friday feast: celebrating dare to dream . . . change the world

Hooray, hooray!

Dare to Dream . . . Change the World (Kane Miller, 2012) is officially out tomorrow, September 1st!

I’d been anxious to see this new poetry anthology conceived and edited by author/poet/agent Jill Corcoran ever since she shared the title poem for our 2012 Poetry Potluck back in April. What a beautiful book!

The lovely Jill Corcoran.

You may remember that Jill’s inspiration for this collection “came during a car ride, listening to NPR cover the uprising of the Egyptian people against their oppressive government.” Jill was overcome by their courage and determination, thinking that their tweets were like poetry, capturing in just a few words the essence of their strength, resilience, hopes, fears, and dreams for the future.

Why not ask 30 of the nation’s best children’s poets “to share the spirit of dreaming + action = change,” by writing pairs of poems (1 biographical + 1 inspirational) illuminating the achievements of 14 notable individuals who changed their own lives and ultimately changed the lives of people all over the world?

Art for Bruce Coville’s “Ripples” by J. Beth Jepson

Dare to Dream includes a culturally diverse mix of male and female subjects from various walks of life who defied the odds in a range of disciplines and arenas, everyone from Jonas Salk, Anne Frank, Steven Spielberg and Michelle Kwan, to beloved children’s author/illustrator Ashley Bryan, Mexican American civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez, to YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim.

And the poets? None other than our very own Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis, leads the charge with Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck noshers Joyce Sidman, Jane Yolen, Marilyn Singer, Kelly Ramsdell Fineman, Janet S. Wong, Elaine Magliaro, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, and Laura Purdie Salas, among others! How’s that for award-winning, immensely talented, plucky, and good-looking?

Lee Bennett Hopkins and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

There are two other noshing poets dear to my heart that I haven’t yet mentioned because I’m sharing their poems today: champion anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins (one of the book’s dedicatees) and my favorite Christmas cookie baker Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Lee wrote a biographical poem about contemporary artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and Rebecca wrote a poem inspired by Georgia’s work. Both are breathtakingly beautiful lyrical pieces that embody the spirit of the artist. Just as Georgia painted masterpieces with color, line and perspective, Lee and Rebecca have created dazzling wordscapes with metaphor, image, and cadence.

Lee at the Taos atelier once occupied by Georgia O’Keeffe.

When asked why he chose O’Keeffe as their subject, Lee recounted the story of having twice stayed in an atelier in Taos, New Mexico, where O’Keeffe herself stayed and painted: “The site is on the rooftop of an adobe home where you have to climb quite a number of stone steps to get to the room. One could just imagine her staring out from the windows of this small place. I find it fascinating that The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, opened in 1997 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the only museum in the world dedicated to an American woman artist.”

A line drawing, a line of poetry, a little music of the mind that speaks to the soul. As we celebrate this new book, let’s toast all the poets, who, in their ongoing attempts to crystallize human emotion, also dare to dream, their words an eternal gift of inspiration, sometimes powerful enough to change the way we think and feel.

Art by J. Beth Jepson

by Lee Bennett Hopkins

“Where I was born and where and how I lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.” – Georgia O’Keeffe


Sky will always be.
So shall I.

Feel my sudden thrill
as I stand atop
a beloved red hill.

Hear my silent voice rush
from charcoal, paint, a well-used brush
as I speak with hues —
vibrant violet, a grandeur of green —
bringing to life what I have seen.

Sense my strength
of a gigantic flower,
dry, desolate desert sands
I hard-studied hour after patient hour.

View my
ancient skulls of deer,
dried up ram —

then you’ll know just who I am.


Sky will always be.
So shall I.

So shall I.

