Wrap up this book for someone special. Poetry Friday meets Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Last week, my hubby surprised me with a present that combines three of my interests between one set of colorful book covers. The book is called Origami and Haiku inspired by Japanese artwork. With Christmas nearly here, I’d like to share this book with you because I believe it would make a perfect present, both for children and adults.

This book combines the beautiful and sparse poetry form of Haiku, the intricate, paper-folding art of origami, stunning nature illustrations by various Japanese artists, and…

if that doesn’t seem amazing enough, 50 removable origami papers so readers can follow along and create the projects which correspond to the poems and art.

I call that a lot to love in a book!

 

Title – Origami and Haiku – inspired by Japanese artwork

Published by – Nosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press – 2018

Topics/Theme –  Haiku poems, origami projects, Japanese nature illustrations

A haiku poem from the page about the rabbit:  

even the rabbit droops one

of her ears–

midsummer heat!

by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Find this book here on Amazon

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Haiku, here are two fun projects.

Origami rings Here
origami rings

 

 

 

 

Origami elephant Here

easy origami elephant

To learn more about Haiku look Here and Here.

More Haiku books for children (Click the title to jump to each book’s listing on Amazon.)

One Leaf Rides the Wind

Hi, Koo

The Cuckoo’s Haiku

Dogku

Until next Friday.

Acrostic Poems Meet Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Last month I had the immense pleasure of attending a Highlights Foundation poetry workshop in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. I honestly thought the dream of taking one of their classes would remain a dream. After all, Pennsylvania isn’t exactly up the road from me. And let’s not forget that I’d be away for a full week, leaving my husband and daughter to fend for themselves.

I’m happy to report that the pets of our small zoo were alive when I returned home. However, the dog looked thinner from a lack of treats, the laundry hadn’t been taken care of, and confessions revealed that “snack night” replaced dinner a few times…

I drove up with a friend from my poetry critique group for a writing experience that changed the way I look at the world, poetry, and writing. Since the workshop, I have given myself much needed quiet time each day to rework past poems and begin new ones. And in addition to receiving valuable critiques and comments on my writing along with valuable insight, inspiration, and a fresh approach to writing, I left the class with the gift of new friendships.

For today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review, I’m sharing a book of acrostic poetry. Acrostic poems are created when a word or phrase is written vertically down the page. interesting facts and clues about the subject comprise each line of the poem.

Title – African Acrostics: A word in Edgeways

Written by – Avis Harley

Photographs by – Deborah Noyes

Published by – Candlewick Press – 2009

Topics – children’s poetry, safari, African animals

Opening – The book opens with a poem that defines the acrostic poem. 

ACROSTIC (uh-KROS-tik)

Welcome, all poets — both new

Or well versed. Non-rhymers or

Rhymers! Come,

Drive in headfirst!

 

Inviting all writers —

Now you’re just the right age.

 

Explore the acrostic that rides

Down the page.

Get a word you

Enjoy and would like to define.

Write it down vertically

And fill in each line.

Your name is a very good way to begin.

Surprise yourself. Find that poem within! 

If you read down the spine the poem (including the title), you’ll find four words that appear in the book’s title. 

Amazon’s Review –  View it HERE. Inside every acrostic is a secret message, often lurking in the first letter of each line (read top to bottom). But look out! These acrostics not only follow their subjects to Africa, but they also take the form to a whole new level. Here you’ll find the elusive double acrostic (in which the first and last letters of each line spell a message), the cross acrostic (in which the message is read diagonally), and the multiple acrostics (see it to believe it) — not to mention lions, zebras, crocodiles, hippos, leopards, and elephants. Oh, my! Illustrated with gorgeous full-color photographs, this collection is sure to send poetry buffs and animal lovers on an armchair safari they’ll never forget.
Back matter includes information about acrostics, nature notes, and a photographer’s note.

Why do I like this book? While at the Highlights Poetry Workshop, one of the writers specialized in acrostic poetry. I played with writing this form back in high school, but I never wrote in this style since. Then, while I was browsing the poetry shelves at my library yesterday, I pulled this book off the shelf and learned that other forms of acrostic poetry exist beyond the most common form (the subject reading down the left side of the poem). I discovered double acrostics in which a word is formed down both the left and right side as well as the cross acrostic in which the word appears diagonally. So much creativity in one magical book! Plus AMAZING photographs of the animals of Africa.

Just for fun – Try writing your own acrostic poem. You can start by writing your name down the left side of the page, a word that defines your personality, a favorite season and what it means to you, the name of your favorite animal or pet, a place you love to visit, or your favorite go-to snack. Then, brainstorm words or phrases that come to mind about your topic and fit them into this marvelous form of poetry. Remember, poems don’t need to rhyme.

Here are two of my acrostic poems with the title’s first letter being part of the word.

PERHAPS A POEM ABOUT POEMS (unrhyming)

Only the sweetest words

Express the

Magic I feel in my

Soul

 

LESLIE

Envies the birds with their wings spread in flight,

Soaring as high as a sky-sweeping kite.

Lifting from branches.

Imagining chances.

Every day.

I hope you’ll take a moment in your day to write an acrostic poem. And if you feel brave enough, please share it in the comments.

Mother Goose Meets Your Favorite Vehicle This Perfect Picture Book Friday!

