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Are You An Echo? Discovering the beauty of Japanese poet Misuzu Kaneko (ages 7-12)

Empathy — it’s a vital quality to develop for all of us. How do we reach outside of ourselves to imagine being in someone else’s shoes? Misuzu Kaneko’s beautiful poetry is a shining example of how poetry can help us stop for a moment and think about the world from a different point of view.

Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko
Poetry by Misuzu Kaneko
Narrative by David Jacobson
Translation and editorial contributions by Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi
Illustrations by Toshikado Hajiri
Chin Music Press, 2016
Amazon / Your local library
ages 7-12

This striking collaboration shares the story of how Misuzu Kaneko’s poetry came to be discovered long after her death; moreover, it brings her poems to an English-speaking audience for the first time. In 1966, a young Japanese poet discovered a poem that struck him with its empathy and simplicity, yet he could find no other poems by this author — who was she? Did she write other poems?

BIG CATCH
— by Misuzu Kaneko

At sunrise, glorious sunrise
it’s a big catch!
A big catch of sardines!

On the beach, it’s like a festival
but in the sea, they will hold funerals
for the tens of thousands dead.

Linger for a moment on this poem, and ask young readers to think about this poet’s message. Why would the fish hold funerals? How does this shift readers’ thinking?

Although Setsuo Yazaki began searching in 1966, it wasn’t until 1982 that the curious poet uncovered more of Misuzu’s poetry. Her brother still had her diaries, which contained the only copies of her poems that still remained. Finally, Setsuo began to discover more about Misuzu’s life.

Read more about this unique blend of history, poetry and biography see the full review at Great Kid Books.

Copyright ©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Science + Poetry => Observation & Exploration #sciencefriday (ages 4-10)

Like science, poetry asks students to slow down, observe and record. Many students are drawn to the way poetry distills these observations into brief lines. I am thrilled that the NPR show Science Friday celebrated the union of poetry and science, creating two educational activities and recommending one of my favorite anthologies.

The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science
edited by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong
illustrated by Frank Ramspott and Bug Wang
Pomelo Books, 2015
teacher’s edition
Amazon
ages 4-10

Whether you want to take a moment to observe the way a hawk glides or predict what happens when you soak celery in food dye, these poems offer a short, focused crystallization of scientific observation and inquiry. Here’s a great poem to start us off: “How to Be a Scientist” by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

How to Be a Scientist
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

 

Come visit Great Kid Books to read the full post all about this terrific collection. I’ve been having a great time celebrating poetry with students all month long during National Poetry Month. I’ve been especially happy with two new series on my blog:

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Above the Dreamless Dead

Although this is not an anthology for children, it should be of interest to teens and teachers.  It could be particularly useful in meeting Common Core State Standards by combining art, poetry, history, and nonfiction.

Duffy, Chris, ed. 2014. Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics. New York: First Second.
(Advance Reader Copy)

Jacket

Above the Dreamless Dead is an illustrated anthology of poetry by English soldier poets, who served in WWI. They are known collectively as the “Trench Poets.”

Poems by famous writers such as Wilfred Owen and Rudyard Kipling are illustrated by equally talented comic artists, including Hannah Berry and George Pratt. The comic-style renderings (most spanning many pages), offer complementary interpretations of these century-old poems. The benefit of hindsight and perspective give the artists a broader angle in which to work. The result is a very personal, haunting, and moving look at The Great War.

above the dreamless dead

This is the “case” for Above the Dreamless Dead. This, and many other interior photos at 00:01 First Second.

 

Look for Above the Dreamless Dead in September, 2014.

French soldiers of the 87th Regiment, 6th Division, at Côte 304, (Hill 304), northwest of Verdun, 1916. [Public Domain image]

 (Thanks to First Second, who provided this review copy at my request.)

See all of my reviews at Shelf-employed. Or follow me on Twitter @shelfemployed

Copyright © 2014 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.