Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 15, 2020

Book Giveaway: HOP TO IT by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have compiled a new anthology, HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING, illustrated by Franzi Paetzold and published by Pomelo Books.

They have agreed to share a copy of the book to one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Sylvia and Janet!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING is an anthology of 100 new poems by 90 poets—with STEM and social studies connections, thematic mini-lessons, read aloud tips, and extensive back matter featuring useful activities to help maximize student learning and social-emotional development. You can share a new poem or two each week of the school year and get kids thinking and moving as they read aloud their favorite poems using pantomime, sign language, and whole body movements—including deskercise! You’ll also find poems on current topics, such as life during a pandemic, wearing masks, virtual learning, staying connected with friends, and standing up for what you believe in. Take a 30-second indoor recess whenever you need it!

All of us—especially children who are doing remote learning—can use “brain breaks” from our computers right now, and the 100 poems in this book (by 90 poets) will help us get moving. We can climb like cats, learn to sign in American Sign Language (ASL), and dance like rabbits. This book is packed with fun factoids such as; why pigeons make good messengers, who invented jumping jacks, and how sleeping can help you learn a new language. including many with science or social studies connections. In addition to poems about movement, there are pandemic poems about wearing masks and social justice poems that inspire kids to stand up and speak out.

Need a break? Hop to it! The poems in this book will get you moving from nose to toes! You’ll find pandemic poetry about wearing masks and virtual learning—plus poems that inspire you to stand up and stretch your body.

The 90 contributing poets include many award-winning poets and some rising stars, too: Alma Flor Ada, Kathryn Apel, Rebecca Balcárcel, Ibtisam Barakat, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Doraine Bennett, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Robyn Hood Black, Susan Blackaby, David Bowles, Jay Brazeau, Joseph Bruchac, Stephanie Calmenson, F. Isabel Campoy, Rose Cappelli, Yangsook Choi, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Natalee Creech, Ed DeCaria, Kristy Dempsey, Linda Dryfhout, Alice Faye Duncan, Zetta Elliott, Margarita Engle, Janet Clare Fagal, Carrie Finison, Nancy Bo Flood, Catherine Flynn, Marilyn Garcia, Charles Ghigna, Xelena González, Joan Bransfield Graham, Paul W. Hankins, Janice N. Harrington, David L. Harrison, Jane Heitman Healy, Rebekah Hoeft, Carol-Ann Hoyte, Ann Ingalls, Karen G. Jordan, Jacqueline Jules, Alan Katz, Sheila Kerwin, Julie Larios, Renée M. LaTulippe, Rebecca Gardyn Levington, Suzy Levinson, Jone Rush MacCulloch, JoAnn Early Macken, Marjorie Maddox, Kevin Noble Maillard, Juli Mayer, Diane Mayr, David McMullin, Sarah Meade, Christy Mihaly, Heidi Mordhorst, Laura Mucha, Diana Murray, Lesléa Newman, Eric Ode, Linda Sue Park, Baptiste Paul, Miranda Paul, Moe Phillips, Jack Prelutsky, Deborah Reidy, Leslie Ross-Degnan, Shanah Salter, Darren Sardelli, Michelle Schaub, Robert Schechter, Claire Schlinkert, Laura Shovan, Buffy Silverman, Margaret Simon, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Eileen Spinelli, Elizabeth Steinglass, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Holly Thompson, Linda Kulp Trout, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Sylvia Vardell, Padma Venkatraman, April Halprin Wayland, Carole Boston Weatherford, Tamera Will Wissinger, Janet Wong, and Helen Kemp Zax.


We first started talking about doing a movement-themed book back in 2015, shortly after doing an exhilarating presentation on that very topic—poems that get you moving—for the NCTE annual convention in Minneapolis. We usually have several book ideas competing for our interest at any given time, though; other topics pushed this one down the list, as we devoted our energies to shaping the three books in the Poetry Friday Power Book series (exploring the reading-writing connection) and compiling a book of “morning announcement poems” for principals. In November 2019, we decided that it was finally time to hop on this idea and make it happen. At this (pre-pandemic) time, we were focused on a single theme: movement. We started brainstorming a list of ideal topics for a wide variety of movements—from sports to dance to stretching—and in early February 2020, we posted an open call for submissions on Sylvia’s blog ( We received hundreds of submissions—plenty for our anthology. But then we found ourselves mired in the pandemic, wondering whether we should expand the theme of the book.

At the same time that we chose to include poems about topics such as COVID-19, mask-wearing, staycations, keeping connected with friends, and Zoom, social justice protests filled the news and so we expanded our theme once more to include poems about exercising your voice, standing up for what you believe in, marching, and even voting, such as “You Can Do It Right Now.” The result, we think, is a book that sums up 2020 and helps us move forward.

