April 2016 Staff Picks

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~Robert Frost. April staff picks celebrate the poetry of words and emotion.

We love language: we love its malleability, its diversity, its utility, the ability it provides to speak to one another across millennia… and we savor the work of wordsmiths who elevate language to artform.

This month, in celebration of language, we’re sharing with you our favorite poetry, meditations on language, and the masterful writers who make reading accessible to young people. Enjoy!

Books: 
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In Other Words Cover Image
By Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
$26.95
ISBN: 9781101875551
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - February 9th, 2016

Lahiri, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, is enamored by the Italian language. It is odd, as she acutely notes in this quasi-memoir, to be compelled by a language to which she has no familial or geographic ties. Lahiri writes in English and was taught Bengali, the tongue of her Calcutta-born parents, at an early age. Yet, Lahiri feels an extreme compulsion to speak, read and write in Italian. In Other Words details this linguistic journey as she practices Italian and eventually moves to Rome. Refreshingly self-aware, this book is a great read for anyone currently (or interested in) learning a new language.

Recommended by Victoria


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Poems: New and Selected Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062435507
Availability: Special Order
Published: Ecco - March 15th, 2016

If you’ve read any of Ron Rash’s novels or short stories, you’ll know he is a poet from the shimmering lyricism of his writing. This is Rash’s newest book, a collection of poetry that is both rich and accessible. As you read you’ll profoundly feel Rash’s connection to home.

-Recommended by Emily


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Love Poems Cover Image
By Pablo Neruda, Donald D. Walsh (Translator)
$11.95
ISBN: 9780811217293
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - January 1st, 2008

In my opinion, Pablo Neruda composes the most beautiful love poems. As a Chilean poet, Neruda’s poems are all written in Spanish, but the English translation is equally as striking. Utilizing a variety of metaphors involving nature – flowers, astronomy, water forms, seasons – this selection of Neruda’s poetry evokes a sense of true, passionate love.

Some of my favorite poems include “Always” (page 33) and “If you Forget me” (page 39). This is a short read you can pick up and go back to, and a perfect gift with which to surprise your significant other.

-Recommended by Victoria


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The Last American Valentine: Illustrated Poems to Seduce and Destroy Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780978998974
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Write Bloody Publishing - January 15th, 2008

This anthology features beautiful love poems - both edgy and tender - by contemporary writers, paired with line drawings that help the poems sparkle.  You might know of some of the writers featured, but most of them were new to me. The Last American Valentine could be your antidote for heartbreak or an offering to your lover.

-Recommended by Emily


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Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls Cover Image
By Karen Finneyfrock (Editor), Mindy Nettifee (Editor), Rachel McKibbens (Editor)
$15.00
ISBN: 9781938912207
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Write Bloody Publishing - March 15th, 2014

This is a gathering of bold, fearless, female voices, an anthology of initiation. I recommend this book for young women, ages 16 and up. The poems are organized by theme: on body and identity, endurance and truths, power and protection, love and loss, etc. These poems, by women for women, will encourage resilience, reflection, advice, and ultimately: community.   

-Recommended by Emily


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Booked Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544570986
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 5th, 2016

For National Poetry Month I’m recommending a new book in verse that is perfect for adolescent boys, reluctant readers and deep thinkers!

Written by Kwame Alexander, who won the Newbery Award for his book Crossover, each page of his latest book includes few words but many powerful emotions. Twelve year-old, soccer-playing Nick copes with the problems in his life: a father with “verbomania,” parents who don’t get along, and a first-time “crush.” Nick also shares laugh-out-loud situations. I almost felt as if I was sitting in a corner of his thoughts!

The bonus of this creative writing is the fun introduction of words I’ve NEVER heard before, such as logorrhea, codswallop and malapropism. Thank goodness these new words include footnote definitions! I absolutely LOVED this book! I was hooked immediately!

-Recommended by Virgie


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Raymie Nightingale Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763681173
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 12th, 2016

What begins as a baton-twirling class of three adolescent girls, all practicing to win the LITTLE MISS CENTRAL FLORIDA TIRE competition, ends in a close, supportive friendship between three diverse characters who call themselves the Rancheros: Raymie, Louisiana and Beverly.

The story is filled with each character’s personal hardship, amidst the fears and insecurities of simply growing up. Their rambunctious escapades draw you deep into the characters, until you can feel their tenderness towards each other.

I loved every minute of this story! DiCamillo states that although the story of Raymie Nightingale is entirely made up, it is “absolutely the story of her heart.”

- Recommended by Virgie


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Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Cover Image
By Kate DiCamillo, K. G. Campbell (Illustrator)
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780763676711
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 10th, 2015

Flora & Ulysses is a refreshing story about an unexpected superhero, a squirrel. After ten year-old Flora rescues the squirrel, Ulysses, from a vacuum cleaner incident, the squirrel suddenly has amazing talents and powers. Flora befriends the squirrel and helps him with his newfound powers.

This book features an exciting format: a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations. The story is full of laugh-out-loud scenes. I recommend this book for mid-elementary children, or as a read-aloud to younger children.

- Recommended by Virgie


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The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780763680893
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - December 8th, 2015

This is an enchanting tale of a tiny mouse with big ears who becomes a true hero when he is driven by love, determination and courage to save Pea the Princess. Despereaux the mouse is strong, lovable and the kind of friend everyone would love to have!

- Recommended by Virgie


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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780763680909
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - December 8th, 2015

Edward Tulane is a vain, cold-hearted china rabbit who is loved by his owner Abilene, but feels no love in return. After sinking to the bottom of the sea, Edward must depend on others to help him survive. Through the kind acts of others that Edward meets along his way, he is taught the meaning of love. One can see Edward change from arrogant to grateful!

- Recommended by Virgie