This is my playground for poetry written for children with ideas and inspiration for writing your own poems. Come on in. Sit for a spell, have a cup of words to swirl around and make your own cup of poetry. I'm so glad you are here. I hope you'll find the Kingdom of Poetry a fun place to be.

Friday, September 28, 2012

American Children

The children in Alaska wear warm coats.
Children in North Carolina feed wild horses oats.
The children in China Town learn a dragon dance.
Children in Idaho watch reindeer prance.
The children in New Mexico go to Indian Pow-wows.
Children in Wisconsin can watch milking cows.
The children in Florida keep away from alligators.
Children in Massachusetts hear clanking radiators.
In Texas, the children watch for armadillos.
In the bayou children listen to zydacos.
In Arizona they look for roadrunners and javelinas.
In Illinois the children audition to be ballerinas.
The children in New York have lions at the Library.
New Hampshire kids go hiking and it isn't scary.
The kamali'i in Hawaii wear shorts to school.
Oklahoma kids think oil wells are cool.
The children in Colorado learn to ski.
The children in Ohio win spelling bees.
Children in California learn to surf waves.
Children in Utah explore their dark caves.
Children in Montana can climb the Buttes.
Children in Virginia can play their flutes.
Children have one thing in common--
in school they learn to read,
and reading helps them learn about
what other children need.

     I can tell this poem is very rough, and it has a long way to go yet.  I'm thinking it would be fun to make this a 54 line poem--50 lines , one for each state, and then 4 for the conclusion about reading helping with understanding.  If you'd like to help with this poem, you're welcome to leave a couplet about your favorite 2 states--or even one line will help. Go ahead an make suggestions for states I've already included.   Did I forget to include your favorite state?  Or you are welcome to leave a couplet about other countries.  What is something unique about the children there? What about my Canadian friends?
     I did think about starting this poem with "In England children call their teacher, Miss," but  the moment I got that far, I then knew that the way to control this big poem was to limit it to the US.  Did you know that kamali'i is the Hawaiian word for children?  I thought the word keiki was children, but when I looked it up in a Hawaiian dictionary, I found that was the word for baby.  (Now you know two Hawaiian words. )
   Teachers, this format would be easy to do for each classroom in your school with a quatrain at the end to say something that all the children in the school have in common.

    In Ms Clark's class the children have two goldfish.
    In Mr. Jones' class the children made a clay dhish.
    In Miss Butler's class the children wrote a book.
    In Mrs. Macy's class they learned to cook.
    All of the children at Esperanza School
    Think reading books is very cool.

   Hey, this definitely is an example of a list poem.

Have fun writing.  I look forward to reading your comments.  Thanks for stopping by. Happy Poetry Friday.


  1. The children in Michigan swim in Great Lakes
    The children in California watch out for Earthquakes. :-)

  2. Julie,
    Excellent. I like rhyming Lakes with earthquakes. Well done.

  3. Hi, Joy. I love the playful sounds in these lines:

    "In Texas, the children watch for armadillos.
    In the bayou children listen to zydacos.
    In Arizona they look for roadrunners and javelinas."

    1. Laura, hi.
      Thanks for stopping by. I love the interview you have with Lucille Clifton's daughter up on your blog today. There are a lot of great women poets up on posts today--Jane Kenyon, Mary Oliver, Margaret Atwood. WOW! Are we having a good party today, or what?

  4. Joy, I am on the road today but will be back to give you a line or two! love what you've done with it so far.

  5. Fun idea for a poem, Joy! So happy to see Hawaii included. You taught me something new today -- as I never knew the word, "kamali'i." Keiki is used all the time, as far as I know, even when not referring to babies. I've always equated it with "offspring," regardless of age.

    1. Jama,
      I love your posts. They always make me hungry and the bears are so much fun. thanks for the support of THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY and for letting me know that it is Janet's birthday on Sunday.
      Keiki is also what orchid growers call the little baby plants that appear on the orchids.

  6. What a fun poem. I've always found rhyming couplets immensely satisfying.

    Joy, my apologies for not getting your post onto the PT blog sooner, and I'm glad people have found their way to you anyway. This morning (UK time) when I opened your email, something happened when I tried to open the link and my computer went down. It's taken all day to nurse it back to health and I've only just been able to reopen your email - and I've seen your "third (or fourth)" comment attempt just now too, which is the only one that;s come through, for some reason... So your post is now highlighted and I'm sorry for the delay...

    1. Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday today. There were so many of us turning up today. Sorry your computer went down--hope it wasn't my email that caused it.

  7. In Maryland, children look for orioles...

    (I don't have a second line, but would that rhyme with creole or seminole?)

    Fun project, Joy!

    1. What a great idea, Tabatha, How about:

      In Minnesota, children avoid gopher holes.
      In Maryland, children spy orioles.

      Will that work?

  8. Joy!
    I love the idea of listing the states, this is great! I love the line, "The children in Florida keep away from alligators /
    Children in Massachusetts hear clanking radiators."

    It is such a pleasure to read your blog. You write about poety with such wit!


    1. Thanks Jewel, I did enjoy the radiators too. I appreciate the comment about my wit, I do have a strange sense of humor.

  9. What a great idea for a list poem! It would be fun to use only state animals or the names of native people indigenous to that state. (easy for me to say, eh?!?!)

    1. Mary Lee,
      What a great idea, to rope this monster in by limiting it to state animals, but one of the problems I see that with like state birds, four states have the Cardinal. But I know in North Carolina there is a state bird (cardinal), a state sea shell (Scotch Bonnet) a State dog (Plot Hound), state amphibian (Eastern Painted Turtle), and I'm sure there are other state animals I've forgotten. So if all states go to the extent that North Carolina does, one could probably find enough rhymes. Interesting idea. I think the indigenous people would be more problematic. Remember we have 50 states and there are several indigenous tribes (Is that the right word?) of Eskimos in Alaska. What would you do there? You'd run into the same problem in Hawaii where there is a lot of blending. Isn't that what is so great about America--that we are a melting pot for all people?

  10. I can see this as a picture book! Missing your presence at the conference!

    1. Carol, Your comment has made my day. I certainly miss SCBWI-Carolinas too. But, I couldn't afford to go to 2 conferences in 2 weeks. Our SCBWI Arizona conference is next weekend. But let me know when the next Carolinas conference is and I'll see if I can make that. I still have kids in the Triangle. Will the next one be in Charlotte too? Thanks for all your support of my writing.

  11. JOy,
    This is a cool project. Are you familiar with the ABC book called T is for Tarheel? You might benefit from taking a look. I'm with Carol. This would make a great picture book.