This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Sidman, Joyce. 2007. This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. NewYork: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9870618616800
It’s not easy to apologize, but what if you had time to create the perfect apology? A classroom filled with remorse guides this fresh, clever collection of poetry. Not only does the reader get to read youthful, heartfelt confessions, but the reader is treated to poems written by the “recipient” of the apologies. The apologies and responses evoke a sense of youthfulness while capturing the shameless honesty of 11 year-old, while balancing the wit and grace possessed by many teachers like Mrs. Merz. This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness is filled with voice, and captures the energy of Mrs. Merz’s 6th grade class brilliantly.
The poems in This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness truly captures the spirit of the speaker(s) of each poem, so much that readers will almost feel as if they have spent the day with her class. Through the poems, readers can feel the troubles and woes that are often experienced by 6th graders. The use of responses adds to the feeling of resolution for each child and the situation in which they find themselves.
The simple illustrations that accompany the poem add to overall innocence portrayed by the speaker of the poems. By varying the use of different media, such as collage, and computer graphics, the simple illustrations capture innocence on the verge of adolescence. The clever use of pieces of notebook and graph paper for sketches add to the setting. The illustrations work to add character and emphasize the speakers’ voice of each poem.
2008 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book
“Whimsical, wise, and all worth reading. . . . . “ – School Library Journal
“Each school library could benefit from adding this wonderful book of poems to its collection.” – School Library Media Connection
This book would serve as an excellent use of poems as mentor texts. Pairing William Carlos Williams’ “This Is Just to Say” poem with Thomas’ poem would give students a good example of creating a poem of their own using the structure of the mentor poem.
Students could also write responses to a poem of their choice.
This collection highlights various types of poems, and would be a great teaching tool to show examples of each type of poem.
This collection of poetry would serve as an excellent choice for reader’s theater, possibly in connection with a school’s drama department or club.
“Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.” The Horn Book Magazine May-June 2008: 364. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.
Nightingale, Susie. “This Is Just To Say: Poems Of Apology And Forgiveness.” Library Media Connection 26.3 (2007): 88-89. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.
“This Is Just To Say: Poems Of Apology And Forgiveness.” School Library Journal 53.(2007): 57. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 10 Oct. 2012.