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Joyce Sidman with the exuberant Watson
author's website

school visits

Joyce Sidman writes and teaches in the Twin Cities area. A writer-in-residence with the COMPAS/WAITS Arts Organization of St. Paul, she has also written articles and reviews for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, and the late, great Riverbank Review. Her poetry for both children and adults has been widely published, and she won the New Women's Voices award for her adult book, Like the Air.

A native New Englander, Joyce now lives in Wayzata with her husband and two almost-grown sons, near the edge of a large woodland. Although she loves poetry, she hopes someday to overcome her fear of plotting and write a novel.

Swirl by Swirl

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature
illustrated by Beth Krommes
Houghton Mifflin, 2011
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0547315836

Celebrate the beauty and value of spirals.What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again—in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear? With simplicity and grace, Krommes and Sidman not only reveal the many spirals in nature—from fiddleheads to elephant tusks, from crashing waves to spiraling galaxies— but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

Awards & Recognition
Horn Book Fanfare, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Dark Emperor

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night
illustrated by Rick Allen
Houghton Mifflin, 2010
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0547152288

Welcome to the night, where mice stir and furry moths flutter. Where snails spiral into shells as orb spiders circle in silk. Where the roots of oak trees recover and repair from their time in the light. Where the porcupette eats delicacies—raspberry leaves!—and coos and sings.

Come out to the cool, night wood, and buzz and hoot and howl—but do beware of the great horned owl—for it’s wild and it’s windy way out in the woods!

Awards & Recognition
Newbery Honor, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award Honor Book, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book


Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors
illustrated by Becky Prange
Houghton Mifflin, 2010
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0618717194

Why is the beetle, born 265 million years ago, still with us today? (Because its wings mutated and hardened.) How did the gecko survive 160 million years? (By becoming nocturnal and developing sticky toe pads.) How did the shark and the crow and the tiny ant survive millions and millions of years? When 99 percent of all life forms on earth have become extinct, why do some survive? And survive not just in one place, but in many places: in deserts, in ice, in lakes and puddles, inside houses and forest and farmland? Just how do they become ubiquitous?

Awards & Recognition
IRA Teacher's Choice Award, ALA Notable Book, PW Best Book of the Year

Red Sings from Treetops

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin, 2009
ISBN 978-0547014944

In spring, Red sings from tree-tops: cheer-cheer-cheer, each note dropping like a cherry into my ear

With original and spot-on perceptions, Joyce Sidman brings the colors of the seasons to life in a fresh light, combining the senses of sight, sound, smell and taste. Illustrator Pam Zagarenski's interpretations go byeond the concrete, allowing us to not just see color, but feel it.

Awards and Recognition
2010 Caldecott Honor; Claudia Lewis Poetry Award; 2010 Cybils Poetry Award; Horn Book Fanfare; Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year

This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness

This Is Just to Say:
Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Houghton Mifflin, 2007
ISBN 978-0618-61680-0

What would you write if you could apologize for anything you've ever done wrong? The students in Mrs. Merz's 6th grade class decide to find out. They write apology poems, then take the bold move of asking for responses. Join them as they speak of dodgeball accidents, stolen doughnuts, broken windows, crushes, and lost pets—and find that the responses are not always what they expected.

Claudia Lewis Poetry Award; Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor; 2008 Cybils Poetry Award; SLJ Best Book of the Year

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
illustrated by Beth Krommes
Houghton Mifflin, 2006
ISBN 978-0-618-56313-5

Discover the hidden world of the meadow in this unique combination of poetry riddles and science wisdom. Beginning with the rising sun and ending with twilight, this book takes us on a tour through the fields, encouraging us to watch for a nest of rabbits, a foamy spittlebug,a leaping grasshopper, bright milkweed, a quick fox, and a cruising hawk.

2007 Henry Bergh Award for Poetry and Illustration; Cybils Poetry Award; ALA Notable Book; NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book


MEOW RUFF: A Story in Concrete Poetry
illustrated by Michelle Berg
Houghton Mifflin, 2006
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0-618-44894-4

On a clear, sunny day, a small adventure begins. First, a dog slips joyfully out of his house. Next a car pulls up to the curb, leaving a white cat alone. Then, slowly, a storm begins to brew over the park.  Watch as an unlikely friendship takes shape in this one-of-a-kind book that combines story, art, and delightful concrete poetry.

