Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month! You can find out more about this important month here!

To celebrate, I will be reading poetry books with students during library class as well as working with them to complete at least one poem to potentially be shared at our Poetry Slam (sometime during the last week of April.) We will also be celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30, where students carry a slip of paper with a poem on it in their pocket during the school day. This can be shared with friends and teachers whenever there’s time!

I wanted to share some of the amazing poetry books we have in our library that you can use for story time or lessons. Of course, we have Shel Silverstein’s and Dr. Seuss’ books available, but I am going to highlight some lesser known titles. I will indicate the books I am using during library class with asterisks. Most of these titles will be available in the plastic bin on the book return cube! Happy Poetry Month!

  • ***Mammalabilia by Douglas Florian ——- Poems and paintings of mammals in their natural habitats!
  • Button Up! by Alice Schertle ——— Poems and paintings of animals getting dressed!
  • This is the Dream by Diane Z. Shore & Jessica Alexander ——- A book-length poem about the Civil Rights Movement.
  • All We Needed to Say: Poems about School from Tanya and Sophie by Marilyn Singer
  • The Great Frog Race and Other Poems by Kristine O’ Connell George ———- Poems about farm life.
  • ***Canto Familiar by Gary Soto ——– Poems about Mexican culture and family life.
  • Poetry for Young People series ———– We have Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.
  • ***Rainbow Soup: Adventures in Poetry by Brian P. Cleary
  • Several books written and edited by Bruce Lansky (If Pigs Could Fly and Other Deep Thoughts, Kids Pick the Funniest Poems: Poems That Make Kids Laugh, Rolling in the Aisles: A Collection of Laugh-Out-Loud Poems, and My Dog Ate My Homework!)
  • Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits
  • ***The Book of Pigericks by Arnold Lobel ———- Limericks about pigs around the United States!
  • Rhyolite: The True Story of a Ghost Town by Diane Siebert ———— The rise and fall of a mining town in the west.
  • Asana and the Animals: A Book of Pet Poems by Grace Nichols
  • Awful Ogre’s Awful Day by Jack Prelutsky
  • ***If Not For the Cat by Jack Prelutsky ————— Haikus!
  • Novels in verse by Helen Frost — Diamond Willow, Hidden, and Salt (one of this year’s DCF books)
  • A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms selected by Paul B. Janeczko

As far as “how-to” books, I have How to Write Poetry (which is a Scholastic Guide by Paul B. Janeczko) and a teacher’s guide called Poetry Projects. Those will be behind my desk– just ask!

Happy Poetry Month! ❤

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Women’s History Month: Some Suggestions for Younger Readers

Since 1987 there have been congressional and presidential proclamations every year that designate the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” There are numerous websites that deal with this very important celebration of women’s history, but these two are the most useful:

Just as I mentioned in my Black History Month post, you will inevitably get questions from students asking, “Why is there a Women’s History Month but no Men’s History Month?”

And just as you responded to them in February, tell them again that these special months are meant to highlight marginalized, underrepresented groups of people. Ask them who they usually see in their history books. Ask them who comes to mind when they think of a famous person from history. They will be surprised when white men are usually the people they see and name.

Tell them history was made by all types of people, and that their contributions were just as (and sometimes even more) important. Hence, Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

When you put together a list of books for Women’s History Month, make sure that you include books about all types of women that represent many races, religions, colors, ages, etc. If you have any books about transgender women, this would be a great opportunity to introduce them.

Here is a sample of list of books that are available in my library that you may find useful! Most of these are for younger students, as that is the population I serve. It is easy to find a chaptered biography in a library, but introducing these people to younger readers can be a challenge. Hopefully, these help!

  • When Marian Sang by Pam Muñoz Ryan — (Marian Anderson, jazz singer)
  • The Daring Nelly Bly by Bonnie Christensen — (Nellie Bly, reporter)
  • America’s Champion Swimmer by David A. Adler — (Gertrude Ederle, swimmer and activist)
  • Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming — (Amelia Earhart, pilot)
  • Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone — (Elizabeth Blackwell, doctor)
  • Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull — (Wilma Rudolph, Olympic runner)

Happy Women’s History Month!

Black History Month: Chapter Books for Older Readers

As your older readers move past picture books, even as an in-class tool, you may struggle to keep Black History Month fresh and relevant for your students. Here is a selection of chapter books that can supplement your in-class instruction in an interesting and age-appropriate way. If you’re looking for a list of teaching aids for Black History Month, check this post.

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Black History Month: Book Recommendations

African-American History Month, celebrated every February, is a federally recognized event that explores the unique social, cultural, and economic history of one group of marginalized Americans who have contributed invaluably to American society. According to the Library of Congress site dedicated to the month, the month-long celebration we know today began in 1976, while before it was only one week.

Here is a selection of books and websites that might be useful as you explore Black history with your kids. Take a look at this post for books on celebrating different skin colors and racial diversity in general, and this post for a list of fiction chapter books to share with your older students! (I will be book talking a book each week in library class in February.)

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