As I volunteer in my daughter’s elementary school library, sometimes I check out a book I find that might interest her and expand her horizons. A few weeks ago I found “Cool Melons – Turn to Frogs,” a colorful book by Matthew Gollub about the famous Japanese haiku poet Issa. Beautifully illustrated in art by Kazuko Stone and by Issa’s own haiku, this is a thoughtful look at the rather sad life of a sensitive man. My daughter enjoyed the poems as they related to the simple story set in a different culture, and I thought I might shed a tear as I learned what was behind some of the poems: “O wild goose, how young were you when you set out alone.”
Another children’s poetry book we both really enjoyed was “Winter Eyes,” one of many delightful and fun poetry books by Douglas Florian. This is filled with rhyming, rhythmic creations about all things winter: “…Icicles are winter’s arrows, pointing out the crows and sparrows…”
Finally, “Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices” by Paul Fleischman is a fun poetry book for children who are adequate readers. This book is a collection of poems about insects that HAS to be shared as each person reads their own part of each poem… sometimes reading together in tandem, sometimes reading different parts at the same time, sometimes taking turns. It really is fun, and you have to pay attention!
Kids study poetry in school, and reading poetry at home helps them better learn to enjoy this artistic form of writing. It is a nice thought that we might raise a child that is sensitive enough to his or her own thoughts and feelings and creative enough to be able to express them in the form of a poem.
“The teacher told us first we must get close to nature, to hear or see things, and then bring the feeling inside ourselves… those feelings make haiku poetry” – “Cherry Blossoms in Twilight”