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1. Poet to Poet: Holly Thompson interviews Margarita Engle

I'm pleased to post another installment in my ongoing "Poet to Poet" series in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. This time it's Holly Thompson and Margarita Engle who have very generously volunteered to participate. Both of these women write verse novels (and other works) that explore the intersection of the cultural and the personal. 

Holly Thompson is a poet and author who originally hails from Massachusetts, but lived in Japan for 20 years and writes about this cross-cultural, inter-cultural experience in sensitive and thoughtful novels in verse like Orchards, The Language Inside, and the forthcoming Falling into the Dragon's Mouth

Margarita Engle is the award-winning author of many novels and biographical works in verse such as The Poet Slave of Cuba, The Surrender Tree, Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, The Firefly Letters; A Suffragette's Journey to CubaHurricane Dancers; The First Caribbean Pirate ShipwreckThe Wild BookMountain Dog, The Lightning Dreamer, and Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal. Her new book is Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir-- perhaps her most personal book yet! 

Here, Holly asks Margarita about writing, memoir, childhood and culture in a series of very compelling and thoughtful questions and responses. Enjoy!

Holly: Enchanted Air! This memoir covers your early years to your teens and encompasses some huge political intrusions on your young life as well as influences of artistic parents from different cultures. The book is large in scope yet focused on little moments. How did you balance the specific with the global as you set about writing this memoir? How did you keep from getting bogged down by background information about the major historical and political events and circumstances?

Margarita: Thank you so much for your interest in these details of the writing process, Holly.  I didn’t consciously set out to aim for balance.  This profoundly personal verse memoir was not planned in any structured way, but was simply scribbled from a time-ripened blend of raw emotions and natural instincts. I closed my eyes and remembered the aspects of my childhood that were important to me. Then I wrote about them.  Instead of trying to work facts and figures into the poems, I moved most of the political and historical surrealism of U.S.-Cuba relations to a timeline at the end of the book. The actual events of the Cold War are so hard to believe that I wanted to write them myself, before they are romanticized by writers of the future.

Holly: The Cuba of your childhood is vividly portrayed. Here is an excerpt that I love:

Tropical Windows

In this centuries-old house,
each floor-to-ceiling window
is truly an opening—no glass,
just twisted wrought iron bars
that let the sea breeze flow in
like a friendly spirit.

At night fireflies blink inside rooms,
and big, pale green luna moths float
like graceful wisps of moonlight.

In the morning, all those night creatures
vanish, replaced by cousins and neighbors
who peer in through the barred windows
to greet me and chat.

Holly: Throughout the poems, whether located in Cuba, the U.S. or Europe, the natural world is a touchstone, the discovery of flora and fauna in the wild a source of constant comfort for your young self. Family is also a thread in many of the poems. Can you discuss these two elements which are so central and often intricately woven together?

Margarita: I’m the daughter of artists, but ever since I was very little, I’ve been part poet, and part scientist. Tropical nature and the extended family were my two big personal discoveries during those childhood summers in Cuba, the two aspects of life that constantly astonished me. It would be fair to say that I fell in love with both the nature and culture of Cuba “at first sight,” just as my parents fell in love with each other at first sight. Childhood summers in Cuba determined my future. I studied botany, and became an agronomist.  I remembered family, and became a poet.

Holly: With a mother from Cuba, your childhood was deeply affected by the cold war and the extreme chill in U.S.-Cuba relations. The loss of your other home in Cuba is palpable in Enchanted Air. How might you speak to your young self about the recent, at last, warming/softening of relations between the two countries?

Margarita: The advanced review copy of Enchanted Air landed on my doorstep just as President Obama was making his December 17, 2014 announcement about a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations. For me, it felt like a prayer answered. I cried with joy. In the last paragraph of the historical note at the end of the manuscript, I had written:  “My hope is that by the time Enchanted Air goes to press, normal travel and trade might begin to be restored.” Amazingly, that is exactly what happened! I know God must have plenty of other written prayers to read, but in this case it felt like He might have glanced down at my scribbling, smiled, and said, “Oh, yeah, it’s about time those two stubborn countries stopped holding a grudge.” Of course, now I have to revise the historical note, something I’m doing with incredible gratitude. I just returned from a family visit to Cuba.  Diplomatic relations, travel, and trade aren’t completely normal yet. Most aspects have not yet actually changed, but just knowing that the process has started inspires hope. For the first time, during all my many return visits to Cuba since 1991, I was able to relax and go birdwatching, instead of just worrying about how to understand history, and how to help relatives.

