Archive | January 2013

January Verse Novel Reviews etc: Week 1

First off, not one, but TWO Novel in Verse Reading Challenges for 2013:

The Busy Bibliophile has a giveaway and challenge.

NovelinVerseReadingChallenge1 The Novel in Verse Reading Challenge Kickoff GiveawayNovel in Verse Reading Challenge

Born Bookish has a verse novel reading challenge too.

Why not sign up for both?

Verse Novels are all over the web this week, kicking off 2013 with a bang.

The Other Side of the Story highlights the form and introduces a few standout verse novels.

Words on Paper reviews The Taste of Apple by James Laidler

Pajama Press shares a Quill & Quire review of an upcoming verse novel I somehow missed, and it sounds great. NIX MINUS ONE by Jill MacLean

And about a million people review verse novelist Lisa Schroeder’s latest YA novel FALLING FOR YOU. Not a verse novel, but we’ll include it anyway, because Lisa is our Queen. Congrats Lisa!

Falling For You

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This entry was posted on January 7, 2013. 3 Comments

VERSEDAY #1 – THE CYBIL NOMINEES FOR POETRY

VERSEDAYBUTTON copy It’s VerseDay! VerseDay is a year long blog fest celebrating all things verse. Each Thursday one of our VerseDay bloggers will post something about verse – a review, a giveaway, writing tips, anything. Other participating bloggers will link to that week’s post on their blogs, tweet or Facebook the link and just generally add their support.

For this, our inaugural post, we’re going to take a closer look at the 2012Cybil nominees in the poetry category. Personally I love that the Cybils include a poetry category. Despite the popularity of verse novels, poetry is an oft overlooked area of writing for young readers. But as these seven nominees demonstrate, there is no shortage of great collections out there.

BookSpeak!: Poems About BooksBookSpeak! Poems About Books  by Laura Purdie Salas is a collection of wacky, whimsical poems about books and all the treasures they contain. With wildly colorful illustrations and captivating rhymes, Bookspeak! offers readers pages of fun and frivolity.

In the SeaIn the Sea by David Elliott present A New York Times best-selling author and a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator exploring life in the ocean with clever poems and bold, expressive woodcuts. This collection rounds out a trilogy of books about different environments and the creatures dwelling within.

Last Laughs: Animal EpitaphsLast Laughs: Animal Epitaphs by J. Patrick Lewis is a collection of darkly humorous memorials for gruesomely killed animals. This is the kind that readers who nornally turn their nose up at poetry, especially boys will guffaw over for hours on end.

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red DressesLies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge is the only nominee specifically aimed at young adult readers. A collection of fiendishly clever free verse explorations on the darker possibilities of fairy tales including serial killers, drug references, blood and dismemberment this book is definitely NOT for the faint of heart.

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! 
compiled by J. Patrick Lewis seems tame by comparison (excuse the bad pun). It’s a collection of both classic and contemporary poetry about animals arrange in easy to access thematic chapters.

UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and PaintingsUnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings 
by Douglas Florian is a short but pithy collection of ecologically oriented poems about bees. With a subtle message about the plight of bess (they are in decline) it includes bee-related facts in addition to the poems and is illustrated by the poet in exuberant paintings.

Water Sings Blue: Ocean PoemsWater Sings Blue by Kate Coombs is another nature oriented offering focusing on the flora and fauna of the ocean and seashore. Its rich watercolor illustrations (by Meilo So) reflect the beauty and serenity of the marine setting.

It’s probably no surprise that five out of seven books here are on animal or wilderness themes. Long a favorite subject of writers for children, nature never seems to run out of ideas or inspiration. Although I admire all these nature books, and the other two nominees, I would love to see a broader range of topics in poetry collections for children and young readers. When you think of all the topics dealt with in novels (particularly in verse novels) such as friendship, school, family, love and death I wonder why we don’t see collections of poetry dealing with these more human themes.

Maybe next year.

I’d like to donate one of these to my daughter’s school library, and challenge other verse enthusiasts to do the same for their local public or school libraries. Which one do you think I choose? Put your suggestions in the comments. I’ll donate the one with the most suggestions.

This entry was posted on January 2, 2013. 5 Comments