Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea by Lee Bennett Hopkins – #NGEW2018 #NetGalley

Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea

by: Lee Bennett Hopkins (Editor)


From Goodreads:

A 2018 Notable Poetry Book for Children (National Council of Teachers of English)

Selected for Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018 by NCSS-CBC, a cooperative project of the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council

Traveling the Blue Road is a carefully curated collection of kid-friendly poetry about the ever inspiring subject of the ocean. Themes include pilgrimages, migration, culture, and more.

Prepare to be inspired by the sea with Traveling the Blue Road. This book is packed with gorgeous illustrations that surround a collection of poetry for children on the themes of the couragebeauty, and promise of sea voyages.

Compiled and edited by award-winning poet Lee Bennett Hopkins, the poems describe how the sea has historically shone as a metaphor for both hope and despair, and served as a pathway for people searching for new lifeTraveling the Blue Road includes poems about the pilgrims coming to the New World, the Mariel boatlift, the Vietnamese boat people, a Dutch slave ship, the current migration situation in the Mediterranean, and the voyage of the St. Louis.

Contributing poets include Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Paul B. Janeczko, J. Patrick Lewis, Allan Wolf, Marilyn Nelson, Denver Butson, Georgia Heard, Jane Yolen, Naomi Shihab Nye, and G. Neri, and Margarita Engle, the recently named Young People’s Poet Laureate.

Named one of Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2018!

My thoughts on this book:

This book contains a wonderful collection of poems relating to multiple maritime journeys from the past and present. Poems range from 1492 when Columbus sailed in search of the Indies up to the Sama-Bajau people, present day. There are many other voyages shared including the Pilgrims’ Mayflower journey to America for religious freedom, The Middle Passage, and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 to name a few.


We appreciated all of the poems. Many are extremely powerful, emotional, and easily capture your attention. Some of the poems and illustrations may evoke fear in younger children and may be difficult for them to understand because a few involve slavery, kidnapping and death, but they are honest and share truth about our history, presenting information not typically shared in traditional textbooks.


I really appreciated that the author included a note’s section to describe each event so that children who may not be fully aware of them obtain insight. The writing is also very easy for them to understand. I was also very pleased that the author included an ‘about’ section which gives you a little biographical information about each poet. In addition, the illustrations in this book are striking, eye-catching, and convey the hardships experienced during these times.


My personal opinion is that this book would be perfect for elementary students, primarily 4th grade and up. I believe it’s listed at 3rd grade and up, but I think it’s best for older children, or children that have a fairly good understanding about these tough times in history. The poems are compelling and will more than likely spark interest, motivating kids to ask questions. It’s a wonderful supplement to history curriculum’s and it’s definitely going down as one of my favorite children’s books of 2018.


I’d like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book to share my honest review.

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Seagrass Press (October 17, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1633222764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1633222762

Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

This is book #11 on my NetGalley/Edelweiss Challenge. You can see it HERE.

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Thanks for reading my review of this book. You can share your thoughts or suggestions below if you’d like to!

17 thoughts on “Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea by Lee Bennett Hopkins – #NGEW2018 #NetGalley

  1. Pingback: Reading Challenges 2018 – Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge #NGEW2018 and Ultimate Reading Challenge #UltimateReadingChallenge – ReadRantRock&Roll

  2. Hey, to one of my favorite people! ♥️ This sounds absolutely breathtaking, as is the artwork and the cover- wow! I am definitely taking note. Your review is just as beautiful. Hope you are having a smooth transition to the “year,” and so happy to see you pop up in my notifications! 💗 xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 💜 Hi, Jenn! Thank you. Everything is going well so far. Just really crazy. I hope to be back in the swing of things soon. I’ve missed so many of your posts, but I’ll catch up. Hope all is well with you. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. starjustin

    I enjoyed hearing about this book from you. It sounds very interesting and touches on ‘real’ historical happenings that children can look at and learn about in a different concept. Great review Jen! 📘

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, all is well, thank you. Great! I always look forward to your book reviews. I think it’s nice to introduce poetry to children early enough so they don’t learn it only in school where it is taught in a more structured form. That’s probably what made me dislike poetry until recently. Incidentally, I’m currently reading a poetry book, Moonflower.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That’s so kind of you to say! I need to get caught up with yours and enjoy yours as well. I agree with the poetry thoughts. Are you reading Moonflower by Esther Edoho? I’m trying to find it now, lol. 💜

          Liked by 1 person

  4. David R. Dowdy

    I think it’s great to show kids that the daydreams and stories they imagine in a wink of time are truthful and possible. That’s what poetry does.


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