Tag Archives: poetry

My Summer in Verse

I’ve had the chance to catch up on loads of books over the summer school holidays, which has been so great.  One of the books that I had wanted to read for a while was Kwame Alexander’s Booked.  I’d heard so many good things about this book and I had it on reserve at my public library for ages.

Not only was Booked totally brilliant, it also got me hooked on verse novels, a way of telling a story that I had previously thought wasn’t for me.  Kwame Alexander’s Booked opened up this door for me.  I loved the way that Kwame’s characters came alive using such few words.  Booked is about football and The Crossover is about basketball and, even though I’m not a sporty person, I loved the way that Kwame weaved the gameplay in with family issues, friendship and girl problems.  I especially enjoyed Booked because there is a really cool librarian called Mr Mac who always talks about books with Nick and keeps trying to give him books to read. I highly recommend both of Kwame’s books for Year 7 and up, especially boys who are super sporty but don’t really like to read.  These books might just switch them on.  I think boys would find them especially appealing because each of the poems is short so there isn’t too much reading.

Here are the verse novels that I have enjoyed recently and completely recommend.  Paper Hearts and Coaltown Jesus are aimed at teens but the others are perfect for ages 8+:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

18263725

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

25897953

Booked by Kwame Alexander

In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER,  soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.
This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!

53498

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

“I guess it does
look like a poem
when you see it
typed up
like that.”

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won’t stop giving her class poetry assignments — and Jack can’t avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.

2930911

Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech

February 25

Today the fat black cat
up in the tree by the bus stop
dropped a nut on my head
thunk
and when I yelled at it
that fat black cat said
Murr-mee-urrr
in a
nasty
spiteful
way.

I hate that cat.

This is the story of
Jack
words
sounds
silence
teacher
and cat.

28217808

Moo by Sharon Creech

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.

28588033

Apple Sauce Weather by Helen Frost

When the first apple falls from the tree, Faith and Peter know that it’s applesauce weather, even though Peter is getting a little old for such things. It also means Uncle Arthur should be here to tell his stories, with a twinkle in his eye as he spins tales about how he came to have a missing finger. But this is the first year without Aunt Lucy, and when Uncle Arthur arrives, there’s no twinkle to be found and no stories waiting to be told. Faith is certain, though, that with a little love and patience, she and Peter might finally learn the truth about that missing finger. Paired with warm, expressive illustrations by Amy June Bates, this heartfelt tale by award-winning poet Helen Frost highlights the strength of family and the power of a good story.

71rbictrgcl

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.

Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental–and emotional–turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.

(This was one of the verse novels mentioned in Kwame Alexander’s Booked so I had to read this one.  It is heart-breaking but so wonderful!)

23342570

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

A novel in verse, Paper Hearts is the story of survivial, defiance, and friendship. Based on historical events about a group of girls who were slave laborers at the munitions factory in Auschwitz.

(This is a story of the holocaust unlike any I have read before.  Telling this story in verse somehow makes it more powerful)

17262298

Coaltown Jesus by Ron Koertge

Walker shouldn’t have been so surprised to find Jesus standing in the middle of his bedroom. After all, he’d prayed for whoever was up there to help him, and to help his mom, who hadn’t stopped crying since Noah died two months ago. But since when have prayers actually been answered? And since when has Jesus been so . . . irreverent?

But as astounding as Jesus’ sudden appearance is, it’s going to take more than divine intervention for Walker to come to terms with his brother’s sudden death. Why would God take seventeen-year-old Noah when half of the residents in his mom’s nursing home were waiting to die? And why would he send Jesus to Coaltown, Illinois, to pick up the pieces?

 

4 Comments

Filed under books, children's fiction, poetry, young adult, young adult fiction

Michael Rosen performs poems from A Great Big Cuddle

Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell have teamed up to publish a collection of wonderful poems for young children, called A Great Big Cuddle.  It’s a big, beautiful book full of Michael Rosen’s poems and illustrated by Chris Riddell.  It’s out now from Walker Books.

Check out these great videos of Michael Rosen performing some of his poems from A Great Big Cuddle.  I love his poems but seeing him perform them is terrific.  He’s got a fascinating face that is incredibly animated when he performs.

Leave a comment

Filed under author video, poems, poetry, video

The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes by Edward Lear, illustrated by Robert Ingpen

Walker Books Australia and legendary Australian illustrator, Robert Ingpen have been introducing classic children’s stories to the children of today since 2004.  When Robert Ingpen illustrated the centenary edition of Peter Pan and Wendy, I had no idea that he was going to illustrate many other classic children’s books, including The Wind in the Willows (my favourite Robert Ingpen illustrations), The Jungle Book, The Secret Garden, and The Wizard of Oz.  Robert’s style of illustration is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t think of anyone better to bring these classic stories to life.  One of my most memorable meet-the-author moments was when I got the chance to hear Robert speak about his work at the 2006 Children’s Book Council of Australia Conference in Sydney and get my copy of Treasure Island signed.  Walker Books Australia have just published Robert’s latest addition to his classic children’s stories, Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes.

