What Do Libraries and Poetry Have in Common?

April is the month we will honor and celebrate two very reading/writing related things: Poetry and Libraries.  April is National Poetry Month and also National School Library Month. What better way to celebrate than to gather poetry books from the school library and read aloud in class. This could be a lead-in to having kids write their own poetry.  Ken Nesbitt has a great website especially for kids:  http://www.poetry4kids.com   You’ll find all kinds of wonderful poems, a rhyming dictionary and even poetry contests.  Be sure to check out this wonderful sight.

To learn more about activities to celebrate School Libraries, visit the American Library Association website at: http://www.ala.org

Calling All Young Writers

If your child loves to create stories, there are two websites that will encourage this skill by publishing the effort.

1. At  http://www.Boomwriter.com   young writers pick a story start and then make Chapter Two their own.  Other children vote on which second chapter they like best, and so on until the story is completed.  Then the finished books are available to purchase.

2. Writers and Artists are invited to submit to the print magazine STONE SOUP.  This magazine publishes the work of children aged 8-13.  To learn more and read some of the stories visit:  http://www.Stonesoup.com

3. Older children might want to check out THE SLAM feature of CICADA Magazine. Writers submit their poems to the online forum and have them critiqued by other readers.  The best ones make it into the magazine each month.  http://www.cicadamag.com/theslam

Poetry 101 – Haiku

Today’s post comes from Catherine Johnson, poet and fellow blogger, who was kind enough to provide a tutorial for young poets out there on how to write HAIKU.

Hi, my name is Catherine Johnson and Darlene has kindly invited me to talk to you about poetry today and I have chosen the haiku form.

Haiku is a Japanese poetry form of seventeen syllables in three lines of 5, 7 and 5. It is usually depicting nature and or the seasons. The first two lines are supposed to blend together in the meaning of the third line (something I don’t think I’ve accomplished yet ;))

At first, like writing any poem, you could brainstorm words associated with the theme of your poem. Then think about your feelings on the topic and or describe an action.

Here are a few good examples of haiku written about a scarecrow:

 Here is another location to learn about the art of Haiku from The Poem Farm:


And here is a Halloween haiku I made up:               Catherine Johnson photo

Wind howls and escapes
Striking fear into the night
The October chills.

See how the last line sums up the first two lines. I edited this a lot right after the first draft. I had old barn doors creaking in the first one.

Would anyone like to try a haiku in the comments?


Catherine is a British Ex-pat living in Canada with one husband, two kids, one dog and two guinea pigs. She enjoys writing poems and sharing them on her blog at: http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com


 Thanks Catherine!  Anyone out there care to try some Haiku?  I’ll post some of your efforts here if you send them to me. 


To get into the spirit of National Poetry Month, here are some wonderful books I’ve recently read written in verse.

1. Love That Dog written by Sharon Creech tells about a young boy’s introduction to poetry and how it doesn’t have to rhyme.  He gets the hang of it and writes some verse of his own.

2. May B written by Caroline Starr Rose takes us to the Kansas prairie in the mid 1800’s as a young girl struggles to survive through a cold, lonely winter.

There are also some great websites for young poets.  http://www.davidlharrison.wordpress.com offers readers a chance to submit poems based on monthly topics.    At  http://www.kidsimaginationtrain.blogspot.com  written by Randi Lynn Mvros and Irene Roth, readers ages 5-12 can read book reviews, poetry, and fiction.  They can also try illustrating their favorite stories in this interactive site.

Don’t forget to check out some poetry books from your local library.  Shel Silverstein, Ogden Nash, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman, and many others have books for children of all ages.

Then, why not try writing a few poems of your own.  Here is one I did to celebrate the wonder of lightening bugs.


 Signals flashing

Blinking lights

Diamonds on the fly

 Tiny torches

Winking, glowing

Neon of the night

 Fairy taxis

Hailed to a stop

                                                       Caught in a cave of flesh

A piece of moonlight

Clutched in a fist

Fingers tickled open

Signals flash again

Captured prisoners

Set free


Happy Poetry Month!

Children’s Poetry Contest

The following information was taken from the February Newsletter for  Poetry4kids.com:

Calling all poets! TIME For Kids has a challenge for you: Write a funny, rhyming poem. It must be an original poem that does not copy another poet’s work. Enter it in the TIME For Kids Poetry Contest. The grand-prize winner will receive an online class visit from poet Kenn Nesbitt. The grand-prize winner and three finalists will each get a signed copy of Nesbitt’s newest book of poetry, The Armpit of Doom: Funny Poems for Kids, and their poems will be published at timeforkids.comPoet Kenn Nesbitt will judge the poetry contest.

WHAT: Write a funny, rhyming poem and enter it in the TFK Poetry Contest. Poet Kenn Nesbitt will look for originality, creativity, humor and rhyme in the style of his own poetry. To read some of Nesbitt’s poems, go to poetry4kids.com.

HOW: Send your poem by e-mail to contest@poetry4kids.com. The subject line of your e-mail message should read “TFK POETRY CONTEST.” Be sure to include your first name only, your e-mail address and your parents’ e-mail address. Contest is open to students who are 8 to 13 years old. Read below for the official rules.

DEADLINE: March 1, 2013



Do You Squidoo?

I recently came upon an amazing website called SQUIDOO. This site lets you share your wisdom, ideas, and expertise on a wide range of topics. It also lets you surf the site for information on everything from games/crafts/hobbies, health, gardening, video games, to parenting, books/poetry/and writing.  

It’s easy to spend hours browsing the categories and mining the gems contained within. Pay SQUIDOO a visit…I think you’ll find something worthwhile.


Poetry Fun and lots more

I read about a wonderful site for children written by the prolific poet Kenn Nesbitt called http://www.poetry4kids.com.The site offers information on how to write poetry and has numerous word games, puzzles, interactive activities and a wealth of fun-filled information for children and anyone who loves poetry and word play. Check it out and play some of the games. I especially enjoyed the Balloon-Popping word game where I had to guess the word before all 11 balloons popped (guessing a wrong letter pops a balloon). It’s like the old “Hang Man” game we all played as kids.