Poetry II

 

Reading poetry, writing poetry, poems across the curriculum, and poems in the movies…yes, movies…

Also see POETRY I.

WRITING AND READING POETRY: FICTION

 images In Leo Lionni’s Frederick (Dragonfly Books, 1972), the title character – an enchanting little field mouse – doesn’t help the other mice lay in food for the winter; instead dreamy Frederick collects colors and words “because winter is gray.” In the bleak dead of winter, Frederick comes into his own, warming and cheering the other mice with his poetic descriptions of spring and summer. For ages 4-8.
 images-1 Byrd Baylor’s The Other Way to Listen (Aladdin, 1997) is a poem about learning how to listen to the natural world. “Teach me,” a little girl says to a wise old man, and gently he explains that it’s a matter of taking time, being quiet, and asking yourself hard questions. A good beginning for all poets. For ages 5-9.
 images-2 In Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire (HarperCollins, 2010), Nancy’s class is studying poetry and Nancy – complete with toga costume and poetry-palace clubhouse – prepares to become a prize poet. It’s a great book for poetry project ideas, among them conducting a poetry survey (Nancy’s little sister likes “Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling;” her father likes “Blowin’ in the Wind;” her mother’s pick is “Annabel Lee”), making a paper “poet-tree,” and creating a personal poetry anthology. For ages 6-9.
 images-4 Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet (HarperCollins, 1994) is the story of a little brown bat (“the color of coffee with cream in it”) who loves the world of daytime and invents poems about all he sees and learns there – though ultimately, as winter comes, and he and his admiring friend, the chipmunk, prepare to hibernate, his final poem celebrates his familiar world of bats. A wonderful book about the true nature of poetry for ages 8 and up.
 images-5 In Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog (Perfection Learning, 2003), Jack – a student of the incomparable Ms. Stretchberry in Room 105 – is, in spite of himself, learning to love poetry.  The book – entirely written in free verse – begins with Jack’s objections to all things poetic (“I don’t want to/because boys/don’t write poetry./Girls do.”), continues through his strictures on famous poets (“I think Mr. Robert Frost/has a little/too/much/time/on his/hands”), to his discovery of a poem by Walter Dean Myers (“Love That Boy”) that strikes a chord – and helps him deal with the heartbreaking loss of his yellow dog, Sky. For ages 8 and up.
 images-6 In the sequel, Hate That Cat (HarperCollins, 2010), poetry helps Jack come to terms with his deaf mother and a particularly awful neighborhood cat. In both books, the poems used in Ms. Stretchberry’s class appear in an appendix at the back.
 images-7 In Edward Eager’s Seven-Day Magic (Harcourt, 1999), John, Susan, Barnaby, Abbie, and Frederika check a mysterious red book out of the library, which plunges them into seven days of (often nearly disastrous) magical adventures. One of these nearly costs their father his job, though he’s saved by Abbie, a poet (though she never shows her poems to anybody), with the help of a famous poet she encounters in the park. For ages 8-12.
 images-8 In Sally Murphy’s Pearl Verses the World (Candlewick, 2011) – written in Pearl’s voice in free verse – Pearl doesn’t fit in at school: she is a group of one. Her teacher, Mrs. Bruff, wants the class to write poems that rhyme, but Pearl’s don’t (“Rhyme is okay sometimes/but my poems don’t rhyme/and neither do I”). At home, her beloved grandmother sometimes doesn’t remember who Pearl and her mother are. When her grandmother dies, Pearl comes to terms with her death through a poem (“…She wasn’t here/For long enough/But I am glad/That she/Was here/At all”) – and comes to learn that she can maintain her individuality while also becoming part of a group. And Mrs. Bruff admits that poems don’t have to rhyme. A gentle book about difficult issues for ages 8-12.
 images-9 In Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer (Amistad, 2011), set in the summer of 1968, eleven-year-old Delphine and her younger sisters Vonetta and Fern have been shipped to California to spend time with Cecile, the mother who abandoned them shortly after Fern’s birth. Cecile is a poet who wants nothing to do with motherhood; in fact, she turns the girls out of the house for most of the day, sending them to a community camp run by the Black Panthers. It’s a wonderful story about political activism, racial tension, family and freedom, understanding, and growing up – all culminating when the three girls recite one of Cecile’s poems at a Black Panther rally in the park. A great read for ages 9-13.
 images-10 Poet Paul Chowder, the protagonist of Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist (Simon & Schuster, 2010) is struggling to write an introduction to an anthology of rhyming poems in the teeth of a string of troubles, among them the loss of his girlfriend. The book is stuffed with observations on the nature of poetry and stories about famous poets (and accounts of Chowder’s fruitless attempts to clean his office and deal with the mouse who lives behind his stove). For teenagers and adults.

