Writing List Poems

List poems are lists of related things arranged in such a way as to convey an idea or story.

List poems have been around for a long time. Sei Shonogan was a Japanese writer/poet who wrote list poems. She lived around the year 1000. People still read a collection of her writings called The Pillow Book.

Here is an example of one of Sei Shonogan’s poems:

Things that Pass by Rapidly

A boat with its sail up.
People’s age.
Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
~ Sei Shonogan

My own examples of list poems:

Things my cat George likes:
Rubbing faces when he gets up in the morning
A dropped Cheerio
The top of the cat-scratching post
Chasing ping-pong balls down the stairs
Things I like:
My cat George

Things that I smell on my morning walk:
Wet dogs
New grass
Car exhaust
Dryer sheets from someone’s laundry
Breakfast cooking on Sunday mornings

Things I hear on my morning walk:
Dogs barking
Leaf blowers
Cars and trucks on the main street
Birds singing
Ducks quacking
The sound of my two feet on pavement

Kenn Nesbitt’s website has more detailed instructions and examples.

Now write a list-inspired poem!

#50preciouswords Challenge: Beetle Small Talk

Vivian Kirkfield hosts a children’s story writing challenge each year. The idea is to come up with a story in 50 words or less.

Of course I thought of insects.


Beetle Small Talk

By Roberta Gibson

A lightning bug is a beetle,
Flying in the night.
No worries about getting lost
It carries a flash light.

Gently touch a milkweed beetle,
It will give a squeak.
Bet you didn’t know an insect
So very small could speak.




2021 ALA Youth Media Winners Announced #Kidlit

Social media is all abuzz with the 2021 ALA Youth Media award announcements.

Turns out I have picked three of the picture book winners to review this year.

The 2021 Randolph Caldecott Medal

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade – review

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award

RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Frank Morrison.- review

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann – review

Congratulations to all the winning authors and illustrators.

Nonfiction picture books did well this year! Yay!


#Cybils2019 Nominations: A perfect place to find the best #kidlit

Nominations for Cybils Awards (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards)  are now final.  You should go check them out.

If you want to encourage young people to read, the nomination lists are fabulous places to find the best children’s books from the last year, separated by reading level/genre.

If your are a children’s author, comparing lists from past years can help you find out what current trends are in children’s literature. (I see big changes in the nonfiction list compared to last year).

Direct links to the categories:

Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books
Elementary/Middle-Grade Nonfiction * My favorite category*
Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction
Fiction Picture Books/Board Books (Some of the board books are nonfiction.)
Graphic Novels
Junior/Senior High Nonfiction
Middle-Grade Fiction
Poetry (Nonfiction everywhere here, too.)
Young Adult Fiction
Young Adult Speculative Fiction

What are your favorite categories?