Sunday, April 7, 2013

Poetry Love & Picture Books Too



More Poetry Love Plus Some Terrific Picture Books


          It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  is a kidlit meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach.Mentor.Texts.  Come visit!  And also visit Sheila at Book Journeys to find reviews of all kinds of books for adults and for children.  

            Don't forget the hashtag #IMWAYR 

          It’s Poetry Month, and here at Teacher Dance on Mondays each week, I share the books I’ve read in the past week.  This month, I’ll also  share some poetry anthologies for children that I’ve loved, I’ve used, and some recently published ones you should add to your own collections.

"Poetry is beautiful shorthand."     William Cole
POETRY:

Something new to hold onto:

Forest Has A Song - poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, illustrated by Robbin Gourley



        Amy started her blog, promising to write a poem each day for a year not long before I started mine.  Her blog, The Poem Farm I found so inspiring, consistently offering original poems and lesson ideas for writing that I loved and could use in the classroom.  I am so happy to write today about her first book, published March 25th, titled Forest Has A Song.  


        If you love the forest like I do, you will also love what Amy and Robbin have offered in this new book of poems.  They have shown the real things, like in the poem Puff, telling about those earthy wonders that one finds in the damp and dark of the forest, emitting a little cloud of spores when squeezed.  And the poem Squirrel, pleading for the whereabouts of its secret stash. Amy's poems take us from entering the forest in full flower with a kind invitation, "I'm here./Come visit./ Please?"  through the autumn in poems like Maples In October, to winter  celebrated in poems like Snowflake Voices.  And then there are the magical forest voices which appear in an young owl's voice, First Flight; along with the beautiful Lady's Slipper, named in the poem as "Forest Cinderella."  Robbin's illustrations take us further into the poems with her beautiful and sometimes whimsical illustrations.  A young girl is "us", wandering through, seeing all the wonder of this forest, and keeping the theme of the invitation to visit, we can pretend we're there too!  
           I hope I've written enough of the beauty of Amy's poems to make you visit too.  I told Amy I would post a picture of a place I know well in the Colorado forests because her book reminds me of that place, where I have visited and seen much of what Amy has written about in her book.  I just haven't written the poems that go with it.  Please visit Amy's book; you will love it!


review copy provided by the publisher


:

I, Too, Am AmericaLangston Hughes, illustrations by Bryan Collier

            This is a gorgeous book I was lucky to win a copy of.  You may know the poem, but will not fully appreciate it until you see what Bryan Collier has done to illustrate the words.  He has kept a thread of an American flag moving through the pages of the book, some more subtle than others, weaving the story of African Americans, including Pullman porters working on trains who couldn’t eat in the dining car themselves.  The extra information at the back from Collier explains how he traces change, moving from one full-page spread to another of different challenges in Civil Rights history. “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes!”   the porter exclaims.  It’s a terrific addition to poetry collections.

PICTURE BOOKS:

Small Beauties, The Journey of Darcy Heart O’Hara – Elvira Woodruff, illus. by Adam Rex
            A class unit a few years ago was a study of immigration and I took my class to New York City to visit the places there that would give them direct insight into that experience, like the Tenement Museum and of course, Ellis Island.  I wish I could have had this beautiful book at that time, to be an inspiration in our research.  This is the story woven around a young Irish girl who saw her ‘small beauties’ in the everyday things like a round stone or part of a butterfly wing and castles in the clouds.  It speaks of stories from her grandfather at the fire’s hearth, and the sadness of the potato famine, taking the small livelihood available and causing families to lose everything, forcing them to leave their beloved Ireland.  The story is both sad and heartwarming, and the back matter given by the author is highly interesting.  The illustrations are both full page and smaller additions to the story’s action in gorgeous acrylic.

A Splash of Red, The Life And Art of Horace Pippin – written by Jen Bryant, illus. by
Melissa Sweet 
          I’ve never heard of Horace Pippin, but because of this story, I looked further to find he is a highly respected folk artist with his art placed in museums all over the country.  The book relates his interesting life story whose parents, former slaves, were very poor, causing Pippin to quit school at age 14.  He had little money for art materials, and won some supplies by entering a contest once. His love of art and persistence to capture scenes from his life helped keep him drawing and painting.  This book tells the story, interspersing the words with Melissa Sweet’s beautiful painted and collaged illustrations.  These two artists, Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet also collaborated on the Caldecott winner A River of Words. For this book, they traveled together to research and develop Pippin’s story into one that will be of interest to all ages.
                    
