lion-island-margarita-engle December 29

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THE 2016 NERDIES: POETRY AND NOVELS IN VERSE ANNOUNCED BY MARY LEE HAHN

 

One third of humanity and four fifths of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way at night. With or without us, the stars shine on.

 

Love is as constant as the stars. At times, it as hidden as the Milky Way from our view.

 

The poetry category of the Nerdies, and the seventeen books that make up this year’s chosen constellation, shine with the light of love for all to see —

 

LOVE BOOKS AND READING

LOVE OTHERS, NO MATTER THEIR AGE

LOVE CREATIVITY

LOVE THE NATURAL WORLD

LOVE PEOPLE, PLACES, YOURSELF, YOUR LIFE

LOVE HISTORY

LOVE FREEDOM

 

LOVE BOOKS AND READING

 

a-poem-for-peter

 

A Poem for Peter

by Andrea Davis Pinkney

illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson

Viking Books for Young Readers

Author’s website: http://andreadavispinkney.com/

 

Ezra Jack Keats was more than the creator of The Snowy Day; he opened the door for the inclusion of characters of color in children’s books. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s flowing free verse is a beautiful tribute to an artist’s relentless pursuit of his dream, and how it changed the world of reading for so many.

 

booked-by-kwame-alexander

 

Booked

by Kwame Alexander

HMH Books for Young Readers

Author’s website: http://kwamealexander.com/

 

Yes, this is a verse novel about a soccer player, but it is also a love song to books and reading, vocabulary and librarians. Luke navigates friendships, family changes, first crushes, and the persistence of one of the coolest librarians of children’s literature, The Mac.

 

LOVE OTHERS, NO MATTER THEIR AGE

 
moo-sharon-creech

 

Moo

by Sharon Creech

HarperCollins

Author’s website: http://www.sharoncreech.com/

 

When Reena and her family move from the city to rural Vermont, nothing has prepared her for the eccentric elderly neighbor for whom she and her brother find themselves working. Mrs. Falala is a one-of-a-kind character who teaches Reena and Luke to stay open to friendships with all kinds of people (and animals). This story is told in a blend of poetry and prose.

 

applesauce-weather

 

Applesauce Weather

by Helen Frost

illustrated by Amy June Bates

Candlewick Press

Author’s website: http://helenfrost.net/

 

It’s the first year without Aunt Lucy, but the apples are falling and it’s applesauce weather. Through patience and love, Faith and her brother Peter help Uncle Arthur return to his usual storytelling self in this sweet illustrated verse novel.

 

LOVE CREATIVITY

 
echo-echo

 

Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths

by Marilyn Singer

illustrated by Josée Masse

Dial Books

Author’s website: http://marilynsinger.net/

 

Marilyn Singer is the inventor and master of the reverso form — poems that read top to bottom from one character’s perspective, and bottom to top from another character’s perspective. For readers who love all things mythology, these fourteen poems will give a new look at two sides of familiar myths.

 
wet-cement

 

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

by Bob Raczka

Roaring Book Press

Author’s website: http://www.bobraczka.com/

 

Concrete poems challenge readers to find meaning not just in the words of the poem, but in the placement and shape of the words, along with the way the poem’s metaphor plays tag with the visual of the poem.

 

 

LOVE THE NATURAL WORLD

 
finding-wonders

 

 

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science

by Jeannine Atkins

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Author’s website: http://www.jeannineatkins.com/

 

The three girls featured in this verse novel grew up to become influential in diverse fields of science — Maria Merian in entomology, Mary Anning in paleontology, and Maria Mitchell in astronomy — but all three shared a love of the close observation of the natural world.

 
before-morning

 

Before Morning

by Joyce Sidman

illustrated by Beth Krommes

HMH Books for Young Readers

Author’s website: http://www.joycesidman.com/

 

This poem of invocation is one many children have wished fervently — for a snow day to slow down the world. The story in the stunning scratchboard illustrations is of a girl whose pilot mother is grounded by the storm and finds her way home to spend the snow day together with her family.

