THE POETRY FRIDAY POWER BOOKS by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

August 25, 2017 22 Comments by Renee M. LaTulippe

Happy book birthday to Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong!

Over the past year or so I’ve had the pleasure of being an advance reader for Sylvia and Janet’s new series, A Poetry Friday Power Book. And today the third book in the series, Pet Crazy, is born!

Sylvia and Janet in their natural habitat

The Poetry Friday Power Books are wonderful and rather ingenious tools for teachers looking for imaginative ways to share poetry with their students, and for students interested in writing their own poems.

Why ingenious? Because each book features 12 “anchor poems” by a variety of poets. Janet then takes these poems and weaves them together into a complete story by writing additional poems that students can use as models for their own writing. I have been repeatedly amazed by Janet’s ability to join these disparate anchor poems into what amounts to a verse novella!

To top it all off, Sylvia then creates inventive pre-reading activities to get students thinking about a theme, and post-reading writing prompts that give students a chance to write a particular kind of poem. Again, I have been continually struck with their combined genius, especially with Pet Crazy in which they have cleverly hidden additional language skills for students to discover and strengthen.

So today I thought I’d give you a peek at a chapter of each of these books!

You Just Wait

is the first book in the series and is geared toward tweens and teens. The story in this book is all about dreams for the future and features Paz, an Asian-Latina soccer player with dreams of stardom in college, the Olympics, and ultimately the World Cup; Lucesita, her feisty movie-loving cousin; and Joe, an older brother with dreams of the NBA.

Here’s a great graphic from the Pomelo Books site that breaks down exactly how these Power Books work
(click images to enlarge)

The twelve anchor poems in this book were written by Robyn Hood BlackJoseph Bruchac, Jen Bryant, Margarita Engle, Julie Larios, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Charles Ghigna, Avis Harley, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Charles Waters, and Virginia Euwer Wolff.

Here is PowerPack 4. As in all the books, each “PowerPack” features an illustration and list of contents, followed by a fun pre-writing activity. In this case, students are asked to create a conversation in text messages. The pre-writing activity is always designed to prepare students for the final writing prompt.

Students then read the anchor poem, in this case the poem “Names” by Julie Larios. This is followed by a “response poem” in the voice of one of the characters created for the narrative, and then a “mentor text” poem, also in the voice of a character. Finally, the student is prompted to write her own cinquain poem.

Here We Go

is the second book in the series, and is geared toward kids, tweens, and teens. The story in this book features a diverse group of kids who are concerned about social justice and work together to fight hunger with a walkathon and a school garden.

I’m pleased to be an “anchor poet” in this book, along with Naomi Shihab NyeCarole Boston Weatherford, Joseph Bruchac, David Bowles, Ibtisam BarakatEileen Spinelli, David L. HarrisonKate CoombsRobyn Hood BlackMichelle Heidenrich Barnes, and Margaret Simon.

Here’s a peek at PowerPack 8, featuring the anchor poem “Look for the Helpers” by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

…and activities that cleverly guide the student to write a poem using tercets.

And finally,

Pet Crazy

is the third book in the series, and is for kids in grades K-3. It tells the sweet story of a boy and his quest for a pet, accompanied by adorable illustrations by Franzi Paetzold.

The anchor poems in this book are by Kristy Dempsey, Helen Frost, Janice Harrington, Eric Ode, Laura Shovan, Eileen Spinelli, Elizabeth Steinglass, Don Tate, Padma Venkatraman, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, and Tamera Will Wissinger.

Here is PowerPack 7. In this pre-writing activity, students are asked to think of words that begin with each of the circled letters…

…then they read the acrostic anchor poem “Book Hound” by Elizabeth Steinglass, the response poem, and the mentor text. Finally, the student is prompted to write her own acrostic poem.

Did I mention these books are ingenious?

So congratulations, Janet and Sylvia, and thank you for making poetry so accessible to both teachers and students!

Head over to Check It Out where Jone is hosting Poetry Friday.

AW, SHUCKS! You’d like to receive my weekly posts in your inbox, you say? Well, just sign up in the sidebar then!