* * *

Art by J. Beth Jepson

by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

I found a journal from sky once.
One page was titled:
Cursive in Prussian blue.
It was filled with scripts of air,
a wash of watercolor,
a flake-white calla lily,
talk of blooms and blossoms
fit for a museum; so gallant,
so lovely a brushwork of
space on canvas; sky said:
“Life, meet art.” And,
“Art, meet life.”
In the center of a day,
each day, are lines upon a canvas,
an abstract image that floats
like a spirit somewhere
down around the heart
and out from fingertips.
Sky told me so.

* * *

J. Beth Jepson’s evocative digital illustrations provide aesthetically pleasing visual contexts for the poems, amplifying emotion and adding interesting detail. Love her use of complementary colors to blend the facing pages of each double-page presentation, which strengthens the connection between each pair of poems.

Jill’s opening poem, “Dare to Dream,” and Bruce Coville’s closing poem, “Ripples,” nicely frame the collection, reinforcing the underlying concept of how dreams start quietly, small, within, and once they are realized, forever widen and influence. Each person, in his/her own way, can make a difference.

* * *

edited by Jill Corcoran
illustrated by J. Beth Jepson
published by Kane Miller, September 2012
Hardcover Poetry Picture Book for all ages, 40 pp.
Includes brief prose bios for each subject as well as short bios for all 30 poets.
Cool themes: social activism, diversity, medicine, art, literature, inventions, sports, history, autism, dance, space travel, teachers, film, video, inspiration, innovation, global awareness, poetry.


  • Sylvia Mendez
  • Nicholas Cobb​
  • Father Gregory Boyle​
  • Anne Frank​
  • Jonas Salk​
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat​
  • Michelle Kwan​
  • Ashley Bryan​
  • Temple Grandin​
  • Martha Graham​
  • Georgia O’Keeffe​
  • Christina McAuliffe​
  • Steven Spielberg​
  • Chad Hurley, Steven Chen and Jawed Karim


  • Alan Katz
  • Alice Schertle
  • Bruce Coville
  • Carol Tanzman
  • Curtis Crisler
  • David L. Harrison
  • Denise Lewis Patrick
  • Elaine Magliaro
  • Ellen Hopkins
  • Georgia Heard
  • Hope Anita Smith
  • Hope Vestergaard
  • J. Patrick Lewis
  • Jacqui Robbins
  • Jane Yolen
  • Janet S. Wong
  • Jill Corcoran
  • Joan Bransfield Graham
  • Joyce Lee Wong
  • Joyce Sidman
  • Julia Durango
  • Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
  • Laura Purdie Salas
  • Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Lisa Wheeler
  • Marilyn Singer
  • Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • Rose Horowitz
  • Stephanie Hemphill
  • Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

* * *

“Spring” by Georgia O’Keeffe, oil on canvas (1923/24), via Art Institute of Chicago, © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum


♥ Visit the Dare to Dream . . . Change the World website!

♥ Jill Corcoran shares “Dare to Dream” for the 2012 Poetry Potluck

♥ Several of the Dare to Dream poets have posted about the anthology at their blogs:

* * *

The lovely Sylvia Vardell is hosting today’s Roundup at Poetry for Children. Enjoy all the poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere and have a great holiday weekend!

“Above the Clouds I” by Georgia O’Keeffe


“Painter” by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Copyright © 2012. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd. on behalf of the author.

“Cloudscape” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Copyright © 2012. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd. on behalf of the author.

*Spreads from Dare to Dream . . . Change the World posted by permission of the publisher, copyright © 2012 J. Beth Jepson, published by Kane Miller/EDC. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

38 thoughts on “friday feast: celebrating dare to dream . . . change the world

  1. Oh my goodness, what a treat to come to your site and find this inspiring treasure trove – poetry volume, websites and all, Jama! This sounds like a must have for my classroom – and we shall visit the accompanying website, too. And thank you for sharing glimpses into the artwork – they transport you into another, better, world, don’t they?


    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Tara — I’m sure you’ll enjoy sharing the book with your students. The poems and short profiles are bound to make them want to learn more about all the people featured — several of whom I’d never heard of before. And what a kick to see poems written by several PF regulars :)!


