Slice of Life 19: A Writing Friendship

In a separate post, today I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour of In the Middle of the Night: Poems From a Wide-Awake House, by Laura Purdie Salas. (Leave a comment on that post, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for your very own copy!)

There is a direct link between being part of Laura’s blog tour and participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge. I “met” Laura when I responded to a tweet she sent out looking for teachers to write activity guides to a series of poetry books she was self-publishing. Designing activities to support favorite books is something I love to do. But I wasn’t confident I had the writing experience that Laura was looking for. As I worked to summon up the courage to write to Laura, I reread past blog posts and people’s comments, many from fellow Slicers. Indirectly, this community gave the push I needed to send the email. And, miracle of miracles, Laura put her trust in me! A few months later, Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems, part of Laura’s “30 Painless Classroom Poems” series, debuted with an activity guide written by yours truly.

Thanks to a supportive administration, I was able to attend NCTE later that year and meet Laura in person. Since then, we’ve seen each other at other conferences and connected online through Twitter and our blogs. This is exactly the kind of supportive friendship that I’ve been fortunate enough to develop with many other teachers and writers, all thanks to everyone, past and present, at Two Writing Teachers!

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebKelseyMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

In the Middle of the Night: Poems From a Wide-Awake House by Laura Purdie Salas & a Giveaway!

Welcome to the next stop on In the Middle of the Night’s blog tour! What a whirlwind! If you missed any of the previous stops, click below for interviews with Laura about how she came up the the idea for these “Poems From a Wide-Awake House,” her writing process, and more. There are also suggestions from teachers on different ways to use In the Middle of the Night in classrooms to support and inspire student writing.

When I first read Laura’s book, I immediately noticed her word choice. Laura has chosen exactly the right words to bring so many everyday household objects to life. A “Mixed-Up Mixing Bowl wobble[s] and sway[s]” in a “bowl ballet.” After a day of pounding the floor, an aching basketball’s “head is sore” and he’s sleeping “in ice.” And who can’t relate to “Lidless Marker’s Lament?” With an aching head and a throat that “feels dry,” this marker is “useless since/you lost my lid.” Angela Matteson’s exuberant illustrations capture the wide range of emotions felt by all the wide-awake objects frollicking through this book.

I shared these poems and more with a fourth grade class at my school as a spark for their writing. They loved the poems and were eager to write their own “wide-awake” poems. Here are just a few.

“Sneaky Button”
by H.

I’m a sneaky button
creeping through the night
clinging to some clothing
to see which one looks right.
Then I see a woodland shirt
that seems to shine with light.

Now the sun is shining
And I am all attached
waiting for my owner
to grab me with with a snatch.
we will go fishing
to get a big fat catch.


“Utensils Vs. Pot”
by E.

The pot grabbed the spoon
From its napkin cocoon
The fork went to help,
But he began to yelp.

The clock struck four
When Mr. Spoon opened the drawer
He whacked the pot of soup
And it began to droop.

The pot dropped the spoon
and he began to swoon.
Dang! It’s 6AM so soon!


“Pineapple Escape”
by J.

Pineapple feared the big knife
would bring an end to his life.
So he tried to delay
by rolling away.
Now the pineapple
hides out in the stairway.

Your students can write their own wide-awake poems! Laura has created a Padlet where they can share their work and read poems by other students. There are also fun activity sheets available here.

Thank you, Laura and Angela, for this clever, inspiring book! And thank you to Boyds Mills Press for generously donating a copy of In the Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House to one lucky winner. Be sure to leave a comment by Tuesday, March 26th, to be entered in the drawing.

Blog tour links:

Monday, 3/11 Mile High Reading
Tuesday, 3/12 Reflections on the Teche
Wednesday, 3/13 A Year of Reading
Thursday, 3/14 Check It Out
Friday, 3/15 Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
Sunday, 3/17 Great Kid Books
Monday, 3/18 Simply 7 Interview/Jena Benton blog
Tuesday, 3/19 My Juicy Little Universe
Wednesday, 3/20 Live Your Poem
Thursday, 3/21 Reading to the Core
Friday, 3/22 KidLit Frenzy       Beyond Literacy Link


SOL 18: The MEET MY FAMILY Blog Tour is Here!


