Poems to Learn by Heart

by Caroline Kennedy and Jon J. Muth

Caroline Kennedy, compiler of A Family of Poems (Hyperion, 2005), has put... read more

Caroline Kennedy, compiler of A Family of Poems (Hyperion, 2005), has put together another treasury, this time encouraging readers to make poems their own. "If we learn a poem by heart, it is ours forever-and better still, we can share it with others, yet not have to give it away." Thoughtful introductions preface the volume as a whole and each thematic section (self; family; friendship and love; fairies, ogres and witches; nonsense poems; school; sports and games; war; nature). From the perfect opening poem, Rita Dove's "The First Book," ("Open it. / Go ahead, it won't bite. / ... It's not like it's the end of the world- / just the world as you think / you know it") to the final section of "extra credit," offering lengthier poems and passages to savor and memorize, there is a wide range of poetry and poets represented here, from classics to contemporary offerings, and from playful to deeply moving. Two students from DreamYard Prep, a small Bronx high school, were involved in the selection of poems, and a piece called "Voices Rising" from the school's slam team is one of the poems included. (Ages 7-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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