Title: Hold Fast
Author: Blue Balliett

This book is a mystery and a work of art.  The Pearl family experiences a huge upheaval and Early, the young protagonist, feels the urgency to not only solve the mystery of where her father has disappeared to, but hold her family (mom and brother) together in the Chicago homeless shelter scene.  Readers will get a pretty realistic look at the lives of those having to live in such shelters.  I'm interested now in checking out some Langston Hughes poetry.  Lots to talk about after reading this book.

Author: J. Patrick Lewis

Perfect for Halloween and just about anytime you need a good laugh.  This collection of tombstone poems will delight those who love a good play on words.  Here's a sample:

No Longer Horsing Around (Horse):  First he was just a little hoarse, then the fever took its course.

Great fun to read aloud to the whole family!

Author: Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer has come up with a writing device called the "reverso". It is when you write a poem that can be read both down and up and the meaning is completely changed! In this book, she writes reversos about well know fairy tales. They are very clever. Reading them aloud gives you a good sense of where your inflections should go (and who you are when reading them!). Thanks to a patron who said I must read this book! It is very cool!

Author: Jane Yolen

After reading these short and charming poems, I want to send my granddaughter a poem everyday from this book.  Various poets come together to share their poetry for the very young.  My favorite is Bedtime Chant for the Tooth Fairy (p. 67), which starts:

Oak, ash, weeping willow, Lay your tooth beneath the pillow....

This treasury would be a nightstand favorite with any child, and adult.

Guys Read Poetry

Author: Bob Raczka

When trying to introduce poetry, especially to boys, one needs special tools, and this book is the "Swiss Army Knife" of poetry for boys.  Boys love to play outdoors, and these short haiku poems are all about just that (fishing, throwing stones, damming up a river, making your bike sound like a motorcycle, etc.).  Certainly will feature this book at our next Guys Read event.

Baby Porcupette

Author: Joyce Sidman

No wonder this book was a Newbery honor..... It's the best of many worlds.  Poems about night in the forest, great woodcut illustrations, and sidebars filled with tidbits of science to impress every reader.  My favorite is "I Am a Baby Porcupette"..... delightful!  Thinking about using it next summer when our reading program is about the night.

Bear Hugs

Author: Karma Wilson

Looking for a chuckle this Valentine's day? Look no further the lovey dovey animal poems in this book will have you smiling! My favorite is a rhinocerkiss!

Creating from Clay

Author: Laban Carrick Hill

This biography of the slave only known as Dave, features the creativity of a man who likely had few freedoms in his life. Words and images bring to life the feeling of creating pottery, some of it huge in size. Additional information about Dave the Potter and a bibliography at the end of the book provide a jumping-off point for enthusiastic readers.

Author: Liz Scanlon

This was my pick for the Caldecott Medal for outstanding illustrations.  Marla Frazee does wonders with Liz Scanlon's sparse text that is full of rhythm and pattern.  Non-readers can easily be drawn into each illustration to match the simple language of the words.  Best of all is the message to us all that we each have a prime spot in the world and community we call home.  I highly recommend this book as a gift for anyone!

book cover
Author: Schoonmaker

This is a delightful collection of poems by Carl Sandberg, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, and Walt Whitman. There are beautiful illustrations for every page. The poems will appeal to all different sorts of people, young and old. The illustrations are nice because they keep little ones occupied as you try and instill the poetry in their minds. Before each poet's section, there is a helpful biography of him/her. These can be nice, because when you read their poetry, you know their background and life style. This is simply a wonderful book to add to your list of family reads. I would recommend it to anyone.