 WRITING AND READING POETRY: HOW-TOS

 images-11 In Judy Young’s R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010), each letter of the alphabet stands for a different poetic form or feature, with an example and explanation. A, ACROSTIC, for example, features an acrostic poem (“Drawing”), and explains how the title determines the first letters of each line of the poem. For ages 7-11.
A Teacher’s Guide to R is for Rhyme has many illustrated student projects with printable worksheets. For example, kids can invent a free-verse poem, creative alliterative sentences, play a game of Word Ladders, write limericks and narrative poems, and experiment with concrete (“picture”) poems.
 images-12 Norton Juster’s A Surfeit of Similes (William Morrow, 1989) is a delightful rhyming celebration of (many) similes: “As pure as an angel/As clever as zippers/As awkward as crutches/As friendly as slippers.” Readers will never forget what a simile is. For all ages.
 images-13 Kenneth Koch’s Wishes, Lies, and Dreams (HarperPerennial, 1999) – subtitled “Teaching Children to Write Poetry” – is a wonderful and inspirational collection based on Koch’s experiences with elementary-level students, crammed with teaching suggestions and examples of kids’ work. Kids write poems based on wishes, dreams, and colors; write poems while listening to music; create poems on the themes of “I used to/But now…” and “I seem to be/But I really am…” And much more. For ages 6-12.
 images-14 Kenneth Koch’s Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? (Vintage Books, 1990) – subtitled “Teaching Great Poetry to Children” – is one of my all-time favorites. The premise: kids read poems by famous poets and write related poems of their own. There are ten featured poem projects, for each of which is included a famous poem -  among them William Blake’s “The Tyger” and Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” – with background information, teaching suggestions, and examples of student work. The second half of the book consists of a large anthology of additional poems, with accompanying writing suggestions. Very highly recommended. For ages 7 and up.
 images-15 Larry Fagin’s The List Poem (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2000) is a wonderful guide to writing list or catalog poems, with many examples by both well-known poets and kids. Try a recipe poem or a how-to poem; invent a list poem of the beautiful, the happy, the sad, the magical, the infuriating. Adaptable for all ages.
 images-16 Edited by Georgia Heard, Falling Down the Page (Roaring Brook Press, 2009) is a collection of list poems, among them Jane Yolen’s “In My Desk,” Elaine Magliaro’s “Things to Do If You Are a Pencil,” Bobbi Katz’s “Things to Do If Your Are the Sun,” and Patricia Hubbell’s “Winter’s Presents.” Try versions of your own. For ages 8 and up.
 images-17 Jack Prelutsky’s engaging Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem (Greenwillow Books, 2008) shows how he himself uses personal experiences to write poems, with examples from his own work. Included are suggestions for aspiring poets and a list of “poemstarts” to get things moving. For ages 8-12.
 images-18 By Laura Purdie Salas, Picture Yourself Writing Poetry (Capstone Press, 2011) is a 32-page collection of photographs to be used as poem-starters, paired with helpful hints for beginning poetry writers. For ages 8 and up.
 images-19 Paul Janeczko’s A Kick in the Head (Candlewick, 2009), subtitled “An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms,” tackles the question: Do poems have rules? Yes, they sometimes do – which, Janeczko argues, makes writing a poem both challenging and fun. The book introduces 29 poetic forms, from the couplet and haiku to the aubade, elegy, villanelle, and pantoum. Clever illustrations accompany each example. For ages 8 and up.
 images-20 Janeczko’s Poetry from A to Z (Simon & Schuster, 2012) is an alphabetized guide to poetry forms and concepts, with illustrative examples by well-known poets and “Try this” projects for kids. For example, C stands for clerihews and curse poems; H for how-to poems and haiku; L for letter and list poems; and S for shape poems. For ages 9-12.
 images-21 Also by Janeczko, Reading Poetry in the Middle Grades (Heinemann, 2011) is a collection of 20 poems, each with associated teaching suggestions, including pre- and post-reading activities, discussion topics, writing projects and templates, and a list of related poems. Among the poems are “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser, “A Poison Tree” by William Blake, “Summertime Sharing” by Nikki Grimes, “Ode to Family Photographs” by Gary Soto, and “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost.
