Tag Archives: National Poetry Month

Poetry Friday: Hamburger Heaven

April is National Poetry Month! All month long we’ll be celebrating by posting some of our favorite poems for Poetry Friday. We’re starting off the weekend with Hamburger Heaven by Lee Bennett Hopkins from Amazing Faces.

Continue reading

Poetry Friday: “Broadway Moon” from A Full Moon is Rising

marilyn singerMarilyn Singer is the author of more than one hundred children’s books, including many poetry collections. Her works have won numerous honors, including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor and the Orbis Pictus Honor. A Full Moon is Rising is a collection of poems that bring readers on a whirlwind tour of the world to discover an amazing collection of full moon celebrations, beliefs, customs, and facts. You can find out more about Marilyn Singer and her work on her website here.

Since April is National Poetry Month, we asked author Marilyn Singer to tell us a little bit more about what inspired her to write A Full Moon is Rising:

Continue reading

Three Ways to Teach Etched In Clay by Andrea Cheng

Jill_EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.

1. Teaching Students About Narrator Bias

Etched In Clay is a compelling case study for narrator bias and trustworthiness. The text structure with 13 narrators and its economy of words make Dave’s story captivating, especially to middle grade Etched in Clay written and illustrated by Andrea Chengstudents who are beginning to engage with primary sources from the period of American slavery. Students can analyze how each speaker’s social experiences, status, motivations, and values influence his/her point of view, such as evaluating the poems of the slave-owners who would have had a vested interest in popularizing a particular narrative of slavery.

Using multiple perspectives to tell the story of one life is a striking display of how events can be interpreted and portrayed by different positions in the community. Students face the task of examining the meaning and nuance of each narrator (13 in total!) and what they choose to convey (or don’t).

Continue reading

Poetry Friday: “A Poem!” from Etched In Clay

andrea chengAndrea Cheng is the author of several critically-acclaimed books for young readers. Her most Guest bloggerrecent novel, Etched in Clay, tells the story in verse of Dave the Potter, an enslaved man, poet, and master craftsperson whose jars (many of which are inscribed with his poetry and writings) are among the most sought-after pieces of Edgefield pottery. Etched in Clay recently won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

April is National Poetry Month, so we asked author Andrea Cheng to share one of her favorite poems from Etched in Clay:

FEATURED POEM

Etched in Clay, p. 65

A Poem!

Continue reading

Andrea Cheng on Writing Biography in Verse

Andrea Cheng image

Andrea Cheng is the author of several critically-acclaimed books for young readers. Her most Guest bloggerrecent novel, Etched in Clay, tells the story in verse of Dave the Potter, an enslaved man, poet, and master craftsperson whose jars (many of which are inscribed with his poetry and writings) are among the most sought-after pieces of Edgefield pottery. Etched in Clay recently won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.

When I heard an NPR review of Leonard Todd’s book, Carolina Clay, I knew that Dave’s was a story I wanted to Etched in Claytell.  And from the start, I knew that I wanted to tell it in verse.   Readers often ask me why.  I didn’t make this decision consciously, but subconsciously, I think there were reasons.

The evidence of Dave’s life is fragmentary: pots and shards and bills of sale.    This means that each small piece of evidence stands for something more, something much larger than the object itself.  For example, the first bill of sale shows that Harvey Drake purchased a teenage boy for six hundred dollars.  He was “country born” with “good teeth” and “a straight back. “ (Etched in Clay, p. 7) There is so much sorrow in these few words.  A person is being evaluated and then sold like an animal.  After a quick transaction, he becomes the property of someone else.  The only way I know to allow a reader to feel this sorrow is through the intensity of a poem.

Continue reading

Poetry Friday: Tony Medina on Pablo Neruda’s “To Wash a Child”

Tony MedinaApril is National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating by asking some of our own Lee & Low poets to share their favorite poems with us. Today, poet and Guest BloggerHoward University Professor Tony Medina (I and I Bob Marley, Love to Langston, DeShawn Days) shares:

A poem I keep going back to—and one I frequently share with my students—is Pablo Neruda’s “To Wash a Child.” It is the ultimate ode to what Neruda refers to as “the oldest love on the earth.” The poem is rich in nuance and specificity, bringing the seemingly mundane, daily task of bathing a child to such a heightened act of beauty, frustration and mischief.

Continue reading

Poetry Friday: Marilyn Singer’s Favorite Poems

April is National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating by asking some of our own Lee & Low poets to share their favorite poems with us. Today, poet Marilyn Guest Blogger Singer (A Full Moon is Rising) shares:

Marilyn SingerOne of my favorite poems is by the late Karla Kuskin:  “Write About a Radish…,” which begins:

Continue reading

Poetry Friday: Lee Bennett Hopkins’ favorite poem

Guest Blogger IconApril is National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating by asking some of our own Lee & Low poets to share their favorite poems with us. Today, poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins shares: 

Lee Bennett HopkinsA favorite poem of mine to read aloud is “Amazing Face” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, the opening verse of my collection, Amazing Faces. I love this poem because it brings self-esteem to newborn children, to youth, to people of all ages.  In short, this poem is ‘amazing’!

Continue reading

Poetry Friday: What is a haiku?

Happy National Poetry Month! Today we’re celebrating by looking at one of my favorite forms: haiku. Just a few lines, less than 20 syllables, haiku often appear easy because they’re so short. But, as anyone who has tried to write a picture book can tell you, often the shortest forms are the most difficult!

Haiku (the plural of which is also haiku) originated in Japan. They are short poems that are traditionally 17 syllables, often in three lines. In his afterward to Cool Melons- Turn to Frogs!, Lee & Low’s picture book biography of Japanese haiku master Issa, author Matthew Gollub explains more about what makes a haiku a haiku:

Japanese poets [wrote] haiku for centuries. Traditional haiku describe a single moment in nature, something that the poet observes or discovers. As such, a haiku can refresh or enlighten us by calling to mind life’s passing details.

Continue reading