Whether Janet Wong is writing a picture book or a short novel or putting together a collection of poems, her sense of language and way with words is a joy to read. Children will see themselves in her work as they respond to the honesty and warmth of her work.
Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club
When a very young Alex loses a chess game to "moldy old" Uncle Hooya, he stops playing. But when Alex is injured playing football in the third grade, he joins the chess club where he faces Uncle Hooya's nephew — and his own fears. Alex's story is told in free verse to capture both his worry and joy.
Apple Pie 4th of July
"No one wants to eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July," says a young girl to her parents who insist on keeping their Chinese restaurant open on Independence Day. An honest portrayal of the tug between traditions old and new, as well as what it really means to be American.
Good Luck Gold and Other Poems
Easy-to-understand poems explore what it's like to grow up Asian in America. Readers will see themselves in the everyday activities of the poet who dispels typical notions of how Asians behave and how they excel. Perhaps, too, readers will realize the hurt that words can cause in several sophisticated and quite personal poems.
Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions
Original poems combine with stunning illustrations reminiscent of folk art, to explore superstitions and superstitious beliefs from black cats to knocking on wood — and lots more. An author's note with a bit of information about superstitions concludes this engaging book.
Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams
In this collection, Wong records many of her own dreams as free verse poems. She also finds inspiration in her friends and family — even her dog!
Poetry Tag Time
Poetry Tag Time is a chain of poets and poems that makes language part of a playful game. When a poet is tagged, that poet must write a poem that connects with the previous poem. Part of the fun is the poet’s explanation of the sometimes whimsical “connection” between the two poems. See also the holiday-themed Gift Tag.
The Dumpster Diver
Why collect other people's junk? What is the singularly most important rule when dumpster diving? Learn these and other secrets of rifling through rubbish with Steve (an adult neighbor) and his young team of helpers in this lively, humorous, ecologically friendly, and slightly gross look at a trashy topic.
The Poetry Friday Anthology (Common Core K-5 edition): Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core
This anthology offers a set of 36 poems for each grade level, K-5 (a poem-a-week for the 9 months of the typical school year). Activities are poem-specific, skill-based, developmentally appropriate for each weekly poem — and that connect to the Common Core standards for poetry instruction. Infuse poem-sharing throughout the day and throughout the curriculum. And don't be surprised if it's a wonderful poem moment that students remember most vividly at the end of the school year!
The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (Teacher's Edition): Poems for the School Year Integrating Science, Reading, and Language Arts
This anthology features 218 poems by 78 award-winning and popular poets, connecting science with reading and language arts. The “Take 5!” activities highlight concepts and topics identified in the Next Generation Science Standards and incorporate the literacy skills identified in the Common Core State Standards.
The Trip Back Home
Based on the author's experience, a child visits the village in Korea where her mother lived before immigrating to America. The simplicity of the text provides rich details of everyday life in the small Korean village, enhanced by realistic illustrations.
This Next New Year
Janet Wong shares a young boy's hopes and dreams for the New Year — he has had so much bad luck in the past year, but he is certain that this year will be much luckier! A heartwarming and honest portrayal of what the chance to start over means for all of us. An author's note provides insight into her background and this festive occasion.
Twist: Yoga Poems
Simple, evocative poetry suggest the meanings which inspire various yoga stances, movements, and more. The short poems coupled with handsome illustrations encourage imagination as together they show how a movement or pose can suggest something quite different.
You Have to Write
It's what every child who hates to write dreads most: the assignment that says they MUST do so. But it's not so bad when young people use their own experiences. A light, affirming text in free verse and interspersed with full-color illustrations may motivate even a reticent writer.
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