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WEIRD?  (ME, TOO!)  LET'S BE FRIENDS by Sara Holbrook


by Sara Holbrook & illustrated by Karen Sandstrom

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59078-821-9
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Performance poet Holbrook teams up again with Sandstrom (Zombies! Evacuate the School!, 2010), combining quirky, accessible verse with lively digital cartoons to explore the dynamic topic of friendship, while offering points of entry for would-be poets to harness their own thoughts on the subject. Introducing the notion that, “Your poem is your idea in your voice,” the poet encourages readers throughout the volume to use her poems as a springboard for their own writing. She offers numerous examples of writing as a pathway to bettering one’s mood, managing anger, assuaging guilt and overcoming loneliness. Those poems whose explicit topic is friendship, however, stand out both in the subtlety of their effect and insight. Though its title doesn’t exactly set the poetic ear a-tingle, “Walking on the Boundaries of Change” teaches kids how to recognize true friendship: “Some friends will dare danger, / mock or push each step. / Some friends / knock your confidence. / Real friends / form a net.” Likewise, “Confidentially Speaking” reveals the deeper meaning behind the physical horseplay that often characterizes a close bond: “We poke. / We shove. / We jerk around / and no one can suspect / that when we push away / like that / for a moment— / we connect.” A playful yet thoughtful look at the many manifestations of friendship—through words, teasing, physical play—just right for the mid-elementary crowd. (Poetry. 8-12)