#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.



#kidlit Haiku Riddles: Lion of the Sky by Laura Purdie Salas

Laura Purdie Salas has long been one of my favorite children’s picture book authors (see previous reviews for Water Can Be… and A Leaf Can Be…) In her newest, Lion of the Sky:  Haiku for All Seasons (illustrated by Mercè López) she travels though the seasons with 24 delightful haiku riddles. Fabulous!

What is a haiku riddle? It is a haiku that gives clues to an object or activity — in this case associated with a season — and encourages the reader to guess what it is. Many of the riddles are written in the first person point-of-view, voiced by the object itself.

The illustrations are expressive and add just the right number of additional clues to help the reader figure out the answer. If you get stuck on one, however, the answers are given in the back matter.

Let’s see some examples:

  1. Listen to  Laura Purdie Salas read from the book.


2. You can also see an excerpt at the Lerner website or via Google Books:

Aren’t those fun?

Lion of the Sky encourages young reader to look closely at the world around them and think creatively. Get caught up in a copy today!

Related Activity:

Encourage children to come up with their own riddles, haiku or not. Watch out, though, because it can be addicting.

Here is mine:

My leaves are lion teeth
Yellow flower feeds honey bees
Not a weed to them

See the photograph below for a clue.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press TM (April 2, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1512498092
ISBN-13: 978-1512498097

dandelion inspired by Laura Purdie Salas

Dreaming Big and Small #Kidlit for #NationalPoetryMonth

National Poetry Month is my favorite time of year and a perfect time to share the poetry collection Dreaming Big and Small by Sara Holbrook, Michael Salinger, and illustrated by Scott Pickering.

As the authors explain up front, this is a collection of ekphrastic poems. Instead of writing poems and hiring an artist to illustrate them, the authors used Scott Pickering’s creative and playful illustrations to inspire their poetry.

Topics ranges from Kangaroos

…They wear a front facing backpack
as they bounce across the outback …

to socks:

Socks on the table
Socks in my drawer
Socks in my pocket
Socks on the floor…

As with any poetry collection, it can be read in pieces or all at once. Readers will likely want to return to their favorites again and again.

What I love the most is the message in the front encouraging readers use art to spark their own poetry.

Dreaming Big and Small is a delightful little book that packs a big wallop. Get inspired by a copy today!

Age: Middle grade +
Publisher: Streamline Publishing (2019)
ISBN-10: 1732519129
ISBN-13: 978-1732519121


Disclosure: The book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. 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.

Haiku About Children’s Book for #nahaiwrimo

For STEM Friday, Anastasia shared The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris.

The inspiration for the book is a sad one. In 2007 someone noticed that the newest edition of Oxford Junior Dictionary no longer contained around forty words about natural things, including common words like acorn and dandelion. Author Macfarlane chose to right this slight by celebrating each and every one to these “lost” words.

To honor his efforts to promote nature and words, and inspired by NaHaiWriMo, a haiku:

word acorn dropped
from children’s dictionary
oak trees grow no more

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Anansi International; First Edition edition (October 2, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1487005385
ISBN-13: 978-1487005382