Friday, December 22, 2006
Christmas Poetry Plus
My nearly-grown-up children are home for the holidays and I’ve had fun reading some favorite poems out loud to them. My 23 year-old daughter said it made her want to cuddle up on my lap and fall asleep—shades of childhood bedtimes! And there are so many wonderful poetry collections to share this time of year. Valerie Worth departed from her “small poem” format with the poetry book, At Christmastime, a large picture book with full page woodcut illustrations by Antonio Frasconi. Another picture book collection worth finding is Nikki Grimes’ Under the Christmas Tree, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, a real gem. Lee Bennett Hopkins offers two wonderful “I Can Read” poetry collections, Christmas Presents and Hanukkah Lights. And there are beautiful multicultural poem-song anthologies to share including Lulu Delacre’s Las Navidades: Popular Christmas Songs from Latin America, Ashley Bryan’s illustrated version of Langston Hughes’ Carol of the Brown King: Nativity Poems, and Hold Christmas In Your Heart: African American Songs, Poems, and Stories for the Holidays selected by Cheryl Willis Hudson.
Ready to laugh? Look for Jack Prelutsky’s It’s Christmas or Alan Katz’s Where Did They Hide My Presents? Or for poems that are more generally winter-themed, look for Francisco X. Alarcon’s Iguanas in the Snow/ Iguanas en la nieve, Douglas Florian’s Winter Eyes, or Anna Grossnickle Hines’s poetry book, Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts, each beautifully and distinctively illustrated.
Just for fun, share this “Christmas” poem below, reading it antiphonally, with two groups of children reading alternating lines. It’s from an older anthology, More Poetry for Holidays, collected by Nancy Larrick.
Day Before Christmas
by Marchette Chute
We have been helping with the cake
And licking out the pan,
And wrapping up our packages
As neatly as we can.
And we have hung our stockings up
Beside the open grate.
And now there’s nothing more to do
Happy holidays in poetry!