popcorn and poetry

“I don’t like poetry; I like non-fiction,” our first-grader said as I scanned titles in the poetry section of the library. “I like animals.” I took it as a challenge. It’s national poetry month after all. The first book I grabbed was a book of animal poetry that looked like it held promise: animal poetry Some of the poems in this book qualify as nonfiction, though not all of them. But the pictures alone earned the book high marks with my two young book critics. Then I found a book of nature poems by an author we know and like, Jane Yolen: count rhyme The poems are fun, and it too has outstanding pictures. It was a quick read with some memorable poems, as was a similar title by the same author:   color rhymeWe’re likely to check both of them out again. Another winner was an anthology edited by Mary Ann Hoberman: forget me notsThis book has a lot of classics in it as well as contemporary poems, organized by topic. Some made us laugh out loud. I also appreciate the tips on memorizing poems, a skill too few people value these days. The book would make a great gift for the child in your life.

So last week when I suggested we read poetry, we had options. “Popcorn and poetry!” Our younger boy welcomed the idea but insisted that popcorn was a part of the package. We had my sister to thank for this, but I don’t mind a bit. There aren’t many things I enjoy more than sharing a book with my boys before bedtime.

We persuaded their daddy to join us. “Which do you like better – popcorn or poetry?” he asked.

“Both!” my four-year-old said.

rearing unselfish children

“Good luck with that” is what one friend said when I told her I was reading a book called Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World. But this book, written by Jill Rigby, is actually quite practical – and hopeful. The basic premise of the book is that if you model generosity and others-focused living then your children are quite likely to follow in your footsteps.

I know, you don’t need to read a book to figure that out. But the book contains lots of specific ideas for how your family can love and care for other people. Suggestions are broken down by age group so the book is equally relevant to the parents of a teen or a preschooler.

It’s a book worth reading if you want to help your children “give till it feels good.”

What is your favorite activity for helping children become more others-focused?