Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems

Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems

by John Grandits


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A 15-year-old girl named Jessie voices typical—and not so typical—teenage concerns in this unique, hilarious collection of poems. Her musings about trying out new makeup and hairstyles, playing volleyball and cello, and dealing with her annoying younger brother are never boring or predictable. Who else do you know who designs her own clothes and writes poetry to her cat? Jessie’s a girl with strong opinions, and she isn’t shy about sharing them. Her funny, sarcastic take on high school life is revealed through concrete poetry: words, ideas, type, and design that combine to make pictures and patterns. The poems are inventive, irreverent, irresistible, and full of surprises—just like Jessie—and the playful layout and ingenious graphics extend the wry humor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618851324
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/21/2007
Pages: 48
Sales rank: 181,976
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.14(d)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

John Grandits is a book and magazine designer and the author of Technically, It's Not My Fault and Blue Lipstick, award-winning books of concrete poetry, and the picture books Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the School Bus, which received the Texas Bluebonnet Award, and Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Follow If You Want to Survive the Cafeteria. He and his wife, Joanne, live in Red Bank, New Jersey. Visit him online at

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This irreverent, witty collection should resonate with a wide audience." School Library Journal, Starred

"After suffering indignities at the pen of ... Robert (TECHNICALLY, IT'S NOT MY FAULT, 2004), big sister Jessie gets her chance." Kirkus Reviews

"A cover that'll grab adolescent girls' attention—and the poetry inside is equally appealing." Horn Book

"Friendly and accessible ... it will undoubtedly inspire a multitude of curricular uses." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Customer Reviews

