It’s Poetry Month!

Poetry month officially begins this Friday, April 1st — time to get ready!

Instant Programs

Pull out all those 811’s and face them out…stack ‘em on tables. Mark your  favorite poems with sticky notes so you can spontaneously read them aloud. Copy them and put them a bulletin board.

  • Pick a theme like haiku. Print and post instructions on how to create these short poems and ask staff to write a few to post. Leave markers hanging on a string with blank paper posted for instant inspiration.
  • Enlist those teens who have been hanging out and “causing trouble” to copy their favorite poems on paper.
  • Replace those falling apart copies of Jack Prelutsky’s Something Big Has Been Here (Greenwillow) and Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (HarperCollins). Display the well-loved de-accessioned copies or (shoot me, I have done this) tear out the pages and post the poems. If you are still stamping books the long list of circ. dates are also fun to post.
  • Pick an author to highlight…Prelutsky, Joyce Sidman, Doug Florian, Charles Smith, Kristine O’Conner George, Nikki Grimes, Maryann Hoberman, Karla Kuskin, Naomi Shihab Nye

What I Am Doing

  1. Reading aloud my favorite short poems like “Florian’s Coyote” (Mammalabilia, Douglas Florian, HMH),  Kristine O’Connell George’s Little Dog Poems (Clarion), and Bank Street kid’s favorites from Patricia MacLachlan’s Once I Ate a Pie (Cotler/HarperCollins) and Jane Yolen’s Here’s a Little Poem, (Candlewick)
  2. Asking children 8 years and up to copy their favorites on a half sheet of heavy stock paper in various pastel colors. Grown ups are participating and younger students can dictate their favorite rhymes.They write the poem, the author, the title and the book it came from. They may draw a picture and decorate if they wish. (most do not)
  3. Collecting these poems. On Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 14th, I will will paper our school hallways with poems for people to grab and put in their pockets.

Don’t Miss These New Poetry Books

Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristin O’Connell George, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, Clarion, 2/22/11

Having a four-year-old little sister isn’t all fun-and-games for fourth grader, Jessica. There is a lot to put up with like Emma always tagging along, getting into her stuff and embarrassing her at a soccer game. These short poems give us the good, the bad and the frustrating of the complications of sibling relationships.

Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raszka, illustrated by Peter Reynolds, HMH, 10/4/10

From last year, in case you missed it…Just what the title promises…haiku for guys.  Four seasons of short poems, funny, sweet and engaging. You will want to write your own.

Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets, ed. by Bruno Navasky and the Academy of American Poets; Library Edition (nonperforated pages ISBN 9780810998827); Amulet/Abrams; 4/1/11

I bought the edition with the rip-out pages at a local bookstore before I discovered there was a non-perforated, library edition. A wide-ranging collection of poems from mostly well-known poets that would be perfect for adults and young adults.

I Am the Book, ed. by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Yayo, Holiday House, 3/15/11.

Hopkins has collected poems from masters like Jane Yolen, Naomi Shihab Nye, Karla Kuskin, and Kristine O’Connell George for this exuberant read-loud treasure. As they say in the review media…”an essential purchase.”

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