Friday, April 02, 2010

Why don't we read poetry out loud to our kids any more?

Jacqueline Woodson, Walter Dean Myers, and Kathi Appelt are just some of the writers who’ll take part in 30 Poets/30 Days, a celebration of children's poetry during National Poetry Month.

Every day in April, author Gregory K. Pincus’s GottaBook blog and Twitter site will feature a previously unpublished poem by a different poet—and it’s completely free and open 24/7.

Pincus says last year’s inaugural 30 Poets/30 Days was such a huge success, with thousands of people reading poems and schools and education sites participating in the event. “I received wonderful e-mails from teachers and librarians who used the poems as a launching pad to teach poetry or feature different poets,” he says.

Other participants include Alan Katz, whose humorous rhyming books such as Oops (S & S 2008) are hugely entertaining for kids, and Charles R. Smith Jr, the photographer behind My People (Atheneum, 2009), the 2010 winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustrations.

“Poetry to me is life, because words are life. The Tao Te Ching says that if we want to be pure of spirit, we must be pure of speech,” Smith says. “When I write poetry, I am looking to get to the truth through words. My mantra is ‘waste no words’ so I can honestly say that my career has been built one word at a time.”

All poems from last yea are available online, including “I Dreamt I Saw a Dinosaur,” submitted by Mary Ann Hoberman, the Poetry Foundation's current Children's Poet Laureate and a recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. )

National Poetry Month sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, which began the event in 1996. More activities can be found at

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