Junior Library Guild Selection; Booklist Editor's Choice Book; NCTE Notable Book in the Language Arts; CCBC Choice Book

Song of the Water Boatman

Song of the Water Boatman: Pond Poems
illustrated by Beckie Prange
Houghton Mifflin, 2005
ages 6 to 10, ISBN 978-0-618-13547-9

Reading Guide available from Minnesota Storytime

Beginning with the first spring peepers, and ending with a turtle burrowing into the winter mud, Song of the Water Boatman follows the season of the pond through the eyes of its inhabitants. Dragonfly, wood duck, backswimmer, and water bear (eleven creatures in all) flit and swim and leap through busy days in this watery microcosm. Exquisitely illustrated with woodcuts by Ely, Minnesota artist Beckie Prange.

2006 Caldecott Honor book; BCCB Blue Ribbon Award; Hornbook Fanfare List; Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year

World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices

The World According to Dog: Poems and Teen Voices
photographs by Doug Mindell
Houghton Mifflin, 2003
ages 8 to 14, ISBN 978-0-618-17497-3

A collaboration with teen authors, Joyce's poems about the hilarity and joy of owning a dog are combined with heart-warming essays by teens about their canine buddies, along with evocative photographs by Boston-area photographer Doug Mindell.

VOYA Poetry Pick for 2002; ALA Best Book for Young Adults Finalist; 2003 Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Book; Minnesota Book Award finalist; ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award

Eureka! Poems About Inventors

Eureka! Poems About Inventors
illustrated by K. Bennett Chavez
Millbrook Press, 2002
ages 8 to 14, ISBN 978-0-7613-1665-7

This poetry collection explores the minds of sixteen inventors, from prehistory (discovering the uses of clay) to the present day (creating the World Wide Web). The inventors of the hot-air balloon, chocolate bar, bra, and Frisbee speak of their dreams and obsessions; along with weightier figures like Johann Gutenberg, Elijah McCoy and Marie Curie. Lushly illustrated, the text includes nonfiction notes with more information about each inventor.

Bank Street Best Book of the Year; VOYA 2002 Nonfiction Honor List

Good Morning Tulip

Good Morning Tulip:
Selected Works from the
COMPAS Writers & Artists in the Schools Program

edited by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Dhann Polnau
COMPAS Writers & Artists in the Schools, 2002
all ages, ISBN 978-0-927663-37-3

An anthology of student poetry and prose gathered by COMPAS Writers-in-Residence in Minnesota schools, 2001-2002. In original written works that are by turns lyrical, humorous and poignant, this collection illustrates the remarkable depth of imagination that lies within each child.

Stories From Where We Live

Stories From Where We Live: The Great North American Prairie
edited by Sara St. Antoine
illustrated by Trudy Nicholson and Paul Mirocha
Milkweed, 2001
ages 9-12, ISBN 978-1-57131-630-1

Joyce's poem "Ice Whales" appears in this collection of poetry and prose about the Midwestern Prairie. One of the Midwest Booksellers Association's 2001 Trade Favorites, this volume also includes works by Carl Sandburg, Willa Cather, and Louise Erdrich.

Just Us Two

Just Us Two: Poems About Animal Dads
illustrated by Susan Swan
Millbrook Press, 2000
ages 5-8, ISBN 978-0-7613-1563-6
also in paperback, ISBN 978-0-7613-1833-0

Dive and wriggle and swoop with animal dads as they care for their young! Poet Joyce Sidman celebrates the parenting skills of dads in poems that are sometimes quiet and sometimes rowdy and rollicking. Capturing the voices of penguins to giant water bugs, monkeys to crocodiles, this book is exuberantly illustrated with brilliant cut-paper collage. It includes photos and nonfiction notes about each animal.

2001 Children's Literature Choice Book; Children’s Book Council Showcase Book; Infolink Best Book of the Year 2000

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