Poetry-Filled Yuletide Cheer Reading Themes

List of Novels in Verse and Poetry Books for Children and Round-up for January 2012

Amazingly, the first month of the year is nearly over. Before we know it, December 2012 is upon us! Is it just me or does time seem to be on overdrive lately, zooming and streaking past, leaving specks of dust from unfinished tasks in its wake. Before I get lost in my random ruminations, let me do our very first round-up post for January, which shall likewise be our contribution for the Carnival of Children’s Literature which is hosted this month by Delightful Children’s Books.

List of Novels in Verse

Our bimonthly theme for November and December which has a spill-over until the middle of January was on Poetry-Filled Yuletide Cheer. Since we simply love participating in Poetry Fridays, we thought that we might as well allow poetry to overtake our sensibilities and do it on a daily basis. This, by far, is one of my absolute favorite bimonthly themes. It gave me so much joy to review quite a number of novels-in-verse. We wanted to do more, but realistically, we could only do so much. We were actually thinking of doing a repeat of the novels-in-verse theme in the near future, we shall see how that goes. Here are some of the books that we featured these past two months:

Margarita Engle. To say that we have fallen in love with Margarita Engle would be an understatement. As such we have managed to feature three of her books for our theme. Click on the thumbnails to be taken to our reviews.

The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba

The Surrender Tree

The Poet Slave of Cuba

Margarita has written more novels-in-verse which you might also want to check out: Hurricane Dancers (2011), Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba (2009), and The Wild Book to be published this March 2012.

Helen Frost. I actually borrowed a number of books by Helen Frost but we did not have sufficient time to really read through and review all her lovely books. I did manage to review Hidden which was published in 2011:

I was also able to read her amazingly-written Crossing Stones and I found myself simply crying unbidden tears somewhere at the end of the book. I wanted so badly to review it, but I thought about saving it for later. Some of the other novels-in-verse written by Helen Frost include: Keesha’s House (2004), The Braid (2007), Spinning through the Universe (2005), and Diamond Willow (2009).

Nikki Grimes is also a highly-esteemed poet and she has written a few poetry books and novels in verse. I was able to review her Dark Sons for our bimonthly feature:

Nikki has also written a few other novels-in-verse such as Planet Middle School (2011) and A Girl Named Mister (2010). Most of her picture books are likewise written in verse. If you wish to know more about her, click here to be taken to her website. Nikki also writes extensively about her thoughts on writing. And I was particularly riveted by her take on novels-in-verse which you can find in her blogpost entitled: Novels-in-Verse: Let’s Talk.

A few other novels-in-verse that we were able to review include the following:

Inside Out and Back Again

Orchards by Holly Thompson

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

One of the websites that helped me look for titles in this genre would be the Young Adult Reader Reviews – Australia (YARR-A) website that features a comprehensive listing of novels in verse around the world, arranged in alphabetical order! Another helpful site that provides a pretty exhaustive list of novels-in-verse can likewise be found in Stephanie’s Read in a Single Sitting. I found so many more titles in the list that Stephanie created that I attempted to borrow a few more books from our library, only to put them back in their shelves after reprimanding myself that I need to read up more on our bimonthly theme on the paranormal/carnivale for January/February. 🙂

List of Poetry Books for Children

We have also reviewed a number of poetry books for children. Here is our list:

Harlem by Walter Dean Myers and pictures by Christopher Myers

Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson and Jerry Pinkney

Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack and The Dillons

Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill and Bryan Collier

Coretta Scott: A Picture Book Featuring the Poetry of Ntozake Shange and Oil Paintings of Kadir Nelson – review by Fats

The Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman – review by Fats

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith – review by Fats

Elephants Never Forget by Anushka Ravishankar and Christiane Pieper

Cajun Night Before Christmas by James Rice

Book of Nonsense and Even More Nonsense – A Michael Rosen and Clare Mackie 2-in-1 Special


Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

Neil Gaiman’s Instructions as Illustrated by Charles Vess

The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base

God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant – review by Fats

The Wizard and Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant – a 2-in-1 Jack Prelutsky Special

The Monsterologist – A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz and Illustrations by Adam McCauley

Hist Whist by e. e. cummings

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman and Beckie Prange

A Full Moon is Rising by Marilyn Singer and Pictures by Julia Cairns

Night of the Whippoorwill – Poems selected by Nancy Larrick and illustrated by David Ray

Amazing Faces – Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Soentpiet

Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou and illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Life Does not Frighten Me by Maya Angelou and Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Dream by Susan V. Bosak – review by Fats

Don’t Bump the Glump and Every Thing On It – A Shel Silverstein 2-in-1 Special

The Tree that Time Built – Poems Selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston

Blog Memes – January Edition

We do take part in quite a number of blog memes in the kidlitosphere and the YA blogosphere. Here is a summary of our posts this January:

