Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 5, 2017

Book Giveaway – Pet Crazy – Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have a new book to add to your Poetry Friday shelf, PET CRAZY: A Poetry Friday Power Book. Three lucky people will win two copies each—one for you to keep and another copy to give to a teacher friend or favorite child. Reblog, tweet, or mention this post on Facebook with a link for a chance to win—and let us know in the comments where you shared this post. If you can, tag @PomeloBooks. Check back here in three weeks to discover the winners. Sylvia will also announce the winners on Poetry for Children blog link:

PET CRAZY is available on Amazon


Calling all “pet people”! PET CRAZY: A Poetry Friday Power Book takes a whole new approach to teaching writing. Twelve “PowerPacks” contain creative activities and “Hidden Language Skills” to get children thinking, drawing, reading, and writing. Resources for children (as well as parents, teachers, librarians, and book club leaders) include “Hidden Language Skills” to sharpen language learning even further, recommended reading lists and websites, tips for reading aloud and writing, talking points, and places to publish.

The book features the work of the dynamic team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, illustrator Franzi Paetzold, and 12 poets: Kristy Dempsey, Helen Frost, Janice Harrington, Eric Ode, Laura Shovan, Eileen Spinelli, Elizabeth Steinglass, Don Tate, Padma Venkatraman, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, and Tamera Will Wissinger. (124 pages. K-3.)


The Poetry Friday Power Book series highlights an approach that is part verse novel and part creativity journal. We weave poems and story together with “PowerPlay” prewriting activities and “Power2You” writing prompts that inspire children to get their own ideas on paper. Our first book in the series is YOU JUST WAIT: A Poetry Friday Power Book for tweens and teens about sports (soccer and basketball), movies, food, school, cousins, and cultural heritage and identity. But it’s not just for teens; poet, educator, and blogger Bridget Magee did a brilliant series of posts on her Wee Words for Wee Ones blog, inspired by the Power2You writing prompts from YOU JUST WAIT. We particularly love the way she shared a cheerleading tryout experience in this post here. link:

The second book in the series, HERE WE GO: A Poetry Friday Power Book, is for slightly younger children—ideally ages 8 and up—and focuses on how kids can contribute to social change through volunteering, food drives, walkathons, school gardens, and being leaders in their families and communities. This book was just selected in August for the NNSTOY (State Teachers of the Year) Social Justice Book List. Here’s the title poem “Here We Go” along with another poem from the book, “Blue Bucket” by Naomi Shihab Nye, presented in a bookmark developed for Every Child a Reader. link:


PET CRAZY, the latest book in the Poetry Friday Power Book series, was inspired by the 30+ poems about pets in The Poetry Friday Anthology® series. Five of the “anchor poems” that form the core of PET CRAZY—poems by Kristy Dempsey, Eric Ode, Eileen Spinelli, April Halprin Wayland, and Carole Boston Weatherford—came from The Poetry Friday Anthology and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. We developed the story further by asking seven additional poets—Helen Frost, Janice Harrington, Laura Shovan, Elizabeth Steinglass, Don Tate, Padma Venkatraman, and Tamera Will Wissinger—to send us brand new poems about the special place that our pets have in our lives.

Janet took these 12 anchor poems and connected them together with 24 new poems to create a story featuring Kristy (who adores cats), Ben (who longs for a puppy), and Daniel (friend to all living creatures, but partial to bluebirds and lizards). Here’s an example of a few of the poems and activities from PowerPack 7, halfway through the book.


Sylvia Vardell is Professor at Texas Woman’s University and teaches children’s and young adult literature. She has published five books on literature, plus more than 25 book chapters and 100 journal articles. Her current work focuses on poetry for young people, including a blog, Poetry for Children. link: Her favorite pets are dogs and she’s had three of them (Luther, Yenta, and Caesar, each for many years), as well as Leonardo the tortoise, and Pecky the parakeet. She lives in Dallas, TX.

Janet Wong link: is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who became a children’s poet. Her work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and other shows. She is the author of 30 books for children on identity, chess, creative recycling, yoga, and more. She has had dozens of pets, including birds, fish, a frog, hamsters, lizards, turtles, a cat, and favorite dogs named Bernadette, Coco, Nissa, and Angel. She lives in Princeton, NJ.


Together, Vardell and Wong are the creative forces behind The Poetry Friday Anthology series and the Poetry Friday Power Book series. You can learn more about their books at

Books by Vardell and Wong have won numerous awards and accolades, including the ILA Notable Books for a Global Society (NBGS), NCTE Poetry Notables, Children’s Poet Laureate Pick of the Month, CBC Hot Off the Press, and NSTA Recommends.

Thank you Sylvia and Janet for sharing your journey with us and offering one lucky winner a copy of your new book, PET CRAZY.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Pet Crazy sounds great and beautifully illustrated. I’ll be sharing this for you.


  2. Shared via Twitter @Pomelobooks


  3. What a great idea! I know my son and his English teacher would love this. Congrats!


  4. Looks like a great book! Love the cover!


  5. I love the whole premise of these books and especially the activities! I’m definitely sharing on Twitter and Facebook 😀


  6. Timing could never be better for this post. Off to the library I go to see if they have a copy for me to take on my business trip next week. Activities?! Say, what? – How have I never heard of this series before? Definitely going to check them out


  7. This looks really cool. May be just what my reluctant reader and also “can i get a puppy” daughter may need!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a brilliant idea! I’d love to win two copies and I know just the teacher who would get the other one. Thanks!
    I also tweeted: and pinned an image on Pinterest:, Thanks again, have a great day!


  9. So much fun. I love their books. Thanks for the post.


  10. Thanks so much for your lovely post and helping us spread the word about how much fun we can have with poetry!


  11. What an incredibly gorgeous cover!


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