Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Of People and Places - Poetically Speaking

In the last few days I've been recapping my poetry reading for the year. So far I've discussed some of the more diverse poetry books I've read, as well as poetry books on nature. Today I'd like to highlight some of my favorite books on people and places. (Please Note: Nearly every book in the diverse poetry post is about people and/or place. So be sure to check out that list as well!)
Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School, written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Steven Salerno - In this collection of 18 poems, Salas examines the similarities between schoolchildren and members of the animal world and captures the raw emotions of childhood. (You can read more about this book at Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup.)

Messing Around on the Monkey Bars: And Other School Poems for Two Voices, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Jessie Hartland - This collection of school poems takes readers on a ride around the school and schoolyard, beginning with the school bus and ending with the final school bell. In between there are poems about lunch money, homework, recess, the library and more. (You can read more about this book at The PlanetEsme Plan.)

The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse, written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Serge Bloch - Lewis highlights 48 professions in a range of poetic forms. There is a great deal of humor and word play, as well as some very clever puns. This one is a sure kid-pleaser. (You can read more about this book at Seven Imp.)

Steady Hands: Poems About Work, written by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer and illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy - Though also a collection on the world of work, this is vastly different from Lewis' offering. The 34 free verse poems in this book are much more descriptive and serious. (You can read more about this book at Poetry for Children.)

Come to the Castle: A Visit to a Castle in Thirteenth-Century England, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by S.D. Schindler - When the Earl of Daftwood decides to host a tournament, it's all the "little people" who must prepare for the festivities. Using a variety of voices, Ashman gives us a poetic look at the preparations from a variety of perspectives. This is a fun, witty, and thoroughly educational look at the past. (You can hear more about this book at Just One More Book!!)

City I Love, written by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Marcellus Hall - This collection of 18 poems examines different aspects of city life. While the poems themselves never identify specific locations, the illustrations give the stage to a wide range of cities around the world. (You can read more about this book at A Fuse #8 Production.)

The House, written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Roberto Innocenti - I've been sitting on my review of this one for a while because I was completely undone by the beauty of this book. It is the story of the life of a house, told from the house's point of view. The illustrations are stunning and the poetry sublime.
How about you? Have you read any poetry of people and places this year that you admire? If so, please share. I'd love to know what you've been reading.

Don't forget that nominations for the Cybils are open until 11:59 pm on October 15th. If you haven't done so, please do stop by and nominate your favorites in a range of categories.


  1. Awesome post, as always. Haven't read enough new poetry this year (the year of the grad school time suck), but am bookmarking these posts for when I finish!

  2. Thanks for mentioning Stampede, Tricia! And I wish I could nominate about 15-20 poetry collections for Cybils this year!