Franki’s Weekly Text Set: Nonfiction Poetry

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 

Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

Happy New Year! This year, when I know lots of classrooms are getting ready to start thinking about informational reading and writing, I decided to kick off 2022 with some of my favorite nonfiction poetry books. I think there is so much that informational poetry can do for us as readers and writers. Poetry invites us in to think about important topics in new ways. And it gives our students new ways to think about how to write informational pieces. I love the books that combine poetry with other forms of writing too,

The books in this series (Where in the Wild, Where Else in the Wild, What in the Wild) were some of the first informational poetry books I discovered. These are great for introducing nonfiction poetry to children because of the “I Spy/Look and Find” feature of each page. The poems in this book give information and the word choice and descriptions are incredible. As a reader, lots of inferring happens. As a writer, so much to learn!

I am so not a fan of chapter book biographies for elementary students. I prefer picture book biographies because our students can read across texts, learn about lots of people and do more in-depth work when they aren’t reading a chapter book series biography. I put biography poetry right up there with picture books. I love what books like Bravo and Shaking Things Up provide. Not only do we learn about several different people and their impacts but we learn about how an anthology works as it is around one topic or idea. The writing in both of these are incredible and many readers will find a person or two who they’d like to research further. And books like this also tend to have great author’s notes with more info. I hope we can all rethink whatever work we do with biographies and think about the goals and the types of books that best meet the goals biography reading. #biographies

No Voice Too Small and Voices of Justice would be great follow-up reads to yesterday’s titles. Both of these books focuses on people working toward justices. The writing style is different and the focus is a bit different in each so these would invite many conversations. So many pieces beyond the main poem on each page. Both of these books would be great to study in-depth.

In the Spirit of a Dream is my newest favorite poetry book. This book celebrates 13 American Immigrants. I loved reading about people I knew and people whose stories were new to me. The illustrations in this book are worthy of study as well. This is one of those books that I see being in every K-12+ classroom as there are so many entry points for readers, writers and illustrators.

The Last Straw has been on a few #TextSets because I love it. The way Susan Hood combines poetry and information is brilliant and there is so much packed into this one book, with poetry as the anchor. And this would invite an interesting discussion on the ways the poems were put together, the overarching topic and theme of the whole, etc. This book can be studied as a whole or individual spreads can be looked at individually.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. 

Follow @TextSets on Instagram for daily books/weekly text sets!

Poetry Friday: The Roundup Is HERE!


Each of us 
is a vessel
glittering jewels
hidden beneath
a seemingly tough skin.

Our inner selves
are chambered –
labyrinthine and complex.

We are both
sweet and tart
and we are 
worth the effort.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022

Pomegranates are one of my very favorite fruits. Mom was an adventurous eater, and she did everything she could to pass this along to my brother and me. Whenever an unusual fruit or vegetable showed up in our small-town Safeway grocery store, she would buy it for us to try. Good memories.

Now it’s time to savor this week’s poetry offerings! Click here to add your link, and enjoy all the goodies! (EDITED TO ADD: Please forgive the messy, ad-filled link up. I could not for the LIFE of me get Mr. Linky to cooperate. I should have just gone old school.)

EDITED TO ADD: I can’t stand this linkup. Here are the links without you having to wait five seconds to see the blog post. Ugh.

Linda Mitchell

Janice Scully

Alan J. Wright

Laura Purdie Salas

Michelle Kogan

Tabatha Yeatts

Sally Murphy

Linda Baie

Bridget Magee


Mary E. Cronin

Heidi Mordhorst

Catherine Flynn

Rose Cappelli

Margaret Simon

Carol Labuzzetta

Irene Latham

Kat Apel

Ruth (no longer in Haiti)

Matt Forrest Esenwine

Amy LV


Denise Krebs

Carol Varsalona


Poetry Friday: The Swimming Pool

Heidi gave the Inklings a tough challenge this month. She suggested that we use the “The Lost Lagoon” by Mohawk poet, Emily Pauline Johnson (d. 1913) “to build your own poem FOR CHILDREN about a treasured place that you return to again and again (geographical or metaphorical).”

The first thing I did was copy the poem into my notebook and “unpack” the poem the way we used to do weekly in my classroom. As you can see, there’s a LOT going on in this poem!

What wasn’t hard was picking my topic — the swimming pool. What WAS hard was writing a poem “FOR CHILDREN.”

Here’s how the rest of the Inklings interpreted Heidi’s challenge:

Linda@A Word Edgewise
Heidi @my juicy little universe
Molly@Nix the Comfort Zone
Catherine@Reading to the Core
Margaret@Reflections on the Teche

Carol has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink, and the roundup will be HERE next week!

Poetry Friday: Bells

Where to begin?

There are my favorite bells in music, “The Bells of St. Geneviève”…

…and my favorite bells in film…

…and my favorite classic bell poem which contains my favorite bell word: tintinnabulation. (I so wanted to include that word in my own bell poem, but it was not to be.)

I was all over the place trying to write my bell poem this month, but my drafts kept getting closer and closer to my heart, until this memory emerged:

Carol Wilcox, at Carol’s Corner, has this week’s final Poetry Friday roundup. Let’s hold her, and all of those in the Denver area who are reeling from the recent wildfires, close in our hearts.

There are bound to be lots of bell poems around the roundup, ringing in the New Year. I can’t wait to read them all! Check out what the other Poetry Sisters came up with:

Tricia @ The Miss Rumphius Effect
Tanita @ {fiction, instead of lies}
Sara @ Read Write Believe
Laura @ Laura Purdie Salas
Liz @ Liz Garton Scanlon
Kelly @ Kelly Ramsdell
Andi @ A Wrung Sponge

Poetry Friday: Solstice

Buffy Silverman has the Christmas Eve edition of the Poetry Friday roundup. Thanks, Buffy! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and to those who don’t, Happy Solstice!