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Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Cliquegrl More than 1 year ago
I haven't read this book yet I SOOOO WANNA! In English we read this boring book called Out of the dust with poems and this sounds sooo much better. also, in English we do all these kinds of poems so I NEED THIS BOOK!!!
GingerDawnHarman More than 1 year ago
Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems By John Grandits A Book Review by Ginger Dawn Harman While waiting for our local library book club meeting to begin, I was completely distracted by my friend Linda. She was laughing hysterically, and immediately pulled me over toward her direction to look at Blue Lipstick by John Grandits. Instantaneously, we were both given, "the look" by the librarian for our laughing outburst. John Grandits has penned a fantastic collection of original poems written from the perspective of a 15-year-old girl named Jessie. Jessie shares her point of view of life, school, and family. The lack of poems for teens to appreciate is exactly what John Grandits targets his audience with in Blue Lipstick. However, many adults will be able to relate to the poetry collection especially if you have a teenager at home. The whimsical appeal of the art and twisting of the text invites the reader to become a participant of each poem. This is a brilliant idea that John Grandits has incorporated with his illustrations because the reader is actively involved. Moreover, as one reads you become more aware of the emotions and tone. For example the color choice in "Bad Hair day" exemplifies the internal and external conflict as Jessie's new hair color choice tests her relationship with Lisa. Furthermore, this poem demonstrates resolution with Lisa and the tender comforting wisdom from Jessie's mother. Personally I don't think it's fair to review each individual poem because poetry is something so intensely subjective that it just wouldn't do them justice. I didn't think any of the poems were bad in Blue Lipstick but I enjoyed some more than others. My favorites were, The Wall, Mondrian, Advanced English, and A Chart of My Emotional Day. The creativity of the author was impressive and one could easily finish this book in one afternoon. I was particularly impressed with the placement of the poems. This is what I feel made Blue Lipstick flow so easily and could be used within a classroom setting. I recommend Blue Lipstick by John Grandits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the whole book in one night. It was good and all the poems were awesome with the layout. I would recomend this book to anyone.
lapd1989 More than 1 year ago
Well my girl say she loves the book so to me that a good thing because she doesn't like a lot of thing in the past!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never had a chance to gather whimsical, love and strength in one form of prose. This poet captures same.
Jennanana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A short book of concrete poems telling a story about a girl who doesn't exactly fit in or enjoy high school. Great book to get kids to re-imagine poetry in different forms.
Ellen_Norton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This collection of poems follows a girl through a typical bout of high school drama. While at the beginning her life is filled with people she doesn't like or trust, but the end of the book she rewrites her introduction poem "The Wall" with more people who she likes. The poems are made into a variety of shapes, and they are really fun and funny to read. Definitely a great book for reluctant readers and fans of poetry.
RubyP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book contains some very funny poems voiced by a 15-year old girl. It¿s a book with concrete poems about a teenager making her way through high school and all the issues and things she experiences along the way. The way her emotions are told in the poetry is pretty funny. At one point you actually have to mirror the book in a mirror in order to read it properly! I thought it was a creative write up. It¿s a good read for teens.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"it's a good idea to carry a poem in your pocket. It's a little snack for your soul."This short volume of concrete poetry was really cute and had poetry from Jessie's point of view. She wants to be an artist and has struggles with friends and her annoying younger brother. The style made the poems interesting and interactive. I had to do a lot of moving the book around in order to read the work. I even had to stand in front of a mirror in order to read one of the poems. I enjoyed it!
MartyAllen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jessie¿s a sarcastic and unconventional teenager who¿s making it through high school her own way. The book is worth reading for the look alone¿the words and illustrations are inseparable, the illustrations created by the words. Words are illustrations, and the illustrations enhance the text. One poem about Jessie¿s guitar playing has the lines form the shapes of guitars, for example; another, talking about her volleyball game, has the text bouncing back and forth over a net like a ball. The reader is immersed in the story in this way, following the text as it bounces as though they were watching a volleyball game or traces the strings of the guitar with their eyes as though they were playing the instrument with Jessie. Even the text style varies from poem to poem. People normally aversive to poems will read these anyway, and visual thinkers will enjoy the added dimension the unique artistic style allows. The downside to this creativity is that the images can be a little confusing to read, as one wonders where the beginning is in a poem whose lines shoot back and forth like a volleyball. Despite this struggle, Jessie¿s antics (writing a poem to her cat, teaching a preschooler a new version of the alphabet song) will make all readers laugh out loud and keep on reading to see what happens next. The book is over much too soon.
christieb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some of these poems are interactive and would be great for for students to work with. Would be great to display on a bulletin board. Could also be used in getting students to write their own poems in unique ways - creating a picture with their words.
CarmellaLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personal Response: The concrete poems in this book are really fun collection of concrete poems that are more fun visually than intellectually.Curricular or Programming Connections: Excellent program for creative writing and poetry.
TZacek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not, by far, your typical ¿novel.¿ Blue Lipstick is a composition of ¿concrete poetry,¿ or poems that form a picture or follow the line of some shape. More interestingly, these poems chronicle the life of 15-year-old Jesse as she goes through a typical and not so typical day. From the start of her day waking up with a brain full of mush ¿Jesse! Wake up! Eat your cereal. What¿s wrong with you? You look totally out of it. Didn¿t you sleep well last night?¿ to talking to her stupid little brother which ¿is like swimming upstream in a river to nowhere,¿ and a chart of her emotional day which hobbles up and down with her various activities. I loved this book and these poems. They reminded me of what it was to be 15 and the ups and downs of her emotions made me laugh. I had never heard of concrete poetry before this and the concept was incredibly interesting and made me want to try my hand at it myself. (Not so good). The language was simple and honest and I found it did a better job of sounding like the character was in high school than some other YA books. Or at least it was more true to how I was in early high school.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a collection of concrete poems that are more fun visually than intellectually, Blue Lipstick gives a snapshot of 9th grader Jessie's life. Poems cover everything from an emotional graph of her day (stretching from "Shaving My Head and Running Away" to "Ridiculously Happy") to Zombie Jocks (my personal favorite) and making a poem that a cat would appreciate (cut onto strips, attached to a hanger, "She loved it. She batted at it for an hour.") Certainly fun to look at and to read. Kids will eat this one up and enjoy making their own concrete poems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This collection of poems is amazing! I had to read it for summer hw and I am so happy I did. Now, my little sister is reading them and she loves them also! I reccomend this book to anyone who has not read it yet! Happy reading!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
loved it. we are learning about poetry in my english class and i read this book and it made poetry seem down right funner !! totally reccommend it (: