Celebrate National Poetry Month This April

PICTURE BOOKS:

16 Words

16 Words By Lisa Rogers; illustrated by Chuck Groenink

“Look out the window. What do you see? If you are Dr. William Carlos Williams, you see a wheelbarrow. A drizzle of rain. Chickens scratching in the damp earth.” The wheelbarrow belongs to Thaddeus Marshall, a street vendor, who every day goes to work selling vegetables on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey. That simple action inspires poet and doctor Williams to pick up some of his own tools—a pen and paper—and write his most famous poem.

In this lovely picture book, young listeners will see how paying attention to the simplest everyday things can inspire the greatest art, as they learn about a great American poet.

Just Like Me

Just Like Me By Vanessa Brantley-Newton

I am a canvas

Being painted on

By the words of my family

Friends

And community

From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma’s Purse, comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.

Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!

Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! By Patricia C. McKissack; illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Educators will delight in sharing this exuberant book with the children in their lives. Here is a songbook, a storybook, a poetry collection, and much more, all rolled into one. Find a partner for hand claps such as “Eenie, Meenie, Sassafreeny,” or form a circle for games like “Little Sally Walker.” Gather as a family to sing well-loved songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Oh, Freedom,” or to read aloud the poetry of such African American luminaries as Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. And snuggle down to enjoy classic stories retold by the author, including Aesop’s fables and tales featuring Br’er Rabbit and Anansi the Spider.

A Poem in Your Pocket (Mr. Tiffin's Classroom Series)

A Poem in Your Pocket (Mr. Tiffin's Classroom Series) By Margaret McNamara; illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Usher in National Poetry Month with Mr. Tiffin and his students, stars of the hugely popular How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? and The Apple Orchard Riddle.

Once again, Margaret McNamara sets her playful, child-friendly story in the classroom, and this time, poetry—from metaphors to acrostics to haiku—is the name of the game. The focus here is on Elinor, whose confidence falters as she tries to write something "perfect" for Poem in Your Pocket Day and impress a visiting poet. G. Brian Karas's accessible, adorable illustrations add to the fun.

Includes a list of Mr. Tiffin's tips for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day.

"A nimble introduction to poetry as well as a sensitive look at the perils of perfectionism." —The New York Times

"Pair this book with the works of Shel Silverstein, Paul B. Janeczko, Jack Prelutsky, Douglas Florian, or Robert Louis Stevenson." —School Library Journal, Starred

That Is My Dream!

That Is My Dream! By Langston Hughes; illustrated by Daniel Miyares

Langston Hughes’s inspiring and timeless message of pride, joy, and the dream of a better life is brilliantly and beautifully interpreted in Daniel Miyares’s gorgeous artwork.
 
Follow one African-American boy through the course of his day as the harsh reality of segregation and racial prejudice comes into vivid focus. But the boy dreams of a different life—one full of freedom, hope, and wild possibility, where he can fling his arms wide in the face of the sun. Hughes’s powerful vision, brought joyously to life by Daniel Miyares, is as necessary today as when it was first written.

MIDDLE GRADE:

Izzy Kline Has Butterflies

Izzy Kline Has Butterflies By Beth Ain

So many moments—big and small—make up a year, and Beth Ain chronicles them all in this heartwarming novel in verse.

It’s a new school year, and Izzy Kline is having some feelings. There are plenty of reasons for the butterflies in her stomach to flap their wings. There’s a new girl in her class who might be a new best friend. The whole grade is performing Free to Be . . . You and Me—and Izzy really wants a starring role. And new changes at home are making Izzy feel like her family is falling apart. First-day jitters, new friends, an audition . . . How many butterfly problems can one kid take?

Look for the sequel, The Cure for Cold Feet, coming in May!

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary By Laura Shovan

Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.
But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They’re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.

YOUNG ADULT:

Your Own, Sylvia

Your Own, Sylvia By Stephanie Hemphill

Your Own, Sylvia draws on Plath’s writing and extensive nonfiction sources, chronicling Hemphill’s interpretation of Plath’s life from infancy to her death by suicide at age 30. The poems are arranged chronologically and each conveys an experience in Plath’s life told via the voice and perspective of family members, friends, doctors, fellow writers, etc.—as interpreted by Hemphill. Each poem is accompanied by an addendum that further explains the factual circumstances of that poem’s subject. The book also includes an Author’s Note, some photos, a section describing the source material for each poem, and suggestions for further reading.

The Things She's Seen

The Things She's Seen By Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

This brilliantly written thriller explores the lives--and deaths--of two girls, and what they will do to win justice. Sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year!

Nothing's been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.

Her dad is drowning in grief. He's also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she's got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he needs to reconnect with the living.

The case takes them to a remote Australian town, where there's been a suspicious fire. All that remains are an unidentifiable body and an unreliable witness found wandering nearby. This witness speaks in riddles. Isobel Catching has a story to tell, and it's a tale to haunt your dreams--but does it even connect to the case at hand?

As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town.

The Realm of Possibility

The Realm of Possibility By David Levithan

Enter The Realm of Possibility and meet a boy whose girlfriend is in love with Holden Caulfield; a girl who loves the boy who wears all black; a boy with the perfect body; and a girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have.

These are just a few of the captivating characters readers will get to know in this intensely heartfelt novel about those ever-changing moments of love and heartbreak that go hand-in-hand with high school. David Levithan plumbs the depths of teenage emotion to create an amazing array of voices readers won’t forget. So, enter their lives and prepare to welcome the realm of possibility open to us all. Love, joy, and these stories will linger.