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A Jar of Tiny Stars
Children's Literature with Dr. Vardell

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Book Cover    Here is my review of A Jar of Tiny Stars...


Cullinan, Bernice E., ed. 1996. A JAR OF TINY STARS. Illus. by Andi MacLeod. Portraits by Marc Nadel. Pennsylvania: Wordsong. ISBN: 1-56397-087-2.


A JAR OF TINY STARS is a wonderful collection of poems by NCTE Poetry award winning recipients. According to Dr. Sylvia Vardell, the National Council of Teachers of English began an award called Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1977. It was given annually until 1982 and currently is given every three years. The poets are judged on more than a single poem or book. The award is based on a poets sustained contribution to enriching the lives of children through poetry. Children are asked what poems they like which makes this award even more special.


The book A JAR OF TINY STARS is an anthology of poems from ten such award winning authors. The poems included in this collection are a sampling from the works of: Arnold Adoff, John Ciardi, Barbara Esbensen, Aileen Fisher, Karla Kuskin, Myra Cohn Livingston, David McCord, Eve Merriam, Lilian Moore, and Valerie Worth. 


There is a black and white sketch portrait of each poet before their work, along with an interesting quote. The black and white illustrations, done by Andi MacLeod, fit each poem so well. The reader is not distracted by illustration. There is enough white space on the page so that the reader can concentrate on the words.  


A bibliography is a helpful tool included in the back of the book, highlighting other books by these award winning poets. The reader will also find a section entitled "About the Authors" where they can read more about the poets thoughts and lives.


One of my personal favorites from the book:


I Left My Head by Lilian Moore


I left my head



Put it down for


a minute.

Under the


On a chair?

Wish I were


to say


Everything I need


in it!

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