Monday, April 27, 2009

LS 5663 Poetry Blog Bibliography


Agard, John.; Skipping rope Spell. A Poke in the I.
     Edited by Paul B. Janeczko. Hong Kong:
     Candlewick Press. 2001. 12.
Carola, Robert. Stoway. A Poke in the I. Edited by
     Paul B. Janeczko. Hong Kong: Candlewick Press. 2001. 9.
Collins, Bill. untitled. Salting the Ocean: 100 Poems
     by Young Poets
. Edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. Hong
     Kong: Greenwillow Books, 2000. 66.
Döhl, Reinhard. Pattern Poem with an Elusive Intruder.
     A Poke in the I
. Edited by Paul B Janeczko. Hong Kong:
     Candlewick Press. 2001. 32.
Fleming, Maria. Groundhog. Days to Celebrate: A Full
     Year of Poetry, People, Holidays, History, Fascinating
     Facts, and More
. Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Hong
     Kong: Greenwillow Books. 2005. 19.
Florian, Douglas. Hello, My Name is Dracula.
     Laugh-eteria. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.
     1999. 133.
----- Pluto. Comets, Stars, The Moon, And Mars.
     Orlando, FL: Harcourt Inc. 2007. 37.
----- Sometimes Spring. Handsprings. New York: Harper
     Collins Publishers. 2006. 46.
----- The Salmon. A Poke in the I. Edited by Paul B.
     Janeczko. Hong Kong: Candlewick Press. 2001. 22.
Foxworthy, Jeff. Butterflies. Silly Street. New York:
     Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. 2009. 16.
----- House of Clocks. Silly Street. New York: Harper
     Collins Publishers, Inc. 2009. 13.
George, Kristine O’Connell. SNOB. Swimming
     Upstream: Middle School Poems
. New York: Clarion
     Books. 2002. 41.
Huff, Barbara A. The Library. The Random House Book
     of Poetry for Children
. Edited by Jack Prelutsky.
     New York: Random House. 1983. 220.
Hughes, Langston. Theme for English B. Poems for
     Young People: Langston Hughes
. Edited by David
     Roessel and Arnold Rampersad. New York: Sterling
     Publishing Co., Inc. 2006. 42.
Kulling, Monica. Tennis Anyone? A Poke in the I.
     Edited by Paul B Janeczko. Hong Kong: Candlewick
     Press. 2001. 30.
Kuskin, Karla. Lewis Has a Trumpet. A Jar of
     Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets
     Edited by Bernice E. Cullinan. Honesdale, PA:
     Boyds Mill Press. 1999. 23.
Lady Huarui. Poem of My Lost Country. A
     Thousand Peaks: Poems from China
     Translated by Siyu Liu and Orel Protopopescu.
     Berkeley, CA: Pacific View Press. 2002. 14.
McLoughland, Beverly. The Whippoorwill Calls.
     Lives: Poems About Famous Americans
     Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. New York:
     Harper Collins Publishers, 1999. 10.
Raschka, Chris. Cat Chair. A Poke in the
. Edited by Paul B. Janeczko. Hong
     Kong: Candlewick Press. 2001. 6.
Reposa, Carol Coffee. Alamo Plaza at Night.
     A Students’ Treasury of Texas Poetry.
     Edited by Billy Bob Hill. Fort Worth, TX:
     TCU Press. 2002. 166.
Solt, Mary Ellen. Forsythia. A Poke in the I. Edited
     by Paul B Janeczko. Hong Kong: Candlewick Press.
     2001. 25.
The Erie Canal. Apple for the Teacher: Thirty Songs for
     Singing While You Work
. Edited by Jane Yolen. New      York: Harry N. Abram, Inc., 2005. 19.
Wong, Janet S. Three Way Stop. Behind the Wheel:
     Poems About Driving
. New York: Margaret K.      McElderry Books. 1999. 39.
Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. Maple Street. Sketches From a
     Spy Tree
. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company,      2005. 12.
----- Names. Sketches From a Spy Tree. New York:
     Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 43.
----- Potential. Sketches From a Spy Tree. New
     York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 56.
----- Self-Portrait. Sketches From a Spy Tree. New
     York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 62.
----- The Kiss. Sketches From a Spy Tree. New York:
     Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 30.
----- The Twins. Sketches From a Spy Tree. New York:
     Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 10.
----- Flight Attendant. Steady Hands: Poems about
. New York: Clarion Books. 2009. 31.
----- Librarian. Steady Hands: Poems about Work. New
     York: Clarion Books. 2009. 29.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Poetry Break - A serious poem about a sensitive subject in teens’ lives

Introduction: Road Rage – who hasn’t felt it? Young adults can be especially susceptible to it – they just went through drivers ed and they now know how to drive (unlike some of the other idiots on the road!)

Three Way Stop
By Janet S. Wong

The old lady got there first,
and you got there second,
but here he comes, that jerk in his truck, trying to push his way through—
So you charge to block him off,
you charge, by golly, to stick up for what is right—

and you crash,
ding his tail,
smash your light.

