Not to cast any aspersions on America’s most beloved children’s poet, but there is much more to poetry for young people than the great Shel Silverstein. April is National Poetry Month, and thus a perfect opportunity to explore the wide world of children’s poetry.
From anthologies of works by modern children’s poets to poem picture books to novels in verse, children’s poetry is a wide open and growing genre full of humorous, touching, and imaginative writing that is sure to inspire and delight any child who is exposed to it.
In 1841, fourteen-year-old Nakahama Manjirō is fishing with friends when their boat is shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Japan. They are rescued by an American whaling ship and after requesting to stay aboard the ship, Nakahama becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States. This incredible true story is the basis for NPR's Back-Seat Book Club selection for May.
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus is the story of a boy who is a simple fisherman but dreams of becoming a samurai. He never lets go of his dreams, despite living in a society where there is no chance for changing your station in life. After his rescue from the island, he is given a great opportunity: travel to California and begin a new life.
Everyone, it seems, wants to read the Hunger Games – even elementary school kids. But how young is too young? These are, after all, books that take place in a post-apocalyptic world in which teenagers are forced to kill other teenagers. Surely, they are not appropriate for younger readers.
Or are they?
Although the plot of the books is somewhat shocking, the author gives her subject matter a thoughtful and thought-provoking treatment that rises above the gruesome premise. The main character, Katniss, is a hero in the classic sense – a strong and smart survivor who makes interesting and even admirable moral choices within the immoral universe in which she finds herself.
The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project is in the midst of a multi-year study of the changing role of public libraries in the digital age. If you check out or download eBooks from the library, they'd love for you to take their online survey and tell them about your experiences. The survey will be confidential your identity will not be shared.
Transformation is the theme of April's selection for NPR's Back-Seat Book Club for 9 to 14-year-olds.
In Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, an eight-year-old girl named Kim starts an unexpected revolution in her Cleveland neighborhood with one simple act: planting lima bean seeds in a vacant lot. When a neighbor observes her action and shares her concern for the seeds with another neighbor, who decides to plant his own garden, the transformation of trashed lot to community garden begins.
The Denver Public Library is pleased to host the annual Denver Public Schools K-8 Art Exhibition from April 5 to April 19. Come see these wonderful works created by Denver’s elementary and middle school students. While you're downtown, visit some other art institutions around Denver. Then bring out your child’s (and your) creativity by making art from materials found around the house.
Participation in the arts provides many benefits for children of all ages. According to Americans for the Arts making art strengthens critical thinking and problem solving skills, bolsters self-confidence, and improves memory. After viewing the Denver Public Schools exhibit on Level 5 of the Central Library, take advantage of Denver’s active art community and spend a day immersing your child in visual art.