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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Two poetry books you must have before we leave SLJ

As of tomorrow, June 1st, Practically Paradise will no longer be hosted on the SLJ page, but instead on our new domain site at I am very excited about the new opportunity and cannot wait for you to follow us over there. Please pop in and leave a comment.

In the meantime, I cannot leave without mentioning two of my favorite poetry titles this year.

The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems edited by Georgbia Heard and illustrated by Antoine Guilloppe. Roaring Brook Press, 2012. ISBN 9781596436657. $16.99

This slim collection of poems is best for upper elementary and middle school students. It was fascinating to read and contemplate where these ideas originated, but it would be more meaningful to produce our own found poems. The rules were simply stated on the website. Now we sit back and see how this collection came into being through the rules stated in the introduction.

My favorite poem in this  book was by  Laura Purdie Salas. She created a poem Top Ten Rules for Our Zoo Field Trip by listing some titles of picture books she ran across on a library shelf. An example of a couple lines from this poem:

  • Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus
  • Please don’t feed the bears
  • Don’t go pet a porcupine, etc.

The other book of poetry I simply cannot neglect is by Gail Carson Levine and is called Forgive Me I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems. I traded someone for this title. It is wonderfully wicked. As Gail Carson Levine points out, you have to be mean to read and enjoy these. Seems I have that ability.

Inspired by William Carlos Williams’ work, this collection of poems follow the sequence and rhyme structure of the original poem “This Is Just to Say”.  I was so worried that no one would be listening to me read this when suddenly it became popular. There is a little touch of meanness in everyone and this book provides the opportunity to creatively slam every person you’ve ever wanted and dazzle others with your ability use a formula to invent false apologies.

Perfect for middle school and upper elementary collections where the teacher enjoys leading the class in a little mayhem and madness, I’d definitely add this title.


  1. I’ll miss you here at SLJ, and look forward to reading you at the new domain!