Posts tagged: kids poetry

Non-Toxic Haiku Books for Children

By , November 8, 2007 1:56 pm

I must immediately write about something cheerier than lead paint and toxic Aqua Dots in order to rid myself of this bad feeling. How about haiku?

If you haven’t been following our weekly Unplugged Projects, last Monday’s project involved haiku. I wanted to suggest some children’s haiku books but couldn’t find any at my local library.

A few people came to the rescue and I would like to share their recommendations.

+++ First I must send you over to cloudscome’s blog, A Wrung Sponge. As a professional children’s librarian, she is my most authoritative source. Cloudscome kindly took the time this morning to pull her favorite haiku books off the shelf and listed them for me on her blog. Here are her recommendations:

Today and Today, Issa Kobayashi

Cricket Songs, Harry Behn

Cricket Never Does, Myra Cohn Livingston

One Leaf Rides the Wind, Celeste Mannis

A Pocketful of Poems, Nikki Grimes

Basho and the River Stones, Tim Myers

If Not For the Cat, Jack Prelutsky

Wingnuts, Paul Janeczko

Baseball Haiku, Cor Van Den Heuvel

Dogku, Andrew Clements

Thanks so much cloudscome! If you have never visited A Wrung Sponge it is worth a stop. Cloudscome writes lovely haiku herself and also gives great kids’ book recommendations (she is particularly interested in multicultural children’s books).

+++ Jenny of Wildwood Cottage found one haiku book at her library that 2 year-old daughter CJ enjoyed. She also recommends:

One Leaf Rides the Wind, Celeste Davidson Mannis

+++ Heather of Homeschooling Fun found this haiku book at her library and liked it a lot:

Asian Arts and Crafts for Creative Kids-Haiku, Patricia Donegan

Thank you all for your recommendations! I’ll have to get busy with my Interlibrary Loans.

Weekly Unplugged Project – Haiku

By , November 4, 2007 9:29 pm

This has been a hectic week for us, so we were never really able to sit down and do this one all together, but rather in bits and pieces throughout the week.

My 5 year-old son didn’t feel like doing it (I was going to have him illustrate one of my haikus), so it was an all girl event at our house!

My 7 year-old daughter really loved the whole exercise and of course chose to write about her new fish that she acquired by trading her Halloween candy. She immediately hung her haiku and drawing up in her room by her fish (along with some very funny “Fish Rules”).

The way I decided to introduce it to her was the following:

1) She picked a subject (her fish)
2) She wrote down a list of words that described her fish
3) She wrote the number of syllables in each word next to that word
4) She combined them and added a few words, to create the appropriate number of syllables for each line (I had to help a bit with this part – finding and extra word here and there to help fill things out, but basically this is her creation).

Actually, it was hard to get her away from thinking in terms of sentences, which is what she is used to when she writes at school. Very interesting!

Here are the results. My haikus are not high quality, but considering I have not written one since elementary school, I guess they’ll do. I had so much fun with this since it has a very logical, almost puzzle-solving aspect to it, unlike a lot of poetry. I might even inflict more haikus upon the blogosphere! (Sorry!)


Our Gallery:

Author: Oldest daughter, age 7
Illustrator: Oldest daughter, age 7

My Fish

He is a Betta
With sparkly shiny scales
In a tall glass vase


Author: Me, age more than 7
Illustrator: Oldest daughter, age 7


Chattering gray clowns
Who do tricks for a peanut
Make me laugh out loud


Author: Me
Illustrator: Youngest daughter, age 22 months


Color of envy
Cool spring rains bring emeralds
That taste like a lime


Author: Me
Photographer: Me


Ebony silk coat
Black cat sits on my paper
Fur tickles my nose

(yes, black cat Pipsqueak helped me write the haikus!)


This was a fairly detailed, specific project. I hope it was fun, but for next week I have decided to go in entirely the opposite, very minimalist, direction. Here is next Monday’s Unplugged Project:


I can’t wait to see what we all do with it!

Haiku Help

By , November 2, 2007 11:32 am

Hopefully this week’s Unplugged Project isn’t too daunting. It involves reading or writing a haiku. If you have older children, then they can try writing one, if not (and you feel brave enough) then you can try it. A very basic description of a haiku is the following:

– subject: everyday things – often nature, feelings, or experiences
– length: three short NON-RHYMING lines
– form:
1st line: 5 syllables
2nd line: 7 syllables
3rd line: 5 syllables

Here a few links which might help or inspire:

Haiku for People

Internet School Library Media Center Haiku Page

eHow: How to Write a Haiku (good basic advice)

I went to our local library in search of some haiku books for children and came home empty- handed (but our library is quite small). If anyone finds some good kids’ haiku books, please write about it! A search on Amazon of “haiku” in the children’s books section turns up lots of good-looking options, so I know the books are out there somewhere, just not in MY library.

