2 Cybils Non-Fiction/Poetry

These might be the last books I read from this year’s shortlist. The year has run out of days and I’ve run out of interest in reading books that I’m just not THAT interested in. I might pick them up later if the mood strikes me. Or, I might not.

Finishing with these two non-fictions makes me pretty happy, even if I didn’t finish the full challenge. Both were excellent and I’m really glad I read them.

I Will Always Write Back made me yell a lot, about clueless white people. It also caused me to pull out my wallet and make some donations.

House Arrest was pretty darn good but it made me want to break things. It also made me just a little bit weepy.

Memories Flow in Our Veins: Forty Years of Women’s Writing from CALYX

TW bought Memories Flow in Our Veins: Forty Years of Women’s Writing from CALYX at Wild Iris on Independent Bookstore Day. Thank goodness because, as I previously mentioned, we had no books to read. Heh.

I really enjoyed this collection. The poetry was particularly good.

99 Poems For the 99 Percent

Way back in April, I picked up some books from the library that I thought Elly and her boyfriend might like since they were going to join us for #readathon (turns out they joined us for #readathon practice, but it was still awesome.) 99 Poems For the 99 Percent was one of the books I picked up.

I’ve been reading a couple of poems every day or two, usually when I sit down to have lunch or something. They’re not bad. Some of them are really very good. I’d have never picked this up if it hadn’t been for “N” joining us so yay for that!

The Crossover

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about TheCrossover — we listened to it on audio and it’s about basketball. Not generally our sort of thing. Turns out… amazing book. Amazing. I loved everything about it. The poetry. The characters. The plot. *sniff* I’m not going to say best book ever but damn it was a good book.

Read it. Listen to it on audio. Give it to your kids.

Brown Girl Dreaming

Yep, I finally read Brown Girl Dreaming and it was awesome. It also made me kind of homesick.

Definitely the best of the bunch in the cybils shortlist for poetry.

6 Poetry Books from the Cybils Shortlist

I really wish the Cybils didn’t put children’s poetry in with the middle grade/YA poetry. It seems… not right. Whatever. It is what it is and we’ll just go with it, I guess.

So I read six. Finally.

– Dear Wandering Wildebeest and Other Poems From the Water Hole was fine. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. It was fine.

– Firefly July was a cute seasonal poetry book. Nice mix of poetry from typical favorites and lesser known poets.

– Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons was fun. It was haiku but not the traditional haiku, which I appreciated. I was also amused by the hidden A, B, Cs — though that’s probably not super useful, I was just amused by it.

– Santa Clauses was better than I expected it to be. More haiku, which I wasn’t thrilled about but ended up liking quite a lot.

– Voices From the March on Washington was super interesting. (Again, why this and Brown Girl Dreaming are in the category with these younger children’s poetry… ugh.) I liked it very much. Kids who aren’t into poetry might like this. I highly recommend it.

– Water Rolls, Water Rises Water Rolls, Water Rises was excellent. I was surprised by how much I liked this one. I think it might have been my favorite of the bunch.

Six Children’s Books From the Cybils Shortlist

Let’s see…

JMP loved Joe and Sparky Go to School. The book was in the back seat of my car and he read it many times all by himself. I didn’t read it until last night and it’s very cute.

I read most of Sophie’s Squash to JMP and while he was not impressed, I was. It’s a very cute story. I’m going to read it to him again next year, I think he just wasn’t in the mood to read the night we tried it.

When Thunder Comes was excellent. Very well done with a wide range of civil rights leaders represented.

What the Heart Knows is a beautiful book. The illustrations. The charms, chants and blessings. The little red ribbon. I might have to buy this one.

Pug and Other Animal Poems was ok. The illustrations were better than the poetry. I was fascinated by the poem about the mouse. That’s not something you see very often in children’s poetry. What? Go read it for yourself.

The Meanest Birthday Girl was my least favorite. In fact, I hated it. Which is too bad because there’s a big white elephant in the book. There’s enough meanness in the world that we really don’t need it in a children’s book — not like this.

