Poems in the Attic (2015) by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon.
This is a story in poems of a story about poems. The seven-year old narrator (and poet) finds a collection of her mother's poems in the attic of her grandmother's house. Each two-page spread shares a poem written by the narrator connected to a poem written by her mother.
The mother's poems celebrate the life and travels of a "military brat" and are located in various cities and countries with US Air Force Bases. (The Author's Note provides details about military life as her inspiration, the location of the bases referenced, and two pages about the poetry forms used in the book, free verse and tanka.) There is great interplay between the two sets of poems as we learn more about the narrator through her reflections on her own life as well as on her mother's poems.
At dinner I ask Grandma
for the chopsticks Mama
taught me to use. Once, I asked Mama
where she learned, and she just smiled.
Cherry Blossoms, Japan
Spring! Kimono time.
I joined the parade of girls
dusted with cherry blossoms.
I caught a few, like snowflakes.
What I also really appreciated about this book is its portrayal of the mother's childhood. Here is an African-American young woman who is outdoorsy, adventurous, and explores and embraces other cultures. How many picture books or stories can you name that portray African-American girls kayaking, skiing, or picnicking on beetles at the base of Mount Fuji?
Happy Poetry Friday! The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Reflections on the Teche.