As of March 11, the top selling children’s book of poetry was Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein. The number two book was A Light in the Attic, also by Shel Silverstein. No surprises there, as Shel Silverstein is the most recognizable children’s poet after Dr. Seuss. With April being National Poetry Month, why not break out of the Silverstein and Seuss rut and discover some other wonderfully talented children’s poets?
Shel Silverstein was one of my favorite American poets. His most popular collection of poetry is found in the book, Where the Sidewalk Ends. At times, these poems can be quite funny and delightfully silly. Some of his poetry is touching and conveys messages about life and life experiences we take for granted. There are quirky drawings throughout, that make the poems even more enjoyable.
I did some research to get ready for Bad Poetry Day, which is August 18, and apparently, a good contender for worst poet ever is Scotsman, William McGonagall. Around 1877, when he was about 50 years old (it’s hard to say for sure, because his exact birthdate is unknown), he believed God spoke to him and told him to write; and that’s what he did for the rest of his life, which amounted to about 25 more years. McGonagall seemed oblivious to all criticisms of his work and retained an amazing level of self-confidence in his abilities as a writer.
It’s that time again, where everything outside is bare and everything inside is warm and cozy! So many of us don’t really take a liking to the cold weather, but hey, it’s the cycle of life. We have to have the seasons. Below is a poem I wrote many years ago when I lived on a farm and was able, on this particular day, to kick back and take in the beauty of the cold, crisp pond. Try to take a deep breath, a long walk, and reflect what a blessing it is to be alive and able to experience four seasons.
Students tend to turn up their noses at the idea of poetry. Their experiences are limited to Hallmark cards and trite rhymes. And, they don’t think they have what it takes to write something others would want to read or something that could be published.
That changed when I was teaching middle school. I shared some of my favorite writers of poetry. One of those was Jack Prelutsky. Mr. Prelutsky has been writing for more than 40 years. In 2006, he was named the first Children’s Poet Laureate in the United States. There are many of his books in the MCPL system.