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National Poetry Month 2015: Celebrating GONE FISHING: A Novel In Verse Paperback

The final book featured in my National Poetry Month 2015 celebration is my own verse novel: Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse. Last month I hit a new career milestone when it was released in paperback and to celebrate I'm giving away one copy of the new paperback.  

Here is the flap copy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

The new Gone Fishing paperback is on the right, next to the original hard copy.Sam loves fishing with his dad. So when his pesky little sister, Lucy, horns in on their fishing trip, he’s none too pleased. "Where's my stringer/ Something's wrong!/This princess doll does not belong!" With winsome poems—from acrostic to balladand a Poet's Tackle Box at the end, this is the perfect primer to hook aspiring poets of all ages.  

"Just the thing for readers with a burgeoning interest in poetry - or angling." - Publisher's Weekly




This contest is over. Janet Bass is the winner of the signed Gone Fishing Paperback. Congratulations, Janet!


Thanks for stopping by today, and good luck!




National Poetry Month 2015: Celebrating AUDACITY by Melanie Crowder

The third feature in my National Poetry Month 2015 celebration is the verse novel Audacity by Melanie Crowder. I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this striking novel and was very intrigued by the story and the way it is told. This book information is from Goodreads:

The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history

A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000. Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

Published January 8th 2015 by Philomel Books.

Before reading Audacity I wasn't familiar with Clara Lemlich and I'm happy to know more about her life, her struggles, and her bravery in the face of adversity. I appreciate the way that Melanie took the historical facts and created a story, layering in foreshadowing, setting, character details, all within the constraints of a real person, a real peroid in history, and as a verse novel - it's ambitious and very well done. Here's a poem from Audacity that I admire for providing setting, action, and character information while offering a lovely starling simile which is highlighted through the concrete details of the words on the second page:Pages 70-71 from Audacity by Melanie Crowder. Shared with the author's permission.

I'd like to offer my ARC of Audacity to one winner who is currently living in the United States. To enter, leave a comment and click on the Rafflecopter link to complete your entry. The raffle ends at midnight on April 19 and I'll contact the winner after that for instructions on where to send the book.


 UPDATE: The Raffle is over - Michelle H. Barnes is the winner of Audacity! Congratulations, Michelle!


Good luck and thanks for stopping by!


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: Celebrating The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations!

The first book in my National Poetry Month feature and giveaway is The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, a book edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. I'm pleased to say that I'm a contributing poet to this anthology, and I just love the variety of poems and poetry forms used by the poets in the book. Here's the book description from Pomelo Books:

Celebrate all year long with The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations - 156 poems in English and SPANISH plus Take 5! tips for each poem to make it easy to share poetry with children in a library or classroom (preK - grade 5).

This latest book in The Poetry Friday Anthology series offers 12 poems per month plus 12 poems with the theme of “Birthdays and Baby Days.” Choose your favorite celebrations to share each month! Choices include: 

  • traditional holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas;
  • book-related holidays such as Read Across America Day, National Library Week, DEAR Day (Drop Everything And Read), Children’s Book Week, and Dewey Decimal Day;
  • celebrations of diversity such as Black History Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Three Kings Day, Lunar New Year, the end of Ramadan, Obon, and Diwali;
  • unusual celebrations such as National Hat Day, Daylight Savings Time Day, National Pet Week, National Sports & Fitness Month, Shark Week, and National Cookie Day; and
  • historic commemorations such as Presidents’ Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, National Moon Walk Day, Constitution and Citizenship Day, Election Day, and Veteran’s Day.

Why You Need This Book

This book provides support for librarians, teachers, and parents who want an easy and effective method to share some poetry. Take 5! tips connect the poems in this book to various state and national standards, including the TEKS for language arts (poetry), the CCSS, and the National Social Studies Standards (highlighted in charts for handy reference).

115 poets include:

Jack Prelutsky, J. Patrick Lewis, Joyce Sidman, Marilyn Singer, Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, Linda Sue Park, Margarita Engle, Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Francisco X. Alarcón, Jorge Argueta, Joseph Bruchac, Ibtisam Barakat, Eileen Spinelli, and more.

Click the image for more details at pomelobooks.com

I welcome you to enter this Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of the Teacher/Librarian edition and the Illustrated Student edition. 


UPDATE: The Raffle is over - Marge Keller is the winner of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations! Congratulations, Marge!


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!

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