I Am the Storm by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Cover image for I Am the Storm

I Am the Storm by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell (9780593222751)

This picture book focuses on four types of storms that children may encounter where they live: tornado, blizzard, hurricane, and wild fires. The family with a tornado nearby has a party in their basement together with cards and books by flashlight. When the storm had passed, they cleared up afterwards. When the blizzard came to another family, they bundled up and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in the fireplace. After the storm, they shoveled the snow and made a snowman. When the wildfires came, that family left the area and went camping. They could still see the smoke. When the fires were out, they swept up ashes and washed windows. When the hurricane came, that family moved away from the coast to stay with cousins and then returned home when the storm was over.

This picture book is a glimpse of the power and impact of nature and its storms. It also shows how preparations can help keep everyone safe during a storm, no matter what kind it is. The book ends with deep empathy for how scared children can be during storms and a way for children to see themselves in nature and even the storms that pass and bring calm behind them. The text is simple and reads aloud well, inviting readers to see storms and fires as events that need respect for their power but don’t have to have children living in fear.

The illustrators use a wide-ranging color palette to evoke the different kinds of storms. With black and purple storm clouds, the eerie orange color of a tornado arrives. The icy blue of winter blizzards illuminates the entire house. The hurricane too arrives with purple swirling with black. After each storm, there is a lightness to the illustrations, a sense of new space in the images.

As climate change makes storms and fires more severe, this is a timely book to share. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Penguin Workshop.

2021 NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry

The National Council of Teachers of English have announced the recipients of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry. The books selected are for ages 3-13 and represent the best of the year for children’s poetry and verse novels, in two separate lists. The poetry books defined broadly, including picture books written in verse. Here are the recipients:


Amphibian Acrobats by Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Robert Meganck

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Michele

By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music. Carole Boston Weatherford.
Illus. by Bryan Collier

Cast Away: Poems for Our Time. Naomi Shihab Nye.

Construction People. Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illus. by Ellen Shi.

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z. Irene Latham and
Charles Waters. Illus. by Mehrdokht Amini

Follow the Recipe: Poems about Imagination, Celebration, and Cake. Marilyn Singer. Illus. by
Marjorie Priceman

Green on Green. Dianne White. Illus. by Felicita Sala

I Wish. Toon Tellegen. Illus. by Ingrid Godon. Trans. by David Colmer

I’m Feeling Blue, Too! Marjorie Maddox. Illus. by Philip Huber

In the Woods. David Elliott. Illus. by Rob Dunlavey

Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War. Marίa José Ferrada. Illus. by Ana Penyas

A New Green Day. Antoinette Portis

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History. Ed. by Lindsay H. Metcalf,
Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley. Illus. by Jeanette Bradley

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring. Buffy Silverman

On the Horizon. Lois Lowry. Illus. by Kenard Pak

A Place Inside of Me. Zetta Elliott. Illus. by Noa Denmon

Snow Birds. Kirsten Hall. Illus. by Jenni Desmond.

Summer Feet. Sheree Fitch. Illus. by Carolyn Fisher

This Poem Is a Nest. Irene Latham. Illus. by Johanna Wright

When You Breathe. Diana Farid. Illus. by Billy Renkl

Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice. Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia
Gatwood. Illus. by Theodore Taylor III

The World Below the Brine. Walt Whitman. Illus. by James Christopher Carroll

Write! Write! Write! Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illus. by Ryan O’Rourke


All He Knew. Helen Frost

Becoming Muhammad Ali. James Patterson and Kwame Alexander. Illus by Dawud Anyabwile

Before the Ever After. Jacqueline Woodson

BenBee and the Teacher Griefer: The Kids under the Stairs. K. A. Holt

Closer to Nowhere. Ellen Hopkins

Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown. Ann E. Burg

Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math. Jeannine Atkins

Land of the Cranes. Aida Salazar

Love Love. Sung J. Woo

The Places We Sleep. Caroline Brooks DuBois

When You Know What I Know. Sonja K. Solter

Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand Up to a Bully. Darlene Beck-Jacobson