Tag Archives: poetry

My Heart is Like a Zoo

by Michael Hall

I put this on my “poetry” shelf as well, since it IS an illustrated poem. The colors, shapes, and layout all work beautifully together with the light and bouncy text. Really enjoyed reading/looking at this one.  So clever, too!

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Hope Anita Smith: What a Pleasure to Have You Here!

This is an open letter to thank Hope Anita Smith, poet, extraordinary teacher, and author of The Way a Door Closes, Keeping the Night Watch, and the 2010 poetry collection, Mother P0ems, for her amazing, awesome, and artistic ways in leading six poetry workshops for all our 7th and 8th grade students at The Dalton School, NYC.

Dear Hope,

We were all under your spell and now are all in awe of you!  You brought such energy, generosity, and expertise with you into our classroom and every student got a chance to write a poem under your guidance and inspiration.  Some of the poems that were shared brought chills down my and the teachers’ spines: they were good and the students really put their mind and soul into them.

It is not common when we have an author who prepares three different presentations when the audience is on the same level.   But you did.  The students loved working on the Cool Poem, they definitely struggled a bit with Seven Ways of Looking At ________, and were completely engrossed in “reading” the names of the paint color chips that you brought and applying those to their own Paint Me Like I Am poems.

You are going back to LA today and I wish you the best and I want you to come back to us to work with more students and I want many many more other young people to be inspired by you to explore the wonders of words, to stretch their minds and to discover their hidden potentials as writers and poets.  (I know you have many different workshops for different age groups.)

Hope, take care and let our paths cross again soon!


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Hate That Cat

Hate That Cat: A NovelAuthor: Sharon Creech
Reading Level: 2nd to 5th grade

Pages: 153
Publisher: HarperCollins
Edition: Hardcover, 2008

I was really delightfully surprised at how I enjoyed reading this one. I remember loving Love That Dog and did not think that I was emotionally manipulated — although most of the time I feel Creech’s books highly “manipulative.” And again, I cried over this little story and did not hate the fact that I cried. I have been wondering about Verse Novels and this book does not only present itself as a verse novel, it discusses the notion of poetry — light ones vs. “serious” ones; children’s self-reflective writing vs. classic, grand poetry. It’s definitely a very teacher-y book. I can see 4th-6th grade teachers all over thinking to themselves, “I can use this in my poetry unit! It even teaches techniques such as similes, metaphors, and alliteration!” The introduction of a deaf mother is an interesting touch. Maybe a little forced but it does offer the opportunity for the young readers to think and discuss the notion of beat/rhythm as “sounds” and actual physical vibrations. (Oh, my, god, can this book even be used by Science Teachers about sound waves?!!)

Anyway. I am pleased with the book.

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Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)

Author: Park, Linda Sue
Reading Level: 3rd to 6th grade

Pages: 48
Publisher: Clarion
Edition: Hardcover

I am absolutely delighted and pleased by the collection of Sijo poetry (a traditional Korean form of short poems) paired with playful and often surprising illustrations. It will be fun to see children and grownups trying their hands on creating this kind of poems!

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