The Heart and the Bottle – written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
              This is a book about grief, and a little girl who was filled with wonder, yet had such loss that she stops her wondering and puts her heart in a bottle to protect it.  With very few words and spare pictures, Oliver Jeffers tells this story and the path taken by the girl.  I don’t want to give the ending away, but it’s a sweet story.

Myra at Gathering Books, has been sharing books that connect to their special oddballs and misfits theme.  Recently, she reviewed two Shaun Tan books I was not familiar with.  I was lucky to find them at the library.

  The Lost Thing - written and illustrated by Shaun Tan

           Shaun Tan’s stories and illustrations are amazing, every time, and this is another of those books that one can read and re-read, and still not see or understand all that is in the book.  This particular story takes the reader on a journey of sympathy for the different, where a young boy finds a “thing”, wonders about it, and tries very hard to resolve the question of "where does “it” belong?".  I imagine this book will start much conversation, and will continue to spark it with second reads.  Like all Tan’s, it’s worth a good look.

The Red Tree - written and illustrated by Shaun Tan
           I love Shaun Tan’s books, stories that fit nearly all ages of students, and can start so many conversations among students.  The collages are filled with interesting objects, even inviting one to take out a magnifying glass to see the fine print included on many of the pages.  This story tells of a young girl who is so sad, seeming to see the dark side of every part of her day, until she finds one thing that inspires.  You need to read the story to see all the details of her journey, and it’s well worth it.





Poetry Links:
       Mary Lee Hahn, at A Year of Reading, has been writing some gorgeous poetry this past week, using media from the Creative Commons site and teaching about proper attribution at the same time.  It's been a week of beautiful words written by her and a few of her commenters, along with learning and inspiration.  Please visit!
       To the right are the writers for Irene Latham's progressive poem during the month at Live Your Poem. So far, counting today, eight poets have added their lines; it's a path that meanders, with surprises each day!
        If you’d like to see more of the spectacular happenings occurring in April, check out Jama Rattigan’s blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup.  I think she’ll be adding to the list as she finds out more, so keep checking in.
       And here are a few more wonderful poetry links at Tabatha Yeatts' blog,  The Opposite of Indifference.  

NEXT:  I'm well into The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen ( so far, love it), and have several recent poetry books and other picture books to read, plus I'll finish Rules by Cynthia Lord with my book group.  Happy Reading Everyone!

26 comments:

  1. Lots of reading there Linda. I am about to order The False Prince, it's definitely one I want to read. I like the sound of The Red Tree too.

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    1. Thanks Kathryn. Both are good. As you see, I found The Red Tree quite intriguing!

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  2. Would you say that The Heart and The Bottle and The Red Tree kind of "go together"? They both seem to be dealing with sadness. I haven't read either, but I'd like to.

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    1. Yes, definitely, Tabatha. I should have mentioned it as I was writing. Both "characters" are struggling with sadness, and do find a way to lift out of it. Thanks for the questions!

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  3. Lovely titles this week! I'm eager to get my hands on Small Beauties and Forest has a Song... :)

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    1. Both just wonderful, as you see from my words. Thanks for coming by!

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  4. Linda, Thank you so much for your words about FOREST... And for sharing your beautiful forest. I want to step into that photo. Thank you also for these other recommended titles. I am excited to check them out, especially SMALL BEAUTIES and THE RED TREE. They do all seem to go together somehow. xo, a.

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    1. You are quite welcome, Amy. As I said on Facebook, too, it is a pleasure to write about wonderful books! Small Beauties and The Red Tree are certainly connected through someone coming to hope, and inspiration. I hope you find and enjoy them!

