Friday, April 20, 2012

S is for SILVER & S is for SYLVIA!

S is for SILVER
Photo by Amy LV

New (Secondhand) Silver Earrings on Quince Branch
Photo by Amy LV

This poem is for Kate Coombs. Last Thursday's poem grew from the word KNICKKNACK, and I shared a list of Wilfred J. Funk's most beautiful words.  In the comments, Kate suggested replacing his tranquil with silver.  So imagine my surprise when I opened and pointed to SILVER!  My finger was actually right ON the word (first time this month), and first I looked above it, thinking the word was SILT.  When I lifted my fingertip, I could see what the real word was -  SILVER.  A beautiful word indeed.

Students - Today I was going to write a haiku.  This is such a beautiful word, and haiku is such a beautiful form, one I'm coming to appreciate more and more this month because of the haiku that Lisa and Christophe have been writing through the dictionary.  But then I started to write...and jot...and this poem came out.  I adored my silver crayon when I was a little girl, and that little girl in me must have just written this poem without the grownup me even knowing!  Remember that - we have lots of selves inside.  It's good to listen to them all.

Also remember this - you can dedicate a poem to a friend or family member or someone you admire...anytime!  It's a lovely gift!

Today it is a pleasure to welcome professor, author, and blogger at Poetry for Children - Sylvia Vardell.  She brings us news of her newest book, THE POETRY TEACHER'S BOOK OF LISTS, a book I already own and love and which you have an opportunity to win today.  Take it away, Sylvia!

My Photo
Sylvia Vardell!

In my work with teachers and librarians, I find most people are open and interested in poetry, but may have no idea where to begin.  That was the primary motivation for writing THE POETRY TEACHER'S BOOK OF LISTS - to provide a comprehensive resource tied to many of the "FAQs" (frequently asked questions) I encounter when it comes to poetry for young people.  I've assembled 155 different poetry bibliographies and lists of research-based strategies featuring 1500 poetry books for children and teens (ages 0-18).  For example, you'll find lists of poetry books for each of these topics: animals, baseball, birds, cats, colors, dinosaurs, dogs, food, gardens, insects, math, reading, science, space, sports, time, trees, history, war and peace, and weather.  This makes it much easier to select poems for a particular curriculum unit.

But sometimes people want to share a poem for a special occasion or a festive holiday.  So, I also have separate lists for Valentine's Day, President's Day, Women's History Month, Mother's Day, Father's Day, the fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and all the seasons, too.  All the major poetry award winners are also listed (by award) as well as the best poetry books for each year of the last decade and by age categories.

Once you've found the right book for the right purpose, you'll also find helpful lists of activities, researched-based strategies, quotes, websites, tips and guidelines for incorporating poetry into your usual routine.  Here's just a sampling from one strategy list.

Poetry Celebration Occasions

As we build an environment where enthusiasm for poetry will flourish, we can consider what poet Georgia Heard calls "poetry rituals."  These are poetry traditions that provide a natural way to incorporate poetry into pre-existing routines and special occasions.  They give children something to look forward to and in many cases provide opportunities for child participation.  One excellent resource for finding "occasional" poetry is Lee Bennett Hopkins' book, DAYS TO CELEBRATE: A FULL YEAR OF POETRY, PEOPLE, HOLIDAYS, HISTORY, FASCINATING FACTS, AND MORE (Greenwillow, 2005).  As Maria Brountas (1995) has said, "Poetry is a lovely gift we give to children that appreciates in value and lasts throughout their lifetime."  Here is a list of possible poetry celebration occasions and ideas.

1. Invite children to perform their own poem readings on the last Friday of the month (or other set day) as a Poetry Friday event, popular in the children's literature world.  Create a coffee house setting with tablecloths, bongos, and a microphone for fun.  Record some of the readings for a homemade listening center.

2. If audio or public address announcements are made on a regular basis, include the oral reading of a poem (by a child or other volunteer) on a daily or weekly basis.  Challenge children to work with a partner to prepare a performance reading with multiple voices, sound effects, or musical instruments.

3. Read aloud individually selected poems for children's birthdays (e.g., birthday poems or favorite poems of the birthday child).  Invite families to donate a new poetry book in honor of the birthday child.

THE POETRY TEACHER'S BOOK OF LISTS includes 10 total strategies for Poetry Celebration Occasions.  For more nuggets and excerpts from these lists, check out the book-based blog.  Comments, suggestions, and additions are welcome.  You can click below to purchase your own copy!

Much gratitude to Sylvia for donating a copy of this book to a reader of today's post!  Please just leave a copy to be entered in the drawing.  I will choose a name on Sunday evening and announce the winner on Monday morning. Good luck!

The winners of last week's drawing for NASTY BUGS, by Lee Bennett Hopkins, are Myra and Jone!  Please send me an e-mail to amy at amylv dot come with your snail mail address so that I can send you your books.  All giveaway books for April so far will be in the mail by Monday.

Speaking of giveaways, Natalie is the winner of this week's giveaway of Laura Shovan's chapbook - MOUNTAIN, LOG, SALT, AND STONE!  Natalie - please send me an e-mail to amy at amy lv dot com with your snail mail address...and I will get it right off to Laura!

Thank you to Greg Pincus over at Gotta Book for hosting me this past Monday with my poem Secret.  If you like cat or mystery poems, this one's for you.

