Poet/Author Irene Latham Talks About Her New Book For Children..

CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship Carolrhoda/LernerPublishing. was inspired by a conversation with editor Carol Hinz about a book of poems for adults CITIZEN by Claudia Rankine, which she and I had both recently read. Carol shared her idea of a poetry book that tackles the same subject — systemic racism — except for kids! She thought it might work best as a conversation, and she asked if there was a black children’s poet with whom I would like to have this conversation. I immediately thought of Charles Waters– whom I had never met, and in fact did not meet until we presented together about the book at AASL November 2017!

Lucky for me, when I invited him to collaborate, Charles said YES. And off we went, writing poems madly about some intensely personal and sometimes difficult stuff. Within about 3 weeks we had a draft ready to share with Carol. The book includes paired poems about every day things like shoes and family dinner, and also poems about more difficult topics like the “N” word and police brutality. Illustrations are by the amazingly talented interracial team of Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.



KIRKUS
 calls the book in their starred review, “A brave and touching portrayal worthy of sharing in classrooms across America.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY states in their starred review, “The poems delicately demonstrate the complexity of identity and the power of communication to build friendships.”

BOOKLIST adds, “Young readers searching for means to have difficult, emotional, and engaged discussions about race will find an enlightening resource in Irene and Charles’ explorations.”

THE HORN BOOK MAGAZINE proclaims, “This volume would make an excellent read-aloud or a launch pad for collaborative classroom writing.”

Here are other articles about the book from Shelf Awareness, bloggers Margaret SimonLinda Mitchell and two from Jessica Smith, here and here

We couldn’t be more pleased and grateful for the warm reception the book has received. We hope it gives readers a starting place to have their own conversations about race, mistakes and friendship. 

Irene Latham
Poet & Novelist
For more information about the book, the authors, and a downloadable Curriculum Guide, please visit charleswaterspoetry.com and irenelatham.com.

Irene Latham: 5 Ways to Celebrate Poetry Month!

Today’s post is a reblog of one done by Award winning Children’s Book Author and poet IRENE LATHAM.

5 Fresh Delicious Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! This is the time to celebrate words and love and poems and LIFE! Yes indeed the dogwoods are blooming and the bluebirds are nesting, and there has never been a more fresh delicious moment than this one. Thank you for sharing it with me!

1. Play with your fruits & veggies!

Last month I delivered to the world my latest book FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers’ Market. It features gorgeous, imaginative illustrations by Mique Moriuchi, and was made possible by the amazing folks at WordSong/Boyds Mills Press. I’m so grateful to be a part of this team! Watermelon-sized thanks to readers/teachers/bloggers/friends everywhere who have already shared about this book.

Jama’s Alphabet Soup – poems and art about blueberries! lettuce! bell peppers!

Today’s Little Ditty – poems and art about corn!

TeacherDance – poetry lessons about all the offerings at the farmers’ market!

The Poem Farm – read a poem that cut from the collection — and find out why!

Trade reviews:

“Food selection and preparation is rarely such a fun adventure.”
– Booklist

“The bright, pleasant illustrations, which feature cut-paper animals, work well to enhance the atmosphere and convey the actions of the verse.”
– School Library Journal

“Whimsical poems will inspire readers to play with their fruits and vegetables.”
– Kirkus

“Half a dozen recipes cap off a lighthearted celebration of food at peak freshness.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

Get FRESH DELICIOUS Today!

2. Sign up to receive an artsy-poetry postcard!

For the past 5 years I have sent out postcards during National Poetry Month, and I would love to send one to YOU! Signing up is easy: just click the graphic, add your address, and soon a little bit of poetic goodness will arrive in your mailbox.

3. Follow along as the Poetry Friday blogging community creates the 4th annual Kidlitopshere Progressive Poem!

This is a traveling poem in which a different blogger adds a line each day during the month of April. There are always surprising twists and turns as the poem moves from blog to blog — we never know what’s going to happen! It’s great fun, and we’d love for you to share in it with us! Read the first line from Laura Purdie Salas here.

4. Share my 2016 ARTSPEAK! Journey!

This year I am continuing my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project called ARTSPEAK! Each day I respond to a piece of art from the National Gallery of Art’s digital collection — this year’s theme is Plant. Grow. Eat. You can find last year’s offering as well as this year’s (growing!) collection at my blog Live Your Poem. First poem: “Triolet for Planting Day,” after _The Artist’s Garden at Eragny_ by Camille Pissarro.

5. Live Your Poem!

Take a walk. Write a poem. Talk to a 3 year old or a 93 year old. Go to a museum. Take a nap. Hike. Garden. Read. Whatever it is that you love best, do it! Be open to the beauty and wonder in the world. Be a beginner. Be YOU.

Other suggestions (taken from poems) for how to live your poem can be found here.

Other April Happenings:

There’s so much loveliness going on in the world this month, I can’t possibly cover it all here. So I will just leave you with a few links:

Jama Rattigan’s post with a list of how kidlit bloggers are celebrating National Poetry Month – so much good stuff! I do hope you’ll join in the fun!

Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival – I will be presenting a session called “Reading is Delicious: Fun, Fresh Food Programming for Kids”

Texas Library Association Conference – I am honored to be part of the Poetry Roundup coordinated by Sylvia Vardell, along with these other wonderful poets: Janet Wong, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Steve Swinburne, David L Harrison,K A Holt, and Kwame Alexander

Alabama Library Association Convention – April 12-15 (I’ll be there with other authors on the 13th!)
Birmingham Arts Journal Reading and Release Party – April 28 — Y’all Come!

Alabama Book Festival – April 23 in Montgomery, AL

And…

Did you hear? DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: And Other Poems from the Water Hole (illus. by Anna Wadham) was named a Lee Bennett Hopkins SCBWI Poetry Award Honor Book! I’m honored, grateful and humbled. The other Honor Book was FEEDING THE FLYING FANELLI’S by Kate Hosford & Cosei Kawa and the winner was FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater & Robin Gourley.

Thank you, readers! The best part of being an author is connecting with YOU. Happy National Poetry Month! May you be inspired and inspiring!
Love,
Irene

 

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