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Lost & Found
by Shaun Tan
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011
I first came across Shaun Tan’s bestselling Lost & Found when I was at The Harvard Bookstore in Boston. My co-worker’s good friend is the children’s book buyer for the store, and as we were wandering around the stacks, she playfully demanded, “You need to read this book.”
The front cover piqued my attention, grabbed my curiosity. What is that red, industrial looking machine on the cover? What kind of apocalyptic town is this story taking place? Then I flipped to the back cover. Who’s that girl carrying the metal box? Why is she surrounded in darkness? I had many questions. Luckily, the book provided answers. More than answers, Lost & Found does what great children’s literature should do: it presents challenging material to youth in a way that’s easily digestible. The book provides meditations on huge topics like depression, post colonialism, and apathy. Lost & Found is a collection of three stories: The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits. The book takes these big topics and makes them easy to swallow with imagery and metaphors. In The Red Tree, dark imagery and a bleak urban landscape speak to a young girl’s depression and isolation. In The Lost Thing, a huge, red machine that’s lost in the city is paired up with a young boy, and we read into themes of displacement and friendship. In The Rabbits, a phalanx of rabbits invade a country and meditations on post colonialism arise.
The Children’s Area at the Poetry Center is undergoing some exciting new developments. We’re adding a mural, reorganizing the books, and getting some new furniture. As a result, the children’s collection won’t be available to patrons until mid to late August. Thanks for your patience! We’ll be posting updates on the mural’s progress here. In the meantime, check out our Education mascot, Joey, who's hard at work with his hard hat and gold shovel. And starting next week, we'll have exciting new blog posts here on Wordplay. Be sure to visit us!
Hi, everyone! Thank you so much for a wonderful Spring season on Wordplay. Thanks to our awesome contributors, we had some excellent posts this Spring: Recommended Reading lists, Reading Series in the Classroom posts, Book Reviews, Voca posts, Family Days writing, and so much more.
We'll see you back here in June 2013 for a whole new line-up of exciting posts and contributors.
See you soon!
The Wordplay Blog
For this month's Recommended Reading list, Alison Deming--Director of the Creative Writing Program and Creative Writing Professor at the University of Arizona--shares her recommended list of poems for youth. Enjoy!
Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses
Among my favorite poems in this book are “Bed in Summer” and “My Shadow.”
This was my first poetry book as a child. It taught me how musical both language and thoughtfulness can be. Be not afraid of the archaic poeticisms. This book speaks to a child’s inner life.
This past Saturday, we celebrated our last Family Days of the Spring 2013 season at the Poetry Center! Check out some of the awesome writing, generated by students during our Poetry Joey's writing workshops this past weekend. And be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, September 28th, the first Family Days of the Fall 2013 season!
Quiet as a flea
Quiet as a flea, quiet quiet as a bug on a tiny rug
A wall on a ball on a rolly-polly tolly
In California, I do warn you about the California scene
It will haunt you in your dreams forever and ever
Sneek the wall of windows or the wall of widows
Dad or mom of windows or dad or mom of widows
P.S. Was it 8 or 9 windows?
Window wall window wall through all your beautiful windows
Every day what do you see?
Through all your windows do you spy lots of cars on the rough road?
Tiny tiny little bug on your little little rug
This week, in continuation with our series, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” we here at Wordplay will introduce your students to the writing of Carmen Giménez Smith. She will read at the Poetry Center on April 25th at 7 p.m., along with J. Michael Martínez and Roberto Tejada. Giménez Smith’s reading will be best suited for high school students, but her poetry also appeals to a K-8 audience. Please print and read her poem “Photo of a Girl on a Beach,” with your students, and then follow the writing prompts below. Hope to see you all at the Reading!
1. What words or images are most memorable to you in the poem?
2. Are there any lines or images that stick out to you as odd or quizzical?
3. Pick your favorite line and discuss it with a neighbor. Why did you pick the line?
4. At the end of the poem, there’s an interesting twist with narration. For most of the poem, the narrator is “I,” but by the end of the poem, the narrator shifts to “she.” Who, in your mind, is the girl on the beach? Is it the narrator or some other girl? Or do you have a different explanation?
5. Find a family photo when you go home tonight, and write a short imitation poem, based off of Carmen Giménez Smith’s “Photo of a Girl on a Beach.” For example, the title of your poem could be “Photo of a Grandpa at a Birthday Party.”
Celebrate the 2013 Bilingual Corrido Contest winners, all from Rio Rico High School: Jocelyne Muñoz, Claudeth Becerra, and Ivan J. Orellana this Sunday at the University of Arizona Poetry Center Sunday, April 21st at 1:00 p.m. The three winners will recite their corridos and receive prizes, followed by a musical performance of each winning corrido by UA graduate student Alfonso Molina Romo. Semi-finalists will also be honored, and university and local organizations will share their resources with the community at a Mini-Resource fair. See you there! For more details click here.
Join us for the 2013 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championships at 1:00 pm at the Poetry Center!
The 2013 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championship will be held Saturday, April 20th from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Twenty of Tucson’s most dynamic poets 18-and-under will rock the mic with their original poems in the 3rd annual competition. Judged by the audience, this is poetry that aims to surprise you. The event will feature a performance by nationally recognized performance poet CARLOS CONTRERAS of Albuquerque! The event will also mark the book release of LIBERATION LYRICS written by local students studying pressing social issues through original poetry.
The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam and Liberation Lyrics are programs of Spoken Futures, Inc. This event is made possible in part by the UA Poetry Center, the Tucson Pima Arts Council, the Crossroads Collaborative, Casa Libre en la Solana, Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea and broad community support.
See you there!
This week, in continuation with our series, “The Reading Series in the Classroom,” we here at Wordplay will introduce your students to the writing of Ilya Kaminsky. Kaminsky will read at the Poetry Center this Thursday, April 11th, at 7:00 p.m. Kaminksy’s reading will be best suited for high school students, but some of his poetry also appeals to a K-8 audience. Read Ilya Kaminsky’s poem “Her Husband Dreams,” which can be found here (scroll down to #5).
1. Kaminsky writes about “glass miniature horses on each street” as being “confusion as sweet as I can bear.” What does that mean to you? Have you ever felt that way?
2. Using Kaminsky’s glass miniature horses as an example, brainstorm some different types of material that evoke that “sweet confusion” feeling in you—for example:
ivory, teakwood, marble, velvet, pencil lead, grass, silk, obsidian, oak
Everyone suggests Shel Silverstein. My daughter, Zoe, 7, got her third copy for Christmas this year. You can’t go wrong with Where the Sidewalk Ends but everyone already knows that. Then, there are the books the kids love and ask me to read over and over like Goodnight Moon, Curious George and Panda Bear Panda Bear What Do You See? But I assume you have all those books memorized too.
The books I want to showcase are the books that I think play with language the best. I want to read books that make me say how did they do that? That make me wish I had written that. That let words linger on my tongue like butter and lemon. I want to read books to my kids in the same way I want to read books to myself. Because, wow. Words are awesome.
I picked up a copy of Owl Moon at Bookman’s for no reason except I like owls. I didn’t know that this book would make me and my daughter go walking in the night in the forest behind our house saying whoo whoo to the trees. But it did. The author, Jane Yolen, writes a poem that doesn’t seem like a poem because there’s adventure and story and owls but the way she uses linebreaks and repetition remind me every time I read it how poems work: