Friday, January 04, 2008

Cybils Poetry Finalists

If you've been watching the Cybils site you know the committees have been finalizing the short lists. I have been waiting eagerly to see what would make it in the poetry category since I am part of the judging committee. Here's the list: (taken from the Cybils site)

2007 Poetry Finalists

31d7w274tel_aa_sl160_ Animal Poems
written by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux

The poems about twenty-three different animals (some common and some very unusual) are told using free verse--not a typical choice in collections for children these days (at least not when it's the sole type of verse). And these poems are spectacular in their use of imagery and metaphor. One of the standout solo collections of the year.

31eoftonwjl_aa_sl160_ Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village
written by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd and Trina Schart Hyman
Candlewick Press

This book is distinctive, with its echoes of Canterbury Tales, a bit of Shakespeare, and Catherine Called Birdy all rolled into one. Besides being rich in history, language, and voice, it is understandable and accessible to middle grade kids. Plus, it lends itself to oral reading and performance.

21zbqzesnnl_aa_sl160_ Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
edited by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Candlewick Press

A true delight. There is a real freshness to this volume in that many of the poems include in it won't be found in other anthologies. The selected poems speak to the exuberance of childhood and the simple, everyday things that little children often think about.

21cqvfozxl_aa_sl160_ Poems in Black and White
written and illustrated by Kate Miller
Front Street/Boyds Mills Press

The premise behind Kate Miller's collection of poems and art is simple: all are about objects that are black and white (cows, a comet in the night sky, etc.). The poems range from funny to melancholy, and are all marked by a keen observation of life. Each poem reads as if the poet froze a moment and recorded it with great clarity and insight in the best possible words.

21igwigx7dl_aa_sl160_ This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin

Joyce Sidman has imagined a teacher, Mrs. Merz, and a classroom full of sixth graders from different backgrounds, all of whom write poems of apology to someone or some thing they've wronged; in the second half, forgiveness or explanation is returned to the students. The individual poems in the book are excellent, but cumulatively this book is a killer, in the best possible sense. It moves on as a finalist because of its emotional impact and poetic virtuosity.

31mpmyyr0l_aa_sl160_ Twist: Yoga Poems
written by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Twist gets high marks for innovation and freshness and for the insights it provides into yoga, which is a new topic for a poetry collections. The poems are evocative and really speak to both the physical and Zen nature of the yoga poses included.

21xa5hadkl_aa_sl160_ Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath
written by Stephanie Hemphill
Random House Children's Books
Hemphill's collection of poems about Sylvia Plath convey emotion through imagery. The use of period verse attributed to a variety of people who knew Plath in order to convey both the facts and emotional content of her life and work is extraordinary.

We have our work cut out for us in choosing just one of these for the final award; they all look superb! Thanks to all who participated in nominating and reading and review for the Cybils over the past few months. Check out all the other category lists here.

A suggestion for anyone drowning in piles of review copies of good children's books - I am donating my advance copies of Cybils books to a little low budget but high quality inner city community school where I used to work. I know all the children will cry with joy to see these lovely new books arrive. If you want to join me in sharing the goodness just let me know and I'll hook you up.


Stephanie Appleton said...

Sorry to leave this here, but I wanted to ask you for a couple of book recommendations for a class I've been asked to do...

Could you email me please?


Jules at 7-Imp said...

I love this shortlist so much. I've actually read most of these. So exciting! GREAT WORK on the part of those nominating panelists, and you judges have your work cut out for you!

Jules, 7-Imp

Lone Star Ma said...

Off topic, but I have added you to my blogroll if that's okay.