Urge students to select poems they love during National Poetry Month, then carry them with them to share with classmates, family, and friends.
Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Create your own Poem In Your Pocket Day event using ideas below.
Hesse, Karen, Out of the Dust, Scholastic Paperback, 1999. (Grades 4-6)
A poem cycle that reads as a novel, "Out of the Dust" tells the story of Billie Jo, a girl who struggles to help her family survive the dustbowl years of the Depression. Fighting against the elements on her Oklahoma farm, Billie Jo takes on even more responsibilities when her mother dies in a tragic accident.
McKneally, Ranida, and Grace Lin, Our Seasons, Charlesbridge, 2007. (Grades K-5)
Haiku poetry accompanies season-related questions and answers about weather, the natural world and the human body.
Nelson, Marilyn, Carver: A Life in Poems, Front Street, 2001. (Young Adult)
In this biography in poems, Nelson traces the life of George Washington Carver, from his recovery after being kidnapped in infancy to his death. The life in between is characterized by hard work, intellectual curiosity, personal humility, devotion to the betterment of black Americans, enormous self-possession, and practical Christian piety.
Prelutsky, Jack, Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem, Greenwillow, 2008. (Grades 3-6)
Prelutsky relates personal anecdotes and then shows how he created poems from them, in most cases by using comic exaggeration to suit his artistic purposes.
Sidman, Joyce, and Beckie Prange, Song of the Waterboatman and Other Pond Poems, Houghton-Mifflin, 2005. (Grades PreK-3)
Science facts combine with vivid poems about pond life through the seasons. Focusing on one pond creature or plant per spread, Sidman employs many poetic forms.
Stevenson, Robert Louis, and Gyo Fujikawa, A Child's Garden of Verses, Sterling, 2007. (Grades PreK-2)
The classic book of poems for children, originally published in 1885, can be used to connect students with agriculture. From golden apples to meadows or climbing cherry trees and enjoying the activities of a cow, these poems celebrate 19th Century farm life.
Thomas, Joyce Carol, and Floyd Cooper, I Have Heard of a Land, HarperCollins, 2000. (Grades PreK-3)
Tribute in the form of a lyrical poem to the African-American pioneers who participated in the Oklahoma land runs of 1889 and 1893. Includes some hidden facts as it singles out a lone woman who hears of a place where she only has to "Lift up her feet/ running for the land/As though running for her life/And in the running claim it," a place where "Her possibilities reach as far/As her eyes can see/And as far as our imaginations can carry us." The layout and design of the book capture the expanse of the prairie. Some historical and personal context are provided.
Yolen, Jane, and Greg Shed, Harvest Home, Harcourt, 2002.
In rhythmic verse, with the responsive refrain "Bringing the harvest home," young Bess tells of reaping the season's wheat at the end of a bountiful summer of planting. The work is hard and the heat is relentless, but the family forges ahead, anticipating the end of their labors and the celebratory meal for all of the friends and family who have helped. The book concludes with a brief summary of harvest customs around the world and simple instructions for fashioning a harvest doll.