I met Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at KidLitCon a couple of years ago during a break out session called Poetry Friday. How I ended up in a poetry session indicates how in over my head I was at this conference full of children’s book bloggers. I had the feeling I used to get in Organic Chemistry class; I have no idea what anyone is saying but just write everything down and hope to god that I can figure it out later.
How I Met Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
All that day, there were mysterious and overlapping acronyms thrown around. (I’m convinced that acronyms are the key for exclusion. They are a secret language of sorts).
ARC versus arc.
ARC = Advanced Release Copy versus an arc of a story. How confusing that they are both thrown around in a single day.
MG confused me too. Once I figured out MG = Middle Grade, I was still confused. Middle school versus Middle grade? There is no Middle grade school where I live!
I find poetry intimidating in general so when the nice women of Poetry Friday encouraged the blogger audience to participate in their weekly link up by composing a poem and then posting it, I thought, “Why not just get naked and sing karaoke to boot? Then my humiliation will be complete.”
They seemed like professional writers, for whom poetry is a skill they possessed from birth and have honed to lethal ability like MMA fighting. Frankly, I’d rather fight in a cage than write a poem. I think it would be less embarrassing.
Poetry Friday: Not So Scary After All
It was VanDerwater’s quiet encouragement from the Poetry Friday podium who made poetry seem — dare I say it? — fun. She coaxed by offering up her favorite rhyming word pairs. “Glove and dove,” she might have said. “I just really love these two words together.” (Her actual word pairs were more interesting.)
In breaking down poetry to simple pairs of rhyming words, she suddenly opened up a different and non-scary way of thinking about poetry. Just find word pairs that sound … nice. That sounded doable.
When I discovered that Amy had written a book — her first — I wanted to support her. She is, after all, the reason why I wrote a Spine poem!
In reading her book jacket bio, it did not surprise me that Amy teaches teachers about teaching writing. Poetry, no doubt, is her speciality!
A Lovely Picture Book Poetry Collection for Spring
Amy lives on a farm in Holland, New York and her debut picture book of poems celebrates the creatures and sounds of the forest. She uses a variety of poetry forms. I recognized that Dead Branch was a haiku.
The rest of the poems rhyme with a quiet resonance much like a pebble dropped into a pond. The poem stays with you long after you read it. You can tell that this book is a labor of love for both author and illustrator.
I think this is a perfect picture book to read in April to celebrate both the coming of spring and National Poetry Month.
Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Forest Has a Song Trailer Read by Author
p.s. Forest Has A Song has received so many lovely reviews! Do you have a review? Link up here!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.