Gift Guide 2018: Give a Year of Poetry
November 29, 2018 § 2 Comments
Between now and Christmas (or until I keel over), I’ll be running a series of daily mini-posts, each highlighting a different book from 2018 which I love, which has mad gift potential, and which I have not had occasion to write about…yet. A range of ages and interests and formats. Be sure to subscribe with your email address if you want to be guaranteed to see each one. Otherwise, take your chances on Facebook (What To Read To Your Kids) or Twitter (@thebookmommy); I kindly implore you to “like” as many posts as you can to increase the chances that others see them.
Raise your hand if you’re still reading poetry to your kids over breakfast. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read this.) We had a good run of it, but like most of my inspired parenting ideas, I eventually forgot about it. Turns out, I have just the book to resurrect this ritual. (Goodness knows we could use a return to Zen in our mornings.)
Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year (Ages 6-12) is a gorgeous and hefty anthology, perfectly designed for Poetry Breakfasts (or the daily mindfulness of your choice). Each of the 365 poems has been astutely selected by Fiona Waters for a different day of the year, then evocatively illustrated in watery brush strokes and mixed media by Frann Preston-Gannon.
We can start our mornings with the likes of Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Jack Prelutsky, Ogden Nash, William Shakespeare, Kanoko Okamoto, and dozens of others (don’t forget the elusive Anonymous). An impressive array of poetic forms and styles are represented. Like the sun that’s out one day and gone the next, the tones shift between silly and stilled, provocative and peaceful. There are plenty we already know and have long wanted to introduce to our children (Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” makes an early appearance on January 6) and many more waiting for us to discover together with our children (I heart the beginning of N.M. Bodecker’s “Snowman Sniffles”: “At winter’s end/ a snowman grows/ a snowdrop/ on his carrot nose[…]”).
If the winter blues get us down, we can just page ahead to spring and remind ourselves of what’s to come (“Now children may/ go out of doors/ without their coats/ to candy stores”).
Personally, I’m optimistic that these poems may ground us in the here and now, gently nudge us to cherish the season at hand, in all its poetic glory. I’ll leave you with November 30, titled “White Sound”: “When rain/ whispers/ it is snow.”
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