I confess to changing my choice today to Perfect Poetry Book Friday, but with good reason. This book deserves wide promotion and it fits perfectly into the aims of our blogging group to recommend high quality books with pictures for young readers and their teachers/caregivers to use at home and in classrooms, and for pleasure, of course. I would also like to remind you that today, December 4th, is World Wildlife Conservation Day.
Title: National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry
Edited by: J. Patirck Lewis, former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate
Published by: National Geographic, December 2015
Suitable for ages: 4-8 (publisher’s recommendation.) I believe upper elementary classrooms would welcome this and truly it is a compilation for all ages.
A couple of tasters from the 200 poems:
February Tale by Renee LaTulippe
Above the earth
and children scurry,
Their icy breath
curls in the air
and every tree is
The Release by Joseph Bruchac
the shadows of all the trees
break free and go running
across the edge of the world.
Fabulous former U.S. Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis curates a poetic celebration of the natural world in this stellar collection of nature poems. The pages fill with works from classic poets like Emily Dickenson and Keats, to famous contemporary writers like Billy Collins and Naomi Shihab, and names we know and love in the children’s literature world such as Renee M. LaTulippe, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Laura Purdie Salas. Competition-winning photos backdrop nature poems from frosty desert floors to stunning stalactite caves.
J. Patrick Lewis offers a Thoreauesque introduction and then the poems are divided into ten sections: the wonder of nature, in the sky, in the sea, on the move, across the land, in the shade, in distress, in season, in splendor and last thoughts.
Why I like This Book:
I would and will buy this as a present for old and young alike. It is the type of poetry book I would place next to old favorites like WHEN WE WERE YOUNG and AT THE END OF THE SIDEWALK on my bookshelf or leave on the coffee table next to my LONELY PLANET GUIDES. it is a poetry book that takes readers on a sumptuous visual and lyrical journey over crab-covered cliffs, fungi-foraging in dense forests, savoring the seasons listening to the sage advice of a scorpion and pondering the indigenous names of US rivers “Like Ghosts of Eagles.”
Just as the content of the poems reflect on past and present in nature, so the authors reflect a rich poetic heritage and new gifted names. I recognized dozens of friends’ contributions, which also thrilled my heart.
Seasons, ecology, photosynthesis, pollination, flora, fauna, geology, marine life, precipitation, oceanography, sky and land, solar eclipses, the life cycle… and much more. Can you see the phenomenal resource this book could be to your classroom? Indeed, I would suggest if you are going to invest, buy three copies already, because you will be pulling it out for so many topics.
The forms the poems take are as colorful and varied as the natural world the words and photos invite us to explore. Poetry units through Kindergarten to 5th grade will find a wealth of inspiration here. The poems are so accessible to young people that I would almost hope for a compilation of kids’ poetry inspired by these pages. The emotions evoked run the gamut, from awe and disbelief to surprise and hilarity.
I have been reading National Geographic for years and I confess it has always been as much for the nature photography as the articles. They hire women and men with extraordinary talent and persistence and the photographic backgrounds to these poems mirror and model and expand on the words with perfection. I love that the precise locations are given for many of the photographs. I suspect the pictures will draw in many children less familiar with the joy of poetry, but they will then be captivated by the verses.
As a great believer in immersing children form a young age in poetry and as one who fights fiercely verbally for active protection and appreciation of our natural world, I highly recommend this new National Geographic compilation.
- The poems are listed by topic as well as chronologically-a helpful tool to teachers, as well as indexes by first line, title and poet.
- The book includes a select bibliography of children’s books on wordplay in poetry.
- For children, visit www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
- For librarians, visit www.ngchildrensbooks.org
- Please note that there is also a contact for special discounts for bulk purchases, firstname.lastname@example.org
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.