Thursday, April 18, 2024

This poetry book came home with me

 Hello Poets,

How was Poem in-Your-Pocket Day?  I admit I was so busy with library review-game stations for a couple of different grade levels these past few weeks that I grabbed a free poem-in-your-pocket for kids activity here. And, it was just fine.

A benefit of working in a school library with an amazing co-librarian and assistant is that I'm always seeing books displayed that I didn't know existed. Or, seeing books that I've heard about but haven't had a chance to check out yet.

This book was displayed this week and it was literally love at first site. I just couldn't keep from snatching it up and taking it home.

Watson, Renee. “Maya’s Song.” Renée Watson, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Admittedly, I've been a bit obsessed with biographies in verse lately. I have a project in mind. But, it feels like an overwhelming task at the moment. But, this book...makes it seem possible. How does Watson do this?

Maya's Song was written by one of my favorite authors, Renee Watson, illlustrated by the great Bryan Collier, and published by Harper Collins in 2022. It is a stunning biography and tribute to our national treasure, Maya Angelou.

27 free-verse poems detail the beautiful and sometimes painful arc of Ms. Angelou's life from her beginnings until she was a Free Bird. 

We learn about how Maya got her name, important family members, friends, and distinguished acquaintances who reached out for her words and her voice.

Watson, Renée, and Bryan Collier. Maya’s Song. Harper Collins, 2022.

Even though Harper Collins recommends this book for grades 2-5 I think that students to adults will also love it. The teacher resource provided for this book is OK. I would have added many more opportunities to write and draw for readers to demonstrate understanding of and connection to the book and its subject.

I had another topic in mind for Poetry Friday this week. But, when this book smiled at me I was smitten. I simply cannot stop paging through it to admire the artwork and re-read the poems. Ms. Watson simply nailed-it as a biographer for young readers with this book. 

Do yourself a favor. Go to your nearest library and let your eyes sweep across the displays for poetry month. Enjoy how the book covers call your attention, flirt with you even. Even if you already have a giant stack of books for Poetry Month...what's one more? Maya's Song would make an outstanding addition to your reading this month.

Thank you, Heidi, for hosting our round-up this week at My Juicy Little Universe.

There is a new poem, How to Save the World from Drowning, on the padlet. It originated with #verselove from Ethical ELA, a writing resource and space for educators. I've enjoyed the prompts this month. I'm grateful for the community of writers there.


  1. Maya's Song looks gorgeous. How have I not seen it before? Thanks so much for sharing! I've already put it on hold at my library.

  2. I have read and shared it, Linda, love re-seeing it through your eyes, too. It is a marvelous book of poignant poems for/about Maya Angelou. With Bryan Collier's illlustrations, awesome! Thanks for reminding me of the book!

  3. I'm looking forward to falling in love with Maya's Song thanks to this post, Linda! :)

  4. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda. This collection looks beautiful!

  5. Linda, thanks for this fulsome review--I just watched MA perform Phenomenal Woman in a video that popped up unexpectedly for me, and I was smitten by that too! It's at minute 26:05 here I brought in a dozen Pocket Poems yesterday and ran a Pop-Up Poetry Shop for 2nd grade. So fun!

  6. Linda, thank you for your recommendation! I just requested Maya's Song from the library, and I can't wait to savor the pages too!

  7. Yes, Linda, why wouldn't adult love this book. I'd love to read the poems and see this gorgeous art work.

  8. I've been wanting to see this one. Thanks for the peek and recommendation!

  9. What an amazing book and perfect model for your project. And Bryan Collier is a wonderful illustrator. I saw him at NCTE in 2022. He talked about the choices he made in the book All Because You Matter.

  10. Thanks for sharing this terrific looking and sounding book on Maya Angelou, I definitely would like to read it—And gorgeous art too!

  11. Linda, thank you so much for this recommendation. I'm dreaming of a NF PB bio but now I wonder if it might be a Bio In Verse!

  12. What a totally apt response to this book discovery, Linda. Maya's story is cause for celebration and to have it told this way is so appropriate.

  13. Linda, I hope my lubrary has the book you showcased. Bryan's artwork is always amazing. I have known him for a long time. Can you send me the link to your padlet please? I can't find it.


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