Friday, November 25, 2011

Warm Memory & GIFT TAG

Paper Snowflake
Photo by Amy LV

Students - Lately I have been thinking lots about snow.  It started a few weeks ago when I had to choose a photograph to write from for GIFT TAG. This new e-book required each poet to choose an inspiration-photograph, and I chose a picture of snow falling around a small home. I needed to write a poem about a gift...and as a Buffalo girl, I think snow is a gift! My poem in GIFT TAG, "Snow Gifts," got me thinking about what's in store for us over the next five months.

Then, this Tuesday at school, a teacher friend told me a story. Sue teaches third grade, and a few days ago she looked out her classroom window to see snow swirling everywhere. And then she did just what the teacher in "Warm Memory" did. Sue put on her coat and led her students outside into a circle to "catch November snowflakes!" She and her class ate snowflakes together, holding their arms out, watching crystals land on their coats, cherishing this once-a-year first snowfall surprise.

At that moment I knew that I wanted to write Sue's story. And in doing so, her story became my story too. So many people do kind and beautiful things each day, and if we watch and listen carefully, our story-banks grow. Now, every time I see a first snow...I will imagine those third graders in their hushed circle, tongues in the sky and hearts full of fun.  Teachers like Sue are a gift.

E-book GIFT TAG comes to us from Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, and it is filled with poems by 28 different poets, each inspired by a different photograph.  My poem, "Snow Gifts," nestles among poems about goldfish, a bicycle, perfume, a kitty, and many other goodies.

This e-poetry collection is third in a series of e-poetry anthologies put together by Janet and Sylvia, each only $2.99 through Amazon. You can read or gift POETRY TAG TIME, p*tag, or GIFT TAG on a phone, iPad, or computer, and the poems are easy to project in a classroom too. I like reading the different poems as well as the connections made by the poets, and one of my favorite things is the way each e-book links to the different poets' websites. So, for a few dollars, a reader opens up a whole new world of writers. For you early bargain shoppers, GIFT TAG will be available for $1.99 through Monday.

Last weekend found me at NCTE, in love with session after session of poetry goodness. If you would like to hear some snips of the wonderful poem sessions, visit Sylvia Vardell's Poetry for Children blog where she has graciously posted poem video clips from the convention.

Thank you to Heidi Mordhorst for hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at my juicy little universe. I am so thankful for my Poetry Friday friends...

(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. I love this tribute to a very wise and warm teacher!

  2. Beautiful tribute to your friend: "We followed our teacher, we gathered, we hushed." There are so many out there doing kind and wonderful things! I downloaded your book & am enjoying it very much. Will share and share!

  3. Amy, I love this moment and how you caught in. The flakes and the test, the scurried to flurries, the beautiful quietness at the end.

    And so glad you were able to go to NCTE and revel in poetry and friends!

    Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you and all at the farm!

  4. I love the way you captured the spontaneous energy and joy of the moment...especially the visual in that last stanza. Although I can't say I'm looking forward to the winter snow - I am looking forward to moments like this!

  5. I love "Warm Memory." These are the moments children will remember always. Bless Sue and all teachers who seize the moment to to create learning experiences.

  6. It is always beautiful to pay tribute to a friend and an educator who is willing to seize and capture transient moments such as snowflakes falling. For someone who lives in a tropical country, I agree unreservedly that snow is a gift. :) Enjoy the season!

  7. One reason that I love your poem so much, Amy, is that it will totally confuse some kids. Some of them will think: snow...a gift? Fun, yes. I love it, yes. But...a gift? Isn't a gift something that costs $9.99 (on Black Friday; discounted from $19.99)? We need teachers and parents to read your poem aloud and to talk about their favorite free gifts!!

  8. I hope I can be the teacher in this poem when we get our first snow!

    Janet -- one of my favorite free gifts was Gift Tag, which you gave me at your NCTE session! I'm so excited to share it with my students! And Amy, my status shoots way up when I say, "I know that poet!" You're a rock star in my classroom!

  9. Mary Lee: I'm so happy you liked our gift! Wasn't it neat how the gift e-book came through immediately? I think that e-books are going to be most significant in countries where it's hard to get American books (due to shipping costs and customs)...One click and the book is there!

  10. How wonderful! That is indeed a great teacher.

    I bought P*Tag and loved it - maybe I'll buy this one too!

  11. Thank you for your kind words on this one...I feel so lucky to meet and work with teachers like Sue! And GIFT TAG is such fun! a.

  12. One of your best poems Amy. I'm not kidding. Good stuff ALV Power!!!!!!!