Saturday, April 06, 2013

Blast from the Poetry Past: 1885

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson is published in 1885, first under the title, Penny Whistles, and includes the much-loved poems, “The Swing” and “My Shadow,” among others. “My Shadow” begins...

“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.”

(Look for the whole poem here.)

Contemporary Connections
Illustrator Barbara McClintock created new art to illustrate selected poems for a recent picture book version of Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses (HarperCollins, 2010).

You’ll find Stevenson’s poem, “My Shadow,” (and other classics) in Caroline Kennedy’s new anthology of poems chosen for their “memorizability.” Look for:

Kennedy, Caroline. Ed. 2013. Poems to Learn by Heart. Ill. by John Muth. New York: Hyperion.

I also created a teacher’s guide for the Kennedy anthology that suggests activities for using the poems across the grade levels and connecting with Common Core standards. Look here: Poems to Learn by Heart Teacher's Guide

And while we’re looking at classic poets, check out Sydelle Pearl’s recent book, Dear Mr. Longfellow: Letters To and From the Children’s Poet, a lovely book that combines biographical notes about poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with letters from contemporaneous child readers, including facsimiles of many letters and images of Longfellow throughout his life—a unique poet biography.

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2013. All rights reserved.

Image credits:;BarnesandNoble;


Janet Wong said...

I like your Discussion Guide--and I LOVE the fact that you use my poem "Liberty" as one of the examples! Thank you!! (Students at Sanislo Elem will be performing that poem for Caroline Kennedy when they meet her in two days!)

Sylvia Vardell said...

I love that poem, Janet. I remember your reciting it at a conference several years ago and thinking how brilliant it was! So glad Caroline Kennedy agrees! ;-)