Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Here is my bibliography of all of the great poetry books I read and used to create this blog. I hope you have enjoyed it!

Books Used For My Poetry Blog, “Poetic Picks”

Bagert, Brod. 2007. Shout! Little poems that roar. New York: Dail Books for
Young Readers.

Cullinan, Bernice E., ed. 1996. A jar of tiny stars: poems by NCTE award-winning
poets. Pennsylvania: Wordsong .

Florian, Douglas. 2000. Mammalabilia. New York: Harcourt, Inc.

Foxworthy, Jeff. 2009. Silly street. New York. HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Franco, Betsy, ed. 2008. Falling hard: 100 love poems by teenagers. Cambridge, MA:
Candlewick Press.

Giovonni, Nikki. 2008 Hip hop speaks to children: a celebration of poetry with a beat.
Illinois: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

Grandits, John. 2004. Technically, it’s not my fault. New York: Houghton
Mifflin Company.

Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a million. New York: Greenwillow Books.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2006. Got geography! New York: Greenwillow Books.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 1999. Lives: poems about famous Americans. New York:
Harper Collins.

Lewis, J. Patrick. 2005. Please bury me in the library. New York: Gulliver Books.

Lewis, J. Patrick. 2004. Scien-Trickery: riddles in science. New York: Harcourt, Inc.

Janeczko, Paul. 2005. A kick in the head: An everyday guide to poetic forms.
Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

Mora, Pat. 2007. Yum! MmMm! Que rico! America’s sprouting. New York: Lee and
Low Books.

Singer, Marilyn. 2003. Fireflies at Midnight. New York: Anthenum Books for Young

Waters, Fiona. 2007. Poems from many cultures. London: Evans Brothers Limited.

Woodson, Jacqueline. 2003. Locomotion. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poetry Break: Serious Poem

Poem: All Mixed Up

By Janet Wong

From the Book: Poems From Many Cultures

Compiled by Fiona Waters

Published By: Evans Brothers Limited; 2007 (Reprint)

ISBN # 978-0-237-52104-2


Have you ever been excluded from a group because you were not dressed the right way? How did it make you feel? Can you imagine being excluded from a group because of the color of your skin? At least with clothes, you can change them and try to blend in. Skin color can not be changed. What does it mean to be Multicultural? Does it mean your skin is a different color? Can you belong for your unique qualities and heritage? Have students think about these things as you read Janet Wong's poem to them.

All Mixed Up

What does multicultural mean?
Stuck int he middle
in between
all kinds of food
and clothes
and talk?
Listening to bamboo flutes
play rock?
Turning tortillas
over the stove,
burning the tips
of chopsticks?

Why does my teacher love that word?
Is it something she ate -
or something she heard?
Loud drums
beating in the park?
Does she call me
because my skin is


Tell students that the author of this poem is of American, Chinese and Korean descent. How do you think growing up with so many cultural influences affects her writing? Have students think about the poem from that perspective as you read it again. Challenge students to think of a time when they felt judged whether it was by their clothes or color of their skin and use those feelings to write a poem based on their experiences.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poetry Break: Poetry by Children

Poem: Indian Tea

Written by: Christine Stoddard, age 15

From the Book: Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems by Teenagers

Edited by: Betsy Franco

Published by: Candlewick Press; 2008

ISBN#: 978-0-7636-3437-7


Ask students if they have ever looked forward to something only to have the event never happen. How did they feel? Has anyone ever promised to do something with them and then changed their mind? Did that person even show up to the planned event? How did that make them feel? Tell students that you are going to be sharing a poem with them that may remind them of some of those feelings. Read the poem to the students:

Indian Tea

It's noon
Where are you?
You promised me lunch
There's a cafe on the corner
With Croissants and Indian tea
A gray pussy cat hunts beneath the table
Searching for scraps of ham
And Salami
She sneezes at the peppercorn
It's cute
We could've enjoyed that together
But I'll just lunch alone
And laugh at the little kitty by myself
I didn't want to share my croissant with you anyway


Wait a few minutes and let students silently reflect on the poem. Ask students if they think the narrator is upset with the fact she has been stood up, or is she really okay with it. After discussing this point with the students, ask how the poem's mood would change if you read it as ifmthe narrator was angry, or if they were trying to act like it was no big deal that she has been left to eat alone. Have volunteers re-read the poem in different voices. Ask students to think about how their thoughts about the poem change depending upon the tone it is read to them.

Poetry Book Review--Janeczko

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms

Selected by Paul B. Janecko
Illustsrated by Chris Raschka

Publisher: Candlewick Press; 2005

ISBN #: 978-0-7636-0662-6


This collection of poetic forms is as entertaining as it is educational. The twenty-nine poetic forms included in this collection are accompanied by an excellent example of that form. Each form presented in the collection includes a concise, easy to understand description of the type of form and the "rules" it follows. An introduction prepares the reader by describing how some poetic forms have rules as to how many words or lines that form might have. Janeczko also informs the reader in the introduction of the best way to read the poetry in this book to experience the unique forms and try to figure out how the poem follows its required format.

