From the Academy of American Poets – April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of poets and poetry. Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. The Author Spotlight this month celebrates the creativity, humor, emotion, and expression that can be found through poetry. Here are just a few of the books that can be found in our Author Spotlight books and in section 811 in the nonfiction books in the Children’s Department.

The Best/Worst Poet Ever by Lauren Stohler

“The poet is in!

The Poet is me!

If you need a poem,

I’ll write one for thee!”

Cat and Pug engage in a back and forth poetry battle. Each one is determined to become the World’s Best Poet. They try this by writing sonnets, haikus, ballads, limericks, and so much more, sometimes in very unusual ways.

This is a wonderful book for introducing the many different poetry styles. It is done through humor and engaging illustrations. It also illustrates how rivals, when they decide to work together, can become friends.

“I always dream …”

Nina Crews brings Angela Johnson’s poem to life using photo collages of girls living out their dreams. Throughout the book the girls are told by a crowd of people to do things and be like everyone else, but they choose to fly, swim, walk over tall buildings, and do their own thing anyway. At the end of the book the girls who are highlighted in the pictures tell a little about themselves and their dreams. A Girl Like Me is an empowering and inspirational book for girls of all ages.

A Girl Like Me by Angela Johnson

By and By: Charles Albert Tindley the Father of Gospel Music is one part biography, one part poetry, and one part music all mixed together to tell the story of Charles Tindley.

Tindley was a child who was born free during a time when most African Americans were still slaves. He was educated through spirituals in the field and hymns at church. His desire to learn was impeded by poverty, racism, the Great Depression, and many other social roadblocks, but he finally realized his dream of becoming a pastor and helping others. Writing and singing hymns of promise helped Tindley and others through many challenges they faced. His most famous song, “We Shall Overcome” became the anthem for the Civil Rights movement.

Before I started working at the library I don’t think I had ever read a novel in verse. In fact, if I had seen a novel that looked like it was written poetically I think I would have put it right back on the shelf.

That would have been a mistake.

Closer to Nowhere tells the story of two 12-year-old cousins, Hannah and Cal, whose lives have collided together due to the death of Cal’s mother and the imprisonment of his father. Using the alternating voices of the cousins and the movement of free verse, Hopkins evokes emotion in a way that is different from the standard novel. It is a beautifully written and impassioned book for middle grade readers.

Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein


If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

-Shel Silverstein

You are invited to a world of wonder through poetry. Find these books and more in our Author Spotlight section of the Children’s Department at the O’Fallon Public Library.

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