It is always so gratifying to celebrate the successes and book birthdays of writers I’ve come to know in the cozy world of literature for young people, but I admit I get an extra twinge of excitement when those people are also critique partners. And I have to say that lately the writers in my crit groups have been knocking it out of the park.
I guess I should say kicking it out of the park in this case, because of course I am speaking of a mainstay of the children’s poetry community AND the author of …
…a pitch-perfect ode to the details and delights of playing soccer. (Kirkus)
Yes, it’s our own …
…and her energetic debut poetry collection …
Liz has given us twenty-two poems in this collection, celebrating everything about soccer from the field to the goalie to the shin guards that protect him/her. And she does it all with her signature lyrical style that makes these sports poems sing!
She also beautifully captures so many authentic kids’ voices:
*the two players who don’t let a language barrier come between them
and their love for the game
*the proud, ready-for-anything defender
*the apologetic carded kid who knows he went too far
*the girl who overcomes an inner struggle in the name of good sportsmanship
*the disappointed player in “Uniform Day,” which Liz shares in the video.
I have to give a shout out to Brazilian illustrator Edson Ikê’s digital art as well: those swooping lines full of heart and motion, and the bold color palette, are a feast for the eyes! (And that’s literal, because the colors remind me of sherbet and popsicles!)
Speaking of sherbet–um, I mean motion–that’s one of the things I like most about one of my favorite poems from the collection, “Passing” — with all that repetition, it’s full of fast action! As a mom to two boys who just started basketball this year, I also find this poem both amusing (because it’s true with the running running running!) and bittersweet, because it’s also true that when you’re new and still unsure, your teammates may not pass you that ball even when you’re wide open.
I think it’s kind of brilliant how Liz captured, in one short poem, that intense desire to give it your all and be an asset to your team and the disappointment when your best doesn’t seem to be good enough for them (yet).
With thirteen poetic forms, Soccerverse (isn’t that a great title, by the way?) gives students and teachers (and poets!) great models for writing different kinds of poems.
Mask poems are probably my favorite form ever (see aforementioned shin guard poems), but I’ve also grown very fond of reversos because they are such a challenge. So my other favorite poem in this collection (I have 22 favorites in all) is “Instructions to: Field Players / The Goalkeeper.” I’m pretty sure Liz nailed the reverso form in this poem! (The technical perfection makes me giddy, ain’t gonna lie.)
Am I right?
So congratulations to Liz on her stunning debut and a big THANKYOU-VERSE for stopping by to share it with us!
Need more Liz? She has many fabulous poems in these wonderful anthologies too!
HEY! So why are you still sitting there? Strap on the cleats and go score a copy of Soccerverse at your favorite bookstore or library! Go on now, get out of here!
See more poems in my poetry video library.
Poems © Elizabeth Steinglass. All rights reserved.
Soccerverse illustrations © Edson Ikê. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2019 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.
Thank you so much for sharing! When I first saw this book, as person whose life doesn’t feel complete without soccer, I was like YES! a mix of poetry and soccer❤️
I especially love the humor, as well as truth, in the passing and dribbling poems. Definitely a must buy!
Liz are you a soccer player too or did this inspiration come from elsewhere?
Thanks again for sharing Renee!
Hi Kaitlyn, as a kid I played more softball and basketball, but I did play some soccer. The poem “Passing” is about my experience as a player. The other poems are based on my experiences as the mother of two insanely passionate players.
Ack! I jumped right into answering your question and forgot to say thank you! It was really important to me that the collection include humorous poems AND more serious ones.
I loved reading Elizabeth’s post about the process of how this book came to be. I’m hoping to find a copy to read soon. I’m certain from what I’ve read of it that it will be a hit in elementary schools.
Loved hearing Liz read her poem and seeing this visual and poetic feast! Thank you Liz and Renee.
Thanks, Buffy! Renee made the post gorgeous!
I ordered this book for my classroom and now I’m chomping at the bit (even more) to get my hands on it. That reverso is fantastic! Wow! I just know these poems are going to resonate with kids.
