Tag Archives: poetry

Morse Pond Review: The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson ElementaryThe Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

Laura Shovan

Wendy Lamb Books


Available April 12, 2015

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary is a window into what it feels like when a place you love might get torn down. But the fifth graders in Ms. Hill’s class are not going to let that happen. Each character has a unique personality. Humorous and poetic, this book really shows what it means to stand up and have school spirit. My favorite character in the story is Sydney. I like that she was a little bit tomboyish and girly at the same time. My favorite part is when Shoshanna stood up for herself and tells Hannah Wiles she is not going to be her servant anymore. I really liked this book and I hope Laura Shovan will continue writing poetry.
~ Josephine, age 11

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Staff Display: Squeezed for Time

Time 1 Time 3 Time 4 Time 2 Time 5

I find that as I get older I have less patience with books that are extremely long. Why are there so many words? Do we really need to talk so much? I never used to read short stories or short novellas, yet now find myself compelled to read more of this kind of literature.  Prose poetry (poetry written in prose instead of using verse but preserving poetic qualities) and flash fiction (fiction of extreme brevity) are two types of writing that I am particularly excited about.

Some recommended reading:

Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub

The Fall by Diogo Mainardi

A Distant Father by Antonio Skarmeta

All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm

Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape by Sarah Manguso

Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon

Mind of Winter: Poems for a Snowy Season by Robert Atwan

Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times: Selected Haiku of Basho by Matsue Basho

Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolabo

Stranger by Albert Campus

Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins

Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis

Can’t and Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis

Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems: by Kiki Dimoula

Best American Short Stories 2014 by Jennifer Egan

Art Of Living: The Classical Manual On Virtue, Happiness, And Effect by Epictetus

Ex Libris: Confessions Of A Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

This I Believe: Life Lessons by Dan Gediman

Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems by Louise Gluck

Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 by Daniel Handler

Best European Fiction 2013 by Aleksandar Hemon (editor)

James Herriot’s Favorite Dog stories by James Herriot

James Herriot’s Cat Stories by James Herriot

Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel by Sun-mi Hwang

Woman Who Borrowed Memories: Selected stories of Tove Jansson by Tove Jansson

Gifts From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gardener’s Son by Cormac McCarthy

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

Binocular Vision — Short Story Collection Edith Pearlman

There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Fam by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Heaven of Animals: Stories by David James Poissant

Crying of Lot 49: A Novel by Thomas Pynchon

Disquiet, Please! : More Humor Writing from the New Yorker by David, Remnick

Fur Person by May Sarton

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris

Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim by David Sedaris

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Whispering Muse: A Novel by Sjon

Pearl by Jon Steinbeck

Testament of Mary: A Novel by Colm Toibin

David Foster Wallace Reader by David Foster Wallace

Consider the Lobster: and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace

Ghost in a Red Hat: Poems by Rosanna

~ Lysbeth

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Morse Pond Review — Brown Girl Dreaming

BrownGirlDreamingBrown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson

Nancy Paulson Books


Available now

I liked Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson because it is a story about the author’s life.The book talks about her family, and I liked that her family is always together.This book is a unique and I would recommend it to everyone.

~ Rachelle,10

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Customer Review: Serafina’s Promise


Serafina’s Promise

Ann E. Burg

Scholastic, $16.99

Available now

Serafina’s Promise is about a girl who lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. All she wants is to go to school to become a doctor with her best friend, Julie Marie. But she also has an oath to her family to work and help them. When a flood reaches her little village she believes all is lost, including her dreams, family, and friends. This beautiful story, told in verse, expresses love, passion, and following your dreams.

~ Ainsley, age 11

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Customer Review: The Language Inside by Holly Thompson

The Language Inside 
Holly Thompson
Delacorte Press
Published May 2013*

Author Holly Thompson uses free verse to weave together a great
multi-cultural story about family, friends, love, hardship, and what to do
when the language inside doesn’t match the language outside.

The main character, Emma, and her family move from Japan (the only home
Emma has ever known) when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. The
family moves to Massachusetts to stay with a relative so that her mom can
be treated in Boston.

Her mother’s breast cancer and the move all leave Emma with a lot of
stress and she starts to suffer from severe migraines. Emma also
experiences a lot of guilt for having left Japan right after it has been struck by
the tragedy of a Tsunami. She feels she should be there with her friends to
help clean up the destruction and start rebuilding.