“Every family’s different–each family is just right!”
Laura Purdie Salas

Welcome to the latest stop on the Blog Tour for Laura Purdie Salas’s beautiful new book, Meet My Family: Animal Babies and Their Families (Millbrook Press, 2018). When I first read Laura’s heartfelt words and saw Stephanie Fizer Coleman‘s lively illustrations, I knew this book was a perfect mentor text for student writing.

© Laura Purdie Salas and Stephanie Fizer Coleman, 2018

Laura was inspired to write Meet My Family by feelings she had about her own family growing up. In her interview with Kirby Larson (the link is listed below), Laura says that “my family felt very different from other families.” She hopes “this book might erase some of the shame so many kids feel about their families.”

One of my colleagues is the most amazing Kindergarten teacher on the planet, and she welcomed me into her classroom to share Laura’s book with her students and work on this writing project with them. After reading Meet My Family to the children, we talked about all the different kinds of animal families in the book. Then we talked about all the ways our own families are different. After brainstorming together, the kids wrote a sentence about their own family.

The next day, we reread the book, this time looking closely at the subtext on each page. Again, using Laura’s text as a mentor, the students added details to their writing about their family. Some chose to write about activities they do together, others wrote about favorite foods. Everyone gained an appreciation for all the different kinds of families we have!

Illustrations are a very big deal for Kindergarteners, and they couldn’t wait to start drawing their families. We even used the cover layout as a model for the cover of the book we created.

Here is their work:

I live with my mom and dad in my house. We love to babysit my baby cousin.
by R.

I am the only child. And sometimes I go out to walk with my family.
by R.

I have three sisters. I watch TV with my sisters.
by S.

I moved across the country. Sometimes we go on hikes!
by J.

I live with my family. We go to Five Guys for burgers.
by L.

I am the smallest in my family! My family likes to bike together! I like my family!
by K.

I am the youngest in my family. I went with my family in the forest. We had fun.
by A.

I live with my brothers and my baby sister. My family likes to go to the beach.
by I.

I live with my mimi and poppy. We like to go out to dinner.
by Z.

I have one sister. After school we go to gymnastics. It is tiring and it is fun.
by B.

I live with my mom and my brothers. We play Manhunt outside. I am fast.
by L.

My brother is eight and I am five. My baby sister is two. I live with my Nana and my PopPop, my puppy and cats.
by E.

I live with my mommy and dad and my baby sister, too. After school I help mom and dad make chicken for dinner.
by L.

These Kindergarten students are very proud to share their work today, and are already busy planning their next writing project. Thank you, Laura, for writing this informative, inspiring book!

Thanks to Laura’s generosity, one lucky reader will win a copy of Meet My Family! Just leave a comment before midnight, Thursday, March 22nd, to be entered in the drawing.

To find out more about Laura and this wonderful book, be sure to visit the other stops on the Meet My Family Blog Tour:

The tour has two more upcoming stops! Don’t miss them!

A Classroom Guide is available to download here.

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, Melanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and each Tuesday throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

SOL 17 & IMWAYR: If You Were the Moon

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What does the moon do all day and all night? Laura Purdie Salas answers this question in her enchanting new picture book, If You Were the Moon. Cheerfully personified, the moon, spends its days and nights engaged in many familiar activities of childhood and displays many familiar moods. A spirited moon plays “dodgeball with space rocks” and peak-a-boo with Earth. The moon is helpful when it “lights a pathway to the sea” for sea turtle hatchlings. Salas also casts the moon as joyous, inspiring, and loving. When the moon sings “Earth a silver lullaby,” children will want to climb into bed to hear its song.

Millbrook Press, 2017

Jaime Kim’s whimsical illustrations capture these different moods by creating a wonderfully expressive moon. The magical quality of the book is enhanced by a scattering of what could be stardust over every page.

