Want help selecting and sharing the best books of poetry for young people?

Want help selecting and sharing the best books of poetry for young people? Here are guides and trailers for the LBH award books.

Friday, April 29, 2011


This is a 2010 honor book for the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award:

Hoberman, Mary Ann and Winston, Linda. 2009. The Tree that Time Built; A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.

Here is a Digital Trailer for THE TREE THAT TIME BUILT; A CELEBRATION OF NATURE, SCIENCE, AND IMAGINATION created by graduate student Jenny N. Davidson.

Here is a Readers' Guide for THE TREE THAT TIME BUILT created by graduate student Jenna Wells.

Recommended Age Level
Ages 9-12, grades 5 and up.

The Tree that Time Built is a collection of poetry that celebrates science, nature, and the imagination. Compared to a family tree, the poems in this book travel from the beginning of time, through the dinosaurs, and end with modern man. This edition has an accompanying CD of 55 of the book’s poems read aloud (by either the poet or voice actor) so the reader can follow along and hear the way some of the poetry would sound when read aloud. With one poem per page, the reader is able to focus on one poem at a time as they peruse this book. Read in order or skipping around, the poems speak to our inner naturalist, evoking our sense of nature and freedom. With titles like, Obituary for a Clam, October Textures, and For Rent: One Moon Snail Shell the reader can find a topic that speaks to them on a creative and perhaps spiritual level. The book includes introductions to each section and footnotes explaining factual terms or ideas that may not be familiar to the reader. The illustrations are sparse and drawn in monochrome. Little animals appear next to poems depicting them and leaves are scattered throughout the book as if they have fallen off the tree for which the book was named.

Reviews excerpts
***From School Library Journal
“This handsome collection is especially appropriate for classroom use and instruction… from the playful to the profound, the poems invite reflection and inspire further investigation.”
Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI.
***From Booklist
“Even if the organization occasionally feels arbitrary, the well-chosen selections will provoke thought and inspiration. Explanatory notes accompanying many poems, a glossary of both scientific and poetic terms, short biographies of the poets, and an accompanying CD featuring a selection of the poems read aloud make this attractive and unusual hybrid of poetry and science a great choice for classroom sharing.”
Gillian Engberg
***From School Library Journal Blog
“When I read a poetry book that dazzles me, I have to share it with you right away. The Tree That Time Built is an excellent example of poetry meeting science and logic meeting language. This 200-page book may become your reading and language arts teachers’ favorite tool for teaching figurative language, poetry, scientific observation, and thinking skills.”
Diane Chen

2010 Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Book
2009 NCTE Notable Poetry Book
Cybil Award Finalist
2009 Family Choice Award
2009 PW Cuffies Favorite Poetry Book

1. Mary Ann Hoberman is the author and the current Children’s Poet Laureate in the United States. She has taught poetry from the elementary level through college. After her first book was published in 1957 her primary focus has been on writing for children. Her website is http://www.maryannhoberman.com/.
2. Linda Winston is the co-author and aside from writing poetry she is a cultural anthropologist and teacher. She too has worked with students elementary through college.

Questions to ask before reading the book
Ask some or all of these critical thinking questions out loud to children before reading.
1. A lot of the poems in this anthology are about animals, what is your favorite animal and why?
2. One of the chapters in this book is titled, “Everything That Lives Wants to Fly”, if you could fly what would be the first thing you would do and why?
3. The poems in this book are about science and nature, if you had to write a poem about science or nature what would you choose and why?
4. One of the chapters in this anthology is titled, “Think Like a Tree”, what do you think a tree would think about and what would you ask a tree if you could get an answer?
5. Some of the first poems in the anthology are about dinosaurs, if you could travel back in time what type of dinosaur would you want to be and why?

Suggestions for reading poems aloud
1. Chorus
- “Who Am I” by Felice Holman. Read the poem alone to the group the first time. Have flashcards that have “Who am I?”, “Who I am.”, “Someone small”, and “But a piece of it all” written on them for the second read. Encourage class participation from the flashcards for repeated readings after each stanza is read.
2. Line-Around
- “The Polar Bear” by Jack Prelutsky After an initial read through by the instructor, invite 8 volunteers to each read aloud a line from the 8 line poem. Invite them to be dramatic or use funny voices to make the poem different every time it is read. Invite them to change lines so every volunteer gets a chance to read every line of the poem out loud.
3. Groups
- “Dinosaur Bone” by Alice Schertle. Depending on group size divide the group into smaller groups of three or four to form six smaller groups. Give each group a stanza of the six stanza poem to write on a larger piece of construction paper. Separate each group into a different part of the room and starting with the first group have them read out loud from their que card.
4. Adult Read Aloud
- “This World” by Mary Oliver. This longer poem is good for a quiet time with the classroom or group. This poem could be read 2 ways. First would be to have the poem appear line by line on a Powerpoint presentation as it is read. Second would be to have the class or group close their eyes and lay their heads down on a desk to see the poem in their mind.

