December 12, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

‘Lovingly-Used’ Poetry: Naomi Shihab Nye’s Favorite Collections for Kids

Continuing with our celebration of National Poetry Month, School Library Journal has more poetry recommendations for kids from some of our favorite bards. This week, acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye—whose anthology This Same Sky (S & S, 1993) continues to be used in both college and fifth grade classrooms—offers us, in her own words, five of her “very favorite lovingly-used poetry collections for kids.”

Festival in My Heart: Poems by Japanese Children. Selected and translated by Bruno Navasky. Abrams. 1993. “Stunning, deeply imagistic and tactile fabulous poems by kids for kids—extremely stimulating as classroom writing prompts and delicious for all to contemplate.”

Fire in the Sea: An Anthology of Poetry & Art. Selected by Sue Cowing. University of Hawaii Pr. 1996. “More than 150 nourishing and dazzling poems from many Pacific islands as well as writers all over the world, mixed in savory fashion with artwork from the Honolulu Academy of Arts. You have a great classroom guide to poetry with this volume alone.”

Ten-Second Rainshowers: Poems by Young People. Compiled by Sandford Lyne, with illustrations by Virginia Halstead. S & S. 1996. “I fell in love with this book the first time I ever held it, the freshness and glory of its poems and images, and wish Sandy Lyne had lived forever. In the spirit of this book alone, he does.”

Strings: A Gathering of Family Poems. Selected by Paul Janeczko. Bradbury Pr. 1984. “Paul Janeczko’s anthologies of poems for young readers fill up a whole shelf but this remains one of my favorites, since writing about family is one of the most enduring and compelling topics for so many young poets.”

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry. Selected and introduced by Billy Collins. Random. 2003. “This rich and lively poetry collection is terrific for middle school, high school, and adult readers. Every high school I work in, some kind teacher or another mentions that it changed his or her life and made the experience of sharing poetry so much happier.  There is also a sequel called 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day.”

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson ( is a former News Editor ofSLJ.

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