Hello! Welcome to “Lacey Recommends,” a monthly column updating you on some of the latest and greatest books being published for girls. Did you know that April is National Poetry Writing Month? Sometimes called NaPoWriMo for short, each year thousands of people take up the challenge to write a poem every day during the month of April. I’ve participated in the challenge before, and it’s loads of fun. Check out the poetry books for girls below for some poetry-writing inspiration — or just some great reading!
- Jacqueline Woodson is the author of dozens of books for kids, from picture books for little kids to novels for teenagers. Although most of her work is fiction, a couple years ago she wrote a book that was a collection of poems about her childhood called Brown Girl Dreaming. In it, she uses poetry to talk about what it was like to grow up during the Civil Rights Movement, with homes in both the north and the south, how she knew she wanted to be a writer, and how she felt about her grandparents’ religion. Brown Girl Dreaming won the National Book Award and a Newbery honor, and if you give it a read, you’ll see why. After reading it, consider starting a collection of your own of poems about your life.
- Poems can be a great way to capture feelings or to heal from pain, and in Free Verse by Sarah Dooley, Sasha turns to writing poetry to help her cope with her loneliness after her brother dies. It even leads her to make new friends when she joins her school’s poetry club. Although most of this book is written in prose, part 3 is a collection of poems written by Sasha.
- If you want a quicker, lighter read, pick up Marilyn Singer’sFollow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems; Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso Poem about Fairy Tales; or Echo Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths. A reverso poem is a poem that has one meaning when read forward, and a different meaning when read backwards. In Marilyn’s books, she uses this trick to express the viewpoint of two different characters using the same poem. For example, in Echo Echo, she has a poem written forward expressing Pandora’s feelings, and the same poem written backward to show the point of view of Pandora’s box! These books can be read quickly, but make sure to slow down long enough to enjoy all the word play and the colorful illustrations!
- If reading all this poetry has you inspired to create something of your own, turn toThe Illustrated Emily Dickinson Nature Sketchbook: A Poetry-Inspired Drawing Journal. This journal includes bright nature drawings interspersed with poems by Emily Dickinson and lots of blank pages for your OWN artwork and writing. Although it was created to be a sketchbook, I will probably use mine for writing and drawing. There is no limit to what you can do with a blank page in front of you!
What about you? Do you have favorite poets, poetry books, or novels-in-verse (novels that use poetry to tell the story?) Have you read any of the books listed above? Will you be writing poetry during the month of April? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below!
Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a reporter for a legal news organization, which means she reads a lot of lawsuits! She has also been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author of “Rumpled,” a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin for ages 14 and up, and the co-editor of “Hungering & Thirsting for Justice: True Stories from Young Adult Catholics.”