105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: Forget-Me-Nots

Tucked somewhere in old, old papers from my school days, is a collection of poetry that I memorized for extra credit. Today it seems well, old-school, but while our education system seems to emphasize memorized facts, we've lost the art of memorization as knowledge, as an art. While I can't claim that can recite those poems of my youth, I value the skill set learning how to memorize. That the techniques of memorization so fully unlock the levels of a poem was one concept that presented itself in this book.

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart
selected by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Michael Emberly

Little, Brown 2012, reviewed from library copy

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by HeartDivided into categories that range from easier to harder and to logical grouping of animals, food, time, feelings and more, this collection of poetry is meant to be savored. More than savored, memorized. The poems were selected with this goal in mind, and reflect a broad range of styles and subjects for maximum appeal. The diverse group of poets include Carl Sandberg, Emily Dickinson, Edward Lear, Nikki Giovanni, Gary Soto, Naomi Shihab Nye, Walter Dean Myers, A.A. Milne, Eloise Greenfield, Odgen Nash, and many more. The author contributes several poems and lays out the reasoning and approach for learning a poem by heart. Some of that here in the first poem:
A Poem for the Reader
You'll pick out your favorites
From those that you've read
And invite them to live in
The house in your head.
This house is called Memory,
Everyone knows,
And the more you put in it,
The larger it grows.
The more that you give it,
The more it will give,
And your poems will live with you
As long as you live.
- Mary Ann Hoberman
With poems short and long, silly and serious, concrete and surreal, she's brought together a collection that expands the idea of a "children's poetry book" to something that will be shared with an adult with equal interest. Emberly's illustrations are a perfect fit with this concept, with styles adaptable to lighter or serious verse, showing humor, sensitivity, and a gentle touch that complements the text. Wonderful book for a classroom - think teacher gift! - or to read at home.

For more poetry books and poems, Poetry Friday is hosted today at Think Kid, Think!

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