Posted in My Favourite Poetry Books

Charles Ghigna: My Favourite Poetry Books

In 1999, I stayed in Canada for a couple of months, and there, in a children’s book shop, the door to the world of Canadian and American poets was opened for me. Charles Ghigna was one of the poets I discovered, and now I have come to know many Canadian and American poets, who are of course just as delightful and talented as the British variety. I’m so pleased to be able to host Charles (or Father Goose® as he is often known) on Poetry Roundabout this week. He lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama and is the author of more than one hundred books and more than five thousand poems for children and adults. I am reading his wonderful new book, Dear Poet at the minute. A review is in the offing! 

Thank you so much for inviting me to choose my favourite children’s poetry books! Here are my choices with a couple of lines of explanation.

THE 20TH CENTURY CHILDREN’S POETRY TREASURY selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Meilo So, published by Knopf. Who could resist this perennial classic? I’ve been recommending this one to teachers, librarians and parents during my school visits and conference talks since it first appeared twenty years ago. It contains more than 200 poems by more than 100 of the leading poets writing for children in the twentieth century. This is one of the first anthologies illustrated by Meilo So. Her dreamy watercolours set the perfect background to this memorable, must-have collection.

KNOCK AT A STAR: A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO POETRY edited by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy Kennedy, illustrated by Karen Lee Baker, published by Little, Brown. Another perennial classic. With poems by Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and many others, the Kennedys filled this two hundred page volume with a wide variety of well-chosen favourite poems. Their clever introductions to each verse form creates the perfect introduction to poetry for eager young readers. Teachers and parents love it too!

WORLD MAKE WAY: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, published by Abrams. I’m a big fan of all the poetry anthologies compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins. This is one my favourites. Ekphrasis poems at their finest. Seeing poets interpret the artworks of Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Fernando Botero and others inspires us all to visit museums with pen and paper in hand.

THE PROPER WAY TO MEET A HEDGEHOG edited by Paul Janeczko, published by Candlewick. This is one of my new favourite poetry anthologies for children. Not only is this an irresistible book of irresistible poems, it is a book of some of my favourite poet friends! This book stands as a stunning tribute to Paul Janeczko who died just before the book was published.

THE POETRY OF US edited by J. Patrick Lewis, published by National Geographic. More than 200 poems take us on a journey to explore and celebrate the people and places of the United States. Gorgeous photos showcase the poems that reveal the rich diversity of cultures that make up the American dream.

THE BOOK OF ANIMAL POETRY edited by J. Patrick Lewis, published by National Geographic. If you are looking for a captivating book of poems about animals for kids, this is it! Put this book out on a table and watch children gather around to marvel over the photos and to read aloud the wit and wisdom of poets who bring this menagerie alive.

THE BOOK OF NATURE POETRY editor by J. Patrick Lewis, published by National Geographic. Another PW starred review anthology of poems by J. Patrick Lewis. Listen to kids oooh and ahhh over the photos as they read through the more than 200 poems that pay homage to Nature in all her glory.
DEAR POET: NOTES TO A YOUNG WRITER by Charles Ghigna, published by Resource Publications.
Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for American Children’s Poet, Lee Bennet Hopkins #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee Bennett Hopkins has written and edited numerous award-winning books for children and young adults, as well as professional texts and curriculum materials. He has taught elementary school and served as a consultant to school systems throughout the US.  In 1989 he received the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for “outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature” in recognition of his work; and 2009 brought him the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Excellence in Poetry for Children, recognising his aggregate body of work. In 2010 he received the Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award. His books include the award winning Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life (Boyds Mills Press), Alphathoughts: Alphabet PoemsCity I Love (Abrams, 2009), and Full Moon and Star (Abrams, 2011), both illustrated by jazz musician Marcellus Hall. He has an unflagging belief that poetry is a necessity for children, at home and in the classroom, and is one of the United States’ most sought-after speakers on the subject of children’s literature.

To encourage the recognition of poetry, he has established two major awards: the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, presented annually by Penn State University for a single volume of poetry, and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poet Award, presented every three years by IRA. How fabulous is that? Here is one of his lovely poems:

 

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Storyteller

(For Augusta Baker)

 

As she speaks

words

leap from pages —

.

there are

friends like

frog and toad —

.

I walk

down a

yellow brick road.

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Worlds of paper

disappear —

.

only

Miss Augusta

and I

are here

in a room

filled with magic

story

rhyme.

.

and as her voice

reaches

the highest

rafter —

.

I believe in

 

once-upon-a-time

.

I believe in

.

Happily ever after.

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© Lee Bennett Hopkins (From Jumping Off Library Shelves, Wordsong, celebrating the magic of libraries, illustrated by Jane Manning)

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