The book that I remember most from my childhood is the copy of The Owl and the Pussycat that my parents read to me many times.  I still remember the whole rhyme off by heart today so when I opened Robert Ingpen’s illustrated edition of The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes I could focus completely on Robert’s beautiful illustrations.  My favourite part of Robert’s illustrated editions are the end-papers because this is where he publishes his character sketches.  In this book we get to see his sketches of the owl, the pussycat, and the piggy-wig.   One thing that I’ve noticed with Robert’s illustrations is that animals are his best subjects, so the owl and the pussycat are incredibly life-like.  I hadn’t read any of Lear’s other nonsense rhymes before so I loved meeting the Jumblies, the Dong with the luminous Nose, and the man who invented a purely original dress.  Robert Ingpen brings Edward Lear’s characters to life with his stunning, soft illustrations.

5 out of 5 stars

3 Comments

Filed under authors, books, children, Illustrators, picture books

Join Scotland’s National Poet Liz Lochhead to celebrate Robert Burns

Thanks to Beth from the Scottish Book Trust for giving me this heads up.

Scotland’s National Poet Liz Lochhead is to give a live broadcast to children across Scotland during a special Robert Burns celebration on Thursday 26 January at 11am. The Scottish Friendly Meet Our Authors Special Event, run by Scottish Book Trust, will be streamed live from BBC Scotland in Glasgow and available after to watch again for free from the Scottish Book Trust website. The broadcast will be most suited to children from P6 – S4 (9-16 year olds) and any fan of Scottish poetry.

You can join over 10,000 pupils across the UK watching the event live by following this link:http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/authors-live-with-liz-lochhead.   Alternatively, the event can be downloaded or streamed from next Thursday following the same link.
 
The event will be free to watch again after 2nd February on our website and clips of the event will be available on our Meet Our Authors YouTube channel around the same time.
 
You can go to www.bbc.co.uk/authorslive to submit a question. Please bear in mind that many thousands of children will be watching and will have submitted questions. Please don’t be too disappointed if your question doesn’t get asked.
 
Liz will be celebrating the poetry of Burn’s as well as reading her own work. We’re sure this event is going to be really inspirational as no-one can make Burns come to life like Liz can.

Scottish Book Trust do loads of events like this every year: their previous events have featured authors such as Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson, Eoin Colfer, Jacqueline Wilson, David Almond and many more. You can stream or download any of these events for free here: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/childrens-authors-live/2010-11.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, children, poetry

Bananas In My Ears – Poems by Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is a cool poet and author who has been writing poems for years.  His poetry collections always have really funny titles like Lunch Boxes Don’t Fly and Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy.  His latest collection, Bananas In My Ears, is full of weird and wonderful poems.

In Bananas In My Ears there are poems about everyday life, like things that happen at breakfast time or when you go to the doctors, but there are also poems about silly things that could happen.  My favourite poems in the book are called ‘What if…’ and they’re about things like ‘What if a piece of toast turned into a ghost just as you were eating it?’ or ‘What if they made children-sized diggers?’  They’re really funny and things get completely out of control in them.  Each of the poems are illustrated by Quentin Blake, who you might recognize as the illustrator that did the covers and illustrations for all of Roald Dahl’s books.

Poems are great to read if you don’t have alot of time to read or just want something short and Bananas In My Ears is a collection of poems you’ll want to read again and again.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children, poetry

Sticky Ends – Poems by Jeanne Willis

There are all sorts of poetry books you can find in the library.  There are nice, sweet poems about friends, poems about animals, or poems about monsters.  Some of them rhyme and some of them twist and turn all over the page.  Sticky Ends is a new collection of twenty-six very funny cautionary verses where the characters come to a sticky end.  Some of them are stupendously silly, some are horribly gross, but they’re all funny.

In Sticky Ends you’ll meet Bubblegum Pete who ate all the bubblegum he could eat, but then comes to a sticky end when he blows the biggest bubble and gets blown away.  There’s a very naughty Father Christmas who gets blackmailed by a naughty boy, Lardy Marge who eats too much butter, and Filthy Frankie who gets cocooned in snot.

If you ever need a really funny poem to read aloud at school or to make your parents squirm, Sticky Ends has a great selection to choose from.  If you’re looking for it in the library, just look for the picture of an elephant sitting on a person on the front cover.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children, poetry