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Teaching poetry

Poetrees

In a short 6-week module like the one I teach at Harvard Ed School, time is the enemy. My quixotic goal for this too-short class is to expose students to all aspects of children’s literature, in breadth and in depth. Of course, every year and there is something I wish we had discussed in more […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, fall 2016

Folklore and poetry

For our class on November 16, 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 […]

Review of Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

bryan_freedom-over-me

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    56 pp. 9/16    978-1-4814-5690-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5691-3    $10.99 A historical document dated July 5, 1828, lists the property to be sold from the Fairchilds’ estate. Hogs. Cattle. A handmill. Men. […]

Happy 100th birthday, Roald Dahl!

roald-dahl-100

Roald Dahl wrote a lot, from short stories for adults to fantastical novels for kids. But what I love best about his work is the poetry, which he often tucked into his novels in the form of characters bursting into song. (Those Oompa Loompas had songs in the books with nary a “doopity doo.”) So […]

How I Discovered Young Adult Poetry – The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Marilyn Nelson

A couple of weeks ago, at a dinner with several poets, one of them said, “You’re lucky, Marilyn: you know how to write poems for the young adult audience.” I laughed and told him he was entirely wrong. I have absolutely no idea how to write for the young adult audience. I just write what […]

Review of Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science

atkins_finding wonders

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    198 pp. 9/16    978-1-4814-6565-6    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6567-0    $10.99 Atkins (Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters, rev. 5/10) here tells the stories, again in poetry, of three real-life self-taught female […]

Review of You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

weatherford_you can fly

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    82 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-4938-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4940-3    $10.99 Thirty-two poems written in the second person bring to life the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Pilots, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance workers, and navigators […]

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Jungle app review

flip flap jungle title

A companion to Axel Scheffler’s flip book of the same name, Flip Flap Jungle (Nosy Crow, 2015; iOS only) allows you to create seemingly infinite animals by combining the top half of one and the bottom half of another. Want to see what a parakeet might look like with four furry legs? Swipe the bottom of […]

Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

brown_slickety quick

Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown; illus. by Bob Kolar Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99 Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So / move […]

Books mentioned in the April 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes Good Poetry? Picture Books Argueta, Jorge  Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh 32 pp.     Groundwood     2015     ISBN 978-1-55498-442-8 Ebook ISBN 978-1-55498-443-5 Brown, Skila  Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks Illustrated by Bob Kolar 32 pp.     Candlewick     2016     ISBN 978-0-7636-6543-2 Greenfield, Eloise  The Great Migration: Journey to the […]