Category Archives: poetry

The ABC of Poetry Books

Poetry is one of my favourite genres.
Poetry can be rhyming but it doesn’t need to be! Alliteration is one of the oldest forms of poetry and gives stories and songs its rhythmic flow. Poetry is perhaps the best form of story to read aloud, to share at bedtime or any time. Poetry can instil a life long love of language in a child, so use it often regardless of which language you speak.

Here is a list of some of my favourites. As always, the hardest thing is to limit it! There are so many wonderful poets, so many beautiful, funny, touching books! Enjoy sharing these with your favourite reader, or curled up by yourself:

African Acrostics, Avis Harley and Deborah Noyes
Barn Dance, Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault
Canoe Days, Gary Paulsen 
Dinosaurs, Lee Bennett Hopkins
Edward The Emu, Sheena Knowles
Falling Up, Shel Silverstein
Good Night, Sweet Pig, Linda Bailey 
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, Dr. Seuss + Jack Prelutsky
I Did It Because, How A Poem Happens, Loris Lesynski
(The) Jolly Postman, Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Keep A Poem in Your Pocket, collected by J. Patrick Lewis
(The) Little Blue Truck, Alice Schertle
Mabel Murple, Sheree Fitch
North Country Night, Daniel San Souci
Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse
Pearl Versus The World, Sally Murphy 
Quiet as a Cricket, Audrey and Don Wood
In the Red Canoe, Leslie A. Davidson
Sleeping Dragons All Around, Sheree Fitch 
There’s A Wocket in My Pocket, Dr. Seuss
yoU Nest Here With Me, Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple
Valentine Hearts, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
(The) Waterhole, Graeme Base
eXtra Innings, Baseball Poems, Lee Bennett Hopkins
Yertle The Turtle and Other Stories, Dr. Seuss
Zombies! Evacuate The School, Sara Holbrook


Lose the Rhyme!

Take your poem from a few days ago.
Retell the story in short, poetic sentences but lose the rhyme!
Don’t worry about find words that rhyme but do see if you can use some aliteration.
Use humor.
Use short,  snappy lines.

Which format tells a better story?
Which version do you like best?

While I like rhyming poems, I love free verse. Free verse is a story told in poetic, often short, sentences that do not rhyme.

Some of my favorite free verse novels include:
Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse
Love That Dogs, Sharon Creech
May B, Caroline Starr Rose
The Dancing Pancake, Eileen Spinelli

Find a Poem!

From my book: The Power of Poems, Maupin House

Just as you can find things that become treasures, you can find words that, put together, make a poem. 

Here is a piece of (prose) writing:
“When I was little, Grandma’s button box was my favorite toy.
I would sit on the floor by Grandma’s chair and she would bring me the button box. Gently, she’d bend down and put it by my feet on the carpet.
Slowly, I’d lift the lid and stare at the treasure—glittering, shim- mering jewels they were.  Shiny black eyes, golden coins and sparkling diamonds off princesses’ dresses.
Then I’d tilt the box, slowly, with both hands until the buttons poured out onto the carpet.  I’d shift them with my hands, let them run through my fingers in a cascade of colors.  I’d make piles and bulldoze them around the carpet.  I felt the buttons. They felt good.”
Now I am going to pick words from this piece of writing and put them into a poem.  I will underline the words I choose:
“When I   was         little Grandma’s button box was my favorite toy.
I would sit on the floor by Grandma’s chair and she would bring me the button box.  Gently, she’d bend down and put it by my feet on the carpet.
Slowly, I’d lift the lid and stare at the treasure—glittering, shim- mering jewels they were.  Shiny black eyes, golden coins and sparkling diamonds off princesses’ dresses.
Then I’d tilt the box, slowly, with both               handsuntil the buttons poured out onto the carpet.  I’d shift them with my hands, let them run through my fingers in a cascade of colors.  I’d make piles and bulldoze them around the carpet.  I felt the buttons. They felt             good
Now I put these underlined words into a poem.  Look:
Grandma
I was little
Gently
her eyes sparkled
Both hands in my hands Grandma felt good.
I found a poem in a piece of prose!
Use any piece of your own writing for this activity. Find words and arrange them until you have found a poem.

Rhyme for a Reason

Read several books of great poems for kids:
• any title by Jack Prelutsky
• Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
• a Dr. Seuss book. Look up poetry books by Bruce Lansky, David Greenberg, Kenn Nesbitt (http://www.poetry4kids.com/)

• Read poetry books by Sheree Fitch and Loris Lesynski!!

• Read The Party and Two by Two, by Barbara Reid!

Now write a poem about a boy who did not do his homework.
Make up wild and funny excuses.
Use rhyme.
aa, bb.
Or a, b, a, b.