Thursday, May 2, 2019

Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood

Good Poetry Friday, Friends

I'm overjoyed to welcome May and its tender flowering. Love it!

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is hosted at Jama's Alphabet Soup. If you've not visited this blog before, you are in for a treat. Jama expertly combines literature and delicious foods in the most amazing ways. Spoil yourself--there's no calories in reading!

Like many Teacher-writers, I have this growing pile of writing that I think maybe I'm ready to start sending out to editors and agents. One part of that process is knowing what I've written and who I've written for. I reached out to other authors with questions about how to do this.

One suggestion I received was to read, Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women who Changed the World by Susan Hood (Harper Collins 2018). 

Hood, Susan, and Selina Alko. Shaking Things up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World. Harpercollins Children's Books, 2018.

This is a beautiful book for  many reasons. I'm going to try to be brief...and here's the spoiler. You need to read it.

My small confession is that...I grew up perfectly fine...conservative from a rural area. I never had to worry about not having what I needed. My parents loved me and provided a family for me, my sisters and then husbands and grandchildren. To cut a long explanation short...I have had the privilege of not understanding how beholden I actually am to so many strong women who have come before and surround me.

Now that I'm well a grown-up and am in charge of fulfilling my own information needs I am drawn to stories of women who changed the world...and there is a book just for that...Shaking Things Up.

The variety of change-makers demonstrated in this book is fantastic. We begin with Molly Williams from the 1780s and, who I had never heard of and move on to inventors, doctors, code breakers, astronauts, architects, activists...all beautifully detailed, in short biographical POEMS! 

Hood, Susan, and Selina Alko. Shaking Things up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World. Harpercollins Children's Books, 2018.

I would have loved this book as a child...and I do now as an adult. Each poem tells one woman's story in detail that satisfies me. But, there are short notes in prose to ground facts at the end of each poem.  

For Teacher-Librarians, this book provides significant facts within the poetry, endnotes, back matter and timeline. Furthermore, the crew of illustrators that bring these biographical poems to life is ah-MAZ-ing including the work of ...

The rich timeline places each woman in context of each other is well done. And, beautifully illustrated back matter makes you keep reading every single page. I could easily use Shaking Things Up with elementary students and middle/high school students who can handle complexities of biography but need an easier reading level. I love that the story....the STORY of these women is what shines first and foremost as I open this book.

Hood, Susan, and Selina Alko. Shaking Things up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World. Harpercollins Children's Books, 20

As I writer I find much mentoring in the poems, book organization and design. Ms. Hood includes the words of the women themselves in the poems, endnotes and even in her author notes. Each quotation is memorable and inspiring. The sources, Books, Websites and More pages are filled with great information and places one can go to on the internet in an instant to find out more.

Hood, Susan, and Selina Alko. Shaking Things up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World. Harpercollins Children's Books, 2018.

My super-short summary?

Come for the story....enjoy and stay for the learning. And, be thankful for the shoulders of giants on which we stand.


  1. This book sounds amazing. I'm definitely going to seek it out for myself. Thanks for giving us a taste.

  2. Oh, Linda, I adored this book & bought it for my granddaughters. Your summary may be short, but it shows the goodness and inspiration in the book. I liked it all, but loved the way they did the timeline, too. Thanks for reminding me about how wonderful it is again!

  3. A perfect mentor text for your project! I have seen this book but don't have a copy. I don't think I knew it was written in poems. Thanks for sharing. What a great title for a book about strong, influential women.

  4. Wow, what a fabulous review -- it sounds like an incredible book. Thanks so much for featuring it today. Love all those illustrators too. :)

  5. This book is on my to read list, but after this, I really want to read it!

  6. How did I miss this book last year? It does, indeed, sound extraordinary. Off to place it on hold at the library right now— thanks for bringing it to my attention, Linda!

  7. I want this book! I love learning about amazing women (and I am constantly surprised at some of their stories that we are just now learning) -- and it's in poetry and includes a wealth of resources. I want this book.

  8. I'm pretty sure this is in our library, because I saw a kid with it. I need to check it out and read it myself! Thank you!

  9. Linda, thanks so much for sharing this amazing books. I think this will work well for curriculum writing that I will be doing with teachers. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your project.

  10. I love this book! Such strong and interesting women! And such great mentor texts!

  11. Another shout of book love for this book! I can't wait for YOUR book!!

  12. This looks like such a cool book and one you can use as a model! I enjoyed Susan Hood's LIFEBOAT 12 verse novel.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!