Poetry Friday – More Sealy Books

I read just two poetry books this week, but they were good ones by Laura Shoven and one by many of you, edited by Bridget Magee.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shoven is a sweet, believable story of a school that has to close at the end of the school year. The last fifth grade works tirelessly to talk the Board of Education into changing their plans. The students, all 18, are lovable with bags of personality and each shows growth during the school year. Their teacher, Ms. Hill, is a peach, who encourages them to process their year by writing poetry. That’s what we get the privilege of reading in this great novel in verse.

Here is an excerpt of “Insubordinate” by Rachel Chieko Stein who was punished for being part of a protest against losing their school:

I got my first
detention ever
for being
“insubordinate”

(I looked it up.
In means “not.”
Subordinate means
“inferior.”)

I like the way
that sounds.

Me too, Rachel! Another super part of this book are all the resources in the back. “Favorite Forms from Room 5-H” includes descriptions of 17 forms, along with a prompt and example poem to turn to in the book. The prompts continue in the next session: “From the Fifth Grade Poetry Prompt Jar.” Then there is a glossary of poetic terms. Thanks, Laura. What a great resource for teachers. Now my copy is off to a fifth grade teacher friend in Iowa whose school will be closing after this year. I think it will be a great read aloud for them.

The other book I read this week is 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways, edited and compiled by Bridget Magee. It wasn’t my first time reading this clever volume. I love reading poems by so many familiar poets–Linda Baie, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Robyn Hood Black, Karen Eastland, Karen Edmisten, Janet Fagal, Mary Lee Hahn, Ruth Bowen Hersey, Molly Hogan, Michelle Kogan, Irene Latham, Bridget Magee, Linda Mitchell, Elisabeth Norton, Laura Purdie Salas, Janice Scully, Laura Shovan, Buffy Silverman, Carol Varsalona, Alan j. Wright and Tabatha Yeatts. Wow! And that is not even all of the poets who are part of this collection.

Full of Bridget’s magical puns and play on words, the ten categories of tens are Tentative, Tenderness, Tenacity, Ten More Minutes, Tension, I Wouldn’t Touch that with a Ten-Foot Pole, Ten Little Fingers/Ten Little Toes, Take Ten, Tenth____, and I Tend to…

Here is a snippet of one of the Tenderness poems. It’s “Do Not Lose Your Song” by Alan j Wright, and I do think it is so tender:

When the sorrows of the wider world
pile up at your door
Do not lose your song

I have more books lined up for next week, and I have really appreciated taking time to read poetry each day.


Happy Birthday to you, and thank you, Margaret, for hosting Poetry Friday’s Roundup today. Head on over to Reflections on the Teche for some beautiful rainbows.

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday – More Sealy Books

  1. I have both of these books. I read aloud The Last Fifth Grade with my students a few years ago. They had no trouble telling each character apart, a brilliant feat by Laura Shovan. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

  2. Bridget is AMAZING with her puns! And Laura created something so special with her FIFTH GRADE. Glad your reading life is bringing you joy and beauty. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you for introducing me to both of these books! Can’t wait to get my own copies now!

  4. I couldn’t commit to the Sealy Challenge, but love getting sneak peaks at what you’ve been reading. I’m looking forward to your next installment 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for including The Last Fifth Grade in your post, Denise! I agree with you, Ms. Hill IS a peach. I hope your friend and her class enjoy the book.

  6. Hear! Hear! I love an anthology with poet names I know and love. What a great selection for this week’s reading. The best part of poetry for me is that I learn something with every poem.

  7. You chose two wonderful books to read and summarize for us, Denise. Good luck with your challenge. I love the poem you showcased from Laura’s book. Enjoy your new reads.

  8. How awesome! I read Laura’s book with my 5th grade students when it first came out, but I didn’t know about the other book edited by Bridget. I’ll have to try to find it!

  9. You picked two winners for this week! I read aloud The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary to my fifth graders and they loved it! Bridget’s anthology is a treasure!

  10. I’ve read both books and loved them, too, Denise. It’s great to see you sharing them.

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