Happy Poetry Friday, writerly friends! It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post. Let’s catch up on news.
First, I finished drafting my next middle grade novel (my excuse for not blogging). More info on that to come.
Second, I have a few articles to share. Check out educator David Ruby’s post about how Sharon Creech’s verse novel LOVE THAT DOG changed him from a poetry hater to a poetry lover, and transformed his teaching. The post is here. And there’s this essay, about the importance of creative writing in the classroom.
Third, it’s a big week in the Shovan family. Pass the tissues… our eldest is leaving for his second year of college. A few days after the great departure, my husband and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.
Last bit of news: Extra copies of THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY audiobook are in my hot little hands. I’m giving away two of the cast recording (9 amazing actors — thanks, Recorded Books!) on Goodreads. This is where you can enter.
I’ve been reading a lot this summer, but we haven’t visited my bookshelf since June. Let’s check out a book and see if we can figure out a poem to pair with it.
I admit to being a scaredy cat when it comes to books with tough themes. It took me forever to open up the pages of THE HUNGER GAMES (loved it). I was reluctant to read Madeleine Kuderick’s YA verse novel KISS OF BROKEN GLASS because deals with teenage self-harm (loved this book too). So I had to work up my courage to read debut YA author Marisa Reichardt’s novel UNDERWATER.
It’s about Morgan, a former competitive swimmer who has become agoraphobic, never leaving her family’s apartment. What changed for this high schooler? She is a school shooting survivor.
UNDERWATER published in January, 2016. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
“Forgiving you will allow me to forgive myself.”
Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then herself.
But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.
When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.
Recommended for seventh grade and up.
Who will like it?
- Anyone who likes realistic YA novels with a compelling first-person voice.
- Teens who are interested in how people cope with trauma.
- Kids who are dealing with anxiety.
What will readers learn about?
- What it’s like to experience agoraphobia and how it might be treated.
- How a traumatic event might affect a teenager.
- Anxiety may fade, but it doesn’t always go away. People can learn coping mechanisms, but may experience flare-ups over time.
The song I’m pairing with UNDERWATER is “What Would I Do If I Could Feel?” from The Wiz. Ne-yo’s amazing performance of this song on “The Wiz Live!,” is so expressive. As the Tin Man, he tells us how he longs to experience human emotions, something that Marisa’s character Morgan feels is beyond her reach in UNDERWATER. (I need to continue researching, but I believe Charles Smalls wrote the lyrics.)
TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, by Shari Schwarz (3/31/16)
THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY, by Janet Sumner Johnson (3/25/16)
THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE, by Heidi Heilig (3/10/16)
THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z, by Natalie Blitt (1/19/16)
COUNTING THYME, by Melanie Conklin (12/31/15)
FENWAY AND HATTIE, by Victoria J. Coe (12/24/15)
THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE, by Jen Maschari (12/3/15)
PAPER WISHES, by Lois Sepahban (11/19/15)
THE GIRL WHO FELL, by S. M. Parker (11/5/15)
SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN, by Jeff Garvin (10/29/15)
SHALLOW GRAVES, by Kali Wallace (10/1/15)
MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS, by Brooks Benjamin (7/22/15)