A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Frank Remkiewicz (Horrible Harry series).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Anne Sullivan (1866-1936), who worked with Helen Keller and assisted Keller in writing The Story of My Life, and Robert Lopshire (1927-2002), Put Me in the Zoo.
- In 1828, Noah Webster copyrights the first edition of his dictionary.
- The epic and controversial classic, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, was published in 1939. Read other John Steinbeck books as well, The Red Pony and The Pearl.
- Itâ€™s National Pecan Day. Read Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
April marks National Poetry Month and on April 18 we celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day, a day much beloved by school children and poetry enthusiasts. The idea behind the event is quite simple:Â select a poem that you love and carry it with you today to share with classmates, coworkers, family, and friends. Activities have been planned in schools, libraries, workplaces, and bookstores across the country. The Academy of American Poets provides lots of ideas, including finding a poem on a mobile device.
Of course, we have been celebrating National Poetry Month on the Almanac with the essays on Joyce Sidman and Sharon Creechâ€™s Love that Dog. But if you are hunting for a perfect poem for you pocket take a look at one of the works of Â Jack Prelutsky. Jack did not think, at first, that he would become one of Americaâ€™s best loved poets for children, much less be selected as Americaâ€™s first Poet Laureate for Children. He hoped to be an illustrator, and showed his art with some poems he had written to Greenwillowâ€™s legendary editor Susan Hirschman. At this point in his life, Prelutsky drove a cab to make ends meets. Then Hirschman did something extraordinary; she offered to take him to lunch in the executive dining room if he brought a good poem to her each week. Since this might be the only solid meal he could count on, Prelutsky started to craft a poem a week. Eventually, his body of work would make cab driving no longer necessary. I have always thought this story one of the most beautiful of the editor/author sagas that I know.
Several years later Prelutsky wrote 107 poems for his best-known compilation of poetry, The New Kid on the Block. It features unforgettable creatures such as the Slyne, the Gloppers, and Baloney Belly Billy. Hirschman had to work overtime to convince James Stevenson, a New Yorker cartoonist, to illustrate the book, but Stevenson finally agreed to do so. The result was a wonderful collaboration between author and artistâ€”and a book that delights the eye and the ear.
The poet Wallace Stegner wrote that the purpose of poetry is to contribute to manâ€™s happiness. Well, Jack Prelutskyâ€™s poetry makes me happy. In 2008 he published a book of dog poems called My Dog May Be a Genius that works for readers two through fourteen. The title poem will be in my pocket today. I love to use it in classes for responsive readings. Dog nut that I am, I cannot resist the opening lines: â€śMy dog may be a genius/of that thereâ€™s little doubt.â€ť Strong rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, tongue-twisters, word playâ€”all the Prelutsky hallmarks, including his great sense of humorâ€”can be found in abundance in this volume.
I hope all my readers celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day. Click here to see a wonderful video created by John Schumaker of the Brook Forest Elementary School in Illinois and Shannon Miller of the Van Meter School in Iowa about their festivities in 2011.Â And thank you Jack Prelutsky for keeping me, and so many children, happy while reading your verse.
Originally posted April 14, 2011. Updated for .