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  5. Hi there dearest Linda, thank you sooo much for the lovely mention of our oddballs and misfits theme, I am enjoying myself immensely just hunting for books that fit our theme just right. I am also glad that you loved The Red Tree and The Lost Thing - I use the former as a read aloud to my teacher-trainees, very powerful book. I also read The Heart and the Bottle aloud to a group of more than 170 graduate students in my institution - while I teach research methodologies, somehow I manage to weave this passion of mine to my mass lectures and smaller tutorial sessions - simply can not help it.
    I am also eager to get my hands on Amy's gorgeous book - I must have told you before that I think I was born a dryad in a lifetime - lovelovelove the forest and the trees and the greens. Will definitely check that book out. :)

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    1. If you have that dryad inside, you will love Amy's book, Myra. It gives such an aura of the forests we all love. And I am glad to talk about your latest theme; it is books like those I think I must enjoy best. One reason might be is that I will always be looking for provocative picture books for discussions with older students. Shaun Tan fits that very well, and now you've shown me Anthony Browne too! Many good books out there!

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  6. Hi Linda,

    I just added 4 new titles to my MustOrderNow list! Small Beauties looks so wonderfully amazing. Also on my list: Forest Has a Song (which I have seen popping up in blogs and reviews), A Splash of Red and Heart and the Bottle. Thank you for the reviews!

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    1. Yes, all worthy of having. As you saw from my writing, I loved them all! Hope you do, too, Nicole!

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  7. Oliver Jeffers style is so distinctive. I can catch his book covers out of the corner of my eye and name him as the illustrator immediately. I haven't seen this one, I'm going to check it out. Have a great week!

    Maria @novalibrarymom

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    1. I don't know Jeffers so well, but will now look for him, Maria. Hope you like this one, too! Thanks!

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  8. I love anything that Oliver Jeffers writes/illustrates. There's always so much to think about in his books. I've had Forest Has a Song on my radar for awhile. I'm hoping to pick it up over Spring Break. I'm so happy to read you're loving The False Prince. It's one of my top 5 2012 titles for middle grade readers! Of course I have to say I'm proud to see A Splash of Red on your list as Melissa is a fellow Mainer. She represents us well!

    Happy Reading!

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    1. Well, I've enjoyed all the books this time, Susan. A Splash of Red is just beautiful to see. I just wish I had more time to sit and read, then I would definitely finish The False Prince, & move to the 2nd one! Thank you!

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  9. Yay! You found Small Beauties! Wasn't that a lovely little book? It would actually pair well with the Matchbox Diary, a new book. You've also given me some books to look for! Thank you!

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    1. I hope you shared about the Matchbox Diary Melanie. If it's like Small Beauties, I know I'll love it. Are you the one who recommended Small Beauties? I know I ordered it because of someone here. It's wonderful to read everyone's recommendations, but costly too! Thanks!

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  10. So many wonderful books, Linda! I'm really looking forward to getting Forest Has Song, and I love Elvira Woodruff, so I'm adding Small Beauties to my TBR list. It's a good thing I'm on vacation next week. I'll finally have some time to read! Thanks for sharing!
    Catherine

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    1. Terrific you have your vacation next week; ours is just a distant memory! Have fun reading and everything else! Thanks!

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  11. I was unfamiliar with the Jeffers book you referenced above. The subject matter is so delicate. I can't wait to check it out.

    BTW: I took my class to the Tenement Museum when I taught in NY. Couldn't do that once I moved to RI so I did the virtual field trip there with my kids. We put it up using the LCD projector (in today's world that'd be done with a SMART Board). They LOVED it. Perhaps you can get back to the Tenement Museum with the kids in your school now virtually.

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    1. You're right, Stacey, we have one smart board & it can be done. The museum was wonderful & the students loved it. The Heart and The Bottle clearly is metaphorical, & maybe for older students, but I wonder if it won't speak to younger ones too, perhaps give them a chance to share feelings they don't even recognize yet. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  12. Such lovely books. I have requested Small Beauties from my library and it is in transit so looking forward to reading it. I think we both heard about it in the last few weeks on another IMWAYR post? The Heart in the Bottle is very special - I actually included it in a list about books that explore death and grief: http://thereisabookforthat.com/book-recommendations/picture-books-that-explore-death-bereavement/

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    1. Yes, I don't know who suggested Small Beauties, perhaps Melanie? Thanks for the link too, Carrie. There is often a need for these books. Do you have Missing Nathan (I think that's the title) on the list? It is a sweet book, too. Thanks!

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  13. I can't wait to read these titles! Looks like you have a great week of reading ahead. Thank, Linda.

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    1. You're welcome, Cathy. I think it will be a good week!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!