Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cats Don't Care What You Wear - A Poetry Break

For anyone who has a cat at home will understand when you say that you feel like you're being watched. Cats are funny creatures. They love you, dislike it when you're gone a long time, playful, and they have the poker face with eyes that says it all. This is a funny poem about a cat who watches the poet. Share it was enthusiasm!

Cats Don't Care What You Wear
By Karla Kuskin

Cats don't care
what you were.
they never are rude
if you're nude.
they may give you a look
with a quizzical purr
as if to say, "Really,
poor creature, no fur.
How awfully embarrassing
looking like her."
And then add a poker-faced
lingering stare.
"Not that I care," it says.
"Not that I care."

Have the kids write a poem about their pet and what they do that they think is funny. What would they say when they just sit there and watch you? Let their imaginations run!

Kuskin, Karla. 2005. Toots the Cat. Illus. by Lisze Bechtold. NY: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN: 9780805068412.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Best Paths - A Poetry Break

Who says walking or taking a hike can be boring or too much exercise? By walking a familiar path or a new one there is much that you might have not noticed before. This poem is a beautiful and peaceful. Share this before a walk with the kids or during a little break. Make sure that you pick a nice path to take them down!

The Best Paths

By Kristin O'Connell George

The best paths
are whispers
in the grass,
a bent twig,
a token, a hint,
easily missed.

The best paths
hide themselves
until the right
comes along.

The best paths
lead you
to where
you didn't know
you wanted to go.

When you take the kids one a walk down a path make it a quiet experience. Let them observe the world around them. Let them create their owns paths and invite to share about them at the end of the trip.

George, Kristin O'Connell. 2001. Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems. Illus. by Kate Kiesler. NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN: 9780618045976.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Weeping Willow - A Poetry Break

Did you know that trees have personalities and feelings? Well, of course, they do. From the tall sequoias to the Texas Live Oaks and the Weeping Willows. Have photos of different type of trees, especially of the Weeping Willow, for the kids to explore after you share the poem. Or share this poem when visiting an arboretum.

Weeping Willow
by Douglas Florian

Willow tree, why do you weep?
Why do you cry and moan?

..... All days these caterpillars creep.
..... They won't let me alone!

Willow tree, why do you bed
Your branches to the ground?

I bend my branches low to send

..... Those caterpillars down!

Let the kids explore the different types of trees. Have them create a poem that asks the trees questions and and create the tree's answer, just like in the poem. Let them create their own tree personalities. It'll be a forest of fun!

Florian, Douglas. 2010. Poetress. Illus. by Douglas Florian. NY: Beach Lane Books/ Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division. ISBN: 9781416986720.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Map and a Dream - A Poetry Break

What would the world be like maps? Maps can be an exciting read in themselves. They can take you to worlds you haven't been. Along with this poem also share different types of maps for the kids to explore. Share this poem with other geographical poems like J. Patrick Lewis' A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme.

A Map and a Dream
by Karen O'Donnell Taylor

Maps are more
than tiny lines
lace designs...
More than names
and colored dots,
rivers, mountains,
tourist spots.
Map are keys
to secret places
vast new world
and unknown faces.
I can trace each
graceful line...
Close my eyes
and in my mind
I can travel
A map, a dream
can take me there!

Invite the kids to write a poem about a map that they particularly like. Why do they like? What is the map of? What can maps do? See what the world on paper means to them!

Hopkins, Lee Bennet (sel). 2006. Got Geography! Illus. by Philip Stanton. NY: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN: 9870060556020.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rain Song - A Poetry Break

April Showers! time to share some poems about rain and rainstorms! This is a great poem that describes how the poet loves rain. It is also perfect to read to a young audience because it includes some of the five senses!

Rain Song
By Douglas Florian

I love the gentle sound of rain
Pinging on my windowpane.
I love the sight of rain that pours
Into puddles out-of-doors.
I love the feel of rain that drops
Down my nose and my lips.

Encourage the kids to share what they love and don't love about rain. They can write in list poem form or a nice little poem like you shared. Let them think about how they can use their five senses to describe the experience of a rain shower!


Florian, Douglas. 2006. Handsprings: Poems & Paintings. Illus. by Douglas Florian. NY: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN: 9780060092801.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Way to Play Croquet - A Poetry Break

Spring is upon us and now the weather is perfect for outside games and activities. Share this poem with the kids before you play the game!

The Way to Play Croquet
by George Shannon

Through the thicket
to the stick it
needs to click. It
isn't very hard.
Till I block it,
swing, and knock it
far outside the yard!

This is a great poem to share when doing the games. Invite the kids to create their own poems about how their favorite outdoor game works.

Shannon, George. 2006. Busy in the Garden. Illus. by Sam Williams. NY: Greenwillow Books/ HarperCollins Publisher. ISBN: 9780060004651.

How to Eat A Poem - A Poetry Break

How should you read a poem? With a bland, boring voice or with an excited voice? Great to introduce National Poetry Month or anytime at all, share this poem with the kids. When reading it be passionate about it. Make poetry and exciting experience!

How to Eat A Poem
by Eve Merriam

Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
.....may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.


Invite the kids to share how to "eat" or read a poem. Ask them to share what a poem means to them. Are they fun? Boring? Silly? Cool? See what they say!

Cullinan, Bernice E. 1996. A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets. Honesday, PA: Boyds Mills Press. ISBN: 1563970872.

(Poem originally published in the book It Doesn't Always Have to Rhyme, 1966).

Apirl is... National Poetry Month!

Spring as sprung and the celebrating poetry as begun! April is National Poetry Month! Thanks to a wonderful professor in my MLS studies, I am now an advocate in promoting poetry for children and teens. April has already started, but it isn't too late to join the fun of poetry!

I will be posting new poetry breaks as well as some poetry book reviews during the whole month.

As a Children's Librarian I've already started my celebration by incorporating a poem or two into each of the preschool storytime. It is my hope that I'll find some good poems to use for my toddlers. I know they're out there, but I must admit the the first theme of "frogs" was a little hard. But, preschoolers, I used Douglas Florian's Lizards, Frogs and Polliwogs: Poems and Paintings for two poems. I've also created a display to promote all the great poetry books the library has but is rarely visited (so sad!).

If you want to get great poems every single day of April, please visit the professional blog Poetry For Children created and maintained by Dr. Sylvia Vardell. She is doing Poetry Tag, which is a game where she will post a poem from a different poet each day. Dr. Vardell further explains on her first post, Poetry Tag: J. Patrick Lewis is IT:

One poet offers a poem and "tags" a fellow poet. Each poet then shares a poem that is connected to the previous poem in some way--by theme, word, idea, or tone--and provides a sentence or two explaining that connection. These may be new original unpublished poems or poems drawn from previous works.

By the end of the month, we’ll have a “chain” of poems and see firsthand how poetry can be selected, connected, shared and celebrated (Vardell 2010).

This idea is absolutely awesome! Please visit her blog....

But keep come on visiting The Wielded Pen - Children's Corner for more poetry celebration!!!!