the form is and […]

National Poetry Month

florian_poem depot

Florian, Douglas Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles Gr. K–3     154 pp.     Dial Readers browse through “Poem Depot’s” eleven “aisles” (chapters) with names like “Chortles & Chuckles” and “Tons of Puns.” Many of the pieces are four to ten lines long, easily memorized by the audience, who will enjoy the funny punch lines. Florian uses thick, […]

Review of Won Ton and Chopstick

wardlaw_won ton and chopstick

Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw; illus. by Eugene Yelchin Primary   Holt   40 pp. 3/15   978-0-8050-9987-4   $17.99   g In this sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (rev. 3/11), the cautious kitty has another reason to be worried: an adorable new puppy. Won […]

Review of Harlem Hellfighters

lewis_hellfighters

Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis; 
illus. by Gary Kelley Intermediate, Middle School   Creative Editions   32 pp. 9/14   978-1-56846-246-2   $18.99 The story of the 15th New York National Guard, or the “Harlem Hellfighters,” an all-black regiment that joined the Great War in its final year, is a revealing lens through which to view that conflict. […]