April 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Resources for National Poetry Month

Maggie B.’s Spine Poem from 100 Scope Notes

April is National Poetry Month, and School Library Journal has compiled a list of tools and creative ideas for celebrating. From poetry slam best practices to Common Core curriculum connections, this roundup is chock-full of ways to approach the poetic form with kids all year long.

Expert Opinions

Who better to discuss their perspectives on poetry than those in the know? SLJ sked several poets to share their favorite collections for children. Jack Prelutsky, Naomi ShihabDoug Florian, Marilyn Singer and others list anthologies near and dear to their hearts.

Poet Joyce Sidman talks about poetry’s impact on her life, as well as her teaching experiences.

Finally, author and poet Lesléa Newman discusses how she used various poetic forms to explore the intricacies of a tragedy–the murder of Matthew Shepard.

Poetry…and the Common Core?

Exploring the Common Core Standards doesn’t have to mean stripping poetry of its beauty or joy. SLJ’s e-newsletter Curriculum Connections features a variety of poetry collections that will spark students’ imaginations while also providing them with a strong grounding in informational texts.

Poetry: It’s in the Details

From haiku to reverso, from fairy tales to animal poetry, this piece lays out a variety of new poetry collections, including J. Patrick Lewis’s Claudia Lewis Award winning National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry (National Geographic, 2012).

Meeting the CCSS Through Poetry | Professional Shelf

Finding poetry collections may not pose a problem, but how to go about teaching students to read and analyze poems, or to produce their own works? This piece specifically tackles the CCSS and presents professional development titles that facilitate creating lesson plans and teaching units centered around poetry.

Exploring Nature Through Poetry

These poetry collections will both educate students about various species of animals and plants while also celebrating the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

Great Books for Poetry Month: Haiku for Young Readers

Haiku, with its distinct form, is one of the best-known poetry formats. These anthologies all rely on haiku but take on a variety of subjects, from poems for boys to those about seasonal changes.

Judy Freeman’s 150 Favorite Poetry Books for Children

Librarian Judy Freeman lists her favorite poetry anthologies.

The Poetry of Earth and Stars

The natural world proves to be a popular topic for poetry collections; Nicola Davies, Jane Yolen, Marilyn Singer, and others tackle space, the sea, and everything in between, all in verse.

Share a Poem!

These picture book-poetry collections that rely on familiar topics (dogs, baseball, animals) and a variety of different formats will draw students in to the world of poetry.

Poems for all Reasons

Whether you’re searching for poems that tell a story or those for Poem in your Pocket Day, these collections will definitely satisfy.

Make Your Own

Looking for a fun and simple way to not only immerse your students in poetry but also inspire them to create their own? Look no further than Travis Jonker’s spine poetry. Jonker, an elementary school librarian who also blogs at 100 Scope Notes, chooses a group of books, stacks them spine out, and then photographs the results for a creative take on “found poetry.”

For older students curious about the idea of presenting their poetry to the world, check out the world of poetry slams, or readings in which judges rate each poem. Blogger Joyce Valenza describes a poetry slam she helped put together, complete with video, photos, and tips for those looking to host their own poetry slams.

Poetry in Motion

Though most of the SLJ Poetry Podcast series has been unfortunately lost, podcasts of Walter Dean Myers reading still remain. The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature read from his book, Jazz.

Breathing New Life Into Poetry

‘I Could Pee on This’ Cat Poetry Inspires Teen Orators

A teen searching for poetry by an author born after 1960 for a poetry reading discovered Francesco Marciuliano’s hilarious I Could Pee on This, and Other Poems by Cats.

“I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” | Emily Dickinson Plays Sleuth

In her novel Nobody’s Secret (Chronicle, 2013), author Michaela MacColl imagines an adolescent Emily Dickinson as the detective in a murder mystery. In this interview, MacColl explains what drew her to the poet, as well as her own response to Dickinson’s poetry.

Tired of using the old standbys like Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and Langston Hughes for Poetry Month? Adult Books 4 Teens blogger Mark Flowers shares some new-ish collections that should appeal to teen audiences.