You can see some additional sample poems from the book at our website ( and a list of all 90 poets who are featured in it, too ( We’re incredibly fortunate that the poetry community is supportive and generous, and we loved working with favorite poets from our previous books in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations and The Poetry of Science (such as Joseph Bruchac, Margarita Engle, David Harrison, Jack Prelutsky, Eileen Spinelli, Carole Boston Weatherford, and so many more) as well as many new voices—both brand-new poets and established authors who are simply new to the “Pomelo Books family.” Probably the most difficult part of being an anthologist is saying no to stellar poems, especially when they’re written by favorite poets who are part of our “family.” We had to do this in several instances where we had multiple poems with very similar approaches to a topic—and room for just one of them.

Here’s a poem that really captures the spirit of our book, “Pep Talk for a Couch Potato” by Eileen Spinelli. You’ll see that the “bubbles” that accompany each poem provide suggestions on how to share the poem, a fun factoid, a spot illustration, mention of poetry skills, and a picture book pairing.

And here’s another favorite poem, “On a Beach” by Suzy Levinson, that transports us to the beach for a calm and restorative 30-second vacation. Read it slowly, aloud, and let your worries wash away!

Here is the link:


Sylvia Vardell is Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University and teaches graduate courses in children’s and young adult literature. Her current work focuses on poetry for children, including a regular blog, Vardell has served as a member or chair of several national award committees, including the NCTE Award for Poetry, the ALA Legacy Award, and the Odyssey, Sibert, and Caldecott award committees, among others. What gets Sylvia up and moving? Walking all over her neighborhood, taking trips and walking in brand new places, and walking for miles at Star Wars conventions. Learn more about her at

Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who switched careers to become a children’s author. Her dramatic career change has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN’s Paula Zahn Show, and Radical Sabbatical. She is the author of more than 30 books for children and teens on a wide variety of subjects, including writing and revision (You Have to Write), diversity and community (Apple Pie 4th of July), peer pressure (Me and Rolly Maloo), chess (Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club), and yoga (Twist: Yoga Poems). The activities that get Janet up and moving are walking with her dog, gardening, and doing yoga. Learn more about her at

Franzi Paetzold is a freelance illustrator from Germany. As a globetrotter and former social worker, she has spent much of her life traveling the world, studying and working abroad. In between work and plane rides, she started publishing her drawings online and taking on small

assignments. She now illustrates full time, and lives with a friend and two friendly cats in Berlin. What gets Franzi up and moving? Going for walks along the nearby river, capoeira, swimming, and (of course) traveling. Her illustrations can be found at

Sylvia and Janet, thank you for sharing your new anthology and it’s journey with us. What a great idea to focus on getting kids up and moving. It is especially needed during this time of schools closed and staying inside. I love how you give poets a place to show off their talents. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Reblogged this on Terry Pierce and commented:
    A perfect book to get kids (and grown ups!) moving. Written by an extraordinary stable of poets!


  2. This looks like such a timely book for so many kids having to stay inside. Congratulations!


  3. Wow! This book is packed full of poems by super authors! Would love to have a copy of it!


  4. I recognize many names on that list. One being my critique partner. Congratulations Sarah Meade.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ashley! I’m honored to be on that list with so many wonderful poets.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ooooh this looks amazing!!! Would love to own, read, and review it 🙂


  6. As a school teacher who is currently teaching online, I cannot wait to read this book!


  7. Can’t wait to devour this collection! I’ve been a follower for awhile now. Thanks!


  8. This book is perfect for teaching in a traditional classroom or for virtual learning to start important conversations and to get kids moving. Thank you, Janet and Sylvia for another time-saving resource for busy teachers. (I own a copy, so no need to enter me in the giveaway.)


  9. Thanks for featuring another treasure from Pomelo Books! I’m delighted to have a poem included, and I’ve already ordered copies to share with my teacher-daughter and other poetry lovers. Can’t wait to read it all!


  10. This looks like so much fun. I am a follower. Thanks for the post.


  11. This book looks adorable & I know it includes poems from stellar writers b/c one of my critique partner’s (Rose Cappelli) pieces made it in the book! I gladly shared this interview on Facebook here:
    and Twitter here:


  12. Congrats, Sylvia, Janet, Franzi, and poets! I’m working on some children’s poetry collections, so I look forward to reading this book. (I RTed and I’m signed up for emails.)


  13. No need to enter me in the giveaway, but I just want to chime in as well about what brilliant resources these books by Janet and Sylvia are. Always timely, enjoyable, and useful for in classroom or at-home learning.


  14. Great idea! I just followed your blog.


  15. Kathy, thanks so much for featuring our new book, HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING! We really appreciate your support– and all you do for readers and writers!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Really looking forward to reading this book and sharing the poems with kids during my library events!


  17. I can’t wait to get this book!


  18. This looks so fun! I love the bone poem shown, human body is one of my favorite topics!


  19. I can tell I will love this book just be reading the sample poems! Yay! Great collection! Congrats and best wishes!

    I follow by email and will Tweet this. 🙂


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