Jeannine Atkins: The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists by Syliva Vardell
Anyone who’s read Sylvia Vardells’s blog, Poetry for Children, or her articles in Book Links has been at least a little dazzled by her knowledge, energy, generosity, and passion for spreading the word about poetry. And now we get The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists, brim full of titles that won contests or which Sylvia considered best of recent years, handy for those who want to check what they might have missed. Lists of poetry arranged by topics such as paintings, music, wings, basketball, middle school angst, dinosaurs and many more, some classified by age, with suggestions of books for newborns to teens.
It’s true happiness for a bibliography nerd, like me, but if you’re not, you’ll find this book reaches beyond bare-bone lists, and should not only be on all library shelves for those wanting to develop curriculum or public programs, but handy to teachers, including parents who want to be at the ready to connect one poet who excites with another, or find related activities, books celebrating a variety of holidays and poet’s birthdays, ideas for poetry scavenger hunts, or suggestions of books written by children and teens and places where they can publish. Poetry can be a swift, joyful way to cross disciplines, and just as I cherish language arts teachers who include some math or science, I cheer on math or science teachers who slip some poetry into their classes. This book will make it easier to enrich units on insects, trees, weather, and particular parts of history, for example.
The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists is not just for educators, but poets, who, looking for good reading, can thumb through for collections of poems on particular themes. There are also lists of terminology and poetic forms (with definitions), useful checklists for editing, inspiring quotes, and a timeline of key moments in poetry for children. A list of poetry books available on audio, rarer than these should be, sent me to the computer to order a few.
You can get a taste of what’s inside on this blog, which is also being used to keep the beautifully produced book updated. As we move toward the end of the school year, consider this as a perfect gift for a cherished teacher or librarian. Or, of course, yourself.
Anastasia Suen is hosting Poetry Friday at Booktalking Chidlren’s Books.