April is National Poetry Month!  Rich in language, symbology, imagery, and meaning, we certainly want to share this genre with students and our children, for poetry is the dessert of literature!

Never fear; the NCBLA has poetry for sharing, discussion, and educational activity facilitation right at your fingertips!

Within the pages of Our White House:  Looking In, Looking Out, find the following poems:

  • The First White House Residents:  An Imagined Conversation Between John and Abigail Adams, by Jane Yolen (pp. 2-3)

    Poet Nikki Grimes
  • On Looking Into Dresses Worn by the “First Ladies” of the White House, by Nancy Willard (pp 68-69)
  • Mary Todd Lincoln Speaks of Her Son’s Death, 1862 (p. 76)
  • In Early April, by Kate DiCamillo (pp. 79-81)
  • A Prayer for Peace, by Dwight D. Eisenhower (p. 147)
  • Good Nights, by Lee Bennett Hopkins (pp. 148-9)
  • The White House, by Jon Scieszka (pp. 188-9)
  • I Live in the White House, by Jack Prelutsky (pp. 198-9)
  • The White House by Moonlight, by Walt Whitman (pp. 228-9 – hardback edition)
  • Inaugural Morning, by Nikki Grimes (pp. 228-9 – 2010 paperback edition)

Along with these poems, as found in the print edition, find associated educational activities at the Our White House:  Looking In, Looking Out accompanying website:

  • Kate DiCamillo’s In Early April:  GUIDE (Scroll to page 6 for discussion questions associated with symbology and meaning.  Also, find science connections)
  • Dwight Eisenhower’s A Prayer for Peace:  GUIDE (Scroll to page 10 for discussion questions associated with meaning).
  • Lee Bennett Hopkins Good Nights: GUIDE (Scroll to page 10 for a symbology activity)
  • Jon Scieszka’s The White House:  GUIDE (Scroll to page 4 for a limerick writing prompt)
  • Jack Prelutsky’s I Live in the White House:  GUIDE (Scroll to page 13 for a social studies tie-in)
  • Nikki Grimes’ Inaugural Morning:  GUIDE (Scroll to pages 24-5 for art related activities and a poetry slam how-to)
  • Walt Whitman’s The White House by Moonlight:  GUIDE (Scroll to page 26-7 for descriptive writing prompts)

Have fun sharing and writing poetry this month, and don’t forget to ask students to heed the advice of Wendell Berry (as found at The Poetry Foundation) on How to be a Poet.  

Allow time to make words out of the silence…