Archive for the 'Poetry Friday' Category

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Nancy Doniger, Julie Paschkis, Chris Raschka, and Eugene Yelchin)

h1 Friday, April 8th, 2011

My Kirkus column for this week, which is at this link this morning, is all about the chapter book series Anna Hibiscus, published by Kane Miller Books. There are four titles thus far in the series, the latter two having been released just last month, and it wasn’t till these last two were released that I discovered the series as a whole. And I have to say: I can’t yawp about them loudly enough. They are entirely, without skipping a beat, enchanting. So, head on over there this morning if you’d like to read more about them. Next week, I’ll have some interior art from the series to share with you (as they are illustrated chapter books).

And, speaking of illustrations to share, at last week’s column I shared 3.1 new children’s poetry titles. (The “.1” is all on account of how I only have 600-800 words to express myself over there, which I think is, ultimately, a good thing for me to learn. Economy of expression, that is.) This was all in celebration of the launch of National Poetry Month. If you’d like to read that column (and weigh in with any recommended poetry titles), it’s here. As promised, here are some illustrations from each of those titles (the one opening this post is from Bob Raczka’s Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, illustrated by Nancy Doniger, but more on that below), as a discussion of them without a sneak-peek at the art is downright TRAGICAL.

First up, Julie Paschkis’s illustrations (without the text) for Monica Brown’s stirring picture book biography, Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (Henry Holt, March 2011). Sweet heavenly Chilean poets, I love me some Julie Paschkis art (as evidenced by the number of times she appears on this page of 7-Imp):


ONCE there was a little boy named Neftali, who loved wild things wildly and quiet things quietly. From the moment he could talk, Neftali surrounded himself with words that whirled and swirled, just like the river that ran near his home in Chile.”

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What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eric Rohmann and a Sneak Peek at his Next Picture Book, Bone Dog)

h1 Friday, April 1st, 2011


“Cute? These mouselets were a hideous shade of pink, and their ribs showed.
They were not cute at all.”

With apologies to T.S. Eliot, April is not the cruellest month. At least not when you celebrate it with the Academy of American Poets.

Today marks the first day of National Poetry Month 2011, and—since I get inordinately excited about it every year—my Kirkus column today celebrates with three new children’s poetry titles I like, including one Honorable Mention (only thusly named, because I didn’t have enough space to talk about four). The column is here.

Pictured left is the 2011 National Poetry Month poster, designed by Stephen Doyle. Click here or on the image itself for more info. You will even see at that page a link to request a free poster. (Also: Check out how other children’s lit bloggers will be celebrating poetry all month.)

If you missed last week’s Kirkus column, I weighed in on Lois Lowry’s newest novel for children, Bless This Mouse, illustrated by Eric Rohmann, a short novel which made me wonder about genres and labels and how, specifically, this field categorizes books with Christian content, so if you have thoughts on the matter, please go weigh in. Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Marilyn Singer, Alexandra Boiger, and Lee Wildish)

h1 Friday, March 18th, 2011

Dear readers, my Kirkus column for this week is up over at their site this morning. This time, I briefly cover Picture Books In Which the Parent Expresses Undying Love and Adoration to the Child, what I call, for lack of a better phrase, the love-you-forever-type books. (See how I tried to make it sound like a whole genre of picture books by Doing This? I’m a tremendous goober.) Specifically, I address the new Candlewick title from Ann Stott and illustrated by Matt Phelan. Go have a look, if you’re so inclined. I’d love any and all interested folks to weigh in on your favorite love-you-forever-type picture books for children. Which ones make you feel slightly (or wholly) nauseous? Which ones do you think get it right?

* * * * * * *

And, if you missed last week’s column, it’s here. That’s my short Q&A with Marilyn Singer . . .

. . . in which she discusses her creative inspirations, her upcoming companion piece to Mirror Mirror, and her latest picture book, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. Here are some spreads below, and you can head over to the column to see the cover and read more… Read the rest of this entry �

Poetry/Haiku Thursday/Friday:
Cinnamon Geraniums and the Rainingest Rain

h1 Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Well, okay. Goofy post title, I know, but I haven’t had coffee yet. Not to mention I just couldn’t make up my mind. Today’s featured poetry anthology includes haiku—not just traditional poetry—and I’m going to post before Poetry Friday begins, so there ya go. Hence, my funky post title is what I’m trying to say. Anyway. I never promised to be coherent. (Did I?)


“Come with rain, O loud Southwester! / Bring the singer, bring the nester; /
Give the buried flower a dream; / Make the settled snow-bank steam…”

I love it when it rains. Really. I’m one of those chuckleheads who grins to herself when the forecast calls for days and days of it.

In July of this year, Charlesbridge released a poetry anthology dedicated to such days, One Big Rain: Poems for Rainy Days, compiled by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke, a title “well suited to a drizzly afternoon,” as Publishers Weekly wrote.

