During the past few months, since becoming the Children’s Poet Laureate, I have been hard at work on a new project: A brand new website called PoetryMinute.org, and I would like to tell you about it so you can start using it in your classrooms.
Over the years that I have been reading and writing children’s poems, I have noticed that many, possibly most, poems written for children can be read in an average of about one minute. Because of this, I have always encouraged teachers to share a poem with their students every day. It only takes a minute of the entire school day, and yet it gives students a break from their routine in a way that also encourages them to want to read and write, and improves their fluency and literacy.
I call this a “Poetry Minute.” It’s one minute out of your school day for poetry. And now it’s easier than ever.
I’m pleased to announce my newest book, Kiss, Kiss Good Night is now available. This is my first book for babies and toddlers, and also my first bedtime book.
Kiss, Kiss Good Night is a large (9-inch square) “board book” with a soft, squishy cover, rounded corners, and sturdy, baby-proof pages, so your little one can hold the book and turn the pages safely without damaging it.
This charming bedtime book tells the story of how baby animals go to be each night. What happens when they need to rest their little heads? Their mothers tuck them into bed, of course! Read along as baby bunnies, lambs, chicks, kittens, and cubs settle down for a good night’s sleep while their mommies give them nuzzles, cuddles, and good-night kisses! A lulling, soothing bedtime poem perfect for getting little ones to settle down.
When baby bunnies go to bed, Their mothers kiss them on the head.
Inside their burrows, warm and deep, They close their eyes and fall alseep.
“Tuesdays with Morzant” Interview on Bigfoot Reads
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by an alien this week. And not just any alien. I was interviewed on the blog Bigfoot Reads by Morzant, an alien who has been studying earth literature, and who is good friends with Bigfoot and a number of other cryptids.
Bigfoot Reads is one of the most fun children’s literature blogs you will ever come across. The blog posts are written by a crazy cast of characters that includes Violet the Telekinetic Puppy, Norman and Beverly the Half-Invisible Turtles, Penny C. Monster, and many others. Each of them has their own unique personality and laundry list of idiosyncrasies, as you can see from this review of MORE BEARS! written in 2011 by Violet the Telekinetic Puppy.
Today’s interview by Morzant the Alien is easily the most fun interview I’ve done. As you read the interview, you may notice that Morzant is a scientist who is particularly interested in studying Earth literature. He is also interested in snails the tensile properties of Rice Krispie Treats. Occasionally, Norman the Half-Invisible Turtle will tell him something outrageous (such as that the Children’s Poet Laureate award is bestowed on the winner of an arm-wrestling contest). Morzant is somewhat gullible, and usually believes Norman.
My photograph for the interview was taken by Bigfoot himself. Bigfoot tries, but he’s not much of a photographer, so his pictures usually end up blurry.
I hope you’ll take the time to read the interview and explore Bigfoot Reads for more fun author interviews and children’s book reviews and recommendations.
Here’s a quick and easy poetry writing lesson that can be used as early as first grade. I call it a “playing with your food” poem. It’s a list poem about playing your favorite sports with your favorite foods.
Step 1: Create a list of five of your favorite sports, like this:
It’s famously said about writing that you should “write what you know.” Unfortunately, this can mean a lot of different things, and can be easily misunderstood. For example, you might think it means to only write about things you have actually experienced. But that would be like saying you can’t write about someone driving a car if you’ve never driven a car yourself. Obviously that doesn’t make sense.
So instead of telling kids to “write what you know,” I like to say that “the easiest thing to write about is your favorite thing,” because that is what you know the most about. If you love playing video games, you probably know a lot about them. If your favorite thing happens to be karate, or soccer, or pizza, you probably know a lot about that.
This doesn’t mean that your favorite thing is the only thing you should write about, but if you are ever stuck for an idea, just ask yourself what you like and then write a poem about it.
In fact, if you have a lot of things you like, you can even make a simple list poem of all of your favorite things. Here’s how.
“I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room” from the book My Hippo Has the Hiccups> is the first animated video I created on my own. I hope you enjoy it. I’m looking forward to creating more in the months to come.
There have been many times that I have been writing a poem and needed a list of animal names that rhymed with one another. To make it easier, I have collected the following list of rhyming animal names. Feel free to use these in your own animal poems.