I’m neither an expert in nor a huge fan of poetry, but there was a pretty good selection in 2016. Here were five that I really liked:
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams brought to life by Ashley Bryan. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Ashley Bryan really did bring these men and women to life, using historical documents as a springboard for his imagination to create lives for each of these eleven through art and poetry.
Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi, illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri. Published by Chin Music Press.
A beautifully illustrated retelling of the brilliant, tragic life of Japanese poet Misuzu Kaneko, complete with translations of many of her deceptively simple poems.
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo. Published by Candlewick.
The history of Art Kane’s 1958 photograph of 57 jazz musicians against the backdrop of a Harlem brownstone, told with poems in the voices of the subjects and the bystanders watching them.
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary School by Laura Shodd. Published by Wendy Lamb Books.
Eighteen fifth graders share their hopes, dreams, and fears, as they prepare for the closing of their school in June; they use a variety of prompts and poetic forms that are explained at the end of the book.
Echo, Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer illustrated by Josee Masie. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers.
Second verse same as the first…only backwards to completely change the meaning. Super cool poems in two voices for Percy Jackson fans.