Poetry for the Hearth

By Megan Ciskowski, Associate Publicist

Snow keeps falling here in Minneapolis, and if I had a fireplace, I’d be lounging in front of it. Personally, I think poetry is perfect for days like today. When blizzards swirl the snow into a frenzy, I seek shelter in fuzzy socks and beautiful verse. Poetry occupies the mind and makes the world a playful place. Luckily, Lerner has published an abundance of poetry picture books this fall! Find a new favorite from the list below and read until the temperatures rise above zero again.

Be a Bridge by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Nabila Adani

Be a Bridge is all about fostering inclusivity, respect, and connection. Upbeat rhyming verse and colorful illustrations of a diverse group of students help readers determine how they can be a bridge and share kindness with their peers. If you need a message of positivity to start the new year, this is it!

Praise for Be a Bridge

“A charming and welcome read bound to help cultivate a kinder next generation.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Latham and Waters reteam for this rhyming exploration of how children can learn to be a “bridge,” building key connections through kindness.”—Publishers Weekly

Ice Cycle: Poems about the Life of Ice by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jieting Chen

On a day much like today Associate Publisher Carol Hinz looked out her window to see ice branching across the glass. She posted a picture which inspired author Maria Gianferrari to do more research on all the different types of ice. Turns out there are quite a few! Ice Cycle combines poetry, science, and atmospheric illustrations to celebrate the astonishing variety of ice forms.

Praise for Ice Cycle

“A decidedly cool collection for STEM.”—Booklist

“A rewarding exploration of a common substance’s complex nature.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The art is a smooth constant; the graphic design is exceptional, and most poems have their own spread, building a multilevel and vibrant world.”—School Library Journal

Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change by Tameka Fryer Brown and illustrated by Nina Crews

Have you ever met someone who was so dedicated to raising others up that you felt inspired to do the same? Shirley Chisholm was like that. She looked for ways to lift up others first by becoming a teacher, then a community leader, then a state assemblywoman, then a US House Representative. In 1972, the first woman of any race to seriously run for president. Read her story in this new picture book biography with stirring free-verse poetry from Tameka Fryer Brown.

Praise for Not Done Yet

★”The tone of the book is inspiring, but Brown doesn’t shy away from the mistreatment Chisholm encountered . . . Crews’ vividly textured illustrations positively sing, enhancing the text and making for a perfect introduction for young readers everywhere. As powerful as the woman it profiles.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

“Celebrates her successes, indomitable spirit, and lasting legacy through an effective combination of free-verse poetry and digital collage illustrations. . . . Crews folds texture, patterns, and wonderful details into her artwork that evoke the time and setting, as well as Chisholm’s sparkling character.”—Booklist

“Brown’s narrative free verse and Crews’s heavily patterned digital vector art contemporize Chisholm’s ‘Let us move beyond hate’ message as just as relevant today.”—Publishers Weekly

“The layered, collage-style digital illustrations are show-stoppers . . . Many speak her name but few younger readers know her work; this is recommended for early nonfiction collections.”—School Library Journal

On a Gold-Blooming Day: Finding Fall Treasures by Buffy Silverman

This title is for those readers still basking in the glorious memories of fall. As autumn begins, plants and animals in nature begin to change in all kinds of ways to prepare for winter. Brilliant photos and rhyming text work together to highlight these changes. Buffy Silverman’s poetry is so soothing, On a Gold-Blooming Day is the perfect read aloud.

Praise for On a Gold-Blooming Day

“A good read-aloud choice for preschool and early primary classes noting seasonal touchstones.”—Booklist

“Sun-dazzling!”—Kirkus Reviews

Where We Come From by John Coy, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin, and Diane Wilson, illustrated by Dion MBD

This is the kind of picture book poetry that I could read for hours. In this unique collaboration four authors lyrically explore where they each come from—literally and metaphorically. Each author’s voice is highlighted in a particular color to help readers follow along and their stories build this beautiful picture of what unites us. You could spend an hour alone examining the rich illustrations from Dion MBD. Take a look at his artistic process in this blog post!

Praise for Where We Come From

★”Outstanding in all ways, this title deserves a place in most collections and adds a wonderful opportunity for upper elementary students (and higher!) to unpack our complicated histories.”—starred, School Library Journal

“[The authors] individually and collectively tell the story of how this country has developed and how many unique parts are reflected in people today. . . . Children and adults will find much to study and contemplate in this unique and ambitious work.”—Booklist

“Individual details form a warm and inclusive, though scattered, view of humanity.”—Kirkus Reviews

Yuck, You Suck!: Poems about Animals That Sip, Slurp, Suck by Heidi E. Y. Stemple and Jane Yolen, illustrations by Eugenia Nobati

Need a good laugh? We dare you to read this with any kid and not find a giggle somewhere. Sixteen slurpy poems from Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple introduce a suction-filled selection of animals, and spectacularly sticky illustrations from Eugenia Nobati spotlight these stupendous suckers.

Praise for Yuck, You Suck!

★”A delightful book that amuses and educates.”—starred, School Library Journal

“[S]ufficient suckers and lappers of blood, ranging from fleas and mosquitoes to vampire bats, lampreys, and leeches, to gleefully put anyone off their lunch.”—Kirkus Reviews

From the Lerner family to yours, we hope you have a peaceful and joyful holiday season!

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