“Keep A Poem In Your Pocket”

In her first two stanzas, Beatrice Schenk de Regniers writes:

Keep a poem in your pocket 

And a picture in your head 

And you’ll never feel lonely 

At night when you’re in bed. 

The little poem will sing to you 

The little picture bring to you 

A dozen dreams to dance to you 

At night when you’re in bed.

Notice how she incorporates rhythm, alliteration, and personification to choreograph this beloved poem. Her fanciful use of language challenges readers to keep a poem close to heart. In fact, on April 29th, National Keep a Poem in Your Pocket Day, lovers of poetry will celebrate the genre that cuts right to the heart, the soul, and the funny bone!

So how is poetry able to accomplish so much?

Poets like de Regniers, Jane Yolen, and even Dr. Seuss create pictures and arouse emotional responses using literary devices such as alliteration, rhyme, repetition, similes, imagery, and personification in their poetry. They take readers on journeys off to bitter, cold, winter nights where owls howl and wild winds blow or to a musty old basement in Nazi-occupied France where two girls bravely hide. Sometimes a poet’s journey takes readers on a funny detour to the side of a road where a man’s truck is stuck while he has bad luck.  

This collection of mentor poetry books provides the perfect toolbox to showcase how master poets capture imagination, wonder, humor, passion, struggle, and self-expression using the magic of their words.

If I Never Forever Endeavor by Holly Meade

Poetry elements: rhyme, repetition, and onomatopoeia

A young bird rests safely in its nest until the daring day that it spreads its wings to fly the coop! This fledgling considers the possible successes and failures of his future first flight with extensive use of rhyme, repetition, and onomatopoeia.

Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Poetry element: alliteration

Alliteration is at the forefront of Some Smug Slug! This slug encounters different animals that try to stop him from climbing up a slippery slope. This mentor text will make students learn and laugh at the same time.

Teacher tip: Have your students create alliterative stories for their favorite animals. Dogs digging deep holes, cats crouching and crawling, and tigers tugging terrifically!  

Slop Goes the Soup: A Noisy Warthog Word Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Poetry element: Onomatopoeia 

This clumsy warthog tries to keep his soup from slopping but ends up making a huge mess in the whole house! Students can use this clever text to learn how onomatopoeias sound like their meaning to produce this warthog’s slippery story.

Teacher tip: Ask students to reflect on what type of onomatopoeias they’ve done today. Knocking on doors, sliding their chairs, or typing on computers are just a few examples! 

There is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me by Alice Walker

Poetry elements: personification and imagery

This gentle and beautiful Pulitzer Prize-winning book contains personification and imagery. The poetic text is accompanied with radiant images to celebrate the connections between the self, nature, and creativity!

Teacher tip: Create an activity for students to personify an object in the room. A chair can hold a student while they read and write, while a door lets people in and out of the classroom!

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

Poetry elements: imagery 

This Dr. Seuss book lacks the whimsical theme of his classics and instead combines text with atmospheric illustrations to explain the wide range of human moods and emotions. The imagery is simple, yet powerful, in conveying this complex topic to young and old readers alike.

Teacher tip: Select words of imagery used throughout the book and then use them in a coloring activity. Provide coloring utensils and paper to the students and then read out the words one-by-one. Ask students to choose colors that correspond with that word, and then ask them how it makes sense to describe the emotion with that imagery. Do the colors match the ones in the book, or do they differ? This can create an entire conversation about both imagery and the complexity of how emotions are experienced by individuals.

My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis

Poetry element: rhyme

Students will learn about the elements of rhyme in this light-hearted mentor text. The main character’s truck is stuck, what rotten luck! Will anyone help him make his stuck truck go again?

The Hungry Coat by Demi

Poetry element: theme

This Turkish folk tale would make for a great lesson in learning about the poetry element of theme! The wise Turkish hero, Nasrettin Hoca, attends a banquet in a worn-out coat. The guests ignore Hoca until he returns wearing a silk coat, which he begins to feed because “it was the coat not me that you invited to the banquet.” Themes of inner strength and self-expression are abundant in this culturally rich mentor text.

The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg

Poetry element: alliteration

The Z was Zapped is perfect for students to learn the effect of alliteration! This alphabet “play” features 26 acts, in which each letter has its own alliterative transformation to help students learn the power of this poetry element!

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Poetry elements: imagery, repetition

Fry Bread depicts a modern Native American family through imagery and repetition of what the dish of fry bread means to their culture. “Fry bread is food. Fry bread is time. Fry bread is nation.” The repetition serves to bring emphasis to the deep connections between culture and food. This text is rich in poetry elements and also shines light on Native American culture and history.

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco

Poetry element: similes

Sibling rivalry is taken to the next level when Patricia wishes on a shooting star to be able to do anything to show her older brother up! This is a light-hearted and entertaining tale of competitiveness that features a plethora of similes.

Teacher tip: After reading this story, have students create their own examples of similes about their siblings, parents, or friends.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Poetry elements: tone and similes

Owl Moon is rich with luscious imagery to create the tone of a winter night when a little girl and her father go looking for owls in the woods. Told in poetic verse, similes and word choice help craft the atmospheric and gentle tone of this award-winning picture book.

My Friend Earth

Poetry element: personification

This is a love letter addressed to our friend, Earth! Earth is personified to tend to animals, pour down rain, and sprinkle snow. Aside from using this text to teach personification, it would make a great addition to the classroom for an Earth Day read-aloud!

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift

Poetry element: personification

A red lighthouse on the Manhattan bank of the Hudson River is brought to life in this personified tale. The lighthouse proudly protects boats from running ashore, but when a great, gray bridge is built behind it, the little lighthouse begins to feel inadequate in comparison. In addition to the personification element of this story, students will also learn that small can still be powerful!

The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco

Poetry element: metaphors and similes 

This moving text utilizes metaphors and similes to depict the struggles of two young girls in Nazi-occupied France. Sevrine has been hiding in Monique’s basement ever since the Nazis came to the small village, sparking a friendship between the two young girls. This story’s friendship is based upon Patricia Polacco’s great-aunts, who are still friends to this day! The poetry elements capture readers in this book of bravery and courage while also providing students with some historical background.

I hope you found some amazing poetry books! If you would like to see a larger list of suggested books, check out this Figurative Language Amazon List or go to my main Amazon List.

For other Poetry Blogs click: https://rockinresources.com/category/poetry

 

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