Poetry Friday: The Poetry Friday Anthology compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Author and educator Sylvia Vardell has just announced some exciting news on her blog Poetry for Children!  She and her friend/author Janet Wong have collaborated on another wonderful project:  The Poetry Friday Anthology.

The Poetry Friday Anthology is a new anthology of 218 original poems for children in kindergarten through fifth grade by 75 popular poets including J. Patrick Lewis, Jack Prelutsky, Jane Yolen, Margarita Engle, X. J. Kennedy, Kathi Appelt, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Georgia Heard and Nikki Grimes and many more.

The book includes a poem a week for the whole school year (K-5) with curriculum connections provided for each poem, each week, each grade level. Just five minutes every “Poetry Friday” will reinforce key skills in reading and language arts such as rhyme, repetition, rhythm, alliteration, etc.

Thanks to the lovely blog world of the “kidlitosphere,” I’ve been a fan of “Poetry Friday” since the beginning (in 2006). The idea of pausing for poetry every Friday is so appealing to me, maybe because Friday has always been my favorite day of the week. I think it is a natural fit for busy teachers and librarians who can build on that Poetry Friday tradition by incorporating a weekly poetry break into their regular routines. That’s the first “hook” in our book– the idea of sharing a poem every Friday! (More often is even better, but Friday is the hook!)

The other hook is the call for connecting with the new Common Core standards (and in Texas where the Common Core was not adopted– don’t get me started– connecting with the TEKS, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). We’ve always had curricular standards of one kind or another, but poetry hasn’t always been an explicit component. It is now! Of course this worries me a bit as poetry may also be abused and butchered in the name of test preparation. But the challenge is to provide guidance in sharing poetry that respects the integrity of the poem, celebrating the pleasures of language, while reinforcing the necessary skills. That’s the second book “hook”– we’ve tied every poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology to the Common Core standards (and TEKS standards in Texas) for poetry.

This book is first and foremost a quality anthology of 218 original poems for children written by 75 of today’s most popular poets. Children in any state (or country) can enjoy, explore, and respond to these poems. However, we have also come to realize that educators, librarians, and parents are looking for guidance in how to share poetry with children and teach the skills within the curriculum as well. Thus, this book offers both. It’s part poetry collection and part professional resource guide— quality poetry plus curriculum-based suggestions for helping children enjoy and understand poetry more deeply.

You’ll find more information about the book at the PoetryFridayAnthology blog here. Our official launch date is Sept. 1 when we hope to offer an e-book version of the book as well– projectable and searchable! But the print version of the book is available NOW to help jumpstart the school year with poetry. I’ll also be posting a few nuggets from the book here in the near future– as well as more about our new joint publishing venture, Pomelo Books.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Dori Reads so head on over and see what treasures are in store.

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: p*tag compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

Friday, October 7th, 2011

I’ve just bought my first e-book.  I realise that might fill some people with horror at how long it’s taken me to jump on the bandwagon, but it was always going to have to be something special that would propel me into action.  Perhaps if I spent more time on public transport, I might have succumbed to an e-reader by now, but as it is…  Anyway, I’ve just downloaded the free Kindle for PC and have taken the leap, tempted as I was by 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” – and wow, what a roll of poets it is: check it out here.

Following on from the success of their PoetryTagTime project of children’s poetry in April during the US’s national poetry month, this game of poetry tag includes some simple rules to connect the poems – each one had to include three words from the previous person’s poems.  And an added twist is that the poets chose an image from this selection of photographs taken by Sylvia Vardell, as the inspiration for their poem. Each poet then also provided a short introduction to their choice of photograph. All this makes for a very exciting, energetic mix of poetry that can be read and enjoyed in many ways. I loved the added dimension of the word tag used in the cover photograph and to good effect in Janet Wong’s own poem “p*tag” – it rounds off the collection beautifully.

What’s really great is that the conceit of the tagging in no way defines the quality of the individual poems. From Marilyn Singer’s opening reverso poem “Time and Water”, you know you’re in for a treat. The array of names included several I’ve “met” through Poetry Friday, and others who are new to me – what a wonderful way for teenagers to encounter poetry; and the interactive nature of the e-book invites readers to explore each poet’s work more deeply. I was intrigued by Arnold Adoff’s introduction (as much a poem as his actual poem): in it he invites readers to email him so he can send the “original” in its, well, I’d like to say real format, but I’m not sure he would allow the word “real” to slip by – and it’s already on shaky ground in a discussion of e-books. Hmmm! Let’s quote then:

“this poem is in a format to fit the machine you are using now…
but feel free to be in touch […]
and i’ll send you the “original” and we can talk about:
style and substance and the poet’s hard(est) head….

I’d like to think there’ll be some young poets getting in touch…

With so many ways to find a route into the collection (photographs, the three linking words, each poet’s introduction), not to mention the variety of viewing possibilities for its e-format, these exciting poems touch on so many emotions. From humor to deep pondering, there’s something here for every teen – even the so-called “Reluctant Reader” (Jaime Adoff), and like the goose (or is it a swan?) in Julie Larios’ “Walking, Waiting”, there’s the possibility of ‘a wild honk or two / or three that might surprise you.’

Find out more about this great e-collection here – and read our 2008 interview with Janet here, and this reprint of Sylvia’s article “Pairing Across Cultures” here.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Great Kid Books, where Mary Ann Scheuer is also highlighting p*tag, as are other contributors. So head on over – there’s a feast on offer, as always…

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…

April is Poetry Month! Celebrate by visiting Sylvia Vardell’s blog Poetry for Children!

