In the Middle of the Night:
Poems from a Wide-Awake House
Twenty-six poems share the wild adventures of toys, food, and other household objects at night while you sleep.
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!
Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator: Angela Matteson
Publisher: Wordsong (3/12/19)
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Poetry Round Up at TLA 2019
Hear Laura share several poems from In the Middle of the Night.
NCTE Poetry Notable
FREE Activity Sheets
Click on any image to open a downloadable .pdf file.
Share your own poems and drawings!
Reviews & More
Review: School Library Journal: “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. Matteson’s whimsical illustrations channel the playful tone of the author’s words. The artist utilizes brushstrokes and movement lines to emphasize the playful nature of each character while Salas explores emotions, reactions, and inner thoughts of seemingly everyday items. Children can enjoy this title on their own, but it also can be used to illustrate poetic devices and styles.”
Review: Kirkus: “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...Initial poems come from the perspective of brightly colored animal toys, stuffed and otherwise, who are ready for a raucous night of play after their human child falls asleep. Art supplies, an errant library book, items of clothing, and even a toilet, among other things, offer their points of view in the pages that follow…the feel overall is cheery and energetic.”
Review: Publishers Weekly: “Matteson fills her scenes with a sense of whooshing movement and rambunctious energy, making for a fun nighttime outing.”
Review: International Literacy Association:“Angela Matteson’s cheerful and lively illustrations add to the playfulness of the poems through personification of the wide-awake objects.”
Blog Review: Jilanne Hoffman: “Matteson’s vibrant and funny illustrations personifying a variety of inanimate objects are a perfect match for the playfulness of Salas’s poems. So much fun! This book is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.”
Brightly: 9 Toy-riffic Books for Fans of Toy Story
Mile High Reading: With Dylan Teut, I discuss my writing process and where I find ideas
Reflections on the Teche: Margaret Simon shares some beautiful and vengeful night poems written by her and her students
A Year of Reading: Mary Lee Hahn reviews the book and shares a charming doll story
Check It Out: With Jone MacCulloch, I talk about research, number of poems, and writing challenges
Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme: Matt Forrest Esenwine interviews my sometimes disgruntled furniture and office equipment
Great Kid Books: With Mary Ann Scheuer, I share my writing process, my writing space, and my own Tommy Turtle. “I might write individual poems on napkins or my phone, but with a big project like a poetry collection, I do less of that. I write most freely when my fingers can move fast, and I can type much faster than I can write longhand.”
Simply 7 Interview: I chat with Jena Benton about how I became a writer and one book illustration that wasn’t what I expected
My Juicy Little Universe: Heidi Mordhorst examines the language in the book from an educator’s point of view and shares several interior images/poems
Live Your Poem: Irene Latham and I talk about the difficult, the delicious, and the unexpected of this book
Reading to the Core: Catherine shares awesome poems by 4th graders
KidLit Frenzy: Alyson Beecher shares a review plus her own misgivings about poetry
Beyond LiteracyLink: Carol Varsalona discusses the language, illustrations, and ideas in this book in a beautiful review
Review: Stacked Books: “[T]his book will spark young readers’ imaginations and is a perfect choice for bedtime reading.”
Review: Write Time (Linda Kulp Trout): “The poems are imaginative and full of wonder…Laura’s poems will inspire young readers to look around their bedrooms and create their own “night’ poems!”
Review and a night poem: Kimberly Hutmacher Writes shares “Empty Pocket” from In the Middle of the Night plus her own nighttime poem–yay!
4th-graders’ inanimate object poems at Jone MacCulloch’s Check It Out
Review: Teacher Linda Baie at Teacher Dance. “My favorite is a poem for two voices, the lament of flip-flops and winter boots who never get to experience the “other” season. Each poem will be terrific as a read aloud, but especially that one.”
Review: Margie Myers-Culver at Librarian’s Quest shares “After Hours” and “Mixed-Up Mixing Bowl.” “Careful readers will want to compare the bedroom setting in the first poem with the bedroom setting in the final poem.”
Review: Mary Ann Grossman of the St. Paul Pioneer Press says, “This story is so inventive the little ones will love it, including illustrations that show the objects flying, running and being sad…”
Timeline for Writing and Publishing This Book