Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
Last week, I read Laura Shovan’s Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, and I loved it! I’m happy to share a poem from it today, as well as my Goodreads/Amazon review:
What a wonderful novel in verse! Each student has a distinct voice, and we get to know all of them throughout the year. I love how this made me think about big changes (like a community shutting down a school) and how complex that is. Some of the students want the school to close, although most don’t. There are mixed emotions and big feelings around the topic. And there are also laughs, student elections, illness, death, crushes, rivals, friendships, religious/cultural dilemmas, and more. Everything that makes up the life of a fifth-grader is pretty much in here. A few of the lines or bits that I especially loved are:
School is the only place I can count on to never change.
I wish fifth grade wasn’t such a tornado, whirling and spinning…
When I put the hijab on I float inside my scarf’s blue cloth, the golden threads shimmer like sunshine…
When I sing with my friends, I like the sound of my voice.
But there were so many more. I didn’t want it to end:>) This is a book full of reality, hope, and heart!
I was going to share the poem “History,” but I see Brenda Drake shared it in a review here, so I’ll share another favorite:
When fifth grade started,
I did not like my poems
unless I wrote them in Spanish.
But when Mark is helping me,
my English is getting better.
When fifth grade started,
I did not like my voice.
Too slow in English.
Clumsy, like dropping eggs.
But when I was singing
in the school play,
I loved being Belle.
Mark asked me to sing
with his band
at the picnic for the fifth grade.
Mark, Jason, Tyler,
Ben, Raj, and me
When I sing with my friends,
I like the sound of my voice.
–Laura Shovan, all rights reserved
from The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
Isn’t that wonderful–and so true? For more poetry fun, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup, hosted this week by poet, photographer, and educator Carol Weis at Carol’s Corner.
Wilcox Carol says
I teach at a bilingual school. Each year we have 5-10 kids that are brand new and speak absolutely no English at the beginning of the year. Gaby reminds me of those kids. We also have a new fifth grade teacher, and I want to get her a “housewarming” gift. I have definitely got to get this book!
This book would be perfect all around!
Brenda Davis Harsham says
I love Laura’s book.
I read Laura’s book to my students this year. They loved it. They enjoyed all the different voices. We also Skyped with her. Making connections with authors enriches our reading experiences.
Cool! This would be fun to read aloud…trying out all the different voices…
Laura Shovan says
Thank you so much for this post, Laura. Gaby doesn’t speak as often as some of the other characters in the book, so I’m delighted to see so many children and teachers connecting with her.
You’re welcome, Laura. I love how the number of poems from the characters varies according to their personalities. A delightful book!
Love how this poem captures an ESL student’s experience. I have this book on reserve at the library. I am looking forward to reading it.
I hope you love it:>)
Linda Baie says
Laura’s book is indeed awesome, and I loved Gaby, the idea that Laura also had her write in Spanish, too. The intricacies of the poems gave unique qualities to the book that I don’t always see in verse novels, and to the uniqueness of each student-treasures all. Thanks, Laura!
Gaby really touched me, too. Many students did, in different ways–which is one of the beauties of this book:>)
Matt Forrest Esenwine says
Great book! Laura and I talked about some of the loose ends at the conclusion of the book (with regards to some of the students and their familial relationships)…and I’d love to see a second book focus on one or two of them, to see where they go!
But then some kids would be left out…noooooo. Well, I guess if there were several sequels, each one focusing on a single character or tight-knit group of characters–THAT, I could get on board with. But I don’t want to totally leave behind characters who had their storylines tied up. I want to revisit all of them, in one book or several. How about it, Laura? That’s not asking too much, is it?
Well, yes – we’re taking several sequels!
Another intriguing snippet into what sounds like a must-read book. (Giggling at you, Matt and Laura, getting that sequel all-but ‘under contract’.)