Wednesday, March 18, 2020

March 18 ReFoReMo Day 13: Author Gaia Cornwall: Picks Poetic Books That Help Kids Process

Tiny Perfect Things Written by M. H. Clark, Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper










Here and Now Written by Julia Denos, Illustrated by E. B. Goodale

They Say Blue  Written and Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki 

Truman, Written Jean Reidy, Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins











How to Read a Book, Written by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet 


In the way small children are very careful with something delicate and precious to them, these stories are held gently and deliberately. The relatively short texts are so perfectly observant and specific–each word picked with purpose. Their rhythm invokes young children thinking and processing the world. The words, simple or voluptuous, are poetic and delicious to read out loud. 




Gaia is giving away her ARC of the upcoming The Unicorn Came to Dinner, and a copy of Jabari Salta, (softcover, Spanish.) to two lucky winners! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 2, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.


Gaia Cornwall loves to write and illustrate for children. Her debut picture book Jabari Jumps (Candlewick Press) was a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, featured in The New York Times. Passionate about all kinds of kids recognizing themselves in literature, her upcoming titles include Jabari Tries and Best Bed for Me, (Candlewick Press), and A Unicorn Came to Dinner written by Lauren DeStefano (Roaring Brook Press). You can see more of her work on her website, GaiaCornwall.com.



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107 comments:

  1. I love how Kwame Alexander writes how to not just read a book but how to savor it. I look forward to reading the other books on the list.

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  2. Jean Reidy's does such a great job of encapsulating a child's view of the world in TRUMAN. I am excited to read HERE AND NOW. Thank you.

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  3. Hurrah for gentle stories. So often I hear they are not what people want, well surely this proves that they do! I look forward to reading these stories, thank you so much for the recommendations.

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  4. These books are truly poetic and offer something different to the reader. "They Say Blue" at some point brought "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" to mind. It is an amazing association to make reading a book for children and the content itself provides a multitude of opportunities for a child, on so many levels. Thank you for these special books. A treasure.

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  5. These are great books!Truman and Jabari are favorites.

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  6. What a wonderful list of carefully crafted PBs! Thank you, Gaia.

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  7. "...observant and specific - each word picked with purpose" is a great way to sum up these titles, and an important thing to keep in mind when writing this type of picture book!

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  8. I am happy to have you speak about gentle quiet books. They are such a nice balance to the busy loud world kids live in, soothing, calming and lyrical. Can’t wait to read your selections.

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  9. So wonderful to have gentler books to read as the world becomes more chaotic. Much needed. Thank you, Gaia. Love, JABARI JUMPS!

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  10. Hi Gaia! In uncertain times around the world, "quiet books" do help both children and parents feel grounded. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Love books with words that are "poetic and delicious to read aloud." Thanks for some great new titles.

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  12. These are beautiful books. I love how you describe them...each word picked with purpose. Thank you! I loved JABARI JUMPS!

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  13. Thank you for this list of mentor texts. I love the picked with purpose phrase. Love Jabari Jumps too.

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  14. Thank you so much for such a great list.

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  15. Thank you for this great list of mentor texts. I was unfamiliar with TRUMAN, but have fallen in love with it!

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  16. Lovely selection of lyrical books. Thank you!

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  17. You go Gaia! This post reflects your thoughts completely.

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  18. When the library opens back up, I'll be getting all of these. Thanks!

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  19. Thank you for these titles. I especially love TRUMAN. : )

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  20. Beautiful examples. Thank you!

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  21. Gaia, thank you for this lovely list. TRUMAN is a favorite of mine.

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  22. Thank you, Gaia, for introducing me to these lovely poetic books. Their rhythm is so engaging for the reader as well as the child.
    I plan on reading HOW TO READ A BOOK to my 3 young grandsons today. Their school is closed.

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  23. Wonderful books to use as mentor texts. Thank you!

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  24. I was a fan of TRUMAN - excited to check out the others on this list!

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  25. Thank you for your mentor text suggestions for poetic picture books. Good reflection books.

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  26. Thank you for this collection, Gaia! I love these lines from They Say Blue: "But when I hold the water in my hands, it's as clear as glass. I toss it up in the air to make diamonds."

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  27. So many books here I love! Thank you for sharing, Gaia!

