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Join the Poetry Fun on the Web!

Blogs for reading, Blogs for writing—which is your choice?

Come join the party and celebrate poetry! Whether you like to read poetry or write it, and even if you think you don't like poetry at all, there‘s a blog for you! Here are just a few of the blog sites that are celebrating poetry this month.

Blogs for people who write children’s poetry:

30/30 Poetry Challenge 2013
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a poem based on the prompt received for that day. Sign up to receive a prompt every day during April, or view it on the website. You receive your prompt by noon. You have until noon the next day to complete the challenge! If your poem is selected, it will be posted on the website on the evening your poem was received. Complete instructions are posted on the website, including a Poetry Challenge for kids.

Writing the World for Kids
Watch the Poem Starter Video on Laura Purdey Salas’ blog, then take on its challenge to write a poem in 15 words or less. Each day in April features a poem by a different children’s poet.

30 Words 30 Days
It started with a single word on April 1st. Each day another word is added, inspired by readers’ suggestions in their comments. At the end of the month there will be a complete 30-word poem! Take a look at the first 5 words and then join in the fun.

Stem Friday
Write a STEM poem and learn about Haiku. Select your topic from Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM). Then share your STEM poem in the comments on the Haiku page.

Blogs for readers of children’s poetry:

Gotta Book: 30 Poets/30 Days
Every day during April, author Greg Pincus will feature an unpublished poem by a favorite children’s author on his blog, Gotta Book. The poems are fun to read, and many schools incorporate the event into their lesson plans.

Poetry Foundation Children's Poetry
Watch videos of children’s Poet Laureates reading their poems and talking about poetry for children. There are also links to other resources and articles.

2013 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem
Watch a poem grow day-by-day, as it travels across the Kidlitosphere! Every day throughout April, different people take turns at adding a new line to a growing poem. Start reading here and follow along each day.

Websites for those who think they don’t like poetry:

Giggle Poetry
Visit Bruce Landsky’s website for a look at some fun poems and some poetry fun and games.

Poetry 4 Kids
More poems, fun and games for kids (and grown-up kids) at Ken Nesbitt’s poetry website.

Jack Prelutsky
If you’ve never visited this poetry site for kids you’re in for a treat. Fun poems with animation and sound.

Shel Silverstein
A fun interactive website with poems, puzzles, games and more.

This is just a taste of what’s out there! Enjoy!  Read More 
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Connecting the Dots

Do you remember doing connect-the-dots pictures when you were small? It was usually with numbers, but sometimes it was the alphabet. There were a few squiggles on the page that were a part of the picture and you drew a line from number one to two and so on, until you reached the last number and completed the picture.

Dot-to-dot wasn’t really my favorite art activity as a child. It was kind of neat to find out what the picture was at the end, but it wasn’t very rounded out. You drew straight lines between the numbers, so there were no curves where curves should be. I suppose it might have been more interesting if you liked modern art.

I started to compare connect-the-dots to writing a picture book. It would be great if you could just connect the parts of a story and come out with a great finished book—going from character to setting to plot and resolution. But without the curves—rich language, attention to detail, action, dialogue, rhythm, repetition, and especially emotional connection—it falls flat.

I’m thinking that connecting the dots of the story are like my first draft. In my revisions, I add the curves. Maybe if you like modern art, dot-to-dot could work for you. But for me, I’ll take the curves.

Check back next week and help celebrate Poetry Month with author interviews and book give-aways. See you here!  Read More 
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Children's Poetry Month

Poetry month is wrapping up, and I have been sorely lacking at blogging here. I hope you enjoy these bits and pieces related to children’s poetry, along with an original poem as my gift to you.

Some children’s POETRY TRIVIA:

1—This author has written several rhyming picture books with dinosaurs as the main character. My favorite, since I’ve been a school nurse, is this book that begins: “What if a dinosaur catches the flu? Does he whimper and whine in between each Atchoo?” Name the author and the book.

2—This author has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s most prolific anthologist of poetry for children, with 113 titles to his credit. Well known for his anthologies for beginning readers, his own books include Alpahthoughts, and Days to Celebrate. Name the author.

3—He is the author of poetry collections for beginning readers and picture books, including this book that includes animals such as the Spinachickens and the Bananaconda. Name the author and the book.