For all its playfulness, If You Were the Moon is grounded in facts. On each page, Salas included informational paragraphs, written in clear, child-friendly language to describe the moon’s phases and tidal effects, theories about how the moon was formed, and more. There is a brief glossary, as well as suggestions for further reading.

This book is a must-have for any PreK or early elementary classroom. The spare, poetic text is a perfect mentor for children’s writing, and the factual portions of the book will generate many questions. A comprehensive Educators Guide is available here, and a treasure-trove of other goodies can be found hereIf You Were the Moon will spark the imaginations of all who read it.

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, MelanieLisa and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts. Also, please be sure to visit Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers for more book recommendations.

Poetry Friday: Hello from Minneapolis!


This morning I’m in Minneapolis for NCTE’s Annual Convention. I’m looking forward to seeing poetry friends old and new at the Children’s Book Award Luncheon tomorrow, where Marilyn Singer will be honored with the Excellence in Poetry for Children Award.

Many wonderful poets live in Minnesota, so I thought it would be fun to do a mini-round up of three of my favorite poets from this beautiful state.


First up is Laura Purdie Salas. Laura has written two picture book poetry collections, and her work has appeared in many anthologies, including the stunning new National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry. Last year I had the honor of writing the activity guide for Laura’s Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems, part of her “Painless Classroom Poems” series. Laura graciously allowed me to share these poems with you today.

“Minnesota: The Birth of Old Man River”

A lake creates a lazy stream
That flows through pines and slips away,
Then picks up barges, logs, and steam,
Becomes a mighty waterway.

Walk on rocks across this sliver,
Cross the current, slow and mild.
It will grow to Old Man River
Though for now it’s still a child.

© Laura Purdie Salas, 2015

“Things to Do If You Are a Tree”
by Laura Purdie Salas

Wake up to geese honks and puddle splashes.
Grow a leafy shirt.
Hug birds’ nests and lost kittens.
Stretch toward summer sun.
Shade the backyard.
Drink plenty of rain.
Gulp nitrogen from the soil.
Eat a kite for dessert.
Dance with the wind.
Knit a scarlet fall sweater.
Drop your leaves to protect chipmunks and snakes.
Set your alarm clock for spring.
Settle in for a snowy winter sleep.

© Laura Purdie Salas

Joyce Sidman, a past recipient of NCTE’s Excellence in Poetry for Children Award, was born in Connecticut, but now calls Minnesota home. Her gorgeous picture book poetry collections have won numerous awards and honors.

by Joyce Sidman

I grow in places
others can’t,

where wind is high
and water scant.

I drink the rain,
I eat the sun;

before the prairie winds
I run.

Read the rest here.

Although she’s not a children’s poet, many of Joyce Sutphen‘s poems evoke the beauty of nature and are very accessible to young readers. Sutphen is currently Minnesota’s Poet Laureate.

“Some Glad Morning”
by Joyce Sutphen

One day, something very old
happened again. The green
came back to the branches,
settling like leafy birds
on the highest twigs;
the ground broke open
as dark as coffee beans.

The rest of the poem can be found here.

Please be sure to visit Tricia Stohr-Hunt’s lovely blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect, for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Picture Book 10 for 10: Poetry Picture Books

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Children’s first reading experiences are usually through picture books, and for this reason, people have fond memories of them and are passionate about their favorites. Because of the role picture books play in introducing the magic of reading to children, they are worth celebrating. 

Picture Book 10 for 10 is the brainchild of Cathy Mere of Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robeck of Enjoy and Embrace Learning. During this annual event, now in its sixth year, teachers, librarians, and book lovers create lists of 10 essential picture books. Cathy and Mandy collect and share these lists, and everyone is richer because of their efforts. Be sure to visit their blogs to see their lists, and check out dozens of Picture Book 10 for 10 lists here. Thank you, Cathy and Mandy, for organizing this celebration of picture book love. 

Many children are introduced to picture books through collections of nursery rhymes. The rhythm of poetry is soothing and the rhymes give kids the foundation they need to become independent readers. But most importantly, reading nursery rhymes and poetry to children is fun.

