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 and Howard 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.
While great reviews from Publishers Weekly or Kirkus are nice, there’s nothing better than feedback from the source – actual young readers!
A third grade writing class from Newark, New Jersey was assigned to compare/contrast themselves with DeShawn from DeShawn Days by Tony Medina and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. They agreed to share parts of their answers with us!
Rogenia: “DeShawn and I are the same because we both think the news is scary. We don’t like to hear about people dying from wars. We also love rapping! It’s so much fun! It would be cool if we could rap together.”
Malikah: “DeShawn and I are different. He loves his block because he has friends. I hate living in the hood because there’s too much shooting and too much fighting. DeShawn hates the news because it’s scary. I love the news because it teaches you about the world.”