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Awards & Honors

In the Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House

Written by Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrated by Angela Matteson
Publisher: Wordsong, 2019
ISBN: 978-1620916308 32 pages


Have you always known that the world comes to life when you are asleep? Here’s your chance to peek at the wild adventures of everyday objects. An overdue library book searches for the perfect place to hide. A paper clip sky-dives with a tissue parachute. A fruit snack unrolls to create a tricky racetrack for toy cars. Come sneak away for some moonlit fun!
Overdue-Book Hide-and-Seek

I’m not in your backpack.
Or under your bed.
And you HAVE to find me—Ms. Teabottom said!

I creep to your closet—
I burrow. I sneak.
I LOVE to play overdue-book hide-and-seek!

Journal Reviews

Each poem addresses a different item’s adventure and the poems range in style: rhyming, free verse, acrostic, two-voice poems, concrete poems, and more....Salas explores emotions, reactions, and inner thoughts of seemingly everyday items.
—School Library Journal
Familiar objects, playful language, and imaginative action add up to a collection that will amuse young listeners and, perhaps, inspire them to undertake imaginative explorations of their own.
—Kirkus Reviews
Matteson fills her scenes with a sense of whooshing movement and rambunctious energy, making for a fun nighttime outing.
—Publishers Weekly
Angela Matteson’s cheerful and lively illustrations add to the playfulness of the poems through personification of the wide-awake objects.
—International Literacy Association
This story is so inventive the little ones will love it, including illustrations that show the objects flying, running and being sad…
—St. Paul Pioneer Press

Downloadable Activities

Writing Activity
Word Search
Drawing Page
Print and Cut Bookmarks

More for Educators or Writers

How this Book Got Started

In the 15 Words or Less activity I used to host on my blog, somebody wrote a poem where chalk came to life. I had written a poem for BookSpeak called Lights Out at the Bookstore, where the books come to life at night. Those combined in my head, and I jotted down this idea: "5/26/12: Nobody’s Looking: What about a collection of short poems about what all of a kid’s belongings do when he’s not there. Everything from his cat to his baseball to something getting him in trouble to something forgotten that is mildewing…pet sleeping on his shirt…mostly inanimate things, though. Different poetic forms. Lots of non-rhyming ones, if I can." This final book stayed pretty true to the original idea!

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