Her grandmother signs Emma up to volunteer at a long-term care facility
while she’s in town. She is there to help Zena, a patient who
suffers from locked-in syndrome, write poetry.  The only way Zena can
communicate is with her eyes. Emma has to hold up an alphabet board
organized by row and color, reading each one out until Zena looks up to
select a letter. I found this dynamic of the story to be very heartwarming
as we get to watch Zena and Emma’s relationship grow as they connect with
one another through their mutual love of poetry.

This book deals with a lot of different issues; breast
cancer, locked-in syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, and migraines,
to name a few, but it does so effortlessly, weaving the issues together into one
coherent and touching story about one girl’s journey to find herself.

~ Amanda

*Note from Eight Cousins: Books that are pre-ordered more than 10 days before publication receive a 20% discount. If you are interested in reviewing Advanced Reader Copies, please contact events@eightcousins.com.

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Digital Poetry Contest Winner

Congratulations to Leah, age 17, whose poem “Be Infinite, Look Up”, was selected by YA author Lisa Schroeder as our Digital Poetry Contest winner. You can find Leah’s poem on our website.

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Digital Poetry Contest Short List Winners

At the end of the Digital Poetry Contest, we selected 5 poems for the short list and sent them off to YA author Lisa Schroeder. After much deliberation, she has selected the final winner, with the comment “this was hard”. The winning poem will be published on our website tomorrow. Today, however, we wanted to feature the four short list poems. Congratulations to everyone. We were most impressed with your writing!



at night
in my bed
when the lights are turned off,
i stare up at my ceiling
and suddenly my hands are above my head,
creating a picture that only i can see
on the separating me and the night.
some nights it’s just criss-crosses,
multicolored polka-dots,
anything that pops,
other nights i try to recreate Starry Night
only the blue sky is changed
it’s now the new york city skyline.

at night
in my bed
i lay my head against the pillow
and make sure my neck is against it
just so i can hear my pulse pound
(p      o u     n        d)
in my ear
and know i am alive.

at night
in my bed
i think of everyone i spoke to that day.
i remember what we said
what they wore
what their facial expressions were.
and i wonder if they think about me the same way
or if i think too much of people.

(Jessica, age 16)


On The Inside

It’s suffocating
I can’t breath
I can’t move
I can’t see
I can’t feel
at all…

I am numb and pain
at the same time
and I’m angry
on the inside

I am mute and I speak
at the same time
and I’m screaming
on the inside

I am blind and I see
at the same time
and I’m crying
on the inside

I’m angry!
I’m screaming!
I’m running!
I’m crying!

I’m So Sorry!

On The Inside…

(Yalexie, age 17)



Soccer is freedom,
Nothing else.
With each dribble I am like a boss-
I am in control
With every play I am like a cat-
I am confident
In games I am like a bird-
I have been set free
Without this game, I’m choking-
I’m a fish on land

This game gives me everything.
I could never have enough
I’m a greedy king
I need more.
Enough is never enough

How could I live without my passion?
I cannot.
This game is the air I breathe
Necessary to my survival

Soccer is my friend
Always there for me
I feel o so fortunate

Many are not as lucky as I
But like a friend, there are ups and downs
I get frustrated
I want to play more, better
But never ever to quit.

Practice makes perfect
As the saying goes
I sometimes feel obsessed-
I am addicted
My heart is pounding
Too much of anything isn’t good
Except for soccer
I can’t get enough
I love every bit of it

Just it and I together,
We’re the perfect team
Sailing through the ups and downs
Working through the thick and thin.

(Ally, age 16)



Grace followed in her footsteps
And clung to her aura
It’s gentle hands tried to keep her steady,
As she walked through the path of life
Which was lined by an array of flowers
Their scents enticing, tempting
Leading her through the crossroads,
Invisibly coated with the paints of pure and evil
But the intoxicating aroma of sin
Enticed her with fragrances of black rose
She hadn’t noticed the thorns
On the stems of what was luring her
To the murderous  hands of death
Her beauty couldn’t save her
Instead, it attracted the demons
Who prised away grace’s fingertips,
Throwing it and her innocence into the flames
And placing her into deaths palm

(Eve, age 14)

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Digital Poetry Contest

Our Digital Poetry Contest ended on February 14th and we’ve sent the short list off to YA author, Lisa Schroeder. We’ll be announcing that list and the final contest winner next week. In the mean time, we had so many excellent submissions that we wanted to post some of the poems that aren’t on the short-list, but deserve recognition. Write on. Eight Cousins

My Kite and I 

During the expanse of spring and fall,

My favorite is the time of the kite.

Warm air and gentle wind are our call,

Through the sky, my best friend soars and takes flight.

Winds too strong,

Carry our hopes of takeoff away.

Though winds tame and long,

Bored, my vessel and I will sway.

