Thursday, September 25, 2014

Poetry Friday - Still Celebrating Wandering Wildebeests

            Laura Purdie Salas is hosting us today for Poetry Friday. Find her, and the links to everyone's poetry shares at Writing The World for Kids. Thanks, Laura!
      
           
              Next Wednesday, Oct. 1st, Irene Latham's Dear Wandering Wildebeest, And Other Poems from the Water Hole will celebrate its two month anniversary. I'd like to refresh your memory about this wonderful collection, to be sure that you've read it, and if not, you'll run out to purchase a copy!
             It's a pleasure to find poetry I love, and it's additionally wonderful when there is one that I can share with children when I teach poetry at school. And this one, a poetic response to a particularly special habitat by Irene and illustrated by Anna Wadham, is one I know I will use again and again. This year I'm especially fortunate to have one young class studying habitats for their class units. They are our youngest students, but they know about zoo animals, and Rocky mountain animals because we have a great zoo in Denver, and the Rockies are "their" habitat, too.


            Yet, opening these young children's hearts to other animals in far away places is what the poems of  Dear Wandering Wildebeest will help me do. How can each not become excited hearing the words from Irene's poem, Impala Explosion: "ears twitch/tails hitch" and "peace shatters/beasts scatter--", learning how quickly these animals can escape, probably from lions in wait. And then, later we hear from the Lioness, after the hunt:  "She crouches,/slouches.//savors favorite flavors." Students will not only learn about the animals, but about the use of vivid images, the strong, and to young writers, new verbs.
            Each page shows a poem introducing the animal, and a short paragraph explaining the habits at the water hole, when they visit, how they protect themselves, who is most vulnerable, and who is a helper. The information is just enough to connect thoroughly to Irene's poems, and for older children, the motivation to find out more, too. I didn't realize the variety of animals that do gather at these water holes, found in the African grasslands, often no bigger than a puddle, but sometimes large enough for elephants to bathe and drink. Anna Wadham's illustrations respond to the time that the animals usually visit the water hole. When we turn to the elephant page, we are struck by the hot, hot setting sun. Elephants bathe, but also wallow in the mud which coats their skins, a protection from insects. Here are some words from the poem dust bath at dusk:  "Trunks become/dust hoses;/beasts strike poses" and  "Soon skin/is powdered/in a red-grit shower".
             I'm thankful that Irene Latham and Anna Wadham's book came out just at the right time for me. And hope everyone will find the book enjoyable in some personal way. It will be a book I'll carry in my poetry suitcase all year long! Thanks for a beautiful book, Irene and Anna!

            Numerous others have written about this book. Here are a few posts with additional information if needed, including Irene's blog post about her launch with kids!

     Irene's blog, Live Your Poem,  Jama's Alphabet Soup, Kid-Lit ReviewsToday's Little Ditty 
             Anna's website: AnnaWadham

34 comments:

  1. "Opening these young children's hearts to other animals in far away places is what the poems of Dear Wandering Wildebeest will help me do." Well said, Linda. My young niece and nephew are visiting this weekend. I'm looking forward to sharing Irene's book with them.

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    1. How exciting, Laura, to sit with them and this book. It is a gem!

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  2. I'm very much hoping to win a copy of this over at Michelle's DMC event!

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    1. I hope you do, too, Heidi. Your first graders will love it!

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  3. Irene's book sounds great! Thanks for sharing it with us, Linda.

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    1. You're welcome, Carmela. I enjoyed giving it some more love!

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  4. Oh, loved reading your thoughts about Irene's fabulous book. It must be a great feeling when a book comes along that is just what you needed for your students :).

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    1. It is terrific to have this book, Jama. Thank you!

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  5. This is such a wonderful book! Lovely of you to share it again!

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  6. PS Your Mr Linky links weren't working...I added a new one:>)

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    1. Thanks for both comments, Laura! Wonder why the Linky broke? And yes, Irene's book is a lovely new addition to those books that I take along.

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  7. I love imagining you sharing Irene's wonderful poems with your students--I agree, how can they not become excited? And that excitement as a young person is what leads to caring about conserving habitats as an adult.

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    1. And some are the youngest, most loving the curious looks of the animals & the new words they'll discover with Irene's poems. It really will be a lovely journey!

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  8. Definitely getting this collection for my students, Linda.I can just imagine the way you'd weave these poems into your teaching.

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    1. Truly they will fit with a wide spread of ages, Tara. I hope you enjoy it. I even forgot to mention the wide variety of styles Irene uses, which is also terrific!

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  9. How wonderful this book arrived for you at just the right time. And how wonderful you're using it to open children's hearts to animals in far places -- I love the way you put that.

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    1. Thanks Jeannine, exciting children about all the wonders to learn of in our world is an important goal for me, is now as a lit coach, was all the years with the middle schoolers.

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  10. Love, love, love Irene's book, but also that you are going to be the "Dear Wandering Wildebeest" ambassador for your students, Linda! = )

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    1. Thanks Bridget, I love your label for me! Maybe I'll just tell the school that I'm the poetry ambassador! Ha-I would hope that each one of them were! It is an easy book to laud (isn't that what ambassadors do?)

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  11. Thanks for sharing, Linda. I've seen so many sample pages of this book, I can't wait to get my copy! Looks wonderful.

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    1. Yes, it is a super one to add to your collection, Matt!

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  12. Thank you, Linda, for providing additional information about Irene's fabulous book for children. I especially love the lines you lifted to give us a flavor of what is inside. Extending your learners' knowledge about animals through Irene's poems is a good way to increase their global awareness of animals of the world.

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    1. You're welcome, Carol. I hope you'll have the chance to get the whole book.

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  13. How fortunate that this beautiful book dropped into your hands at just the right time, and so great for the kids that you will be able to incorporate WILDEBEEST into your teaching! Here's the direct link to my write up of her book if you want to include it with the others at the end of your post: http://michellehbarnes.blogspot.com/2014/09/spotlight-on-irene-latham-dmc-challenge_4.html

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    1. I will, Michelle, sorry I hadn't already included it. Yes, this will be a terrific book for many things, but especially this one class this year.

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  14. I've put my name in the hat for a few give aways of Irene's new book, but I don't think I won. I'll have to get it the old fashioned way. I definitely want a copy for myself and my students.

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    1. Since you do so much poetry with your students, the book will be a wonderful one for sharing all the ways to approach poetry with research, Margaret. Hope you can get it soon!

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  15. OK, I really need to find this book! I love books that combine poetry and nonfiction and this one sounds fabulous! Don Graves used to say that poets and scientists have a lot in common because both have to observe the world so carefully. That definitely seems true here!

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    1. I agree, and this is one thing we all share with students too, Carol. Both are careful observers. You'll love the book!

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  16. Love how many ways you can connect this book - for my kids it will be studying Africa, but I love the idea of using it for habitats or as a mentor text for poetry and verbs. So many great ideas!

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    1. Thanks Katie, yes, it's going to be a wonderful book for all those things, plus whatever else we discover!

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  17. You're right, Linda, this will be a great choice for opening children's hearts to "animals in faraway places." Thank you for reminding me to order my copy!

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    1. Thanks, Catherine-here's to many, many enjoying this wonderful book!

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  18. I love the affection with which you wrote about the book -- and about your students. :)

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Having a conversation is a good thing!