6 from the Cybils Shortlist

3 Graphic Novels:

Monster on the Hill — This is a middle grade book and I chuckled my way through the whole thing. VERY cute.
Bad Machinery — I don’t know if I was tired or if I just plain didn’t like this one. It bored me.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant — I love Delilah!

3 Poetry:

Follow Follow — Cute reverso poems. Very cute. I don’t think these are as good as those in Mirror Mirror, though. And unless you just love reverso poems you should skip this in favor of Mirror Mirror.
Forest Has a Song — Ho hum poems. Great illustrations.
Poems to Learn By Heart — Great compilation of poems. Really excellent. Nice intros to sections. Nice diversity of poetry. I’d buy this one for JMP.

Errr, Seven Cybils: Children’s Poetry (Most, Excellent)

I have a love/hate with children’s poetry, so it makes sense that I have a love/hate with the Cybils shortlist books in the poetry category. I’m pleased to say that the first six I’ve read are mostly winners.

Let’s start with the “meh” books.

This is probably mostly me and my love/hate thing but it’s become clear that I just don’t love ocean/water animal poetry for kids. It makes me roll my eyes more often than not. So, while I didn’t hate these, I don’t love them either except for one. One of these puts it slightly above the others:

Water Sings Blue was fine. Ho hum. Seen one book of children’s ocean poetry, seen ’em a..

In the Sea‘s poetry tried a little too hard but OMG the illustrations make up for it. Fabulous. I’d read this one again — just for the illustrations.

Moving onto the books I loved, some of them I was really surprised to love. OK most of them I was surprised to love (see my love/hate issues above.)

Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs — hahahah, laugh out loud funny. If you have kids who love puns or want to teach them puns (and have no problems with death humor) this is THE BOOK. I must own this myself to read to JMP when he visits. hahaha.

UnBEElievables — I’m getting a little tired of books about bees but as soon as I feel that way or say that or type that, I feel guilty because … people, our bees are in trouble! I’d be tempted to put this in the same category with the ocean/water poetry above except… the poetry is pretty good, the tidbits about bees are just right and the illustrations are truly a work of art. *Love* I’d buy this one.

Book Speak — probably just me (and other bookaholics) but I loved it. I suspect most kids won’t love it. Librarians, teachers, parents who are avid readers will want them to but most… won’t. This is a book that has to hit exactly the right person or it falls flat. And kids are tough audiences for poetry.

Now, for the king of kings. Queen of queens. Best book of poetry in the world and everyone should drop what they’re doing and buy this because it means you’ll never have to buy, look at, read, pretend to like another book of animal poetry again. You also won’t have to buy a zillion non-fiction photo books about animals. This one does double duty and will save you money, time, and space on the shelf. I also can’t believe I’m saying this because this is the one I expected to really hate, hate, hate. National Geographic: Book of Animal Poetry. Amazing. Frost, Prelutsky, Dickinson, Lawrence are in here. The photos are National Geographic quality. It’s a high quality book. Best in breed, for sure.

Oops, overlooked Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses on my library cart — it was excellent. Retold fairy tales, most definitely for older, mature teens. One of the best of the retold anthologies (and I’ve read a lot of them.)

Five Books of Poetry (#readathon)

I probably should have started the #readathon with the poetry, I’m tired and that’s not the best time to read poetry. Thankfully, all five of these were good – for different reasons.

Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers – I always like books like this, that tell the story of art and artists.

We Are America: A Tribute From the Art – As you’d expect from Walter Dean Myers. A book everyone should read (maybe particularly during an election year…)

Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems – As a big sister, I had to love this one. Because little sisters are annoying and wonderful all at the same time.

Dear Hot Dog – Poetry to everyday things (like toothpaste and socks and sunshine. My favorite is about light.)

Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems – I have two children who love Elephants so this one made me particularly happy. I’ll be buying it for someone…

(Readathon page count, 1,619)

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