This is a 2007 honor book for the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award:
Siebert, Diane. 2006. Tour America: A Journey through Poems and Art. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle.
Here is a Digital Trailer for TOUR AMERICA: A JOURNEY THROUGH POEMS AND ART created by graduate student Joni N. Hill.
Here is a Readers' Guide for TOUR AMERICA: A JOURNEY THROUGH POEMS AND ART created by graduate student Nadia C. Rodriguez.
This book of poetry takes us on a journey across America that includes twenty of our fifty states. It features twenty-six popular tourist destinations that vary from Niagara Falls to the Badlands. The poems and illustrations take the reader on a mini vacation to many different places, some familiar and some not so familiar. Johnson’s artwork helps bring Siebert’s poetry to another level.
2. Review excerpts/awards
"This distinguished offering blends poetry, geography, art, and history." -School Library Journal
"The accessible words, open design, and appealing geographic approach make the book ideal for classrooms. Johnson's impressively varied sophisticated images of towns and landscapes may expand the book's audience to older art students." -Booklist
"This is a beautiful book to hold, to peruse, and to read aloud." -Children's Literature
"Entertaining, educational and possibly even inspirational." -Kirkus Reviews
*Beehive Children’s Poetry Book Award-Nominee 2007
*Young Hoosier Book Award-Nominee 2008
*IRA Teachers' Choices-2007
*Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book-2007
*ALA Book Links, Lasting Connections, Best Books of 2006
*San Francisco Chronicle, Best Books, Children's Collections-2006
*Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People-2007
*Oregon Book Award for Children's Literature, The Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award-2006
*Cybils, Children's and YA Bloggers Literature Awards-finalist
3. Pre-reading questions
*Have any of you ever visited a tourist attraction in another state? Which one and where was it?
*If you could choose any one, which one of the fifty states would you choose to write a poem about? Why?
*Take a picture walk. Which poem do you think will be the most interesting to read based on the illustration?
*Of all the places visited in the reading, which one would you like most to visit?
*What other places would you like to have seen a poem written about?
*Was your favorite illustration also your favorite poem? Why or why not?
4. Suggestions for reading aloud
“Las Vegas” Have a group of students read the poem aloud while another group acts out the human qualities described in the poem.
“American Town” Have students choral read the opening stanza, and then take turns reading a couplet each. Continue until the last stanza and chorally read.
“Kentucky Derby” Students will read this exciting poem while listening to an audio recording of William Tell Overture.
5. Follow up activities
“Poem Writing” Students will research a tourist attraction and write a poem in the “I Poem” format using the template available at http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/iampoem.htm
“Create a brochure” Students will pick one of the places featured in the book and create a travel brochure. The goal is to attract more visitors to the area.
“My Vacation” Students will create an illustration to accompany the poem they have written in “poem writing.”
6. Related websites
A Conversation with the Author Diane Siebert
Government Sites for Recreation & National Parks
7. Related Books
Cheney, Lynne. 2006. Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Siebert, Diane. 1992. Heartland. New York: Harper Collins.
Siebert, Diane. 1996. Sierra. New York: Harper Collins.
Siebert, Diane. 1993. Train Song. New York: Harper Collins.
Siebert, Diane. 1992. Mojave. New York: Harper Collins.