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  28. Great post, Gaia! Thank you for these great mentor texts that show us how to write quiet books where each word is picked with purpose. I loved "Truman" and "Just Say Blue" ... and they will soon be on my bookshelf.

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  29. Thank you for this lovely list of lyrical mentor texts, Gaia!

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  30. GAIA: I SO LOVE how the posts for the last two days have focused on simple and specific words, yet ALWAYS strong words--words that TRULY do help children process the world. To learn the art of how to do that effectively . . . what a GIFT that would be!!! THANK YOU!!!

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  31. These books will be must read mentor texts for me once I have access again to my library. Thanks for the list to read.

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  32. I love this selection! My library doesn't have Tiny Perfect Things (wahhh, nor could I get it now that it's closed even if they had it), but I stumbled on a copy at a gift shop and read it while I stood there. Fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

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  33. Thanks for the excellent list of poetic books. They serve as a reminder about how important word choices are and how important it is to focus on writing lyrical text. I loved Truman!

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  34. I love that you picked books about the senses and quiet things. The use of color makes me almost taste them. I can hardly wait until the library reopens and I can read these books. Great post, Gaia!

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  35. Thank you for sharing these poetic stories. I look forward to reading them.

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  36. Glad to see gentle books that lead to understanding

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  37. Love Truman and They Say Blue, will take a look at the others later when I can go to the library.

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  38. Truman remains a favourite. I typed all its words for studying word choice and how emotion can be captured an expressed in a picture book. Tiny Perfect Things is lovely too for encouraging its readers to slow down and look. I have a photographer friend who daily captures tiny perfect details both outdoors and indoors and posts them on Instagram - a reminder to focus on small and wonder-full.

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  39. Congratulations on your upcoming book! I would love to invite a unicorn to dinner!! I'm in awe of poetic, meaningful books and look forward to exploring your list.

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  40. Congratulations on your new books! Thanks for an excellent post highlighting word choice and rhythm.

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  41. lovely selections - so calming

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  42. Thank you for sharing this list of books with us!

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  43. Thank you for sharing these books, I loved Here and Now. The books were newly introduced to me in the non-fiction genre.

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  44. I love Jabari Jumps and can't wait to read Jabari Tries. Thanks for recommending these mentor texts.

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  45. So many good ones here. Loved Truman

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  46. Looking forward to seeing these books when the library opens.

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  47. JABARI JUMPS has always been one of my very favorite books. TY for extending his story w/JABARI TRIES.

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  48. Have some of these and love how each word works so perfectly- hope to find the rest when I can visit the library again! Looking forward to A Unicorn Came to Dinner.

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  49. I've been sharing all the wonderful reads w/ my 6th grader and today, we both agree that "Truman" is the best in this category. A gentle read, plot twists & dramatic arc, lovely illus....a perfect 10! And I think that turtle would agree :)

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  50. Truman is one of my favorites. Thank you for this post!

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  51. Thank you. I loved Truman and am waiting for the library to re open... In the meantime I will re read Truman and focus on the word choices.

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  52. Thanks. I look forward to reading them.

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  53. Thanks for highlighting these sweet books!

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  54. I enjoyed some of these and look forward to the rest. Thanks.

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  55. Thank you for this list. Exploring life around us is always a surprise as in Truman and Tiny Perfect Things.

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  56. Thank you for the post, Gaia! These books all look like gems.

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  57. Thank you, Gaia, for this list of gentle, poetic books.

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  58. I loved reading these delightful poetic words that are just simple but with a deep meaning.

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  59. So many excellent titles. Thank you, Gaia.

    Suzy Leopold

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  60. Beautiful selections, thank you!

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  61. Interesting! Thanks for the post.

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  62. Thanks for this post about the music of poetic words, and how sometimes less is more. I enjoyed discovering these new books, especially TINY LITTLE THINGS (It had me at the title.)

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  63. Thanks for these wonderful recommendations!

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  64. All these books show simple views of a child's perspective.
    -Ashley Congdon

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  65. I enjoyed these beautiful, poetic books. Thank you.

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  66. This is more the style of my writing, but I haven’t read these yet. Thanks !

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  67. I appreciate having poetic texts with pauses to alternate between rollicking read alouds! Thank you for these suggestions.