Holly: As a teen, you traveled one summer with your family in Europe and spent a month in Spain. There, you seemed to discover that home can be in more than just two places, the U.S. and Cuba, and you seemed to gain an appreciation for your two languages. Can you speak about the comfort that travel brought you? How did your early experiences traveling between Cuba and the U.S. impact that later discovery of solace in new places?

Margarita: We visited several European countries that summer, but I only felt “at home” in Spain, partly because of the familiar language, and partly because we stayed in one town long enough to get to know people. During subsequent years I started traveling earnestly, first hitchhiking all over the U.S. during my late teens, and then, beginning in my early twenties, traveling all over Latin America on buses, trains, donkeys, and dugout canoes. It took decades for me to realize that wherever I went, a part of me was always searching for Cuba. Returning to the island in 1991 began a long, slow process of becoming whole again.  I am finally myself now, half American and half Cuban, just as I was during childhood.  Traveling helped me heal.

Sylvia: As a fellow traveler, I love that idea: of healing through travel. Thank you, Holly and Margarita for sharing so generously and for all your works that consider the intersection of the cultural, the personal, and the political. I am a big fan of you BOTH! And I think Enchanted Air is an amazing book, a beautiful blend of personal memories and a slice of history, as well as a coming-of-age story. I'm lucky enough to be able to dig deeply into this book to create a reader's guide for Enchanted Air-- more info on that later. 

Meanwhile, head on over to Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme where Matt Forrest is hosting Poetry Friday and has some good news of his own to share.


Image credits: YAReview.net; MargaritaEngle.com; Commons.Wikimedia.org; authorsforphilippines.wordpress.com; NoWaterRiver.com; blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu

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2. The Symbiosis of Science and Poetry

Janet and I were so thrilled to get an article published in the latest issue of ALSC's Children and Libraries. The focus is on science and poetry and begins like this:

Sometimes unlikely partners can benefit each other in surprising ways. For example, dogs offer protection and companionship to humans, who in turn provide food and shelter for dogs. This “give-and-take” relationship is called symbiosis, referring to relationships that have mutual benefit. 

That’s true for the disciplines of science and poetry, too. Science is rich in content and poetry offers powerful language; together they can both inform and inspire. 

For some of us, however, science is a little intimidating because of the unfamiliar vocabulary, abstract concepts, and the text-heavy format of many science books. But people who feel uncomfortable with science often feel very comfortable with language arts, so a poem might be the perfect way to introduce a science topic.

Then we go on to highlight some recent works of science-themed poetry, including The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science:


Finding Science Poetry
There are many wonderful science-themed works of poetry to choose about animals, weather, seasons, and space. In addition to short, visually-appealing poetry collections such as Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs, Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman, and A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals That Call Them Home by Marilyn Singer, you can also find comprehensive anthologies such as The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination compiled by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Wilson, The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry compiled by J. Patrick Lewis, and our own The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, a recent “NSTA Recommends” title endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association. It features 218 poems about solar power and hybrid cars, gears and robots, hurricanes and the human body, video games and glaciers, famous scientists and everyday inventions, and more (along with learning activities for every poem). Using these science poetry resources and many others, it’s possible to find a short “poem match” for almost any elementary science topic to provide a moment of learning that is also a fun break in the routine. 

One helpful selection resource is the annual list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12, co-sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and the National Science Teachers Association. This annotated bibliography typically includes a few new books of science-themed poetry every year, sometimes in the form of rhyming picturebooks and verse novels. 

In addition, many children’s science-themed magazines and serials, such as Ranger Rick, Owl, Chirp, Chickadee, National Geographic Kids, and Kids Discover, regularly feature poems, In fact, magazines are often the first medium in which many new poets get their work published.