Remember, these projects are supposed to be flexible and fun, so if you want to do a poem other than a haiku, that’s fine. If you just want to draw a picture that’s fine too. The point is for everyone to have fun. Plus, I am trying to make the projects adaptable to all ages, little ones through adult. Here, again, are this week’s instructions:


1) Write a haiku and illustrate it, either via original artwork or photo


2) Read (and share) a haiku and illustrate it, either via original artwork or photo


3) For smaller children, parents can find (or write) the haiku and help their children “illustrate” it


4) Any other haiku/poetry possibilities that you can imagine! Anything is fine…just go with what you want to do!

(unless you have a newly budding photographer at home, the photo option is probably more one for any older children or adults who want to take part and would rather not illustrate)

– subject: everyday things – often nature, feelings, or experiences
– length: three short NON-RHYMING lines
– form:
1st line: 5 syllables
2nd line: 7 syllables
3rd line: 5 syllables

Click here for some examples.

Hope to see you on Monday!

Image from Wikimedia Commons: Calligraphy by Ishizaki Keisui

Sweet Dreams Cards: "These cards make you have really good dreams!" – My Daughter, Age 7

By , September 3, 2007 9:54 pm

My 7 year-old daughter won’t sleep without one of these Sweet Dreams Cards under her pillow! I bought these as a stocking stuffer two Christmases ago for my daughter (then 5) and they have become part of her nightly ritual ever since.

After I tuck her in, she picks a card and looks at the picture while I read the back. Lately she has started reading the back herself. Some nights, my 5 year-old son even asks for one.
These cards have gorgeous Victorian illustrations on one side (with plenty of fairies and many images of children in fantastic, magical surroundings). The other side presents a soothing poem to put sweet thoughts into a child’s head before sleep.

These are not “children’s” poems but are works by such poets and authors as Rumi, Oscar Wilde, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, as well as many lesser known and anonymous writers (there is even one Navajo saying). The art work is dated and attributed to it’s illustrator, when known.

Some of the poems are quite sophisticated and at times it is difficult to find a quick and simple pre-bedtime answer to the question “what is that about.” The language of many poems can also be a bit archaic and complex, but my daughter does not seem to mind this.

Her favorite card is “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson and she likes to recite this one by heart. The cards are well-laminated and still look new after one year of loving use (except for the one that my son cut with scissors and we had to tape back together – oh well!).

When asked for a quote for this blog, my daughter says that I must tell people: “These cards make you have really good dreams!”

The Poetry Picnic

By , June 16, 2007 4:46 pm

Since I am in “poetry mode” right now, let me tell you about a friend of mine. My good friend Wishy The Writer and her daughter have a lovely tradition that they began last summer. They take blankets and pillows to a shady spot outside. They pack some food and drinks and a few books of poems and head to their cozy outdoor spot for a Poetry Picnic.

As Wishy was telling me about this I was beginning to feel like an Inferior Mom. Here is Wishy, “A-List Parent,” exposing her daughter to the beauty of nature and poetry all while enjoying some Mother-Daughter quiet time. Here am I, “Tired Parent,” pushing my children out the door to hunt for bugs and ride bikes in the driveway so I can get a little peace and quiet.

Finally she put me out of my maternal misery by revealing the REAL origin of this plan – her urgent need for a nap! Wishy was so desperate for a nap that she hoped quietly lying together reading poetry might lull her daughter to sleep so she could get a nap herself, and it worked.

I am not into using comparisons with other Moms as a measure of my worth as a parent. However I am insecure enough as a mother to admit that I felt SO much better after discovering her much less altruistic motivation for this Mother-Daughter bonding session!

My real point here is that, whatever the reason behind it, a Poetry Picnic sounds like a lovely idea. So whether you want your child to go to sleep and leave you alone, or you genuinely want to experience the “poetry of nature” together, give it a try!

Here is a variety of reading suggestions to consider:

Please share your own favorites in a comment!

This post is part of The Sunday Garden Tour at A Wrung Sponge. Head over there to find more participants, or to add your own garden-related post. Happy Sunday!

(By the way for you gardeners: The photo at the top is a Sexy Rexy rose that is planted in a pot by my front door.)

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