Poetry Friday: Poetry Finalist for CYBILS


Mary Lee of A Year of Reading is hosting Poetry Reading.

Today’s the day!  The finalists for the CYBILS  have been announced HERE.

Let’s take a moment to salute the Magnificent Seven Poetry Finalists.

We welcomed the addition of verse novels this year to poetry so we

had a total of forty-eight entries. Of the the forty-eight, twenty

six were collections, nine were anthologies, and thirteen were verse


My awesome team of Margaret Simon, Tricia Hunt-Stohr, Nancy Bo Flood,

Irene Latham, Sylvia Vardell, and Carol Wilcox discussed and advocated

for these Magnificent Seven.  Not an easy task.Three are verse novels and

three are collections and one is an anthology.

Before I share the list, I have a shout out of thanks for help that Carol

provided when I ended up in the hospital earlier this week with blood clots

from surgery.

And now without further ado…

HOUSE ARREST by K. A. Holt; Chronicle, 2015

Nominated by Mike Jung

When Timothy is caught shoplifting, he’s under “house arrest” for a whole year, required to keep a journal, see a therapist, and check in with a probation officer. But in this compelling and honest novel in verse, we come to see he is dealing with some very difficult circumstances that center around an overworked mom, an absent father, and an infant brother who suffers from a severe, chronic and life-threatening condition: subglottic stenosis. Although based on the author’s own experiences with her own son, this is not a didactic treatment of childhood illness, rather it’s about how difficult times force us to dig deep to find the inner resources that can help us rise to the challenges we face in life. Timothy is difficult, obnoxious, totally absorbing and often hilarious. Even the adult characters are multi-dimensional with side stories of their own. Told from Timothy’s point of view, the poetry manages to convey so much information, emotion, and growing self-awareness, while giving the reader plenty of space to think, too.

Sylvia Vardell

edited by J. Patrick Lewis
National Geographic Children’s Books

Nominated by bevpdx

This outstanding companion to Lewis’s 2012 collection of animal poetry, THE BOOK OF NATURE POETRY includes more than 200 poems from writers both classic (Blake, Dickinson, Thoreau, Whitman) and contemporary (Hoberman, Nye, Mora, Yolen). Paired with superb and often breathtaking nature photography, readers will return to this book often to appreciate both the poems and the photographs. Organized into the categories The Wonder of Nature, In the Sky, In the Sea, On the Move, Across the Land, In Shad, In Distress, In Season, In Splendor, and Last Thoughts, the collection celebrates biodiversity and the amazing landscapes that support life on our planet. Back matter includes an essay on Mother Nature, a bibliography of children’s books on wordplay in poetry organized by poetic form, and indices of the poems by title, poet, first line, and subject.

This is a massive volume that includes something for readers of all ages, and one that will have them anxious to step outside and explore the world around them.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, The Miss Rumphius Effect

written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Henry Holt
Nominated by Linda Baie

FLUTTER AND HUM: ALETEO Y ZUMBIDO by Julie Paschkis, is a collection of fifteen free verse animal poems- including snake, turtle, crow, heron, parrot, dog, cat, cow, fly, whale, deer, moth, owl, fish– in both English and Spanish.  The poems are accompanied by Paschkis’ vibrant folk art, with words from the poem/palabras de los poemas embedded in the illustrations.

The author’s note is particularly interesting. In this note, Paschkis explains that she is not a native Spanish speaker, and  became interested in the language when she was illustrating a book about Pablo Neruda, approximately ten years ago. This sparked her interest in learning Spanish, which ultimately led to the publication of FLUTTER AND HUM/ALETEO Y ZUMBIDO. Paschkis says, “Somehow my unfamiliarity with Spanish freed me to write poetry. I felt like a visitor wandering through a forest of Spanish words, marveling at the beauty of sound, meaning, and syntax.”

This is a book sure to delight both English and Spanish readers.

by Carol Wilcox, Carol W’s Corner

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Nominated by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Based on a true events, this historical verse novel celebrates friendship in an unlikely place: the munitions factory in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Two girls separated from their families tell their stories in alternating chapters that chronicle the daily horrors, and also the small, tender triumphs that sustain them in beautiful unflinching verse that never once loses sight of hope for survival, escape, and a future filled with family and love. The book includes a historical note and actual photographs of the birthday card (now on display at Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre) that was created in secrecy and defiance, and was signed by the whole group of friends. This powerful, meaningful story for ages 12 and up will “unfold… a corner of your heart.

by Irene Latham, Live Your Poem

The Popcorn Astronauts: And Other Biteable Rhymes by Barbara Ruddell

Delicious. Ridiculous. Funny.  Engaging.  Popcorn Astronauts offers a variety of “edible” poems that are as strange and crazy as the book’s title.  For example, try a shake ordered to poetic specifications:  “A frosty cup of moonlight, please … As mushy as a mittenful of slightly melted snow ….”  If that is a little on the chilly side, then try “Dracula’s Late-Night Bite,”especially after he “flosses his fangs and he slides out the door for dessert.”  Great poems to cause both laughter and interest in young readers and examples for writing one’s own delicious verse.

Margaret K. McElderry Books

Nominated by Bridget Wilson

by Nancy Bo Flood, http://www.ReaderKidz.com   www.thepiratetree.com

FULL CICADA MOON by Marilyn Hilton

Mimi’s appearance is what her new classmates see.  They do not see Mimi. She looks different than anyone in a nearly all-white New England town.  She acts different. Mimi wants to be in Shop Class, not Home Ec.  The school says “no.”  Mimi wants to be an astronaut.  Classmates make fun of her. But Mimi refuses to let go of her dreams, her goals, and who she is, no matter how much she is teased and bullied.  And then someone dares to speak up.

This historical middle-grade novel is told in verse, a lyrical and emotional journey from Mimi’s perspective over the course of one year of surviving in an unwelcoming new school and town.

Nominated by MotherReader

by Nancy Bo Flood, http://www.ReaderKidz.com   www.thepiratetree.com

Winter Bees (And Other Poems of the Cold) by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

Did you know that bees stay active in the winter?  They boil, teem, and hum to keep themselves and their queen warm and safe.  Winter Bees is full of fascinating facts about plants and animals in winter.  The poems offer vibrant, moving energy around words and images.  Rick Allen’s illustrations take you into the midst of the snow and wind with vivid expression.  From free-verse, rhyming, to original poetic forms, Joyce Sidman warms our hearts through the cold tundra.  Dancing with the chickadee “From dawn to dusk in darkling air/ we glean and gulp and pluck and snare”, discovering snow fleas “A mob of us, a mass of us, a throng of us,” and wondering with the trees “Roots are deep and time is slow./ All we grasp we must let go,” Winter Bees is a treasure to hold.  

by Margaret Simon

Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry


4 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Poetry Finalist for CYBILS

  1. What an enticing snapshot of all these books. I’m hoping they come to Australia, because you’ve certainly made me want to read them. Especially those verse novels. How fabulous to see them there. Congratulations to you all on a job very well done!

  2. Such a great group of books! And such a great panel of judges! I thoroughly enjoyed working on this committee! And I was glad to help! Hope you are feeling better!

  3. Pingback: Celebrating Simple Joys | Reflections on the Teche

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