Since Poetry Month is in full swing, we asked some of our poets at LEE & LOW to provide tips for reading poetry to your kids or students. There were so many great answers that we’re going to break them up for you. Our first response is from Pat Mora, author of Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas’ Sproutings, Confetti: Poems for Children (Confeti: Poemas para niños), and Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers, among many others. Check out her advice, and try it! Be sure to let us know how it goes, and keep an eye out for the next tip!
Amazing Faces, one of our new spring books, is a collection of poems celebrating the amazing people and faces that surround us every day. We asked the poets to share the stories behind their poems. Here are some of their responses:
Jane Yolen, “Karate Kid”
A number of years ago, Lee Bennett Hopkins asked me to write a poem for a sports anthology. “How about karate?” I said. There is a dojo near my house. I had some friends who had kids in karate and a granddaughter who was just starting into the martial arts. Also, I find some of the Chinese martial arts movies fascinating in a balletic sort of way.
And so I wrote “Karate Kid.” It has taken on a life of its own. Sometimes (if a writer is very lucky) that happens.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “Amazing Face”
I am, and will always be, fascinated by children. Especially very young children. I look at them and a million dreams and possibilities run through my mind: the person they will become, the journeys they’ll take, the hobbies they’ll choose, the crafts they’ll learn, the billowed joys they will experience, the heartache and heartbreak they will ultimately and unfortunately experience too. I want each child on this Earth to know they are loved by someone, that they are valued, and that they are truly and downright amazing. I hope my poem sends this message, whoever is listening.
Mary Cronin, “Firefighter Face”
It’s poetry month! What better time to share our favorite poetry?
Mine skews towards narrative poetry, and especially toward works written before the development of the novel:
Beowulf — particularly the Seamus Heaney translation, which combines beautiful words and flowing language with the exciting, bloody story.