A bubbly and educational bilingual poetry anthology for children.


The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations


Occasions big and small are celebrated with kid-friendly poems in this English/Spanish anthology compiled by Vardell and Wong (The Poetry Anthology for Science, 2014, etc.).

The latest in the Poetry Friday Anthology brings together classroom poems for nearly every day of the year and seemingly every occasion under the sun. The lighthearted collection, which is aimed at students between kindergarten and fifth grade, includes 156 poems written in English by 115 poets, with Common Core State Standards and Texas educational standards in mind. In addition to birthdays and well-known religious holidays—Christmas, Passover, Ramadan, etc.—the poetry marks national traditions such as Thanksgiving and Groundhog Day as well as more obscure dates on the calendar like National Hat Day, Band-Aid Day, and International Dinosaur Month. The anthology looks beyond the United States to educate students about festivals throughout the world, too, such as Nepal’s Dashain and Japan’s Obon. It also celebrates diversity at home, with poems observing holidays such as Gay Pride Day, Arab American Heritage Month, and National Blended Family Day. Each poem is accompanied by its Spanish translation, an important addition given that Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in the U.S., not to mention the wide range of benefits learning a foreign language can have on the developing brain. The translations might, perhaps unintentionally, also serve as a minilesson in the notorious difficulty of moving poetry from one language into another: rhymes and rhythms in the original are oftentimes missing in the Spanish, and in a collection of punchy children’s verse, the lack of musicality is noticeable. In general, the poems are didactic in content, but scattered among the straightforward fare are several more whimsical compositions that might elicit a chuckle or two from parents helping their little ones with homework. “Picky Eater” by Matt Forrest Esenwine particularly stands out for its Seussian style: “but please don’t give me / Sugar Smacks, / or stars or squares or flakes / you’ve found— / I only eat, you see, / what’s round.”

A bubbly and educational bilingual poetry anthology for children.

Pub Date: March 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1937057411

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Pomelo Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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