 images-22 By X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy, Knock at a Star (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1999) is a wonderful anthology that encourages readers to consider what poems do and how they do it. Section one, “What Do Poems Do?,” groups poems by purpose: they variously Make You Smile, Tell Stories, Send Messages, Share Feelings, Help You Understand People, and Start You Wondering. Section two, “What’s Inside a Poem?,” groups selections by Images, Word Music, Beats That Repeat, Likenesses, and Word Play. “Special Kinds of Poetry” includes Limericks, Takeoffs, Songs, Show-and-Spell Poems, Finders-Keepers Poems, and Haiku; and a final section has helps for writing your own poems. Terrific. For ages 8 and up.
 images-23 Poetry Inside Out (Two Lines Press, 2012) is a poetry-and-translation-based curriculum in which kids study poems by twelve famous poets (Basho, Dante, Federico Garcia Lorca, and more) in their native languages, then translate them into English and use their translations as inspiration for poems of their own. Fascinating. For ages 9 and up.
 images-24 Compiled by Janeczko, Seeing the Blue Between (Candlewick, 2006) is a collection of 32 “letters of advice” to young poets from such established writers as Lee Bennett Hopkins, Jane Yolen, Lillian Morrison, and Jack Prelutsky. For ages 12 and up.
 images-25 By Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell, Sleeping on the Wing (Vintage, 1982) is a collection of poems with associated essays on reading poetry and suggestions for writing poems of your own. Featured poets include Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Allan Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Leroi Jones, and more. For ages 12 and up.
 images-26 Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook (Mariner Books, 1994) is a concise introduction to the art of poetry writing, with examples from the works of Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and others. Some things, Oliver explains, can’t be taught, but “can only be given;” other things, on the other hand, can. Topics covered include meter and rhyme, line and form, imagery, and free verse, with some final notes on revision (Oliver herself does many) and writing groups. For teenagers and adults.
 lessons Kenn Nesbit’s Poetry4Kids website features a long list of poetry projects and exercises, including experiments with a range of poetic forms (acrostic poems, concrete poems, found poems, haikus, limericks) and styles (apology, epitaph, and list poems, fractured nursery rhymes, riddle rhymes), and helpful hints on reciting poetry. Included is an extensive online poetry dictionary.
 images-27 In this free 10-week online Poetry for Kids course, various weeks cover cliché-busting, poetry in song lyrics, poetic forms, the sounds of poetry (rhyme, rhythm, repetition), poetry crafts and games, meaning in poems, 24 poets every child should know, and publishing. Cool.
 images-28 Nina Katchadourian’s Sorted Books Project began in 1993 and is still (all over the place) ongoing. The premise: choose a collection of particular book titles and group or stack the books such that the titles can be read in sequence from top to bottom. What a great way to write a poem.
 images-29 In Austin Kleon’s Newspaper Blackout (HarperPerennial, 2010), Kleon creates poems using newspaper articles and a black Sharpie, blacking out all the words he doesn’t want. What’s left is a poem. See some examples at the accompanying Newspaper Blackout website.
 scr_poetry_idea_engine From Scholastic, Writing with Writers: Poetry has helpful tips from poets Jack Prelutsky, Karla Kuskin, and Jean Marzollo, activities, and an interactive Poetry Idea Engine.
 images-30 Experiment with Random Word Poems. You’ll need paste and a lot of creative word cards.
 images-32 From the Academy of American Poets, the Curriculum & Lesson Plans page includes projects in which kids investigate poems in films and create their own screenplay scene in which poetry is central; write letters to historical and contemporary poets; study poems about poetry; investigate images of light and dark in poetry; learn about poems that exemplify different points in the American historical experience; and more.

