Thursday, June 22, 2017

Out of Wonder

Title: Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets 
Author: Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderly and Marjory Wentworth 
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes 
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Poetry/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Out of gratitude for the poet's art form, Newbery Award winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors' hearts sing and their minds wonder. 
What I Think: I'm such a fan of poetry and I love how this book celebrates so many different poets. Not only that, but each poem was inspired by one of those poets and it's a great example of the power of mentor texts. Writing poems is a great way to play around with style as a writer and using favorite poets as inspiration is such a powerful way to get going with poetry. I had a lot of fun trying my hand at this after reading Forgive Me, I Meant To Do It by Gail Carson Levine. You can read my blog post about it here.
     Out of Wonder is a perfect mentor text for poetry and you can use it in a few different ways. I'm sure the authors took time to read many poems by the poet they were emulating and even might have spent time researching the poet as well. Writers can choose one of the poets in Out of Wonder, read the poem in honor of them, and then go do some research on him or her and his or her poetry before trying to write on their own. Writers can also use the poetry in this book and choose one poem to use as a mentor text for his or her own writing. One thing I love to do with poetry is to borrow a line from a poem and use it to start or inspire my own poem.
     The more writing I do on my own and with other writers, the more I realize how helpful it is to have a place to start from. Whether it's brainstorming, finding an idea from my day, or finding a word or line from another author...anything to get started helps. Mentor texts help us in this way and poetry is powerful as a mentor text.  Kwame talks about just this in the preface of the book. He writes, "Writers often struggle with the blank page. A clean slate can motivate, but it can also scare us. We are always in search of experiences that spark ideas for our poems and stories. Inspiration can also come from reading the works of other poets."
Snatch of Text:  
Majestic
celebrating Maya Angelou

Rise
into the wonder
of daybreak.

Be a rainbow in the cloud.
Be a free bird on the back of the night wind.
Shine on, honey!

Walk with joy in your golden feet
over crystal seas
and purpled mountains.

Know your beauty
is a thunder
your precious heart unsalable.

Be brave,
like a new seed bursting
with extraordinary promise.

Shine on, honey!
Know you
are phenomenal.

-Kwame Alexander

Writing Prompt: Choose one of the poems in the book and use it as a mentor text to write your own poetry. Choose two of the poems in the book and compare and contrast the description used in each of the poems.

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