i am especially fond of poetry, and ESPECIALLY especially fond of sharing poems with kids. they really respond to the rhythms and repetitions and rhymes that poetry offers.
so we'll start off with some nursery rhymes for the little ones. the repetition of rhymes and songs to little ears is crucial to language and literacy development. we love to experiment with the stories of other cultures (more on that soon), but always seem to come back to our Mother Goose. The edition we have is My Very First Mother Goose, with captivating illustrations by Rosemary Wells.
This book contains all of the usual Mother Goose staples, and a few of the lesser-known rhymes as well.
take some time out with your little one to savor the sounds of the words, sing the songs, memorize the stories, or engage in some fun finger play. (click HERE for some links to great finger play rhymes and songs) kids love to get their whole bodies into the action!
Middle sized kids love a funny poem. something with silly words or a twist ending. we've been reading A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Pretlusky.
(click HERE to enter his awesome animated site! see his other books, and check out great classroom and home activities)
and if you're in a silly poetry mood, you can never go wrong with Shel Silverstein. Falling Up, A Light in the Attic, or any of the Tons of Other Amazing Books he's written. (click on these links, to hear Shel himself reading some of his poems!)
The illustrations are fun and engaging, and ... just to whet your appetite, here's a quick sample of what you'll see inside
after all that reading, sit down and write a poem of your own! don't forget the illustrations!
and because we grown-ups have poetry in our souls as well, today's recommendation is Thirst, by the always brilliant (and Pulitzer Prize winning!) Mary Oliver. i was recently given this book by a dear friend of mine, and was speechless and moved at the beauty of the images and sense of peaceful wonder (even in the face of wrenching grief, and sorrow) created in her work.
and just in case, you still think poetry's not for you...
from page 22:
A Pretty Song
From the complications of loving you
I think there is no end or return.
No answer, no coming out of it.
Which is the only way to love, isn't it?
This isn't a playground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.
Therefore I have given precedence
to all of my sudden, sullen, dark moods
that hold you in the center of my world.
And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers: type me a pretty song.
And I say to my heart: rave on.
and so say i,
to you, today, in whatever place you find yourself
in joys radiant, or in quiet sorrow
... rave on.