It’s a Great Morning! Poetry Friday Is Here! (Plus a Giveaway!)

“Poetry is a lovely gift we give to children that appreciates in value
and lasts throughout their lifetimes.”
~ Maria Brountas ~

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Roundup! I am thrilled to be hosting today because I’m celebrating the book birthday of Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud, the newest member of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong‘s Poetry Friday Anthology® Series. What kind of celebration would this be without gifts? Thanks to Sylvia and Janet’s generosity, three lucky readers will receive a copy of Great Morning! just in time for the beginning of the new school year! Everyone who leaves a comment before midnight, July 31st will be entered in the drawing.

For many years, the assistant principal and I have read poems during morning announcements. Usually we’d read poems to celebrate the arrival of a new season, or a fun “National (fill in the blank) Day.” I have dozens (and dozens) of poetry books that are full of wonderful poems that we’ve read over the years, including all of Sylvia and Janet’s previous Poetry Friday® books. And, like all of the Poetry Friday books, Great Morning! is full of poems perfect for sharing.

What makes this book so special is that these poems are tailor-made for every imaginable school occasion. Did you just have a fire drill? Read Janet Wong’s “We’ll Keep Safe” to reassure kids that everything is okay. Starting a recycling campaign? Sharing Susan Blackaby’s “Recycling” is the perfect way to kick off this effort. There’s even a poem, “Testing Blues” by Xelena Gonzalez, to lift everyone’s spirit during those dreaded assessment weeks. There are also poems to celebrate all the people who work so hard to keep schools running smoothly: secretaries, nurses, custodial staff, even volunteers.

Great Morning! is divided into two main sections. The first section includes 39 poems organized by topic. Each poem in this section includes a brief “Did You Know” paragraph that can be read to introduce the poem, as well as a “Follow Up” that encourages teachers and children to think more deeply about the poem and topic. There is also a “Poetry Plus” tip that offers suggestions of appropriate times to share each poem.

The second section of Great Morning! includes a second poem that is linked thematically to each poem in the first section. Also included in this section is a “Poetry Bonus” for every poem. This provides links to many additional resources, including audio versions of some poems, digital postcards, and more.

Finally, as if all this weren’t enough, there are almost 30 pages of ideas and tips for using poetry throughout the day, as well as information to share with parents. There are also lists with a plethora of additional resources.

This book, like all of the Poetry Friday® books, is a treasure. Great Morning! is unique because it’s aimed directly at school leaders. In the introduction, Sylvia and Janet write “our goal is to provide support for those who might be unfamiliar with today’s poetry for young people and might need guidance in how to begin.” By supporting school leaders in this way, this book will help send the message to students that they are valued so much we want to share the gift of poetry with them each and every day.

I love this book for all these reasons, but I am also extremely honored that a poem of mine is included. “Walking For a Cause” is especially meaningful for me because our school has held several 5Ks to raise money for a foundation started in memory of a beloved student who lost her battle with aplastic anemia.

“Walking For A Cause”

Hey, kids! Have you heard?
We are walking for a cause.
Ask your parents, neighbors, too,
if they would like to share.
Dollars, quarters, nickels, dimes,
every penny shows we care.

We’re spreading hope with every step,
supporting friends in need.
So lace your sneakers, tie them tight.
Come and help our walk succeed!

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Mr. Schoefer and I getting ready to read “How to Make a Friend.”

I am excited to read these poems throughout the year with my enthusiastic Assistant Principal, Andy Schoefer, during our morning announcements. Here is the poem we’ve chosen for the first day of school, “How to Make a Friend,” by Jane Heitman Healy:

“How to Make a Friend”

You start by saying Hi there,
Hello, Aloha, Ciao–
If someone answers back to you,
Smile and nod and bow.

You might try saying Hola,
Salut, Goddag, Shalom.
If someone answers back to you,
They might be far from home.

A friend begins by greeting
Those they meet along the way
To make them feel welcome
At home, at school, at play.

© Jane Heitman Healy, 2018

Thank you, Jane, for allowing me to share your poem today. I think it is perfect for letting all students know they are welcomed and valued in our school. Poet Elizabeth Alexander calls poems “handbooks for human decency and understanding.” Thank you, Janet and Sylvia, for creating Great Morning! and all the Poetry Friday Anthology® anthologies and filling our schools with volumes and volumes of “decency and understanding.”

Want to know more? Read this post about Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud at Sylvia’s website, Poetry for Children.

Thank you for stopping by to help celebrate Great Morning! Please leave your link below. Don’t forget to comment if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway.

52 thoughts on “It’s a Great Morning! Poetry Friday Is Here! (Plus a Giveaway!)

