Category Archives: Poetry


Posted by | April 10, 2013 | No Comments

Around here we love April– springtime starts to peek around the corner, summer vacations don’t seem quite so far away, conference season kicks into gear, and last but certainly not least, it’s Poetry Month!

There are so many reasons to love poetry– it evokes emotions, feelings and sensations.  The rhyme schemes, vocabulary, free verse– it’s all so rich and powerful.  And when we think of poetry, novels in verse might not usually jump to the front of our minds.  But one of our most acclaimed books last year was a novel in verse: INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN, by Thanhha Lai.  While there were many (many!) reasons I loved this Newbery Honor-winning book, one of the things I loved most while reading was the beautiful, poignant, and at times hilariously funny language.  And the coming-of-age immigration story that sticks to you like glue after reading doesn’t hurt either…

Enjoy and share this poem from INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN (now available in paperback!) and enjoy Poetry Month!

Poetry Month Lai


Posted by | November 27, 2012 | 2 Comments

Sometimes a publishing season comes around that is so full and great that you almost can’t believe it, and Winter 2013 is one such season for us in the picture book arena.  There truly is something for everyone in this winter’s happy group: sneezing pandas, biographies, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, collage, dioramas, monsters, farm animals, and did we mention… unbearably adorable sneezing pandas? Neil Gaiman, Adam Rex, Melissa Sweet, Jack Prelutsky, and more– the talent pool is just too deep! Look forward to upcoming posts featuring the artwork of the following books that we think are going to be “picture-perfect” additions to your classroom, library, home, and heart.


by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Beloved storyteller Neil Gaiman and acclaimed artist Adam Rex bring us Chu, a baby panda’s whose mighty sneeze produces disastrous and hilarious results.
Great for: reading aloud, storytime! (there’s a great library scene :) )
Starred Review: PW

by Charles R. Smith Jr.
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
On the heels of the 2012 Presidential election comes this powerful story of the building of the White house. Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and the toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our President. Built brick by brick, the White House was created by human hands, many of them slaves, whose hard labor created the symbol of this country.
Themes and applications: history, the United States, slavery.

by Brett Helquist
Goat has never had a single friend in his life. He doesn’t want one now. What he wants is to eat, and so he does! That is, until he stumbles upon a beautiful dandelion that stops him in his tracks. And once Goat opens his eyes to the beauty that surrounds him, he can’t help but open his heart as well.
Themes and applications: friendship, grief,  the circle of life, animals, reading aloud!

by Kadir Nelson
In poignant verse and glorious illustrations, Kadir Nelson tells the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for people of all colors. Readers will be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.
Themes and applications: equality, justice, perseverance, Black History Month.
Two starred reviews! Kirkus, PW

by Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
The inspiring true story of Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl who led the biggest strike of women workers in U.S. history. Caldecott Honor and Sibert Medal winner Melissa Sweet has used a variety of techniques—oil paints, watercolor, collage—to create a truly stunning picture book.
Themes and applications: Women’s history, equality, individuality, collage.
Starred Review: PW

by Mike Austin
 Different-colored monsters howl, growl, and roar for more as they mix and match primary colors to make new shades and hues. We (dare we say!) see this as the heir apparent to The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown.
Themes and applications: colors– primary and secondary colors, creativity, storytime!

by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Carin Berger
Sixteen mixed-up animal poems by poet Jack Prelutsky are paired with stunning three-dimensional collages, dioramas, and shadow boxes by Carin Berger. A faux natural history catalog of silliness, originality, and spectacular beauty.
Themes and applications: poetry, creativity, reading aloud!

by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
A vibrant picture book biography of Tito Puente, the Mambo King.  Rafael Lopez’  colorful illustrations make the story come alive.
Themes and applications: biography, music, creativity, storytime!



What do you think? Do any of these books look like ones you can use with your students, patrons, or your own kids?  We’d love to know!



Posted by | January 26, 2012 | 1 Comment

Truly, our cup is overflowing. Everyone here is beyond excited and incredibly proud of our award winning books and authors, announced this Monday at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. An astounding amount of work, love, patience, devotion, and hope goes into each book that’s published, and we’re honored to be part of the process that helps carry an author’s dream from their heart out into the world. Let us share our sincerest congratulations to all of our recognized authors and illustrators.

Thank you, terrific Newbery committee– your hard work is appreciated by us all!

We have a ceremony of our own back in our booth after the awards announcements, wherein we do a little drumroll as we place the medal on each book. And behold, it is very good.

And for your browsing pleasure, a few links to past Page Turn posts on our winners:


Our beautiful HEART AND SOUL video trailer

PINK reviews

Holiday Round-Up

Posted by | October 21, 2011 | No Comments

I know, it seems crazy to talk about the holiday season already.  But this is also the point where we start putting in book orders for the latest titles and replacing old books as well.  So let’s jump in and talk about some of the newest books for the holiday season:

MARY ENGELBREIT’S NUTCRACKER by Mary Engelbreit (On-sale: 11.1.11).  Download the memory game

THE HAPPY ELF by Harry Connick Jr., illustrated by Dan Andreasen (On-sale now).  Based on the song by Harry Connick Jr., this comes with a CD.  You can also watch the video.

A CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT by Nola Buck, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright (On-sale now).  In its starred review, Publishers Weekly said that this book “serves special status, to be kept off-season with other holiday decorations and then brought out each year at Christmas.”

THE LITTLEST EVERGREEN by Henry Cole (On-sale now).  School Library Journal calls this “a fine Christmas choice with an environmental message.”

FANCY NANCY: SPLENDIFEROUS CHRISTMAS by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (On-sale now).  Download the event guide.

Need to replace books in your collection?  Here are some possible titles that you may need to re-order:


Posted by | September 20, 2011 | No Comments

The day has come!  Shel Silverstein’s newest poetry collection, EVERY THING ON IT, is on sale today!

You can get a peek at the book by using our Browse Inside feature, and check out the downloadable activities.  The New York Times also wrote a lovely piece about Shel Silverstein as an unexpected “authority on education.”  And don’t forget to check out Shel’s poems on NPR’s Morning Edition (seriously, you haven’t lived until you hear Shel’s editor Toni Markiet read “Italian Food” out loud!).

The reviews are coming in and they positively glow about EVERY THING ON IT:

“This posthumous collection of Silverstein’s poems and illustrations is not only familiar in design, but chockfull of the whimsical humor, eccentric characters, childhood fantasies, and iconoclastic glee that his many fans adore.” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Like the boy holding the delightfully absurd hot dog with everything piled upon it, this collection offers a Silverstein smorgasbord that won’t linger on the library shelves.” ~ School Library Journal (starred review)

“Adults who grew up with Uncle Shelby will find themselves wiping their eyes by the time they get to the end of this collection; children new to the master will find themselves hooked.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

It’s a historic day, and we’re so excited to share it with you, readers.  And if you’d like to share memories and/or favorite poems by Shel Silverstein in the comments, please feel free – we’d love to hear it!

Fancy Nancy and her fancy website!

Posted by | July 7, 2011 | No Comments

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the Fancy Nancy website, you must head over there now and take a look!  First, sign up for the Fancy Nancy: Bonjour! E-newsletter:

You can also see adorable photos of fancy families and read the Fancy Nancy blog.

Hosting a Fancy Nancy soiree in your library?  Download the event kit.

Prepping for a poetry unit?  Take a look at our ideas to use FANCY NANCY: POET EXTRAORDINAIRE! in the classroom.

Use this template to help kids explore their family tree!

The possibilities are endless, mes amis!  How have you shared Fancy Nancy in your libraries or classrooms?

POETRY FRIDAY: Shel Silverstein

Posted by | March 25, 2011 | 1 Comment

Everyone getting ready for Poetry Month in April?  What have you got planned?  If you’re looking for last-minute ideas, we have just made available a brand-new Shel Silverstein Poetry Month Event Kit online!  Check it out here.

And here’s the poem for today, just in time for spring – I think we’ve all been in this situation at one time or another:

by Shel Silverstein

He thought it was
The biggest puddle
He’d go splashing through.
Turns out it was the smallest lake
And the deepest, too.


Have a fantastic weekend!

Poetry Friday: Shel Silverstein

Posted by | March 11, 2011 | No Comments

As mentioned last week, we’re sharing Shel Silverstein poems every Poetry Friday this month – we want to celebrate upcoming Poetry Month and Shel Silverstein’s upcoming brand-new collection of poetry and drawings, EVERY THING ON IT.

I flipped through A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC, looking for something perfect to fit this day or week.  And then I thought this one captured the springtime weather perfectly.  Here’s to warmer days ahead!


Here comes summer,
Here comes summer,
Chirping robin, budding rose.
Here comes summer,
Here comes summer,
Gentle showers, summer clothes.
Here comes summer,
Here comes summer —
Whoosh — shiver — there it goes.

By Shel Silverstein
ISBN 9780060256739

POETRY FRIDAY: Shel Silverstein

Posted by | March 4, 2011 | 1 Comment

Hopefully all of you heard the buzz yesterday about the title and cover reveal at The Huffington Post for the new collection of poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein, EVERY THING ON IT.  Here’s the fabulous cover:

It is on-sale September 20, 2011.

To celebrate the reveal and next month’s celebration of poetry, it makes sense to share a Shel poem today.  This is a poem that I actually recited in a poetry competition in fifth grade so it has a special place in my heart – it’s a personal favorite:

by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more – that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue —
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke —
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is — what?
What’s that?  What’s that you say?
You say today is…Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

I found that hilarious in fifth grade…but, even as adults, don’t we all want to claim all these illnesses to get a day off work!  Still hilarious.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

by Shel Silverstein
ISBN  9780060572341

Valentine’s Day Activities

Posted by | February 7, 2011 | 2 Comments

The fantastic folks at Reading Rockets have teamed up with one of our awesome authors, Laura Elliott (A STRING OF HEARTS, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger), to put together an amazing Valentine’s Day resource.  Check it out here.

There are writing prompts, an e-card, a craft, poetry activities and a lot more.  But my personal favorite is the acrostic poem idea, using words like Mom, Friend, and Love.  So, as a Valentine’s Day gift to all of you, I’m going to write you an acrostic poem:


What sorts of activities are you doing for Valentine’s Day in your library or classroom?

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