Thanks, Molly! I am very proud of that reverso. When my oldest read it, he said, “You wrote that?” I think it’s the best complement I’ve ever gotten!
What a great review…and it makes perfect sense that you two are crit partners. How fun and wonderful that you write together. I love it. Hearing Elizabeth read her poem is the best! I love hearing words in a poet’s own voice. Can’t wait to read this book. I know my middle school library kids will love it.
Thanks, Linda. I love hearing poets reading their work too. I find that I can then hear all their poems in their voice. I like having their voices in my head!
As a former soccer mom (my daughter no longer plays, but we are watching as many world cup games as we can), I love this collection. Thanks for highlighting it.
Thanks, Kay! I’m so glad you like it.
This kicky visit with SOCCERVERSE & Liz & the illustrator Edson Ike is a simulating roll. Many appreciations for sharing the artwork, the reading from Liz & some of the poems, especially
the mask forms. I have enjoyed Liz’s work in Dear Tomato & other collections but it’s much more exciting to cheer a debut all-Liz poem picture book.
I have to confess & risk shame at saying I’m not a soccer person (except for tree-climging, I was a non-athletic kid & fortunately our gal was athletic but with her sport being Cross Country ). Howsomever, this piece you created, dear Renee, makes me want me to read Sooccerverse front to back. So many families are into soccer in our town, I’m going to ask our library to offer it. It will be hard to find it, will always be checked out.: )
Thanks, Jan, I’m so glad you are interested in reading it. I think the poems can still be enjoyable to those who don’t love soccer. At least I hope so!
Renee and Liz, THANK YOU for all of this. I love the book, the cover (which I removed to preserve when I shared my copy with 2nd and 3rd graders last week) sits a little too well-loved by my book bag right here on my coffee table!! You are so right, Renee, the colors are delicious and the art really cleverly done….a just right feel for a book on kids and soccer!!! The children loved the poems. I could have read them all again and held their attention. I especially love the video!! Yay, Liz. I have to say that while I did not get a chance to read all of the poems when we were together at Highlights back in 2013, I knew Liz stood a good chance of having her manuscript published. While I am excited for Liz, I am more excited for all the kids who love soccer, those who enjoy it, those who love watching their kids play and those wanting to learn more to have this book in the world. There is so much to it and all the forms help with getting kids to see there are lots of ways for them to write poems, too. If you don’t have a copy, you NEED one. A great post as always, Renee!!!
❤ a million times, Janet!
Delightful to have all this goodness from Liz’s book here in one post–her reading bringing in her voice and facial expressions, the reverso, that truly reads like a new poem, and the lovely art. Thanks Renée and Liz, I’m looking forward to reading it!
This looks so good, and what a wonderful review!
Every year my students ask for more poetry about sports! Every year. So glad to add this one to my collection and my students’ lives. Thank you, Liz for the great book and Renee for the great review!
What a lovely collection of poems! I enjoyed how you captured each player’s unique voice in each poem! Love the illustrations too! I am a music teacher & writer and I often use poetry in my classroom to reinforce rhythm, meter, rhyme, phonemic awareness, etc. I’m going to grab a copy for my class. Thank you Renée and Liz!
This sounds absolutely fabulous. Congratulations, Elizabeth! I can’t wait to read this and share it with my kids.
Thank you, Michelle, Ruth, Mary Lee, Lindsay, and Gabrielle!
Wow! Yes, Instructions To is absolutely brilliant. I’m so looking forward to reading this entire collection.
You always capture the essence of any book you’re reviewing so beautifully, Renée. And you’re definitely right about Liz’s reverso poem. It’s one of my favorites too.
And Liz! Yippee! I finally got to hear you read!!! You even had some backyard birdies singing along, expressing their own opinions about uniform colors no doubt. Here’s to many more book successes!
Thanks, Michelle! I like those birds singing along too. : )
Thank you, Renée, for this wonderful review of Liz’s amazing book! And thank you, Liz, for a poetry book that young and old soccer players/fans will clamor to read. You both scored a GOAL for all that you give to the poetry world. Thank you! =)