I sure have enjoyed National Poetry Month! How about you? Let’s take a quick look back:
- I shared why I think poetry is the most personal form of writing.
- We chatted with my dear friend and lovely poet Mea Smith about her poetry and writing through grief.
- And then I examined some thoughts on teaching poetry to kids.
Phew! April’s been a busy month!
Today’s a special day. It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day! Even more special than that, this post comes to you from a joint effort with my two literature-loving kiddos because poetry is not just for adults! They’ve been scoping out some great poetry books for kids and have their top five lists for you to check out. And, my son—who is an outstanding writer and poet already at the ripe old age of 8—chats with us a bit about his writing and reading.
So, come along on a proud mama moment with me as we examine some poetry for—and by—kids! Quick note for all the book links below:
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Let’s start off with a little chat with my son about poetry and writing!
Joy: Hello, Thadpelt!
Can you think back to when you were younger and tell us the very first poem you remember? It may have been a song, a book that rhymed or just a standalone poem.
Thadpelt: Hi there! The first one I remember is a song, “How Great is Our God.” I liked the music and the goal of the song. Every song has a goal. The goal of this song is probably to make people know how great God is.
Joy: That’s one of my favorite songs. I’m curious, what do you like about poetry?
Thadpelt: The rhymes!
Joy: I’m a big fan of rhyming poetry as well! Tell us some of your favorite poems.
Thad pelt: “Roly-poly” by Jeff Foxworthy; “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; “The Lady of Shallot” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe; “A Slash of Blue” by Emily Dickinson; “The Land of Nod” by Robert Louis Stevenson; and “Snakes Alive” by Jeff Foxworthy.
Joy: That’s quite the line-up! Which of those have you memorized?
Thadpelt: I’ve memorized the first part of “The Bells” and “A Slash of Blue” and “The Land of Nod.”
Joy: Is it hard to memorize poetry?
Thadpelt: A little, but come to think of it, it is actually really easy if you know them by heart from reading them over and over again. It may be hard for you, but it is really easy for me.
Joy: You got me there! Do you enjoy writing poetry?
Thadpelt: Yes, because it is fun! The main part of poetry is to have one goal in your mind because you can’t change what you want to do with that poem halfway through. You would have two meanings. Also, another part is to be funny and creative.
Joy: That’s a great point, Thadpelt! Is the funny part why you like Jeff Foxworthy’s poetry in Dirt on My Shirt so much?
Thadpelt: Yea, Jeff Foxworthy is the funny kind of poet.
Joy: Do you plan to keep writing poetry?
Thadpelt: Of course! Poetry is like building onto stories. I have written 22 stories. Poems build onto paragraphs which build onto, finally, stories.
Joy: Will you share a poem with us?
by Thadpelt Rancatore
My dog is less than one foot tall
And hasn’t any tail.
She never answers when I call;
She is so very frail,
So very, very frail.
[Note: This poem came from a prompt in Jack Prelutsky’s Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme—a book I highly recommend for the learning poet! Thad added the final two lines.]
UR PANTRY IS UNDER ATTACK!!!!
by Thadpelt Rancatore
Rats are running,
With their guns.
They are cunning;
They are gunning;
They won’t stop running
‘Till they get ur food.
Joy: These are two super fun poems! Thank you for sharing with us!
Thadpelt: Which one do you like best?????
Joy: I like them both, but the rat one totally cracks me up!
Now, you also write prose. How many books and stories have you written—that you can remember anyway? Tell us about your favorite.
Romy and Bentley
Tolkien and Pete
2 dogs, 2 cats forming Clans, fighting each other, collecting treasures, sharing secrets and experiencing suffering.
Joy: Wow! That’s a lot! You’ve certainly got me beat! And, you’ve got me intrigued with that description! So, do you like to write poetry or prose better? And, why do you like to write so much?
Thadpelt: I like writing prose best. And, I like to write because your head is exploding with imagination when you write. [Today I drew a picture of my head exploding.]
Joy: Since today is Poem in Your Pocket Day, we want to know: what poem’s in your pocket?
Thadpelt: “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe. It is an amazing poem. This poem is a beauty poem.
Joy: Beauty poem?
Thadpelt: Oh! Poems are always called things. “A Slash of Blue” is a morning poem. “The Land of Nod” is a sleeping poem. “Roly-poly” is a bug poem. You know? These are the goals of those poems—to make a sleeping poem or something like that. Get it?????
Joy: Got it!
I hope you guys enjoyed this interview half as much I did! Now, as you saw last week in our post on teaching poetry to kids, we checked out a TON of poetry books from our local library. My kids have been reading up a storm, and they have their top five poetry books for kids to share with you today since poetry is not just for adults!
Both kiddos recommend:
- Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy
- Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost edited by Gary D. Schmidt
- Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars by Douglas Florian
Allie also recommends:
- The Watcher (inspired by Psalm 121) by Nikki Grimes
- Side by Side: Poems to Read Together collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins (you may need to find this one at a library)
Thad also recommends:
- The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Margaret Early (the illustrations are stunning!)
- Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme by Jack Prelutsky
Joy also HIGHLY recommends:
- Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
Perhaps these suggestions will help you with your own little readers. We also recommend sharing poetry from your collection as well. Kids can read from all sections with a little guidance from you, so pull out your Shakespeare, your Poe, your Tennyson and your Dickinson and explore together!
We’ll leave you today with Allie and Thad’s top five poems and my top five poems. Which ones top your list?
What about you? Do you have a mini-poet on your hands? Brag away! Do you have any poetry book recommendations for us? Do you have questions for my little poet? Ask away! He’d love to hear from you!