Joyce Sidman


Joyce Sidman is the author of many award-winning children’s poetry books, including the Newbery Honor-winning Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, and two Caldecott Honor books. Her recent book The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science won the 2019 Robert F. Sibert Medal. Joyce also has received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children's Poetry for her body of work. In her home state of Minnesota, she teaches poetry writing to school children and walks through the woods with her dog Watson. Source

One of Us

“That kid is weird,” says

the teacher, flipping her shining hair.

“I don’t know where he’s at.”

Indeed, he is quiet

in the way of a giraffe:

ears tuned to something we can’t hear.

He turns his sleepy eyes on me—

chocolate brown

with long, extraordinary lashes—

as I hand him a seashell:

something to write about, you know,

something to focus on.


Suddenly, silently,

in the mysterious way of  poetry,

he is at

           that shell,

he is in it,

his heart fills up with it.

O Shell, he writes,

you make lizards dance

in the sky with birds.

Never leave me, Shell.


During sharing time,

he reads his poem aloud—


almost to himself.

Half the class is stunned,

half embarrassed.

The teacher shakes her head.


I am barely breathing.

One of  us, I sing, one of  us!





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica



Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing