Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eyewitness Reports Charity Art Auction: Bid on Original Artwork by Three Blue Rose Girls and Other Children's Illustrators

Grace Lin, Anna Alter, and Meghan McCarthy of the Blue Rose Girls all have paintings up for sale this week in the Eyewitness Reports Auction. The profits from this fundraiser go entirely to support 826LA, a fabulous literacy organization. Bid on an original piece of art by a children's illustrator and support a great cause!


Grace's Painting

Anna's Painting
Meghan's Painting
Click here to bid on their paintings and the artwork
of many other talented children's illustrators.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Going Back to School...with Poetry 2010

Messing Around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two Voices
Written by Betsy Franco
Illustrated by Jessie Hartland
Candlewick, 2009

This collection of nineteen poems touches on many different aspects of a typical school day—including a “wild” bus ride, writing animal reports, library class, recess activities, looking through “weird” stuff in the lost and found, pencil tapping, lunch money, homework, and a new kid at school. The lively rhyming poems, written for two voices, would be perfect to use in a choral reading activity in an elementary classroom. Franco even provides suggestions for “adventurous ways to read the poems” in the back matter of the book.

Here are excerpts from a few poems to give you a taste of this school-themed collection.

From New Kid at School

Where did you come from?

Far away.

Miss your friends?

Every day.

Where do you live?

Maple Street.

What’s your name?

Call me Pete.

From Animal Reports

I might do mine on the great blue whale.
I’m thinking about the valley quail.

Or maybe I’ll try the spitting spider.
There’s always the yellow-bellied glider.

I might look up the lazy sloth.
My mom said, Do the luna moth.”

From Messing Around on the Monkey Bars

Time for recess!
Here we are,

messing around
on the monkey bars!

Hand over hand,
fast or slow,

calling to
our friends below.

Franco uses straightforward language to capture the essence of an elementary school day from the morning bus ride to the final bell in her lighthearted verse. Hartland’s humorous childlike gouache illustrations add to the fun of this collection that is sure to appeal to young children.

Click here to view an inside spread.

Click here to download a teacher’s guide.


School Poems and Poetry Book Reviews from Wild Rose Reader

Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems compiled by Georgia Heard (April 2010)
Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School by Laura Purdie Salas (September 2009)
Click here to check out Laura Salas’s Stampede! website.
Click here to look inside Countdown to Summer.

Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems by Kristine O’Connell George (August 2007)

Click here to look inside Swimming Upstream.

Click here for the Middle School Companion Guide for Swimming Upstream.


Poetry Book Review from Blue Rose Girls

POETRY FRIDAY: This Is Just to Say. This post includes a review of Joyce Sidman’s book This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness (March 2007)

Click here for a reader’s guide for This Is Just to Say.


At Blue Rose Girls, I have a lovely poem titled FIREFLIES by Marilyn Kallet--as well as lots of pictures of my summer vacation in Maine.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Book Aunt.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Here & There: August 26, 2010

Back to School

From Reading Rockets: Bright Ideas for Back-to-School Night … and Beyond (2010)

From Scholastic: Back-to-School Planning Guide

From Modern Family: Back to School Books


Other Issues

NCTE Executive Committee Cancels 2012 Phoenix Convention
The 2012 NCTE Annual Convention will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 14-19

On August 9, 2010, NCTE cancelled its Annual Convention that had been scheduled to be held November 14-19, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona. The NCTE Executive Committee determined that Arizona law S.B. 1070 made it inadvisable to hold the meeting. Through the law, conditions have been created which would undercut NCTE’s core value commitment to diversity and
present a risk for many members who might be detained for an immigration check should they be stopped by police, with or without a warrant, during their stay in the city.

From Publishers Weekly
By John A. Sellers (8/18/2010)
Authors Withdraw from Teen Lit Festival

Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook have been abuzz in the last 24 hours with news that four YA authors have pulled out of the annual Teen Lit Fest in Humble, Tex., a Houston suburb. The authors withdrew in support of writer Ellen Hopkins, who announced in a blog post last week that she had been disinvited from the festival, which is organized by the Humble Independent School District, and is scheduled for January 2011. In the post, entitled “Censorship Bites,” Hopkins announced that her invitation had been revoked after a middle-school librarian and parents approached a superintendent and the school board about her participation. Hopkins’s novels in verse deal with gritty subject matter: her Crank series, which concludes next month with Fallout, centers on meth addiction, while her 2009 novel, Tricks, was about teen prostitution. “We all feel badly that we’re making this stand,” Hopkins told School Library Journal. “We don’t want our readers to feel like we’re punishing them. But this is about having the right to read our books, and these people don’t have the right to say you can’t.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Things to Do If You Are a Cow: An Original List Poem

We've been vacationing on an island in Maine. The waterfront house where we are staying is beautiful. Except for one rainy day, we've had gorgeous weather. My daughter and her husband and some of our friends came up to spend a few days with us earlier in the week. We've had a great time. I'm going to hate to leave this place.

