Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Mexican-American Poet Laureate in the USA, is sharing secrets: how to turn your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry.
Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabberwalk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? If not, you’re in luck: exuberant, blue-cheesy cilantro man Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, is here to teach you everything he knows about being a real-life, bonified, Jabberwalking poet! Jabberwalkers write and speak for themselves and others no matter where their feet may take them — to Jabberwalk is to be a poet on the move. And there’s no stopping once you’re a Jabberwalker, writing fast, fast, fast, scribble-poem-burbles-on-the-run. Scribble what you see! Scribble what you hear! It’s all out there — vámonos!
About the Author
Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet, performance artist, and activist. The son of migrant farmworkers, he was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015–2017. He has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, in addition to short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature. Juan Felipe Herrera lives in California.
JABBERWALKING (Candlewick, 144 pp., $22.99; ages 10 and up) is a bursting, bubbling, brain-bending adventure into poetry by the former poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera…Interspersed with fun but useful techniques to turn your ‘burbles’ into ‘Jabber poems,’ ‘Jabberwalking’ is a riotous explosion of a how-to book. Herrera flings open the door, inviting even the most reluctant poets to join him.
—The New York Times Book Review
Using the made-up words of Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” as a jumping-off point, former U.S. poet laureate Herrera shows children how riotous verbal exuberance births poetry...Poetry manuals can make students roll their eyes, but this one may open their hearts.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Herrera provides space for budding poets to learn how to write and encourages them to practice using the first secret of this collection: “You do not have to know where you are going! Or what you are saying!” Deeply personal and profoundly unique, this is a highly recommended purchase for every young adult yearning to be heard.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
In the right hands, all the wacky assignments and Herrera's autobiographical "Jabber Notebook" entries will ultimately spawn incandescent thinkers who will leap to the "flamey / Stars!"—or so Herrera hopes. An uncommon DIY for exuberant rule breakers.
Including several biographical vignettes (some recalling encouragement from his mother) and frequent black-line cartoons, this book may be the best opportunity most of us will ever have to experiencing a Herrera presentation. And although the casual preteen browser may be left confused, in the hands of a gifted educator, this book has the potential to inspire and encourage young writers.
In a loose and jazzy style (and with a nod to Lewis Carroll), the former U.S. Poet Laureate offers instructions for “Jabberwalking,” or writing poetry while in motion...An enticing explosion of paint colors on the book jacket and a lot of white space on the large square pages will help sell this to teens who might not think of themselves as poets.
—The Horn Book
The author provides oodles of inspiration for students to write their own nonsense word, free-verse poetry.