Laura Shovan, April Halprin Wayland, Jame Richards

Happy Last Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month goodness!
Bloggers of the poetry party, are well-rounded up by the
talented Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog
http://www.buffysblog.com/

My post here at Bookseedstudio
is about three novels in verse new to me, which
I recently devoured.

THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL by Laura Shovan
GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING by April Halprin Wayland
THREE RIVERS RISING by Jame Richards

Each of these stories look at love in an eloquent & moving way.
I admit my bias toward the first two. They float from the pen
& keyboards of two exceptionally talented Poetry Friday folks.
When our big black mailbox offered the third author’s novel,
and I began reading I decided I hope to know her, too.

THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL is a
fresh-born book I wish I could have read in my middle grade years when I moved far from one beloved school to an unknown district. The students in this class face the final days of their beloved school buidling, which is an old friend. I like how with humor & feeling Laura Shovan profiles the different & sometimes volatile personalities that make up a 5th grade class. Laura deftly brings them all together in their feelings for the old school. They want to keep it from being demolished. She crafts this effort with surprises & even musical riffs, for a charming debut novel about an entire classroom of kids.

Ideal readers are fans of stories involving
conflicts within a diverse, middle-class community
friendships within same
disagreement process with parents and school authority figures
exemplary teachers
student ingenuity
poetry
Favorite character voice
With 18 enjoyable narrators I will allow myself two – Gaby Vargas & Jason “Seuss” Chen
Favorite line (s)
“I wish we had school in the woods.” Ben Kidwell in “Dream School” poem.
“I love the dragonfly appearing on my paper.” Rachel Chieka Stein, “Japanese Painting”
“A stranger, a reader,
a poet, a brain?
Will you forget who I was
or stay just the same?” Edgar Lee Jones “Time Capsule Rap
Book bonus
perfect student portraits by Abigail Halpin
some students are in Zoo Creatures Band
end pages – poetry forms explained, prompts & poetry glossary, given
If you are a 60s fan, some fun references via a teacher

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It’s fitting that nourishing articles about the wonderful
THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
abound online, along with top reviews. Please see
Linda B at TeacherDance, Jama R at Alphabet Soup,
(4.21.16 edition) & a host of others.
Laura’s blog & website are http://www.laurashovan.com

GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING is school-set too, in the vibrant
voice of one middle grader who remains unnamed. Multiple poems from
the student narrator – about poems! – make me selfishly love this story. I expect to read some of them to my writer’s groups.
Ideal readers are fans of stories involving
challenges of the school year
young romance
the heart & soul of an emerging poet
exemplary teachers
family connections
poetry
Favorite line (s)
“…music is so amazing
it builds a nest of tears
in my throat.”
Book bonus
Elaine Clayton’s distinctive artwork, created for each of 100+ poems
Shakespeare’s Sonnet Number Twelve

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April Halprin Wayland’s website is http://www.aprilwayland.com/
I first found my way to her titles through the nourishing blog, Teaching Authors, where April is a frequent contributor. http://www.TeachingAuthors.com/

THREE RIVERS RISING is a race for life, during the 1889 Johnstown, Ohio Flood. Events in days leading up to the break of an insufficiently engineered dam owned by wealthy men including Andrea Carnegie, are shared via the story of a budding romance. I liked being pulled into eddies created by the couple’s deceptions & joys. I was also swept into the story of the sensible & sad nurse, ministering to the flood victims. With multiple narrators and voices, the true love between Celestia & Peter make their poems poignant & powerful.
Ideal readers are fans of stories involving
actual disasters in times past
young romance
differences between the powerful & those without power
individual heroics
dysfunctional family dynamics
Favorite character
Peter
Favorite lines
“When will this hell of rain end?
I haven’t seen the stars in so long.” Peter
“Fun always knows where to find her.” Celestia
Book bonus
detailed South Fork Dam chronology, suggested readings
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Jame Richards lives in Connecticut & her blog is at http://jamerichards.blogspot.com

posted by J.G. Annino/Bookseedstudio

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