Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring for a Poem

Jane Yolen
photo credit ©Jason

Jane Yolen is an American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and children's books. She is the author or editor of more than 350 books including "Owl Moon", "The Devil’s Arithmetic" and the popular series "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?'

She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century.

Jane Yolen’s books and stories have won the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award among many others.

or more information about the author, scheduled events, awards and book listings check out 

Yolen has been a poet and a poetry lover all her life. She wrote her first poem in first grade. Despite her father's misgivings early on that she couldn't make a living writing poetry, though he liked her poems, she eventually proved him wrong.
"Owl Moon" is an unrhymed picture book poem, a Caldecott winner. Yolen's daughter Heidi is the little girl featured in this book. Today she is all grown up and lives next door to her mother. 

"How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?" is a rhymed picture book written with Mark Teague. Its the first book in a series of over 12 books.  
"Here's A Little Poem" is an anthology Yolen  co-edited with Andrew Fusek Peters. 
On further exploration of Yolen's blog site  I would say she definitely has made a successful living as a poet having also published 10 adult poetry books, 40 children's poetry books and 41 Poetry Anthologies. 
Indeed Yolen is a prolific writer.  In late spring 2017 she has the following new books coming out 
"Before The Vote After" (adult poems) 
"Little Frog and the Spring Polliwogs"  
"On Duck Pond" 

 "How Do Dinosaurs Choose Their Pets" by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
"Thunder Underground" 
But wait! There's even three more books scheduled for fall publication.
"Emerald Circus" (fantasy short stories, adult)
"Last Laughs Prehistoric Epitaphs" with J. Patrick Lewis (poetry)
"Once Upon A Story" (retold folk tales from around the world for young children)

A huge thank you to Jane who has graciously agreed to share some of her spring poems for Ever Ready April Poetry Month Kick-Off
More of Yolen's spring poems will be featured throughout the month. 

Turning the page
by Jane Yolen

"Turn the page," said the squirrels, but
nobody did.’—Resa Matlock

“Turn the page,” the squirrels say,
less a directive than a hope.
But the trees sit moping
in their winter shawls of snow.
No hope there.

“Turn the page,” the squirrels say,
less a motion than an amendment.
But the snowdrops hide their shy
and drooping white faces.
No hope there.

“Turn the page,” the squirrels say,
less an answer than a question.
But the icicles drip disdain
with every new drop in the temperature.
No hope there.

“Turn the page,” the squirrels say,
less a prayer than the last rites.
No one in the backyard answers Amen.
It’s an old complaint by February.
No hope there.

“Turn the page,” the squirrels say,
less a gasp of life, more a rattle of death.
But then with a wild wind beating
drumsticks across the land,
daffodils break out in garden grins,

And Spring, with a mighty effort
turns the page.

©2017 Jane Yolen all rights reserved


  1. At first I thought I had never heard of Jane...but now seeing her lineup up books I realize I have! How Do Dinosaurs Say Good night was a fav of BOTH of my kids :) Great post!

  2. Thank you for the information and Yolen's poem.