Thursday, August 16, 2012


Coming just in time for the 2012-2013 school year,  The Poetry Friday Anthology edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong is available now.  It's a new anthology of original poems for children in kindergarten through fifth grade by 75 popular poets including J. Patrick Lewis, Jack Prelutsky, Jane Yolen, Margarita Engle, X. J. Kennedy, Kathi Appelt, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Georgia Heard and Nikki Grimes and many more. [See the complete list of poets in the sidebar on the right.]

The book includes a poem a week for the whole school year (K-5) with curriculum connections provided for each poem, each week, each grade level. Just five minutes every “Poetry Friday” will reinforce key skills in reading and language arts such as rhyme, repetition, rhythm, alliteration, etc.

  • 36 original poems for Kindergarten (with mini-lessons for each poem)
  • 36 original poems for First Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)
  • 36 original poems for Second Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)
  • 36 original poems for Third Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)
  • 36 original poems for Fourth Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)
  • 36 original poems for Fifth Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)

That's a poem a week every week from August through May!

For teachers, parents, and librarians who live in TEXAS, the learning activities for each poem are tied to the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) curriculum standards. For all the states that have adopted the Common Core standards, we offer tie-in activities with the poetry standards identified in the Common Core. 

The new Common Core Standards provide a framework that informs instruction and include a component focused on teaching children about poetry. That provides a central focus for this book. This book is first and foremost a quality anthology of original poetry for children written by 75 of today’s most popular poets. Children in any state (or country) can enjoy, explore, and respond to these poems. However, we have also come to realize that educators, librarians, and parents are looking for guidance in how to share poetry with children and teach the skills within the curriculum as well. Thus, this book offers both. Quality poetry plus curriculum-based suggestions for helping children enjoy and understand poetry more deeply.

Explore a poem, connect it with children's lives and capitalize on a teachable moment. Pausing to share a poem—and reinforce a language skill— for five minutes on Poetry Friday (or any other day) is a simple and effective way to infuse poetry into your current teaching practice or routine.

Get your copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology and start the year off with a poem every Friday.  Get it here now!


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this wonderful upcoming anthology--soon, soon, soon!

  2. VERY soon--the official launch date is Sept 1st. Teachers will really love your poems in this book, Heidi, and the way they connect science, math, and language arts!!

  3. Can't wait until Sept 1st to see what magical creation you and Sylvia conjured up. VARDELL/WONG POWER!!!!!

  4. We're really proud of it: 218 poems by 75 poets! It's like a great big party where tons of people showed up--including favorite friends you haven't seen for a LONG time (and others that you heard about but never had a chance to meet). And they all brought super-neat gifts--like your lovely "Charm Bracelet," Charles!

  5. Wish I had this when I was teaching. Looks marvelous! Donna Marie Merritt

  6. Very cool. I'm going to pass this on to the teachers in my family.

  7. So Janet, how do we organize a launch party? This is so cool. When can I put information about the book up on my blog? Oh what fun.

  8. You two are unbelievable! This is a brilliant idea, and a gorgeous-looking collection. I'm delighted to be a oart of it and will do whatever I can to get it
    into the hands of educators and kids. Bravo, Bravo!

  9. Rena and Donna: Thanks for your kind words and enthusiasm--yes, please spread the word!

    Joy and Jen: post on your blog in late August, when people can go straight from your blog to Amazon to buy the book, OK? Thanks in advance for your help!

    The real strength of this book is the incredibly wide variety of poem topics and voices. We have your haiku about soccer equipment, Jen, Joy's musical poem about jingling keys, and poems about everything from armadillos (one by X.J. Kennedy and one by Julie Larios) to Skyping with an army dad. I truly believe there is at least one poem in this book that will appeal to ANY child.

  10. Sylvia and Janet: What a wonderful idea!! Congratulations and I can't wait to read it and share it. Count me in as a poetry advocate and cheerleader!! I have a community who knows the value of poetry based on what I have done in the classroom here. Will see you in Las Vegas I hope.

  11. Sylvia and Janet: One of my year's two poetry career highlights is being in this anthology. It is thrilling to have my work appear with that of three of my fellow participants from David H.'s 2011 Highlights workshop (and with his work, too) as well as alongside that of fellow Canadians Avis and JonArno and with many folks who I admire including Julie Larios the UK's Graham Denton. Thank you again for this breakthrough opportunity. You have both made my year!

  12. How wonderful this will be. I can't wait to get some copies to share with my colleagues at school. Thank you Sylvia and Janet, and of course, all the other poets! Janet, I just copied your 'inside outside' lesson into my writers notebook today so I can share with other teachers, maybe even teach a lesson or two. Here's to a great school year!

  13. Janet: YES--Sylvia and I will present a session on Poetry and the Common Core at NCTE in Las Vegas--so we'll look forward to seeing you there!

    Carol Ann: teachers and kids will have tons of fun guessing the answers to your two "human body riddles." Your "Vacation Communication" will also provide a truly old-fashioned "teachable moment" talking about handwritten letters!

    Linda: Wonderful--I'm so happy to hear that the "inside-outside lesson" will be useful to you. And, yes: please spread the word about our anthology to your colleagues. More info coming soon (this Friday)!

  14. Thank you all for stopping by and leaving so many kind and encouraging comments. Keep your eye on this blog for more nuggets from the book, week by week. And if you like what you see, please help us spread the word. Thanks again, fellow poetry lovers!