One of my critique groups focuses solely on writing children’s poetry. I’m one of four ladies that meet once a month to share and critique ten new poems we’ve each written. I’m not kidding when I tell you I find it challenging to write ten new (and hopefully clever) poems month after month. However, the challenge is met with an equal amount of fun. Some poems start out with a bang! A great idea turns into line after line of sheer childhood wonder. Other poems. . . Well, there’s no better word I can think of. Other poems I try to write stink. Delete, delete, delete.

Obviously, new poems require inspiration. Where do I find inspiration?

  • I drive to my library and hang out in the children’s play area, observing and listening.
  • I sit at the playground and watch the kids interact.
  • I also use photographs as springboards.

Anything and everything can become the subject of a poem.

Another way I find inspiration is from writing out topic lists. Here are some of my headings.

  • What do children love?
  • What do children learn at school?
  • What games do they like to play?
  • What do kids notice that adults don’t?
  • What do children want more than anything?
  • What do children wish they are big enough to do?
  • What do children believe?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What foods do they love?
  • What foods would they rather never see on their plates?
  • What pets do children want for a birthday present?
  • What are their fantasies and dreams?
  • Write about a child’s visit to a new place.
  • What can happen on weekend with their grandparents?
  • Write about a new skill a child learns, like fishing with their dad.

Today, I want to share an amazing, innovating, highly creative book of poems written by Rebeca Colby. Her inspiration? Enlightening children about the uses of a variety of vehicles from a submarine to an airplane and everything in between.  And one more thing . . .  All her poems can be sung to favorite, classic nursery rhymes. Now that’s what I call a fun book to share with a child!

Title – Motor Goose

Written by – Rebecca Colby

Illustrated by – Jef Kaminsky

Published by – Feiwel and Friends – 2017

Topics – poems about vehicles, nursery rhymes

Opening –  

 

Little Jack Junker (Little Jack Horner)

Little Jack Junker,

broken-down clunker,

surprised all the cars

in the race.

‘Cause right from the start,

he lost part after part,

yet he finished the race

in first place.

Amazon’s Review –  View it HERE. Wonderful rhymes and VEHICLES! Here is a collection that every car/plane/boat/crane/digger/taxi/train-loving kid will adore. With hilarious artwork by Jef Kaminsky, Motor Goose is a must-have for readers who like things that go. And as the rhymes progress, the day winds down, making this perfect for bedtime.

Why do I like this book? The poems are ingenious, unexpected, and downright FUNNY! If you love to laugh and you enjoy sheer cleverness on a genius level, this book is for you. Rebecca Colby clearly researched each vehicle she built into a poem and educates children in a highly entertaining manner. And yes, the addition of bright, colorful, illustrations created with humor and the right amount of attitude by Jef Kaminsky, compliment the poetry to perfection!

Just for fun – Take a kid-friendly topic of interest to you, add to it your favorite nursery rhyme, and see what magic you can create!

Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at Water Sings Blue

Ever since that first magical day when I saw the ocean as a child, I have been drawn to the soothing sound of the tides lapping on the sand in concert with the call of the gulls. I have loved searching for treasures in tidepools, loved finding colorful seashells, and enjoy holding smooth washed stones. I’m also easily enchanted by the momentary treasure of the etched lines the sandpipers draw in the sand as they run by before the next wave washes the sand clean. With so much to love about the ocean, it’s no wonder poets continually try to capture the magic of water, sand, and sea life.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review is Water Sings Blue, a collection of ocean poems that includes subjects such as waves, tide pools, and sea urchins along with the Nudibranch, a lesser known sea creature. Instead of writing poems about what one might find in a tide pool or the magical colors of coral, Kate Coombs often writes her poems from the unique and quite imaginative perspective of each ocean swimmer and treasure.

Maybe, after reading this book, you will be inspired to write a poem about where you live, a favorite place you’ve visited, or something special you treasure. Try to include as many of your senses as possible. Some places have a distinct smell or sound. Some objects have a texture. And don’t forget taste in case what you are describing happens to be a jelly doughnut or other favorite treat. Remember, even though we don’t associate taste with the ocean, often, after spending a day playing on the sand and in the waves, a salty taste is often part of the memory.

And now for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

Title – Water Sings Blue

Written by – Kate Coombs  

illustrated by  – Meilo So

Published by – Chronicle Books –  2012

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics – Ocean, poetry, and sea life

Opening –  

Push away from the stillness of the nut-brown land, from the road that leads to the shore.

Push away from the town with its tight tree roots, from its closed brown shutters and doors.

Push away–heave-ho–from the heavy brown pier, from its pilings huddled and dull.

For the water sings blue and the sky does, too, and the sea lets you fly like a gull.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE. Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.

Why do I like this book? Each time I open this book I’m transported to the ocean through the clever poems and thoughtful illustrations. Kate Coombs has a natural gift for putting herself into the mind of the ocean and its remarkable inhabitants. And Meilo So, a highly gifted illustrator, places the reader down in the depths of the ocean, on the sun-warmed beach, and inside of a cloud of octopus ink. Truly, this book is an amazing tour of ocean life.

Want to learn a little more about Kate Coombs? Click HERE.

Want to learn a little more about Meilo So? Click HERE.

Projects

Make a paper plate aquarium. Instructional video HERE.

How to fold an origami fish HERE.

Here’s a kid-friendly site with lots of fish craft ideas! HERE.