First, I visited the people at Enlighten Education Trust in Hermanus (an hour away). They do all kinds of things for kids in the area, including reading programs, music and toy programs, counseling, and more. I spoke with a small group about poetry for young people in the U.S., and particularly my "Poetry Friday" work-- and they loved that notion of sharing poetry on Friday-- and getting kids involved in the (Take 5) process. What a dedicated group!
Then, I spent the morning with the people at PRAESA, a group dedicated to book promotion and literacy development-- especially their joyous Nal'ibali reading club. Once again, I talked about what Janet (Wong) and our beloved poets are doing to make poetry available and accessible to young people-- in ways that are participatory and developmental. What a fun group!
Finally, I loved being with Jean Williams (who arranged ALL the previous visits) and the lovely IBBY-SA visitors at Biblionef. There were teachers, authors, and literacy advocates-- all with great questions and ideas. Here, I presented about a dozen U.S. books of poetry, read bunches of poems aloud, and shared our PFA books and approaches too (complete with Pocket Poem cards and postcards which were a big hit!). What a creative group!
I was also able to buy a few books of poetry at an area bookstore-- and wish I had time to explore more. I picked up an ABC and a nursery rhyme collection-- both with an African theme-- clearly for tourists, but very fun, engaging, and informative. There were two poem collections in Afrikaans that looked like delicious nonsense, but I couldn't read them, of course. And I didn't find titles in any of the other 10 languages of this country and I was told there were very few. There's a rich tradition of songs and poem chanting, but not poetry publishing-- but each audience told me they were inspired to pursue this further. I hope so! I tried to make a case for how this special genre has some unique things to offer and every child deserved a chance to hear, read, and write poetry!
Meanwhile, I feel so privileged to have this interaction with so many different people committed to books, literacy, and empowerment for children and young people. Inspiring!
Now, don't miss the Poetry Friday fun over at Reading to the Core.