Children's Reading Suggestions

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Word of the Day: ‘RITHMETIC

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane YolenThe devil's arithmetic

Hannah resents stories of her Jewish heritage and of the past until, when opening the door during a Passover Seder, she finds herself in Poland during World War II where she experiences the horrors of a concentration camp, and learns why she– and we–need to remember the past.

 

 

 

 

Arithmetic by Carl Sandburg

A poem about numbers and their characteristics. Features anamorphic, or distorted, drawings which can be restored to normal by viewing from a particular angle or by viewing the image’s reflection in the provided Mylar cone.

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Claudia Lewis Award

The Claudia Lewis Award is given by the Bank Street College Children’s Book Committee for the best poetry book of the year.  Established in 1998, this award honors the late Claudia Lewis, distinguished children’s book expert and longtime member of the Bank Street College faculty and Children’s Book Committee.

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2014: What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings by Joyce SidmanWhat the Heart Knows : Chants, Charms & Blessings

What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings is a collection of poems to provide comfort, courage, and humor at difficult or daunting moments in life. It conjures forth laments, spells, invocations, chants, blessings, promises, songs, and charms. Here are pleas on how to repair a friendship, wishes to transform one’s life or to slow down time, charms to face the shame of a disapproving crowd, invocations to ask for forgiveness, to understand the mysteries of happiness, and to bravely face a dark and different world. These words help us remember or grieve; they bolster courage and guard against evil; they help us celebrate and give thanks. This elegant gift book also includes a red ribbon for readers to mark their favorite poems. 

Poet extraordinaire Joyce Sidman won the Newbery Honor Medal for Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night and continues to write poetry for children that has been called “fresh,” “inspiring,” and “accessible” to her young audience. She is intrigued by the idea of “words of power”—chants and charms that were once believed to have real influence in everyday life. Caldecott Honor-winning Pamela Zagarenski’s beautiful art captures a world of emotion and the essence of Sidman’s words.

 

2013: National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs that Squeak, Soar, and Roar! selected by J. Patrick LewisNational Geographic book of animal poetry : 200 poems with photographs that squeak, soar, and roar!

“Out of a windless August night/A luna moth in ghostly light
Beat softly on my window screen/Tick-tick-ticking-all silver green.
She whispered secrets in my ear–/I am but a stranger here.
The stars are scrawled across the sky/By ghostwriters, the Moon and I.
You will not see me here tonight–/I have a thousand stars to write.”

What could be better than cuddling up with your child and this book on your lap and allowing your imaginations to soar with the words and images? Lovingly selected by U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and paired with vibrant animal photography, this collection of poems is an exuberant celebration of the animal kingdom and a beautiful introduction to this genre of literature. Designed for family sharing but targeted to ages 4-8, this dynamic, fresh, yet still classic collection of animal poems is a must-have for the family bookshelf.

Featured poets include J. Patrick Lewis, Dorothy Aldis, Emily Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling, Jack Prelutsky, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and many more.

Divided into chapters that group the poems by theme for extra resonance, the collection is a mix of old and new, classics, and never-before-published. A foreword from Lewis, sets the scene for helping children appreciate this gift of language and this visual feast for the eyes. Chapters include:
Welcome to the World (birth of animal young)
Big Ones (large animals–elephants, hippos, rhinos, bears)
Little Ones (small animals–worms, insects)
Winged Ones (birds and other flying creatures) 
Water Ones (aquatic animals–fish, dolphins, crabs)
Strange Ones (curious creatures–armadillos, centipedes)
Noisy Ones (loud animals–lions, hyenas)
Quiet Ones (silent or still animals–hens, rabbits, snakes)
Last Thought (a reflection on the world we share with animals)

 

2012: Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George, illustrated by Nancy CarpenterEmma dilemma : big sister poems

Jessica celebrates all the fun she has with her little sister,Emma, but also describes the ways in which Emma‘s behavior can be frustrating.

 

 

 

 

2012: The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan WolfThe watch that ends the night : voices from the Titanic

Recreates the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as observed by millionaire John Jacob Astor, a beautiful young Lebanese refugee finding first love, “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, Captain Smith, and others including the iceberg itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011: Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter H. ReynoldsGuyku : a year of haiku for boys

A treasury of lighthearted haiku poems celebrates the experience of the outdoor world and its imagination-sparking wonders, in a volume that celebrates pastimes ranging from splashing in puddles and climbing trees to icicle sword fighting and skipping rocks.