Next Friday, the Poetry Sisters will be showcasing our poems that feature bells. Do join us, please!

Photo credit: Martin LaBar, Creative Commons photo on Flickr

Franki’s Weekly Text Set-Word Study and Vocabulary: Thinking Beyond a Simple Definition

Texts for this Text Set have been posted daily on Instagram. 

Follow @TextSets there to get daily updates!

When I think about word study and vocabulary, I always wonder how we can expand the ways our children think about words. I want them to think about words in complex ways. I know that to really understand a word, it is not simply about a definition. The books in this week’s Text Set are books that focus on looking at a single words with depth. Each author does this in a unique way and a week of sharing books like this can help students think more deeply about words and all that they can mean.

The Quiet Book and The Loud Book! are pure joy. I love them both for so many reasons. They are fun to just read aloud for enjoyment, but there is so much to each one of these. We think we know what the words quiet and loud mean until we read these books. Then we realize that there are so many different kinds of quiet and and so many different kinds of loud. These books explore this idea in such a joyful way. I imagine once children read these books, they might think of other words in new ways!

I have loved Courage by Bernard Waber for years. I love how it gives so many scenes of courage. Now I am happy that I can pair the book with the newer I Am Courage by Susan Verde. Thinking about the different ways that two authors approach a book focused on one word will start incredible conversations. Both of these have repeated lines and both do something a bit different in exploring the word courage.

These two picture books–When You are Brave and Shy each focus on a word that can mean so much. By embedding the words in experience and story, we come to think more deeply about all that the word could mean. The illustrations in each add to the meaning which is another angle to explore.

This set of books from Laura Vaccro Seeger-Blue, Green and Red– makes for more fascinating conversation as readers think about how the same and different a color can be–as well as all that the color encompasses and symbolizes. The literal meanings as well as some metaphorical meanings of these color will be naturally explored when reading and discussing these books.

There is something about choosing a word as a goal or a reminder. Often we do this on New Year’s Day as a way to set our intentions for the coming year. My Special Word is a book that can help young readers think about words and the ways they can influence who we are–you might want to check out the whole initiative when you are on the site. Choosing a word (one that remains the same or changes daily) is a concept that is written about so well for young children in My Special Word. And the newish series from Susan Verde helps readers understand this concept of “being” as connected to a specific word. I Am Peace is one of my favorite in the series.

This week’s books were linked at Bookelicious and/or  Cover to Cover Children’s Bookstore. If you are looking for a fabulous local children’s bookstore to support, Cover to Cover is an amazing one. We are lucky to have them in Central Ohio! If you don’t have an independent children’s bookstore in your town, check out Bookelicious. They are an online independent bookstore for children with an incredible curated collection. 

Poetry Friday: Call Us What We Carry

Today I picked up my copy of Amanda Gorman’s new book, CALL US WHAT WE CARRY. I’ve only dipped in to browse, and I can’t wait for time to curl up on the couch and savor every single word. This sampling via The New Yorker takes my breath away.

If you missed Franki’s Text Set last week, “Using Guides to Help Us: Our Own Unlearning and For Use in the Classroom,” it’s one of her best. I would add to the guides she spotlighted, the one that was prepared by the #DisruptTexts team (Tricia Ebarvia, Lorena Germán, Dr. Kimberly N. Parker, and Julia Torres) for CALL US WHAT WE CARRY. I have printed off the discussion questions to help inform my reading.

Cathy has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Merely Day By Day.

If you are interested in hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup in January-June 2022, the call for roundup hosts is here.

Poetry Friday — Call for Roundup Hosts

It’s that time again. Six months have passed since last we queued up to host the Poetry Friday roundups.

UPDATE: THE SCHEDULE IS FILLED! If you missed out this time, stay tuned for July

What is the Poetry Friday roundup? A gathering of links to posts featuring original or shared poems, or reviews of poetry books. A carnival of poetry posts. Here is an explanation that Rene LaTulippe shared on her blog, No Water River, and here is an article Susan Thomsen wrote for the Poetry Foundation.

Who can do the Poetry Friday roundup? Anyone who is willing to gather the links in some way, shape, or form (Mr. Linky, “old school” in the comments, or ???) on the Friday of your choice. If you are new to the Poetry Friday community, jump right in, but perhaps choose a date later on so that we can spend some time getting to know each other.

How do you do a Poetry Friday roundup? If you’re not sure, stick around for a couple of weeks and watch…and learn! One thing we’re finding out is that folks who schedule their posts, or who live in a different time zone than you, appreciate it when the roundup post goes live sometime on Thursday.

How do I get the code for the PF Roundup Schedule for the sidebar of my blog? You can grab the list from the sidebar here at A(nother) Year of Reading, or I’d be happy to send it to you if you leave me your email address. 

Why would I do a Poetry Friday Roundup? Community, community, community. It’s like hosting a poetry party on your blog!

And now for the where and when:

7 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink
14 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
21 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
28 Irene at Live Your Poem

4 Elisabeth at Unexpected Intersections
11 Linda at TeacherDance
18 Laura at Small Reads for Brighter Days
25 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect

4 Kat at Kathryn Apel
11 Sylvia and Janet at Poetry for Children
18 Ruth at there is no such thing as a God-forsaken town
25 Amy at The Poem Farm

1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
8 Janice at Salt City Verse
15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
29 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch

6 Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup
13 Rose at Imagine the Possibilities
20 Carmela at Teaching Authors
27 Linda at A Word Edgewise

3 Karen at Karen Edmisten*
10 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
17 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
24 Catherine at Reading to the Core