This week, I’d like to direct you to Book Links magazine once again, where my regular “Everyday Poetry” focuses on “Portable, Packable Summer Poetry” in the July issue, including an original poem, “The License Plate Game” by the always generous Janet S. Wong. You may remember that she posted versions of that poem here (April 25) and revised the final version that appears in Book Links based on that input. Cool to see the blog and print worlds intersect like that.
Meanwhile, I’d like to expand a bit on the topic of poems for summertime. For many wonderful poems, the place is the key. We can set the stage with poems about geography, such as Lee Bennett Hopkins’ collection, Got Geography! (Greenwillow, 2006) or J. Patrick Lewis’ A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme (Dial, 2002). Or we can focus specifically on the U.S. with the poetry of Diane Siebert in Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art (Chronicle, 2006) or another compilation by Lee Bennett Hopkins, My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2000). Display a world or U.S. map and invite children to locate the places referenced in the poetry.
For a more specific emphasis, spotlight these collections below on unique and historic sites around the world. Children can research factual information about a favorite place to accompany the poem or attempt reconstructing the site out of clay, cardboard, or popsicle sticks to display alongside the “monumental” poem.
- Between Earth and Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places by Joseph Bruchac (Harcourt Brace, 1996)
- Castles: Old Stone Poems by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and J. Patrick Lewis (Wordsong/Boyds and Mills Press, 2006)
- Monumental Verses by J. Patrick Lewis (National Geographic, 2005)
- Sacred Places by Jane Yolen (Harcourt Brace, 1996)
Before they hit the road, children can check out the National Poetry Map on the Internet to discover which were the most sought-out poems in 2007 in each individual state. Go to “Good Reads: State Favorites and Critics Picks.”
Janet Wong has also authored a collection of poems all set in the car: Behind the Wheel: Poems about Driving (Margaret K. McElderry, 1999). Some are about life in the car and some use driving as a metaphor. Kids can choose their favorite, copy it on special paper, and share it in the car with friends or family.
Families who spend hours on the road or in the air often enjoy audiobooks to help pass the time. Walter Dean Myers has two works of poetry that have been masterfully adapted to the audio format produced by Live Oak Media complete with original music: Blues Journey (2005) and Jazz (2007). Much of Shel Silverstein’s and Jack Prelutsky’s poetry is available on CD, too, read by the poets themselves. Kids can also make their own recordings of themselves or others reading favorite poems out loud.
Poetry Friday is hosted by Under the Covers this week. See you there!
Picture credit: ALA