Where I can help others.
Where I can relax.
Where I can feel safe.
Where I can explore.
I love the poems in Kalli Dakos’ “If You’re Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand.” I love how some, like the title poem and “She Should Have Listened To Me,” are funny, while others, like “The Cry Guy,” are sad. All of the poems, though, even the silliest like “If We Had Lunch at the White House,”, are very honest. They illustrate very vividly what it is like to be a child. Some of the poems, in fact, like “They Don’t Do Math in Texas,” are neither sad nor funny. They just paint a very believable picture of childhood.
I don’t, however, think the poems are organized very well. When reading the book from cover to cover, I found it very disorienting to read a silly poem either right after or right before a very sad one. For instance, “A Teacher’s Lament,” a funny poem, comes right after “Were You Ever Fat Like Me?”, a sad, but uplifting poem. Similarly, “Why Can’t A Girl Be the Leader of the Boys?”, another funny poem, comes right before “JT Will Never Be Ten,” which is probably the saddest poem in the book, not to mention one of the saddest children’s poems ever written. The poems in this book would be much easier to enjoy for both children and adults if the book, like other books of poetry, were divided into sections with themes. This would be especially helpful for children, since it would make it easier to know if they’re about to read a funny poem or a sad one. The “Kids Pick the Funniest Poems” volumes are all divided up into themed sections, but this is less necessary for an anthology where all the poems are funny. I think themed sections are even more important for collections and anthologies whose poems have a variety of different moods.
That being said, the poems in this book are wonderful. Any adult who wants to explore his or her memories of being a child should read them, and they could probably get just about any elementary-aged child liking poetry. Please check out the book at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Youre-Here-Please-Raise-Your-ebook/dp/B004A90BXI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421530654&sr=1-1&keywords=if+you%27re+not+here+please+raise+your+hand+poems+about+school