In case you are new to The Poem Farm, this month I am walking, letter-by-letter, through the dictionary, (closed-eyed) pointing to a letter each day, and writing from it. You can read poems A-R by checking the sidebar, and you visit Lisa Vihos and read her accompanying daily haiku at, Lisa's Poem of the Week. In today's comments, watch for Lisa's Haiku and also Christophe's haiku.  It is lovely to poetryhike with new friends.

The categorization journey also continues.  If you check the top tabs here, you will see that I have now organized 300 of the 500 poems on this blog.  They will all be in their little lists by the end of the month, and I hope that you will find this useful.  Much gratitude to all who are sharing this site with friends and colleagues; there have been many more visitors than usual this week!

Diane is hosting this week's Poetry Friday Roundup over at Random Noodling! Stop by to see what is happening on this third Friday of National Poetry Month!  
Please share a comment below if you wish.
Like The Poem Farm on Facebook for more poems, articles, and poemquotes!


  1. I own a copy of The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists and have found it helpful in writing for kids. I can't wait to see Sylvia's The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists. It should be an invaluable resource.

  2. First, your poem is so lovely! Not only did you name all my favorite crayon colors, but I feel like I learn something about writing every time I read one of your poems.

    Also, I forgot to mention how much I like your paper doll and her paperclip pointer. :)

    Sylvia's book is such a wonderful resource. Thanks for this goodie-packed post!

  3. I just bought Sylvia's book, (though I would love another to give away to a friend) IS FILLED with fabulous lists! I would like to add that infusing poetry throughout the year is a doable and fabulous educational opportunity for both kids and teachers. It then spills into the community to parents, siblings, neighbors and friends, too. Thanks for all the poetry sharing.
    Janet F.

  4. I would love a copy of the Reading Teacher's Book of LIsts -- I would love our elementary school library to have it in the teacher section (after I borrowed it first, of course).

  5. Hi Amy,

    There is nothing like new crayons and your poem is full of such sweet memories. I will add Sylvia's book to my shopping list, but of course would be delighted to win a copy! In spite of the craziness of April, we are continue to enjoy your poems and all you do to enhance the literacy lives of children and adults alike. We now have a word basket where children can go to "Hike" for words to inspire their writing. Several students are having an especially good time collecting the to use them in our writing! Oh, how I wish that April was not so full of other "stuff" and then we could enjoy Poetry Month more. I guess that is why we need to celebrate all year long. :)

  6. Hi Amy, I almost missed today's word. When I checked this morning before work, we were still on Restore. I love your poem. And here is what I got for Silver:

    My hair

    My hair is silver
    I say, not grey. Do I care?
    Yes, silver I say.

  7. I love your silver poem! I can just picture a little girl with her box of crayons.

  8. Thanks, Amy, for your e-hospitality! I'm honored to be featured on your fabulous blog today. And thanks to each of the commenters for their kind words, too. Happy Poetry Month, one and all!

  9. Sylvia's book sounds like a dream book for a teacher of poetry (or for a literacy coach to share). What an outstanding wealth of resources. I too have the Reading Teacher's Book of Lists & have found it valuable. Thank you for what must have been an incredible journey, Sylvia. And, Amy, again your poem is special, a wonderful example for students to see that tiny memories make 'big' poems. Thank you, too.

  10. Sorry this is late. I flew to St Louis today and wrote it on the plane and I was able to see the moon through the window:

    S is for Silver

    Silver sliver sails,
    Sliding through stars. Soul's vessel,
    Soundless in the sky.

  11. Oh, the silver sails and silver hairs. I want to hug today's haiku.

    I'm so happy that so many have stopped by to check out Sylvia's fantastic book. Good luck!

    Teresa - I'm writing to you via your blog!


  12. That's what I call comprehensive. Oh my ... 1500 books! VARDELL POWER!!!!

  13. Tee-hee! You dodged the bullet of "nothing rhymes with silver"!!

  14. I love this book of lists. It's so helpful. And so comprehensive. Imagine a piece for every bulletin board, for every mailer home, for the morning announcements. This is a super resource!

  15. Hi Amy!
    Ann P. and I just met about poetry and some upcoming ideas we wanted to think about for the rest of the school year. We of course are using you as a major mentor! I was just reading your poems from the last couple of days and I love the word "quaint" as well and I clicked on the poem (which I haven't done before today) and saw that you added in your very own notebook page where you thought-down the poem...what a great way to show kids your thinking-a text can be a mentor-but your notebook is the opening of your head on the page to share with kids!! Thanks for always being an inspiration and sharing others as inspiration as well!

  16. You always have many resources for us to use. The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists sounds wonderful. We look forward to reading your letter poems and can't wait to see what you will come up with next. This site is on my portaportal for easy access.

  17. I have been searching for poetry and poetry activities for my resource language arts classes. It has been wonderful to find the Poem Farm, Gotta Book, Kick the Poetry Can'ts and so many others. I have found so many resources. Sylvia Vardell's Book of Lists looks like an amazing resource. Thanks to all the hardworking poets and bloggers sharing information on the web.

  18. Thank you to all who came to celebrate Sylvia's beautiful new book. It's a party for sure! The winner of this giveaway will be announced in tomorrow's (Monday's) post! a.