Category Archives: Poetry

Novels in Verse

Novels in Verse

Do you like to read poetry?
April is National Poetry Month

 Read these books and see
all that a novel written in verse can be!

Has a teacher, librarian or parent asked you to diversify your reading? Meaning they don’t want you ONLY reading graphic novels or sci-fi? (What they mean is, try something different – read outside your normal box!) Try one of these books written in verse. Great stories in a quick to read version!


Books:

Moo Moo by Sharon Creech – Brand New! This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.
Love That Dog Love That Dog by Sharon Creech – A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2003-2004, 4-6 Nominee.
Hate That Cat Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech – Jack is studying poetry again in school, and he continues to write poems reflecting his understanding of famous poems and how they relate to his life.
Brown Girl Dreaming Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson – Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. National Book Award 2014
The Crossover The Crossover by Kwame Alexander – Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.
Out of the Dust Out of the Dust by Sharon Hesse – In a series of poems, fourteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family’s wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.
May B May B by Caroline Starr Rose – When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, Pa pulls twelve-year-old May from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2014-2015, 4-6 Nominee.
Words with Wings Words With Wings by Nikki Grimes – Gabby daydreams to tune out her parents’ arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her…until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook “thick withdaydreams,” Gabby grows more confident about herself and her future. This verse novel poignantly celebrates the power of writing and the inspiration a good teacher can deliver. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2016-2017, 4-6 Nominee.
The Red Pencil The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney – After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single redpencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.

Books recommended by: Kristen Williams, guest blogger and former Indianapolis school teacher


The books on this page are chapter book stories…written in verse. You might not think of these kinds of books right away when you think of poetry. The word “poetry” probably makes you think of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and Shel Silverstein. But these books are poetry too, and how amazing, an author writing a whole chapter book in verse! If you like these stories, here are some more:

Garvey's ChoiceApplesauce WeatherBookedCaminarFinding WondersUnboundBrains for LunchAll the Broken PiecesGone FishingInside Out and Back AgainLittle Dog LostPlanet Middle SchoolRunning With TrainsThe Wild Book
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“Shel”ebrate National Poetry Month with Every Thing On It

“Shel”ebrate National Poetry Month with Every Thing On It

Every Thing On It

Some of you might already have read Shel Silverstein’s most famous book of poetry, Where the Sidewalk Ends. Everything On It is just the same – full of funny poems and imaginative funny drawings. It was published in 2011. Shel died in 1999 though…so where did this book come from? Apparently, when he died Shel left quite a few finished poems that he had not had a chance to publish in a book yet. For this book, his family selected the poems. Pretty nice to get one more gift from Uncle Shelby. You can tell by some of the poem titles they’re all his: “Burpin’ Ben,” “Nasty Nancy’s Store,” and “Transparent Tim.” Author: Shel Silverstein

Here are a couple more funny poetry books by Shel plus another one by another funny poet – Jack Prelutsky. The last one, For Laughing Out Loud – that one is a collection of funny poems written by a bunch of different people.
Where the Sidewalk Ends A Light in the Attic My Dog May Be a Genius For Laughing Out Loud
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Meet the Author: Ashley Bryan

Meet the Author: Ashley Bryan

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an award-winning artist? Words to My Life’s Song is an autobiography that gives a glimpse into the imaginings and memories of three-time Coretta Scott King Award winning illustrator, Ashley Bryan. Mr Bryan frames the book as an afternoon spent walking around his home on an island in Maine. As we wander, Mr. Bryan tells us about his life growing up in the Bronx, going to art school, being in the army, teaching art, and discovering his passion for illustrating books. Along the way, we see a lot of his colorful paintings, stained glass and cut paper creations. This book is a bright, joyful celebration of life and creativity.

Recommended by: Hannah Wheeler – Lawrence

Mr. Bryan book, “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives & Dreams Brought to Life” was named a 2017 Newbery Medal Honor Book as well as being named a 2017 Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book for both his writing and illustrations.

 


Books written and/or illustrated by Ashely Bryan:

ashley-bryans-puppetssail-awayLetShineAfricanTalesPoetryThunder>AshleyStableScare

Websites:

More about Black History:

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WeNeedDiverseBooks#weneeddiversebooks
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Meet the Author: James Whitcomb Riley

Meet the Author: James Whitcomb Riley

The poet James Whitcomb Riley was born in Greenfield, Indiana on October 7, 1849. To give you an idea about how long ago that was, he was about 12 years old when the U.S. Civil War started.  Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were both born around the same time.

