Tag Archives: national poetry month

Books in Verse

We haven’t had many opportunities to meet and talk about books in April. And there are so many great books in verse for Poetry Month. With the few remaining days, I have a couple to highlight.

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Today’s book is The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. How do I love this book? Let me count the ways.*

  1. It’s about basketball. I’m not much of a sports fan, but there are two that get me: professional baseball and high school or college basketball. There’s a grace to basketball that comes through in the poetry. They go so well together.
  2. It’s about siblings. Josh has a twin brother Jordan. They should get along. They should be each other’s best friend. They’re not. And it’s complicated.
  3. It’s about family. Josh’s parents are real characters in the story. They’re not stupid adults; they’re not mean adults; they’re just real adults.
  4. Vocabulary. Okay, this is where my teacher dorkiness comes in. Every so often, Alexander will use a term in a poem. The next poem will be a definition of that term. Not a basketball person? Not sure what a crossover is? There’s a poem for that. You do know what a crossover is? Have you ever heard it described in verse?

The book is a quick read…but don’t blow through it too quickly. You’ll miss some of the beauty of the poetry and the basketball.

*Junk to anyone who can name the literary allusion there. Mrs. Selinsky, you are not eligible.

 

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April Is…

…a lot of things. If you’ve been here long enough to remember the Great Snapple Incident of ’14 (maybe ’13), you’ll recall that it is both School Library Month and Occupational Therapy Month.

And it’s also National Poetry Month. Which I always find fun. And it’s a great time to highlight books written in verse, which I absolutely love. A book written in verse has such a different flow from a narrative story. There’s also a special beauty to reading poem after poem as they move together to form a whole story.

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So, today’s book in verse is brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson has written some great fiction (After Tupac and D Foster is one of my favorites). In this book, she not only turns to poetry, but also to memoir. This is her autobiography in verse. She tells of living in Ohio, thenĀ  moving to South Carolina to live with her grandparents, then moving again to New York with her mother. She tells about growing up in the era of Jim Crow laws. Of balancing religion in her life. Of finding new friends. Of struggling to learn. And of finding a voice in telling stories.

I really enjoyed this book. It won a few honors and awards last year when it came out, and for good reason. It would be an excellent choice for celebrating National Poetry Month.