Poems in the Attic

By Booklist

A book about discoveries, this celebrates poetry and the quixotic life of a military family. A young girl responds in free verse to the poems she uncovers in the attic, poems her mother wrote in tanka (a form of Japanese poetry) about the wonder of her experiences living throughout the world. The mother’s voice dominates through longer poems and Zunon’s larger illustrations, but the daughter’s poems appear first on each page, and the connection between the poetry is heartfelt. Their love of language and the natural world bind them together. There is also a rhythm to their experiences as well (the daughter writes of sand castles, and the mother, of a grunion run). Notes encourage readers to try their hands at either poetic form, while the pictures, a combination of acrylic, oil, and collage, encourage interest in the many places described. Pair with How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson (2014), for a slightly older audience interested in writing poetry and understanding the turmoil and adventure of being raised in a military family.