Poetry Friday: Because of Libraries by Naomi Shihab Nye

Thanks to Michelle at Michelle Kogan for hosting Poetry Friday.

I think this is a fitting poem for the end of the school year.  The last stanza speaks to me the most.

Because of Libraries We Can Say These Things by Naomi Shihab Nye

She is holding the book close to her body,
carrying it home on the cracked sidewalk,
down the tangled hill.
If a dog runs at her again, she will use the book as a shield.

She looked hard among the long lines
of books to find this one.
When they start talking about money,
when the day contains such long and hot places,
she will go inside.
An orange bed is waiting.
Story without corners.
She will have two families.
They will eat at different hours.

She is carrying a book past the fire station
and the five and dime.

What this town has not given her
the book will provide; a sheep,
a wilderness of new solutions.
The book has already lived through its troubles.
The book has a calm cover, a straight spine.

When the step returns to itself,
as the best place for sitting,
and the old men up and down the street
are latching their clippers,

she will not be alone.
She will have a book to open
and open and open.
Her life starts here.

– from Fuel, by Naomi Shihab Nye

Check It Out will be on hiatus as I figure out what the content of this blog will be now that I’m retired (weird for me to say).


Poetry Friday: Surprise Ode


Thanks to  Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge for hosting Poetry Friday.

On Monday we had our last Family Library Night.  It was a celebration of reading and saying goodbye to my fabulous families.  It was so wonderful.  I am grateful for my advocation.

20180604_175340The half-sister of the second grader who tragically died in 2004.  Her brother’s accident planted the seed of the manuscript I am working on.  As a fifth grader she just read my manuscript and in her card to me, she called us family.

I was gifted with a signed collection of the odes that Poetry Rocks wrote.  In it was a surprise ode written bt Avery.  Here it is:

Ode to Ms. Mac

I see Ms. Mac reading a book.
I hear Ms. Mac reading a book.
I feel relaxed by Ms. Mac reading
a book out loud so everyone can hear it.
I wonder if she is reading an Eric Ode
Yes she is.

Ah, Avery, this is wonderful and such a gift.  Thank you.

Poetry Friday: Student Poetry

Thanks to Rebecca at Sloth Reads for hosting Poetry Friday today.

I found more student poetry hanging around my desk this week:

The Life of a Big Sis

My brother broke the vase
and made a face.

It’s a disgrace
that you think I did it.

Don’t send me to my room
It will end with a big boom

Of course, I did not cook
just let me off the hook

© Bella, 3rd grade

I asked students to write a poem about empathy.  Taylor gave me this.


By Taylor Duncan

I’ve been there before
Down in a deep, dark hole
All alone by yourself

You can’t see|
You have no light
You feel alone

But you aren’t.
We’ve all been there before.
We’ve all stepped in your shoes
One time or another.

We know how you feel
So when you’re down there
just know
We are too.|

We’ve been there
When you’re afraid
Remember this:
Don’t be. We’ve been there too.




Poetry Friday: Pandas

IMG_1077Thanks to Linda at Write Time for hosting Poetry Friday.

One of the Poetry Rockers wrote a poem during our party on Monday. Today she and I edited it. She tells me that she may have more to add.  Many of the poetry kids have had their poems accepted into the Young American Poetry Digest.  Hopefully, the parent permissions will be turned in so they may be published.

Rylee E., first grade

Pandas soft
and cuddly

Little fur pandas
crawling into
the night

Poetry Friday: Naomi Shihab Nye Poem Collages

IMG_1077Thanks to Irene at Live Your Poem for hosting Poetry Friday today.

I’m so excited for this weekend! I’ll be in Bellingham, WA listening to student poets and Naomi Shihab Nye.  Nye is giving the 2018 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

Back in March, Western Washington University planned a workshop about the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye.  The fabulous Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell were the leaders.

One activity was to take poems that Naomi Shihab Nye gave permission to use and create poem collages.  So Poetry Rocks worked on collages as a project for me to take to the conference. Yes, Southwest Washington will be represented!

So here is a peek of some that are going.  Plus as always in Poetry Rocks, I had students make collages of their own work.

Two original ode collages: