Seven Poems for Children

Eckhart

How awkward to play with glue, Constance Levy

About the Teeth of Sharks, John Chardi

Valentine, Donald Hall

Daddy Fell Into the Pond, Alfred Noyes

Perfect, Ken Nesbitt

Freddie, Phil Bolsta

My First Best Friend, Jack Prelutsky

Celebrating American She-Poets (6): Young People’s Poet Laureate, Jacqueline Woods … Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson by David Shankbone under CC By SA 3.0 license

Jacqueline Woodson by David Shankbone under CC By SA 3.0 license

American poet and writer, Jacqueline Woods (b. 1963) was named Young People’s Poet Laureate in June last year by The Poetry Foundation. The $25,000 laureate award is given every two years to poets devoted to writing quality poetry for children and youth. Poetry Foundation President, Robert Polito, said Jacqueline is an “elegant, daring, and restlessly innovative writer.”

Jacqueline has written some thirty books. She’s won a National Book Award and three Newberry Honor Medals.

51-Pl9BJ7IL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I just finished reading Brown Girl Dreaming, a memoir in free verse that is not just for brown girls. It can be read in one sitting but like all good poetry is meant to be relished … there is much to savor.

What I like about this work – and what in part accounts for its popularity – is that it puts family life and youthful reflection smack-dab in the context of history. Woodson grew-up during the civil rights movement and tells of watching the Black Panthers on television and sitting in the back of the bus, though Woodson’s mother made a point of affirming for her children that they were as good as anyone.

I enjoyed – and think most kids would too – how Woodson writes about the contradictions in family stories. The day, for example, that she is born is reported differently by mother, father and grandmother, each absolutely sure that he or she is the only one who got it right.

This is a wonderful book for any young person. I venture to say, however,  if yours is a child who dreams of being a writer and can’t envision it happening, then you must put this book in that child’s hands. S/he will be forever grateful.

© 2016, Jamie Dedes

“We have that book at home.” so say the under-five set

A mother reads to her children, depicted by Jessie Willcox Smith in a cover illustration of a volume of fairy tales written in the mid to late 19th century.

A mother reads to her children, depicted by Jessie Willcox Smith in a cover illustration of a volume of fairy tales written in the mid to late 19th century.

“We have that book at home.”

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“There is something utterly charming about little kids recognizing the books they have at home when they come to the bookstore. Little ones come in every day and almost all under the age of five feel the need to announce when they see a book they know from home. There is comfort in the familiar. The characters in the books have become friends, the artwork can be anticipated and there are no surprises.” MORE Josie Levitt yesterday in Publisher’s Weekly ShelfTalker, “In which children’s booksellers ponder all things literary, artistic, and mercantile.”

Illustration, public domain