Our wonderful children’s book reviewer, Alice, is away from the blog this week. In place of her review, we thought we’d share this beautiful resource developed by Bookology Magazine: Poetry Mosaic.
In honor of #NationalPoetryMonth, Bookology has invited authors to read their original poetry and is compiling the recordings into a mosaic of poets and poetry, with a new author highlighted each day. All of the poets selected are amazing, but here are a few of our Vamos a Leer favorites: Jorge Argueta, Pat Mora, and Margarita Engle. Argueta and Engle read both English and Spanish versions of their poems, so this is an even better start to the day for our bilingual readers. Take your pick of language!
Hope you enjoy this poetic start to the day as much as we did!
Hello all –
I am thrilled to be celebrating National Poetry Month with you! As with many of you, poetry holds a dear place in my heart. As a young person, I recall writing poem after poem and finding such liberation in exploring my voice, playing with syntax and line breaks, and testing out vocabulary that had yet to find a place in my daily life. Poetry allowed for a freedom and creativity that was unmatched in other mediums. And because of this, I believe that writing poetry enables us to develop our own voice, author our own truths, and honor our own experiences; all of which play an integral part in a young person’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Saludos todos! This week we are kicking off April with a wonderful, spring-timey book. Our themes for April are the Earth and nature in celebration of Earth Day and also poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month. Although not all of my books for this month will be able to combine both of these themes so nicely, this week’s book indeed does. Con el sol en los ojos/ With the Sun in My Eyes, written by an Argentinian poet, Jorge Lujan, and illustrated by an Iranian artist, Morteza Zahedi, is a lovely story (written as a collection of poems) about a young boy and girl who discover the world and all of its natural beauty: “In this book of short poems, a young boy and girl find wonder, magic, beauty and humor in everything around them.” Although this book at first glance may seem sweet and simplistic, the poetry can be difficult to understand for younger children and the degree of artistic license and creativity used in this book might make it more interesting and enriching for older children (years 9-12).
The book opens with a quote by Walt Whitman that can guide readers in their subsequent readings of the poems: “There was a child went forth every day,/ And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became.” This quote expresses the beautiful way in which children can become absorbed by their surroundings, and how the details of our environment, which sometimes allude us busy adults, are not lost on children and their wonderful creativity and imagination.
Hola a tod@s!
As March and Women’s History Month wrap up, I’ve been pleasantly distracted by the birdsong outside my window, the patter of rain that passed over our desert city last night, and the many spring flowers bursting from the ground. With National Poetry Month coming next week, I’m compelled to think in poetic terms. This piece from Neruda seems appropriate:
El pájaro ha venido
a dar la luz:
de cada trino suyo
nace el agua.
Y entre agua y luz que el aire desarrollan
ya está la primavera inaugurada,
ya sabe la semilla que ha crecido,
la raíz se retrata en la corola,
se abren por fin los párpados del polen.
Todo lo hizo un pájaro sencillo
desde una rama verde.
The bird has come
to give us light:
from each of its trills
water is born.
Between water and light, air unfolds.
Now the spring’s inaugurated.
The seed knows that it has grown
the root pictures the flower
and the pollen’s eyelids finally open.
All this done by a simple bird
on a green branch.
Here at Vamos a Leer we’re heartily embracing the sentiment of spring and poetry. In the coming weeks, we’ll share resources that highlight both, from children’s books that look at the natural world in a variety of ways to poetry for younger and older readers alike.
We hope you enjoy our findings as much we’ve enjoyed discovering them.
Hey there readers! Now that it’s April, we will be celebrating National Poetry Month in conjunction with the fact that it’s finally springtime! This week I present a beautiful bilingual book that perfectly encapsulates these two themes: Laughing Tomatoes: And Other Spring Poems/Jitomates risuenos: y otros poemas de primavera written by Francisco Alarcón and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez.
Here is a description from Goodreads:
Tomatoes laugh, chiles explode, and tortillas applaud the sun! With joy and tenderness, delight and sadness, Alcarcon’s poems honor the wonders of life and nature: welcoming the morning sun, remembering his grandmother’s songs, paying tribute to children working in the fields, and sharing his dream of a world filled with gardens. Artist Maya Christina Gonzalez invites us to experience the poems with her lively cast of characters including a spirited grandma, four vivacious children, and playful pets who tease and delight. Follow them from page to page as they bring each poem to colorful life. Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems is a verbal and visual treat, giving us twenty opportunities to see everything for the first time.
The book celebrates an appreciation of nature’s resources: a boy wakes up to the morning sun warming his bed, there is an ode to corn, and a prayer for a fallen tree. There is a poem about strawberries that recognizes children who work in the fields, followed by a poem that describes how the children planted an oak tree “more bountiful with time” that had “open arms for grown up’s and children” with the features and spirit of Cesar Chavez, planted on his birthday.
To close out our posts on National Poetry Month, I wanted to follow up last week’s post (which gave resources for younger readers–click here to read it) by offering some great poetry resources for older readers. I would really encourage all of you to utilize plenty of poetry in your lesson plans, in April and other months. Poetry is a wonderful literary craft that can speak to kids who may have a hard time engaging with different literary styles/genres. As always, there are far too many for me to list here, so please feel free to share your ideas in the comments below. Continue reading
El Cholito by Alice Leora Briggs
Our most recent event was the professional development workshop for educators, “In the Wake of Juárez: Teaching Politics through Art.” Held at the UNM Art Museum, the workshop had two purposes: first, to engage with Alice Leora Briggs’ exhibit “In the Wake of Juárez” and then to discuss how to implement it in the classroom. We’ll be posting a link to our entire curriculum guide for the workshop soon, but I wanted to share part of our curriculum with you today, as it is a poetry based lesson that would be perfect for National Poetry Month. Continue reading