Friday, April 18, 2014

Poetry + Nonfiction= Friday's Find by Kathy Halsey

Thursday found me back at my library pursuing poetry for RhyPiBoMo month. My find was a poetry book for the older set - say 4th grade-8th grade - that combines poetry of all genres along with nonfiction. May I present to you Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy.
There's lots to like in this 2011 picture book:

  1. It pairs interesting facts about elephants in "torn paper" sidebars with poems that illuminate the factual info. 
  2. It's an engaging concept that keeps the typical, dry nonfiction animal presentation kids usually see fresh. 
  3. Poetry genres include free verse, haiku, rhymes, letters, sonnet, and concrete poetry, forms middle grade students usually study. 
  4. Poetry enthusiasts will recognize a parody on William Carlos Williams famous poem "This Is Just to Say" in which an animal trainer apologizes for lacing elephant treat with medicine. This poem could be a mentor text for middle grade students asked to write their own "apology poem."
  5. Finally, middle schoolers are often asked to do animal reports which usually end up as a copy/paste of sources used. (As a school librarian I've seen these assignments way too often!) How refreshing to offer this text as a model for the "new" 21st century animal report as it combines language arts, critical thinking and creativity all in one assignment!
Share some poetry love and leave us GROGgers a comment on your fav poetry collection that has multiple curricular uses!


  1. Thanks for introducing me to this collection, Kathy! I'll add it to my list.
    I just finished reading Lee Bennett Hopkin's anthology, Days to Celebrate. Each month is introduced with a calendar of important/interesting holidays, birthdays, facts and then a few poems are chosen to highlight various occasions. So many possibilities for using this book! Take a look!

    1. I'lll have to check this out, Patricia

    2. Sharing poetry with students of all ages is so important, Kathy. I look forward to reading Cousins of Clouds by Tracy Vaughn Zimmer. Days to Celebrate sounds like I need to check it out, Pat, as Lee Bennet Hopkins is a favorite author of mine.

  2. I am so glad I stopped by Kathy. You've given some great suggestions on books to share.

  3. Thank you for the post. I can hardly wait to check this out!

  4. Love alliterative titles.
    And poetry picture bk. titles.
    Any chance you can introduce us to the talented artist, Megan Halsey... or is that a neat coincidence?

    Interesting post!