 

when-green-becomes-tomatoes

 

**When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

by Julie Fogliano

illustrated by Julie Morstad

Roaring Brook Press

Author’s Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/Julie-Fogliano-1581665045413312/

Beginning and ending on March 20th, the vernal equinox, Julie Fogliano follows children through one year–effectively capturing the unique beauty and mutability of the seasons. Lush with imagery and emotional connections, each poem offers opportunities to examine and reflect on the significance of nature, time, change, and our own lives.

 

LOVE PEOPLE, PLACES, YOURSELF, YOUR LIFE

 
saving-red

 

Saving Red

by Sonya Sones

HarperTeen

Author’s website: http://www.sonyasones.com/index.html

 

Molly’s involvement in the Santa Monica homeless count brings her in contact with the homeless girl, Red, and sets her on a course to try to reunite Red with her family.

 

the-last-fifth-grade-of-emerson-elementary

 

Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

by Laura Shovan

Wendy Lamb Books/Random House

Author’s website: http://laurashovan.com/

 

The diverse students in Ms. Hill’s fifth grade class are determined to save their beloved Emerson Elementary, writing poems throughout the year that chronicle their civic activism as well as their personal challenges.

 

garveys-choice

 

Garvey’s Choice

by Nikki Grimes

WordSong

Author’s website: http://www.nikkigrimes.com/

 

Garvey has to learn to love himself, and it is through music that he finds the way to self-acceptance and a way to connect with his father. This novel in verse is written in the sparse tanka form.

 

to-stay-alive

 

To Stay Alive

by Skila Brown

Candlewick Press

Author’s website: http://skilabrown.com/

 

This chilling first-person verse narrative of the the Donner Party expedition through the Sierra Nevada Mountains gives readers a deep understanding of how the ties of family and inner strength allowed Mary Ann Graves to survive starvation and cold.

 

LOVE HISTORY

 

you-can-fly

 

 

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

by Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Author’s website: https://cbweatherford.com/

 

These second person poems tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II.

 

american-ace

 

American Ace

by Marilyn Nelson

Dial Books

Author’s website: http://marilyn-nelson.com/

 

This novel in verse tells the story of a teen whose Italian family discovers a connection to the Tuskegee Airmen that results in an exploration of identity, inheritance, and race.

 

 

LOVE FREEDOM

 

freedom-in-congo-square

 

 

Freedom in Congo Square

by Carole Boston Weatherford

illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

little bee books

Author’s website: https://cbweatherford.com/

 

Slaves in New Orleans were free to congregate on Sunday afternoons in what became known as Congo Square. The rhyming couplets and vivid illustrations in this nonfiction picture book communicate the release of that half-day of freedom to sing, dance, and share news.

 

freedom-over-me

 

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

by Ashley Bryan

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Author’s website: https://ashleybryancenter.org/

 

Pairs of free verse poems tell about the slaves’ lives and work in one, and about their true names, their dreams, hopes and talents in the other. This important book will help readers understand that there is not one story of Slave or of Slavery. Each and every enslaved person was a unique human being, priceless in ways that no one else could ever own.

 

lion-island-margarita-engle

 

Lion Island

by Margarita Engle

Atheneum Books For Young Readers

Author’s website: http://www.margaritaengle.com/

 

This novel in verse tells the story of Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent who became a champion of civil rights in Cuba. Themes of injustice toward minorities and women will cause readers to ponder current events with an interesting historical perspective.

 

 

Mary Lee Hahn is a 5th grade teacher in Dublin, Ohio. Her poetry has been published in the Poetry Friday anthologies, Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems, and The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry. Her poetry website is maryleehahn.com, she blogs with Franki Sibberson at A Year of Reading, and she can be found on Twitter @MaryLeeHahn.

**When Green Becomes Tomatoes was accidentally left off the list of finalists Mary Lee Hahn received. Annotation added by Donalyn Miller before posting.