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hardcover Girl Coming In For A Landing by April Halprin Wayland illustrated by Elaine Clayton


Winner of the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry 
This award is given by the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California.  Receiving this award was especially bittersweet, as Myra was my long-time mentor.

Named a Lee Bennett Hopkins Honor Book for Children’s Poetry

The Hopkins award is presented to the best book of poems published in the previous year by the College of Education and the University Libraries at Penn State University and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. (And I wore the nicest dress to accept the award!)

A Junior Library Guild Selection
Nominated for a Best Book of the Year for Young Adults by the American Library Association (ALA)
Nominated for the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list

KIRKUS: “…utterly fresh and winning collection of verse …spot-on observations.   Employing many forms of verse, some rhymed, some not…all of them are accessible and exquisitely crafted.  The narrator says a great deal about writing: “I want to / make something / beautiful…”  She gets her wish.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:  “Wayland…captures the truth of (this) age……this work succeeds in making reading and writing poetry more accessible to teens who may otherwise find these tasks intimidating.  Wayland’s endnote includes specific suggestions for writing and submitting poems, noting that her Web site lists places where young writers can get published.”

THE HORN BOOK: “…sincere and overflowing with turbulent emotion.  The unnamed narrator’s innocent exuberance spills forth…as when she tries to find the words to convey how she felt when her language arts teacher praised her writing (“Firecrackers!  Electric guitars!  Whipped cream!/ Roller coasters! / Carlo!”).  Heartbreaks and humiliations are also strongly expressed…Eclectic collage artwork decorates the pages, adding to the volume’s personalized feel, and an author’s note charts the book’s origins while also offering a pep talk to young writers.”

VOYA: “This novel provides a soft, intimate glimpse into the life of a young teen girl…The combination of poetry and art is delightful and amusing.  The poems explore different styles, ranging from a rewrite of a Shakespearean sonnet to concrete poetry that is artwork on its own. Several (poems) are wonderfully written and capable of standing on their own without the benefit of a connecting plot.  As a novel, the story has the intimate feel of being inside someone’s private thought or at the very least being able to read a private journal.  Among the many stories told through verse, this book is a standout.”

TWIST MAGAZINE: “Need a book for the beach? Look no further…
The plot: Author April Halprin Wayland takes a bunch of insightful poems-about everything from love to finding your own identity-and puts them together to tell the story of one complicated (aren’t they all?) school year.  Why you’ll love it: Even if you yawned your way through Lit class, you’ll be hooked on her sincere poetry.”

YM: I’m usually dense when it comes to poetry, but I finished this novel in poems in one sitting.  Each page is like a diary entry in which an unnamed protagonist reveals her thoughts on everything from the major blow-out she had with her best friend to her roller-coaster crush on the boy of her dreams.  It helps that the language isn’t flowery and confusing, but straightforward and poignant.  For example: “Here’s my chance / to be someone else / just for tonight. / To be someone who / wears this dress, / arrives in style, / walking in owning the room.”  The book is also filled with wonderfully sloppy sketches and collages that illustrate the text.  My favorite:  the birds made out of cut-up sheet music that accompany a poem about her violin recital. **** four stars

~”I read it nonstop. April Wayland breathes teenage clarity onto every page with humor and affection.”
Pam Munoz Ryan, author of Riding Freedom & Esperanza Rising

~”Wayland’s semi-autobiographical novel in verse is a delightful celebration of poetry, parents and the passage from childhood to adolescence. Filled with fresh imagery and rhythms as natural as breathing, this sweet-spirited story of family, friendship, first love and a girl’s discovery of the power of words is an undivided pleasure to read-first silently to yourself…then aloud to the special people in your own life.”
Michael Cart, author, “Booklist” columnist, YA literature specialist

~”…haunting, yearning, lovely–just the right touch for a young girl finding the world and herself.”
Sonia Levitin, author of The Return & Dream Freedom

~”April Halprin Wayland speaks in the passionately authentic voice of a real teenage girl. Her honest, heartfelt, poignant poems will inspire teens who read them to try writing some of their own.”
Sonya Sones, author of Stop Pretending & What My Mother Doesn’t Know

~”It’s dazzling. Her easy-on-the-eyes poetry zings right to the heart. I can’t imagine a warmer companion through adolescence than Girl Coming In for a Landing.”
Sid Fleischman, Newbery award-winning author of The Whipping Boy & many others

~“Much luck with GIRL COMING IN…; I know it will receive wondrous reviews.”
poet Lee Bennett Hopkins

About her previous poetry–not this collection:
~”[Her] work is stupendous…some of the best writing I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
poet Lee Bennett Hopkins

A father’s review:
I just wanted to tell you that I got your book and purposed to give it to my daughter ( I have two — ages 13 and 14 — but the 13-year-old reads everything!) but I couldn’t put it down. I love to read myself and enjoy poetry and your book gave me some great insights into what it is like for my girls. As a licensed child therapist, I enjoyed it on behalf of all the preteen and teen girls I work with. I will recommend it to them and my staff ( I direct a children’s mental health agency).  P.S. I will give it to my daughter…as soon as I finish it :)
Ron Huxley, LMFT 

My hometown paper’s review

Review from the Easy Reader.

Review from East Coast Stories This review includes two poems from the book and one of Elaine Clayton’s illustrations. From the review by Gregory Farrell: “This is a beautiful book that reminds the reader of the vulnerability of those early school days. As we get older, we put up walls to protect us from potential emotional hurt. This book makes the reader remember that while those walls do their job, they also seal out some of the joy of life.”

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