#amwriting #poetry – Resources for Learning Craft

Today I’ve gathered a list of resources in honor of National Poetry Month 2021. If you haven’t ever considered writing poetry, you will after listening to these. Inspiring!

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Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival April 2021

This year the children’s book festival was virtual. The linked title will take you to the entire list of replays for the talks, but the one that stood out to me was Word-Joy: Experience the Transformative Power of Poetry with Irene Latham
, Vikram Madan, and 
Laura Purdie Salas.

Each author read not only from their own works, but also from the work of someone whom they admire. Then they discussed a number of practical activities to get children and adults excited about poetry.

Laura Purdie Salas discussed haiku riddles and equation poems. Check her website for much more.

Irene Latham read from her book,  NINE:  A Book of Nonet Poems.

A nonet is a 9-line poem that adds syllables either up or down, from one to nine syllables or from nine to one syllable. As she says, using a form like this can be freeing when it comes to writing poetry.

Vikram Madan is an artist as well as poet, so he likes to use art as an inspiration for poetry and poems as an inspiration for art.

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Writing Excuses Podcast

In their 16th season, the crew at Writing Excuses did a poetry series that really helped me understand and appreciate poetry better. Each episode comes with a writing assignment. Well worth the time investment.

16.11: What is Poetry?

16.12 : Singing Versus Speaking

16.13: Day Brain vs. Night Brain

16.14: Poetic Language

16.15: Poetic Structure, Part I

16.16: Poetic Structure: Part II

16.17: The Time To Rhyme

16.18: Poetry and the Fantastic

 

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Children’s poet Marilyn Singer is a regular visitor at DIY-MFA. I couldn’t find a link to this year’s interview, but here is a recent one.

Episode 306: Recipes for Poetry and Creativity – Interview with Marilyn Singer

Do you have any favorite poetry issues form last month? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

 

STEM Friday #Kidlit Waiting for a Warbler

Today we’re highlighting a new informational fiction picture book, Waiting for a Warbler by Sneed B. Collard III and illustrated by Thomas Brooks.

The story is told in two separate strands. The main text shows two children, Owen and his sister, as they watch for birds to return to their area. They particularly anticipate the arrival of the Cerulean warbler whom they had briefly spotted the year before.

The second strand follows a group of migrating birds as they take the harrowing journey north across the Gulf of Mexico. It is intense and fraught with danger.

The story switches back and forth between the two story lines before converging. Along the way, readers learn about the importance of providing habitat for birds.

Thomas Brooks has a background as a scientific illustrator, which is readily apparent. Although the illustrations have a soft focus rather than being photo real, the birds look like they can fly off the page. The baby birds are adorable.

The backmatter (we love backmatter) includes an “Author’s Note”, birding information for kids, and guidance for using native plants to transform yards into bird and wildlife habitats.

Waiting for a Warbler is perfect for young birdwatchers and nature lovers. They will likely want to return to it again and again. Enjoy a copy today!

Related:

Check out more books by Sneed B. Collard III (links to reviews here or at Growing With Science). Many of the posts have activity suggestions.

See the bird category at Growing with Science for many more hands-on activity suggestions based on children’s books.

And be sure to visit our growing list of children’s books about bird migrations at Science Books for Kids.

 

Reading age : 6 – 8 years
Publisher : Tilbury House Publishers (February 2, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 0884488527
ISBN-13 : 978-0884488521

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

#Nonfiction Monday Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

Last week was incredibly exciting and busy because our new picture book How to Build an Insect came out. Woot! Woot!

Now it is time to change gears and celebrate some wonderful picture books for National Poetry Month. Our first selection is Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jonathan Voss.

Told in a series of haiku poems, the story follows a pair of great horned owls as they raise their owlets.

Pip. Pip. Pip. Poking
A hole. Cracking. Cracking. Out
Pecks the white owlet.

It seems like a simple premise, but in fact there is much packed into this book.

The life of the owls is not easy. Although great horned owls are predators, they also have enemies such as crows, raccoons, hawks, and foxes. The owlets are particularly vulnerable to danger.

The illustrations are gorgeous. The owlets look so soft and realistic that you want to reach out and touch them. If you look more carefully, you will see they contain much information about owl habitats in a subtle way. For example, the  nest is made of leaves, an abandoned squirrel nest. Without resorting to too many dark pages, you realize the birds hunt at night. The way Jonathan Voss controls the lighting is incredible. You can see examples in this video:

(A brief note:  care has been taken that the illustrations are not too graphic, but are realistic about owls carrying prey to their offspring. Highly sensitive children may still find some of the scenes disturbing.)

Although the text is written entirely in haiku and the emphasis on haiku in the title, it flows together so effortlessly that you get lost in the story and forget about the structure. Maria Gianferrari allows the owls to shine as the main characters.

The back matter also emphasizes the owls, giving more information about different aspects of their biology and resources for deeper research.

Whoo-Ku Haiku is a wonderful example of how to use poetry to entice readers into a nonfiction story. It is a must have for budding ornithologists, nature lovers, and poetry aficionados alike.  Enjoy a copy today!

Activity Suggestions:

We’ll be adding this to our growing list of STEM poetry books at Science Books for Kids

 

Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (March 3, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 0399548424
ISBN-13 : 978-0399548420

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Womenshistorymonth #STEMkidlit Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers

 

For Women’s History Month we have a middle grade book that explores women who are making history, Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers by Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneideman.

About the Book

Using the scientific method as a template, authors Twamley and Sneideman propose “six superpowers important to STEM fields”:

  • Imagination and curiosity
  • Observation
  • Problem solving
  • Collaboration
  • Data-collection and analysis
  • Communication

After defining each superpower, they use an alphabetical organizational structure explore 26 STEM careers, from Astronomy to Zoology.  In case you are wondering, they have to be creative with some of the letters, such as X is “Xeroxing Our DNA”  and the featured career is geneticist.

For each career, they give an overview of what it entails and then present a short biography of a particular woman in that field with emphasis on the superpowers they use.

Their choices are a diverse group of amazing women.

For example, A features Astronomer Wanda Diaz Merced

When Wanda Diaz Merced lost her sight, she developed a way to convert data into sound so she could analyze it. You can hear a sample of the sound in her TED talk below at about 5:40.

 

Wow! Talk about problem solving!

The illustrations are digital images created by the Illustrator Collective, a group of artists from around the world. This gives a sense of continuity that photographs from various sources would not have done.

The last section includes an activity for young readers to plan a STEM career of their own, a way to inspire and empower the next generation.

The back matter includes “Steps to Become an Everyday STEM Superhero”, a list other books by the authors, “Recommended Books”,  three pages of quotes from book reviews by educational experts (I’ve never seen this kind of promotional material in a children’s book before),  and a glossary, but no index.

If you are looking for examples of incredible women in STEM, then look no further than Everyday Superheroes.

Activity suggestion:

Check out these STEM Everyday Superheroes trading cards and then research and design one of your own (click on the researcher’s name to see the card).

Reading age : 8 – 12 years
Publisher : Wise Ink Creative Publishing (March 15, 2019)
ISBN-10 : 1634891988
ISBN-13 : 978-1634891981

 

Disclosure: The book was donated electronically for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.