A week for poetry's magic

April 15, 2001

Children love the lyrical magic of poetry. It feeds their spirit, frees their inhibitions and allows them to laugh, create, reflect and relax. April 16-22 is set aside to celebrate Young People's Poetry Week. This event, sponsored by the Children's Book Council, highlights poetry for children and young adults and encourages everyone to celebrate poetry by reading it, enjoying it and writing it. Kalli Dakos, teacher and author of numerous books of poetry, writes in the April 2001 Instructor magazine, "A school year goes by so quickly. ... Let's spend each day on what is truly important:

"There are 1,440

"minutes in a day,

"Use some of them for poetry ...

"and some of them to play."

Tips to help celebrate young people's poetry week

* Choose poetry that you enjoy and are passionate about to share with your child. Keep in mind that your attitude is infectious.

* Read a poem by a different person each day of the week. Go to www.poets.org for a huge selection of poets and their poems.

* When reading poetry aloud, add props such as a hat, scarf, mustache or glasses. Have fun. Exaggerate, giggle, whisper or bellow out the words.

* Ask your child to find and memorize a poem and then recite it to the family.

* Collect some favorite poems. Have your child illustrate each one. Staple them together to create a poetry book the whole family can enjoy again on your next trip.

* Ask your child to write a poem, or several. Give up the notion that there is a right or wrong way to write poetry. For tips on getting started, go to these Web sites: www.rhymezone.com and www.poetry4kids.com (click on "How to" and get help from poet Kenn Nesbitt).

* Order a free catalog from the Children's Book Council at www. cbcbooks.org.

Some poetry books to enjoy:

* "Chicken Soup With Rice" by Maurice Sendak

* "Honey, I Love, and Other Love Poems" by Eloise Greenfield

* "Looking for Holes" by Niko Scharer

* "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein

* "A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson

-- Susan Rapp

Village Reading Center

Taking pride in your initial

Now that spring has sprung, take advantage of the nice weather to do some outdoor reading activities. Sesame Street Parents is full of ideas, and we're passing one on to you. Put together an art project with simple ingredients: a poster board, acrylic paint (just one color), a mini paint roller, glue and an assortment of decorative items (yarn, buttons, plastic action figures, photos, plastic building blocks, etc).

Out on a patio or porch, assemble all these things to the side of the poster board, which should lie on top of some newspapers. Outline the first letter of your child's name in pencil or marker so that it takes up nearly the entire poster board. Have your child fill it in using the roller and paint. Once the paint is dry, encourage him to decorate his initial with the materials you've collected, gluing each piece to the initial. Give it a couple of hours to dry. Hang up this 3-D masterpiece in a place of pride in your house.

-- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Children's Chapter Book Best Sellers

Editor's Note: The children's best-seller list has three categories -- picture books, chapter books and paperbacks -- which are published in rotation, one category per week.

1. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling (weeks on list: 82)

2. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J.K. Rowling (39)

3. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling (121)

4. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling (96)

5. "Castaways of the Flying Dutchman" by Brian Jacques (2)

6. "The Bad Beginning" by Lemony Snicket (23)

7. "The Ersatz Elevator" by Lemony Snicket (6)

8. "The Amber Spyglass" by Philip Pullman (26)

9. "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo (10)

10. "The Reptile Room" by Lemony Snicket (5)

Contact us

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on sunspot.net, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to sun.features@baltsun.com; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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