  1. Thanks for hosting the roundup Catherine and for sharing more about this wonderful new resource. I have been running poetry PD for teachers here in Australia, and one of the things I suggest is a ‘poetry visitor’ – having the principal or other visitor pop in and read a poem every day/week. This would be a great resource for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This book is just chock full of resources, and you’ve offered a great overview of its impressive contents. It’s easy to see how “Great Morning!” would be a fantastic addition to any school administrator’s library! Congratulations on having a poem included and thanks for hosting this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations, Catherine. A wonderful collection to have your poem in. I love the premise for this book – and the thought of school leaders sharing great poetry! (Also had to smile – ’cause we have dollars and cents in Australia. Fullstop. Quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies sound like a bag of lollies! (Yum!))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that poet Elizabeth Alexander calls poems “handbooks for human decency and understanding.” Leaves a kindness on my heart to read it. And this book, too, is a kindness to school leaders. I’m honored that my poem (about head lice!) is included in this marvelous resource. Thank you for hosting, Catherine!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the color on the cover. It’s bright and calls out a “Good Morning!” The two poems presented here, leave me wanting to read more!

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful post, sharing samples from this new book and the picture of you with your assistant principal is fun to see, too, Catherine. Happy Poetry Friday with a lovely way to celebrate “Great Morning”. I enjoyed your and Jane’s poems very much, imagine kids at schools loving them and all that will be shared! Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. More good news about GREAT MORNING … great! 🙂 I love that you have a tradition of reading poetry during morning announcement time! That is awesome. Thanks, too, for hosting this week. I’m in with an original one today.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am of honored that you chose my poem for your first day announcements and that you chose to highlight it here. Starting the day with poetry has to make every morning a GREAT MORNING! Congrats on “Walking for a Cause, Catherine!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for hosting, Catherine, and for shining a spotlight on this brand-newest Pomelo Books treasure! Can’t wait to share with teacher-daughter Morgan. Your poem is hopeful and inspiring, and Jane’s is the PERFECT way to begin a new school year. Congrats to all (& I’m honored to have “Sincerely” in this volume!), and hats off to Sylvia and Janet for more school-friendly poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for hosting and congrats on having your poem in this wonderful collection! My best friend, and wonderful 3rd grade teacher just moved to Wisconsin this week, and I know that she’ll be on the lookout for more books to stock her new classroom with. I will definitely make sure to pass this one along!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Catherine, thank you for hosting and bringing another poetry title to our collective attention. It provides a launching pad for not only the day, but enquiry and curiosity too. It is indeed gratifying to hear of poetry promoted within a school in this way. Love it when leaders light the way..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for hosting, Catherine! I’m definitely buying this book for my principal and vice principal, we need a little more poetry in my school!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your enthusiasm in this post is glowing. I can’t wait to get this book and share it with my principals (all three of them!). Thanks for hosting PF today. I have a special place for your poem in my heart, you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am so excited to see this book, Catherine. This is the first year my school will have Morning Announcements, so I think it would be a perfect gift for my Principal! Many thanks for hosting this week. I’m sharing a “Where I’m From” that I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you, Catherine! I’ve just been reading The Write Thing by Kwame Alexander. This Poetry Friday book would help me put more poetry in my practice. Kwame’s enthusiasm for poetry in the writer’s workshop is fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. As always, Catherine, your posts lift my day. I am familar with Janet Wong’s work as she has presented at the Paramus Reading and Writing Institutes severl times (along with our mutual friend, Amy LV). Thanks for bringing this book to my attention, and for sharing such a practical way for school leaders to show their enthusiasm for poetry. Finding ways to infuse poetry throughout the day and throughout literacy units is the best way to strengthen interpretation skills, language skills and writing skills. On a personal note, I lost a cousin to aplastic anemia back in 1980; she and I were ony one year apart. Please keep me posted on the timing of your fundraiser, so I can help as well. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What an incredible way to bring the entire school together through poetry! Far too often, we find ourselves going through the motions of safety drills, fun runs, and fundraisers without taking the time to explain why we do these things. I’m excited to have Great Morning on hand to help open the conversation with kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Elaine! Not sure why you couldn’t share your link. Somehow I managed to make it work, so it’s now included with the others. I love your poem, and am honored to be your poem partner in Great Morning!


  18. Catherine–Hey, I recognize that “Walking for a Cause” poem! Congratulations to you for the contribution, and congratulations to Sylvia and Janet on the new anthology! I hope very much to present this book to my Principal and AP, and how nice would it be to have it for free. : ) I’ve just arrived in Manchester, England and I hope to toss up another metaphor-dice draft a bit later. Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I can’t wait to see my copy of this wonderful new book. Your blog post and sharing your poem and Jane’s continue to tantalize. It is great to hear about how you have been celebrating poetry in your school. What can be better? My (old) school’s librarian is ordering a copy and we have a new principal. I am bringing it to share there and also encouraging friends to gift copies to their kids/grandkids’ schools. Can there ever be too much poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks so much for hosting, Catherine, for your lovely review of GREAT Morning, AND for sharing your wonderful poem with us! PLUS, I love the photo of you and your assistant principal!!!! May I borrow that? I’m trying to gather as many photos as possible of principals (and VPs) with GREAT Morning. Just let me know if that’s OK. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course you may borrow the photo, Sylvia. By the way, your link wasn’t working, so I uploaded it again. These link-up tools are convenient, but their mysteries elude me! Enjoy your weekend!


  21. Great post! I can’t wait to get my copy of this book! And I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, what a wonderful idea for an anthology! Cheers to Janet and Sylvia!


  22. Definitely excited for this book, and your post makes me more excited! I love that this book encourages a whole school approach too. Thanks!


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