POEMS ACROSS THE CURRICULUM

 images-33 Sylvia M. Vardell’s 300+-page The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists (CreateSpace, 2012) is a terrific resource, crammed with annotated lists of prize-winning poetry books, Common-Core-related poetry books, thematic poetry books (about everything from animals, baseball, and birds to war, weather, and world history), poetry for holidays, and approaches to teaching poetry.
 images-34 Barbara Chatton’s Using Poetry Across the Curriculum (Libraries Unlimited, 2010) covers writing poetry, learning about poets, creating poetry anthologies, reading and retelling classic poems, poetic forms and conventions, and poetry across the curriculum in science, math, history, geography, fine arts, and physical education. Many book and resource lists. For elementary- and middle-school-level kids.
 images-35 By J. Patrick Lewis and Laura Robb, Poems for Teaching in the Content Areas (Scholastic, 2007) is a collection of 75 poems plus teaching ideas to mesh with history, geography, science, and math lessons. For ages 9 and up.
 images-32 From PBS, Thematic Teaching: Poetry is a great collection of poems and activities for incorporating poetry across the curriculum, variously targeted at grades 3-7 or 8-12. For example, in conjunction with “The Eagle” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, kids study the eagle and other symbols of America, investigate the biology and natural history of the American bald eagle, and design a bald eagle postcard. Other lessons cover health/nutrition and poetry; symmetry/math and poetry; and the history and science of flight and poetry.

POETRY AND LITERATURE

 images-36 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Good Books, Good Times (HarperCollins, 2000) is a delightful illustrated collection of poems about books and reading by such poets as Myra Cohn Livingston, Jack Prelutsky, and X.J. Kennedy. For ages 4-8.
 images-37 By Laura Purdie Salas, BookSpeak! Poems about Books (Clarion Books, 2011) is a collection of creatively illustrated poems about reading and books, among them “If a Tree Falls” (“If a book remains unopened…”), “A Character Pleads for His Life,” and “On the Shelf and Under the Bed.” For ages 4-9.
 images-38 Poetry Through the Ages is a terrific exploration of the history of poetry from ancient times to the present. Also included are definitions and examples of many poetic forms (with helpful instructions for writing poems of your own) and an overview on reading and speaking poetry. Click on “About” for a detailed teacher’s guide to accompany the site, with a challenging list of lesson plans and projects. For middle-school-level students and up.
 images-38 From the Academy of American Poets, Ars Poetica: Poems about Poetry has a long list of just that, among them Archibald MacLeish’s famous “Ars Poetica” (“A poem should not mean, but be”). Also see Poems on Poems.
 images-38 12 Beautiful Poems for Booklovers is an excellent selection, each poem illustrated with a picture of the author. #1: Emily Dickinson’s “There Is No Frigate Like a Book.”

