I am not always a big poetry fan and almost never a poetry collection champion, but Night Wishes (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2020) has won me over. Poetry collections usually offer up a shared theme, but can lack a continuous story and solid character. Not true with Night Wishes! This collection of poems, selected by Lee Bennet Hopkins, is masterfully arranged to capture the wistful and chaotic moments of bedtime with a prominent beginning, middle and end. From the opening poems, "Bed", "Pillow" and "Blanket" that give the reader the anchor of place, to the poems that recall the day now gone and the hopes for the sweet dreams found in slumber, to the final poem, "Bed Again" that encourages our sleepy child to explore a new day, Night Wishes is a gem. Hopkins has set the poems in an order that reads from poem to poem into a joyful page turning story. Caregivers looking for a peaceful bedtime read or teachers reaching for a book as part of a poetry unit will not be disappointed.
When honing your writing skills, it is always helpful to study the mastery of fellow authors. In Night Wishes, you get the benefit of poems by thirteen fellow authors. Use Night Wishes to consider the power of sparse text, word choice, and cadence. All three attributes are essential building blocks for both poetry and prose and all three are on full display in Night Wishes.
In addition, this collection of poems provides ample examples of smart metaphors and lyrical similes. Both writing devices can be tricky to manage without sinking into common boring tropes or forced sugary language, the authors in Night Wishes each hit the mark with their own unique writing voice.
To learn more about Lee Bennett Hopkins visit leebennetthopkins.com.