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Harris Center Reads: Poetry

April 1, 2021

Put a Poem in Your Pocket…"National Poetry Month" logo

Welcome to Harris Center Reads — a monthly, curated list of good reads for curious naturalists of all ages! April brings daffodils, rain showers, and National Poetry Month. Celebrate by picking a poem from one of the books below to recite to someone you love.

For Adults

Tethered to Stars: Poems by Fady Joudah. Visceral and luminous, this latest book of poetry from Fady Joudah — a practicing doctor, Guggenheim Fellow, and winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition — explores the world through both telescope and microscope.

Sparrow Envy: Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts by J. Drew Lanham. Booklist describes this mix of poetry and prose by celebrated ornithologist J. Drew Lanham as “an astute, awakening, witty, and resonant work of dissent and a profound embrace of life.” Lanham’s passion for the natural world makes this book sing. Order your copy now — it’s scheduled for release on April 20, just in time for Earth Day.

Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, edited by Billy Collins and illustrated by David Allen Sibley. In this stunningly beautiful collection, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins pairs over 100 classic and contemporary poems with close to 60 paintings by renowned bird illustrator David Allen Sibley. A powerful celebration of birds in both poetry and art.

Picture Books for Kids

The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form A Natural Kingdom by Lita Judge. This gorgeous combination of poetry and science will inspire people of all ages to look more deeply at the trees around them. Each page features a poem matched with a scientific concept, further brought to life by Judge’s lush illustrations. A Harris Center staff favorite by a talented local author and illustrator.

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes. A delightful collection of poems featuring meadow flora and fauna, accompanied by Peterborough artist Beth Krommes’s vivid scratchboard drawings.

Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year by Nosy Crow, Fiona Waters, and Frann Preston-Gannon. Celebrate the natural world with this anthology of poems that you can continue reading and sharing all year long. Preston-Gannon’s vibrant art brings each poem alive for the young reader, and will make it a favorite in your household for years to come.

For Middle School Readers & Teens

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton. The story of Mimi, who loves science and engineering and aspires to be an astronaut, and her struggles as an African-American and Japanese girl in rural New England in 1969. This historical novel, told from Mimi’s perspective in free verse, will inspire anyone who faces barriers to stand tall and strong in pursuit of their dreams. A LAB GIRLS recommendation.

Cast Away: Poems for Our Time by Naomi Shihab Nye. Acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye turns her brilliant eye on the things we cast away in our consumable world, from plastic water bottles to straws. A lyrical and sometimes humorous look at our throwaway society that asks us if this is really how we want to live.

Where to Find These Books

BUY. We’d like to give a special shout-out to our local bookseller, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough! They’re open for in-person shopping, and they also sell online.

BORROW. In addition, many local libraries are offering curbside pickup, as well as a wide variety of eBooks and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.