Friday, March 9, 2012

Librarians' Choices...and My Choices

Sylvia Vardell is a treasure in the world of children's poetry books, so I hope everyone reading this will follow the link to her blog, Poetry for Children,  to read about the seventeen books of poetry which made the Librarians' Choice list for 2011. Laura Purdie Salas's BookSpeak! Poems About Books is on the list, as are two other favorites of mine from last year, Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack and Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word by Bob Raczka. All three of those books are included on my own slightly belated list of Best Poetry Books 2011. You can find that over at the Books Around the Table blog my writing friends and I have just started. And Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 has written about Lemonade, too.

I'm in awe of what Raczka manages to do with a single word in Lemonade. In case you can't make out the poem in the image below, he takes the word "constellation" and creates the following poem, which spills down the page according to the letters' positions in the original word:
"a silent lion tells an ancient tale"

If you don't think that's hard, take a single word and give it a try yourself.  You can only use letters from the original word, and the poem must define or conjure up an image of what the word suggests - in this case, the constellation of Leo. Amazing!! I don't spend a lot of time envying other poets, but I sure wish my name were on that book.
The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted today by Myra (Happy Birthday, Myra!) at Gathering Books - head over there to see what other people have posted today. And don't forget to check out the new blog I'm contributing to (I've posted my Best Poetry Books for Kids 2011 list there) called Books Around the Table.


  1. BRILLIANT is all I can say about that book. I mean, poems within words! Brilliant. Thanks so much for sharing. And please consider joining the KidLit Progressive Poem fun in April!

  2. Sylvia IS a treasure. I'm very excited that BookSpeak is on the Librarians' Choice list, along with lots of other poetry books. The poem you shared from Lemonade is my favorite in the entire collection. I just did a poetry inservice and am doing another one on Tuesday, and Constellation is the poem that I share from Lemonade.

    Thanks, Julie!

  3. Irene, thanks for the heads-up about the progressive poem. I've just signed up!

  4. Amazing. I'm not sure I can even wrap my brain around the process, much less come up with a complete book of them. Amazing. Did I say that already?

  5. Looks like some great books made the list.

  6. I've tried to write poems like the ones in LEMONADE and they are HARDHARDHARD!!!

    It's a truly great and original book.

  7. Glorious new poetry books to buy and share with my kiddos...thank you!