POETRY AND HISTORY

 images-39 By Langston Hughes, I, Too, Am America (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012) is a picture-book version of the poem “I, Too:” “I am the darker brother/They send me to eat in the kitchen/When company comes/But I laugh/And eat well/And grow strong.” For ages 4-9.
  Read Langston Hughes’s I, Too online at the Poetry Foundation website.
 images-40 Susan Katz’s The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub (Clarion Books, 2012) has a poem for every president from George Washington (“Where Didn’t George Washington Sleep?”) to Barack Obama (“Yo Mama”), each with an appealing cartoon-style illustration. The poems are crammed with the sort of human interest that sticks in readers’ memories: John Quincy Adams was fond of skinny-dipping; 350-pound William Howard Taft got stuck in the bathtub; Rutherford B. Hayes had the first White House telephone; Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit. For ages 6-10.
 images-41 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Hand in Hand: An American History Through Poetry (Simon & Schuster, 1994) is an impressive 144-page illustrated collection, covering American history from the arrival of the first settlers through modern times. The poems, grouped into eight different historical categories, are by such poets as Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman. A great resource for ages 7 and up.
 images-42 Lives: Poems About Famous Americans (HarperCollins, 1999), selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, is a collection of poems about sixteen famous persons – among them Paul Revere, Sagacawea, Harriet Tubman, Thomas Edison, Eleanor Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Rosa Parks, and Neil Armstrong – by many different poets. Each poem is paired with full-page folk-art-style portrait by Leslie Straub. For ages 8-13.
 images-43 J. Patrick Lewis’s Heroes and She-roes (Dial, 2005) is a collection of illustrated poems celebrating “everyday” heroes, among them Helen Keller, an elementary schoolteacher, firefighters, Rosa Parks, Rosie the Riveter, Gandhi, and Cesar Chavez. For ages 8-13.
 images-44 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, America at War (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008) is an illustrated collection of 50 poems, variously categorized under American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Iraq War. A prologue, “Wish for Peace” by Joan Bransfield Graham, begins “Would/that war/could only/rage upon the/battlefield of page.” For ages 9 and up.
images-53 All right – how could Rosemary and Stephen Benet’s A Book of Americans go out of print? Luckily it’s still available, inexpensively, from used-book suppliers, and it’s more than worth the minimal price. Poems, each featuring a prominent American, cover American history from Christopher Columbus to Woodrow Wilson. (In between: Virginia Dare, Pocahontas, Peter Stuyvesant, Captain Kidd, George Washington, Abigail Adams…) And, unlike most writers in the 1930s, the Benets appreciated the plight of the native Americans (“But just remember this about/Our ancestors so dear/They didn’t find an empty land/The Indians were here.”). For ages 9 and up.
 images-46 Stephen Vincent Benet’s John Brown’s Body (Ivan R. Dee, 1990) is an epic, wonderful, poetic, and heartbreaking history. The best book ever about the truth of the Civil War. Read it, guys. For ages 13 and up.
 images-47 From the New Yorker, Poetry for Presidents is a history of inaugural poems.
 images-50 Historical Poems is a list of poems by Rudyard Kipling that trace the course of English history from prehistory to the early 20th century. Each poem (click on the red arrow) is accompanied by a page of interesting historical background information.
 images-49 From Learn Peace, 20th Century Poetry and War is a wide-ranging collection, grouped into eight categories: First World War, 1930s, Second World War, Crimes Against Humanity, Nuclear Age, Other Wars, Responsibility, and Women’s Voices. Each includes a selection of poems with explanations, historical background information, and discussion topics.
 images-51 From the Library of Congress, Finding the Heart in History: Making Connections Through Poetry is introduced with a quote from Plato: “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” The site describes a project to make an American-history-based “found poetry” chapter book using primary source documents and images. Documents and images are available at the site from the Library of Congress collection, categorized by historical period. Adaptable for a range of ages.