Wind that buffets, swoops and stings,

Forces down rain, sleet and snow.

The chilling howls, through my head still rings.

This drives us away, now inside we must go.

Along with the cold, my kite and I despise the heat

Humid air, motionless, and stiff as glass,

We attempt not to falter or admit defeat,

But are sent plummeting, lifeless into the grass.

However short our time may be,

I will savor the time when it was only my kite and me.

(Madeleine, age 14)

It’s Good

It’s going fast.

Into the dark,

the unknown,

but there’s something ahead


It’s good.

It’s clear.

So it continues



Nothing to obstruct.

Nothing to hold back.

It’s there and it’s going.

On and on and on.

By itself



Into the dark,

the unknown,

but something’s ahead


(Leah, age 17)

School is like Jail

School is like Jail

You go against your will,

You are to do as you are told,

And your humor becomes ill.

All your rights are gone far away,

You have a forced schedule,

People try to take advantage of you,

And the food is terrible.

The only difference

Between School and Jail

Is that one helps your future

While the other helps you fail.

(Derrrick, age 18)

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8 by Eight: I Lay My Stitches Down Poems of American Slavery

9780802853868Writer Cynthia Grady and illustrator Michelle Wood have put together an intricate collection of poems and quilt-inspired illustrations that focuses on slavery ($17). Grady explains that “Quiltmaking and poetry share similarities in craft” and shows how color, shape, sound, and structure create the overall pattern in both types of art. The poems are unrhymed verse, 10 lines of 10 syllables, which follows the shape of a quilt block. Furthermore, each poem contains three references: biblical, spiritual, and musical, to mimic the three layers of a quilt. The illustrations are equally nuanced and complex and also utilize visual references to quilting and history.

The poems range in subject matter from work to celebrations, education to freedom. The poem, North Star, for example focuses on how slaves, who were inherited by non-slavers, were often educated and highlights the North Star, which was used to navigate the way to freedom.

North Star

Age six saw me with a new master. He
was no slaver. Instead of tobacco
fields, I blowed the planes of Euclid. Instead
of flax, I spun my way through Homer’s verse.
I longed to hear the heavenly hymns of
Pythagoras one starry night, when a
voice in the salt shed said, “Make no diff’rence
what you know. A body wants to be free.”
I bade my master farewell. His blessings
send me north, lighting my way to freedom. 

For the rest of our recommendations for Black History month, visit our 8 by Eight page. The 8 by Eight books change every two weeks. Starting on February 14th, the new selections will focus on Teen Dating Violence awareness.

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Customer Review: Falling for You

The following review on Lisa Schroeder’s Falling for You (Simon Pulse, $16.99) is written by one of our long-time customers. Be sure to check this and Schroeder’s other books on display in our store.

Also, our digital Poetry Contest is happening now! Details and the submission form can be found HERE.



Whenever anyone asks me about novels in verse, Lisa Schroeder is the first name that comes out of my mouth. Falling for You, however, is Lisa’s first YA book told in traditional prose (with a good amount of poetry sprinkled throughout). I will admit when I heard this book wasn’t in verse I was disappointed; I was also a little nervous and wondered would it be as good as her other books? Well I am here to tell you that YES IT IS! Silly me to doubt.

The book is about a girl named Rae who has a very difficult home life that she keeps hidden from even her best friends. The way she deals with this dark part of her life is through keeping a poetry journal where she lets all her emotions flow freely.

I absolutely loved the formatting of this book! The book starts off with a snippet of Rae in the hospital but we don’t know what happened to put her there. The book then jumps to six months earlier, then we get another snippet at the hospital, five months later, snippet, four months, and so on and so forth. This created a great sense of tension and mystery throughout the whole book as we wonder what is going to happen to Rae.

As for the characters, it was so refreshing to have such a strong, intelligent, and loving protagonist like Rae. Her love and care for others, even those who had hurt her kept surprising me. She really was a remarkable character.

Nathan is the new guy who immediately shows interest in Rae. You could tell he was trouble from the first moment he opened his mouth; I just wish Rae could have seen it too! It was understandable how she looked past it though, because she had never had a boyfriend before and dreamed of having someone who really cared for her.

Leo was the awesome friend. He was completely laid back, fun, caring, super sweet and did I mention he’s homeschooled?!? Homeschooled characters don’t really pop up often in YA so I was pretty excited. (I was homeschooled myself, so that’s why I’m so excited about this!)

All in all, this book was a battle between light and dark, about finding the light even in the darkest most trying times. It was emotional. It was mysterious. It was hopeful. It was wonderful.

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