This Is Just to Say

This Is Just to Say

Poems of Apology and Forgiveness

By Joyce Sidman; Pamela Zagarenski (Illustrator)

Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780618616800, 47pp.

Publication Date: April 2007


When Mrs. Merz asks her sixth grade class to write poems of apology, they end up liking their poems so much that they decide to put them together into a book. Not only that, but they get the people to whom they apologized to write poems back.

In haiku, pantoums, two-part poems, snippets, and rhymes, Mrs. Merz’s class writes of crushes, overbearing parents, loving and losing pets, and more. Some poets are deeply sorry; some not at all. Some are forgiven; some are not. In each pair of poems a relationship, a connection, is revealed.

About the Author
Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman is simply one of the best poets writing for children today. Her accolades include a Lee Bennet Hopkins Award, winner of the Cybil Award, Texas Bluebonnet Master List, two Caldecott Honors, winner of the Claudia Lewis Award, and many stars and notables and best of lists. For her award-winning body of work, she recently won the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She lives in Wayzata, Minnesota. Visit

Caldecott Honor Medalist Pamela Zagarenski is a brilliant painter of many worlds. As well as illustrating picture books, she creates sculptures and large paintings, which can be viewed at an art gallery in Mystic, Connecticut. She divides her time between Stonington, Connecticut, and her house on Prince Edward Island. Visit

Praise For This Is Just to Say

Packed with the intensity of everyday pain and sorrow, kids and adults exchange the words that convey grief, delight, love and acceptance of themselves and others.
Kirkus Reviews

The poems successfully navigate the complicated terrain for those who seek forgiveness.
Publishers Weekly

"Sidman's collection could help young poets express themselves and learn from their mistakes." Book Links January 2008 Book Links, ALA

"Delicate, mixed-media illustrations...add touches of whimsy and wit to these delightful missives." SLJ December 2007 School Library Journal