Creating this list was quite a challenge, as there are many, many beautiful poetry picture books available these days. For any one of the poets listed below, there are one or two or ten other books that are just as worthy of inclusion on this list.

1.  Bookspeak: Poems about Books, by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon (Clarion Books, 2011)


What could be better than a collection of poems celebrating books? Laura Purdie Salas gives voice to all parts of books, including the cover, index, and the end. You can watch the trailer for Bookspeak, listen to Laura read two poems, and read the teacher’s guide here.

2. Red Sings From the Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009)


Joyce Sidman is one of my favorite poets, and I love Pamela Zagarenski’s whimsical style, so this book was a shoe-in for this list. I have written about it before here.

3. Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems, selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Candlewick Press, 2014)


This award-winning anthology, illustrated with whimsical perfection by Melissa Sweet, includes poems celebrating each season and is not to be missed.  Julie Roach, writing in School Library Journal described Sweet’s illustrations this way: “Colors and shapes with willowy details expertly blur or bring bits of the images into focus to create a magical sense of place, time, and beauty.”

4. A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme, by J. Patrick Lewis, pictures by Alison Jay (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002)


Lewis brings his signature blend of humor and interesting facts to the world of geography in this collection. Allison Jay’s muted colors and craquelure,“a cracking or network of fine cracks in the paint, enamel, or varnish of a painting,” illustrations evoke maps from the age of exploration.

5.  Forest Has a Song, by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Robbin Gourley (Clarion Books, 2013)


Amy Ludwig VanDerwater turns her keen poet’s eye to the forest landscape throughout the year. Gourley’s delicate watercolors are the perfect complement to VanDerwater’s evocative poems.

6. On the Wing: Bird Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian (Harcourt, 1996)


Douglas Florian’s sophisticated humor and word play make his poetry perfect choices for any elementary classroom. Find out more about Florian and his other poetry collections here.

7. What’s for Dinner? Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World, by Katherine B. Hauth, illustrated by David Clark (Charlesbridge, 2011)


This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book is chock-full of hilarious poems about the very serious subject of how animals capture their prey. Hauth includes factual information about each animal, as well as a list of suggested reading. David Clark’s cartoon-like illustrations add to the humor.

8.  Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems, by Jane Yolen, photographs by Jason Stemple (WordSong, 2012)


Jane Yolen is one of my favorite authors of all time. In fact, my 2013 Picture Book 10 for 10 post was devoted to her work. Yolen has published many volumes of poetry, but her collaborations with her photographer son, Jason Stemple, are my favorites. Stemple’s photographs are full of incredible details, and Yolen’s poetry captures the “beauty and mystery” of “these tiny living beings.” (From Yolen’s author’s note.)

9.  Turtle in July, by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Macmillan, 1989)


Marilyn Singer is the 2015 winner of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children and has long been one of my favorite poets. You can read a previous post about Marilyn’s poetry here. This collection, filled with Jerry Pinkney’s stunning illustrations, is a must-have for any elementary classroom.

10. Creatures of the Earth, Sea, and Sky, by Georgia Heard, drawings by Jennifer Owings Dewey (WordSong, 1992)


 Georgia Heard has written that “poets find poems in hundreds of different places” (Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School, Heinemann: 1999), and in this wonderful collection, which has long been a staple in my classroom, she has found poems throughout the animal kingdom. Dewey’s detailed, realistic drawings add to the beauty of this book.

My previous Picture Book 10 for 10 lists:

2014: Friendship Favorites
2013: Jane Yolen Picture Books
2012: Wordless Picture Books

Poetry Friday: Read Across America Poetry Doors


Our Read Across America celebration last month incorporated Laura Purdie Salas‘s Wacky, Wild, & Wonderful: 50 State Poems. (Read more here) Classes chose poems from Laura’s book related to their curriculum and used them to inspire their own poetry and door displays.

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Laura’s poem about our state, “Connecticut: Storm Warning,” inspired many doors, including the two above from Kindergarten.