We address the science curriculum standards and how to address them through poetry.  And we also talk about how to address research skills, as well as different approaches to publishing science-themed poetry-- including pairing prose and poetry. Finally, we offer a few examples of how to maximize science-poem moments:

 *A “Galactic Glossary” in Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian defines everything from “the minor planets” to “the great beyond,” with a sprinkling of especially kid-friendly facts.

*Face Bug by J. Patrick Lewis not only provides exceptional close-up photos of insect faces, but also ends with a section in which each of the insects featured in a poem has a first-person statement about “Where I Live,” “How I Grow,” “What I Eat,” and “What Eats Me.” (The Pearl Crescent Butterfly says, “I count robber flies . . . and, of course . . . BIRDS on my Most Scary List” while the venomous Saddleback Caterpillar says, “Go away, if you know what’s good for you!”)

*Nature Notes in the back of Avis Harley’s poetry collection African Acrostics feature informative paragraphs alongside thumbnail photos of each of the animals highlighted in the book; Susan Blackaby provides similar information about each of the animal habitats she showcases in the poems of Nest, Nook & Cranny. In addition, both Harley and Blackaby provide a section about the poetic forms they employ in the poems, too.

You can find more info about this excellent journal HERE

Now head on over to Random Noodling where Diane has the Poetry Friday party going strong! 

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3. Celebrating World Red Cross Day

Today, May 8, is World Red Cross Day and of course we have featured it in our new book, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Our featured poem, "Look for the Helpers," is by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes and it's a lovely, sensitive poem that helps children focus on the helping nature of this important organization-- and how they can help right where they are. In addition to writing this beautiful poem, Michelle created a video too! And even got the Red Cross organization involved! She has posted it on her blog today too, so check out her poem video HERE. It's a wonderful way to share a poem in a one-minute movie complete with visuals and audio, too. 

Take 5!
As you surely know, we also provide mini-lessons or "Take 5" activities for every poem in all our books, so here are the Take 5 activities for THIS poem, "Look for the Helpers" by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations.






Now head on over to Michelle's blog, Today's Little Ditty, for the rest of the Poetry Friday party! 

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4. May 4-8, 2015 Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week


Yes, April 2015 is over now, but that doesn’t mean we’re “done” with poetry! Not in my corner of the cybersphere!  First, I have one more video created by my hard-working graduate students. This one is by Jennifer M. and she has taped two young boys reading “A Teacher Knows” by Eric Ode (pronounced O-Dee) in celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week. They are absolutely adorable and they taught me something I’ve never noticed before—that understanding poetry is in the EYES, not just the VOICE. When you watch these boys, you can really tell they GET it! And it’s not just their expressive reading—which is great—but it’s in their faces. Watch and see:


What a lovely way to celebrate teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8, 2015)! If you’d like to know more about this special week, click HERE.

And for an extra treat, here's the poet Eric Ode SINGING his poem in this video here:


Or if you prefer accessing a Vimeo copy of this video, click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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

Thanks for joining me in celebrating National Poetry Month (and beyond) with homemade videos of young people reading and reciting poetry. It reminds me of Robert Pinsky’s “Favorite Poem Project” and I think it will be wonderful in years to come for these young people to see themselves when they were children, hear their young voices, and revisit the poems they enjoyed while growing up before our eyes!

Now head on over to Ellen’s place at SpaceCityScribes for more Poetry Friday sharing.

Next, I’ll be sharing more “Poet to Poet” interviews, clips from the 11th annual Poetry Round Up at the recent Texas Library Association conference, excerpts from my BOOK LINKS article on verse memoirs, and much more! Stay tuned...


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5. Celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day


Another big celebration of children and books is coming up soon:
National Children’s Book Week, 
May 4-10, 2015 

It used to be in November, but it’s been a May event for awhile now and I’m happy to report that we have a poem for Book Week in our CELEBRATIONS book. It’s “Treasure Hunt” by Sandy Asher. Laura D. has recruited a young reader to perform this poem in both English and Spanish. 