 

 

 

 

2010: Red Sings from the Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela ZagarenskiRed sings from treetops : a year in colors

The names of colors are woven into unrhymed poems that celebrate the seasons. 

 

 

 

 

2009: The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita EngleThe surrender tree : poems of Cuba's struggle for freedom

Cuba has fought three wars for independence, and still she is not free. This history in verse creates a lyrical portrait of Cuba.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008: Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, illustrated by Polly DunbarHere's a little poem : a very first book of poetry

Sit back and savor a superb collection of more than sixty poems by a wide range of talented writers, from Margaret Wise Brown to Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes to A. A. Milne. Greeting the morning, enjoying the adventures of the day, cuddling up to a cozy bedtime — these are poems that highlight the moments of a toddler’s world from dawn to dusk. Carefully gathered by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters and delightfully illustrated by Polly Dunbar, HERE’S A LITTLE POEM offers a comprehensive introduction to some remarkable poets, even as it captures a very young child’s intense delight in the experiences and rituals of every new day.

 

 

2008: This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela ZagaenskiThis is just to say : poems of apology and forgiveness

When Mrs. Merz asks her sixth grade class to write poems of apology, they end up liking their poems so much that they decide to put them together into a book. Not only that, but they get the people to whom they apologized to write poems back.

In haiku, pantoums, two-part poems, snippets, and rhymes, Mrs. Merz’s class writes of crushes, overbearing parents, loving and losing pets, and more. Some poets are deeply sorry; some not at all. Some are forgiven; some are not. In each pair of poems a relationship, a connection, is revealed.

 

 

2007: no award

 

2006: A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Chris RaschkaA kick in the head

In this splendid and playful volume, acclaimed poetry anthologist Paul B. Janeczko and Caldecott Honor illustrator Chris Raschka present lively examples of twenty-nine poetic forms, demonstrating not only the (sometimes bendable) rules of poetry, but also the spirit that brings these forms so wonderfully to life. Featuring formal poems, some familiar and some never before published, from the likes of Eleanor Farjeon (aubade), X. J. Kennedy (elegy), Ogden Nash (couplet), Liz Rosenberg (pantoum), and William Shakespeare, the sonnet king himself, A KICK IN THE HEAD perfectly illustrates Robert Frost’s maxim that poetry without rules is like a tennis match without a net.

 

 

2005: Here in Harlem: poems in many voices by Walter Dean MyersHere in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices

Here are powerful and soulful first-person poems in the voices of the residents who make up the legendary neighborhood: basketball players, teachers, mail carriers, jazz artists, maids, veterans, nannies, students, and others. These poems capture the energy and resilience of a neighborhood and a people.

 

 

 

 

 

2005: Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems by Kristine O’Connell George, illustrated by Barry MoserHummingbird nest : a journal of poems

When a mother hummingbird builds a nest on a family’s porch, they watch and record her actions and the birth and development of her fledglings.

 

 

 

 

2004: The Way a Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith, ill. by Shane W. EvansThe Way a Door Closes

With a click, a bang, a whisper—or no noise at all. There are so many ways that a door can close, but it’s not just the closing; it’s the knowing. And thirteen-year-old CJ knows too much—about losing his father, about his family’s pain, and especially about what it means to hold things together when times are the toughest. 

In this beautifully written and powerfully moving novel in poems, Hope Anita Smith tells the story of a young man’s struggle to accept a father who has walked out on his family. Here, in CJ’s words, is a portrait of hurt and healing, and finding the strength to open the door again. 

 

 

2004: Yesterday I Had the Blues by Jeron Ashford Frame, ill. by R. Gregory ChristieYesterday I Had the Blues

Moods change from day to day, and you never know what tomorrow will bring. But one thing’s for sure: when you’ve got love around you, the blues won’t stick around long.

 

 

 

 

2003: Little Dog and Duncan by Kristine O’Connell George, ill. by June OtaniLittle Dog and Duncan

When Duncan comes to stay overnight, a little girl and her little dog are not quite sure what to make of this rather large and strange dog, but soon Little Dog and Duncan discover that even though they are very different, they have a lot in common, including eating cookies and getting into trouble, in a lively collection of poems. 

