Every month has a "National (Something or Other)." Some observances, like Black History Month in February, are regularly observed in schools, libraries, publications, and the like. Other months, like National Get Organized Month in January, have lesser-celebrated occasions (I'm never ready in time for National Get Organized Month). April is one of my favorite months--National Poetry Month! Throughout April, I will feature a weekly post reviewing poetry books. This week, I'm focusing on recently published poetry volumes:
Birds of a Feather is outstanding; the photography by Jason Stemple (Jane Yolen's son) is gorgeous, and Yolen's poems beautifully capture the spirit and scenery of each photograph. Each poem/photograph is accompanied by a brief paragraph about the featured bird. Most poems are the perfect length for memorization assignments.
The Great Migration: Journey to the North movingly explores the migration of Southern African-Americans to the midwest and north during the early part of the 20th century. Told through the perspective of both old and young, men and women, the poems capture the wariness, uncertainty, and excitement felt by the travelers.
I was in the mood for springtime reading, so I picked up I Heard it From Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden. Gardeners young and old will delight to the winsome and thoughtful poems about the produce and pests that create a garden. Poems are arranged according to the seasons, beginning with "When I Grow Up," which imagines conversations among seeds waiting to be planted on a chilly winter's night, a corn stalk's boast in "What I Like About July," and ending with "Vegetable Stew" in the autumn and a potato "Buried" in the winter snow. Ideal reading for nature lovers.
You never know what you're going to get when you open up a poetry book by Jack Prelutsky. Actually, you do--guaranteed laughs, fun word play, and poems that even the most poetry-adverse kid will like. Stardines Swim High Across the Sky are fanciful and funny poems about "new animal species" such as the bluffaloes, sobcats, tattlesnakes, and of course, stardines. The illustrations are quite remarkable, consisting of diecuts and collages.
If you're in the mood for poetry, browse our J 811 (children's), YA 811 (teens) and 811 (adults) collections the next time you are in the library. And if you have teen poets/short story writers in your life, make sure they enter our Teen Poetry and Short Story Challenge!