For more information about National Children’s Book Week, check out the Children’s Book Council site HERE. It's full of fun resources! And we’re excited to be one of the publishers offering a POETRY-themed “Event Kit” for Book Week this year. It includes reproducibles, game and coloring pages, bookmarks, and a word search featuring the word “poetry” in 20 different languages! Click HERE for our Book Week poetry kit.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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6. May 4-10, 2015 Celebrating Children’s Book Week


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7. April 30: Celebrating Children’s Day, Book Day


In just a few days, we’ll be celebrating El día de los niños, El día de los libros; Children’s Day, Book Day. It’s officially on April 30, but you can certainly celebrate books and children any day! Día (for short) originates with poet, author, and literacy advocate Pat Mora and we are so thrilled to have a poem in honor of this multicultural celebration of children and books penned by Pat herself. 


Here’s Pat talking about the Día celebration: 


And for more about Pat Mora, click HERE and for more about celebrating Día, click HERE.  

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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8. Celebrating Summer Reading


Summer is right around the corner and we want to be sure to encourage kids to keep reading even after school is out. Here’s a poem that celebrates Summer Reading Month in June. It’s “Oh, Summer Books” by Diana Murray and Kaela L. has recruited a young volunteer who reads the poem with such expression that she really captures the spirit of the poem.


For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.




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9. Celebrating Jokes


I read once that kids laugh on average 400 times a day! And adults only laugh about 15 times a day! And since laughter is supposed to be good for the heart, nervous system, and even digestion—not to mention our emotions and well-being—I think we need a lot more laughter in our lives. 

Watch these young readers performing “No Kidding” by Michelle Schaub in celebration of National Tell a Joke Day which occurs every August 16. (Make plans now!) Here’s the video created by Brooke H. I love that she got two students involved who come from other countries originally—reading both the English and the Spanish versions of the poem. And don’t miss the blooper footage complete with music!



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For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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10. Celebrating Thrift Shops


In this age of "reduce, reuse, recycle," it's a good reminder that thrift shops help us do that with material goods-- as consumers and as providers. And children can start young with the notion of donating to help others. Here April Halprin Wayland conveys a child's mixed feelings in a very clever and tender way in her poem, “Box for the Thrift Shop." Juli P. has her two young performers reading both the English and Spanish versions of this lovely poem here.


Plan now to donate goods (and/or visit a thrift shop) on August 17, National Thrift Shop Day. And encourage children you know to participate with you, too.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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11. Celebrating Etiquette


Coming soon: a whole week to celebrate good manners and being considerate of others! Yes, May 11-15 is officially National Etiquette Week and we are celebrating with the poem “Things Not to Do” by the always-considerate poet Eileen Spinelli. Here Veronica V. has challenged her young readers to perform the poem in both English and Spanish. Check it out:


And would you like to know what Emily Post has to say about National Etiquette Week? Click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

Now, head on over to No Water River where the amazing Renee La Tulippe is organizing all our Poetry Friday contributions. And remember your manners! ;-)

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12. Celebrating the Farmer’s Market


Cheryl T. has recruited two very young readers to perform Buffy Silverman's poem, "At the Farmers’ Market” here even talking about their favorite fruits and vegetables at the end. 


Pull this poem out again to share August 8-15, 2015 in honor of National Farmer's Market Week."  And if you want to follow up with "Take 5" activities, here you go:

Take 5

  1. Add a bit of fun to sharing this poem in honor of National Farmers’ Market Week with a poetry prop—show a piece of fruit or a vegetable (or an empty shopping bag) before reading the poem aloud. If you have enough to share and eat, even better! 
  2. Invite children to select their favorite fruit or vegetable named in the poem and to chime in just on that word while you read the rest of the poem aloud.
  3. Talk about the difference between a grocery store and a farmers’ market (where produce is usually sold by the producer). 
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure (Abrams, 2011) and encourage children to share their own experiences with gardens or markets. 
  5. Connect with “A Marching Band of Vitamins” by Michele Krueger (June, pages 158-159) and with poems from Busy in the Garden by George Shannon (Greenwillow, 2006) and In Our Backyard Garden: Poems by Eileen Spinelli (Simon & Schuster, 2004).

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish) along with "Take 5" activities for every poem, order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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13. April 22: Celebrating Earth Day


Today is Earth Day

Want to know more about this special day? Click HERE.

Want a poem to celebrate this day and our planet? 
Look for Mary Lee Hahn's "Earth, You Are" 
in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations.

