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Toast a marshmallow, be a tree in winter, read braille — Paul B. Janeczko and Richard Jones invite you to enjoy an assortment of poems that inform and inspire.
Today I walked outside and spied
a hedgehog on the hill.
When she and I met eye to eye,
she raised up straight and still.
Be they practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) or fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake), the poems in this book boast a flair and joy that you won’t find in any instruction manual. Poets from Kwame Alexander to Pat Mora to Allan Wolf share the way to play hard, to love nature, and to be grateful. Soft, evocative illustrations will encourage readers to look at the world with an eye to its countless possibilities.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Anna E. Jordan
J. Patrick Lewis
Robert Louis Stevenson
April Halprin Wayland
About the Author
Paul B. Janeczko (1945–2019) was a poet and teacher who edited numerous award-winning poetry anthologies for young people, including A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, A Foot in the Mouth, and The Death of the Hat, all of which were illustrated by Chris Raschka; Firefly July, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; and The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems, illustrated by Richard Jones. He also wrote Worlds Afire; Requiem: Poems of the Terezín Ghetto; Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers, and Secret Writing; Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War; The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles, a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults; and Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis.
Richard Jones has worked for more than twenty years in the creative arts. He is the illustrator of numerous picture books, including Bird Builds a Nest and The Squirrels’ Busy Year, both written by Martin Jenkins. Richard Jones lives in Devon, England.
The engaging artwork nudges the poems into the foreground, giving them ample room to breathe. The collection closes with "How to Pay Attention," just two lines that are almost a sacred offering. "Close this book. / Look." Young people lucky enough to find this miraculous collection in their hands will indeed look.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Who can resist a good how-to? Janeczko, an astute editor of children’s poetry, capitalizes on his readers’ natural curiosity and yearning for autonomy while opening up the possibilities for what a how-to—both the question and the answer—can be...The entire book becomes a how-to , instructing readers not only in various activities but also in all the ways poetry can resonate.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In this charmingly illustrated collection, poets classic (Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson) and modern (Kwame Alexander, Margarita Engle) offer a variety of how-to poems, providing young readers with instructions both jocular and sincere...Jones' illustrations are truly scene-stealing: at times impish and adorable, at others restrained and lovely, they capture the essence of each poem. A useful poetry compendium that can be shared in sections or in its entirety.
—Booklist (starred review)
Esteemed poet and anthologist Janeczko here assembles over thirty compact poems that explore, with varying degrees of seriousness, how something should be done...Kids who find poetry too abstract will appreciate the more actionable approach, and those just dipping in are sure to find unexpected pleasures.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Jones’s digitally edited paintings capture the tone and feeling of each piece while still being unified overall with color choices, soft edges, and keen observations of nature. Though some of the selections are silly, the accompanying pictures are lush, gentle, and tender, filling each large page. A varied and approachable poetry collection that children can enjoy on their own, and that adults can enjoy sharing with them.
—The Horn Book