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  68. Love your choices for sparse, lyrical, and relatable texts for children. All works of art. Thank you, Gaia, for sharing. [Posted by LouAnn Silva]

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  69. Thanks for the suggestions and this day was very valuable for me for a number of reasons including 1. I am a sucker for big meaningful picture books where there is a deep concept to process, told through a story so beautifully and simply. I find these kinds of texts incredibly inspiring. 2. Kwame Alexander has inspired me to take some of my "random writing" aka poetry and see if I can turn it into a PB.

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  70. Thank you for this list. I look forward to reading them!

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  71. Gaia-thank you for these mentor titles. I'm looking forward to reading them :)

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  72. I think Truman is destined to be one of my all-time favorites. It has such a HUGE HEART. I'm still waiting to read several of the books on this list. Looking forward to delving into them once the library re-opens. I love the cover of Jabari Salta, BTW. That little boy looking down from the high dive takes me back to my youth at the pool.

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  73. I read "Tiny Perfect Things" and wished, so much, that it had been around when my kids were little. What a wonderful book to read before heading off to explore the world! And I loved that "Here and Now" was written as a meditation. Thanks so much!

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  74. oh, the sound of poetic books. Thank you.

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  75. Thanks for the picture book recommendations! I've read most of these but I'm excited to check out Here and Now, since I haven't read that yet.

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  76. Great recommendations. Loved Truman!

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  77. This is a great list. Truman is one of my favorites and I want to read the others. Thank you, Gaia.

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  78. The reference to the careful way a child picks up and examines something new makes me smile. These are delightful choices to help evaluate that process further. Thank you!

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  79. Great list. Thanks for sharing. I intend to study these with care!

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  80. Great choices. Truman is a personal fav. Thank you!

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  81. Thank you for highlighting these, glad they were not overlooked!

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  82. These stories are kind, gentle, and wonderful. I really enjoyed TINY, PERFECT THINGS and incorporated it into my home school practice.

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  83. Quietly poetic books with great big, 'life is good' messages. Thanks for giving me a few more to watch for once the libraries and bookstores again become part of normalcy.

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  84. Truman had me by the heart! So few words needed for so much emotion!

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  85. gaia,
    I loved Truman and look forward to reading the others. I've used Jabari Jumps as a mentor text.

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  86. Can't wait to read and re-read these! Thank you!

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  87. Lovely choices! How to Read a Book is part of my library lessons for students--so beautiful.

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  88. Loved the language in all these examples. Thank you for this list!

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  89. Gaia, I LOVE this post! I LOVE the mentor texts you've chosen. Also, I need to point out that your beautiful paragraph describing the beauty of carefully-chosen words is a perfect example of exactly that. Thank you very much!

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  90. Thank you for these wonderful examples.

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  91. These are great titles and a great reminder to writers about carefully chosen words. Those words set mood and tone.

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  92. Thank you. I love poetry. I enjoyed Truman and How to Read a book. I will have to wait to read the other three when the library re-opens again...

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  93. Today's selection was lovely! I just love the opening line of Truman: "Truman was small, the size of a donut—a small donut—and every bit as sweet." That line really tells me everything I need to know. It's perfect!

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  94. Hi Gaia! Great list and just as a side note, I'm using JABARI JUMPS as mentor text for my WIP. Thanks! :)

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  95. Thank you for sharing these books. Each poetic in a different way!

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  96. I like that thought. I can't wait to study these texts when the library reopens. I really enjoy the way you used your words in Jabari Jumps.

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  97. The books are perfect for inspiring thoughtfulness and imagination in young children.

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  98. They Say Blue was one of my favorites recently. Can't wait to read the others!

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  99. They Say Blue was one of my favorites recently. Can't wait to read the others!

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  100. I loved many of these but How to Read a Book was so unique. ❤️

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  101. Beautiful list! These books are needed more and MORE in our community. Thank you.

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  102. Thank you for these. They Say Blue is so beautiful. Also I love Jabari Jumps!

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  103. Thanks for these! I wasn't able to acquire all of them before the library closed, but I'm doing my best to finish the readings, as I'm able to access the remaining few. My daughters are happy to have some new books to read, during our time at home!

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  104. Love Truman! Also, Jabari Jumps...sweet and powerful stories.

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