Follow up Activities
1. For the section titled, “Prehistoric Praise” there are numerous activities that can be done with the dinosaur theme.
a. Using plastic bones create a dinosaur dig with sandboxes and digging tools. Divide the class into small groups and assign them to a particular dinosaur dig. The groups will be told which dinosaur they are digging up and then they can research their dinosaur to find out more.
b. This activity will depend on the size of the group. Write out the names of dinosaurs on flash cards and have each person pick a card out of a hat or bowl. The dinosaur can then be researched and a poem written about it. Optional reading to the class can follow or a display of the poems around the room.

2. The poem "Anthropoids" by Mary Ann Hoberman talks about the similarities that human beings share with apes of all types. Again there are several activities that could be done with this subject. Note: this could be a sensitive subject depending on the age group.
a. Field trip: On of the great things about this subject is that most zoos have an ape area. Taking a group on a field trip to fuse the poem and the real animal together would be beneficial for visual learning.
b. *A field trip would be a good activity for many of the poems in the book as they all center on science and animals. A whole day event could incorporate many facets of the books poetry.

3. The book as a whole is very diverse and covers all facets of science and history. Some other activities that can be done are as follows.
a. Using the cd that accompanies the book have the group or class add music to each poem. Using instruments such as whistles, maracas, clappers, and bells plus hand clapping and snapping, add music to each poem. Listen to the poem several times to discover the rhythm and then add appropriate sounds.
b. For a long term project there is a series of poems centering around butterflies, “Metamorphosis”, “Cocoon”, and “Butterfly”. The teacher or educator could find a cocoon and it could become a classroom project as it matures and eventually turns into a butterfly. The three poems could be read at the end of the day as a form of goodbye or goodnight. When the butterfly does emerge the class or group could have a birthday party where poems that are written by the class are read.

Related websites/blogs
1. Academy of American Poets
- http://www.poets.org
This site has many great resources to offer. It is an educational non-profit organization with backing from the Better Business Bureau and The National Endowment for the Arts. It has an entire section devoted to educators, with lesson plans, curriculum ideas, tips for teaching poetry and a discussion forum for teachers. It also has an entire section for poems on nature and science which includes: flowers, gardens, trees, animals, seasons, weather, space and night. A great resource for more poems to complement those found in The Tree that Time Built.

2. American Museum of Natural History
- http://www.amnh.org/ology/
This site is part of the New York City American Museum of Natural History. The site focuses on all of the “ologies” such as archaeology, genetics, marine biology, paleontology, and zoology, plus many more. Kid friendly and visually eye catching it is a comprehensive and accurate website for children to explore on their own. A good resource to complement a favorite subject found in The Tree that Time Built.

3. National Geographic for Kids
- http://kids.nationalgeographic.com
Based on the popular science magazine for kids, this website takes it to the next level of instant interaction: videos, games and quizzes are everywhere and on every subject. Sure to please those that found a favorite poem on any subject in the Hoberman’s poetry book.

4. Poetry in Nature
- http://www.poetryinnature.com/nature/poetry
While the content of the website includes ads and billboards the poetry contained within is worth looking past that. There is a plethora of poetry on every subject found in The Tree that Time Built plus so many others. It might behoove the teacher or instructor to review poems before- hand and copy them to read out loud or share with the class.

Related Books
1. Poetry Books
a. Blackaby, Susan. 2010. Nest, Nook, and Cranny. Ill. By Jamie Hogan. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing.
b. Bulion, Leslie. 2011. At the Sea Floor Café: Odd Ocean Critter Poems. Ill. By Leslie Evans. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers.
c. Sidman, Joyce. 2010. Ubiquitous. Ill. By Beckie Prange. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

2. Nonfiction Books
a. Miller, Debbie S. 2007. Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights. Ill. By John Van Zyle. New York: Walker Books for Young Readers.
b. National Geographic Society. 2008. The Dinosaur Museum: An Unforgettable, Interactive Virtual Tour Through Dinosaur History. Ill. By Sebastian Quigley. Washington D.C.: National Geographic Children’s Books.
c. Suzuki, David, & Wayne Grady. 2007. Tree: A Life Story. Ill. By Robert Bateman. Kent, England: Greystone Books.

3. Fiction Books
a. Chin, Jason. 2009. Redwoods. Los Gatos, CA: Flashpoint.
b. Kelley, Jane. 2011. Nature Girl. New York: Yearling.
c. Moore, Eva. 2000. The Truth about Bats: The Magic School Bus Chapter Book, No. 1. Ill. By Ted Enik. New York: Scholastic.

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