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Culture Children's Books

Lyrical literature

Children's Books

Lyrical literature

Poetry for children

Heroes, Horses, and Harvest Moons: A Cornucopia of Best-Loved Poems, Vol. 1

Jim Weiss

Weiss narrates this collection of children’s poems (available on CD and digitally) that includes “Casey at the Bat,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” and “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Weiss’ dramatic style is best savored a few poems at a time. Older children may want to skip the nursery rhymes in the first section, but the whole family can enjoy his readings of poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Weiss helpfully includes short descriptions of each poet’s place in history. One caution: Christian parents or educators will need to discuss the last poem with children, as it conveys questionable theology.

Getty Kids Hymnal: In Christ Alone

Keith and Kristyn Getty

The first children’s hymnal by Keith and Kristyn Getty (available on CD or digitally) presents both old and new hymns in their genre-bending style. Mixing folk, Irish, and contemporary music with theologically rich poetry, these hymns will help connect today’s kids to the faith and music of Christians of earlier generations. The Gettys recorded this CD with a children’s choir. They also offer a printed hymnbook well-suited for children’s choirs, and this June released a second kids’ hymnal titled For the Cause.

Out of Wonder

Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth

Alexander, Colderley, and Wentworth provide 20 new poems inspired by significant poets of (mostly) the last 100 years. In the preface, Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander (The Crossover) hopes the poems will be “stepping-stones to wonder,” inspiring kids to compose their own poetry as well as read each author’s original poems. The collection here varies in quality, and the poems tend to reflect the narrow subject matter of today’s secular poetic voices. Still, Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes’ brilliant collage illustrations invoke the complexity of a jazz call-and-response ballad. Overall, a creative complement to more straightforward classic poetry collections.

Poetry Teatime Companion

Julie Bogart and Nancy Graham

As a homeschooling mom, Bogart developed the habit with her children of reading poetry during teatime. The practice spread to others and led to a website (poetryteatime.com) plus this 2016 book—a “sampler of British and American poems.” It includes 52 poems by 52 poets, organized by season. The book also contains short biographies, child-friendly discussion questions, poetry concepts, and writing prompts. Poets range from John Milton and Shakespeare to Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Robert Frost. While the watercolorlike photographs aren’t exceptional, they do leave room for readers’ imaginations to soar.

AFTERWORD

Handout

N.D. Wilson (Handout)

Author N.D. Wilson underwent brain surgery for a “farm egg sized tumor” in May, but wrote late in June that he has partially recovered. For news and prayer requests, go to @ndwilsonmutters on Twitter. On June 27 Random House released Wilson’s The Door Before, a captivating prequel to his best-selling 100 Cupboards series. In April, Katherine Tegen Books released Book 2 in Wilson’s Outlaws of Time series, The Song of Glory and Ghost: It has swift action and fantastic elements, including a child with snakes for arms, but suffers from uneven pacing and heroes who act out of character. —E.W.

S.J. Dahlstrom’s The Green Colt (Paul Dry Books, 2016) is the fourth book in the Adventures of Wilder Good series. In this volume Papa gives Wilder a horse to break and hires a Mexican vaquero to guide him. It’s full of Texas Panhandle cowboy lore—and shows Wilder learning some harsh realities of life. —Susan Olasky