Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring is such a great time to bring poetry into the classroom…actually anytime is, but poetry in the spring brings a freshness, a new energy to reading and writing.  So I have a few poetry books and anthologies to share. These are not new, but maybe some of these books have been lost on your shelves as they were for a time in mine!

Been to Yesterdays Poems of a Life by Lee Bennett Hopkins- I just read this from front to back for the first time.  It has been sitting in my shelf and I didn’t realize it is truly a memoir of a difficult time during Hopkins youth.  The poems, a mix of free verse with some internal rhyming and chronologically ordered, speak of a family constantly moving to beat the rent, of a divorce, of a beloved grandmother passing. My heart hurt for the little boy so beaten down by life. My heart sored for the perseverance of a young writer’s dreams for his future.  This book is perfect for intermediate and upper grade classroom libraries and could make for very good close reading discussion.

Toasting Marshmallows Camping Poems by Kristine O’Connell George- This is a wonderful selection of poems about a very common Midwest activity- camping!  George includes a variety of forms- free verse, concrete poetry, poems for two voices to create pure pleasure for young readers.  I use poems from this book often as models for writing workshop with elementary classrooms.

Old Elm Speaks Tree Poems by Kristine O’Connell George- I think Kristine O’Connell George says so much in so few words! These poems bring a humanness to the trees and invoke memories of times past meandering in the woods or playing in the special tree in the back yard. Again her poems are wonderful for teaching poetic devices to our young poets!!

Moving Day by Ralph Fletcher- Actually any of Ralph’s poetry books are wonderful for showing kids that poems can be about anything.  In Moving Day, Ralph creates a series of poems that tell of all the drudgery involved in moving- packing boxes, saying good-by, leaving things behind…  He is so good at creating a story in a poem.

Poetry Matters Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher- this is a practical book written for kids to help them see the wonder of poetry and to encourage them to write poetry themselves. Ralph explores poetry through three lenses- emotion, image and music. Simplistic yet a perfect entry into poetry!

That’s it for today.  Happy reading. Share the passion!!

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