 

 

 

2002: Love That Dog by Sharon CreechLove that dog

A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.

 

 

 

 

 

2002: Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart by Vera B. WilliamsAmber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart

Essie is smart. She can read hard library books and make cocoa. Amber is brave. She isn’t afraid of the rat in the wall or of climbing up in high places. Amber and Essie are sisters and best friends. Together, they can do anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2001: Mammalabilia by Douglas FlorianMammalabilia : poems and paintings

A collection of twentyone humorous poems and paintings about mammals combines humor with scientific information to present a zooful of furry fun about such animals as the tiger, gorilla, coyote, ibex, and rhebok. 

 

 

 

2000: Stop Pretending by Sonya SonesStop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy

It happens just like that, in the blink of an eye. An older sister has a mental breakdown and has to be hospitalized. A younger sister is left behind to cope with a family torn apart by grief and friends who turn their backs on her. But worst of all is the loss of her big sister, her confidante, her best friend, who has gone someplace no one can reach.

 

 

 

 

1999: I, Too, Sing America by Catherine ClintonI, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry

From the first known African American poet, Lucy Terry, to recent poet laureate Rita Dove, I, TOO, SING AMERICA captures the enormous talent and passion of black writers. This powerful and diverse, this unique collection spans three centuries of poetry in America as poets bare their souls, speak their minds, trace their roots, and proclaim their dreams in the thirty-six poems compiled here. The voices of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, W. E. B. Dubois, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others, create an energetic blend of tone and tempo, ardor and awe. From lamentations to celebrations, these poems reveal the ironies of black America, juxtaposing themes of resistance and reconciliation, hope and despair. Each poem is further illuminated with notes, a brief biography of the poet, and stunning visual interpretations. Clinton and Alcorn have created a stirring tribute to these great poets, as well as a remarkable volume that will move any reader.

 

 

1998: The Invisible Ladder: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poems for Young Readers edited by Liz RosenbergThe invisible ladder : an anthology of contemporary American poems for young readers

Sitting by the barbecue
waiting for sausages and hot dogs
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I see a tiny spider
……….
a silver speck
glistening
at its mouth,
climbing the invisible ladder

–from “Dinner Together” by Diana Rivera

This anthology of poems by America’s best poets glistens too, and offers its own silvery ladder for readers to climb.

Liz Rosenberg, herself an accomplished poet, wanted to make contemporary poems for adults accessible to a broader readership. She searched for works which, in both feeling and expression, could reach from one age group to another. Then she asked the poets to write about the links between poetry and childhood, and to send photos that showed how they looked when they were young, and who they are today.

The Invisible Ladder is a gift from everyone who contributed to it: a hand extended from those whose art is crafting words to a new generation of readers and writers.

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Gryphon Awards (Center for Children’s Books)

The Center for Children's BooksThe Gryphon Award of $1,000 is given annually in recognition of an English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in Kindergarten through Grade 4. The title chosen best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers.

The Gryphon award was conceived as a way to focus attention on an area of literature for youth that, despite being crucial to the successful transition of new readers to independent lifelong readers, does not get the critical recognition it deserves.

The award is sponsored by the Center for Children’s Books at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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2014: Jon Scieszka. Battle Bunny. Gr. 1-3.

When Alex gets a silly, sappy picture book called Birthday Bunny, he picks up a pencil and turns it into something he’d like to read: Battle Bunny. An adorable rabbit’s journey through the forest becomes a secret mission to unleash an evil plan–a plan that only Alex can stop. Featuring layered, original artwork, this dynamic picture book celebrates kids as storytellers.

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2013: Jason Chin. Island: A Story of the Galápagos. Gr. 2-5.

Charles Darwin first visited the Galápagos Islands almost 200 years ago, only to discover a land filled with plants and animals that could not be found anywhere else on earth. How did they come to inhabit the island? How long will they remain? Thoroughly researched and filled with intricate and beautiful paintings, this extraordinary book by Award-winning author and artist Jason Chin is an epic saga of the life of an island—born of fire, rising to greatness, its decline, and finally the emergence of life on new islands.
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2012: Julie Sternberg. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie. Gr. 2-3. Like pickle juice on a cookie

When nine-year-old Eleanor’s beloved babysitter Bibi moves away to care for her ailing father, Eleanor must spend the summer adjusting to a new babysitter while mourning the loss of her old one.

