Children’s Poet Laureate Monthly Book Picks

Each month, the Children’s Poet Laureate recommends a book of poetry for children. Selections include classics of children’s literature, adult collections that are well-suited to children, as well as newly published books.

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science

Kenn Nesbitt’s April 2014 Book Pick

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science

by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

Pomelo Books April 2014

Children’s literature professor Sylvia Vardell and children’s author and poet Janet Wong are back with the third installment in their acclaimed Poetry Friday Anthology series, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science: Poems for the School Year Integrating Science, Reading and Language Arts. Designed to help K-5 educators incorporate poetry into science curriculum, this bountiful collection uses poems to introduce science topics, present examples of terminology or concepts, and extend topics further. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science offers 218 previously unpublished poems from 78 of today’s most popular children’s poets, such as Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Douglas Florian, Eileen Spinelli, Jane Yolen, and many, many others.

The poems are organized first by grade level, with separate sections for kindergarten through fifth grade. Within each grade level section, there are 36 poems – one per week – each addressing one subject in the Next Generation Science Standards, standards based on the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education. And each poem is paired with five teaching tips, including activity suggestions, discussion prompts, and related reading.

But despite the connections to science education, don’t think that these poems are dry or pedagogical. Rather, they are a wide variety of lively, clever, and imaginative poems – rhyming, free verse, and even bilingual poems – designed to make science learning more fun, reinforcing science topics with language that is rich, vivid and memorable, and activities that are engaging and interactive.

In addition to the K-5 Teacher Edition, Vardell and Wong have also written separate Student Editions – one for each K-5 grade level – that include the 36 weekly poems plus an additional five bonus poems. The Student Editions are more kid-friendly, smaller books with larger type, illustrations for each poem, and a glossary of terms in the back.

For any educator teaching poetry to K-5 students, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science will make the process more fun and less daunting. And for anyone who just likes poetry for children, this book is a truly enjoyable read.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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