Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wallow in Wonder Day #6 - Who Was the First Emperor of China?

Welcome to Day 6 of Wallow in Wonder!  For my 2016 National Poetry Month project, I will celebrate learning and writing from learning, writing poems from each daily Wonder at Wonderopolis.  As I did with my Dictionary Hike in 2012, I am looking to surprise myself with new inspiration daily.  This year, such inspiration will show up in my inbox each morning.  I will print it and carry each Wonderopolis Wonder around all day...and in the afternoon or evening, I will write and post the poem for the next day.  

I invite anyone who wishes to take this challenge too.  Just read today's wonder over at Wonderopolis, and write a poem inspired by it for tomorrow.  Share it tomorrow at your own site, and if you wish to link in my comments for others to find (or share your poem there), please feel free to do so tomorrow, the day after the Wonder is published at Wonderopolis.  If you would like to share any ways you have used Wallow in Wonder or your own site (safe for children only please), please link to the #WallowInWonder padlet.

My April Poems Thus Far

April 1 - So Suddenly - a poem inspired by Wonder #1659 
April 2 - Thankful Journal - a poem inspired by Wonder #1660
April 3 - The Storm Chaser - a poem inspired by Wonder #779
April 4 - A Jar of Glitter - a poem inspired by Wonder #641
April 5 - To Make Compost - a poem inspired by Wonder #1661

And now for Day 6!

Big and Small
by Amy LV

Students - You may be wondering what how my poem for today is connected with the Wonder, "Who Was the First Emperor of China?"  And yes, perhaps it is a stretch.  But my promise for this month is to write poems inspired by the daily Wonderopolis wonders, not to regurgitate them in poetry form.

Way back around 259 BCE, King Zheng, who became and named himself the first Emperor of China, first became king of only one state, the state of Qin, at just 13 years old.  He was just a new teenager.  But he became very big, taking over all of the states that now make up China.  He did bring China together, but this passage particularly struck me:

Despite these important reforms and improvement, Qun Shi Huang (his new name) was considered to be a tyrant.  He forbade most forms of religion, insisting instead that all loyalty would be to him and his government.  He wanted China's history to start with his dynasty, so he even ordered nearly all books in existence to be burned! (Wonderopolis Wonder #1662, April 6, 2016)

Just think.  This was a boy.  He became a teenager.  He became a king so young that he needed help with his job for nine years.  Then, he took over many other states and made people do just what he wanted, ruling out their religions, burning their books.  I wonder if this had been his dream when he was small?

Yesterday's wonder made me reflect on power.  How does power change a person?  Do we need to plan for becoming more powerful, to think about our values when we are small?  Is it difficult to be moral when one is big, when one can so easily use force to win?  I think about this as a parent, as a writer, and as a teacher: how can I use my bits of power for good?

You'll notice that today's poem is in free verse, but many words repeat here and there.  I have read this one out loud over and over, revising it several several times.

You can read another poem inspired by Wonder #1662 if you visit Wonder Lead Ambassador, literacy advocate, teacher, and writer Paul Hankins at his Wonder Ground blog where he, too, is writing daily poems from Wonderopolis wonders.  He and I are in this together daily and some other writers are joining in on the fun sometimes too. All are welcome to wonder through poems with us.

I could not be happier to welcome middle school teacher and librarian Stefanie Cole and her students from Ontario, Canada to Sharing Our Notebooks this month.  Do not miss this post; it is full of notebook inspiration, a video clip, and a cool giveaway from Stefanie!

Happy Day 6 of National Poetry Month 2016!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I LOVE this, Amy. And hooray on being inspired by Wonders, not regurgitating them. I love "you have to decide." So true.