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This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness

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This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness Cover

 

Staff Pick

Inspired by the William Carlos Williams poem of the same title, This Is Just to Say begins with a section of poems of apology, penned by sixth-grade students, and ends with a section of response poems that are usually forgiving — the exception being, of course, responses written by siblings. Often funny, sometimes sad, but always touching (and aren't those illustrations super cute?).
Recommended by Jill S., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Mrs. Merz asks her sixth grade class to write poems of apology, they end up liking their poems so much that they decide to put them together into a book. Not only that, but they get the people to whom they apologized to write poems back.

In haiku, pantoums, two-part poems, snippets, and rhymes, Mrs. Merzs class writes of crushes, overbearing parents, loving and losing pets, and more. Some poets are deeply sorry; some not at all. Some are forgiven; some are not. In each pair of poems a relationship, a connection, is revealed.

Review:

"Sidman (Song of the Waterboatman and Other Pond Poems) explains, via an introduction from one of the book's sixth-grade characters, that the poems contained in this often humorous and touching anthology were inspired by the title poem of apology, which was penned by William Carlos Williams. The student in Mrs. Merz's class who introduces the book explains that some of the students received answers to their 'sorry' poems. One pair of poems shares a spread and addresses a dodge ball exchange ('Sorry/ Reubs,/ for belting you/ as hard/ as I could/ in dodge ball/ I'd like/ to say/ I wouldn't/ do it again/ but I'd/ be lying'). But for most entries, unfortunately, in order to read the call-and-response in succession, readers must awkwardly flip from the first half of the book ('Apologies') to the second ('Responses'). Yet the poems successfully navigate the complicated terrain for those who seek forgiveness. In one especially moving poem, 'The Black Spot,' Alyssa tells her sister Carrie that the black spot of lead on Carrie's arm makes manifest the 'nugget of darkness' within Alyssa that propelled her to injure her sibling (Carrie's response conveys her enduring anger at Alyssa). Zagarenski's (Mites to Mastodons) inventive mixed-media illustrations brim with items found in a classroom: a dictionary entry on 'apology,' for instance, becomes part of a student's clothing, and white hole reinforcements resemble a character's stolen doughnuts. But the book's odd organization seems a missed opportunity to tie the well-wrought, corresponding poems together and reinforce the complex relationships between the characters. Ages 9-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

When Mrs. Merz asks her sixth grade class to write poems of apology, they end up liking their poems so much that they decide to put them together into a book. Not only that, but they get the people to whom they apologized to write poems back. A mesmerizing collection of poetry that's perfect for inspiring children age nine and up to find their own poetic voice. 

About the Author

'Pamela Zagarenski creates sculptures and large paintings, as well as picturebooks. She divides her time between Stonington, Connecticut, and Prince Edward Island.Joyce Sidman is the author of The World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices, which was winner of the ASPCA Henry Bergh Children\'s Book Award for Poetry, a VOYA Poetry Pick, and a Bulletin of the Center for Children\'s Books Blue Ribbon winner. She teaches in the Minneapolis schools as a writer-in-residence and is the author of several other fine books of poetry. She lives in Wayzata, Minnesota.'

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618616800
Author:
Sidman, Joyce
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Illustrator:
Zagarenski, Pamela
Author:
Zagarenski, Pamela
Location:
Boston
Subject:
General
Subject:
Poetry - General
Subject:
Children's poetry, American
Subject:
Apologizing
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Social Issues - Emotions & Feelings
Subject:
Poetry : General
Subject:
Forgiveness
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
American poetry
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Children's poetry
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback - picture book
Publication Date:
April 2007
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 4 to 6
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Full-color illustrations
Pages:
48
Dimensions:
9.5 x 7.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
09-11

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Related Subjects

Children's » Poetry » Collections
Children's » Poetry » General
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Teen Issues

This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness Used Hardcover
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Product details 48 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618616800 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Inspired by the William Carlos Williams poem of the same title, This Is Just to Say begins with a section of poems of apology, penned by sixth-grade students, and ends with a section of response poems that are usually forgiving — the exception being, of course, responses written by siblings. Often funny, sometimes sad, but always touching (and aren't those illustrations super cute?).

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Sidman (Song of the Waterboatman and Other Pond Poems) explains, via an introduction from one of the book's sixth-grade characters, that the poems contained in this often humorous and touching anthology were inspired by the title poem of apology, which was penned by William Carlos Williams. The student in Mrs. Merz's class who introduces the book explains that some of the students received answers to their 'sorry' poems. One pair of poems shares a spread and addresses a dodge ball exchange ('Sorry/ Reubs,/ for belting you/ as hard/ as I could/ in dodge ball/ I'd like/ to say/ I wouldn't/ do it again/ but I'd/ be lying'). But for most entries, unfortunately, in order to read the call-and-response in succession, readers must awkwardly flip from the first half of the book ('Apologies') to the second ('Responses'). Yet the poems successfully navigate the complicated terrain for those who seek forgiveness. In one especially moving poem, 'The Black Spot,' Alyssa tells her sister Carrie that the black spot of lead on Carrie's arm makes manifest the 'nugget of darkness' within Alyssa that propelled her to injure her sibling (Carrie's response conveys her enduring anger at Alyssa). Zagarenski's (Mites to Mastodons) inventive mixed-media illustrations brim with items found in a classroom: a dictionary entry on 'apology,' for instance, becomes part of a student's clothing, and white hole reinforcements resemble a character's stolen doughnuts. But the book's odd organization seems a missed opportunity to tie the well-wrought, corresponding poems together and reinforce the complex relationships between the characters. Ages 9-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
When Mrs. Merz asks her sixth grade class to write poems of apology, they end up liking their poems so much that they decide to put them together into a book. Not only that, but they get the people to whom they apologized to write poems back. A mesmerizing collection of poetry that's perfect for inspiring children age nine and up to find their own poetic voice. 
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