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One first grade class was also inspired by “Connecticut: Storm Warning,” while another used “Vermont: Sugar Season” as the theme for their door.

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Second grade wrote acrostics about our town, while two third grades, below, connected “New Mexico: Recipe for a B-Earth Day Cake” and “Hawaii: Pele’s Fire” to their study of landforms.

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Another third grade connected Connecticut’s weather poem to their study of character traits. Fourth grade studies regions of the United States and Washington, D.C. One class was inspired by “South Dakota: Mountain Men” to create their own versions of Mt. Rushmore. Another, below, used “Virginia: Tombstones” to create their own tribute to Arlington National Cemetery.

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One fifth grade also used “South Dakota: Mountain Men” and linked it to their biography unit. Students wrote opinions about why their subject was worthy to be included on Mt. Rushmore.

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One of the fifth grade science units is about how the Earth’s revolution around the sun causes the seasons, so they were inspired by “New Hampshire: White on Orange” to write seasonal haiku.

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Sixth grade voted to determine their favorite state, and Florida was the winner. Seventh grade has been reading Shakespeare, so one class wrote couplets about our town.

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Another seventh grade was also inspired by “Hawaii: Pele’s Fire” to create this festive door. Eighth grade has been studying civil rights, and “Louisiana: Cornet Survivor” inspired them to create this poem about the birth of jazz.

This was supposed to be a door decorating contest, but it was impossible to choose winners from all these amazing doors. It would be impossible to share all the wonderful poems the kids wrote in one post, so I’ll be sharing more over the next few weeks.

Laura is hosting the Poetry Friday Round Up at her blog, Writing the World for Kids, today so please be sure to head over to her blog to read more poetry.


SOLC: Happy Book Birthday, A Rock Can Be!

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hYesterday, I wrote about the ripples created by sending blog posts out into the world. This is true of tweets, too. One of the connections I made last year thanks to blogging and tweeting was meeting Laura Purdie Salas. Laura is a prolific poet, and her new book A Rock Can Be… (Millbrook Press) was published yesterday! Congratulations, Laura!  A Rock Can Be… is a companion book to Water Can Be… and A Leaf Can Be… All three of these books are gorgeously illustrated by Violeta Dabija.

“A rock is a rock, our Earth in your hand."
“A rock is a rock,
our Earth in your hand.”

In A Rock Can Be…, Laura turns her attention to an object that, at first glance, may seem mundane, even a little boring. But, look with Laura through her poet’s eye, and rocks turn into objects of beauty, useful tools, and more. Laura’s rhyming text is full of scientific truths (“lava flow-er” and “desert dune”) as well as whimsy (“lake skimmer” and “hopscotch marker”). Dabija’s inviting illustrations make you want to jump in and join the fun.  A Rock Can Be… will inspire children to look at rocks in a new and creative ways.

Paragraphs giving factual information about each use of rocks mentioned throughout the book is included. There is also a glossary and a short list or resources for further reading.

Teachers, librarians, and others who spend time with kids in Kindergarten through second or third grade will want all of these beautiful books for their collections. Each will encourage students to, in the words of Naomi Shihab Nye, pay “attention to the world.”

A rock can be…a pyramid! I found this rock on the shore of Beddington Lake in Maine.

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each day during the month of March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

Read Across America is Coming!


At Sherman School, we make March a month-long celebration of reading. We always pay homage to Dr. Seuss on March 2nd by reading old favorites such as Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat. But we also use this day to launch a month-long theme related to reading. What better way to celebrate Read Across America than by doing just that…reading about each of the 50 states.

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This year we’re incorporating Laura Purdie Salas’s new book, Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems, into the festivities! This wonderful collection of poems is as diverse as the country it celebrates. There are poems about geography, geology, and weather. There are poems about ecosystems, food chains, and history. In short, there is something for everyone in Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems.