(From BEHIND THE WHEEL: POEMS ABOUT DRIVING by Janet S. Wong. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1999)

Extension: Teenagers don’t have the life experience yet to cope with road rage. In a driver’s education class, this would be a perfect poem to introduce a discussion of this dangerous aspect of driving and the responsibility to other drivers.

Graphic from: Accessed 4/24/2009

Poetry book review: Paul B. Janeczko

A POKE IN THE I. selected by Paul B Janeczko. 2001. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Hong Kong: Candlewick Press. ISBN: 0763606618.

This book of concrete poems is filled with little gems. A concrete poem is a poem that takes a shape that explains what the poem is about. Because of concrete poem's unusual shapes, sometimes this style of poetry has to be read very carefully. Here’s an example from this book. WARNING: It may take you a couple of tries to read it correctly!

The Salmon
by Douglas Florian

                                             Could do with legs!
                                        Just think what we
                                   Our pearly eggs.
                              Upstream we spawn
                         We somersault!
                    We vault!
               We jump!
          Our leaps astound!
     We bound!
We spring!

Unfortunately, concrete poems are also difficult to transpose onto a blog because of their shape. Some of my favorite poems from this poem are impossible to reproduce here, for example, “Pattern Poem with an Elusive Intruder” which is in the shape of a worm-bitten apple. There are also popsicle shaped poems, lightbulb-shaped poems, and poems that are collapsing from the sheer weight of the words. There are also one word poems, such as “Cat Chair” by Chris Raschka which contains the word ‘cat’ buried deep inside a vibrant red chair and “Stowaway” by Robert Carola, which shows the word ‘stowaway’ way deep at the bottom of a ship.

Janeczko has amassed an amusing collection of poems guaranteed to appeal to any child – in fact, when I pulled this book out of the stack of library books to review, I had to keep taking it away from my 13 year old daughter long enough to get this blog posting done.

Chris Raschka’s whimsical illustrations, from torn-paper scraps and paint, help illustrate the poems perfectly. “Skipping Rope Spell” by John Agard shows children in dancing, playful poses around the various ‘stanzas’ of the poem; “Forsythia” by Mary Ellen Salt shows barbed wire under the forsythia bush of the poem, invoking a childhood memory of an isolated bush out in rural farmland. And then there’s the illustrations for “Tennis Anyone” by Monica Kulling. The illustrations are identical on the two page spread, just facing in 180 degree opposite directions, while the words take you from one far side of the two pages to the other far side of the two pages. By the time you’ve finished reading this poem, you feel like you’ve just watched a tennis match, not read a poem about one, just like Raschka’s illustrated people for this poem.

Graphic from : Accessed 4/24/2009.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Poetry Break – Poetry written by a child

Introduction: Ah, the innocence of childhood. Remember when no matter what your mother did, she was the font of all knowledge? This poem, written by a young boy, brings back that feeling of nostalgia when our parents knew everything...

By Bill Collins

When I used to go to the beach
my mother would take a saltshaker
and make the water salty

With great expertise
she would taste, salt, taste
and salt again
five minutes or so

until she decided it was right

Then I would go swimming
thinking my mother
salted the whole ocean
however large it was

I now know
my mother isn’t responsible
for the salty ocean

It takes some of the fun
out of going to the beach

(From SALTING THE OCEAN: 100 POEMS BY YOUNG POETS selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.Greenwillow Books, 2000)

Science: What really makes the ocean salty? Are some oceans more salty than others? If so, why? Ask your students these questions, and if possible, schedule a field-trip to explore tide pools.
Geography: Have your students label all the world oceans on a large map, either wall-sized or individual handouts. (Here is a table containing a list of all the world’s oceans and seas.)

Graphic from:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetry Book Review: Jeff Foxworthy

SILLY STREET. Jeff Foxworthy. 2009. Illustrated by Steve Björkman. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-171918-9.

A little ditty is going through my mind:
The redneck’s a poet
And he sure does know it!

Jeff Foxworthy of “You know you’re a redneck if…” fame, has written his second children’s poetry book. These poems are designed to tickle the funny bone of ages 4-8. The illustrations bring the poems to life and fit in perfectly with the silly poems.

The poems feature hilarious situations and stores along Mr. Foxworthy’s Silly Street. There are bubblegum trees, a magician who made his whole store disappear, a marble shop that just might sell you a glass eyball instead of a marble, the best sandbox ever, and a different kind of petting zoo (Björkman’s illustration for this poem features a skunk in a flowered dress and a cow that says, “Quack!”). All of these poems are guaranteed to get any group of children giggling with the sheer nonsense.

It would be hard to choose between my favorite poem in this collection, but if I had to narrow it down to 2, they would be “House of Clocks” and “Butterflies”

House of Clocks

At Mel’s House of Clocks
They only sell socks,
Which makes me ask,
“What was Mel thinking?”