POETRY AND GEOGRAPHY

 images-54 J. Patrick Lewis’s A World of Wonders (Dial, 2002) is a catchy and informative collection of poems about geography, illustrated with colorful crackle-patterned pictures reminiscent of old maps. Included are poems about explorers Columbus and Magellan, “Is the Yellow Sea Yellow?” (yes), “How Will a Cave Behave?” (includes a useful mnemonic about stalactites and stalagmites), and “One Square Foot Per Person, Please,” an unforgettable take on the world’s population. For ages 5 and up.
 images-55 Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States (Simon & Schuster, 2000) is a collection of 50 poems by 40 different poets, grouped by geographical region. Included with each geographical section is a colorful map and a page of state facts. For ages 7 and up.
 images-56 Also selected by Hopkins, Got Geography (Greenwillow Books, 2006) is an illustrated collection of 16 poems pertaining to world geography. Titles include “Mapping the World,” “If I Were the Equator,” “Awesome Forces,” “Early Explorers,” and “Compass.” For ages 7-12.
 images-57 Explore poetry across the United States with the National Poetry Map. Click on a state for a list of state poets, a selection of poems about the state, and information about state writing programs and organizations.
  At the PoemHunter website, see The Map, a poem by Elizabeth Bishop.
 images-58 The Poetry Atlas is in the process of “Mapping the World in Poetry.” Click on a site on the world map for a poem about that place.

 POETRY AND SCIENCE

 images-59 Nicola Davies’s Outside Your Window (Candlewick, 2012), illustrated with gorgeous paper collages by Mark Hearld, is a collection of 50 poems about nature, categorized by season, for ages 3-10.
 images-60 George Ella Lyon’s All the Water in the World (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, 2011) is a poetic introduction to the water cycle with collage-style illustrations by Katherine Tillotson. For ages 4-7.
 images-61 Joyce Sidman’s Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) is a collection of riddling poems about the denizens of fields and meadows, illustrated with beautiful colored scratchboard scenes. Facing pages give the answer to each poetic riddle and provide scientific background information. For ages 5-10.
 images-62 Also see Sidman’s other poetry collections celebrating ecosystems, among them Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 2005) and Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night (Houghton Mifflin, 2010).
 images-63 Douglas Florian’s thematic collections of poems include many on science topics, among them In the Swim (Sandpiper, 2001), Insectopedia (Sandpiper, 2002), On the Wing (Sandpiper, 2000), Mammalabilia (Sandpiper, 2004), Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs (Sandpiper, 2005), Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007), and Poetrees (Beach Lane Books, 2010).  Illustrated with terrific paintings. For ages 5-10.
 images-64 In Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Science Verse (Viking Juvenile, 2004), the protagonist is zapped with the curse of SCIENCE VERSE when his science teacher offhandedly announces “You know, if you listen closely enough, you can hear the poetry of science in everything.” Now all science concepts appear in the form of hysterical parodies on classic poems – twisted scientific takes on Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees,” Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” “Jabberwocky,” “Casey at the Bat” (here, it’s about the scientific method, not baseball), and – well, guess this one: “Astronaut Stopping By a Planet on a Snowy Evening.” For ages 7-10.
  From the Poetry Foundation, Ten Poems to Get You Through Science Class has selections by William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Richard Brautigan, Christina Rossetti, and more, all with discussion questions.
images-65 Read Maxine Kumin’s (funny) poem The Microscope online.

