Monday, April 2, 2018

Shake It Up! It’s National Poetry Month!

                Draw a crazy picture,
               Write a nutty poem,
               Sing a mumble-gumble song,
               Whistle through your comb.
               Do a loony-goony dance,
‘             Cross the kitchen floor,
              Put something silly in the world
              That ain’t been there before.
              - Put Something In, Shel Silverstein

We’re one day in to National Poetry Month, the perfect occasion to shake it up!
Hurrah to the American Academy of Poets for gifting us with 30 original ways to do just that.

You could memorize a poem,
or enter the Dear Poet project,
pocket a ballad,
or chalk an ode on sidewalks.
Maybe request more U.S. stamps honor poets.
Or, why not buy a book of poems, say, SHAKING THINGS UP – 14 YOUNG WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD (Harper, 2018).

Women’s History Month concluded but two days ago, right?     
So Susan Hood’s collection is the perfect poetic companion to 30 PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD (Seagrass, 2018), which happens to be our Book Giveaway through April 6. In fact, both books include tributes to Malala Yousafzai.
Be sure to read Carla Killough McClafferty’s March 26 interview with the book’s editor Jean Reynolds, then scroll down to enter our TeachingAuthors drawing.

Each of the 14 featured young women in Hood’s collection shook up the world and sparked change in revolutionary ways through singular persistence and determination – from Molly Williams, the first American female firefighter in the early 1730’s to teenage cancer researcher Angela Zhang in 2011.  In between, readers meet through Hood’s poetic portraits, each paired with the art of 1 of 13 female illustrators, inspiring role models who represent multiple disciplines – architect Maya Lin, storyteller Pura Belpre, WWII secret agents Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space.  Hood uses various poetic forms to craft her snapshots: ballads, alphabet poems, concrete poetry, limericks.  Rich on a multitude of levels, SHAKING IT UP will soon have young readers, both male and female and of all ages, doing just that.

I discovered Susan Hood’s book of poems on Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry for Children Sneek Peek List for 2018.
Check out this extensive list of winners along with Betsy Bird’s List of Best Poetry Books of 2017 for other book-purchasing/book-reading titles.
Both lists will give you LOTS of choices for poems you might even want to pocket on April 26, Poem-in-your-Pocket Day.

Happy Poetry Month!

Remember to shake things up!

Esther Hershenhorn
Check out the ballad by Mary Schmich I’m pocketing on April 26 in honor of another celebration this month – i.e. the start of Major League Baseball, and my certain-to-shake-things-up Chicago Cubs.


Linda B said...

Hi Esther! I wonder if people would enjoy a "nutty haiku"? Seriously, I loved Susan's book, just right for all, and for younger readers who find it challenging to read a longer biography. There is a lot going on this month, and you added a few I didn't know about. Thanks!

Glenda Funk said...

I'm intrigued by the book you feature. Given the world we live in, I changed my informative speech assignment to social justice movements. Students present the speeches starting tomorrow. We'll be working on oral interpretation next, and that will include a published as well as an original poem.

Michele Helsel said...

The book sounds wonderful.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks for the 30 Ways to Celebrate list, Esther--April is such an exciting month! Be sure to check out Jama Kim Rattigan's roundup of Poetry Month events at

Linda said...

I haven't read this one yet, but it looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing it today.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks, all - Linda B., Glenda, Michele, JoAnn and Lina - for taking the time to share your enthusiasm for SHAKING IT UP. I just saw it featured in the Philadelphia Airport's book stores - and that says a lot for a book of children's poetry! :)
Thanks, too, JoAnn, for sharing Jama's Poetry Month event calendar.
I'm waiting for that "nutty haiku," Linda B.!