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    Read a poem written by America’s best young poets.

    Literary Hub

    May 21, 2024, 10:00am

    Want to know what the best youth poets in America are thinking? Literary Hub is pleased to exclusively share a poem, collaboratively written by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ National Student Poets, along with new data from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™ that underscores the importance of libraries and open access to books for kids:

    • 63% of kids get most of their books from the public, school, and classroom library.

    • Not all children have a school library—and children without a school library report more trouble finding books they like. 54% of children who do not have a school library say they have trouble finding books they like compared to 46% of children who do have a school library say they have trouble finding books they like.

    • 74% of kids ages 6-17 say reading fiction and nonfiction helps them understand the world, and nearly a quarter of children (22%) say that when choosing books, they look for books that make them think and feel.

    Read the poem, which the authors recently performed at a congressional reception in Washington D.C., below.

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    Untitled

    by Miles Hardingwood, Jacqueline Flores, Kallan McKinney, Gabriella Miranda, and Shangri-La Hou

     

    Its shelves ivory             rhyme-dusted,
    lost entryways make meaningless
    chapters. It was these once-wandered pages

    that first lifted concrete into iamb, cliched dew
    drops until they splintered, cast sludged waters
    into wading pools then asked what could

    be reflected. This book
    where the boy first breathed a poet
    is now decrepit, answered yesterday.

    These covers,
    Whose canvas imprinted on grey fingertips to chest.
    Knowledge—whose message privies from
    These pages,
    Which innocent ignorance never traced.
    Selfdom encountered from the fragrance of
    These breakthroughs,
    Where sight is restored to the acquiescent mind of a forced veil.

    it is a kind of survival—how stories seed themselves
    into children, & children grow themselves
    into adults

    We keep a thumbprint of these relics,
    The tapestries, the eyelet threading
    We call our anniversaries

    That ferry through the smile lines
    Of worn mountain faces,
    Their protruding ridges for noses

    Catching the dustings of one overcast story.
    We inhale the alpine scent
    Of book spines and fables turned anew,

    Exhaling the perfume of narrative.
    We record and record again
    This blood-beat pulse of learning.

    All of the children share
    one silence—one recognition
    of the sacred place where words fly
    their maybes like hummingbird wings
    from every page.

    Right here, she points, offering wildness
    without explanation. There’s a dragon, life-breathing,
    watching me grow.

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