Children’s Poet Laureate Monthly Book Picks
Each month, the Children’s Poet Laureate recommends a book of poetry for children. Selections include classics of children’s literature, adult collections that are well-suited to children, as well as newly published books.
Kenn Nesbitt’s March 2014 Book Pick
Johns Hopkins University Press December 2013
This book is a rare and wondrous thing; a work so simple in concept and yet so epic in scope that it is nothing short of astounding. Just shy of 600 pages, Over the River and Through the Wood brings into a single volume a treasure trove of American children’s poetry from the nineteenth century. In addition to works by well-known poets such as Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Whitcomb Riley, the editors have combed through primers, gift books, and old periodicals to rediscover poems of quality and diversity by less familiar authors.
Despite its size, this book is not daunting in the least. It is carefully curated into categories, such as “Holidays,” “Family Ties,” “Dreams and Visions,” and even “Nonsense” so you can start with poems that appeal to you most. But I promise you won’t want to stop there. Every exploration of this groundbreaking anthology yields new rewards. Edited by Karen Kilcup, a professor of American literature at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Angela Sorby, an associate professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee – Over the River and Through the Wood is an absolute “must own” for anyone who loves children’s poetry and would like to discover more of its rich history.