4—A short novel in free verse by Newberry Medal winner, Sharon Creech, this book about a boy and his dog is a favorite of mine. It includes a great Teacher’s Guide at the end of the book. Name the book.

5—What do lambs do when they won’t go to sleep at night? Find out in this picture book in verse by author, Alice McGinty. Name the book.

6—Wonderful rhyming shape poems take you through the seasons in this picture book by children’s author and poet, Heidi B. Roemer. Name the book.

7—A writer’s alphabet book published by Sleeping Bear Press, this book is written by children’s author Esther Hershenhorn, and is still a favorite of mine. Name the book.

8—Absolutely Angels, Poems for Children and Other Believers, is an anthology compiled by this former editor of Guideposts for Kids. She is the author of stories, poems, articles and books for children and adults. Name the author.

9—This poet, mostly known for her novels-in-verse and poetry for teens, has received numerous awards for her books which include Hidden, Crossing Stones, and Keesha’s House. Name the author.

10—This familiar figure is the imaginary author of nursery rhymes and fairy tales and has been well-known over generations. Name this famous author.

A few favorite WEBSITES:

Bruce Lansky’s Giggle Poetry
Some categories include: poetry class, poetry fun, poetry theater and word games. Giggle Poetry has been selected for the ALA great web sites award and the National Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA Honor).

Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry for Kids
Some categories include: funny poems, games, interviews, poetry lessons and a rhyming dictionary,

Rhyme Zone
An online rhyming dictionary. You can also search for synonyms, antonyms, definitions, homophones and more.


A poem is good for the soul. –Ralph Fletcher

Resist the temptation to rhyme.... For writers of rhyme, the bar of excellence is raised a notch or two because contrived, hackneyed rhymes are so easy to write—and so painful to read. –J. Patrick Lewis

What poetry does at its very best is to make the reader feel. Feel deeply and truly. —Jane Yolen

Poetry is speaking painting. –Plutarch

A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom - Robert Frost

ANSWERS to Children’s Poetry Trivia:
1—Jane Yolen, How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon
2—Lee Bennett Hopkins
3—Jack Prelutsky, Scranimals
4—Love that Dog
5—Ten Little Lambs
6—Come to My Party
7—S is for Story
8—Mary Lou Carney
9—Helen Frost
10—Mother Goose

Wishing you a Happy Poetry Month for 2012!
And leaving you with dreams of summer—

Fishing For a Bite

I’m tired of worms
Said the fish in the lake.
I’d rather have
Some chocolate cake,
A piece of cheese,
Or I suppose,
Some ankles, knees,
Or dirty toes.
So if you want
To get a bite,
Just cast your legs
In the lake tonight.
copyright Peggy Archer ( not for use without permission of the author)  Read More 
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Dissecting a Poem

Melody, from NAME THAT DOG!
Between new babies and other family matters, my blog has taken a back seat this month. I decided to get in a late contribution to poetry month by going through how I wrote, and re-wrote, one of the poems from my picture book, NAME THAT DOG!

My inspiration for Melody was my friend’s dog, Mellie. Every time I would go to Karen’s house, Mellie barked like crazy, even before I got the front door! I told Karen, “You don’t need a doorbell. You have Mellie!”

My first idea was to write about a dog who loved to ‘sing,’ and with his barking he would get all of the dogs in the neighborhood to join in. I called him Maestro, like the leader of an orchestra. Here’s the first draft:

He sings along
When I play the piano
He hits the high notes
In perfect soprano.
He can hold it long
He can sing it low
Dogs follow the lead
Of my dog, Maestro.

Ok, I wasn't really happy with this poem--yet. Here are some reasons why.

Rhythm: This poem didn’t just roll off your tongue with that easy rhythm.

The stress fell on different syllables in the lines. I try to have each line stress the same syllable, either the first or the second usually, to make it easy to read. It doesn’t always work out that way, but at least it feels right when you read it out loud. The stress here falls on the second or third syllable, and doesn’t line up in order. The last line puts the stress on the word ‘my,’ which doesn’t feel natural. In addition, the lines don’t have the same number of syllables. It doesn’t always have to be exactly the same, but I felt that it was too far off.

