Who said reading needs to be a silent activity? Laura Purdie Salas gives books a voice.

Each day leading up to the April 14 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2012 Children’s Literature Finalist:

BookSpeak! Poems About Books
Laura Purdie Salas (illustrated by Josee Bisaillon)

Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co.

Category Sponsor: Books For Africa

This book is a collection of wild and weird, wacky and winsome poems about all the magic to be found on a bookshelf. Characters plead for sequels and book jackets strut their stuff in this volume, where each poem gives voice to some aspect of the written word.


An excerpt from BookSpeak!:

I’ll tell you a story.
I’ll spin you a rhyme.
I’ll spill some ideas –
And we’ll travel through time.

Put down the controller.
Switch off the TV.
Abandon the mouse and
Just hang out with me.

I promise adventure.
Come on, take a look!
On a day like today,
There’s no friend like a book!


Laura Purdie Salas lives in Minneapolis. Stampede!, her first book of poetry for children, was a Minnesota Book Award finalist.


“It’s important to instill a love of reading at an early age, and BookSpeak! is as well-suited to that purpose as any book that’s come across my desk in a very long time.”
– Minnesota Book Awards judge

“Salas’ verse tackles subjects from the conflict component of story, to life as an index, to the publishing process and right through to bookstores. The book plate swears he is not a dish, while one book bemoans his fear of wetness. A character begs for a sequel and one book goes on vacation! Wildly inventive and delightfully clever, puns dot the pages. Salas’ wordplay is delicious. Vastly more than a poetry collection touting the joys and wonders of reading, BookSpeak! gives personality to the world of words in a fresh, new way.”
– Jacki Miller, fictionaddict.com

“‘Put down the controller./ Switch off the TV./ Abandon the mouse and/ just hang out with me.’ From the outset, this collection of poems makes its message clear: books are where it’s at. Salas’s polished verse demonstrates a deep love for all aspects of books, from their content to their creators, and she’s not above using a touch of guilt to get her audience invested: ‘If a book remains unopened/ and no reader turns its page,/ does it still embrace a story/ or trap words inside a cage?'”
– Publishers Weekly


Click here to see the promotional trailer for BookSpeak!


Award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Saint Paul Riverfront. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. New this year: a post-awards “Epilogue Celebration.” Tickets are available online or by calling 651-222-3242. Click here for more information.

Have you read BookSpeak!? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!


Laura Purdie Salas is on Facebook

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