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Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast
# Oh-I’ve-Just-Stopped-Counting: J. Patrick Lewis

h1 Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

I’m sorry for the field of Economics, but happy for children’s literature, that J. Patrick Lewis, once upon a time, jumped careers. Yup, Lewis, who goes by Pat, was a Professor of Economics for thirty years — before devoting himself to full-time writing. I hate to use such a clichéd phrase (do authors roll their eyes at it?) but just have to introduce him by saying I think he’s a national treasure. Truly. If I’m counting correctly, he’s about to hit the 70 mark, as in he’s written almost 70 books, mostly poetry collections, for children. He’s been honored by the American Library Association and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and has established himself as one of this country’s most distinguished children’s poets and authors. He has earned wide acclaim for the vivid language (whether sophisticated and poignant or light-hearted and nonsensical) and lyrical writing of his poetry, written in a wide-range of styles and covering seven skerjillion (to be precise) subjects; his passion for visiting schools and working with children (“Getting children excited about the wonders of poetry—experiencing literature—is the reason I visit schools in the first place,” he writes at his site); and his work that consistently “respects the music of the written word” (also taken from his site). As Booklist once told it like it is, he is simply a “fine poet,” and School Library Journal once wrote, “no one is better at clever wordplay than Lewis.”

And BOY HOWDY have I wanted to have him visit 7-Imp for a long, long time now. And I enjoyed chatting with him so much that I’m going to get right to it. Not surprisingly, I’ve included as much art as I can in this post, including some spreads from two of his latest picture books. Enjoy. And I thank Pat for stopping by and having virtual coffee with me.

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Poetry Friday: Switching on the Moon

h1 Thursday, September 23rd, 2010


“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, / How I wonder what you are!…”
(Click to enlarge.)

This is going to be brief, as I seem to have been visited this week by the same bug my daughters had within the past couple of weeks. But I wanted to check in—an early Poetry Friday post, if you will—with some art from one of my favorite illustrators, G. Brian Karas.

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Poetry Friday: Poultry Poetry

h1 Friday, July 2nd, 2010


“RECESS: There are chickens on the playground, / but none are satisfied. /
They must keep running back and forth / to reach the other slide.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

BAH-DUM-CHING, my friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted for Poetry Friday, and today I’m gettin’ goofy with George Shannon’s and Lynn Brunelle’s Chicken Scratches: Poultry Poetry and Rooster Rhymes (Chronicle Books, March 2010). It’s illustrated by Scott Menchin, whose work I’ve yet to feature here at the ‘ol blawg.

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Poetry Friday-a-Bit-Early: Laughing So Loud

h1 Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Ah. Poetry Friday, I’ve missed you. Well, I hosted a couple weeks ago, but it still feels like forever since I’ve simply shared a poem I read and loved.

And that’s what I’m doing today. And this will be short and sweet. I’ll let the poem speak for itself. Except to say, quite simply, that I’m edging forty. Surprisingly to me, it’s challenging my previously-held beliefs that I Won’t Mind Getting Older, and it’s been making me feel restless. Making me stare at young ones in their twenties and wanting to pull them aside on the street and whisper to them: Be sure you live it up. Wield passion. Laugh loud and undiminished (as David Gray once wrote). Read the rest of this entry �

Poetry Friday is here this week…
And I’m posting one day early with Jeannine Atkins

h1 Thursday, April 15th, 2010

This is my first time hosting a Poetry Friday. Ever. Honestly, I’m rather embarrassed about this, that I haven’t done it yet, as I’m a big fan of the whole tradition. I truly and deeply always have wanted to host. Anyway. Better late than never, and I hope you all will acquaint yourselves with Mister Linky (dude, that’s his real name; I always thought someone make it up all jokey) at the bottom of the post and let all your Poetry Friday peeps know what you’re up to.

First things first, though: This morning, I’m celebrating Jeannine Atkins’ new title, Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters, released by Henry Holt in March (and which, it was recently announced here, will be receiving a starred review in the May/June issue of the Horn Book, another starred review in a growing list of them). Now, here’s the thing: I’m still reading it. Since I’m doing my own writing myself these days, my reading rate (anything other than picture books) is fairly slow. I started Jeannine’s book and absolutely fell in love with it, but that didn’t mean my little windows of time in life in which to get things done didn’t preclude me from just devouring the book, as I was wont to do.

I have managed to finish the first part, though, all about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her spunky, independent, world-travelling daughter, Rose, who both encouraged her mother to write her life story and helped her shape the novel into what we read today. And it blew me away. It made me wonder and laugh and cry and have goosebumps and sometimes simply put the book down and think for about an hour (or two or three) and ponder my relationship with my own daughters and much more. It’s truly beautiful — masterfully-executed, never giving in to excessive sentimentality, and powerfully-felt.

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Poetry Friday: Feeding my Coffee Habit
with Author/Illustrator Barney Saltzberg

h1 Friday, March 26th, 2010

This morning, I welcome children’s book author and illustrator Barney Saltzberg, who has published more than thirty books in his career thus far, as well as released two CDs of children’s music. Barney also teaches a class on writing and illustrating picture books at UCLA. He’s here this morning to talk a bit about his brand-new picture book, All Around the Seasons (Candlewick, February 2010), as well as share some art from it. The energetic book, in the words of Kirkus, is a rhyming salute to the four seasons. School Library Journal adds: “The illustrations, done in acrylic and pencil, have a childlike simplicity that should appeal to young children. Emerging readers might also like to try this book, as the simple verse and large, clear font are easy to read without crowding the pictures.”

With regard to coffee, Barney says he and his wife “users,” not drinkers. This I love. “Every morning I make espresso for whomever is in the house,” he told me, “which sometimes feels like a B&B. I refer to my coffee corner as Barnbucks.” So, I’m going to have a seat at Barnbucks here—yes, I’ve invited myself over—while Barney tells us a bit about his new title. Thanks to Barney for letting me visit…

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