POETRY AND MATH

 images-66 Every frustrated math student’s favorite poem is Carl Sandburg’s Arithmetic, which begins “Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and our of your head.”
 images-67 Rhonda Gowler Greene’s picture book When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins (Sandpiper, 2001) is an upbeat rhyming introduction to shapes – circle, square, triangle, diamond, rectangle, octagon, oval, star, heart, and crescent – for ages 3-7.
 images-68 Betsy Franco’s Mathematickles (Margaret K. McElderry, 2006) follows a little girl and her cat through the seasons, demonstrating how words and math equations combine to make poetic puzzles. Summer, for example, features “feet – shoes + grass = barefoot” and “rock x waves = sand.” (I love these.) For ages 5 and up.
 images-69 By J. Patrick Lewis, Arithme-Tickle (Sandpiper, 2007) is a collection of fun rhyming-riddle mathematical puzzles with titles like “How to Weigh Your Poodle” and “Sailing a Bathtub.” “A Regular Riddle,” for example, begins: “What’s the number of points on a regular star/Less the number of wheels on a regular car/Plus the number of teeth in a regular mouth/Less the number of states that begin with South…” For ages 6-9.
 images-70 Greg Tang’s catchy The Grapes of Math (Scholastic, 2004) is an illustrated collection of rhyming math riddles that encourage kids to use pattern-recognition and grouping skills to solve problems. (There are faster ways of counting the number of grapes on a vine than one by one.) For ages 7-10.
 images-71 There are several more by Tang in the same (rhyming) format, among them Math for all Seasons (Scholastic, 2005), Math Potatoes (Scholastic, 2005), Math Fables (Scholastic, 2004), Math Appeal (Scholastic, 2003), and Math-terpieces (Scholastic, 2003).
 images-72 Compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Marvelous Math (Simon & Schuster, 2001) is a collection of math-promoting poems by a variety of poets. Mary O’Neill’s “Take a Number,” for example, points out that “Wouldn’t it be awful” to live in a world without mathematics; Lillian Fisher’s “To Build a House” asks if “Without numbers and measure/Would our house ever rise/Against the hill/Beneath blue skies?” Poems with an agenda for ages 7-11.
 images-73 J. Patrick Lewis’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2012) is a collection of math puzzles presented through parodies of classic poems by such poets as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, A.A. Milne, Langston Hughes, and Ogden Nash. “Elephant with Hot Dog,” for example, was inspired by Edward Lear’s “There Was an Old Man with a Beard:” “When an elephant sat down to order/A half of a third of a quarter/Of an eighty-foot bun/And a frankfurter, son/Was it longer than three feet, or shorter?” For ages 7-11.
 images-74 Betsy Franco’s Math Poetry (Good Year Books, 2006) is a clever instruction manual on writing many different kinds of math poetry with kids, variously covering number sense, estimation, measurement, basic arithmetic operations, geometry, algebra, and graphing. Each chapter includes sample student poems, poetry templates, and teaching suggestions. The entire second half of the book is devoted to the teaching of “mathematickles” – an innovative and irresistible mix of word play and mathematical equation that functions like a poem crossed with a parlor game. An interesting resource for ages 7-11.
 images-75 Theoni Pappas’s Math Talk (World Wide Publishing/Tetra, 1993) is a collection of math-themed poems for two voices on such topics as circles, fractals, Fibonacci numbers, Mobius strips, triangles, prime numbers, tessellations, and infinity. It’s a nice mix of mathematical food for thought and expanded possibilities for poetry. For ages 8 and up.

GAMES, PROJECTS, AND POETRY AT THE MOVIES

 images-76 Magnetic Poetry sells themed poetry kits, each consisting of a collection of words to be assembled into poems and stuck onto the nearest refrigerator, filing cabinet, locker door, or any other convenient metal surface.  There are many different themed kits including kids’ kits for beginners; collections for book lovers, bike lovers, music lovers, and cowboys; foreign-language collections; Math, Pirate, and Shakespeare kits; and much more. Also available: poetry collections in the form of self-adhesive chipboard words or travel stickers.
Create your own online poems with virtual Magnetic Poetry Kits or Magnetic Poetry Kits for Kids.
The Instructables has illustrated instructions for making your own magnetic poetry tiles.
 images-77 My Years in Tree Rings is a wonderful concrete poem project using oil pastels and watercolor paints.
 spoonpoetryclose Spoon Poetry Tutorial has video instructions for writing tiny poems on colorful spoons.
 images-78 Make Poetry Pebbles. You’ll need a lot of pebbles, paint, and magic markers.
 images-79 Wizards and Pigs is an interactive online game of rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration, featuring not only cartoon wizards and pigs, but elves, goblins, and dragons.
Poetry Pirates is an online multiple-choice poetry quiz. With a pirate ship.
images-81 From the Academy of American Poets, Watch a Poetry Movie has annotated lists of films about poets and/or films featuring poetry. Also see Movies for Poetry Month.
 images-81 From the Internet Movie Database, an annotated list of the Seven Most Compelling Movies About Poets and Poetry includes Shakespeare in Love and The History Boys.

For many more books and resources, see POETRY I AND POETRY III.

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