Reading, Teaching, Learning

Friday, June 20, 2014

My First Poetry Friday!

 
     I've been wanting to participate in Poetry Friday for a long time, but haven't for various reasons.  No more stalling!  I'm going to jump in.  Visit Jone's blog to find the roundup.  Today I want to share my love for novels in verse.  I just finished Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes, and it reminded me how skilled a writer must be to write so sparely and yet say so much.  Here are my intermediate grade favorites in this genre:


Words with Wings
 
Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes
 
I was rooting for Gabby, a daydreamer and outcast who just needed someone to believe in her when she moved to a new school after her parents' divorce. Grimes's words, like Gabby's, definitely had wings.
 
 
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
 
"Fiction, it's been said, makes immigrants of us all." What a fabulous book! It would make a perfect pairing with Applegate's Newbery Award Winner, The One and Only Ivan since they have the same theme topics - hope and home.   This book would also make an excellent read aloud and a ladder to use in jr. high and high school reading classes to get ready for young adult and adult stories about refugees, The Lost Boys of Sudan, and child soldiers.
 
Love That Dog
 
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
 
What a masterpiece this book is. I don't know how Sharon Creech makes such an emotional story with so few words. It takes less than an hour to listen to the audio. This is a favorite in my classroom and has helped more than a few students after the loss of a pet.
 
Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse
 
Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamara Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
 
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this little book of poems that tell a story about a fishing trip from three points of view: Sam, the brother, Lucy, his annoying little sister, and their dad. Wissinger defines poetry techniques and poetic forms in "The Poet's Tackle Box" at the end. Cordell's illustrations capture each character's emotions and personality perfectly.

 

May B.
 
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
 
This is one of my favorite novels in verse to recommend to kids new to the genre.  It grabs their attention right away, and readers can't help but be swept up in May B.'s struggle to survive on the winter prairie.

Here are some videos with some of my favorite writers of novels in verse:
 
 
 
Thanhha Lai won the Newbery Honor and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for her amazing novel in verse, Inside Out & Back Again in 2011.
 
     I have some other favorites, but I'd love to hear about yours!  I love helping kids discover novels in verse.  It's important to give them strategies for reading this genre.  Kids tend to read them too quickly or abandon them too soon.  When they get the gist of how to read novels in verse, however, they can become an important and enjoyable part of students' reading repertoires.
 
 
 

16 comments:

  1. Holly, I'm hoping to join Poetry Friday soon. I've read all the ones you featured except for May B. Putting it on my WTR (want to read) list. My favorites are Home of the Brave and Out of the Dust.

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  2. Hi. I love a lot of the same titles. For middle grade I also enjoy Out of the Dust, Sweetgrass Basket, Hidden by Helen Frost, and Serafina's Promise.

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    1. I haven't heard of Sweetgrass Basket. I will check it out! I haven't read Hidden, but I really liked Salt. Serafina is on my list to read. Thanks!

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  3. Great roundup! Am anxious to read May B. Love Helen Frost's work too. :)

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    1. Yes - Helen Frost! I saw on Twitter and Facebook that she is at All Write right now! :-)

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  4. Oops! I forgot to tell you where to find the Poetry Roundup. Visit Jone at http://maclibrary.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/poetry-friday-happening-here/#comment-2946

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  5. When you jump into Poetry Friday, you take a great leap! I love all these books, and your enthusiasm for the form. The cover to Home of the Brave is new to me, and I love it, and your idea to pair it with Ivan. Sharon Creech -- I've yet to meet the student who isn't inspired by this or Hate that Cat. For teens, I love Stephanie Hemphill, Kimberly Marcus, Sonya Sones, and ever and always Karen Hesse.

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    1. Thank you for those authors. I don't know all of them. I'm excited to take the leap!

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  6. I am a huge fan of verse novels. I even wrote one. I loved all the ones you've mentioned here. I just read Margarita Engle's The Lightning Dreamer and found it so well done. My students read May B and we had a fun Skype visit with Carolyn Starr Rose. The only one on your list I haven't read is Home of the Brave. I'll have to look for that one.
    And, oh, yes, welcome to Poetry Friday! I think you will love it as much as I do. I hope you will get brave enough to post your own work. The feedback and support is priceless.

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  7. Don't have any to add,but had to comment I read both Love That Dog and Inside Out and aback Again with my daughter last summer. Outstanding stor

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  8. Just had to add that I read Love That Dog and Inside Out and Back Again last year with my then fifth grader. Loved them. Such great stories that present such a differ

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  9. Comment cut off...mean to say that INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN and LOVE THAT DOG are awesome examples of poetry that are beyond what students are used to seeing. My daughter (and I) loved these books!

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  10. Welcome! So many great titles here.

    Cathy

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  11. So glad you are joining us for Poetry Friday...and will host the roundup, too! YAY you! YAY us!

    I love all the books you mentioned (great new cover for Home of the Brave), and I got to hear Helen Frost speak at All Write -- swoon!! I would add The Crossover as a good Novel in Verse for boys too cool for such things -- it has a sports theme and some of the poems are rap (rap-ish).

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  12. Thank you for this list! I was interested to hear that Love That Dog is a short audiobook -- helpful to know for when you need something brief.

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