Thursday, October 20, 2011

Please Bury Me in the Library

Please Bury Me in the Library by J. Patrick Lewis and Illustrated by Kyle M. Stone
A Readers Guide

By Brittany Snyder

Bibliographic Citation
Lewis, J. Patrick. Please Bury Me in the Library. Illustrated by Kyle M. Stone. Orlando: Gulliver Books Harcourt Inc., 2005. ISBN 0152163875

Recommended Age Level
Independent Readers: grades 2-5 or ages 7-11; Book would also be enjoyable to a younger audience if used as a read-aloud book.

In this collection of sixteen poems, J. Patrick Lewis dives into the wonderful world of books and libraries. With such titles as Are You a Book Person? , Reading in the Dark, and Summer Reading at the Beach Lewis takes readers on an exploration of what books have to offer and the joys of reading. Beautiful illustrations by Kyle M. Stone complement each poem and provide readers with a foundation for their imaginations to leap from. Whether you’ve been an avid reader for quite some time, or are a brand new reader with a growing love for books, you will enjoy these poems!  
Awards/Recognition and Review Excerpts

Awards: Bill Martin Jr. Picture Book Award 2006-2007.
Recognition: Children’s Catalog, Best Books, Nineteenth Edition, 2006, Core Collection: Laugh Along Poetry for the Young, 2006, Kirkus Book Review Starts, April 1, 2005.
Review Excerpts: “What a joy to find, in our technological instant communication age, a book about books and words and pleasure! From the deliciously polite title through the ab-so-lu-tas-ti-cal final acknowledgement the author tickles the funny bone as he plays with words and ideas designed to delight and intrigue the discerning reader.”- Mildred Hart, Children’s Literature
“Although this beautifully illustrated picture book of clever poems is primarily for young children, it will tickle the fancy of most book lovers. Every poem has something to do with either books or reading.”- Brenda Ethridge Ferguson, Library Media Connection, 2006
“Any lover of books would enjoy the notion of being buried in a library with thousands of books from which to choose. J. Patrick Lewis has expanded upon this idea in this new collection of poetry entitled Please Bury Me in the Library.”- Ann Bullion-Mears, The Lorgnette- Heart of Texas Reviews, 18.2

Questions to ask Before Reading Book
1. Let’s make a prediction! Why do you think someone would want to be buried in a library? What does that tell us about a person?
2. What do we know about poems and poetry? More specifically, how is poetry different from the usual writing we see in a book? (Initially these questions could be asked to access prior knowledge but could also be used after the reading to prompt class discussion)
3. Looking at the cover of this book, what do we see? Does anyone know a story about three mice? Why do you think Kyle M. Stone might have picked this picture to use on the cover?
4. Just for fun! If you could pick an ‘unusual’ place to be buried, where would it be? Why?

Suggestions for Reading Poems Aloud
Summer Reading at the Beach: While the teacher, librarian or selected student reads the poem aloud, have students silently act out the lines of the poem. It will be entertaining to see students turn into TOAST!
Conversation on a Leaf: This poem has twenty-three short, choppy lines. I think to get the full effect of the poem it would be interesting to have each student in a class say a line with their own personal voice.
Please Bury Me in the Library: Divide the class into three groups; have each group read and act out the words. To make things even more interesting, have the groups add a line and see if the rest of the class can guess which line they added! (This is a way to get students excited about poetry- a. they won’t be doing it alone, b. it’s a baby step, and c. everyone loves a guessing game!)

Follow Up Activities
Writing: As mentioned in the pre-reading questions, students were asked to think about an unusual place they would want to be buried. Following the form of Please Bury Me in the Library students can create their own three stanza poem describing where and why. These are guaranteed to be great reads and an automatic attention-getter!
Art: In reference to Necessary Gardens students can create their own pictures using various materials that would illustrate the poem. Because the poem is describing libraries, these could be hung in the classroom library to enhance the environment.
Science: Instead of Summer Reading at the Beach students can create short poems about reading in the other seasons of the year. Being sure to include details about the seasons, these poems would be great as an activity in the science center.

Related Websites or Blogs
J. Patrick Lewis’ website:; Learn more about this amazing author and other work he’s done!
Kyle M. Stone’s website:; See more pictures from this amazing illustrator!
A library website just for kids:; Use this site to learn more about libraries, books, and current events. Great and easy to use!

Related Books
Other fiction work about libraries:
1. Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk
2. I.Q. Goes to the Library by Mary Ann Fraser, and
3. Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book by Alexander Stadler
Other poetry by J. Patrick Lewis:
1. Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year
2. The World’s Greatest: Poems
3. Under the Kissletoe: Poems about Christmas  

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