2014 NERDY AWARDS FOR POETRY AND NOVELS IN VERSE ANNOUNCED BY MARY LEE HAHN
This day, this season,
captured in snapshots, glimpses —
savor each moment.
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Melissa Sweet
author’s website: http://www.paulbjaneczko.com/
This is a collection of poems to relish. Each of the thirty-six “very short” poems has been thoughtfully chosen to tell the story of the seasons, and visually enhanced with richly detailed illustrations by Melissa Sweet.
by Jon J. Muth
author’s website: http://jonjmuth.com/muth.html
Jon Muth’s panda character, Koo, takes us through the seasons (and the alphabet) with twenty-six haiku. Muth’s haiku do not adhere to the 5-7-5 pattern of syllables. He writes in the introduction, “For me, haiku is like an instant captured in words — using sensory images.”
Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole
by Bob Raczka
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
author’s website: http://www.bobraczka.com/
Santa writes a haiku a day for the entire month of December, giving readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of everyday life at the North Pole with Mrs. Claus. Santa’s December does not feel rushed and frantic; he takes time to look at the stars and notice a white fox at the salt lick.
The natural world —
captured on pages.
On the Wing
by David Elliott
illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
author’s website: http://davidelliottbooks.com/
David Elliott packs his short poems with plenty of wordplay and surprises. This collection features both well-known birds from backyard feeders and exotic birds from far away places.
by Tony Johnston
illustrated by Wendell Minor
Roaring Brook Press
Sequoia tells the story of his long life and his important place in the forest ecosystem. Informational back matter includes concerns about environmental changes that are endangering these amazing giants.
Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole
by Irene Latham
illustrated by Anna Wadham
author’s website: http://www.irenelatham.com/
From first light to star light, these poems take the reader through a day at an African water hole. Latham uses a variety of forms, and includes an information text box about each animal (and one tree).
Water Can Be…
by Laura Purdie Salas
illustrated by Violeta Dabija
author’s website: http://www.laurasalas.com/
Simply written with perfect word choice, these rhymes elaborate on all water can be. Scientific information about each page in the book is included in the back matter.
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold
by Joyce Sidman
illustrated by Rick Allen
HMH Books for Young Readers
author’s website: http://www.joycesidman.com/
How do animals survive when fall turns to winter, when winter’s cold deepens, and then when winter begins to give way to spring? Sidman’s poetry and Allen’s illustrations (plus the informational text boxes on each page and the glossary at the end of the book) give readers the answer to this question.
How to navigate
the turbulence of growing up —
walk another’s path.
by Kwame Alexander
Harcourt Brace and Company
12 year-old Josh Bell and his twin brother Jordan have basketball in their blood. Josh tells his family’s story in this novel in verse and rap for middle-grade readers.
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
by Christine Heppermann
author’s website: http://christineheppermann.com/
Fairy tales are woven with the modern reality of growing up female. These poems are dark and sometimes disturbing, but always filled with truth.
How I Discovered Poetry
by Marilyn Nelson
illustrated by Hadley Hooper
author’s website: http://marilyn-nelson.com/
In a sequence of fifty unrhymed sonnets, Marilyn Nelson’s memoir gives us a “portrait of the artist as a young American Negro Girl.” From age four to fourteen, we watch her grow into the realization that she will be a poet.
History can hurt —
open your heart to the pain
and learn from the past.
by Skila Brown
author’s website: http://skilabrown.com/
It’s 1981 and there’s a civil war going on in Guatemala. In this coming-of-age verse novel, Carlos must find his own way when the Communists come to his village.
by J. Patrick Lewis
illustrated by Gary Kelley
author’s website: http://www.jpatricklewis.com/
This gorgeously illustrated book of poetry for older readers teaches about 369th Infantry Regiment in World War I. This group of 2,000 black American soldiers became famous not just for their tenacity on the battlefield, but for the music they brought with them and which helped them to survive.
The Red Pencil
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
illustrated by Shane Evans
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
A heart-wrenching novel in verse about a Sudanese girl who loses nearly everything when her village is attacked. After a harrowing trek to a refugee camp, she is restored by the power of a red pencil.
Mary Lee Hahn is a 5th grade teacher in Dublin, Ohio. Her poetry has been published online at YourDailyPoem.com and in the K-5, 6-8 and Science editions of The PoetryFriday Anthology. She blogs with Franki Sibberson at A Year of Reading and can be found on Twitter @MaryLeeHahn
What a fantastic New Year’s Eve gift–to be included on this list with many of my favorite poetry books of the year! Thank you, Mary Lee and Nerdy Book Club:>)
Thank you for this incredible list of poetry books! Since learning from you at Nerd Camp I have been working hard to bring more poetry to our everyday work in first grade. These books will enhance our work so much! You are a gift! Happy New Year!!!
Thanks for shining a spotlight on these wonderful books. Have added the ones I haven’t read yet to my TBR pile. Awesome list!
Wonderful to see poetry featured in this lyrical way– and of course by YOU! Thanks bunches!
Such an honor to see WILDEBEEST included with these beautiful books… thank you, Nerdy Book Club! And Mary Lee, thank you for this lovely post. Your passion for poetry shines through every syllable!
At last! My nerdniess rewarded So honored to see On the Wing listed with these wonderful books . Thank you. A lovely way to begin the new year. Congratulations to all my fellow nerds.
I never thought of you as a nerd, David. I thought of you as the world’s best word-game player! All those car trips to Columbus honed your skills! Congratulations to my favorite wordsmith!
Thank you so much for including FIREFLY JULY on your list of 2014 Nerdy Awards for Poetry Books and Novels in Verse. It is a incredible list, and I am honored to be on it. What a fabulous way to ring out 2014!
Glad to find a stable among the best nerdies, Mary Lee!
So happy to see this list! I just finished Crossover for our Mock Newbery book club and can’t wait for our discussion in January. I also loved How I Discovered Poetry and Firefly July. I liked the haiku you created to introduce some of the tiles, especially the one for Firefly July with savor (my OLW) in it.
Can’t wait to read these. Thanks again for all the work to put together these lists.
Kudos to Tony Johnston for “Sequoia,” and to all the wonderful authors on this list! It was my great pleasure to illustrate “Sequoia” and thanks to Neal Porter for being our publisher.
Great list! I’ve read half of them. Happy New Year!
All these books sound lovely! I am encouraged and emboldened to aim high on behalf of my late mother, Sydell Rosenberg. A teacher and charter member of the Haiku Society of America, founded in 1968, she wanted to publish a children’s ABC reader based on her haiku and senryu. Syd died in 1996 and never got to do this, although many of her poems were anthologized. I will do this for her so her lyrical work for kids will live and provide delight. Meanwhile, I’ve partnered with a nonprofit arts education group on five (so far) programs for second graders that teach art and music through the lens of her haiku.
What a great way to kick off the new year. Thank you, thank you!
Congratulations to all the winners and especially to Laura Purdie Salas
Thank you so much for this list! So many new books to check out here in a favorite genre of mine.