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

National Poetry Month is held every April in Canada and the USA to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American and Canadian culture. Schools, literary organizations, communities, businesses and more celebrate National Poetry Month with a plethora of events including poetry readings, festivals, book displays, and workshops. The kidlitosphere is sure to be active with bloggers celebrating the month – and one blog that you definitely don’t want to miss out reading is Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry for Children!

Sylvia is a professor of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University, author of Poetry Aloud Here! Sharing Poetry with Children in the Library (ALA Editions, 2006), Poetry People: A Practical Guide to Children’s Poets (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), and Children’s Literature in Action: A Librarian’s Guide (Libraries Unlimited, 2008). She is co-editor of Bookbird, the journal of international children’s literature, co-editor of the annual review guide Librarians Choices and is also the poetry columnist for the American Library Association’s Book Links magazine.

Our April 2008 PaperTigers’ Poetry issue featured a reprint of Sylvia’s article Pairing Poems Across Cultures (which offered insights on the similarities and differences in poetry from parallel cultures) as well as a reprint of an interview that Cynthia Leitich Smith did with Sylvia in 2007. In 2010 we were thrilled to meet up with Sylvia at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and had a great chat with her.

Last April, to celebrate National Poetry Month, Sylvia played a game of Poetry Tag on her blog. Poets shared original poems, tagged another poet who shared a poem connected with the previous poem, and on and on. It was such a success that it led her and author Janet S. Wong to compile an anthology of 30 e-poems by 30 e-poets called PoetryTagTime.  This first ever electronic-only poetry anthology for children has new poems by many top poets writing for young people, and can be purchased for 99 cents here.

For this year’s National Poetry Month celebrations Sylvia says :

I’m sticking with my “tag” theme this year, too, as we pause to promote poetry far and wide. However, this time, I’m featuring reviews of poetry books out this year (2011), connected in that same “tag” fashion, from one to another. Plus, I’ve involved my students enrolled in my graduate course in poetry for children as guest reviewers. Some of them even tried creating digital trailers for their selected books. So, here we go: one review a day for the next 30 days, your mini intro to the latest poetry for young people.

So head on over to Poetry for Children and join in the celebrations!

Bologna Book Fair – Day 3

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

After a busy day of presentations on Day 2, Day 3 of the Bologna Book Fair was spent meeting people and absorbing the different books on offer.

First up was a lovely chat with poet Jorge Luján, whom we’d caught up with on the Tuesday evening… He shared his brand new book with us and I will share some photos with you when I work out how to get them off the camera (as opposed to a storage disc)… but in the meantime, enjoy this gorgeous poster for the exhibition of Isol’s illustrations from his recently published Pantuflas de perrito which is on-going until 25th April, if you happen to be in Bologna…

Bologna Book Fair 2010: Poemas de compania exhibition of Isol's illustrations for Pantuflas de perrito by Jorge Luján

Other highlights included:

The presentation of the International Youth Library‘s newly announced 2010 White Ravens Catalogue:

Selection of books from the White Ravens Catalogue 2010

I had a great discussion with Janet Evans from Liverpool Hope University, UK, who is currently spending some time with the Library in Munich

Bologna Book Fair 2010: Janet Evans at the International Youth Library's stand


next door at the IBBY stand, Corinne and Aline had a good chat with Sylvia Vardell, editor of IBBY magazine Bookbird and host of the wonderful Poetry for Children blog (Don’t miss out on her current game of Poetry Tag for National Poetry Month in the US).

Corinne and Aline with Sylvia Vardell.

Meeting Danilla Marii, an Australian writer based in Rome, who had come to the Fair to seek out a publisher for her beautiful and vibrant book The Rainbow Tree – it was a real privilege to be able to see the original draft that includes some intricate collage work. We loved the story too.

Bologna Book Fair 2010: Danilla Marii with her book The Rainbow Tree

Catching up with Antoinette Correa from B.L.D. – Bibliothèque Lecture Développement (Senegal)

Bologna Book fair 2010: Antoinette F. Correa with a selection of books from B.L.D. - Bibliothèque Lecture Développement (Senegal)

and Pilli Hamidu Dumea of the Children’s Book Project for Tanzania.

Bologna Book Fair 2010: Pilli Hamidu Dumea with a selection of books from the Children's Book Project for Tanzania.

Meeting author/illustrator/stroyteller John Kilaka, an erstwhile winner of the BolognaRagazzi New Horizons Award (for New Friends in 2005), and seeing his new book, The Amazing Tree.

Bologna Book Fair: Corinne and Tanzanian writer, illustrator and storyteller  John Kilaka with his latest book, "The Amazing Tree"

…And of course, the books…

A display of Mitsumasa Anno’s books at Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers‘ stand, including his new Anno’s Journey across Asia – and if you look at the first photograph for this post you should be able to spot it among the White Ravens 2010 selection too…

Bologna Book fair 2010: a selection of Mitsumasa Anno's books (in Japanese)

A display devoted to Jimmy Liao’s books – what a feast of color and imagination they are. Wouldn’t it be great to have more of his books available in English!

Bologna Book Fair 2010: a selection of books by Jimmy Liao

And the much-loved Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen in lots of different languages – interesting, also, to see the different illustrations chosen for the covers.

Bologna Book Fair 2010 - international book covers of Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen

You can see these and more photos from Day 3 here