#amwriting #poetry – Resources for Learning Craft

Today I’ve gathered a list of resources in honor of National Poetry Month 2021. If you haven’t ever considered writing poetry, you will after listening to these. Inspiring!


Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival April 2021

This year the children’s book festival was virtual. The linked title will take you to the entire list of replays for the talks, but the one that stood out to me was Word-Joy: Experience the Transformative Power of Poetry with Irene Latham
, Vikram Madan, and Laura Purdie Salas.

Each author read not only from their own works, but also from the work of someone whom they admire. Then they discussed a number of practical activities to get children and adults excited about poetry.

Laura Purdie Salas discussed haiku riddles and equation poems. Check her website for much more.

Irene Latham read from her book,  NINE:  A Book of Nonet Poems.

A nonet is a 9-line poem that adds syllables either up or down, from one to nine syllables or from nine to one syllable. As she says, using a form like this can be freeing when it comes to writing poetry.

Vikram Madan is an artist as well as poet, so he likes to use art as an inspiration for poetry and poems as an inspiration for art.


Writing Excuses Podcast

In their 16th season, the crew at Writing Excuses did a poetry series that really helped me understand and appreciate poetry better. Each episode comes with a writing assignment. Well worth the time investment.

16.11: What is Poetry?

16.12 : Singing Versus Speaking

16.13: Day Brain vs. Night Brain

16.14: Poetic Language

16.15: Poetic Structure, Part I

16.16: Poetic Structure: Part II

16.17: The Time To Rhyme

16.18: Poetry and the Fantastic



Children’s poet Marilyn Singer is a regular visitor at DIY-MFA. I couldn’t find a link to this year’s interview, but here is a recent one.

Episode 306: Recipes for Poetry and Creativity – Interview with Marilyn Singer

Do you have any favorite poetry resources from last month or any month? Feel free to leave them in the comments.



#Nonfiction Monday Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

Last week was incredibly exciting and busy because our new picture book How to Build an Insect came out. Woot! Woot!

Now it is time to change gears and celebrate some wonderful picture books for National Poetry Month. Our first selection is Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jonathan Voss.

Told in a series of haiku poems, the story follows a pair of great horned owls as they raise their owlets.

Pip. Pip. Pip. Poking
A hole. Cracking. Cracking. Out
Pecks the white owlet.

It seems like a simple premise, but in fact there is much packed into this book.

The life of the owls is not easy. Although great horned owls are predators, they also have enemies such as crows, raccoons, hawks, and foxes. The owlets are particularly vulnerable to danger.

The illustrations are gorgeous. The owlets look so soft and realistic that you want to reach out and touch them. If you look more carefully, you will see they contain much information about owl habitats in a subtle way. For example, the  nest is made of leaves, an abandoned squirrel nest. Without resorting to too many dark pages, you realize the birds hunt at night. The way Jonathan Voss controls the lighting is incredible. You can see examples in this video:

(A brief note:  care has been taken that the illustrations are not too graphic, but are realistic about owls carrying prey to their offspring. Highly sensitive children may still find some of the scenes disturbing.)

Although the text is written entirely in haiku and the emphasis on haiku in the title, it flows together so effortlessly that you get lost in the story and forget about the structure. Maria Gianferrari allows the owls to shine as the main characters.

The back matter also emphasizes the owls, giving more information about different aspects of their biology and resources for deeper research.

Whoo-Ku Haiku is a wonderful example of how to use poetry to entice readers into a nonfiction story. It is a must have for budding ornithologists, nature lovers, and poetry aficionados alike.  Enjoy a copy today!

Activity Suggestions:

We’ll be adding this to our growing list of STEM poetry books at Science Books for Kids


Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (March 3, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 0399548424
ISBN-13 : 978-0399548420

Disclosure: The book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.



Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

Spring Shopping

Have you heard about the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest? To participate, find a gif for inspiration, write a kidlit story up to 150 words, and submit by tomorrow, April 9, 2020.

I was inspired to write a (sort of) mask poem after reading a post at Buffy Silverman’s blog. A mask poem is from the point of view of an animal (or plant).


Poppy Spring GIF by audreyobscura via GIPHY

Spring Shopping

On a warm spring day
New plants
Swing in the breeze
A waiting dance

A honey bee sees
Silky orange flower petals
A cup-shaped sign,
“I have food for you.”

The poppy feels
the feet of the bee
A friend carrying pollen dust
To swap for sweet nectar.

They exchange
A brief encounter.

The bee flies away
To share the bounty
With its sisters
To feed the baby bees.

The poppy quietly
begins to make its own little ones
In slender sword-shaped pods
Seeds for next spring.

#kidlit On a Snow-Melting Day Inspires Both Science and Poetry @Steamteam2020


Have you seen Buffy Silverman’s delightful picture book, On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring, yet?

If not, you’re in luck. With permission from Millbrook Press, Buffy Silverman reads her book aloud and shares science activity suggestions.

What a perfect way to celebrate spring!

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring

Related Activities

1. There is something about spring that inspires poetry. In fact, April is National Poetry Month.

national Poetry Month

Check the National Poetry Month website for the Dear Poet Activity and videos of poets reading their poems. Write your own ode to spring.

See more poetry activity suggestions and related books in our National Poetry Month category.

2. For a list of STEAM activity websites and suggestions, visit the STEAM Team 2020.

Age Range: 4 – 9 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press TM (February 4, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1541578139
ISBN-13: 978-1541578135