A collection of poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Jane Manning, Jumping Off Library Shelves: A Book of Poems (2015, Wordsong) is a wonderful way to introduce toddlers and elementary school students to the wonders of the library. This is a great poetry collection for the home or classroom library.
Full of poems by Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, Joan Bransfield Graham, and several other poets, this collection of poems takes readers through a whole day – from morning until midnight – of a library’s joys. I love the diversity of characters presented in the text. Many types of kids will be able to see themselves in the poems and illustrations. Readers are introduced to poems such as “My Card” in which Cynthia Cotten writes about a library card’s power: “More powerful than / the smartest phone, / more powerful than / a TV remote, / more powerful than a hundred apps.” Lee Bennett Hopkins’s “Storyteller” pays tribute to Miss Augusta, a magical librarian whose stories help the speaker “believe in / happily ever after.”
Here are a few things kids can do after reading Jumping Off the Shelves:
(1) Create a new version of Jumping Off Library Shelves that includes kids’ original poems about the power of the library. Kids can take pictures of themselves reading or at the library and then create an original poem to put in the class book.
(2) Read Alice Schertle’s “The Poetry Section” and then invite kids to write a poem about another section of the library. Kids could be inspired by “The Poetry Section” and write poems about other sections of the library (e.g. science fiction, mystery, or biography).
Let me know what you think of Jumping Off Library Shelves in the comments below!