ANNOUNCING THE 2012 POETRY NERDIES by Mary Lee Hahn

Light Verse,

Incredibly Diverse,

Apologies,

Honey Bees,

Contemplation,

Rumination.

Best six:

Classics

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LIGHT VERSE

I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus

by Jack Prelutsky

illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

Greenwillow Books

Author’s Website

Jack Prelutsky, the inaugural Children’s Poet Laureate, continues to delight children with his poems. Filled with more than 100 poems, I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus includes such silliness as

MY FRIEND PETE

Though I’m impressed with my friend Pete,

Who plays the cello with his feet,

I am dazzled by his sister Rose –

She plays the tuba with her nose.

INCREDIBLY DIVERSE

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!

compiled by J. Patrick Lewis

National Geographic Children’s Books

Author’s Website

J. Patrick Lewis, current Children’s Poet Laureate, has compiled a must-have collection of 200 animal poems “With favorites from Robert Frost, Jack Prelutsky, Emily Dickinson and more.” Every page in this coffee table-sized book has stunning National Geographic photography and one or more poems about the featured animal. Browse this beautiful book, or search by title, poet, first line, or subject in the indices. Resources also include tips for writing different forms of poetry, and a bibliography of a variety of children’s poetry books organized by poetry form.

APOLOGIES

Forgive Me, I Meant To Do It: False Apology Poems

by Gail Carson Levine

illustrated by Matthew Cordell

HarperCollins

Author’s Website

William Carlos Williams’ poem “This is Just to Say” was the inspiration for this collection of false apology poems. Many of the poems reference Mother Goose rhymes or fairy tale characters with kid-sized literary allusions, but others simply channel childhood sibling rivalry:

THIS IS JUST TO SAY

While you were buying

doll dresses

I sanded off

your Barbie’s face

which

you constantly

patted and praised

Forgive me

her beauty

was only

skin deep

The poems are smart and punny – a ready-set-go mentor text that invites readers to try a false apology of their own!

HONEY BEES

UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings

by Douglas Florian

Beach Lane Books

Author’s Website

Douglas Florian pairs poems featuring his trademark rhyming wordplay with paragraphs of information about honeybees (and whimsical paintings) in an collection that entertains and educates in equal measures. From a welcome to the hive through a wondering about the demise of honeybees, Florian gives readers a complete tour of a honeybee’s world.

CONTEMPLATION

Step Gently Out

by Helen Frost

illustrated by Rick Lieder

Candlewick

Author’s Website

This picturebook-length poem, dazzlingly illustrated by Rick Lieder’s photographs of insects, encourages the reader to “Step gently out, / be still, / and watch / a single glade / of grass.” Guided by Helen Frost’s words, we are still, we look, we listen, and we remember to appreciate all of the creatures that share the world.

RUMINATION

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard

by Lesléa Newman

Candlewick

Author’s Website

Matthew Shepard was a gay twenty-one-year-old University of Wyoming student who was savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die on October 6, 1998. This cycle of sixty-eight poems (for readers in middle school and up) explores the events of that October night from a variety of points of view — the fence, the killers, Matthew Shepard’s mother, the truck, the road, the moon, the deer who was found lying near Matthew when the sheriff arrived at the scene, and more. Each poem includes an epigraph, which is explained with notes at the end of the book. Also included are an explanation of the variety of poetic forms used, and a variety of resources for deeper understanding of Matthew Shepard’s story, plus LGBTQ and human rights issues. This is not an easy book to read, but it is an important story told with compassion and honesty.

Mary Lee Hahn teaches 5th grade Language Arts in Dublin, Ohio. When it comes to poetry, she really earns her Nerdy Book Club wings: she has a collection of US Poet Laureate and Children’s Poet Laureate signatures.

You can find her blogging at http://readingyear.blogspot.com and on Twitter as @MaryLeeHahn.