Poetry Friday: Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Christina Gonzalez

Friday, January 11th, 2013

This week seemed to fly by and I can hardly believe that Friday is upon us and it is time to celebrate Poetry Friday! For those who may not be familiar with the concept, at the end of the week many children’s book aficionados and bloggers often use their sites to contribute favorite poems or chat about something poetical in an event called Poetry Friday. The features can be original poems, reviews of poetry books, reviews of poetic picture books, links to poems at copyright protected sites, thoughts about poetry, song lyrics and  more.  One blog rounds up all the posts on the subject, so that poetry aficionados can read more posts on a favorite subject. The list of blogs scheduled to host  Poetry Friday in 2013 can be found here and you can delve into our PaperTigers’ Poetry Friday time vault here.

For this week’s Poetry Friday contribution I’d like to highlight one of my favorite children’s poetry books: Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez (Children’s Book Press/Lee and Low Books, 2001). If the winter days in your neck of the woods are depressingly short, dark and gloomy, get hold of a copy of Iguanas in the Snow and prepare to have your spirit restored. You’ll immediately be taken to a wintery world of bright, engaging colors that looks to be just as magical as the long, golden days of summer are. Celebrate winter with a Mexican American family in Nothern California and witness their joy as they frolic in the snow, an experience that reminds the author of the iguanas playing by his grandmother’s house in Mexico. Celebrate life in a city where people are bridges to each other and children sing poetry in two languages. Be dazzled by the promise of seedling redwoods—like all children—destined to be the ancestors of tomorrow. This book was a well deserved winner of the 2002 Pura Belpré Award Honor Book for Narrative and can be read online on the International Children’s Digital Library  website by clicking here.

Iguanas in the Snow
what fun
to see snow
for the first time

on the Sierra Nevada
all dressed in white
like a bride

get out of
Papa’s car
in a hurry

touch the wet
snow with our
bare fingers

and throw
at each other

what a ride
to slide
down slopes

on top
of black
inner tubes

together with
brothers and sisters
cousins and uncles

all sporting
green jackets
and pants

in a sale at
the army surplus

“Ha! ha! ha!”
Mama laughs
and says with joy

“we look like
happy iguanas
in the snow”

This week’s Poetry Friday is being hosted by No Water River

Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children Blogs About “Poetry, Peace and USSBY”

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children recently posted an article entitled “Poetry, Peace and USSBY” in which she discussed the presentation she and poet/artist Anna Grossnickle Hines would be giving at the 9th IBBY regional conference: Peace the World Together Through Children’s Books. Click here to read about their presentation “Peace Through Poetry for Young People”, learn about Anna’s new book Peace: A Recipe, and see the Poetry Books for Young People About War and Peace bibliography that Sylvia wrote.

And if you haven’t done so already, be sure to read PaperTigers’ post Poetry Friday: p*tag compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong to learn more about Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong‘s e-book p*tag. It’s an exciting anthology of 31 poems newly written and published to coincide with National Teen Read Week this month in the US: “the first ever electronic poetry anthology of new poems by top poets for teens”.

Poetry Friday: Postcard from Japan

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

 Speaking from my current abode here in Japan, I’d like to introduce a short bilingual book of haiku I discovered recently at my local picture book library.  Haiku no Ehon or A Picture Book of Haiku by Toshio Suzuki (Rin Rin Kikaku, 1993)  is a wonderful book of haiku by well known poets Basho, Buson, Issa, Kyoshi and Kyorai.  The illustrations of the poems are quite stunning — traditional images done in sumi-e ink with some very colorful embellishments.  The book was produced post-humously; Suzuki was suffering with cancer when he worked on the paintings done for this book.  Suzuki belonged to a group of painters who are referred to as ‘juvenile painters.’  Juvenile painting is a kind of illustration done for childrens’ stories and songs.  Suzuki challenged himself as a juvenile painter by trying to illustrate classically known haiku in a way that he felt would be accessible to children.  I think he succeeded admirably!  

And speaking of Japanese poets, fellow PT blog contributor Corinne, sent me this link to a post with video by Sylvia Vardell on her blog, Poetry for Children, about a recent poetry book by Tanikawa Shuntaro whose work I wrote about a while back for Poetry Friday for PaperTigers.  Check it out!

Andromeda is hosting today’s Poetry Friday at A Wrung Sponge – head on over…

Poetry Friday: Voices on the Air

Friday, August 7th, 2009

For our new issue of PaperTigers, whose theme is Music in Children’s Books, Argentinian Mexican poet, Jorge Luján has written a very special Personal View, “Voices on the Air: Writing Poetry and Songs for Children“.

Here is an extract, in which he describes his relationship with poetry:

Poetry is a kind of vertigo for me. A challenge that frequently knocks me down, makes me feel trapped within my limits, and keeps me isolated from grace… but occasionally, drives me to horizons of astonishment, pleasure, and growth. I’m convinced that, if we are open to it, poetry can envelop us in a rare, subtle atmosphere. And poetry is not only to be found in poems, but is also present in the endless forms of nature or in the touching gestures, words and acts of people.

As a songwriter and a singer, I love the experience of the voice taking to the air like wings taking flight. Composing words and music together is a complex experience of joy and sorrow, but one which also implies building bridges between people.

I urge you to read the whole article. I found it very moving – and interesting too, for Jorge has introduced me to the work of some Latin American poets I’m slightly ashamed to admit I didn’t know…

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect… Head on over!

Poetry Friday: ALSC Poetry Blast at the ALA Conference

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Calling all poetry fans in the Chicago area! The ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) sends out an invitation to join in their Poetry Blast on Monday, July 13, 2009 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Co-hosted by librarian Barbara Genco and poet/writer Marilyn Singer, this unique program will celebrate the wonder and excitement of contemporary North American poetry for children. Ten to twelve poets, some new, some well-established, will read from their works. Information about current and forthcoming books of poetry will be available.

This event is designed to be a ‘drop-in’ reading at the close of the ALA Annual Conference and attendees are guaranteed to find the time spent in these readings both enlightening and energizing. Poets include: Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, David Harrison, Bobbi Katz, Laura Purdie Salas, Jon Scieszka, Joyce Sidman, Marilyn Singer, Hope Anita Smith, Susan Marie Swanson, Joyce Carol Thomas. Publishers will also offer a display of books and promotional materials featuring the participants.

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