I have another of my "things to do" poems for you this week.


Graze on a hillside meadow

dotted with dandelion suns.

Breathe in the sweet smell of clover

and freshly mown hay.

Flick flies away with your tasseled tail.

Feel summer days pass by

like silk over silver.

Moo and chew

and chew and moo.



your grand green view.


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Teach Poetry K-12.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School Books & Resources (2010 Post)

Recommended Back-to-School Books

School Library Journal (8/04/2009): Back-to-School Bonanza: Books for Reading Aloud

New York Public Library: Back to School

The Horn Book Monthly Special (August 2007): Back to School

Bank Street College of Education: Back to School Books

Reading Is Fundamental: Back-to-School Books

Scholastic: Favorite Books for Back-to-School

Kidsreads.com: Back to School Books

Parents’ Choice: Back to School Books

Education.com: Back to School Books

PBS Booklights (8/20/2009): Thursday Three: Back to School

WTNH.com (8/16/2009): Back to School Books

PittsburghLive (8/2/2009): Back to School Books Teach Kids about Learning

New York Kids (Time Out): Favorite Back-to-School Books

ParentsConnect: Great Books for Back to School

Monroe County Public Library (Indiana): Starting School Stories

Allen County Public Library (Indiana): School Booklist

Boston Public Library: Countdown to Kindergarten

From About.com: Top Children's Books About Starting School

From Wild Rose Reader

Book Bunch: School Stories

Poetry Friday: Going Back to School...with Poetry

Things to Do If You Are a Stapler & Other Back to School Poems

Other Resources

From Scholastic: Back-to-School Planning Guide

From Scholastic: Get Off to a Smart Start

From Scholastic: Wemberly Worried Lesson Plan

From Reading Is Fundamental: Back to School Resources

From Enchanted Learning: Back-to-School Activities and Crafts

Friday, August 13, 2010

Things to Do If You Are a Stapler & Other Back-to-School Poems

Well, my Things to Do poetry collection is nearly finished. I’ve been adding poems to and subtracting poems from the collection over the past few months. Here is one of the poems that I’ve scrubbed from manuscript. I think Things to Do If You Are a Stapler is a good back-to-school poem.


Click your metal jaws together.

Grip my papers

with your teeth of steel.

Then bite down hard

with all your might

and bind them together


More School Poems

Things to Do If You Are a Pencil
By Elaine Magliaro

Be sharp.

Wear a slick yellow suit

and a pink top hat.

Tap your toes on the tabletop,

listen for the right rhythm,

then dance a poem

across the page.

by Elaine Magliaro

What’s in my backpack?
Hmm…let’s see:
a tunafish sandwich,
raspberry tea,
an apple for the teacher…
and one for me,
a pair of scissors,
a stick of glue,
washable crayons…
and markers, too—
three sharp pencils
my Winnie Pooh
a bright red folder,
a paper pad,
a calculator to help me add…
a little love note from my dad!

Spelling List
By Brad Bennett

1. I’ve
2. always
3. loved
4. learning
5. new
6. words
7. especially
8. when
9. they
10. organize
11. themselves
12. into
13. an
14. unexpected
15. poem

(About Brad Bennett: Brad is a third grade teacher at the Thoreau School in Concord, Massachusetts. He is also a published poet. We met in 2001 at the First Annual Summer Poetry Institute—an institute for teachers sponsored by the Favorite Poem Project and the School of Education at Boston University. Brad and I have remained friends since that summer. We get together several times a year to talk about poetry, religion, teaching, and life.)

Click here for a great printable poetry resource from Scholastic that includes the following poems: Leavetaking by Eve Merriam; Back to School and First Day of School by Aileen Fisher; Hello Bus, Yellow Bus by Mary Sullivan; New Friends by Patricia Hubbell; Schools Tools by Monica Kulling; and New Pencils by Helen H. Moore.

Summer’s End by Judith Viorst

Now by Prince Redcloud

September Is by Bobbi Katz

Click here to read Lunchbox by Valerie Worth and Pencils by Barbara Juster Esbensen.


The Poetry Friday Roundup is at the Stenhouse Blog.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Children's Poetry and the Cinderella Syndrome --Redux

Reading Baby Wants Another New Award: Poetry Time! at A Fuse #8 Production last week reminded me of Children’s Poetry and the Cinderella Syndrome—the first posts that I wrote for Blue Rose Girls in October of 2006 before I became one of the regular contributors to the blog. In Baby Wants Another New Award, Betsy Bird discusses the idea of an ALA/ALSC award especially for poetry.

