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Step Into Poetry

by Dianne White on April 22, 2012


STEP GENTLY OUT by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Lieder (Candlewick, 2012)

With words that convey a reverence for the natural world and stunning photographs by Rick Lieder, Helen Frost’s newest book, STEP GENTLY OUT immediately brought to mind two other favorite poems: “To Look At Anything” by John Moffitt and (the title of) Dylan Thomas’ well-known villanelle, “Do Not Go Gentle into Into That Good Night.”

Frost, a 2012 Honoree of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for her middle grade novel, HIDDEN, has done it again with a picture-book length poem that invites kids to notice the amazing world of ants, bees, and other small creatures.

Want to inspire students to write about “small things?” Share this amazing video with them!

Step Gently Out | A nature picture book for all ages from Step Gently Out on Vimeo.


a meal of the stars: poems up and down by Dana Jensen, illustrated by Tricia Tusa (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)

These one word per line poems move vertically – sometimes up the page, sometimes down – to capture small moment images in ways that inspire the reader to look at the world with new eyes. Can you imagine a giraffe with a neck so long it seems it could make a meal of the stars?  How about a grandfather’s grandfather clock that is taller than grandfather? Or the bongs of far-off bells that float and touch us with song?

Share these poems with students and then have them brainstorm their own list of words from which to write a poem in the style of Jensen. (In my class, we chose words associated with spring and brainstormed lists of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The resulting poems were amazing!)

and then it’s spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Fogliano’s lyrical text begins with the dry brown that follows a long winter and reminds readers that even though “First you have brown, all around, you have brown,” all it takes is a sprinkling of seeds, a dash of hope, bits of sun following rain, the passing of days and weeks and then, at last, there is “green all around.”

Andrea April 23, 2012 at 3:36 am

Thank you for sharing these – they all sound lovely. I’m going to look for that first one for my classroom!

Dianne April 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Enjoy, Andrea. Each one of these books is gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by ReaderKidZ!

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