Want to see a global selfie” that NASA created to celebrate Earth Day?


For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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14. Celebrating Water


California is experiencing severe drought conditions and rationing water. It's a good reminder of what a precious and essential resource water is. Poet George Ella Lyon feels passionately about this topic and has authored a poem about it, “World Water Day," as well as a beautiful picture book, All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon (Atheneum, 2011). Here, Sharon T. has recruited a teenager to read George Ella's beautiful poem. 


March 22 is officially World Water Day and you can learn more about this United Nations celebration HERE

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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15. Celebrating Daylight


Want to help children learn about the time change every March? Here's a poem to help you remember and to pull out again in October when it's time to switch again. Elena B. has gathered readers the library to read the poem “Daylight Saving Time” by Shirley Duke in both English and Spanish. Enjoy!



As always, we suggest "Take 5" activities for every poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. For THIS poem, here are the suggested "Take 5" activities:

TAKE 5

  1. Use a real or toy clock or watch as your poetry prop as you read this poem aloud. 
  2. Invite children to join in on the first line of each stanza (Spring forward! and Fall back!) while you read the rest of the poem aloud.
  3. Talk about the pros and cons of changing the clock twice a year based on the details in this poem. One resource is TimeAndDate.com.
  4. Pair this poem with the picture book Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta (Square Fish, 2008) and talk about the many ways Ben Franklin’s ideas have shaped our lives today.
  5. Connect this with another poem about the changing of seasons, “The Rollerbears” by Jack Prelutsky (October, pages 260-261), and with poems from Once Around the Sun by Bobbi Katz (Harcourt, 2006) or Sharing the Seasons edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (McElderry, 2010).

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish) along with "Take 5" activities for every poem, order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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16. April 19-25, 2015 Celebrating National Coin Week


When I was a little girl, I loved collecting pennies and putting them in those hard blue folders with the circles for holding each penny. (I still have that collection more than 50 years later!) And I love keeping a coin from each country I visit too. So I was tickled to discover there is a bona fide holiday celebrating COINS! And that holiday starts TODAY! Yes, it is National Coin Week this week, April 19-25, 2015. 

To celebrate, let's pause for a poem about coins. Cynthia H. has gathered a group of four young readers with each girl taking one stanza of the poem, reading with a lot of enthusiasm and in both English and Spanish. Plus, Cynthia has added visuals, music, and sound effects (clinking coins!). Enjoy their reading of "Pocket Change" by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman.


And do you want to know more about such numismatic events? For more information about National Coin Week, click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.



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17. Celebrating Letter Writing


Letter writing may be a dying art, but it's still important to know how to communicate, whether by email, text, tweet, note, OR letter. Need a model of how to? Check out this poem, "Sincerely" by Robyn Hood Black. Here, the narrator in Jenny G's video has really captured the spirit of the poem with such a great smile and clear enunciation. And don't miss the hilarious blooper bits too!


You can share this lovely poem next March during National Write a Letter of Appreciation Day or ANY DAY when you want to nudge children to try writing someone they care about. You'll find a Pocket Poem card version of this poem at Pinterest too right HEREWe have a whole "board" of CELEBRATION Pocket Poems there to share and enjoy. Just click HERE.


For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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18. Celebrating Breakfast Cereals


This video of Andy reading "Picky Eater" by Matt Forrest Esenwine is hilarious. Watch him keep his composure as boxes of breakfast cereal are tossed at him! Plus, he reads both the English AND Spanish versions of this poem beautifully! Thank you, Cynthia A. for this awesome video! 


Yes, there is an actual National Cereal Day on March 7, but this poem is fun to share on any day you're eating cereal-- and that's nearly every day for me! Want to know more about this unique holiday? There's a dedicated website, of course. Just click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

And head on over to Life on the Deckle Edge where Robyn is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering this week. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm honored to be interviewed there-- along with Janet.) Click HERE to go there! (And thanks so much, Robyn-- all around!)

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19. Celebrating Poetry and Pizza


It’s Friday! Time for pizza! The second day of the year officially kicks off National Pizza Week. To celebrate that holiday (or pizza on any day), share “Pizza Week Menu” by Michelle Schaub (from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations). Here, adorable Josephine reads the poem aloud complete with multiple pizza props!