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2011: Mo Willems. We Are in a Book! Gr. K-1.We are in a book!

Gerald and Piggie discover the joy of being read. But what will happen when the book ends?

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2010: James Sturm. Adventures in Cartooning.  Gr. 2-5.Adventures in cartooning: [how to turn your doodles into comics]

Once upon a time . . . a princess tried to make a comic. And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how – well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure! Like the princess, young readers will discover that they already have the drawing and writing skills it takes to make a comic – they just need a little know-how.

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2009: Nic  Bishop. Frogs. Gr. 2-5.Nic Bishop frogs.

A collection of close-up photographs capturing an array of diverse frogs in their natural habitat, including bullfrogs and dart frogs, as well as general information and fun-filled facts provides readers with a colorful introduction to these amazing animals.

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2008: Michael Townsend. Billy Tartle in Say Cheese! Gr. 2-4.Billy Tartle in Say Cheese!

How can Billy Tartle make his class picture super-cool? How about a cool haircut—a Mohawk with big spikes! And it must be bright-bright yellow, no pink, no green—well some kinda cool color! Billy’s mom just wants him to get a regular old haircut, look handsome, and smile nice—sooo bo-ring! Will Billy be able to outwit her and kindly Barber Ken? Of course! A familiar childhood ritual is given a fresh, nutty spin in this tale of how kids want things to be fun and parents want things to be normal. But everybody will smile when Billy Tartle gets into the picture!

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2007: Matteo Pericoli. The True Story of Stellina. Gr. 2-5.The True Story of Stellina

Stellina was a bird: “CHEEP.” A very little bird: “Cheep! cheep!”So begins critically acclaimed author Matteo Pericoli’s all-true story of how he and his wife, Holly, came to rescue and raise a little finch, Stellina, in the middle of New York City. When no zoo would take the abandoned bird, fallen from her nest onto a busy street, Holly took her home and gave her the best life she could. And there, in a Manhattan apartment, Stellina leaned how to eat, fly, and sing.

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2006: Michelle Edwards. Stinky Stern Forever. Gr. 2-4.Stinky Stern forever

Pa Lia and her classmates share memories of StinkyStern, the second-grade bully.

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2005: Monika Bang-Campbell. Little Rat Rides. Gr. 2-3.Little Rat rides

Little Rat overcomes her fear and learns to ride a horse, just like her daddy did when he was young.

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2004: Douglas Florian. Bow Wow Meow Meow: It’s Rhyming Cats and Dogs. Gr. 2-4.Bow wow meow meow : it's rhyming cats and dogs

From leopards to Chihuahuas, a picture book with lively rhymes provides more than twenty easy-to-read poems about cats and dogs of all shapes, sizes, and sounds.

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Stuff to do instead of watching TV: Recite a poem for two voices

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Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman

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Word of the Day: PIE

Grasshopper Pie and Other Poems by David Steinberg

Five poems celebrate the making of a very special pie, an upside-down boy, a sneezing elephant, an encounter with a monster, and an alien who lands in a bowl of chicken soup.

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Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan

Thirteen dogs tell their stories in simple poems.

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Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: math puzzlers in classic poems by J. Patrick Lewis

Borrows themes from famous poems and flips them on their head to create humorous verses and riddles in a collection of math-based problem-solving parodies.

 

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I mustache you a question…

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Bridget Heos. Mustache Baby.

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J. Patrick Lewis. If you were a chocolate mustache.

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Tom Angleberger. Fake Mustache, or How Jodie O’Rodeo and her wonder horse (and some nerdy kid) saved the U.S. Presidential election from a mad genius criminal mastermind.

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Margie Palatini. Moosetache.

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Word of the Day: Noise

Paul Fleischman. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices.

Written to be read aloud by two voices — sometimes alternating, sometimes simultaneous — here is a collection of irresistible poems that celebrate the insect world, from the short life of the mayfly to the love song of the book louse. Funny, sad, loud, and quiet, each of these poems resounds with a booming, boisterous, joyful noise.

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Kenn Compton. Granny Greenteeth and the noise in the night.

When no one will help Granny find out what’s making the noise under her bed, she starts a chain reaction that brings results.

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Ann McGovern. Too Much Noise.

Peter complains his house is too noisy so the wise man advises him to obtain some rather unusual house guests.

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