“Poems Stuck in My Brain” by Stephanie Henson: A Review

Stephanie Henson, author of “In the Right Lane” (EIF – Experiments in Fiction), which I reviewed on February 8, 2023 here, has a new book coming out on April 3, 2023, with Alien Buddha Press.

As Henson describes, “Poems Stuck in My Brain”, which is targeted for Middle Grade, ages 8-14, is “a mix of SEL-inspired poetry meant to inform and inspire, along with pieces intended to purely entertain kids, touching on the topics of seasons, nature, and love: a mix of wonder and awe for children”.

The poems show a range of rhyming and free verse poetry meant to entertain, inspire, and inform children on topics such as identity, bullying, confidence, mental health, nature, seasons, and love.

Henson considers her range of topics a unique selling point. Her book “has more adolescent themes than what is seen in a lot of kid’s poetry such as managing emotions, dealing with bullies, and finding self-confidence. In this collection, I wanted to include some lighter pieces so you will find more traditional offerings as well on topics such as nature, love, and friendship. I feel there is a void in the market for this type of collection and that older kids need poetry options as well”.

As I read these poems, I felt my inner child respond. I recalled my school days. The delight of the first day of school, the expectations to fit in and to be popular, my charm bracelets, the seasonal games and holiday activities, my crushes. Several poems stood out for my inner little girl. 

My family moved many times because our family was growing and Dad said he needed to find bigger churches to support a family that expanded to nine. It seems as though I was often the new girl in school and also the smallest in my class. Children had already formed cliques based on their lifelong friendships since kindergarten in their areas. It was so difficult for me to make friends because I was shy. This poem spoke to me.

The Popularity Puzzle

Wanted to be a piece of the popularity puzzle,
to fit in and create magical scenes.
Football games with friends
Parties with the pretty people
Formals with frilly frocks
An invitation to,
a clique that clicks.
To be accepted and respected.
But the patterns were different.
Printed with contradictions,
and the pieces didn’t connect.
Tried to bend and break to fit in,
but could not make it work.
On the outside of the frame,
yet can see the space inside.
Wonder where it is I belong?
Craving the comfort of completion.

I found that I gravitated toward other kids who were “outcasts”, not considered popular – other shy girls and boys who didn’t wear the latest fashions or who were more studious than social, and also those who had special needs. It was with those sweet children I played marbles, jacks, and tether ball. As I look back, always being the last one chosen for dodgeball teams was a blessing because I learned how to show compassion to others, who in turn were kind and loving to me.

Looking Glass

To see tween years through your eyes
How fortunate you are
Surrounded by beauty and friendship
Cameras flash in your honor
Blessed with gifts from above
Be humble
Be kind
Be You
Do not take it for granted
Mirror Mirror on the wall
Middle school kids can have it all
But it all depends on what you do
Be humble
Be kind
Be true

I appreciate how Henson has designed poetry that supports and teaches children, especially in this current world in which negativity and bullying are too prominent, causing self-doubt, anxiety, and fear in our children. Henson’s loving and supportive poems provide a healing salve for broken self-images. While addressing the social needs of middle-school children, Henson calls in themes from the natural world, faith, and happy holidays. 

I believe this collection of poetry should be gifted to middle school children, especially those who feel lost and forgotten, like I did.  (BHL, 2023)

Cited Poetry 

Copyright © 2023 Stephanie Henson 

Stephanie lives with her family in West Chester, Pennsylvania, but is originally from Central, New Jersey, where she has a degree in Communications and a Publishing and Professional Writing Certificate from Rider University. Her background is in Advertising/Marketing and most of her writing experience is through those professional roles. Writing and storytelling has been her passion for a long time. She has been published in print and online through various publications and has had several children’s poems published by The Dirigible Balloon, Buzgaga Online, Parakeet Magazine, and Paperbound Magazine. She also has a Children’s Poetry book released in affiliation with Experiments in Fiction, an independent publisher in the UK, which reached Number One New Release in Children’s Poetry on Amazon (ebook).

Stephanie enjoys reading, theatre, mindless web searching, Netflix binges, sunflowers, sports, and anything related to coffee!

Featured Image: Book Cover of “Poems Stuck in My Brain”

Editor: Barbara Harris Leonhard

MasticadoresUSA is open for submissions. Send your submissions to meelosmom@gmail.com.

Please follow MasticadoresUSA for more great reads!

Amazon Best-Selling Author

Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir (EIF-Experiments in Fiction, 2022)

Pushcart Nominee, 2022

Facebook: Barbara Harris Leonhard /barbara.leonhard

Twitter: @BarbaraLeonhar4

Instagram: @meelosmom123

Linked In: ExtraordinarySunshineWeaver

Mastodon: @BarbaraLeonhard@msdtn.social

Divider Image: by GDJ on Pixabay

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6 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. Michele Lee dice:

    A touching and relatable poem. 🌻

    Le gusta a 1 persona

  2. Meelosmom dice:

    I enjoyed reading and reviewing your book, Stephanie! Send us some poems! We want to have more work by and for youth.

    Le gusta a 1 persona

  3. jonicaggiano dice:

    Barbara, this is a beautifully done review, and I feel like I have a very good idea about what kind of child and even adult could benefit and learn from the example poems you used. I think it is difficult for children to move constantly. I did because we were in the military, but it was also to keep us hidden. I am sorry you felt the way you did at school, and I understand that feeling, but I am glad that there are people like this – Stephanie-Henson – writing books to make it easier for children living in a complicated world. Blessings to you both, and thank you, Stephanie, for what you are doing for the young ones. Joni❤️

    Le gusta a 1 persona

    1. Meelosmom dice:

      Thank you, Joni! You’re always so compassionate!

      Le gusta a 1 persona

  4. michnavs dice:

    This is a beautiful review Barbara. This brings me back when i was a grade school teacher reading poems for my little students, their smiles are the best.

    Le gusta a 1 persona

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