An award-winning, big-hearted time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. A great pick for fans of Margarita Engle and Eileen Spinelli.
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.
But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They’re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.
Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.
Honors and Praise:
Winner of a Cybils Award in Poetry
Winner of an Arnold Adoff Poetry Honor Award for New Voices
An NCTE Notable Verse Novel
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year
An ILA-CBC Children’s Choice
Nominated for the Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award, the Wisconsin State Reading Association Children’s Book Award, the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award, and the Great Stone Face Award (New Hampshire), Lectio Book Award Master List
“This gently evocative study of change in all its glory and terror would make a terrific read-aloud or introduction to a poetry unit. A most impressive debut.” —School Library Journal
“Sure to inspire the poet in all of us, young and old.” —Mark Goldblatt, author of Twerp
This entertaining debut novel in verse follows the fifth graders at Emerson Elementary as they attempt to save their "run-down" school, which is danger of closing. In an ethnically diverse class featuring familiar rivalries and crushes, each student has an opportunity to be his or herself in journal entries destined for a time capsule, which are seen only by their teacher, Ms. Hill. In page-long entries, Shovan skillfully employ different poetic forms and styles haikus, rhymes, acrostics, free verse, limericks, and more (all discussed in an endnote) to express the students' personalities, though 18 distinct voices are a lot to track. Characters like Norah from Jerusalem; George, whose father recently left home; Shoshanna, dealing with a demanding friend ("When Hannah wins/ class president/ I'll finally be free./ If she is boss/ of our whole grade/ she won't be bossing me"); and Brianna, whose mother struggles to make ends meet, will inspire readers as they find the courage to save their school and make their voices heard, both as a united front and as capable, valuable individuals. Ages 8 12.