Thanks to (student and mom) Veronica W. for organizing this video (and procuring the pizzas, I’m guessing!). For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

Meanwhile, poet and author Laurie Purdie Salas is hosting our Poetry Friday gathering this week over at Writing the World for Kids—just click HERE. See you there!

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20. April 12-18, 2015: Celebrating National Library Week


It’s time for a real-time holiday celebration: National Library Week (April 12-18) which starts tomorrow! Since I teach in a library school, this is a BIG DEAL at our house! And I hope library lovers everywhere are pausing to celebrate the fact that we have a place to go for free books, storytimes, Internet access and so much more! For more information about National Library Week, click HERE.

Just for fun, check out this clever video that the Allen County Public Library created to celebrate National Library Week. It’s a clever, crazy trail of books falling down like dominoes.

Our poem for National Library Week (in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations) is “My Place to Fly” penned by Ted Scheu and we’ve created a Pocket Poem card for it. You’ll find it below and on Pinterest!
For this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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21. April 12: Celebrating D.E.A.R. Day

In my opinion, it's perfect that DEAR Day occurs during National Library Week this year! What is "DEAR Day," you ask? It's a day to Drop Everything and Read (D. E. A. R.), of course! And we have a poem to celebrate, " “Stop! Let’s Read” by Kristy Dempsey from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. In addition, Suzy G. has corralled several 7th and 8th graders and filmed them reading this fabulous poem in English AND Spanish (and in the library!). Click HERE to check that out! 

For more information about DEAR Day held every year on April 12 (TODAY!), click HERE. (Yes, there is a dedicated website for this!)

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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22. April 12-18, 2015: Celebrating the Week of the Young Child


April is a BIG month! As you've probably already noticed, it's both National Poetry Month AND Arab American Heritage Month. Plus, we have National Library Week and at the same time (this year), the official "Week of the Young Child"-- April 12-18, 2015. In celebration of early childhood, we have a wonderful poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations entitled, "I'm Bigger" written by Kristy Dempsey from the child's point of view.
Here's one school's celebration of the Week of the Young Child: 



If you'd like more information about the official celebration of the Week of the Young Child sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), click HERE.
For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.



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23. Celebrating Girls and Women and Poetry


Just last month (in March), we paused to celebrate the contributions of girls and women during National Women's History Month. And of course we have a poem honoring girls and women in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. Jeannine Atkins penned that powerful poem entitled, "A Long Time Ago." Here you can see and hear a young leader of the future reading the poem aloud, complete with pink beret, big glasses, and puppy dog! Monica C. has orchestrated this video and even incorporates terrific images of real and active women and girls.


For the official website of the National Women's History Project, click HERE.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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24. Celebrating All Kinds of Kids and Friends


This is the week for the annual conference of the Texas Library Association and today I'm leading the 11th annual Poetry Round Up-- always a popular session. In honor of our 11th anniversary, I'm hosting 11 poets too: Jorge Argueta, Brian Rock, Leslie Bulion, J. Patrick Lewis, George Ella Lyon, Kenn Nesbitt, Micol Ostow, K.A. Holt, Nancy Bo Flood, Janet Wong, and illustrator Don Tate reading from his new book, Poet. (Lee Wardlaw was scheduled to come, but has had to postpone till next time.) Of course, I'll bring a full report (and maybe videoclips) later on this blog. Meanwhile, here's another poem-plus-video to enjoy!

Renee M. LaTulippe provides today's marvelous poem, "Friends," in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (held every December 3). Joni H. has organized this video and features two young readers who really capture the spirit of the poem including their own drawings and a bit of discussion in response to the poem.
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For more information about International Day of Persons with Disabilities sponsored by the United Nations, click HERE.  

For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.


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25. Celebrating Seuss


It's always fun to celebrate Dr. Seuss! Crystal H. has created a fun video reading of the poem, "Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss" by Carole Gerber in honor of Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day (March 2). (Can you hear the dog barking? I think Dr. Seuss would have loved that!) Check it out:



For the full text of this poem and 150+ 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. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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