It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Poetry, of course! Today is the first day of National Poetry Month! Check out what others are reading today by visiting Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.

Dare to Dream…Change the World edited by Jill Corcoran, illustrated by J. Beth Jepson (Kane Miller, 2012) is an anthology of poem that celebrates people who have followed their dreams and, as a result, made the world a better place. A short note at the beginning of the book explains that Jill Corcoran was inspired to create this anthology while listening to a story on NPR about the uprisings in Egypt. Her dream was to “share the spirit of dreaming + action = change and that each one of us can make the world just a little better.”

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This is a beautiful book. J. Beth Jepson has created stunning, vivid illustrations that are perfectly suited to pairs of poems. These pay tribute to people who have made contributions to civil rights, music, medicine, sports, and more. One poem is biographical, the second is a response to the person’s accomplishment. Brief biographies of each individual are included. An all-star line up of poets contributed to this collection, and information about them is also included, as well as links to their websites.

When I first read this book, my mind instantly began thinking of all the possibilities for using it in the classroom, and a curriculum guide is available on the book’s website. The publishers are sponsoring a poetry contest for students in grades 3-8, which you can find out about here.

Jama Rattigan has a much more extensive review of Dare to Dream at her lovely blog, Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

My school is finishing up a school-wide read of Wonder. Before we began reading R.J. Palacio’s incredible novel, we all read Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson. The final poem in the collection, is the perfect bookend to that story, a reminder that our actions have a lasting impact.

Ripples

No one acts in isolation

And no act leaves the world the same.

Words and gestures ripple outward,

What shores they reach we cannot name.

All our lives end in a riddle–

A mystery without an answer,

For even gone we ripple on,

Like a dance without a dancer.

Did you extend a friendly hand?

Did you lift a battered spirit?

The one you helped helped someone else

Ah! Now we’re getting near it.

That second someone dropped despair

Did not give in, instead revived

To teach, to love, to fight, to dare,

And what you’ve done lived on, survived.

On and out the circle widens,

Past all hope of comprehending.

The slightest touch can change the world

Healing, helping, lifting, mending.

Actions last for generations

Our father’s mothers mold our hearts.

We in turn shape all that follows;

Each time we act, a ripple starts.

by Bruce Coville

Where will your ripples go today?

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