Poetry for Children: Interview with Sylvia Vardell

Poetry for Children: Poetry Tag Time
Here’s another in my series of interviews with children’s book bloggers. Today I report my interview with Sylvia Vardell (abbreviated “SV” below), who blogs at Poetry for Children. As you will see from the interview, Sylvia is a professor at Texas Woman’s University , an author, and a strong advocate of poetry for children.  Choice quote: “Poetry is part music and part chocolate—delicious and unforgettable.”  The point of these interviews, of course, is to help connect readers of Children’s Books and Reviews to some of the many other excellent children’s literature blogs out there. So, after reading the interview, I encourage you to check out Sylvia’s blog, Poetry for Children, and the other useful resources she mentions. Click here for the previous interview in this series, with Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes.

Q: When and how did you become interested in poetry, and poetry for children in particular?

SV: I loved the rhythm and rhyme of poetry when I was a little girl and memorized a poem to perform for my Mom for her birthday when I was 7 or 8. Then came a long dormant period where poetry became more academic. I actually enjoyed analysis in college, but it wasn’t til I met a poet in graduate school that I came to see the passion BEHIND the creation of poetry and remembered how fun it could be. And that was when Shel Silverstein was a brand new voice (in the 1970’s) and his poetry persuaded my cranky sixth grade students to give the genre a chance. I used to say that Where the Sidewalk EndsPoetry for Children: Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein was the one book I would want with me if I were ever stranded on a desert island with sixth graders! Continue reading

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Interview: Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes

Elementary School Librarian Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes
Here’s another in my series of interviews with children’s book bloggers. Today I report my interview with Travis Jonker (abbreviated “TJ” below), who blogs at 100 Scope Notes . As you will see from the interview, Travis is an elementary school librarian; he also happens to be a pretty funny guy, so you won’t want to miss the interview.  I laughed out loud at least once!  The point of these interviews, of course, is to help connect readers of Children’s Books and Reviews to some of the many other excellent children’s literature blogs out there. So, after reading the interview, I encourage you to check out Travis’s blog, 100 Scope NotesClick here for the previous interview in this series, with Barbara Bietz of Jewish Books for Children.

Q: I understand you are an elementary school librarian.  Can you tell me a bit of the story of how you decided to take up that profession?

TJ: I followed the classic three step program:

1. I found that I hung out in libraries a lot. Public, school, college – I’ve visited and staked out my territory in them all. I can’t imagine how much time I would have spent in libraries if they circulated Jughead Double Digests when I was growing up. I think we would have had a From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerFrom the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg situation (except, you know, with a library instead of a museum). Continue reading

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