The Poetry of Spring as Found in Books and Pictures
In honor of both spring and National Poetry Month, this week's blog focuses on springtime poems. I will recommend individual poems in anthologies, but sprinkle in a single book now and then.
Children love the rhythm and rhyme of poetry. Poems speak music helping to develop children's ability to hear and identify sounds and building vocabulary. Have fun with these books and poems!
Spring means hope and a new beginning to many people so to recognize that read "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" by Emily Dickinson. This sweet poem can be found in A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children selected by Caroline Kennedy and illustrated by Jon J Muth.
In Just-Spring by E. E. Cummings and Heidi Goennel has 3 of Cumming's poems, including "In Just-Spring." A great poem that captures the rediscovered freedom of spring!
I have to admit that I did not read A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost and Grandma Moses, but I know the poem and I know Grandma Moses so it seems to be a treasure. A wonderful ode to the spring with religious overtones to be aware of if you teach in a program that is not religious. Ask your child what they enjoy the most about spring. Make an “I’m Thankful in Spring” book with them that has what they are thankful in spring for and their illustrations.
"Po's Garden" by Ree Young celebrates a lazy spring day in the garden with a cat. Read while hanging out the garden or park with your child! The poem can be found in The Place My Words Are Looking For selected by Paul B. Janeczko.
"Rain" by Robert Louis Stevenson which can be found in Sing A Song of Popcorn selected by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers and illustrated by Caldecott medal artists, is a short poem about where the rain falls. Make up words with your child to describe the sound of rain, include heavy rain, fast rain, light rain, and slow rain sounds.
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms selected by Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka includes "Spring Rain" by Buson, which is a haiku. After reading ask your child what we see of the person or people who are covered by an umbrella or raincoat with a hat?
The short poem "Springtime" by Nikki Giovanni celebrates the things that we find and do in spring. After reading this one, take a walk to find the insects, have a picnic, and kick off your shoes to feel the grass. Describe how the grass feels between your toes or on the bottom of your feet. This poem is found in Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-me Book of Poems selected by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy, and illustrated by Jane Dyer.
Talking to the Sun: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems for Young People selected by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell includes several springtime poems, but two of my favorites are "Spring, The Sweet Spring" by Thomas Nashe and " To Daffodils" by Robert Herrick. Make up your own springtime poems with your child after reading these poems.
"Wind" by Dionne Brand captures the feeling and impact of the winds that come in spring. Find this one in All the Wild Wonders: Poems of Our Earth edited by Wendy Cooling and illustrated by Piet Grobler. Have your child move like the wind blowing away winter!
As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your favorite spring poems in the comments!
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