Friday, October 28, 2011

Poetry Friday -- A Must-Have For Every Classroom Collection

BookSpeak!: Poems About Books
by Laura Purdie Salas
illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
Clarion Books, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

In our classrooms, we grow readers and writers. Here is a book with a poem for nearly every occasion in your reading/writing workshops!

Laura Purdie Salas has given the books a voice in her poems. The lead poem is a call to readers to leave behind their electronics and discover new worlds in books. There are poems from a book's character, from the index, and about cliffhangers. The cover, the illustrations and even the conflict in the story get their own poems!

Books have secret lives in the bookstore at night. The neat ones in rows on shelves pitied by the messy ones that are much-read and much-loved and who wind up under the bed with the dust bunnies. And books can't wait for us to take them along when we go on vacation.

My favorite poems in the collection are the ones that look at books and writing a little bit slantwise. "Written in Snow" compares the words on the page to footprints in new snow: "Through the blizzard / stories roam. / They tiptoe bravely / out, then home."

And here is my favorite-favorite. It taps into my love of and fascination with bird blobs:

by Laura Purdie Salas

Line after line of inky black birds
forming the flocks that shift into words.
Page after page of tales winging by,
singing a story against a
white sky.

(here's my favorite bird blob video -- it's about 5 minutes long)

Diane is rounding up the Poetry Friday posts this week at Random Noodling.


  1. Thank you for sharing that poem from the book.Without missing a beat I went right into quoting Langston Hughes' poem, Hold fast to Dreams.

  2. Thank you, Mary Lee! Skywriting is probably my favorite one in the book, too. I'm so glad you liked this collection, and thanks for helping to spread the word.

  3. P.S. By next Friday when I host, I will be living at

    My blog won't be pretty yet, but I can't take LJ a moment more. I'll be starting to blog on WP on Monday.

    That's my long way of saying, Do you want to change the link on the PF schedule? Otherwise, I'll have a post on LJ saying where I am, so people should be able to still find the roundup.


  4. Thanks for sharing that video! Bird blobs...

  5. I've ordered the book already! Thanks to Laura I'll have a whole new group of reading poems to share. Thanks for showing us one more.

  6. I had no idea "bird blobs" were a thing.

    And that Laura---she keep hitting it out of the park, doesn't she? I'm going to my local indie soon to look for this one...

  7. I love this book so much. Can't pick a favorite poem, but I do like the bookplate one because it mentions soup :).

    The video is amazing!

  8. Laura,
    Glad to share your wonderful book! I'll tidy up all your links here and on the Yahoo group calendar so people can find you next week!

  9. I cannot wait to get a copy of this book. Loved the vidoe. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Loved the poem, now I need this book! And that bird blob was I have a new hobby.

  11. Congrats again to Laura - so many young (and old!) readers are going to treasure this book! Thanks for the intro to bird blobs, Mary Lee...

  12. Mary Lee, you and jama are on the same wavelength with what sounds like a fabulous book. Thank you for sharing Skywriting to give us a taste. I want to see this book! Your post gave me my first look at a bird blob! Amazing.

  13. I would definitely look for this book next time I visit our library. Sounds so rich - 'skywriting' also made me dream of castles in the clouds.

    For some reason when you mentioned books coming alive at night, I was reminded of Colin Thompson's 'How to Live Forever' - have you read that picture book yet? Truly lovely.

  14. It is such a great book! There were so many poems that I really loved and can't wait to share with others. I posted it on my blog, too. Congratulations, Laura!

  15. Thank you, everyone, for the lovely comments! They are the highlight of my weekend!

    And Mary Lee--I love bird blobs (though I didn't know they were called that). I've watched a few videos and love to watch the birds around here (Minnesota) swarm, especially in fall. The video you shared was amazing, especially when they all flew down, looking like a waterfall of birds in the sky. Breathtaking.

  16. Thanks for an exciting invitation to a new party! I'm especially interested in the poems that speak from the bookbits' perspectives.

    Speaking of parties, will we see each other at NCTE? I finally registered and booked my hotel yesterday. I need to do a better job this year of hooking up with faraway friends!

  17. Heidi,
    Yes, I'll be at NCTE! I'll be the one in purple -- you know how to find me!! :-)

  18. I've been waiting on this book! Love SKYWRITING. Wonderful. And bird blobs?? I was thinking of something totally different when I saw that terminology at Diane's roundup page. :)


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