Archive for July 20th, 2018

Poetry Friday round-up is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe.

Maybe if you’d written over a hundred books for children, you could take a break, but not Marilyn Singer. I first met Marilyn at NCTE a few years ago when she was reading from and presenting about her books of reverso poems. Reverso is a brilliant form that I fail at miserably, but Marilyn has at least three books full of them.

This summer at ALA I was able to grab a new copy of Every Month is a New year. Marilyn signed it, “Happy New Years!” Who knew that every month, someone somewhere in the world is celebrating a new year? The extent of Marilyn’s research alone for this book is impressive. There are 77 sources listed in the back matter of the book!

Illustrator Susan L. Roth uses mixed media for the illustrations. You can imagine touching each piece and feeling the soft paper and fabric collaged together.

The experience of this book is different from other picture books because it opens horizontally like a calendar. Actually, I would love to have it as a calendar I could display in my classroom.

I thought I would share July’s poem since it’s July, but I love, love, love September’s poem and illustration. Ethiopia’s new year is celebrated on September 11th with gifts of daisies. I want to start a movement for us to adopt this practice for our commemoration of the tragedy of Sept. 11th. Random gifts of daisies. From the back matter:

Enkutatash, Ethiopian New Year, on the Ethiopic calendar corresponds to September 11 on the Gregorian calendar. Enkutatash is believed to be the day the Queen of Sheba returned to her homeland after her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem in 980 BCE. She was welcomed with enku, jewels. Enkutatash, which means “gift of jewels,” has another ancient meaning that commemorates the receding of the great flood during the time of Noah. The day also marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of sunny days.
Today, on Enkutatash, children in new, white, hand-woven cotton clothes offer yellow Meskel daisies, along with pictures they have painted, as gifts to friends and neighbors.

I think I have found a new tradition to start with my students!

illustration by Susan L. Roth for Every Month is a New Year

By Marilyn Singer, Every Month is a New Year

In her poem about the June New Year, We Tripantu in Chile, Marilyn leads me in with simple sentence structure, “The night is cold./ My family is warm.” I love when the simplest of language can tell so much. She continues this pattern with “The air is quiet. / My family is loud.” As a writing prompt, I want to try using the pattern of opposites for my own poem. It could be about a season or a celebration. Would you like to try one, too? Share in the comments.

My own New Year celebration happens on my birthday, August 11th. The peak of the Perseid meteor showers occur around this day every year. This year I should make a point of going outside to dance.

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