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Entries in Blue Birds (2)


National Poetry Month 2015: Celebrating BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose

The second book in my National Poetry Month feature and giveaway is the verse novel BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of BLUE BIRDS at a conference from a Penguin Random House representative and I loved it. Here are details about the book via Goodreads:

It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.

Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.

A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.

Published March 10th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.

There is a great deal to love and appreciate in Caroline's book. The setting, the historical context Caroline uses as a jumping-off point for the story, the main characters, that it's written in verse is a bonus and I particularly admire how Caroline creates a sense of tension and urgency as the story progresses toward its crisis and resolution. I didn't want to stop reading it, yet I didn't want it to end. Here is a poem that, to my mind, is representative of the books lovely cover art and also gives a good sense of the two strong, diverse voices of Kimi (on the left) and Alis (on the right).  

Page 95 from Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose. Used with the author's permission.

(Edit: Not everyone is able to see the poem above as it is in the book, so I'm inserting the text from page 95.)


KIMI                                                    ALIS


Her bird rests

in the folds of my skirt.

It has called her here.

It has led me back,


I inch my hand forward,

let it hover over

the inky band about her arm,


She reaches near,

reminds me how Alawa,

entranced with a lizard,

longed to grasp

his glistening blue tail.


I touch the lacy pattern.


She presses a finger to my arm,

pulls her hand back quickly.

Her eyes rush to mine.


Did I expect her skin

to feel like wood or stone?

It is as any person’s would be.


Suddenly, I smile.


I begin to laugh.


I'm happy to share my ARC of Blue Birds with one lucky winner who is currently living in the United States. Simply enter this Rafflecopter giveaway and leave a comment here. The raffle ends at midnight on April 12 and I'll contact the winner after that for instuctions on where to send the book.  


UPDATE: The Raffle is over - Buffy Silverman is the winner of Blue Birds! Congratulations, Buffy!


Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!


National Poetry Month 2015 Is Near!

The 2015 National Poetry Month celebration begins just days from now. I'm making plans and enjoying this year's poster designed by Roz Chast, a 2014 National Book Award finalist and New Yorker cartoonist. Roz's clever art features a line of poetry from Mark Strand’s wonderfully devilish, "Eating Poetry" which begins:

"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.

There is no happiness like mine.

I have been eating poetry..."

Click here for the rest of Mark Strand's "Eating Poetry.”

Click on the poster to learn more about the Academy of American Poets and National Poetry Month.

To celebrate National Poetry Month this year, each week during April I'll feature a new poetry-related book right here including a giveaway of each of the books. Here is the line up of featured books:


March 30 - April 3 week:



April 6-10 week:

BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose


April 13-17 week:

AUDACITY by Melanie Crowder


April 20-24 week:

GONE FISHING: A Novel in Verse paperback by me: Tamera Will Wissinger


Here are other poetry-related happenings:


I'm also looking forward to participating in Irene Latham's 2015 Progressive Poem. Last year was my first time participating and it was such fun I decided to jump in again. I'll be adding the participating poets in my sidebar so that we can follow along as the poem is written.


To celebrate the release of the Gone Fishing paperback, through 3/31 I’m hosting a Gone Fishing giveaway on twitter using the hashtag #GoneFishingPaperback.  


Today's Poetry Friday is with Jone at Check It Out!


That's all for now. Have a great weekend, enjoy National Poetry Month and I hope to see you back here in April to celebrate!