April is National Poetry Month. And there is nothing like reading poems to our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or students. From the time I was old enough to write on the bedroom door, words have always fascinated me. When I learned that there was a world of words called Poetry, I knew that poems were the way to go. But perhaps what grabs my attention even more than a collection of poems, are a collection of poems that tell a story.
One such collection is There’s No Place like School: Classroom Poems selected by Jack Prelutsky and illustrations by Jane Manning. These poems are done by different poets to tell the story of the school experience. There are many different takes on the same theme: the good (Lunchroom Magic by Charles Ghigna), the bad (It's Today? by Sara Holbrook) and the naughty (The Drinking Fountain by Kenn Nesbitt). Each will have your students, children and grandchildren laughing out loud, sympathizing with the students as tests, naughty water fountains and more are perfectly described. These poets, along with Manning's illustrations, have nailed the world of school flawlessly. Adults will remember their own school days with fond memories and teachers will have their own Why the Frog in Our Class Is Purple moments to be reminded of.
Sometimes, poetry will flow as traditional prose would. Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw and illustrations by Eugene Yelchin is that kind of story. Won Ton (one very unique cat) tells of the journey taken from the shelter where “the boy” has found him to the house that he will eventually call home. All of this is wrapped up in the delightful form of Haiku poetry. These alluring poems are a great way to introduce your reader to the joys of poetry within a sweet and sassy story. Cat, poetry and good story lovers will each find a little something to take home with them.
However, while browsing the shelves for something yummy to read, I came across a poetry book by the name of I Am the Book edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Yayo. Which, come to find out, is a book of poems about books! (Does it get much better than this?) The thirty-odd pages of poems include many wonderful poems covering all aspects of what a book is about: poems about how a book makes you feel (What Was That? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich), poems about what books can be about (Pirates by Jill Corcoran), the coziness of books (Poetry Time by Lee Bennett Hopkins), the sadness (but hopefulness) of lost books (Paperback Plunder by Michele Krueger). Each poem can be reread as many times as your own favorite book.
When I browse the shelves of the Northshire Bookstore, I never know what gem will glint and catch my eye, and I hope the same is true for you too. So stop on by and ask one of our booksellers where the poetry sections are….you’ll be glad you did!