Poetry Friday: PaperTigers 10th Anniversary Top 10 Multicultural Children’s Poetry Books selected by Janet Wong
Second up in our Top-10 series in celebration of PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary, we are delighted to welcome poet Janet Wong with her choice of multicultural poetry books. Janet is herself the acclaimed author of an impressive list of poetry collections and fiction for all ages of young people, including Twist: Yoga Poems, Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams and Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions, all stunningly illustrated by Julie Paschkis; Homegrown House illustrated by E. B. Lewis; and the middle-grade free-verse Minn and Jake novels.
Recently, Janet has embraced e-publishing with several collections of her own poetry, including Once Upon a Tiger and Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year. She has also collaborated with Sylvia Vardell on three PoetryTagTime e-collections of poetry. You can read Janet’s thoughts about e-publishing here, and also my 2008 interview with her here.
I love that Janet has selected one book for each year of PaperTigers – which has also made me chuckle, since the list is actually now 11. You may have noticed that Deborah Ellis’ Top 10 also had eleven titles, grouping two books together. Could this be a theme? Perhaps, a bit like a Baker’s Dozen, a Reader’s 10 actually equals 11?!
Top 10: Multicultural Poetry Picks (2002-2012) by Janet Wong
Picking my top ten multicultural poetry books of the past decade was pretty difficult; but I managed to stick to my goal and to limit myself to only one title published in each of the ten years of the existence of PaperTigers. Here are ten books for young people that I love, some collections and some novels in verse. Please look for them at your library—and give them as gifts to your library if you can’t find them there. Read from these books aloud, a few pages now and then, when you have time. A poem is a perfect 5-minute pick-me-up, like a snack for the mind.
2002: 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye
2003: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
2004: Under the Breadfruit Tree by Monica Gunning, illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck
2005: A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Philippe Lardy
2006: Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
2007: Tap Dancing on the Roof by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Istvan Banyai
2008: Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
2009: Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! by Pat Mora, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
2010: Amazing Faces collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
2011: Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
2012: The Wild Book by Margarita Engle
And P.S. We’ve just launched our own Facebook Page – PaperTigers: Books + Water – do visit us.