    1. Dynamic duo is right! They’re amazing and it’s always fun to see what they are up to :). I like the idea of pairing poets — it’s a nice way to double your perspective on the subjects and ponder the rippling effects of their accomplishments.


  2. Dear Jama: Thank you SO much for your work, your enthusiasm, and bringing poetry into so many lives. I truly appreciate your kind words about my work. Of course, working with my best-est poetry pal, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, is always a forever-treat. Happy Poetry-ing.


  3. I love everything about this book – the poetry samples, the art, the subject matter… and you know, I GOTTA read the one on Steven Spielberg. 🙂 (I think there is a special challenge to writing about people still living…) Thanks, Jama, for sharing!


    1. Quite a few of the subjects are still living — you’re right about the challenge involved. I don’t know of any other poems written about Steven.


    1. Those poems really resonated with me. I’m a sucker for lyrical poetry :). The illustrations were especially perfect, since Rebecca loves those aquamarine/torquoise colors . . .


  4. This is a remarkable book and so wonderful to see it so richly highlighted here! This is one of my favorite poetry collections in a LONG, long time!


    1. Must say you have great taste, Julie — the book is truly remarkable and then some. A very interesting cross-section of people :).


  5. I love it for the beauty of the pictures & the words, but also because Taos is a very favorite place for us to travel to, just about 6 hours south. I’ve been there with family, friends, & with my classes several times. One extraordinary trip we stayed at Ghost Ranch, & learned more about Georgia O’Keefe & that gorgeous place of inspiration. She is amazing. This anthology looks very special, Jama. I am glad to be reminded just how much it will inspire others. Thank you for all the photos, words & links.


    1. Oh, I’ve heard so much about Taos but have never been there. Lucky you! How fabulous to stay at Ghost Ranch, too! I love visiting places where writers/artists lived and worked — it really enhances your understanding of their work. Was happy to learn Georgia spent a little time in Hawai’i, all because I read and reviewed Amy Novesky’s PB :).


  6. This is such an amazing book — the themes, the poems, the illustrations. I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole book.


  7. Jama, this book looks absolutely gorgeous. I especially responded to Lee’s poem, with its sense of stillness and teaching children to find “I am” in nature.


    1. Love your reaction to the poems — I felt the same way! Took me by surprise, took my breath away and then filled me up :).


  8. The sun is sunning through the birch tree making patterned shadows on my window as the day draws to a close but coming to this site, Jama, has made my day even more lovely. What a beautiful book, what a beautiful review. Thank you so much.


  9. Jama, as per usual, you have wowed me yet again with a post filled with cloudy-transient-fleeting-yet-breathtakingly-beautiful things. I love all the references to the sky. Lee Bennett Hopkins is a favorite as well! I especially loved “Sky will always be. So shall I.”

    As I think you might know, a friend of mine and I just shared Cynthia Alexander’s music in Finland. She’s one of our eminent singer-songwriters, and she has a song entitled “Owner of the Sky” which we played for conference participants earlier. I hope you’d have a chance to hear the song – fits your theme here beautifully.


    1. Just listened to “Owner of the Sky” — beautiful! Thanks for introducing me to Cynthia’s work. The beginning of the song reminded me of another song — “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. 🙂


  10. My copy has been sitting right here on the table beside me while I worked and worked on getting school started. Now the long weekend is here and I’ll have time to dig in and enjoy. Thanks for another wonderful book birthday party!


  11. “I find it fascinating that The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, opened in 1997 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the only museum in the world dedicated to an American woman artist.”

    Really? Whoa.

    Thanks for this post. I look forward to reading the book.


    1. I was surprised to hear that too! You’ll enjoy the book, especially since you probably know all, if not most, of the poets included :).


  12. Loved this post, Jama. I’m late to the party (as usual these days, it seems), but thank you so much for talking about this gorgeous, gorgeous anthology. I still pinch myself at being included!


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