I will admit that I was not familiar with poet and storyteller Sophia Thakur before her featured presentation at #ALAVirtual20. Several minutes into it, my family could find me crying in the kitchen at her beautiful and inspiring words. (Shedding tears of joy/inspiration/amazement is a common occurrence for me at ALA, and now my family gets to witness this during the virtual conference). Thakur is a “performance poet” from the United Kingdom. Throughout her presentation, she recited some of her poems, but EVERYTHING she said was itself a poem. I am hoping for a transcript because I was desperately trying to write down every word that she said. She epitomized her statement that “Poetry is in the gap between art and conversation.” She talked about literacy and empathy. She encouraged people to tell their own stories because literacy is a tool to explore the self. Reading empowers through windows, mirrors,…
In September, I tried my best to magically transport myself to Seattle to hear Young People’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Shihab Nye speak. Part of the Seattle Arts & Lectures series, I was hoping to hear about Nye’s new book The Tiny Journalist, her past teen and children’s poetry books and her life. The event described her work: “Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit.”
Illustrations and poetry encourage imagination, engaging children to experience each creation.
In one week, I will be launching a rocket, watching out for rattlesnakes, dancing ballet, singing like animals, toasting marshmallows, snapping like a shrimp and more! What? You guessed it! April is National Poetry Month! I’m excited to visit schools in Central Oregon with interactive poems and introduce children to new children’s poets.
Children’s librarians are experts in making local connections. As a librarian in Springfield, Missouri, I have gotten to know our resident children’s poet and author, David L. Harrison. Mr. Harrison has hosted several book releases and readings at my library. His programs are energetic and always include lots of engagement for the kids. I love having a local author available to help us promote a love of reading and writing to kids and it’s wonderful having a local connection for writing events at our library. Mr. Harrison has helped us out in the past by serving as a judge on our teen writing contest and his love of books and libraries shines through in all that he does. He is an invaluable partner for our library and I would encourage other librarians to reach out and make connections with their own local authors. I recently had the chance to ask…
In August, I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with award-winning poet and painter, Douglas Florian, in New York City. He shared stories about his creative process, writing style, research and art mediums. As I walked around his art studio, I was surrounded by years of his amazing paintings and collage pieces. I was excited!
Grab your popsicle sticks, ice cream scooper, and beach ball! It’s summer reading poetry time!
What poems are you sharing this month?