Climbing Shadows

Climbing Shadows

Poems for Children

Written by: Bramer, Shannon
Illustrated by: Derby, Cindy
ages 6 and up / grades K and up

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A splendidly illustrated collection of poems inspired by young children that address common themes such as having a hard day at school, feeling shy or being a newcomer.

The poems in Climbing Shadows were inspired by a class of kindergarten children whom poet and playwright Shannon Bramer came to know over the course of a school year. She set out to write a poem for each child, sharing her love of poetry with them, and made an anthology of the poems for Valentine’s Day.

This original collection reflects the children’s joys and sorrows, worries and fears, moods and sense of humor. Some poems address common themes such as having a hard day at school, feeling shy or being a newcomer, while others explore subjects of fascination — bats, spiders, skeletons, octopuses, polka dots, racing cars and birthday parties. Evident throughout the book is a love of words and language and the idea that there are all kinds of poems and that they are for everyone — to read or write.

Cindy Derby’s dreamy watercolor illustrations gently complement each poem. Beautiful, thoughtful, sensitive and funny, this is an exceptional collection.

Key Text Features
illustrations
table of contents
author’s note

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.4
Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.4
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.4
Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

A splendidly illustrated collection of poems inspired by young children that address common themes such as having a hard day at school, feeling shy or being a newcomer.

The poems in Climbing Shadows were inspired by a class of kindergarten children whom poet and playwright Shannon Bramer came to know over the course of a school year. She set out to write a poem for each child, sharing her love of poetry with them, and made an anthology of the poems for Valentine’s Day.

This original collection reflects the children’s joys and sorrows, worries and fears, moods and sense of humor. Some poems address common themes such as having a hard day at school, feeling shy or being a newcomer, while others explore subjects of fascination — bats, spiders, skeletons, octopuses, polka dots, racing cars and birthday parties. Evident throughout the book is a love of words and language and the idea that there are all kinds of poems and that they are for everyone — to read or write.

Cindy Derby’s dreamy watercolor illustrations gently complement each poem. Beautiful, thoughtful, sensitive and funny, this is an exceptional collection.

Key Text Features
illustrations
table of contents
author’s note

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.4
Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.4
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.4
Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Mar 1, 2019
Specifications 44 pages | 8.125 in x 9.75 in
Supporting Resources
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Teacher's Guide
Written By

SHANNON BRAMER is an author of poems, plays and short fiction. She has published a number of poetry collections and chapbooks, winning the Hamilton and Region Best Book Award for suitcases and other poems. Her most recent collection, Precious Energy, has also been highly acclaimed. Shannon’s plays include Chloe’s Tiny Heart Is Closed (for young audiences) and The Hungriest Woman in the World. She lives with her family in Toronto.

Illustrated by

CINDY DERBY is an author, illustrator and puppeteer. She has been a Grand Prize Winner of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Portfolio Award, and she has also been commissioned to create two original puppetry performances for festivals in the US and Scotland. Cindy has illustrated several picture books, including Climbing Shadows: Poems for Children (by Shannon Bramer), praised in Publishers Weekly for its “dreamlike paintings,” and she has written and illustrated How to Walk an Ant. She lives in San Francisco.

Written By

SHANNON BRAMER is an author of poems, plays and short fiction. She has published a number of poetry collections and chapbooks, winning the Hamilton and Region Best Book Award for suitcases and other poems. Her most recent collection, Precious Energy, has also been highly acclaimed. Shannon’s plays include Chloe’s Tiny Heart Is Closed (for young audiences) and The Hungriest Woman in the World. She lives with her family in Toronto.

Illustrated by

CINDY DERBY is an author, illustrator and puppeteer. She has been a Grand Prize Winner of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Portfolio Award, and she has also been commissioned to create two original puppetry performances for festivals in the US and Scotland. Cindy has illustrated several picture books, including Climbing Shadows: Poems for Children (by Shannon Bramer), praised in Publishers Weekly for its “dreamlike paintings,” and she has written and illustrated How to Walk an Ant. She lives in San Francisco.

Audience ages 6 and up / grades K and up
Reading Levels Lexile NP
Key Text Features illustrations; table of contents; author's note
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.4

Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award, 2021

Commended, NCTE Notable Poetry Book and Verse Novel, 2020

“Smart. Honestly heartfelt. Utterly beautiful to look at. See the bar? Yeah. It just got raised.” —School Library Journal

“Bramer’s poems . . . explore an evocative range of emotional states, metaphors, and ideas. Understated, dreamlike paintings with offsetting white space accompany the poems. . . . The works carry notes of wistfulness and wonder, astute observations, and poignant reflections on one’s place in the world.” —Publisher's Weekly

“[A] marvelous introduction to poetry for young children.” —CM Reviews