Each class will choose a poem that supports a topic they have been studying. For example, second grade might choose “Wisconsin: Catch!” This poem, about a bald eagle’s swooping down to the water of the Mississippi to catch a fish, is a natural for their study of food chains.  Students could illustrate Laura’s poem or use this as a mentor for their own food chain poem. The form, cinquain, is very accessible for second graders.

To share their learning with the rest of the school, each class will decorate their classroom door to highlight their study of Laura’s poem and how its related curricular topic. I can’t wait to see what each class comes up with. The possibilities are limitless. Best of all, the classes that create the best doors will Skype with Laura later this spring.

I’m really excited to be pairing Laura’s poems with Read Across America, and will be posting photos of the doors and the kids’ work throughout the month here and on Twitter.

Laura also shared our plans on her blog today. Please pay her a visit to learn more about Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems and the other poetry collections in Laura’s “30 Painless Classroom Poems” series.

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.


Poetry Friday: Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems by Laura Purdie Salas


I first discovered the work of Laura Purdie Salas in 2008 when she wrote a series of poetry books for Capstone Press. Tiny Dreams, Sprouting Tall: Poems About the United States and Lettuce Introduce You: Poems About Food were perfect for two units my colleagues and I were revising. Since that time my students and I have enjoyed Stampede: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School (Clarion, 2009), Bookspeak: Poems About Books (Clarion, 2011), and most recently, A Rock Can Be… (Millbrook, 2015). (A complete list of Laura’s books can be found here.) So last spring, when Laura put out a call for teachers to collaborate with her on her latest poetry project, I jumped at the chance. I was thrilled to be chosen to create activities for Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems.

I loved every minute of working with Laura on this project. These poems, rich in imagery and figurative language, inspired many extension and enrichment activities. They celebrate the diversity of our ecosystems and geologic formations, as well as bring our history to life. I learned about landmarks I’d never heard of, and started planning trips to some of them! Laura graciously gave me permission to share some of her wonderful poems from this collection today. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

“Indiana: Time to Walk the Dogwood”

Black-Eyed Susan rings the Bluebells—
“Dinnertime! Come eat!”
Sweet William drinks his Milkweed
with a sweet Mayapple treat.
They eat their toast with Buttercups
and have a lovely talk.
Then dinner’s done and they must take
their Dogwood for his walk.
William wears his Dutchman’s Breeches,
white and pressed and neat.
Susan’s Yellow Ladyslippers
snuggle up her feet.
Dogwood chases Cardinals flashing
red and wild and bright.
His Fleabane’s bad, he needs a bath—
another busy night.
It’s time to watch the Shooting Stars
against the darkened sky.
William plants a kiss on Sue—
Another day’s gone by.

© Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved, 2015

This poem, with its bouquet of Indiana wildflowers brought to life, begs to be illustrated. My art skills weren’t up to the task, but I’m sure there are plenty of young artists whose are!

Laura used an impressive variety of poetic forms in this collection. “America the Beautiful” is one of my favorite patriotic songs, so I especially loved “Colorado: Pink Lady (A Poem for Two Voices)” I can’t wait to hear our fourth graders performing this poem!

Long hike down through misty clouds,

O beautiful for spacious skies,

A dizzying descent

For amber waves of grain,

Rocks, ravines, and evergreens—

For purple mountain majesties

That clean-scrubbed pine tree scent

Above the fruited plain!

Pikes Peak, the watchman of the west,

America! America!

You rise from plains below

God shed his grace on thee

Rosy granite etched with ice

And crown they good with brotherhood

You wear the sunset’s glow

From sea to shining sea!



Land beautiful

and free.

© Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved, 2015

Pike's Peak, (Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Pike’s Peak, (Library of Congress, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

This is a must-have collection for any classroom learning about the United States. Laura’s engaging poems will make students’ research about the states more meaningful and memorable. Click here for information on how to get your copy of Wacky, Wild, and Wonderful: 50 State Poems.

Thank you, Laura, for letting me share your work here today, and for giving me the opportunity to be part of this terrific poetry collection!

Be sure to visit Irene Latham at Live Your Poem for the Poetry Friday Round Up, and you can read North Carolina’s poem today on Laura’s blog.