SOL 17 & the Poetry Friday Roundup: “Out of Wonder”


“Writing is a tool to carve out our dreams”
~Kwame Alexander ~

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup! (Not sure what Poetry Friday is? Find out more from Renée LaTulippe here.) I’m happy you’re here because I have a stunning new collection to share today. Just in time for National Poetry Month, Newbery-Medal winning poet Kwame Alexander has teamed up with Chris Colderley, Marjory Wentworth, and Ekua Holmes to create a spectacular gift to poetry lovers of all ages, Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (Candlewick Press, 2017).

In the Preface to Out of Wonder, Alexander explains his mission for this book is introduce readers to “…twenty of my favorite poets. Poets who have inspired me and my co-authors with their words and lives.” He and his co-authors also hope readers will see these poems “as stepping-stones to wonder” about the poets, poetry in general, and the poetry within themselves.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I, “Got Style,” includes poems written in the style of Naomi Shihab Nye and e.e. cummings, among others. “In Your Shoes” includes poems written about favorite topics of celebrated poets. Emily Dickinson’s love of flowers, Walter Dean Myers love of basketball, and Judith Wright’s love of the earth are just a few of the themes used to inspire new poems. The final section, “Thank You,” pays tribute to beloved poets themselves, including Gwendolyn Brooks, William Carols Williams, and Sandra Cisneros.

Ekua Holmes’s mixed media collages explode off the page, adding another layer of beauty to these pages. Her color schemes are perfectly suited to the poems. Subtle, muted hues create the winter woods of Robert Frost, while bold primary colors give wing to Maya Angelou’s “free bird.”

A brief biography of each celebrated poet is included at the end of the book, as well as a chronological listing of the poets and their country of origin. This section is a jumping off point for teachers and students who want to learn more about these poets.

In an interview with Rachel Martin on NPR, Alexander stated that he had “three aims for the book — to encourage kids to read poetry, to introduce them to great poets, and to inspire them to write poems of their own.” He goes on to say “It’s a lofty goal.” Lofty yes, but one he and his collaborators exceed in this joyful book.

Want to know more about Kwame Alexander’s thoughts about poetry? Read his conversation with Nikki Grimes here, and his article with co-author Chris Colderley about why poetry matters at the Poetry Foundation. In addition, Poetry Friday’s own Mary Lee Hahn wrote a terrific Teacher’s Guide that is chock-full of suggestions for sharing Out of Wonder to inspire your students.

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, MelanieLisa and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

And now for the Roundup! Please click to add your link and read more poetic offerings.

36 thoughts on “SOL 17 & the Poetry Friday Roundup: “Out of Wonder”

  1. I’ve been so curious about this book! Thanks for the terrific review, Catherine. Definitely on my list!
    (I haven’t seen/heard Marjory Wentworth since moving to SC, but I hope to one of these days.)
    Thank you for hosting this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Been hearing a lot about this book. Thanks for the great review — can’t wait to see it!

    My link will go live at 6 a.m. Friday morning. Thanks so much for hosting this week, Catherine!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Catherine, thanks for hosting PF. I am so excited that you wrote a review of Kwame’s new book. I have a signed copy from our Long Island LILAC/NRC Conference on March 10th where Kwame was one of the keynote presenters. The book caught my eye and when he talked about it, I knew it was the right one to add to my Kwame collection. My son, husband, and I are driving down to VA to celebrate my husband’s birthday with my daughter/son-in-law. I am still trying to organize my winter gallery and hope to have a post by tomorrow for PF/sol17.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooh! I’ve seen this book touted on social media, and now you’ve made me want it even more. Thank you for sharing all its special attributes. I’d want to buy anything with the name “Kwame Alexander” on the cover. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the teachers’ guide shout-out! (And thanks again to Sylvia Vardell for pointing that gig my way!) Because I’ve already spent so much time with this book, back when it was in F/Gs, I absolutely can’t WAIT for more people to get their hands on it and spend time with it. The way the poems of Alexander/Colderley/Wentworth are inspired by or in honor of the “famous” poets just begs for replication! And the illustrations of Ekua (AY-kwa, in case you ever meet her) are worth savoring on their own. This book will be going places in 2017!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Catherine, I am excited to read your review of this book. I requested it from the library – on order. But reading your post today gave me a new inspiration. I write a grant each year to purchase Newbery possibilities which our book club then reads before the books go into an all school literature circle collection for teachers to use. Sometimes I have some money left over in the spring . . . so this year, I’m purchasing six copies of this book. How perfect to have a book of poetry in the collection!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks to your post, I brought Out of Wonder to the top of my TBR pile and read a few minutes ago. WOW! I loved the tributes to Naomi Shihab Nai, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Billy Collins, and Sandra Cisneros the most. (Perhaps it’s because I feel closest to the work of these poets.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Catherine, Appreciations for this intro to OUT OF WONDER. An entire book about poets. With their poems, With artwork. It sounds dreamy. I read from Kwame Alexander’s THE PLAYBOOK just the other weekend at our town’s Saturday Success Academy. Now today Kindergarten kids I volunteer with, loved hearing & seeing picture book illustrated by Yuri Mirares, SURF’S UP. So I can stay on a Kwame Alexander roll with this new title. And, I am so excited that our own Poetry Friday creative Mary Lee Hahn has crafted a teacher’s guide for OUT OF WONDER. So much goodness here.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Catherine, what a great review…..I know it’s great when I can hardly sit still through reading. I want to get up and go get the book! I have seen some of the pre-pub buzz about this book and Euka Holmes work is so stunning. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. Thanks for the review AND the gracious hosting of the round-up today!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for hosting! A couple of teachers from my school went to a conference last week and heard Kwame Alexander. Both of them (in separate conversations) raved about him to me! Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

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