My Thoughts on This Book:

This book was quite an education for me! I knew the name of many of the forms Janeczko includes in this compilation, but did not know the exact rules each form follows. After reading the poems and their descriptions, I am inspired to try some of these forms myself! This book is a must have for anyone who teaches writing especially the writing of poetry. The poems that accompany each poetic form are excellent choices that allow for students to easily see the requirements for that form and recreate those requirements in their own poem.

Chris Raschka's colorful illustrations that accompany each page are art lessons in themselves. The medium used (watercolor, ink, and torn paper) add a playfulness to the collection that invites readers to try their hand at becoming a poet.

Review Excerpts:

From Booklist (Starred Review): This is the introduction that will ignite enthusiasm. The airy spaces between the words and images will invite readers to find their own responses to the poems and encourage their interest in the underlying rules, which, Janeczko says, "make poetry--like sports--more fun."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetry Break: New Book

Poem: Silly Street

Written by: Jeff Foxworthy

From the Book: Silly Street

Published by: Harper Collins Publishers, 2009

ISBN #: 978-0-06-


Ask students what they like to do when they are being silly. After listening to their responses, ask them, "If there was a place to go to where you could be silly all the time, what do you think it would look like?" Again give students the opportunity to respond. Once students have shared, tell them you will be reading a poem today that introduces them to just such a silly place. For this Poetry Break, be sure to allow time for the extension.

This Way to Silly Street
by Jeff Foxworthy

Sometimes you're silly
And you know that it's true.
When you're feeling that way,
There are things you can do.

Like jumping in circles
Or spinning around.
Try doing cartwheels
Without falling down.

You could stand on your head
And wiggle your toes,
Or just walk around
With a spoon on your nose.

But if you're looking for more
And want something new,
Then I know a cool place
That's just waiting for you.


Read the poem a second time. Give students drawing paper and crayons and ask them to illustrate their idea of what Silly Street looks like. Be sure to have them include themselves in the picture doing something silly! Allow time for students to share their pictures and descriptions of their silly activity. Then read the next poem in the book, "Silly Street."

Silly Street
by Jeff Foxworthy

In the heart of the city
Is a place people meet.
It's this and it's that
And it's called Silly Street.
There are snowballs for sale
If you feel like throwing,
And bubbles to buy
If you feel like blowing.
If you like to jump rope,
There are plenty to use.
There are cots in the shad
If you're needing a snooze.
There are Frisbees to fling
And kites you can fly.
If you like to make noise,
Give the trumpets a try.
There are things you'll see there
You won't see other p;laces,
Like the flying squirrel circus
And pink elephant races.

Have students describe to a partner and similarities and differences between their version of Silly Street and the one described in the poem.

Poetry Break: Refrain

Poem: The Library Cheer

Written by: Brod Bagert

From the Book: Shout! Little Poems That Roar

Published by: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2007

ISBN #: 978-0-8037-2972-8


Gather students in front of you, and ask, "What's the best thing in the library?" Accept appropriate responses as you wait for a student to reply, "Books!" Display the poem on chart paper written in two colors--one for the refrain, and one for the verses. Explain to the students that this poem is a cheer for the library's great books, and then read it with enthusiasm.

The Library Cheer
by Brod Bagert

Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!

Bird books,
Bug books,
Bear books too,
Words and pictures
Through and through.

Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!

Books in color,
Black and white,
Skinny books,
Fat books,
Day and night.

Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!

Sad books,
Glad books,
Funny books too,
Books for me
And books for you.

Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!


Once students hear the poem, explain that you will reread it, but this time they join in on the refrain. Read the refrain together, and explain that each time they get to the text in that color they will join in. The second color is for the words the teacher reads. As students become familiar with the verses, assign specific lines to students, and have them read them out. Practice this poem often so students can begin each library lesson with a choral reading to get them ready for books!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Poetry Book Review: Yum! MmMm! Que Rico!

Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! Americas' Sproutings

Written by: Pat Mora

Illustrated by: Rafael Lopez

Publisher: Lee and Low Books; 2007

ISBN #: 978-1-58430-271-1


This collection of fourteen haiku poems by Pat Mora are all about foods that are native to the Americas. Each poem is accompanied by some background information about each individual food as well as a colorful illustration that brings each verse to life.

My Thoughts on This Book:

One warning about this book--don't read it when you are hungry! The colorful illustrations by Lopez vibrantly jump off the page almost as juicy as the fruits described in some of the haiku! Pat Mora does a beautiful job of describing these foods native to the Americas in the concise haiku format. Her word choice is perfect to describe these delicious foods--many of which I did not realize were native to the Americas until I read this book. This would be an excellent book to share with students to introduce them to the poetic form of haiku.

The background information provided about each food are an added bonus, providing the reader with the origins of each food as well as ways each food can be prepared and served. I also enjoyed the touches of Spanish influence throughout the book from Spanish words interspersed throughout some of the poems. A great way to add some Spanish to your vocabulary!

Review Excerpt:

From School Library Journal: "Teachers will find this a welcome addition to their social-studies units, but it should also win a broad general audience for its inventive, fun-filled approach to an ever-popular topic: food."