Holiday Ode to Kwame Alexander

I meant to post this lovely interview a few days ago, but better late than never.

If you have a minute or two, enjoy children’s book author Kwame Alexander strut his poetry stuff for the holidays.

More by Kwame Alexander:

Looking to share books for kids for National Poetry Month in April? These books should be at the top of your list.

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander, ‎ Chris Colderley,‎ and Marjory Wentworth,‎ with illustrations by Ekua Holmes

Kwame Alexander is one of the three authors who channel their favorite poets to create a wonderful celebration of poetry. This one is already receiving award-winning buzz.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Candlewick (March 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 076368094X
ISBN-13: 978-0763680947

 Animal Ark: Celebrating our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures (National Geographic Kids) by Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, Deanna Nikaido, and photographs by Joel Sartore

Animal Ark is an amazing combination of image and text. Full of vibrant verbs, the poems leap off the page:

listen to the rumble
giant stomping feet
calling brothers … sisters

(See review in Previous Post)

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1426327676
ISBN-13: 978-1426327674

Singing the Praises of Forest Has a Song

Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Robbin Gourley has only been out for a few weeks and already people are singing its praises. forest-has-a-songIt was Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis’s February 2013 Book Pick, for example.

The accolades are well deserved. VanDerwater’s gentle poems about nature hit all the right notes. Any book that can evoke the cool summer feeling of wearing “moss socks” is sure to win the reader over. My personal favorite is “Forest News” about reading animals tracks in newly fallen snow, which makes me miss my New England roots.

Robbin Gourley’s illustrations are also marvelous. They reflect the poems, yet leave room for the child’s imagination to flow free. A few curled ferns, a leaf or two, interspersed with scenes of a girl and her dog (and her mother) hiking, playing or skiing in the woods. Poem Farm has a post about how Robin developed the illustrations.

The book trailer of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater reciting the title poem gives you the best impression of what the book is like.

 

 

Isn’t that lovely? In an interview at Nerdy Book Club, the author reveals the book took a long time to come out. It was well worth the wait.

Reading Forest Has a Song is a superb way to celebrate National Poetry Month and it sure to inspire some budding poets. It would also be a great choice to read for Earth Day and to celebrate nature. You will want to return to the Forest again and again.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has an awesome Poetry Activity Kit to accompany Forest Has A Song (plus three other books of poetry) to download or print out for free.

 

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books (March 26, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0618843493
ISBN-13: 978-0618843497

This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes.

 

 
trees
 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

This week’s round-up can be found at a wrung sponge.

Bursting With Poetry

April is a wonderful time for National Poetry Month. Flowers are blooming, the leaves are popping, insects are buzzing. Spring is a magical time of rebirth, which seems can only be fully and joyfully expressed in the form of poetry.

For example, the bright yellow brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) are blooming on the roadsides right now in Arizona.

brittlebush

brittlebush1

The bright yellow masses inspired this simple acrostic poem:

Brittlebush

Bright yellow flowers
Rattlesnakes slip into shade
Indigenous to Arizona
Tortoises munch
Tarantulas wander by
Lizards sunbathe quietly
Elegant bouquet

Bees slurp, then zip
Underneath is cool
Sun loving
Heat resistant

By Nathan and Roberta

brittlebush-bee

And this haiku:

bee sits on flower

buzz buzz bee sips sweet nectar

quick! next flower waits

Roberta Gibson

If you are in the mood to read some insect-inspired poetry, then Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (illustrated by Eric Beddows), is an absoulutely wonderful older book to pull out and enjoy once again. It was the winner of 1989 Newbery Medal.Joyful-Noise

On page 3, the grasshopper poem is a perfect accompaniment to a good bout of spring fever.

Enjoy!

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (December 28, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0064460932
ISBN-13: 978-0064460934
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

 

(Affiliate link to Amazon)

nonfictionmonday

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. For more information, stop by Picture Book of the Day. This week’s post is at Shelf-Employed.

Picture Book Review: Fold Me a Poem

In Celebration of National Poetry Month:


Fold Me a Poem by Kristine O’Connell George and and illustrated by Lauren Stringer is one of those picture books that you love to review because it is so easy. Dig through your bag of superlatives, sprinkle a few in each sentence and you are done. It is simply an outstanding book.

Through spare poems, the author tells a lovely tale of a boy folding and interacting with a zoo of origami animals. She mixes humor, conflict and adventure to tell a compelling story, starting with a bare haiku about the boy folding a rooster and the rooster waking up. The results are enchanting.

The illustrator admits she had to learn how to fold origami to make the illustrations for the book, and you can see her hard work. The illustrations really shine. The lively images carry the story line just the right amount.

Supposedly for ages 4-8, this book appeals to a much broader age range. I know an 11 year-old-boy who enjoyed it immensely, and adults have raved about it, too. Not only is the book engaging, it is also inspiring. We wanted to fold origami and write poems as soon as we finished it. See how we folded paper butterflies in the illustrations and photos below.

Be sure to visit  Kristine O’Connell George’s website, as well Lauren Stringer’s origami instructions, for additional information, educational activities and peeks into the book.

Fold Me a Poem by Kristine O’Connell George and illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books (April 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0152025014
ISBN-13: 978-0152025014

To fold a paper butterfly, take a look at the illustration here and then the photos below. Start with a square piece of paper, any size, but preferably brightly colored. If it is colored only on one side, make sure the colored side is facing out on the first fold.

foldedbutterfly

Photo 1. Offset the two corners about an inch on the first fold if you are using eight inch square paper.

fold1

Photo 2. Simply fold the two sides together down the center between the two tails. Already it starts to look like a butterfly.

fold41

Photo 3. Now fold up a “body” of roughly 1/3 inch along the center fold. Crease one way, unfold, and then turn over and fold again.

fold31

fold21

Enjoy your spring butterfly!