  1. In My Mailbox: A Happy New Year Special
  2. IMM (29): Page One Warehouse Sale, Singapore
  3. IMM (30): Circus, Carnivale, and All Things Paranormal: Launch of our Bimonthly theme this January/February 2012
  4. IMM (31): Book Off and Library Madness – by Fats

  1. Teaser Tuesday: A Visit from the Goon Squad – by Iphigene
  2. Teaser Tuesday: Of Monsters, Circus and Strange Creatures

  1. Book Talk Tuesday: Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack and Artwork by The Dillons
  2. Book Talk Tuesday: Layered Poetry in Nikki Grimes’ Dark Sons

  1. Poetry Friday: There Are No Happy Endings [because] We Have Such Solid Measures for Pain // Two Poems by Joel M. Toledo
  2. Poetry Friday: A Shel Silverstein 2-in-1 Special
  3. Poetry Friday: Whisperings of the eerie with e.e. cummings
  4. Poetry Friday: The Monsterologist, a Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz and Adam McCauley

Reading Challenges 2012

Since we have fallen in love with novels-in-verse, we have decided to join another reading challenge: the Novels-in-Verse Reading Challenge as hosted by Amanda from Born Bookish.

Right now, there are only very few who have signed-up. If you’re interested in exploring this genre in YA literature, do take a moment to consider it. We’re hoping to read at least 10 novels-in-verse this year. We would also be including the reviews of novels-in-verse we have done this January in Amanda’s database.

365 Reading Challenge. Last year, we started the tradition of documenting all the books that we have read throughout the year, and we challenged ourselves to read 365 books amongst the three of us. Our final tally indicated that we have exceeded this number and we have collectively read 503 books in all for 2011! We are continuing the tradition this year. If you wish to know the books we read this January, click here to be taken to our Reading Calendar. So far, here are the numbers:

  • Myra16 books
  • Iphigene3 books
  • Fats11 books
  • Total books read for January 2012: 30 

Comment Challenge 2012. We also joined the Comment Challenge 2012 hosted by  Mother Reader (The heart of a mother. The Soul of a reader. The mouth of a smartass) and Lee Wind from I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell do I Read? The challenge ran for 20 days (05 January – 25 January 2012) and the goal was to do at least 5 comments for each of those 20 days – the idea is for you to clock in 100 comments by end of 20 days. We joined quite late (19th of January), but we managed to finish all 100 comments by our third day (see our Comment Challenge Update here). Yay.

We have also participated in a number of reading challenges this year (eight in all including our very own Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge, even though we are technically not eligible to receive prizes). Here’s our update for the month so far:

  • Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 1 of 12
  • Picture Book Challenge: 13 of 120
  • AWB Reading Challenge: 5 of 35
  • Novels in Verse Reading Challenge: 3 of 10
  • No progress in the following challenges: Caldecott Challenge, Newbery Medal Challenge, Reading the World Challenge, Immigrant Stories Challenge

**!Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge Winner!**

We are pleased to announce our winner for the AWB Reading Challenge this January!

Congratulations Zoe from Playing by the Book for her review on books about Grieving: Is Grandpa Wearing a Suit by Amelie Fried, illustrated by Jacky Gleich!

You may choose from the available books as found in our announcement post here. Zoe’s blog is simply amazing – if you haven’t had a chance to visit her site yet,  you’re definitely missing out on a lot of kidlit-related events (and recommended fun activities to do with your kids). Many thanks again to Pansing Books for donating the book prizes.

Please visit our AWB Database  if you wish to check out other reviews this January from the participants of the reading challenge. Lots of great reviews this month. If you haven’t signed up yet for the challenge, please do! The more, the merrier!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

17 comments on “List of Novels in Verse and Poetry Books for Children and Round-up for January 2012

  1. A great collection of reviews of poetry books for children!


  2. Nice to have them all “gathered” together, Myra. I think I need to put a few more books on my list!


    • Hi Linda. I have a special GatheringBooks Notebook where I write down all the poems that moved me as ‘gathered’ from Poetry Friday – and yes, the titles of books reviewed by fellow Book Bloggers that i.must.definitely.get.from.our.libraries. 🙂


  3. I discovered a bunch of new books to add to my list. I can’t believe I had never heard of some of these authors!


  4. Pingback: January Carnival of Children’s Literature | Delightful Children's Books

  5. Thank you for this wonderful roundup, Myra! So many great discoveries for me — I’ve put a bunch of those poetry books for children on my wishlist, and am especially intrigued by “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.” So much to read, so much to read! (Thank you for stopping by No Water River — so glad to have found you, too!) 🙂


  6. Thankyou thankyou! Such lovely news to discover on my return from my trip away. Ahhh. I can’t choose between Wolves or A Wrinkle in Time….hmmm. Ok, I’ll plump for Wolves by Emily Gravett please. Thanks so much 🙂


  7. Thanks so much for the mention 🙂


  8. My “To Read” pile of websites and books just got so much longer. Thanks for being such a fantastic resource!


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