Every Month Is a New Year

By School Library Journal

A rich compendium of poetry, collage, and cultural and historical information on various New Year celebrations from a celebrated poet. Formatted to resemble a calendar, the book is to be held horizontally with the top page of each spread depicting a scene and the bottom one, the poem. (With the labeled monthly scenes, from December on to the next December, educators might be tempted to actually hang this on the wall for ongoing use and enjoyment.) Singer’s opening poem, rephrased at the end, acknowledges the turning of the year. (“We choose the date./From the earth’s movement,/from the moon’s phases,/these clocks and calendars/we create.”) Sixteen poems are written from the perspective of children and detail events such as Año Viejo, the ball drop in New York City, the first day of Muharram, Rosh Hashanah, and more. Roth skillfully assembles myriad colorful papers in broad swatches and tiny bits, some skillfully cut and others torn, into bright, busy views. People gather around the holiday table, smash pots, dance, splash water, and much more. Quieter opening and closing views of Earth in space and the vivid red dragon are here, too. The substantial end materials include a page explaining calendar history and variation, a list of New Year’s greetings from each country, five full pages of background information about each celebration, a glossary of terms used in the verse, and a long list of the author’s sources. VERDICT A complex and rewarding package that will be cherished by children and adults alike. A strong choice for poetry collections.