I thought it might be a good idea to re-post Children’s Poetry and the Cinderella Syndrome this Friday as a number of us in the kidlitosphere are considering the idea of a new poetry award. Read it and Baby Wants Another New Award and the comments people—including a number of children’s poets—left at Betsy’s post.

Let’s continue the discussion. Should there be an ALA/ALSC Award for Poetry? What do YOU think?


Poetry is the Cinderella—pre-fairy godmother—of children’s literature. It is often a neglected genre in the school curriculum. It is usually relegated to the servants’ quarters of education. Schools do not purchase multiple copies of poetry books for teachers to share and discuss with children in reading groups. Many teachers—and, sad to say, librarians—are unfamiliar with the names of some of our most accomplished children’s poets and their works. And most administrators consider poetry a frill, as literature to be shared with children—if shared at all—when there is that rare free moment in the school day.

Alas! Children’s poetry usually doesn’t get invited to the royal ball either. It is seldom honored with the “big” award. To my knowledge, just two poetry books have been recipients of the Newbery Medal since 1922: Nancy Willard’s A Visit to William Blake’s Inn in 1982 and Paul Fleischman’s Joyful Noise in 1989. Surely, there have been other poetry books published over the years worthy of acknowledgement. Am I mistaken to infer that the people who are most knowledgeable in the world of children’s literature also perceive poetry as a genre that is less important than fiction and other nonfiction? Why are there so few Prince Charmings willing to squire Cinderella Poetry around town unless she’s all dolled up for a special event? If I were Rodney Dangerfield, I might opine on the state of poetry for children: It don’t get no respect.

Furthermore, one is likely to find few poetry books written by authors other than Jack Prelutsky or Shel Silverstein on the shelves of chain bookstores. Methinks children’s poetry is in need of a very aggressive fairy godmother! Well, I hope it will have a mentor with magical powers in the person of Jack Prelutsky himself. Prelutsky was recently named our first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Maybe he will be able to wave a wand and do what no one has ever done before: Bring children’s poetry into the spotlight where it can shine and shimmer and have an abundance of positive attention bestowed upon it. Maybe he will raise the profile of poetry so it will no longer be treated like the stepchild of children’s literature.


I am a passionate proponent of children’s poetry. I want to spread the word about the importance of sharing ALL kinds of poetry with our children. Too often their exposure to the genre is limited to the humorous verse of Prelutsky and Silverstein. Kids love it! I like it, too. But we should lead our youth beyond the confines of this popular children’s poetry and introduce them to the works of our finest children’s poets—and to poetry that will challenge them, to poetry that will stretch their imaginations.

Two questions: Would anyone think it best to expose children to one type of fiction—just fantasy, perhaps? Would anyone espouse the practice of reading children picture books written by just one or two particular authors? Not anyone in his/her right literary mind! Yet, it seems there are few individuals lamenting our children’s limited exposure to poetry. This disheartens me. Let me explain why I feel as strongly as I do about this subject.

There are things I learned from my experience teaching in an elementary school for more than thirty years. Most children enjoy—and many even relish—poetry when it is read or recited by an adult who loves it. They delight in the rhythm, rhyme, and clever wordplay found in poems written by such masters of the genre as Mary Ann Hoberman, Karla Kuskin, Aileen Fisher, Lilian Moore, and David McCord. Most will also grow to appreciate poems that do not rhyme—poems written by authors like Arnold Adoff, Janet Wong, Eloise Greenfield, Joyce Sidman, Alice Schertle, Tony Johnston, and Kristine O’Connell George. Children can be so inspired by a poem they have heard that they will write an original poem as an artistic response. And when children are immersed in fine poetry, they begin to internalize poetic elements and to develop an understanding of and appreciation for figurative language, imagery, and metaphorical thinking.

Over the years, I witnessed how the reading and writing of poetry with my students helped them to reach inside themselves, to unlock original ideas and thoughts, and to find their own unique voices. There were times when I was awestruck by the poetry they created. Some of my second grade students even modeled their poems after the works of such esteemed writers as Myra Cohn Livingston, Valerie Worth, Barbara Juster Esbensen, Marilyn Singer, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Poetry definitely enriched my classroom and the lives of my students. I know this not only from what I observed in the classroom—but from letters I received from parents and students at the end of each school year.

One June a mother wrote: “When Kate sits in our window and responds to the moon and stars by writing poetry, I glow with happiness.” Another mother wrote: “Thank you so much for helping Alex discover his ‘new eyes’ in your class. Your love of poetry and music enriched him…” In his letter, Sam said: “…And I love the poems you read to us.” Noah wrote: “When I read poetry, that encourages me to write poetry. Writing poetry gets my imagination going.” Notes such as these reinforced my belief that poetry—all kinds of poetry—should be an integral part of every child’s education.

