Welcome to the first Poetry Friday of 2015. It’s hosted by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect and one of our panelist for the first round of the CYBILS in Poetry. The seven member committee worked diligently to come up with the spectacular seven books. They are diverse, varied in audiences and stretch boundaries.
And with out further ado here they are (again) in case you were away from the computer or the digital highway.
Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books
Nominated by: Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
Brown Girl Dreaming is many things in one rich collection – memoir, history, biography – and lyrical, exquisite poetry. Events of the author’s personal and family history provide the framework for a series of individual poems. Woven throughout are key events of the Civil Rights journey and also personal effects of racism and discrimination. In this beautiful and powerful tapestry of verse, one hears the poignant reflections of Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, who kept on dreaming through tough times and good times and who keeps on writing in mesmerizing verse.
Nancy Bo Flood , The Pirate Tree; Social Justice and Children’s Literature
Dear Wandering Wildebeest And Other Poems from the Water Hole
by Irene Latham, illustrated by Anna Wadham
Nominated by: Amy @ Hope Is the Word
Dear Wandering Wildebeest’s poetry bounces with the impala and peeps like the meerkat. With childlike illustrations by Anna Wadham, Irene Latham takes us on a journey to the water hole of the African grasslands. Each poem is accompanied with factual information that will inform even the oldest readers.
To All the Beasts who Enter Here, there is word play with “Saw-scaled viper/ rubs, shrugs,/ sizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzles,” form experiments in Triptych for a Thirsty Giraffe, humor with “Dung Beetle lays eggs/ in elephant poop,” and even danger, “Siren-howls/ foul the air./ Vultures stick to task.” Children and adults alike will love the language and learning that wanders in this book along with the animals of the watering hole.
Margaret Simon, Reflections on the Teche
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
by Paul B. Janeczko
Nominated by: Danyelle
Prolific anthologist Paul B. Janeczko brings the old and the new together in Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems. The collection of 36 poems contains poems by classic poets such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Intermingled with these are poems by well known children’s poets including J. Patrick Lewis and X. J. Kennedy. Firefly July takes readers through the seasons beginning in spring and ending with winter. The poems take readers to different locations as well. Both city and country settings appear in the poems. As the subtitle states, the poems are short, but the images they evoke are almost tangible. Melissa Sweet’s mixed media illustrations are colorful, playful, imaginative, and whimsical. They draw readers into the poems. Firefly July is a stellar collection that will likely be a family favorite for years to come.
Bridget R. Wilson, What Is Bridget Reading?
Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons
by Jon J Muth
Nominated by: Bridget Wilson
Inspired by his twins, Muth wrote a haiku book that doesn’t followe the often used three line, 5-7-5 syllable form. This made this title a stand out among other haiku books.
Readers take a seasonal journey from summer through spring by Koo the panda. (Thus the pun in the title: Hi Koo!) Beginning with a simple observation about the wind: /found!/ in my Coat pocket a missing button/ the wind’s surprise, to the last haiku: becoming quiet/ Zero sound/ only breath/ Muth offers to young readers a new way to experience haiku.
The watercolor and ink drawings complement the text. The subtle alphabet theme adds another dimension to the book.
The author’s note at the book’s beginning sets the tone: “…haiku is like an instant captured in words–using sensory images. At its best, a haiku embodies a moment of emotion that reminds us that our own human nature is not separate from all of nature.”
This book of poetry will help readers to slow down to appreciate the small moments of nature and daily happenings.
Jone Rush MacCulloch, Check It Out
Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole (Carolrhoda Picture Books) (Junior Library Guild Selection)
by Bob Raczka
Nominated by: Stephanie Whelan
Who knew that among his many talents, Santa was an expert at writing haiku? In this collection of 25 poems using the 5-7-5 format, Raczka brings us Santa’s many observations, some about his job: “Wishes blowing in/from my overfilled mailbox–/December’s first storm” and others about the weather, the time of year, and Christmas preparations: “Clouds of reindeer breath/in the barn, steam rising from/my hot chocolate”. A fun read all at once, or one per day in anticipation of Christmas, some of the haiku work for winter in general as well: “Just after moonrise/I meet my tall, skinny twin–/’Good evening, shadow.’”
Kelly Ramsdell Fineman, Writing and Ruminating
Voices from the March on Washington
by J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon
Nominated by: Sylvia Vardell
Voices from the March is a historical novel in verse that focuses specifically on the momentous march on Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech. Six fictional characters (young and old, black and white) tell their tales on this historic day in cycles of linked poems alongside the perspectives of historic figures and other march participants for a rich tapestry of multiple points of view. It’s been 50 years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, when discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin became against the law. In this powerful work, Lewis and Lyon tackle issues of racial and social justice in 70 lyrical poems that reflect the perspectives of young people and adults struggling with taking action for positive change in peaceful ways. In addition, extensive and helpful back matter includes a guide to the fictional and historical voices, bibliography, index, and list of websites and related books.
Sylvia Vardell, Poetry for Children
Water Rolls, Water Rises Water Rolls, Water Rises: El agua rueda, el agua
by Pat Mora
Nominated by: Sylvia Vardell
In a series of free verse poems in English and Spanish, our most precious natural resource takes center stage. Water rolls, rises, slithers, hums, twists, plunges, slumbers and moves across the Earth in varied forms and places. Mora’s three-line poems are filled with imagery and emotion. “Water rises/ into soft fog,/ weaves down the street, strokes and old cat.” (In Spanish: “El agua sube/ formando suave neblina/ que ondula pro la calle, acacia a un gate viejo.”) The lyrical movement of water described in verse is accompanied by Meilo So’s gorgeous mixed-media illustrations highlighting 16 landscapes from Iceland, to China, to Mexico, the United States and more. Back matter includes an author’s note and information about the images in the book. A joyous, bilingual celebration, this collection brings water to life.
Tricia Stohr-Hunt, The Miss Rumphius Effecto
Be reading this year and discovering new poetry titles to nominate for next year.
A fabulous list of finalists! I can’t even begin to imagine how one would go about narrowing it down to one winner. Happy New Year, Jone!
Appreciations for all these details on this spectacular list.
Jone, this is a hearty post with insight into each book offered as Cybil Poetry Finalists. I am delighted to see Irene Latham’s and Bob Raczka’s books among the titles because those were two books I brought home from NCTE. I am eager to crack open the pages.
I am offering a NYC museum-style look at the the Finding Fall Gallery and an invitation to the next gallery today. I hope you find just the right photo(s) to write poems for the next collection. Happy New Year!
I cannot even imagine being a ROUND TWO judge and having to choose ONE from among all these wonderful books! Good luck!
So enjoying reading each of your posts about the finalists – can’t wait for the big reveal!
Great work, once again, Jone! I know first-hand that you are a fabulous leader!
Thank you, Mary Lee.
Lots of dedication among the judges, I know – and especially you as Fearless Leader, Jone! Congrats to all the nominated poets & good luck to the finalists!
Terrific list of finalists!
I have only read Brown Girl Dreaming from this list. Looking forward to finding the rest! 🙂