At the time of his death on July 22, 1916, he was a beloved figure in Indiana. He was also well known for writing in dialect. A dialect is a particular form of a language that is special to a specific region, in this case Indiana. It is similar to what we would call an accent today. When a person read his poetry, it was like listening to a neighbor. People really liked that. Many of his poems were funny. People really liked that too. Riley traveled the country giving live shows reading his poetry. In his time, he was a rock star! His death was such news it made front page headlines in major newspapers all across the country. There is an old scrapbook of the events that followed his death at The James Whitcomb Riley Home & Museum. You can look at this scrapbook online. It has all kinds of old newspaper clippings in it. One of the headlines about his funeral says, “35,000 People Pass Casket of Indiana Poet”. That is a lot of people! 

During Riley’s life, people did not have radios in their homes yet. To listen to music or readings they used phonographs. In Riley’s day, you had to hand crank a machine to listen to a recording. Very early ones recorded onto cylinders. Later ones recorded onto flat discs, like a CD, only larger. Today, you can play a digital file of an audiobook on your phone or computer. In 1912 Riley recorded poetry readings for the Victor Talking Machine Company on one of those flat discs so that people could listen at home. We have these old Riley Recordings at IndyPL in our digital collection. James Whitcomb Riley Recordings You can listen to the man himself reading his own poetry. Lucky for you they are in a digital file now!

Mr. Riley’s most famous poems for children were and still are, “Raggedy Man,” “The Little Orphant Annie,” “When the Frost is on the Punkin,” and “The Old Swimmin’ Hole.” You can read them right now in these free eBook from IUPUI. I recommend the deliciously scary “The Little Orphant Annie.” Annie is a great storyteller – she tells the story of why you better mind your parents because “The gobble-uns’ll git you ef you don’t watch out!” To read it, click on the blue book Riley Child Rhymes and then click on page 23.

Read Right Now! Free eBooks:

Riley Child RhymesThe Book of Joyous ChildrenThe Raggedy Man

Websites:

In the spirit of another beloved Hoosier, David Letterman:

Top 10 Ways to Know James Whitcomb Riley was a Rock Star of his Time:

10. His book  Rhymes of Childhood was published in 1912. Today, over 100 years later, you can easily find his book at the library or go to an online bookstore and find it for sale as a print book or an eBook. There are not very many books that are still printed from that long ago!

9. In the late 1890s he encouraged the African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. He wrote Dunbar a letter of recommendation that helped get his work published.

8. When Riley died, the President of the United states, Woodrow Wilson, and the Vice-President of the United States, Thomas Riley Marshall (who was from Columbia City, Indiana), both sent messages of condolence to his family. The Governor of Indiana allowed him to be laid in state at The Indiana Statehouse Rotunda so that people could come pay their respects. Until that time, only Abraham Lincoln had been honored in that way.

7. Greenfield, IN, his birthplace, and Indianapolis, IN, his home for over 20 years, fought over where he should be buried. Over Riley’s Dead Body: Indy’s Weirdest Civic Fight. Indianapolis won. He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in a tomb at the top of a hill, the highest point in Indianapolis. Section 61, Lot 1.

6. Both his boyhood home in Greenfield, IN and his adult home in Indianapolis, IN are museums and on the National Register of Historic Places.

5. The James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children was created and named in his honor in 1924. In 1955 the hospital added Camp Riley, a camp for youth with disabilities.

4. In 1940, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 10-cent stamp honoring Riley.

3. A cargo ship, the SS James Whitcomb Riley, was commissioned in 1942 during World War II.

2. There used to be a Hoosier Poet Brand of coffee, oatmeal, vegetables, cigars and more.

1. James Whitcomb Riley donated the land indyPL’s Central Library is built on. The bronze gates at the main entrance on St. Clair Street were purchased with pennies donated by children. The bronze tables on each of the iron gates say: The gates are the gift of the children of Indianapolis in loving remembrance of their friend James Whitcomb Riley

Print Books:

When the Frost is on the PunkinThe Gobble-uns’ll get you ef you don’t watch out!Little Orphant AnnieHoosier Boy James Whitcomb RileyJames Whitcomb Riley Hoosier Poet
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Food Hates You, Too & Other Foodie Poems

Food Hates You, Too & Other Foodie Poems

Turn about is fair play in Food Hates You, Too and Other Poems! If you can hate spinach and broccoli and brussels sprouts, maybe if given the chance, those green veggies might hate you too!

Listed below are more poetry books that feature food. Many of the poems are love songs to food. We do love our bacon and cookies and cake! Many of them are funny too. It just doesn’t matter if nothing rhymes with orange!


Books:

Frankenstein Makes a SandwichFresh Picked PoetryHot Potato Mealtime RhymesA Moose BooshYum Mmm Que RicoThe Popcorn AstronautsYummyFeeding the Flying Fellinis
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