Poetry has been a genre too long neglected and too often overshadowed by other children’s literature. For years, I have been on a mission to bring it out of the shadows and into the limelight. Unfortunately, there is only so much enthusiasts like me and a few respected anthologists and advocates like Lee Bennett Hopkins and Paul Janeczko can do to achieve such a goal. I encourage all bibliophiles—teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, reviewers, parents, booksellers, children’s literature bloggers, and experts who sit on awards committees—to join in an effort to see that poetry for children is acknowledged as an equal, is invited to the royal ball more often, and when it arrives at the palace, is escorted down the red carpet to the grand hall where it can bask in the attention that it truly deserves.



Here’s a comment Alvina Ling left at Children’s Poetry and the Cinderella Syndrome, Part 2 in 2006:

I agree that poetry is the "stepchild" of publishing--it's considered a "tough sell," especially for trade publishers, but I'm not sure what to do about it. One thing I will say is that many picture books, although not categorized as such, are indeed poetry. So children, at least picture book-age children, are getting exposed in a big way to rhyme, rhythm, and the beauty of poetry.

Elaine, would you prefer that poetry books were honored more often by the Newbery committee? Or would you like a separate major award for poetry books, along the lines of the Newbery and Caldecott and Printz? (by the way, there was also that poetry novel that won the Newbery, OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse)

Here’s my response to Alvina:

Although OUT OF THE DUST is written in free verse poetry, it is classified as fiction. I have asked myself the following question--which I will pose to you and anyone else who happens to read this comment: Would OUT OF THE DUST have gotten as much attention--and a Newbery Medal--if it had been classified as a book of poetry? I wonder. It is most certainly a powerful and elegantly written novel.

I think the "problem with poetry" is that so many of us who are adults had more negative experiences with poetry than positive ones. So we grew up without a true appreciation of the genre. Over the years, teachers and librarians and students in my children's literature course have made comments to me--such as the following:
I don't like poetry.
Children don't borrow poetry books from the library. They stay on the shelves.
Kids don't like poetry

Well, I observed that kids really enjoy poetry when it is introduced to them by someone who loves it.

So, herein lies the problem: We need more adults who will take the time to get to know poetry, develop an appreciation for it, and share it with children. How do we do that?

I think we must raise the profile of children's poetry and children's poetry books.

And we all know that one way for a children's book to garner a great amount of attention is for it to have been honored with a Newbery Medal or a Newbery Honor Award. (There are already a number of awards for children's poetry books and children's poets. Unfortunately, hardly anyone-- except poetry enthusiasts like me--pay much attention to them.)

I would hope that the individuals who serve on Newbery committees appreciate all genres of literature equally. I would hope every year one or two poetry titles might be taken into consideration. And yes, I would like to see poetry books honored with Newbery Medals more often than twice in eight decades!

I agree that young children are exposed to picture books with lots of rhythm and rhyme. But somewhere along the educational timeline, there is a gap in children's exposure to quality poetry--poetry that helps set the stage for their understanding of some of the great works they will expected to read in secondary school and college.

Links to my original posts at Blue Rose Girls

Children’s Poetry and the Cinderella Syndrome, Part 1
Children’s Poetry and the Cinderella Syndrome, Part 2


Laura has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Author Amok.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here & There: August 5, 2010

From School Library Journal

Scales on Censorship: What’s New Pussycat? Should Edward Lear’s classic poem be banned from the classroom?
By Pat Scales (August 1, 2010)

Razzmatazz: Books that engage and delight the very youngest listeners
by Barbara Joosse (August 1, 2010)

Utterly Unrefined: There’s nothing more compelling than books on gunk and muck
By Kathleen Baxter (August 1, 2010)

From Booklist

Reid-Aloud Alert: Chapter Books for a Primary-Grade Audience
By Rob Reid

Story behind the Story: Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s They Called Themselves the K.K.K.
By Gillian Engberg (August 2010)

New Reference Sources for Students
By Mary Ellen Quinn (August 2010)

From The Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books

Tasty S'mores and Other People's Snores: A Camping Dozen
Selected by Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Even in the digital age, camping remains a summertime rite of passage. Check out these tales filled with burnt marshmallows, cabin infighting, infectious bug bites, and other such fun.

Betsy Hearne Wins the Anne Devereaux Jordan Award

From The Horn Book

Five Questions for Grace Lin

2010 Mind the Gap Awards

The Horn Book at Simmons: A One-Day Colloquium on October 2, 2010
A Unique Event

Join the Horn Book and Simmons College for a unique event for librarians and children’s literature professionals. "The Horn Book at Simmons" is a one-day event discussing and celebrating the 2010 class of Boston Globe–Horn Book Award recipients.

FROM NSTA (National Science Teachers Association)
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2010 (Books published in 2009)

From Booklights (PBS Parents)

Thursday Three: Travel by Pam Coughlan

Thursday THIRTY: Summer Books, Tot to Tween by Pam Coughlan

From Wild Rose Reader

Children's Books for Summer Reading 2010