April is National Poetry Month! There are some great new poetry books for children now available for checkout at the Fort Worth Library, including one special treat: a posthumous release of new material from the legendary Shel Silverstein. So come to the library for a roaring good time with rhythm and rhyme, and catch some of the great reads listed here.
Under the Mambo Moon
by Julia Durango
Charlesbridge Publishing, 2011
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Papi owns a Latin American music store. He tells his daughter, Marisol, that she can read the souls of the customers by observing the music they enjoy. As Marisol helps her father in the store, she talks about each customer in blank verse, and then rhyming poems describe the music each person has chosen and the emotional journey that accompanies each selection. Professor Soto enjoys listening to peaceful Andean pipes, while Catalina prefers to dance the cha-cha, and Mrs. Garcia finds that listening to mariachi music reminds her of her quinceañera. Each poem swings, sways and dances to a different rhythm. At the end of the day, Marisol herself dances the mambo with Papi. Author's notes give additional information about each style of music covered in the book. This celebration of the diversity of Latin American music is a selection on the 2012 Texas Bluebonnet Award List.
UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings
by Douglas Florian
Beach Lane Books, 2012
Douglas Florian captures the buzzing intensity of the hive with this lively collection of short, snappy poems about honeybees. Florian packs a lot of great information into terse, snazzy lines with a heavy emphasis on internal rhyme as he describes the majestic queen, the busy workers and the lazy drones, whose only job is to mate. Each witty poem comes with a vibrant, childlike painting that gives definite personality to the bees, the flowers they pollinate and even the beekeepers who take care of them. Additional factual information in prose also appears with each poem. This is a great choice for spring reading.
We Are America: A Tribute From the Heart
by Walter Dean Myers, illustrations by Christopher Myers
An award-winning father-and-son team collaborate on this breathtaking picture book, which celebrates what it means to be American from the points of view of many different people from different eras. Walter Dean Myers uses lyrical free verse, reminiscent of the style used by Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass, to tell the story of a Lakota child, immigrants from many nations and even such notable figures as Tecumseh, Abraham Lincoln and Jimi Hendrix. The author's son provides majestic paintings that give a panoramic view of American history. This beautiful book will be treasured by the whole family.
The Green Mother Goose : Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time
by Jan Peck and David Davis
Local children's authors Jan Peck and David Davis use familiar nursery rhymes as a starting point for creating this delightful collection of poems about conservation, recycling and other green issues. Meet Little Jack Horner, who has installed compact fluorescent bulbs to save energy, and Jack Be Nimble, who shows children small measures they can take to lead a greener life. Illustrator Carin Berger shows how to create effective art through recycling with whimsical collages that look like they have been created with scraps of old newspapers. Read this with your loved ones to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday.
Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant
by April Pulley Sayre
Beach Lane Books, 2011
Parents who are trying to encourage their preschoolers to eat healthy food will love this energetic picture book, in which Sayre creates a catchy chant cheering for vegetables. There are two lines of the cheer on each page, celebrating a particular veggie, and a large full-color photograph of the same plant appears immediately over the words. The excitement is infectious from the very first rhyme -- "Rah, rah, radishes! Red and white. Carrots are calling. Take a bite!" In an informative afterword, Sayre explains the difference between a fruit and a vegetable, and firmly assures us that no vegetables were harmed in the making of this book. This book turns healthy eating into a reason for real excitement.
Every Thing on It: Poems and Drawings
by Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein died in 1999, but his hilarious legacy lives on in this new collection of poetry and drawings collected by his family from his archives. The title poem shows the chagrin of a boy who has asked for a hot dog with everything on it -- but was not prepared for the "everything" to include a parrot, a rake, a goldfish and other weird condiments. There are poems about strange monsters and unlikely sportsmen, and there's a story of an unfortunate boy who, worried that every food under the sun is unhealthy in some way, decides he cannot eat at all. The most touching poem of all comes at the very beginning of the book. In Years From Now, the poet imagines a time when he has passed on and a child he cannot see reads the poems he has left behind and laughs. One can imagine that Silverstein is indeed smiling as children chuckle at his final collection.
Claire Abraham is a children's librarian at the Fort Worth Library. These books are available at most library branches.