Saturday, April 04, 2015

April: Celebrating Arab American Heritage Month

In The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, we feature DAYS, WEEKS, and whole MONTHS of celebration, too. We've already showcased December 10: Dewey Decimal Day; April 2: International Children's Book Day; and 2nd Week of February: Random Acts of Kindness Week. Today, we're featuring Arab American Heritage Month-- the month of April.

We're so pleased to feature poems by Palestinian American poet, Ibtisam Barakat, who has her own YouTube channel of poem readings here Here is her original poem in celebration of Arab American Heritage Month from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. You can listen to her read the poem aloud by clicking here and see it translated into Arabic here. Cool, right?

For a lovely note with more information and details from Ibtisam, click here.
And here are the Take 5! activities that accompany this poem in the book:
  1. Introduce the idea that tree-planting traditions are found around the world from Arbor Day to Christmas to the Tree Day Celebration in Arab countries, India, and elsewhere. Then read the poem aloud with a pause between stanzas.
  2. Work with children to plan a dramatic interpretation of the poem, with two volunteers (one as child, one as tree) pantomiming the planting, measuring, sleeping, and sharing stories while you read it aloud again. 
  3. Share planting experiences (of trees, bushes, flowers, etc.) and talk about the steps involved.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Sequoia by Tony Johnston (Roaring Brook, 2014). Explore the tree’s point of view and note what the tree sees.
  5. For another poem about a special tree, look for “Christmas Tree” by Joseph Bruchac (December, pages 326-327), and share more tree poems from Poetrees by Douglas Florian (Simon & Schuster, 2010.
For this poem and 155 more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. And for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


  1. I LOVE the audio reading by Ibtisam--you can tell from her voice how much she loved her fig tree. Thanks for the link to it!

  2. I shared this with my staff. Several have commented on how beautiful this poem is...and how wonderful to hear her read it!