He says, “Socks are the thing
That makes the world sing
Cause they’re warm and keep
Your toes from stinking!”


One thing you must see
Is the butterfly tree
Where thousands of butterflies light.
Their wings look like leaves
As they flap in the breeze.
When they leave, it’s a rainbow in flight.

For a stand-up comedian these poems show great poetic style. They have regular meter and rhyming patterns, and his use of symbolic language, especially in “Butterflies,” is first rate. His imaginary and funny poems appeal to the imaginatioin as well. I highly recommend this book for early elementary school teachers to read in their classrooms.

Graphic from : Accessed 4/10/2009.

Poetry Book Review

STEADY HANDS: POEMS ABOUT WORK. Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, 2009. Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 978-0-618-9035-1.

I had the pleasure of meeting Stacie Vaughn Zimmer last week at the Texas Library Association’s annual conference in Houston. She autographed her latest poetry collection, Steady Hands: Poems About Work, with these words: “Lynda, May your steady hands always find poetry in them!”

The poems in this book cover a gamut of professions, both blue collar and white collar, and there is no stereotyping since Ms. Zimmer intermingles the masculine and feminine pronouns in her poems. There are a few surprises – the dog walker suffered a nervous breakdown in his previous profession of attorney, the organizer conducts her own interviews instead of being interviewed, and the cafeteria cook looks like Elvis.

The first poem is titled “Morning,” and describes the frantic pace of getting ready on a normal workday. It ends with the lines “Engines hum/heels click/and doors thud/behind ambitions.” The last poem is titled, “Night,” and ends with the lines “Then the moon/unlocks the door/for the night shift.” The illustrations for both these poems depict the exact same little boy in his bed; the few things that are different are the lighting in the room, the time on the alarm clock, whether he’s pulling the blanket off or on, and the sky in the window behind. Otherwise, the same little boy gazes at the camera in silent contemplation of his future – which job will HE choose?

The illustrations in this book are by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy and include a multiple of media, such as collage; ink-line, pastels, and water color drawings; and photography. My favorite illustration is the one that accompanies the poem “Flight Attendant.” It shows a little boy about 7 or 8 on his bicycle, smiling up at 3 airplanes flying overhead in a pastel blue sky. This illustration matches the last 6 lines of the poem perfectly:
    “where, as a child,
    he would stop
    (even on his bicycle)
    and dream
    about the planes he saw
    Skimming through the clouds.”

Of course, my favorite poem in this collection is “Librarian.”

Logging onto his blog,
the librarian reviews
a graphic novel he scored
at a conference in Toronto.
He edits
a podcast interview
with a new voice
in the poetry slam scene,
adds friends to the teen library
Internet café.
Then he grabs some sodas and bags of snacks
and heads downstairs
to open the all-buy book club
that meets just after school.

Graphic from: Accessed 4/10/2009

Poetry Break - Poetry with a refrain

map of the Erie Canal

Introduction: When my children were very young, their book-of-the-month club sent us a copy of The Erie Canal (Illustrated by Peter Spier. North Country Books 1999.). Unfortunately out of print now, this wonderful poem picture book has memorable water-color illustrations that portray life and activity on the Erie Canal in the 1800's. The last page is the poem with the musical accompaniment. The book is buried in a box in my garage somewhere to save for my grandchildren someday, but it was one of my children’s favorite bedtime books. I was able to find the poem in a more recent book also. This poem/song is unusual in that it has a refrain within the verses along with a separate refrain.

The Erie Canal
Author unknown

I’ve got a mule, her name is Sal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.
She’s a good ol’ worker and a good ol’ pal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.
We’ve hauled some barges in our day
Fill’d with lumber, coal, and hay,
And we know every inch of the way
from Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down!
Low bridge, for we’re comin’ to a town.
And you’ll always know your neighbor,
You’ll always know your pal,
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

We better get along on our way, ol’ gal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.
‘Cause you bet your life I’d never part with Sal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.
Git up there, mule, here comes a lock,
We’ll make Rome ‘bout six o’clock,
One more trip an’ back we’ll go,
Right back home to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down!
Low bridge, for we’re comin’ to a town.
And you’ll always know your neighbor,
You’ll always know your pal,
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

(From APPLE FOR THE TEACHER: THIRTY SONGS FOR SINGING WHILE YOU WORK collected and introduced by Jane Yolen. Harry N Abram, Inc., Publisher 2005)

History: The Erie Canal played a major role in the settlement of the Northern United States in the early 1800’s. It established a waterway between Lake Erie and the Hudson River, opening the area up to increased settlement and transportation of goods. When studying US history, teach the students this song and show them maps of how this area was opened to expansion by this milestone in American ingenuity.
Geography: The 5 themes of geography are depicted very well in a study of the Erie Canal. Location and place include making Lake Erie and the Hudson River accessible to each other. Movement and area are shown by the way the Erie Canal opened this region up for settlement and commerce. Human-environment interaction is illustrated by the way the Canal was dug and constructed through the mountains.