One of the most wonderful things that we can do for our children is to open them to the world of poetry. Poetry used to be a huge part of a child’s life when nursery rhymes were still popular, but poetry has gotten lost in the shuffle of modern life. It isn’t that poetry isn’t there, it is simply that we are not always as aware of it and classic poems are less often read to children. Poetry for Kids, a new series by Moondance Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing, is hoping to change that.
Charles Nurnberg, Publisher at Quarto Publishing Group, explains this situation eloquently:
“Many years ago, my grandmother read poetry to me at a very young age, even Shakespeare. She felt, as I now can appreciate, that the emotion and mood of poetry, even when it is almost too hard to understand, is so essential to understanding the world around us. I’m hoping that this series, with its selection of a very diverse group of poets, and with art by some of the world’s best illustrators, will bring that all to life for a new generation.”
The edition on Emily Dickinson, one of my favorite childhood poets, is beautifully separated into seasons. The gorgeous illustrations lure the readers in and adds a lightness to poems that can sometimes be quite dark. Continue reading →
There is something truly joyous when your children read and ENJOY books that were childhood favorites of yours. Not that we don’t adore new books (we are currently fighting over an Advance Review Copy to be shared soon), but there are times when you remember that classics are classics for a reason. The latest in a series of books J has enjoyed that I remember loving as a kid? The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.
The Westing Game is a mystery reminiscent of the board game Clue (another family favorite). In this book, 16 people find themselves at the reading of a man’s will which says that a) he was murdered, b) the murderer is in the room, and c) whoever figures out who did it will win a sizeable inheritance. The group is split up into 8 pairs and they are set off on their journey to figure out who did it. At the same time, each of these characters holds a secret or two.
Turtle Wexler might be one of my all time favorite characters created and feels like the star of this particular book. Given that this was written in 1978 when you didn’t have a lot of spunky, unusual female characters, she was special. She is exceptionally bright and not as “pretty” as her older sister, Angela, but she has a very caring heart. She is a character that feels very true to life and that doesn’t seem to change with a different generation reading the book.
Another interesting thing about this book is that while there is an external focus on solving the mystery of who killed Sam Westing, there is a deeper, more internal mystery unfolding throughout the book – figuring out just who the characters are, their secrets, and how they are all related (literally and figuratively).
J, at 10 and in 4th grade, adored the book. She couldn’t put it down, kept asking me questions that I couldn’t remember the answers to, and repeatedly said “this book is awesome!” That’s pretty high praise from an avid reader. Ellen Raskin received a Newbery Medal for The Westing Game in 1979 and the award hasn’t lost its shine.