Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reading a Poetry Book With Nonfiction Eyes

The Poem that Will Not End
by Joan Bransfield Graham
illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker
Two Lions, 2014

Like many new nonfiction picture books, this book has lots going on on every page. There is the main text -- the poem-story of how Ryan O'Brian's brain is taken over by rhythm and rhyme -- accompanied by the poems Ryan O'Brian writes as he goes through his day. There are detailed and entertaining illustrations that elaborate on Ryan O'Brian's adventures. At the end of the book, there is more information about the different forms (19 in all!) and the different voices (narrative, lyrical, mask, apostrophe, conversational) he uses in his poems.

So, in the same way that a multi-text nonfiction book can be read and re-read for many purposes, this is a book that readers can return to again and again. It will be interesting to share this book next to a nonfiction book in a minilesson in reading workshop on text structures. In writing workshop, I can share it as a resource for examples of poetry forms and voices. On Poetry Friday, we can be entertained by the main story, or any one of Ryan's poems.

Lots of possibilities here!

Last January, the book launch blog tour began with Sylvia at Poetry For Children. Check the links at the bottom of her post for other blogs on the tour.


  1. Interesting parallel between nonfiction and poetry. It's true we keep trying to expand the ways a text can work for different readers and different purposes. Usually with poetry, it's poem + prose note (which I adore). Joan's book has several different levels going on, but I hadn't thought of how it's kind of like contemporary nf books in that regard. Thanks, Mary Lee, and yay for Joan's book!

  2. Love all the potential connections you conjure up, Mary Lee! I had the pleasure of meeting Joan in LA in 2007; this looks like another terrific book.


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