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In 1995 Michael and Hass, then the U.S. poet laureate, cofounded the River of Words project, designed to connect students' art and poetry education to the natural world immediately around them, to link their imaginations with a sense of place, or to "watersheds." The poems and pictures in this handsomely designed volume have been culled from yearly contests, with 85% of the entries coming from the United States (the cover image happens to be by an 11-year-old from Malaysia named Lim Yi Fan); most were submitted by teachers, but others came directly from youths in refugee camps or detention facilities. The works are startling, many of them dislocating and highly complex. The opening poem, however, is the beguilingly direct "My Name Is Elijah," by five-year-old Elijah Soza of California: "Waterfalls told me hello today./ The river also talked./ She wanted me to know/ that my name/ was important./ My name is Elijah./ I am a friend of the river." All ages. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.