In and Out the Window

Philomel. Mar. 2024. 208p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593622513.
Gr 5-8–In this recent collection of more than 100 favorites from past publications, as well as wonderful new material, Yolen weaves a story of the passage of time. Topics vary from rocks to dreams, from school to foxes. She writes about best friends, sometimes sadness, and everything in between. Connecting with readers, Yolen tells the story of looking through a window and the sights to see, then hooks readers with a writerly word or turn of phrase. For example, in the beginning of “Why to Write a Poem,” one of the reasons she provides is to “apostrophize June.” All the poems invite readers to look around and notice the everyday things in their lives, and to record those moments for reflection. She writes about seeing an accident and hoping nobody died; how families can look very different and may not even agree all the time, but all belong; about her backpack and homework. Yolen writes about everything, and makes readers feel that they can, too. She writes with precise cuts and jabs, with subtlety and voraciousness. Through this lens, readers are able to learn about the world, and how to write about it, in an intimate way. Very young readers will love some of the simpler poems, and adults will find themselves thinking about this collection long after reading it. Looking through Yolen’s window, in and out, readers see the good and the bad; both described with tenderness.
VERDICT A must-have for middle school libraries that is good for the entire family.

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