poetry friday

Myra here.

As most of you may already know, we are doing a throwback reading theme as well as giving much-deserved love to CYBILS nominees/finalists/winners for 2014 and earlier.

Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.
Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.

I have already featured Hi, Koo by Jon Muth and Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming several weeks ago. And today, I am glad to share the fleeting sparkles of Firefly July – one of the seven finalists for the poetry category in #CYBILS 2014. Thanks to Paul Hankins of These 4 Corners for hosting this week.


Who would have thought that a compilation of very short poems across the seasons could be so delectable? This is the kind of magic that Paul Janeczko manages to evoke in these 36 sparkles divided across the four seasons of the year. I marveled at Janeczko’s selections and how each one seemed to feed on the other, creating a trail of fleeting, transient beauty that captures a mood, a feeling, the smell of rain. In less than ten lines, these poems nudged me to read again and again and again, allowing me to discover layers of depth and understanding that I literally gasped out loud with the joy of discovery. This is one of my favourites:


Melissa Sweet’s love for typography is clearly evident as she seamlessly interweaves words with imagery, that they seem more like codes and cues than text – such celebration of beauty, art, colour, texture, and movement. See the precarious beauty of fall:


and the elongated frosty feel of bare-branched winter:


Melissa Sweet is a genius, clearly. There is so much joy here that portrays the power of poetry without it being overwhelming or threatening to a young child who is just learning the craft. This book shows that a poem does not necessarily have to be long to capture a fleeting glance, a stray thought, a wrinkled memory. Here’s another one of my favourites from the book. I hope you enjoy it dear poetry-loving friends.


May we all find what we’re looking for.

Firefly July: A Year Of Very Short Poems selected by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Published by Candlewick Press, 2014. Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Winner of the New England Independent Booksellers Association 2014 New England Book Award in the Children’s Category, CYBILS Finalist for Poetry 2014


#AWBRead2015 Update: 8 of 35

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).

12 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Fleeting Sparkles in Firefly July

  1. Wow – such beautiful little poems and what lovely art. I am going to try to track down a copy of this book. I love short short poems.


  2. Love this book. Been a Melissa Sweet fan for a long time. I agree — she’s clearly a genius!


  3. These are wonderful! I love short poems–little gems of thoughts to savor. I’ve got one of my own on my blog today.


  4. Catherine Johnson

    That was my favorite book from last year.


  5. Julie Larios

    Fingers crossed that this book is being considered by the Caldecott committee! Love Paul’s poems and Melissa’s illustrations. Thanks, Myra.


  6. Definitely a great book – and I, too, loved how the illustrations seamlessly weave their way in and out of the text – or is vice versa?


  7. One of my favorites, too, Myra! Thanks for shining the spotlight on this gem. =)


  8. Thank you for sharing this glorious book, Myra – I shall have to look for it!


  9. What a beautiful write-up, Myra. Each page is indeed the perfect marriage between words and art! That’s why it’s one of my all time favorites as well. And thanks for spotlighting one of my favorite poems too– “What is it the wind has lost…”


  10. This is the one new book of poetry that I didn’t think twice about snapping up at NCTE. It’s perfect for kindergarten and so so beautiful to look at. I had the great pleasure of having lunch with Melissa Sweet there. She’s a concentrated little package of energy and color!


  11. sarahtuttle

    I love this post! That poem by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser is fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing!


  12. Just lovely. The art is gorgeous. Isn’t it wonderful that poetry books for children are sprouting everywhere?


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