Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Sharing Monday - Poetry books for Patriots' Day

I had never heard of Patriots' Day until we moved to Massachusetts over a decade ago.  Commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord, the holiday is a huge deal in this area: parades and celebrations abound.  Evidently the day is also celebrated in Maine, but it was completely off my radar during the four years I lived there.

While my crowd-shunning family rarely goes to parades, we do enjoy a patriotic read from time to time.  Here, then, are a few books of American poetry for kids that we found last week at a local library.

The Smithsonian Institution's Celebrate America in Poetry and Art, edited by Nora Panzer.  This book pairs prints or photos of artwork from the National Museum of American Art with poetry by American poets.  Carl Sandburg's "Niagara" with George Innes's painting of the same name, for instance, and a selection from Maya Angelou's "On the Pulse of Morning" with a print by commercial illustrator George Giusti, as another example, make this book one to savor.

The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems, edited by Donald Hall.  This book contains poems from anonymous Native Americans to Sarah Josepha Hale to many well known 18th and 19th century poets all the way through to some lesser known 20th century writers.  It seems to have something for everyone, and ranges from the solemn (Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes) to the poignant (Rachel Field) to the silly (Nash, Prelutsky, Seuss, and Silverstein).

A Revolutionary Field Trip: Poems of Colonial America, by Susan Katz with illustrations by R.W. Alley. This cartoonish book of amusing yet informative poetry for younger children ("Grace Dips a Candle," "Blacksmith Shop," and "Shearing Poor George" are three of the twenty titles in the book)  would be a good accompaniment to a real field trip to a historical reenactment site such as Old Sturbridge Village or Plymouth Plantation or a similar colonial American site.

Especially appropriate for Massachusetts readers on Patriot's Day is the ever popular "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere."  Several illustrators have taken on the task of illustrating Longfellow's poem, and one we like especially is the one illustrated by Christopher Bing's engraved paintings.

I've saved the best for last.  My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States, with poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illustrated by Stephen Alcorn.  Each region of the country is represented by several poems and a map, and each state is given its own box with capital, nickname, etc. as well as a Great Fact or two.  For instance, did you know that the first baseball World Series games were played in Boston in 1903?  (I didn't.)  The Boston Pilgrims were victorious over the Pittsburgh Pirates. ☺  Poets represented in the book include David McCord, Frank Asch, Carl Sandburg, X.J. Kennedy, Myra Cohn Livingston, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Douglas Florian, and many more.  Highly recommended.

Happy reading!  Book Sharing Monday is hosted by Canadian Home Learning.


Alex said...

Amazing post! Wow! I need to add that one to my tagfoot :)

Good luck next week for scree-free week (I think it really will be the hardest for me!).

Bailey said...

Growing up in Sudbury, which still marches on the 19th, Emerson's Concord Hymn is the one that I remember hearing every year.