Imagery: I didn’t feel that the end result put any special pictures or images in the reader’s mind. Ok, maybe a piano, maybe an orchestra conductor. Boring!

Language: Word choice, or language, is what creates the images that the readers see when they read a poem. It’s also what makes the reader feel something when they read a poem. I definitely thought I could do better here.

So I started to make my lists. I made a list of words of ways that a dog makes noise: bark, howl, yap, etc. I made a list of words that were synonyms for ‘sing:’ croon, tra-la-la, chant, hum, wail, moan…. I made a list of types of music: country, opera, pop, rock, rap…. I made a list of musical instruments: piano, saxophone, flute, violin….

I decided to re-name my dog Melody, after Mellie, who barked whenever someone came up the walk, and made her a girl like the real Mellie. I looked at my lists, and tried to relate the different words to a dog, in particular to a dog who liked to ‘sing.’ Here’s what I ended up with.

She sings when I play the piano.
She croons to the saxophone blues.
She wails to that sad country music
And moans to the nine o’clock news.
She boldly increases her volume,
enjoying the voice that she’s found,
And sings a duet with the doorbell—
That howling, melodious hound.

Poems are meant to be read out loud! I ended up with a much better rhythm, and a poem that was fun to read. The language was fun, too. And the images are there in every line for the reader to enjoy. I hope that you enjoy these poems, as well.  Read More 
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Reviews and Poetry sites

What a wonderful week-end spent in Mitchell, IN, where I met local and neighboring librarians-- including some poets!-- at the Mitchell Public Library. The friendly reception (and the afternoon tea!) were awesome. Thanks to Alexis and library staff for making it such a pleasant visit. Even the weather gave us a warm welcome :) There are some pictures from the event posted to the left of this blog.

Name That Dog!, my newest picture book of poetry for children, received some very nice reviews, which I've posted on my website under 'My Works--Name That Dog!'.

Booklist comments "T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum has his practical cats; Peggy Archer has puppies from A to Z. This picture-book poetry collection presents a rogues’ gallery of pooches in selections designed to help an unidentified dog owner name his or her new pet..." and ends by saying "A great choice for dog lovers, this will easily find a place in elementary-school language-arts classes."

Book Page included Name That Dog! in its list of new poetry books, and says "Name That Dog! is a crowd-pleasing canine chorus."

The Chicago Tribune starts out "Imagine the appeal of “The Puppy Channel” between book covers. The premise: Every puppy needs a name that’s perfect...."

I hope this book finds a place in the hearts of its readers.

Here are a few more sites to check out for poetry month!
April 2010
Thirty Days, Thirty Poets
blog by Gregory K. Pincus

An introduction to sijo poems, an art form that originated in Korea, in this interview with Linda Sue Parks.

An article by Marilyn Singer, ALA Poetry Blast coordinator, on "...Making Poems a Part of Children’s Every Day Lives" gives some ideas on ways to excite children about poetry. Marilyn's new book of poetry for children, "Mirror, Mirror," was released this month.

Enjoy! And join in celebrating poetry for children this month!  Read More 
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Poetry Blogs and Websites

It's Poetry Month, and I've discovered some great blogs and websites about children's poetry that I'd like to share.

1. Sylvia Vardell's "Poetry for Children" blog has a game of Poetry Tag going on! Each day features a different children's poet and one of their poems, which is linked to the poet before them. Go to http://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com.

2. Brown Bag Poetry features a poetry lesson plan by Kim Norman. Find it at www.kimnormanbooks.com.

3. Giggle Poetry's website is an award winning site for kids and adults who wish they were still kids. The site inclues poems, games, ask the poet, and much more. Check it out at www.gigglepoetry.com.

4. Check out poet Doug Florian's blog and get a sneak peek into his new book, Poetrees. Go to http://floriancafe.blogspt.com.

5. Caldecott Honor Award winner Joyce Sidman's website features a poetry challenge and poetry starters. Take a look at www.joycesidman.com.

More to come next week!  Read More 
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Happy Birthday, Name That Dog!

It's official-- Name That Dog! is finally released for sale by Penguin's Dial Books for Young Readers,and is available in bookstores and on line!

Happy Spring!

Happy Poetry Month!

Happy Reading!

I'll be looking at poetry books for children, poetry blogs and websites, and posting more this month.
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