Book Review: I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder

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haikuI Haiku You
Written & Illustrated by Betsy Snyder
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on December 26, 2012
Genre/Topics: Poetry, Haiku, Love Expressions
Ages:4-6. 32 pages

A haiku is a Japanese poem divided into three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. I Haiku You is a cute book that expresses different loves written in the form of haiku. The book isn’t exactly a story, instead it’s things, situations, and people who show happiness. I Haiku You has simple haiku poems and messages that children can understand. Haiku poems range from butterflies, bike rides, summer treats, friendship, snow angels, and even s’mores.

I found myself counting the syllables on my fingers the entire time I read I Haiku You. I think this a delightful book to introduce haiku poems to young children. The book doesn’t even have to be used for poetry alone, since the cheerful messages are sure to make you smile. The illustrations are also cute and really show the haiku’s theme. Take this book’s inspiration and create your own haiku today!

 Haiku History & Information:

A haiku poem consists of three lines, with the first and last line having 5 moras, and the middle line having 7. A mora is a sound unit, much like a syllable, but is not identical to it. Since the moras do not translate well into English, it has been adapted and syllables are used as moras.

Haiku started out as a popular activity during the 9th to 12th centuries in Japan called “tanka.” It was a progressive poem, where one person would write the first three lines with a 5-7-5 structure, and the next person would add to it a section with a 7-7 structure. The chain would continue in this fashion. So if you wanted some old examples of haiku poems, you could read the first verse of a “tanka” from the 9th century.

The first verse was called a “hokku” and set the mood for the rest of the verses.  Sometimes there were hundreds of verses and authors of the “hokku” were often admired for their skill. In the 19th century, the “hokku” took on a life of its own and began to be written and read as an individual poem. The word “haiku” is derived from “hokku.”

The three masters of “hokku” from the 17th century were Matsuo, Issa, and Buson.  Their work is still the model of haiku writing today. They were poets who wandered the countryside, experiencing life and observing nature, and spent years perfecting their craft.

Example of Basho Matsuo Haiku from 1600s:

An old silent pond…

A frog jumps into the pond,

splash! Silence again.

Example of Kobayashi Issa Haiku from late 1700s & early 1800s:

Everything I touch

with tenderness, alas,

pricks like a bramble.

Example of Yosa Buson Haiku from late 1700s:

A summer river being crossed

how pleasing

with sandals in my hands!

Informtation obtained from Your Dictionary Haiku Poems

Book Review: Please Bury Me in the Library

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Please Bury Me in the Library 

Written by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Kyle M. Stone 
Published April 1, 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Topics: Poetry
Ages: 6+, 32 pages 

Please Bury me in the Library is a collection of short poems about the joys of reading. The poems are humorous and are sure to make you smile. There are a total of sixteen poems. Here are few poems from the book:

Please Bury Me in the Library: 

Please bury me in the library
In the clean, well-lighted stacks
Of Novels, History, Poetry, 
Right next to the Paperbacks, 
Where the Kids’ Books dance
With True Romance
And the Dictionary dozes. 
Please bury me in the library
With a dozen long-stemmed proses. 
Way back by a rack of Magazines, 
I won’t be sad too often, 
If they bury me in the library
With Bookworms in my coffin. 
A Classic 
A children’s book is a classic 
If at six, excitedly
You read it to another kid 
Who just turned sixty-three. 
Flea-ting Fame
Did you ever hear of the tiny book 
By the famous Otto the Flea, 
A fly-by-night, 
Who dared to write
His Ottobiography? 

Celebrate National Library Week!

April 8-14, 2012

Book Review: Wonderful Words Poems

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Wonderful Words: Poems About Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening 

selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

illustrated by Karen Barbour

Ages 6 & up, 32 pages

Wonderful Words is a collection of fifteen short poems regarding words, books, reading, and writing. Each poem is on a double page with bright colorful pictures. These poems spark an interest to create poems, build words, and excite about reading. I’ll be honest, I don’t use poetry often. I probably enjoyed half of the poems, but it’s a great book to use when teaching poetry and a fun way to creatively explore words. Words Free as Confetti  by Pat Mora provides descriptive words for feelings and colors while introducing Spanish words.

Words Free as Confetti
by Pat Mora
Come, words, come in your every color. 
I’ll toss you in storm or breeze. 
I’ll say, say, say you,
taste you sweet as plump plums, 
bitter as old lemons. 
I’ll sniff you, words, warm 
as almonds or tart as apple-red, 
feel you green
and soft as new grass, 
lightwhite as dandelion plumes, 
or thorngray as cactus, 
heavy as black cement, 
cold as blue icicles, 
warm as abuelita’s yellowlap. 
I’ll hear you, words, loud as searoar’s 
purple crash, hushed
as gatitos curled in sleep, 
as the last goldlullaby. 
I’ll see you long and dark as tunnels, 
bright as rainbows,
playful as chestnutwind. 
I’ll watch you, words, rise and dance and spin. 
I’ll say, say, say you
in English, 
in Spanish, 
I’ll find you. 
Hold you. 
Toss you. 
I’m free too. 
I say yo soy libre, 
I am free 
free, free
free as confetti. 
abuelita: grandmother
gatitos: kittens
yo soy libre: I am free. 

Bookworm Poetry

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If I were just a bookworm,
then I’d spend my time on pages
reading all the printed words
by humorists and sages.
I’d take my nap upon the stacks
and rest upon a letter,
and just the closeness of the words
would make me feel much better.

When I’d awake, wide-eyed, refreshed
with all the rest I need,
I’d slither off straight down the page
because I love to read.
–  Denise Rodgers


Books to us are food for thought.

Bookworms nibble what they should not.

But though we think the bookworm’s rude,

books to him are thoughts for food.

– David L. Harrison (Bugs)