Food for Thought: Poetry for Día

El día de los niños/El día de los libros/ Children’s Day/Book Day events often involve a fiesta of food along with the bounty of books and literacy activities. So, what better connection to make than to read aloud poems and rhymes that focus on food. Here is a baker’s dozen of poetry titles that offer a delicious assortment of poetry to kick off, move along, or wind up a Día event, particularly during National Poetry Month.

First off, two books of poetry feature fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden, including poems about gardening itself. Look for:
Shannon, George. 2006. Busy in the Garden. Ill. by Sam Williams. New York: Greenwillow.

Havill, Juanita. 2006. I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden. San Francisco: Chronicle.

Photo: cjcj

Take a look at these poetry books that feature food around the world and share them along with a tasting of some of the foods mentioned, if possible.
Gunning, Monica. 1998. Under The Breadfruit Tree: Island Poems. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.

Mora, Pat. 2007. Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!: America’s Sproutings. New York: Lee & Low.

If you have the facilities for cooking, these three poetry collections offer recipe-like poems to read aloud and follow step-by-step.
Argueta, Jorge. 2009. Sopa de frijoles/ Bean Soup. Ill. by Rafael Yockteng. Toronto, ON: Groundwood.

Argueta, Jorge. 2010. Arroz con leche; Rice Pudding. Ill. by Fernando Vilela. Toronto, ON: Groundwood.

Argueta, Jorge. 2012. Guacamole; Un poema para cocinar/ A Cooking Poem. Ill. by Margarita Sada. Toronto: Groundwood.

Photo: Adam Levine

These poem collections can kick off a discussion of meal-time rituals. What do families do at dinner time? At family gatherings? Share some of these poems and compare notes on favorite foods for favorite meals.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Ed. 2000. Yummy! Eating Through a Day: Poems. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Philip, Neil. Ed. 2004. Hot Potato: Mealtime Rhymes. New York: Clarion.

Salas, Laura Purdie. 2008. Lettuce Introduce You: Poems About Food (A+ Books). Minneapolis, MN: Capstone.

Food is also the topic in these silly poems featuring monsters and talking French fries. Just for fun, share any of these morsels.
Rex, Adam. 2006. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.

Rex, Adam. 2008. Frankenstein Takes the Cake. New York: Harcourt Houghton Mifflin.

Weinstock, Robert. 2009. Food Hates You, Too. New York: Disney-Hyperion.

Food is one of the basics of day-to-day life and this has not escaped the attention of poets, particularly how food plays a part in childhood, family time, and special celebrations. Sharing a poem about potatoes or tomatoes or corn can offer a fun and mouth-watering connection between everyday eating and language learning.

For a list of 25 more collections of food poetry, as well as lists of bilingual poetry, poetry for ESL/ELL, poetry by authors of color, and 155 different poetry bibliographies and lists of research-based strategies featuring 1500 poetry books for children and teens (ages 0-18), look for my new book, The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists.

Thank you to Sylvia Vardell, Ph. D., Professor, SLIS/Texas Women’s University, and today’s guest blogger. Sylvia blogs regularly at Poetry for Children.

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