What is a Poet Laureate? Did you know we have 2 in the United States? Poet Laureates are designated by nations or groups and are frequently expected to compose poems for special occasions. The Librarian of the United States Congress designates a poet annually to work toward increasing our nation’s appreciation of poetry. This position is currently filled by Tracy K. Smith.
The Poetry Foundation, since 2006, has selected a Young People’s (or Children’s) Poet Laureate for two-year terms. The chosen poet works on a variety of projects to help instill a lifelong love of poetry among the nation’s developing readers.
Margarita Engle has held this position since 2017. Previously this position was filled by Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, J.Patrick Lewis, Kenn Nesbitt, and Jacqueline Woodson.
I love this excerpt from her poem “Tula”, found in the book The Lightning Dreamer.
Books are door-shaped
helping me feel
Engle may be best known for her novels in verse, especially those focusing on different aspects of Cuban history. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I will tell you that you need to give these books a try! Engle has a true gift for highlighting episodes in history that are not well-known.
We also have some books for younger kids that feature poems by Engle.
I am very excited about Bravo: Poems About Amazing Hispanics, our newest addition by Engle. This book is located in our juvenile biography area and is perfect for families and classrooms!
Diversity is a huge focus in children’s literature and there was so much in this book that was new to me!