See more poems in my poetry video library.
All poems and illustrations © respective authors. All rights reserved.
Post content © 2017 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.

 

You might also like...

22 Comments

  1. Sylvia Vardell
    1 month ago

    Thanks so much, Renee. So lovely of you to feature our whole darn Power Book series and in such a clear and lively way. We appreciate ALL your skills– in writing, editing, and sharing!

    Reply

  2. Liz Steinglass
    1 month ago

    Yes, thanks for sharing the series and my anchor poem. The books are so thoughtfully designed to support kids’ writing. I love the way you describe the rich range of features that are part of each book. Happy Poetry Friday!

    Reply

  3. Bridget Magee
    1 month ago

    These Power Books by team Vardell/Wong are amazing. I actually did every exercise in the You Just Wait book and published my results on my blog – great practice. I look forward to reading Pet Crazy. I think my dog, Smidgey will like the Book Hound poem best. Yip! =)

    Reply

  4. Irene Latham
    1 month ago

    Janet and Sylvia in their natural habitat… love! Excited to see more about PET CRAZY. Fun! xo

    Reply

  5. Jane @ Raincity Librarian
    1 month ago

    I have used Here We Go and You Just Wait with students before, always with roaring success, so I’m beyond thrilled for Pet Crazy, especially because most of my kids could happily talk about animals all day long. 🙂

    Reply

  6. Linda Baie
    1 month ago

    These are wonderful for poets of all ages, but make me wish I was still in the classroom, too. I still need to get Pet Crazy, but I will! Thanks for sharing so much from the books, Renee.

    Reply

  7. Brenda Harsham
    1 month ago

    Wonderful books. I am honored to have Here We Go, and I love that it turns the blank page into an invitation.

    Reply

  8. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
    1 month ago

    This will be such a helpful post to educators and poets (of all ages) who want to know which book is the right one for them. Well done, Renée! I know you’re as proud as I am to be a part of this fantastic series—you’re an invaluable reader AND writer! And kudos to Sylvia and Janet, of course, not only for their genius concept, but for these three beautiful books that make a tangible difference in the lives of young people.

    Reply

  9. Robyn Hood Black
    1 month ago

    AWESOME post, Renee – I love seeing the whole pack together like this. And three howls for Pet Crazy, which I can’t wait to read. :0)

    Reply

  10. Buffy Silverman
    1 month ago

    Terrific post for some terrific books, Renee. I love how Janet’s poems model a couple of responses, followed by an invitation to kids to write their own. Hope these find their way into lots of teachers hands!

    Reply

  11. Matt Forrest Esenwine
    1 month ago

    Thanks for sharing this, Renee – I have copies of the 1st two books, but hadn’t seen this one yet. Such a great concept, for kids as well as educators!

    Reply

  12. B.J. Lee
    1 month ago

    Sylvia and Janet strike again! What a wonderful presentation, Renee!
    Janet and Sylvia provide such a fantastic service to teachers and students alike!

    Reply

  13. Christie Wyman
    1 month ago

    Very excited for this third installment. A chorus of meows and barks can be heard if you listen closely! 🙂

    Reply

  14. Linda
    1 month ago

    I loved the first two in the series, and so did my students! I’m looking forward to PET CRAZY.

    Reply

  15. Kay McGriff
    1 month ago

    All three of these look like fun! Even though I’m no longer teaching, I want to read them just for myself.

    Reply

  16. Mary Lee Hahn
    1 month ago

    Great post! Glad to see you on the roundup again! Don’t be a stranger!!

    Reply

  17. jone
    4 weeks ago

    I love these books. Thanks for highlighting them this week.

    Reply

  18. Charles Waters
    4 weeks ago

    Two beacons of light in the children’s poetry world. Sylvia and Janet! Thank goodness for these books, heck, all the books under the Pomelo umbrella. They do such a poetic service for so many!

    Reply

  19. Penny Parker Klostermann
    4 weeks ago

    I’m continually amazed! Thanks for highlighting Janet and Sylvia’s books. They’re such an amazing resource…the books and these two wonderful ladies 🙂

    Reply

  20. Laura Shovan
    3 weeks ago

    Great overview of this series, Renee!

    Reply

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Categories