Lithe, accessible poetry celebrates our world’s mind-boggling grandeur—and humanity’s role as her steward.

HELLO, EARTH!

POEMS TO OUR PLANET

Conversational, inquisitive, and admiring poems question, explore, and honor our Earth.

An ardent, earnest collective narrative voice (identifying as the Earth’s human children) directly addresses the planet throughout this dazzling collection, explaining in the first poem that “we have been studying you, Earth, / but we long to learn more.” Each poem succinctly explores just one topic, allowing young readers to really ponder that individual, awe-inspiring subject. Readers find wonder in its volcanoes, deserts, plates, tides, jungles, oceans, weather, and mysteries, and they will enjoy frequent questions posed to Earth herself. “Earth, / do you love your dry places / as much as your watery ones? / Your tropics / as much as your ice?” Precise, naïve illustrations place the horizon line low and employ double-page spreads to capture the Earth’s great dome of sky, broad terrain, and wide waters. It’s fun to locate the little people (of all skin tones), fish, dinosaurs, monkeys, snakes, cats, and more within these large illustrations—and especially fun to squint and interpret their teeny experiences on Earth. Backmatter groups poems under larger scientific headers, with explanatory paragraphs that flesh out the concepts introduced in verse. Additional resources appear as well, with URLs of child-friendly climate change and conservation websites as well as a bibliography for those interested in further reading.

Lithe, accessible poetry celebrates our world’s mind-boggling grandeur—and humanity’s role as her steward. (Picture book/poetry. 6-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5528-2

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE UNDEFEATED

Past and present are quilted together in this innovative overview of black Americans’ triumphs and challenges in the United States.

Alexander’s poetry possesses a straightforward, sophisticated, steady rhythm that, paired with Nelson’s detail-oriented oil paintings, carries readers through generations chronicling “the unforgettable,” “the undeniable,” “the unflappable,” and “the righteous marching ones,” alongside “the unspeakable” events that shape the history of black Americans. The illustrator layers images of black creators, martyrs, athletes, and neighbors onto blank white pages, patterns pages with the bodies of slaves stolen and traded, and extends a memorial to victims of police brutality like Sandra Bland and Michael Brown past the very edges of a double-page spread. Each movement of Alexander’s poem is a tribute to the ingenuity and resilience of black people in the U.S., with textual references to the writings of Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, and Malcolm X dotting stanzas in explicit recognition and grateful admiration. The book ends with a glossary of the figures acknowledged in the book and an afterword by the author that imprints the refrain “Black. Lives. Matter” into the collective soul of readers, encouraging them, like the cranes present throughout the book, to “keep rising.”

An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and our tomorrow. (Picture book/poetry. 6-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-78096-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more