by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. Clarion Books, 2001.
This is a delightful little haiku poetry book. A girl named Tiana carries a pocket full of her favorite words and uses them in haiku. It would be a wonderful addition to a children’s study of haiku. Tiana lives in the city and finds beautiful things to write about with her favorite delicious words. I like that the haiku is both urban and related to nature, uses seasonal references and contains sharp, concrete images with surprising contrasts. At the end of the book the author gives a brief explanation of haiku style and invites the reader to try writing some. The illustrations are collages made with a variety of materials from paper to beads and toothpicks. They are brightly colored and take off from the images suggested in the haiku. The haiku words dance and swirl across the page as part of the pictures. Here are my favorites:
Hot days send me to
The water fountain where my
Face goes for a swim.
Magic! Evening snow-
Drifts turn each streetlight into
A star on a stick.
(As a girl balances on a ladder to put the angel on top of the Christmas tree)
Christmas – one angel
Atop the tree, one waiting
Below to catch me.